NRC, Demystified

You’ll find the NRC rating in the specifications of all of our products. This little acronym stands for Noise Reduction Coefficient, and is expressed as a single number, a rating that describes the degree to which acoustic products can absorb sound. 

Noise Reduction Coefficient

The rating is determined through testing sound absorption in a laboratory setting. An NRC of 0 represents perfect sound reflection (not good) while an NRC of 1 represents perfect absorption.  

You can use NRC values to understand the overall performance of acoustic wall panels and tiles, acoustic ceiling tiles and baffles, acoustic screens and desk partitions, and acoustic floor coverings and carpeting. The higher the NRC, the better the product is at soaking up the sound.

An NRC of 0 represents perfect sound reflection (not good) while an NRC of 1 represents perfect absorption.

Determining the NRC is done using the ASTM Standard test for sound absorption. It’s performed in an independent acoustical laboratory reverberation chamber, where technicians deliver sound at four frequencies, measuring the sound levels of the empty lab, then sound levels when the lab contains a product. The difference between these values are averaged to find the product’s NRC rating.

The NRC value is informative, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. How a product is mounted, the base on which it is installed, the total amount of sound reflective or absorptive material in the room, the number of inhabitants, the use of the space — all of these factors come together to create an environment that is not at all like a reverberation chamber in a sound lab. For this reason, we will always recommend consulting with acoustics specialists to help you specify the right product to achieve the experience you desire. 

We are ready to help you soundscape your design. 

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We are ready to help you soundscape your design.