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Putting Dynamat to the Test in a Ford F-150

Our Car Stereo Proving Ground Series, Part 4

Zak Billmeier grew up in southern Vermont and coastal Maine. After graduating from Mary Washington College with a Geography degree he still isn't sure quite what to do with, he eventually settled in the mountains of Central Virginia. He spends his free time chasing his daughter around, taking pictures, gardening and cooking. He joined Crutchfield's car A/V writing team in 2007 and is now a lead producer on our video team.

More from Zak Billmeier

Testing a car audio system, step by step

Jeff, our Senior Car Merch­andiser, set off on a 5-month mission to create the ultimate system in his ’04 Ford F-150. Once he had all the gear in place, it was time to battle road noise. Dynamat products minimize vibrations, block road noise, and absorb sonic reflections, so Jeff would be able to hear every last detail of the system he built.

Watch the video about this project.

Reducing road noise with Dynamat

Vibrations from your car’s engine, chassis, and the road manifest themselves as audible noise in the cabin, which makes it tougher to hear details in your tunes. If you put time and money into building a system, you don't want it to be drowned out by the pavement. Jeff attacked the road noise issue with plenty of Dynamat — his system deserved nothing less.

Normally, you’d add Dynamat as you're putting in your speakers and running wires, but we did it last on purpose to show just how much of a difference in the sound pressure level (SPL) of road noise some damping can make. Jeff knew his truck had some rattles and resonant frequencies that were detracting from his sound, so Dynamat was a big part of his overall plan. And in keeping with the spirit of this project, he did as perfect a job as possible.

How much do I need?

Good results, even with partial coverage...

The minimum coverage recommended by Dynamat for basic resonance control is 30% of the area of any panel when using Dynamat Xtreme. Do that, and you’ll hear a difference.

...or get great results with full coverage

Of course, while a little Dynamat goes a long way, more is better. In fact, Dynamat says that complete coverage of an average vehicle can reduce road noise 9-18 dB. For reference, a 10 dB drop cuts road noise in half.


Adding dynamat to the doors

Jeff has a fantastic set of Focal component speakers in his doors, and they needed a sonically-sealed home. When his truck rolled off the assembly line, it had just a thin sheet of plastic to combat road noise. Rattles, vibrations, and resonant frequencies easily stole some thunder from Jeff’s speakers. So it was Dynamat to the rescue — he stuck it to every available square inch of his door. “A lot of energy is transferred through the doors,” Jeff says. “That’s the best place to start with Dynamat.”

Dynamat Xtreme door kit

Doors are the trickiest places to apply Dynamat, since there are a lot of small spaces to navigate. Fortunately, you can cut out custom-sized pieces with a utility knife. The Dynamat Xtreme door kit comes with four 12" x 36" sheets (12 square feet), plenty for two doors.

Just adding Dynamat to the doors decreased the road noise by 2 dB.

Quieting the Floor

Jeff started by removing his seats and carpet. Then he put down a couple of layers of Dynamat Xtreme, followed by a layer of DynaPad (plus a little Dynaliner when he ran out). Man, was it nice to quiet down the noise coming through the floor — we really noticed a difference when driving over a dirt road. And here’s a nice bonus: the DynaPad feels pleasant underfoot, too.

Jeff had a lot of area to cover, so he opted for the bulk package of Dynamat Xtreme. It gave him 72 square feet to work with.

Jeff used these on his floor, too:

Dynamat DynaPad

DynaPad is a kind of acoustic foam “sandwich” that throws a layer of acoustic barrier material between two layers of sound-absorbing foam. It lies under your vehicle’s carpet.

Dynamat Dynaliner

Dynaliner helps absorb noise in your vehicle. Use it on top of a layer of Dynamat Xtreme for best results.

At this point, the truck is noticably quieter.
The DynaPad “sandwich”

Since DynaPad goes on the floor, it needs to be substantial in order to stand up to road noise and exhaust-system heat. Most people react the same way the first time they pick up a chunk of DynaPad: “Wow, that’s heavy!”




Sealing the cabin and hood

A layer of Dynamat Xtreme and Dynaliner went under his headliner, and Hoodliner went under the hood. Jeff’s got his rattles and engine noise under control now. He’s turned the F-150’s interior into a much quieter space for listening to tunes.

Even better on a dirt road

Wow, what a difference — we measured a huge 16 dB drop when driving on a dirt road. Other than the bumps, it was like riding on pavement had been before the Dynamat was installed.

Dynamat isn’t just for cars!

Dynamat helps stop rattles wherever they occur. We asked around Crutchfield headquarters and found employees using it for all kinds of things: wrapping it around a noisy HVAC duct, treating a washer and dryer, eliminating a buzz in an old guitar speaker cabinet...the only limit is your imagination. If it’s rattling, try some Dynamat.

What did we learn during this last round of testing?

Dynamat is fantastic stuff. Riding in Jeff’s truck after installing all the Dynamat products was an interesting experience after having ridden in noisy cars for so many years — for one thing, it wasn’t necessary to shout in order to hear one another. And since he doesn’t have to compete as much with road noise, Jeff doesn’t have to crank the volume as high.

"You can’t build the ultimate sound system without addressing road noise," he says. "Dynamat makes a huge difference."

Learn more

Catch up on parts 1-3 here.

  • B. B. Ghate from Texas. United States

    Posted on 5/12/2015 8:11:03 PM

    This sounds exciting. Does anyone have experience in reducing the nose in a Subaru Forester (2003 model)? It is a beautiful SUV with excellent qualifications (attributes) except for the ghastly rough noise inside.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/13/2015 10:20:50 AM

    B.B., we're big fans of Dynamat here at Crutchfield. The great thing about it is it's packaged in various sizes for all different applications. We went to the extreme with this F-150, but you might want to start out with the Dynamat Door Kit to try it out. If you find that your interior is really noisy, you could also Dynamat the floor, at least up front, for another significant improvement.

  • Jack from Aberdeen

    Posted on 8/27/2015 1:49:46 PM

    Jeff, I share your impression of Dynamat & plan to use in my restored & modified Ford F1. Would like to know what the ultimate sound system mentioned is comprised of. Thanks

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/27/2015 2:45:12 PM

    Jack, you'll find all the information we have on that installation in this article. Enjoy!

  • Jacques from Tampa

    Posted on 8/30/2015 11:18:27 AM

    Were the RTA and SPL test run after the sound deadening was added to see how it affecteted the stereo output and equalizer setting?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/31/2015 9:26:00 AM

    Jacques, yes. Check out this video for a more in-depth look at the Dynamat experiment.