Sound Isolation Clips vs Resilient Channel

Sound Isolation Clips vs. Resilient Channel

Author: Eric Dellolio

Last Updated: February 9, 2024

Read Time: 5 Minutes


Eric Dellolio

Last Updated:

February 9, 2024

Read Time:

5 Minutes

Author: Eric Dellolio

Updated: Feb. 9, 2024

Read Time: 5 Minutes


There are several ways to soundproof walls, but two of the most common soundproofing materials used to decouple the drywall from the studs are sound isolation clips and resilient channels. Both of these tools will be effective at cutting down the amount of sound transmitting through the walls of a building. However, each comes with its own set of pros and cons. This article will cover the differences between sound isolation clips and resilient channels and explain how to install the products to help you decide which product works best for you and your client's needs.


Before we dive into what sound isolation clips and resilient channels are, let's take a second and level set on what problem both products are used to solve. Both resilient channel and sound isolation clips are used to decouple walls and ceilings from the studs to hijack the path of noise traveling through the building’s structure. When the drywall is screwed directly into the studs, sound can easily pass from one wall as structural noise before reradiating into the adjacent space. By “floating” the drywall and decoupling one side of the wall from the other, you isolate the barrier, increasing both the IIC rating and the STC rating by a huge amount! The result is better soundproofing and less unwanted noise.

What Are Sound Isolation Clips?

Sound isolation clips are rubber and metal clips that are secured to the studs of your wall. Once the clips are installed, you then snap in hat channel and screw the drywall to the channel. Sound isolation clips are a bit more expensive than resilient channel (or RC), but they are easy to install and are MUCH harder to mess up than RC. Sound isolation clips also perform better and reduce sound more than resilient channel. In general, they are your best choice if proper soundproofing is the primary goal (whether you are an architect, contractor, or DIY) – more on that later.

Our preferred sound isolation clip is the RSIC-1, because they’ve been around the longest and have tested their product the most thoroughly. Competitors to the RSIC clip have popped up over the years (pretty sure their patent ran out), but the RSIC clip is in far more UL rated assemblies, has more tested assemblies for STC and IIC ratings, and more variations to handle unique situations.

What Is Resilient Channel?

Resilient channel (RC) is a metal framing material that is used to decouple the studs and drywall by installing it perpendicular to the studs and placing the drywall over the top. While RC can be a good, cost-effective option, they come with a variety of challenges which result in them rarely working as intended. Those problems break down into two categories: (1) the type of RC and (2) how the RC is installed. Even if you hire a professional to install it, you’re not safe. If we’re inspecting a job site, 9 in 10 have the RC channel installed correctly. If you’re developing a property, this can turn into a huge issue if the installation is bad enough that you fail to meet code. And then if you’re managing that property, worse soundproofing leads to hire tenant turnover and higher long-term costs.

There is one RC that we approve of using, which is the Dietrich RC Deluxe. This is the RC that has been tested in rated assemblies, and consistently performs well. Other brands have different designs just don’t perform as well. Lab testing shows that other types of RC can perform anywhere from 1 to 8 STC and IIC points worse than RC Deluxe. If you cheaped out on your RC (or it was out of stock in your area), your STC 51 assembly may not meet code.

I think we’ve shown our hand at this point. And we haven’t even gotten into the pros and cons section yet!

Pros And Cons Of Sound Isolation Clips

Pros Cons

Easier Installation

Sound isolation clips, and specifically the RSIC-1, are more straightforward to install than RC. You screw the clips into the wall. You snap in 25 gauge hat channel. You screw 5/8” drywall on top and seal the perimeter with acoustical sealant.

Higher Overall Cost

Sound isolation clips cost more on average than RC, which is typically why builders opt for RC over sound isolation clips.

Higher Performance

Many builders want to spend the least possible to hit code (Not all of you! We know!). Resilient channel is able to meet an STC 50, but it’s not unusual to see RSIC construction hit an STC of 60+. Even simple wall constructions can get into the mid-50s. See our RSIC-1 page for more info various rated assemblies.



Pros And Cons Of Resilient Channel

Pros Cons

Cheaper Initial Cost

Installing resilient channel is generally cheaper than sound isolation clips (unless you don’t meet code).

Huge Number of Ways to Install Incorrectly

Lots of mistakes get made when installing RC. One of the biggest ones is installing resilient channel without insulation behind it, which severely reduces your STC and IIC rating. Other mistakes include short circuiting the channel, spacing the channel inappropriately, and damaging the channel during install. We’ve made a larger table with potential impacts below.

Effective Soundproofing Solution

While it may not perform as well as sound isolation clips, a resilient channel is still an effective solution for decoupling walls and ceilings when installed correctly. We strongly recommend sticking with the Dietrich RC Deluxe.


Can Only Handle Minimal Load

Resilient channel is not designed to support heavy loads. You can typically install two layers of drywall, but that’s about it. Heavier objects (cabinets, etc) have to be installed directly in the studs. When you install cabinets directly into the studs, you’ve created a path for noise from the building’s structure that bypasses your channel.

Recommended Product

RSIC-1 Sound Isolation Clip

Related Articles

How to Soundproof a Wall

Mass Loaded Vinyl Alternatives

Thank you!