First, I would like to mention that when creating a post for your blog and you’re using an editor to create it, save your progress so a Windows error does not cause you to lose all your work and force you to to reboot and start over. And, while waiting for the reboot you decide to let the dog that’s bugging you go out to pee and that turns into a search and rescue mission because he decided to follow his nose despite the torrential downpour outside. Dog recovered after several loops of the subdivision in my car and he was growled at by his “owner”. Good thing he’s cute.
So, back to what I was trying to get done – *Save progress* – was to walk you through how I created some sound absorbing panels for my recording space.
I had mentioned in several previous posts that I had intended on rebuilding my recording/isolation booth in my new house in the room I had chosen as my recording space. The room is about 20 X 13 and comfortably houses my PC and workstation, large sectional couch and filing cabinets. Here is a rough idea of what it looks like:
The room itself is in the basement and insulated so it provides lots of decent sound proofing from outside noise leaking in. However, its walls are drywall finished and bare. Perfect breeding ground for the dreaded echo. Due the constraints of the positioning of the above mentioned furniture, I finally gave in and decided not to go ahead with a booth and try to treat the room instead.
Off on Google I went, and after several variations of search terms, I landed on different posts that used Roxul insulation as an alternative to acoustic foam panels. A little more research and I decided to use this material and chose their Safe N’ Sound product, identifiable by the picture of the sleeping baby on the wrapper. Roxul is not the typical fibreglass batt. Although packaged like fibreglass batts, it is superheated stone pulled into fibres and bundled into batt form. The stone fibres have great heat and sound absorption qualities and suited my purposes really well. And the cost versus acoustic foam treaments on a per square foot basis was really attractive. I chose to go with the 24″ width batts, which would give me eight 24″ X 48″ panels, or roughly 60 sq ft.
So in short, here is a list pf materials I decided to use to build my panels;
- 1 bag Roxul Safe N’ Sound 24″
- 1 X 4 spruce strapping (about six 8 foot pieces)
- landscaping fabric
- finishing nails
- picture hanging wire
- wall hooks
I started by choosing some fairly straight spruce 1 X 4’s that looked decently milled. Why spruce? Inexpensive and as far as what it looks like, no one is going to see it anyway. 4″ is about the thickness of the batt, so I decided on that width so I could rip it down and have some of the batt protrude out, giving more area to absorb sound. After ripping the boards in half, cut your boards to a size that will allow the batt to fit snugly but not too tight. No need to 45 it, keep it simple. I chose to nail the frame together with finishing nails, two per edge. The batt is fairly light and the fabric is resilient enough to hold it together as it hangs over time.
I recommend the you place the milled side down and have your flattened side up as you nail the pieces together so that you will have a nice, even surface to staple your first bit of landscaping fabric. This will act as the backing that will help the rest of the batt protrude from the front, exposing more surface area forward.
Now you are ready to insert the Roxul batt into the frame. Below is a pic of what the wrapping looks like. Sorry, forgot to take a before pic of the bag as I was itching to get started.
Each batt has a roughed side and a flatter side. I chose to have the rougher side facing out. Again, more surface area for what its worth.
Once done, it’s just a matter of placing more landscape fabric over the top but this time allowing for lots to wrap around. You can always trim off the excess if needed once stapling is done. Leave a little extra, though. You may want to adjust how tight the fabric is or take out some uneven wrinkles to finish the look.
Starting with my blank slate of a wall, I decided to make use of the studs in the wall under the drywall that were 16″ on centre. BY centering the panels, this allows me 24″ between the panels edges to insert smaller 16″ Roxul based panels of I want (And will, as I can get another 10 panels out of the 16″ bag). Those panel won’t be able to hang on a stud so I will need to use wall anchors when hanging them on the drywall. But that is for another time and post.
Now as far as hanging them went, I chose eye hooks that screwed into the frame, about 6 inches in from the joint on the longer length and one eye hook for each corner. This will act as a place to attach your picture wire at the top and as spacers to keep the panel away from the wall at all 4 corners.
I can attest to the difference that I hear when recording with or without headphones. The echo is just about gone, though I do hear it a little when I raise my volume on certain recordings. But, for the most part, I feel a heck of a lot more confident about what gets recorded in this room. I still have more tweeks but I feel really good about this one. All in all, it cost me around $125 in materials and the Roxul accounted for a little more than half. I consider this project a good investment.