Part 1 interview with soundown

Soundown – FlIBS 2018 – Part 1

Is your boat too loud?

Well you may find this interview interesting then. I spoke with Sam Smullin from Soundown at the #FLIBS2018 about what it takes to add a little more quiet to our boats.

Soundown Transcript

SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Hi Sarah O’ Kelly here with Skipper’s Review T.V at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2018. I am with Sam Smullin from Soundown. Sam is not like a professional party pooper, are you Sam?

SOUNDOWN: No, I am not. 

SKIPPER’S REVIEW: You do enjoy a little bit of sound.  You must be some kind of engineer yet you went with the direction of getting rid of sound?

SOUNDOWN: Absolutely, with Soundown we are a noise and vibration control company. Our products are all centered around really trying to reduce noise and vibration. The marine industry is a big piece of our business.

We work with boat manufactures doing new builds and owners of boats. Basically anyone who wants to reduce noise inside their boat and enabling that experience of  enjoying your boat without making it sound like it’s a big truck or a tractor.  You get a nice vessel, you cruise to some exotic place and you’re getting a generator noise the whole time, it just really takes away from it. So, again, you want the full enjoyable experience of being outside and not feeling like it’s shaking and rattling.

SKIPPER’S REVIEW: So it’s not just insulating the hull, you found lots of nooks and crannies where you can add insulation.  I notice you have some rubberized bolts.

How Does Sound Travel on a Boat?

SOUNDOWN: Absolutely, sounds really travel in two ways, airborne noise and structure based noise.  The engine is an example of airborne noise, let’s say you were to put the engine in the middle of a field and run it, it would make a certain noise, this is where insulation comes in.   Insulation stops noise from leaving the engine compartment, or leaving the compartment around the generator or an air conditioner. Stopping that airborne noise is great but then you also have the structure born component, which is any of that energy.   Vibration runs into the structure then travels through and radiates as noise into the accommodations.

How Do You Distinguish Airborne Noise From Construction Based Noise?

A lot of people get confused by this because they say, well we don’t feel any vibration.  There is the audible spectrum, then there’s the spectrum that you can feel with your body.  Noise frequency leaves a very small overlap. It can be very low frequencies but if you’re in a cabin you can’t tell by listening whether you’re listening to airborne noise or structure born noise. So sealing the compartments up doing a good job of insulation and isolating all of the engines, the gear, all of these auxiliary systems is really the basis for making a quiet boat.  You can actually do the same thing with the interior of the boat by isolating the cabin inside the hull. When everything is nicely insulated you don’t have any of that energy from the engines going through the water and of course it also increases privacy from cabin to cabin.

SKIPPER’S REVIEW: So you have been in this industry since the 80s but it was in your family before that?

SOUNDOWN: Yes, my father is still involved in the business, actually runs the business.  He is not with us because he’s on sea trials on a big commercial vessel.  I was actually a political science major in school so although I don’t have an engineering degree, I’ve been involved in the sound business from the beginning and have a good strong technical background.

Can I Add Insulation After The Boat Has Been Made?

SKIPPER’S REVIEW: So I bought a boat and I feel like it hasn’t been fully insulted, is it too late or do I have to really rip apart the boat in order to put the insulation in…or what techniques do you have?

SOUNDOWN: There’s a lot of different ways you can address that and there certainly are a lot of treatments for an existing boat. We do a lot of work with owners who are doing refits or doing major pieces of work and there are some pretty easy steps. Certainly some of the easy steps are working with our carpet underlayment product.  So if you have a salon that is over the engine room and you have a lot of engine noise in the salon, carpet underlayment is…i’m gonna grab a piece real quick…..


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