Category Archives: acoustic treatment
via SoundOnSound magazine…. this is without a doubt, the best article I’ve ever read on vocal recording in a home studio, from start to finish. Seriously, this is it:
This is a FANTASTIC, easy-to-follow video, on how to make high-quality acoustic panels for your home studio, on the cheap. One of the best videos I’ve found, to date.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqZPhfxSaTk&w=400]
These are relatively easy to make, and they WORK.
You can pick up a 6-pack of 4×2 feet, 3-inch thick Roxul (“rockwool”) from basically anywhere, online… for about $20-40 per pack, depending on where you look.
Pick up a few pieces of wood as your frame (have them cut them to size for you, at the hardware store), and pick up some corner braces as the video shows, then some cheap fabric, and go to town. It would probably take you about a day or so, to make 6-10 panels… and if you want to make them really nice like the final ones shown in the video above, you can put some nicer, patterned fabric above the main stuff.
Why should you make these?
Well, again… they work. Some people go crazy with buying that Auralex foam stuff… but it’s too expensive and doesn’t do nearly as good of a job as these do, especially when tracking vocals, or acoustic guitars. Sure, the Auralex stuff looks amazing, but it just doesn’t work as well as these do.
Some people also go nuts with those shields… that run from $100 and way above that…. that attach to mic stands. The most famous one being the original Studio Electronics Reflexion Filter ($299). I’ve owned it, and I was not impressed. I’ve also owned other cheaper ones, which worked better, but still not like these things you can make, for a few bucks.
Here’s a photo of two panels I use (out of a total of 12 I made) to track my vocals… they’re not even attached, though I could hinge them if I wanted to. They’re just leaning on each other, against a wall, sitting on a keyboard bench, with a mic stand behind the bench, to secure it in the dead center of the panels. And the mic wasn’t even attached yet… after I put this together, I just said to myself “sweet! look at this shit”, so I took a photo. Another cool thing is… without the piano bench, this “booth” could be used, sitting down, as well as standing (especially if you used a “round base” mic stand, instead of the tripod-leg variation):
That’s a great use for them, but also, you can hang them on the wall (as is their main intention and use… to absorb bouncing sound waves and reflections from your recording environment.
Do yourself a favor and build these…. you don’t have to be very handy to build these… I suck at building things, but I did ok with these. 🙂
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.
I am building this, hopefully this weekend. Notice the 250 likes and zero dislikes on the YouTube page. If you read the comments, you’ll see how this is probably one of the best builds you can make, and DIRT cheap. I have read elsewhere online that this guy’s build works better than most very, very expensive “portable” solutions… and definitely better than those “reflection filters” (which can run $150 and way up).
I can’t wait to build this. It’s an easy build. And FYI – you don’t have to use Owens Corning 703 (the insulation type). You can also use Roxul (aka “rock wool” or stone wool)… a pack of eight 3″ thick 2×4 foot pieces runs you about $50 online. Sadly, Roxul isn’t available in a lot of local stores, so you’ll have to wait for it. But yeah…. this is an awesome video and totally needs more views. Superb, well-thought-out craftsmanship…. and put the damn thing wherever you want, or bring it to a friend’s studio.