RECORDING: Simple acoustic panel construction

There are a lot of videos on YouTube showing exactly how to make acoustic panels for your studio room. Here’s how I did it (with little money):

First, find a local insulation place that sells either Owens Corning 703 (typical insulation) or “Rockwool” (technical name Roxul). I found a place that had packs of 6 (16″ by 48″) for about $16 each. Online, they usually sell for $35 and up, before shipping.

Second, grab a bunch of 2x3s from your local hardware store (they come in 8′ lengths). Have the store cut each into a 4 foot piece, and then a 21″ piece, and you can do whatever you want with the scraps. Two of these 2x3s (cut) will make one 4′ by 2′ panel. They’re cheap, so buy a lot.
While you’re at the hardware store, pick up the following:

– picture frame hanging wire (you can get a good length plus the mounting hardware for pretty cheap)
– the “star” top wood screws (I use the brown-ish ones, about 2.5″ long). These are for screwing your frame together
– those things that keep a picture hanging AWAY from the wall (they nail into the frame, and have felt feet that keep the panels not flush against the wall). I forget what they’re called.
– staples and a staple gun (if you don’t already have one)

Third, go to Joann Fabrics (or hit up their website) and pick up unbleached muslin (if you don’t mind the color, I don’t), and get about 45 yards of it (36″ wide). You can make about 15 acoustic panels with this amount of fabric, if you use it for the front, and the back of your panel.

Bring all the stuff home, and carefully put your frames together (there’s really no easy way to do this– well, for a dork like me). The shorter pieces go between the longer lengths, to make the outer frame exactly 2×4 feet. Try to brace each piece of wood against a wall or something, so when you’re screwing it together, you can keep a perfect rectangle…. although again, this isn’t easy (for a dork like me).

Cut your fabric a little bigger than your frame (for each frame)… staple the back first (make sure the fabric is tight), and then cut off the excess.

Lay your roxul/insulation in (wear gloves), and then staple the front fabric to the frame. Cut off the excess and you’re good to go.

I just made 7 of these last night, and they look/work great. Easy builds.

Next batch, I’ll take some photos. In the meantime, just search YouTube and find “DIY acoustic panels” or “rockwool home studio” or something like that.

This is pretty much essential to do, for any home studio. Reflections suck, and make recordings sound like ass. Don’t be like the people who don’t research. Your room is 50% of your recording quality.  The performance/quality of the performer & song is 40% of the recording quality, and the mic and preamps and all that other crap is the other 10%. Start with a well-treated room, and man, you will really appreciate your investment and hard work, down the line when you release more and more recordings.


About chriscaulder

Posted on August 21, 2013, in acoustic treatment, recording. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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