I’m willing to bet that your home studio doesn’t have the perfect acoustics to produce music, at least compared to that of a built-out commercial studio. Your room’s acoustics need treatment for various reasons. For recording music, the most important reason being that a badly treated room will come through in your recording – for instance a vocal recording that sounds boxy in a room with no dampening.
What makes a bad or good room to record in? A badly treated room is 4 parallel walls with very little to no furniture, no carpets, and nothing hung up on the wall. When you clap your hands or snap your fingers it produces a flutter echo. When you record any instrument or voice the sound of the room is extremely apparent on playback. Listening back to music in your room sounds much different than listening to music in your car or around your home. If this sounds like your room, there’s going to need be some changes.
A perfectly treated room has no parallel walls and is decorated with furniture, thick carpets, and acoustic panels (even blankets) hung up on the wall. When you clap your hands or snap your fingers it doesn’t echo, yet it does not sound dead either. When you record any instrument or voice the sound is extremely clear on playback. Listening back to music in your room sounds like a clear representation of how you hear music in your car or around your home. You should strive to have your room behave like this.
Studio monitors have some flexibility when it comes to adjusting EQ to suit your room, but it only goes so far. There are a ton of companies that sell acoustic treatment solutions – everything from acoustic panels/absorption panels, to full isolation booths.
When it comes to acoustic panels for room acoustic treatment, the price tag can be high. A quick search on Google or Amazon will confirm that decent acoustic panels aren’t cheap, and if you have to buy enough to fill a room? Forget about it.
Don’t let the cost of acoustic panels dash your room acoustic treatment dreams! Luckily for you, building your own acoustic panels is a very feasible DIY project and can be done for very cheap with minimal time commitment. Before we dive in, I’d like to quickly acknowledge a helpful resource I used initially when planning these panels for my own needs. The article is nearly a decade old at this point, but still a great resource to use as research nonetheless -> http://www.aaronbrownsound.com/571/
(Enough for 4 Panels)
Qty 8 2x4 Fiberglass Panels, 2” thick
(Owens Corning 703 is a popular choice, I opted for Rockwool Safe n’ Sound)
192 sq. feet Breathable Black Fabric
Qty 8 1 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft Furring Strip Wood Board
Qty 2 1 in. x 2 in. x 8 ft Furring Strip Wood Board
1 Can Spray Adhesive
1 Box 1.5 in. Thin Wood Screws
1 Box Staples
1 Box Screw Eyes
1 Pack Picture Wire (Rated at least 25 lbs)
1 Box Hooks that fit in the Screw Eyes (if mounting on ceiling)
1 Box Picture Hangers (Rated at least 25 lbs)
Hand Saw, or Miter Saw
Start by measuring and cutting your 1 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft. wood boards into pieces of 4 ft. and 2 ft. boards, enough to make four 2x4 panels
Measure and cut your 1 in. x 2 in. x 8 ft. boards into 2 ft. boards
Now that you have all your pieces you can assemble and screw together the panels as shown in the photos
Before laying in your first piece of fiberglass insulation, use the spray adhesive on the inside of the panel so that the insulation will better stay in place, you’ll need to place two pieces of insulation inside so after you’ve placed the first insulation piece, use the spray adhesive to glue the two insulation pieces together, let the adhesive dry before continuing
Measure and cut your fabric into pieces of 6 ft. x 8 ft. rectangles
Lay down and stretch the fabric across the floor, and then place your panel in the centre of the fabric
Begin to wrap the fabric around the panel frame, making sure the fabric is pulled tightly, and then you can use the staple gun to keep in place
After the panel is fully wrapped in the fabric you can attach the screw eyes, picture hangers, picture wire, and hooks for your studio needs
In the photos, you can see how I used the mounting hardware in Step 8 to create acoustic clouds over my head. This helped tremendously with the reflections above my head, as well as a trouble area over the couch.
I hope this guide is helpful for those who would like to get some room treatment going in their studio, WITHOUT breaking the bank. These panels were all made for less than the price of ONE panel you could buy online. Do you have any DIY acoustic panel tips for your fellow home studio enthusiasts? If so, don’t be afraid to share them here!
If you are having trouble building your own acoustic panels, reach out for a special deal!!