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What Are Bass Traps and Why Do You Need Them?


Why are bass traps so important?

One of the first order of business when treating your home recording studio is to figure out how you’re going to deal with the low end. Bass trapping is paramount to your recording studio design since it takes care of the low frequencies and leaves you with a better sounding home studio.

Even though normal absorption panels are great to take care of your reflections, bass needs a heavier approach. Bass traps take care of the lower frequencies and leave you with a cleaner sounding home studio.

Treating and tuning your studio room with correct acoustic treatment is a must if you want to get serious about your home recordings. If you have a DIY tendency, there are a few great resources on the web that teach you how to create your own traps.

DIY Bass Trapping

  • KymataSound has a great article that shows you how to easily create your own low-end absorbers.
  • Bass Traps .net is a forum that’s dedicated to DIY bass trapping. It has a FAQ on acoustics as well as discussions on optimum bass trapping.

Is Absorption Enough?

The affordable, Auralex foam style absorption and the like your walls work well with mid to high frequencies, but it’s not thick enough to absorb the low end.

The thicker the absorptive panel is, the lower the frequency it can absorb. The thicker it is, the more control you can get over your acoustics, especially in the low frequencies.

Placement Tips

You can usually see bass traps in the corners of studios because that’s where low-frequency buildup usually happens.

Therefore it’s a good strategy to place all your traps in the corners where they will absorb the most amount of bass. If you have created your own panel traps be sure to place them at a 45° angle in the corner.

  1. A bass trap in the corner eliminates the ninety-degree angle the two walls make, reducing reflections.
  2. Bass tends to build up in the corners so if you have a thick bass trap there it will eat up the excess bass that’s clogging up your control room.

Don’t worry about overdoing the bass traps; you can’t really over-bass-trap a room anyway. Low-end is big and bulky so create as many bass traps as you can.

Not only will the placement work the best for bass trapping but it will also help scatter and diffuse the sound-waves in the room. It’s always a good idea to try to minimize as many 90° corners as possible so if you can do that while also absorbing the low end of your room you’re killing two bird with one stone.

How Much?

In a normal control room, it’s always a good idea to not completely deaden the space. You want a little liveness to the room but that’s not the case when it comes to the low end.

You might put up mid to high-frequency absorber around the room to give it an even sound but you wouldn’t completely tile the room with absorbers unless you are creating a completely dead recording space like a vocal booth.

You can’t really put up too much bass trapping. It’s a good idea, if you can, to line every corner in your room with low end traps. Bass is very hard to manage so if you have the option, you should definitely try to put as many in your home recording studio as you can.

A great home recording studio isn’t only about all the great gear you can buy. There has to be careful consideration put into how you want your room to sound. If you treat your room as the crucial factor that it is it will be much easier to get a professionally sounding mix out of it.

Image by: AleBonvini


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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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