Launch vehicle noise is broadband in nature and the noise transmitted into the payload fairing is reduced by treating its interior with an acoustic absorption layer. The latest generation payload fairings are made from composite material which offer poor noise attenuation at low frequencies. One possible solution for reducing the low frequency noise is to use Helmholtz resonators tuned to a few of the dominant low frequency components, such as shell ring frequency or the first few cavity modes of the fairing. The paper presents a simplified modelling approach for numerical simulation of a coupled cavity-resonator system which is validated by experiments. The influence of damping and resonator volume fraction on the coupled system performance, to suppress the first axial mode in a cylindrical cavity, is shown and the resonator volume fraction required for significantly (more than 5 dB) suppressing the cavity axial mode is established. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.