It has been a while since I last uploaded a blog post, so I thought I would write about a project that I recently completed. I had been thinking about building a pair of acoustic panels for my studio for a while and finally decided to plan and build them.
Why Build Acoustic Panels?
When I first put together my studio for recording and teaching, sound was an important consideration. Initially, I purchased an Auralex Roominator Kit. The kit consisted of acoustic foam tiles and bass traps to stick to the walls in strategic positions, along with the correct adhesive to complete the task.
The Auralex kit has worked well and there is a great deal of helpful information throughout the Auralex website for anybody wanting to learn more about acoustics and how to achieve better results when recording.
Even though I spent a great deal of time researching the best positions for all of the acoustic foam in my studio, it was not until fairly recently that I realised the lower part of my studio did not sound good. One microphone was set quite low down and when I listened to the recording, the results were not as I expected. It is for this reason that I decided to build a pair of acoustic panels so that they could be freely moved around to suit whatever I am recording at the time.
Building The Acoustic Panels
As I built the panels, I took photos with my phone and I have uploaded a video summary to YouTube. Hopefully the video will be helpful to anybody wishing to build their own acoustic panels.
I tried to take photos of product labels, measurements and anything that would be helpful in learning how to construct the acoustic panels, although a few extra pieces of information will be helpful.
Here is where I purchased the Rockwool:
When it came to choosing fabric to cover the acoustic panels, I spent quite a while searching for a suitable product. According to my research, a basic test for a fabric’s suitability is whether I could blow through the fabric. If fabric is used that is not suitable, it could result in high frequency reflections which would limit the performance of the acoustic panels.
I visited a few fabric shops and (when nobody was looking) attempted to blow through various products. I did find quite a few potential candidates, but I decided on a more professional product. I eventually purchased a roll of ‘Cara’ fabric from Camira Fabrics, which is a company that specialises in acoustically transparent fabric.
To purchase a roll of fabric, an account is required. Fabric samples can be requested which is very helpful when it comes to deciding on texture and colour.
The main purpose for building the acoustic panels was to control sound, although there was one other important consideration. My Auralex Roominator Kit consists of dark coloured foam – charcoal grey and dark purple. As there are no windows in my studio, these dark colours stuck to my walls absorb a great deal of light.
I have recorded quite a few YouTube videos in my studio and I plan to make many more. Lack of light has always been a problem when filming in my studio. My new acoustic panels are white, so even though they absorb sound, they reflect light and they will be of great help when filming.
As my new acoustic panels are portable, they should be of great help in sound separation when recording with other musicians. At the time of writing, I have yet to test this benefit, although I am looking forward to recording duo performances with (hopefully) better separation between the recorded parts allowing easier mixing.
As previously mentioned, foam bass traps have already been installed in my studio. Storing the new acoustic panels at strategic points away from the walls should help with bass frequency problems that the existing bass traps have not totally resolved.
I enjoy building things, although my extremely busy career does not give me time to indulge in anything other than music. Building the acoustic panels was a great excuse to combine a bit of construction with results that would help me with recording.
I am very pleased with the results and the acoustic panels have been very successful in overcoming the problems for which they were designed.
If you are reading this because you are thinking about building your own acoustic panels, please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. The video and extra information presented here should give a clear outline of how to build your own acoustic panels, but I’m sure there are many points I have not covered.
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