AcoustiPack Precut Case Damping Kit

Cases|Damping
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January 24, 2004 by Ralf Hutter

Product
AcoustiPack™ Kit precut for their C6607 case
Manufacturer
Acousti Products
Selling Price
TBA

As the Silent PC movement becomes more mainstream, several companies have introduced noise damping kits for computers. The kits generally have pre-applied adhesive on the back of damping foam, some with precut sections designed to fit a specific model of case, some with special foam panels designed to not only reduce absorb sound waves but to reduce case vibrations as well.

In a previous review of case damping materials at SilentPCReview, the AcoustiPack™ damping kit blew the other three contenders out of the water, so I've been keeping my eyes on AcoustiProducts™ damping kits, in case something interesting popped up. While I was browsing the AcoustiProducts™ website recently, I noticed a new case to their lineup called the "AcoustiCase C6607". On first glance, this case looked identical to the good 'ol Antec SLK3700AMB/Compucase 6A19 that I'm so familiar with and as I looked at it closer it was apparent that it was indeed a clone of the 6A19.

Being the bright lad that my mom says I am, I figured that if the precut damping material fits the AcoustiCase C6607 would probably work perfectly in one of my Antec SLK3700AMB cases. I contacted AcoustiProducts™ to see if they were selling, or had plans to sell the kits separately from the case. The case was brand new for them, and that they hadn't really thought about selling the damping kit separately. I suggested that they should consider selling the damping kits separately as the SLK3700/6A19 is a quite popular case and that they'd have a nice little market.

They kindly agreed to send me a sample of the AcoustiPack™ damping kit for the C6607 to see how well it worked in an Antec SLK3700AMB. A short time later, the friendly UPS man dropped off a heavy white box on my front step emblazoned with the AcoustiPack™ logo on the front.


A box full of foam that feels more like a box full of bricks. This stuff is heavy!

Upon opening the box I was presented with a neatly packed plastic bag full of acoustic foam blocks and acoustic composite panels, along with an illustrated instruction sheet that shows where to mount each individual foam panel and block that is included with the AcoustiPack™ kit. The C6607 kit is sort of a blend of the Standard and the Deluxe kits. It comes with five of the Acoustic Composite sheets - each 7mm thick (2mm Acoustic Barrier Mass and 5mm Acoustic Foam) that are precut to the correct size, and designed to be attached using their self-adhesive back, to the top, bottom, rear wall and both side walls of the case.

The kit includes six acoustic foam blocks that are precut to fit into the unused space in the various drive bays. There are five smaller self-adhesive 7mm thick composite sheets that are precut to fit behind any unused drive bay and floppy drive covers to absorb noise and vibration before it comes out the front of the case. There's also a precut section of air filter that won't fit into the differently shaped air filter of the SLK3700 but does look like it would fit into a 6A19 perfectly. The first time I opened the plastic bag I noticed a slight rubbery odor which vanished after the panels were left out of the plastic bag overnight.

AcoustiProducts™ goes into great detail about the composition of their components as well as the theory behind their implementation. Much of this is also covered in the previous AcousticPack™ Deluxe review, so I'll summarize by saying that their system is designed to reduce noise and vibration throughout the audible frequency range.

Kit contents. These are the Acoustic Composite sheets that come with the C6607 kit.


Acoustic Composite door panel, acoustic foam blocks and air filter insert.

INSTALLATION

My plan was to install this kit in my SLK3700AMB that already contained a working system. I wanted to see how easy it would be to install the kit's self adhesive panels while the hardware was already installed in the case. I studied the panels and the instructions and determined that I could install all the panels without having to remove the hardware in my case. I was almost right.

From looking at the instructions and the case layout it looked like the top panel would be the most difficult to install so instead of installing it first, as the instructions indicated, I chose to install the other composite panels first to get a little practice with the technique before I tackled the trickiest one. It was fairly easy to install the adhesive backed panels. I pre-positioned each piece prior to removing the protective backing of the adhesive sheets so I could see if there would be any problems with maneuvering the sheet into position.

I installed each sheet using the technique that they recommended for the top sheet: Peeled back a small portion of the protective backing, line up the other portion of the panel and then press the exposed portion of the panel into place. Only then did I peel back the remainder of the backing sheet and press the rest of the panel into place. Using this technique I was able to position each adhesive panel correctly on the first try.

It was very easy to apply the panels on each of the doors and the rear case wall. The floor panel was slightly more difficult and the top panel required that I remove the CD-ROM drive in the uppermost 5.25" drive bay, as well as loosening the PSU and moving it away from the top of the case to open up enough room to work the top panel into position. To finish off the self-adhesive acoustic panel installation I applied the supplied panels to the back sides of the unused drive bay and floppy bay covers.


Acoustic composite panels on floor, right side door and front wall, plus foam blocks in 3.5" FDD cage and beneath the HDD tower riser.


Acoustic composite panels on floor and back wall.


Acoustic composite panel on case "ceiling". CD-ROM and PSU had to be removed to gain access to this area for application.

To finish the installation I inserted the press-fit acoustic foam blocks into their respective positions. I opted to leave out any blocks that would interfere with airflow. In my mind the tradeoff of a little noise reduction for not decreasing the airflow is well worth it. One of the common concerns about adding foam-based damping materials to a case is whether it will act as insulation and increase the case temperature so I didn't want to lose any airflow if I didn't have to.


Acoustic foam blocks in 3.5" bays. I left several out so as not to block airflow through the case. The extras are installed in the empty space between the lower drive cage and the right side wall of the case, safely out of the airflow.

The entire installation took about 30 minutes and would have gone faster if I was applying the acoustic composite foam to a empty case. As it was, I had to remove the components near the top of the case to gain enough access to properly position the top panel. This probably added 10 minutes to the installation time. All the panels (except the front air filter) fit perfectly even though they weren't expressly designed for the Antec SLK3700AMB case.



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