While MLV is the epitome of DIY soundproofing against impact and airborne noises, some great mass loaded vinyl alternative that soundproof equally the same.
If you’ve read my previous posts, for example- on soundproofing a dorm room or blocking noise from the yard, you’ve probably seen that I’ve always recommended mass loaded vinyl (MLV).
Mass Loaded Vinyl is an excellent soundproofing product that reduces both airborne and impact noises and improves your room’s acoustics.
It achieves this by absorbing airborne sounds that bounce upon hitting the walls where it’s installed.
Unfortunately, simply because it isn’t aesthetically appealing, some folks prefer the alternatives.
If you’re one of them, then below are some of the great mass loaded vinyl alternative on the market today.
A-List of 7 Mass Loaded Vinyl Alternative (s) on the Market Today
Before we begin, I’d like to give you a disclaimer: while these products can be used as alternatives to mass loaded vinyl, their effectiveness highly depends on each product’s ability to block/absorb noises.
1. Acoustic Foam Panels
Acoustic foam panels are super effective in absorbing echo in a room, allowing for clear audios.
For this reason, they are often used in cinemas, recording studios, drum rooms, home theaters, and so much more.
Acoustic foam is also great in soundproofing against both impact and airborne sounds- though it’s best for the latter than the former.
It’s available in different sizes and colors, allowing you to choose one that perfectly complements your room’s aesthetics.
However, installing this product does need an extra bit of care- and that’s why I wrote a guide on how to install acoustic foam.
It’s important to note that the acoustic foam panel does not soundproof but helps in sound absorption.
This means that it doesn’t entirely eliminate the noise problem but can reduce unwanted noise to manageable levels.
Before purchasing, make sure you get the product’s exact measurements—the thicker the material, the better in reducing unwanted noises.
2. A Layer of Drywall
Another useful and most efficient alternative is adding a layer of drywall.
However, drywall requires a bit of technical experience, so you may be forced to hire a professional to do it for you.
For effective soundproofing, you will need dual layers of the drywall as this will increase mass, resulting in maximum sound deadening.
You can add soundproofing materials such as green glue or mass loaded vinyl.
These products will act as decouple such that either of the drywall layers doesn’t transfer soundwaves.
If you intend to soundproof both against your annoying upstairs neighbors for their stomping noises and against your adjacent neighbors who won’t stop playing bass music, you should first start with the ceiling then walls.
Drywall is the most effective method but also the most demanding and technical DIY soundproofing method.
3. Rearranging the Furniture
Anyone on a budget or simply isn’t convinced that mass loaded vinyl is the real deal, then rearranging furniture is the real deal.
However, you should know that rearranging furniture is viable for a project involving soundproofing the walls.
The trick is simple.
First, inspect the wall through which noise is leaking through.
Then move heavy furniture such as bookshelves or portable closets to the particular wall.
Make sure that you stack up clothes in the closet or books in the bookshelves to give the structure more mass which is responsible for reducing noise.
It’s important to note that this trick works when 90% or more of the wall surface is covered.
4. Green Glue
I’d consider green glue soundproofing compound preferably a complement/ supplement to mass loaded vinyl than alternative product.
Green glue is a soundproofing product that’s used to seal gaps and cracks for the purposes of soundproofing- noise reduction.
For instance, if you’re soundproofing the basement ceiling or walls, you will need first to seal all the cracks and gaps that could otherwise leak the room’s noise.
Green glue is one of the most cost-effective soundproofing products you can get on the market today.
Unlike most soundproofing products, this product deals with both impact and airborne noises.
It simply converts sound energy into small negligible heat energy.
This water-based product is non-carcinogenic and non-toxic, but as with all products, glues, and paints, proper precaution should be undertaken before using.
Can’ find any green glue in your local or online store?
Then why not check out my detailed guide on some of the best Green Glue alternatives on the market today.
5. Mutex Soundproofing Material
According to the manufacturer, MuteX is a soundproofing material that allows you to either reduce or eliminate noise transmitted through ceilings, walls, and floors. (Source)
Like acoustic foam and mass-loaded vinyl, this product also allows for much clearer sound in recording studios.
In case you need to soundproof the floor, you will need to install MuteX between the finished flooring and the sub-floor.
On the other hand, if you need to soundproof the ceiling or walls, you will need to tape or tack it to the studs and install a drywall layer on top.
With a Sound Transmission Class rating of 32, MuteX is a perfect product for preventing sound intrusion and providing privacy.
6. Soundproof Curtains
As the name suggests, these curtains have the capability of absorbing sound.
However, you shouldn’t expect all the noise in your home to magically disappear.
What these curtains will do is that they will significantly reduce outside noise to manageable levels.
Additionally, these curtains will also block light and other harmful UV from the sun.
If you live in a noisy neighborhood, these curtains will significantly cut the noise problem- they are also capable of reducing generator noise from leaking into the house.
7. Polyethylene Foam
Polyethylene foam is a lightweight, durable, closed-cell material used for soundproofing and fragile goods packaging.
It’s fantastic in insulation, vibration dampening and is highly resistant to chemicals and moisture.
However, it’s important to note that this product is highly effective in dealing with high-frequency sounds and not quite effective in dealing with low-frequency noise unless enough thickness is achieved.
Additionally, this material’s porous nature makes it great for reducing reverberations and echoes in a room.
Final Thoughts on Mass Loaded Vinyl Alternative
Above are some of the best mass loaded vinyl alternative you can get on the market today.
Some of these are super effective in dealing with both high and low-frequency noises.
Additionally, they are easy to install, and some won’t require the need of an expert.
However, note that, in the case of drywall, you will need some professional advice.