Homemade acoustic treatment is a rewarding way to save a few dollars and feel accomplished about your carpentry abilities.
Homemade absorbers are a popular DIY project for the home recording engineer. They’re fairly simple to make and really effective in the corner of your studio. Diffusers are more complex, but you can get away with a really simple design.
This weekend I created five 2×4 bass traps to go with my already purchased Auralex foam.
And man my studio sounds good.
How to Make the Panels?
I followed Jon Tidey’s instruction over at AudioGeekZine.com. He has a really good tutorial on how to make homemade absorption.
The only difference in my case was:
- 4 inch Panels – I bought 3 4″ inch Owens Corning Fiberglass boards as well as 6 2″ Roxul Mineral Wool boards. I combined these to make 6 4 inch panels. The thicker the panel, the better the bass trapping. I wanted to control that low-end as much as possible.
- Different Cloth – I didn’t use speaker cloth as Jon did, since it was too expensive. Rather, I found some cheap breathable fabric that I put on the first two traps. After I finished that I bought cheap black gauze for the rest. I would spend a little extra money next time to get fabric rather than the gauze. It rips easily so you have to be extra careful.
- Diffusion – I made one of my panels into a simple diffuser that I placed at the back wall.
How to Make the Diffuser?
Many diffusers are simply panels with convex angles that direct sound in different directions. Other diffusers are more complex and involve complex mathematical ratios to help scatter and diffuse the sound most effectively.
I simply put a thin MDF board on top of one of my bass traps, put some leftover wood in the middle and angled it down on top of one of the bass traps. Here is the MDF panel with the wood stapled to it. The wood panel in the middle will act as the highest point on the diffuser so that when I push the ends down, the panel will end up in a convex shape.
After I laid the board on top of the bass trap I simply stapled it in place with a helpful serving from my staple gun. Then I finished it up with some black cloth to make it look better.
To attach it to the wall I nailed a picture frame hanger to the back and hung it on a nail on my back wall.
Since this diffuser is actually a bass trap as well, it has the extra bonus of eating up the lower frequencies while diffusing the higher ones.
The MDF panel reflects the higher frequencies and the convex angle of the panel helps scatter them all around the room instead of having them bounce right back into my ears.
The lower frequencies won’t stop at a measly MDF panel but some of them will get absorbed by the fiberglass inside.
Is this one just as effective as a complex quadratic diffuser? Probably not, but it sure beats the bare wall behind it.
Bass Trapping and Acoustic Treatment 101
My room is sounding better than ever because of these traps. My old Roominator kits from Auralex are great, and I still use them, but the extra absorption and bass trapping I’m getting from these panels is making my room more balanced and my music clearer.
If you’re interested in learning more about acoustic treatment, whether it’s DIY or store-bought, check out www.UnderstandingYourRoom.com. I’ve been listening to that webinar while doing my studio remodel and the tips Joe and Gavin hand out have been invaluable to me.