Acoustic Panels as Wall Coverings in TNG

by Frank Bitterhof, Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider

Acoustic panels can be seen on the walls of several rooms in Star Trek: The Next Generation. As the sets of the series were re-used for "Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country", the wall panels appear in the movie as well. The following table provides an overview of the panel or tile types that were used and of the locations where they are visible.

 

Analysis

Panel type

Description

TNG location

SONEX® One

"Unisex" pattern detail:

Sizes:

  • 24 x 48 x 2 inches in North America
  • 62,5 x 125 x 5 cm in Europe

Features:

  • Surface features alternating rows of protruding ("male") and subsiding ("female") elements
  • Available colors are white, grey and charcoal (transporter room walls had been painted in a greenish color)

Recommendations:

  • SONEX® One allows wall covering with a uniform look. 
  • Recommended for larger surfaces and areas.

USS Enterprise-D Most walls of the transporter room (until the fifth season),

including door area

and back area
 

Type-7 shuttle Back compartment

USS Yosemite Transporter room

SONEX® Classic

"Male" and "female" pattern detail:

Sizes:

  • 24 x 48 inches in North America
  • Available as polyurethane (panel thickness 2, 3 or 4 inches) or melamine foam (panel thickness 2 inches)
  • Unavailable in Europe

Features:

  • Panels come in a block which splits into a protruding ("male") and subsiding ("female") panel.
  • Polyurethane colors are charcoal or brown, melamine colors are white, light grey and dyed black (plus painted alternatives).

Recommendations:

  • SONEX® Classic allows checkerboard pattern wall covering or a uniform look with panels of the same sort ("male" or "female").
  • Recommended for larger surfaces and areas.

USS Enterprise-D Battle bridge ready room, door area ("female")

and desk area ("male"), 3" charcoal

Cryogenic Earth vessel "Birdseye" Passenger container, 3" beige (beige no longer available)

SONEX® Junior

"Male" pattern detail:

Sizes:

  • 24 x 24 inches in North America
  • Available as melamine foam (panel thickness 2 inches)
  • Unavailable in Europe

Features:

  • Panels come in a block which splits into a protruding ("male") and subsiding ("female") panel.
  • Melamine colors are white and light gray (plus painted alternatives, e.g. charcoal colortec).

Recommendations: 

  • SONEX® Junior allows checkerboard pattern wall covering or a uniform look with panels of the same sort.
  • Recommended for small surfaces and areas (e.g. windows, doors etc.).

USS Enterprise-D Transporter room side wall, "female" pattern in charcoal colortec

USS Enterprise-A Transporter room side wall (set re-use)

CONTOUR® Spectrum

Sizes:

  • 24 x 24 inches in North America
  • 59,3 x 59,3 or 61,8 x 61,8 cm in Europe (5 cm thick)

Features:

  • North America: Available standard colors include Almond, Arctic White, Black Onyx and Grey Mist
  • Europe: Available standard colors include white, and grey

Recommendations:

  • CONTOUR® Spectrum recommended for larger ceilings and other surfaces and areas.
  • It can be combined with differently patterned other Contour-range tiles to create any overall pattern the user sees fit.

USS Enterprise-D Ten Forward side walls and

Ten Forward bar area

Office of the President of the Federation Side wall (set re-use)

Nitpicking While the panels on the port side of Ten Foward remained the same for the whole run of the series, the starboard panels were turned 90 degrees for the fifth season after the set had been used for the President's office in "Star Trek: "The Undiscovered Country". We can see the old orientation in "In Theory" (left) and the new one in "Ensign Ro".
 

The change of the tiles in Ten Forward leads to an error in ENT: "These Are The Voyages". The episode combines stock footage of Ten Forward from "Ménage à Troi" (left) with newly filmed scenes in the reconstructed set with Troi and Riker (right). The reconstruction correctly reproduces the tiles as they looked at the time of "The Pegasus" in the seventh season. The stock footage still shows the old orientation as in the third season.
 

Banean homeworld Acoustic panels appear in later Star Trek series as well. For example, the Spectrum tile can be seen on the Banean homeworld in VOY: "Ex Post Facto".
CONTOUR® Vision
USS Enterprise-D Guinan's office,
 
Ten Forward bar area (one single tile, the rest is CONTOUR Spectrum)

and gymnasium

 

Annotations

Overview originally compiled by Frank Bitterhof. The list may not yet be complete, other uses of SONEX and/or CONTOUR acoustic products on Star Trek will be added once these have been spotted.

Different size indications for the USA and Europe reflect different industry standards (e.g. European SONEX One panels can be assembled seamlessly without any extra need for cutting panels prior to assembling a uniform pattern because each element is 125mm², i.e. European SONEX One is exactly 5 elements wide and 10 elements long).

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The Captain's Choice!

You are a home theater owner who is looking forward to improve his room acoustics? You would like to give your home theater a Star Trek theme on a tight budget? You are a Star Trek fan who’d like to use / display some "authentic" 24th century materials for room decoration or your collection?

In either case, you’d probably want to consider the acoustic SONEX® panels and CONTOUR® tiles the producers of television’s renowned series Star Trek - The Next Generation chose for various decoration purposes.

The different SONEX® panels and CONTOUR® tiles used in TNG will allow an infinite abundance of combinations to convert each room into a Starfleet interior and thus create a perfect environment to re-experience your favorite TNG episodes (since 2012 available in breathtaking high definition Blu-ray disc quality).

 

Credits

Product photos by pinta acoustics.

 


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