DIY Bass Traps
January 5, 2005

Below are some pictures of my diy acoustic treatment and some sound samples to hopefully show you just how much
of an improvement you can make in the sound of a small bedroom recording studio with a $100 investment.

Listen: (right-click to save as)
1. Clap Test - this test has sample claps before and after the treatment.
Before and after comparison (256 mp3)
2. Steely Dan Test - Listen for the tightness of the instruments and clarity of the vocals. I have probably listened to this CD more times than any other I own, so I figured it was a good choice. The sample was played through a Hafler power amp and KRK nearfield monitors. Recorded with CAD E300 in omni at the listening position through an Art tube mp to a echo mia soundcard (typical low budget home rec stuff). All other variables aside from temporarily propping up bass traps kept constant.
Quick before and after comparison (16bit wav)
Longer before (256 mp3)
Longer after (256 mp3)
3. Guitar and Vocal Test - Taylor 410 and yours truly singing one of my newer tunes, "Red". Recorded with a CAD E300 again set at omni at the listening position. I did a few quick (rough) takes before and after the treatment. No compression or reverb was used at all. Nothing was changed at all between takes except for temporarily propping up the bass panels.
Before (256 mp3)
After (256 mp3)

The Traps:
The 6 DIY bass traps were constructed in a few hours of $60 of Owens Corning 703 panels (8)- 2ft x 4ft each, 1 1/2" thick with facing on one side. Add $40 for muslin fabric, polyester batting, dust masks and gloves, and fabric glue. Four panels are 1 1/2" thick, and the two for the corners are 3" thick. They look pretty good, but not nearly as nice as some of the traps you can buy for lots more money. I thought building them was kind of like wrapping birthday presents... I always sucked at that.

The panels are in temporary locations - just propped up until my knee heals and I can climb up a ladder again.




Before Treatment



After DIY Bass Traps tossed up - mic location for tests above


More info:
SPI - nationwide chain where I got my Owens Corning 703 panels. Good luck finding at Home Depot or Lowes!
John Sayers Recording Studio Design Discussion Forum - this is where the real experts are. I'm just a hack, really.

Let me know if this article helps you!