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Build Thread: DIY Sound Treatment Panels for Suburban Garage Recording!

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by IconBasser, Jul 8, 2019.


  1. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Fontana, California
    What's up TalkBass!

    I decided to build my own reflection dampening panels for my garage, so that I can record a drumset in it without it sounding like the four horsemen of the apocalypse getting into a fight using pots and pans inside of a subway tunnel. So buckle your britches, turn up the subs, fire your drummer, and follow along with my mistakes and misadventures. I make learning fun!

    The basic idea behind panel construction is thus: a 2'x4'x2" panel of pressed fiberglass and mineral wool framed by 1"x2" wood strips, with a fabric covering stapled to the frame.

    The basic product will look something like this:

    [​IMG]

    Now then! On to the annoying details!

    Materials:

    24 insulation panels. The internet recommended Rockwool Comfortboard 80, which comes in packs of 6 and can be bought for 55 - 60 bucks. You can pick them up at Lowes or Home Depot, but make sure you call ahead to the store in question. The majority of either don't carry it in stock. It took me about an hour and a half of searching and calling customer service numbers before I finally found some at a Lowes the next city over from me. https://www.lowes.com/pd/ROCKWOOL-C...th-Sound-Barrier-24-in-W-x-48-in-L/1000339775

    COMFORTBOARD™ 80 rigid mineral wool continuous insulation sheathing board | ROCKWOOL

    [​IMG]

    39ish 8 ft long 1"x2" strips. For two lengths of 4' and two lengths of 2' per board, with a 85% scrap rate, it works out to about 39 individual lengths. We'll see how much I actually use by the end of it. Home Depot had em at $1.15 per, which comes out to about $55.

    9 8ft 1"x3" strips. $17


    4 3M 90 all purpose adhesive sprays. $13 each.
    2 bottles of Gorilla Wood Glue. 6$ each

    [​IMG]

    A couple hundred #6 1-1/2" wood screws. $5 per hundred.

    Approx 40 yards of fabric of your choice. The cheapest stuff I found at Hobby Lobby was plain black @ $5 per yard. This stuff is pretty pricey, I'd look around a bit more and see if you can get it cheaper. $160 for plain boring black t-shirt material is pretty steep.

    A box of staples for a staple gun. $11 at Home Depot.

    50 1/4 2.5" toggle bolts. $59
    50 1" hooks. $3

    Total so far for the stuff: $639.

    Seeing that the cheapest I could find a pre made panel was $57 each, I figure the savings of $729 total is a pretty nice incentive to build your own.


    Now then, to business!

    Here's the garage I'm working with. Never mind the clutter, I'm still moving in and in the process of getting rid of a bunch of stuff and unpacking a few more things.

    [​IMG]

    The first step is to measure up the sides of your Rockwool panel and make your cuts to the 1"x2" accordingly:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Then, with the fiberglass panel in the middle, drill and impact in two wood screws per corner to form a snug wood frame around the Rockwool. This can be tricky, as the the wood pieces tend to not be perfectly straight. Just do your best and try not to strip out as many screws as I did.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Ya know how technically correct is the best kind of correct? I'm technically screwed:

    [​IMG]

    Remember: it's not up to TalkBass standards unless there is a marked lack of expertise, experience, and professionalism involved, so a few ill-measured pieces and ruined screws are to be both expected and lauded. Luckily, it doesn't really matter much how pretty it isn't, as long as it doesn't fall apart if you kick it.

    Your finished frame will look something like this:
    [​IMG]

    Now, carefully remove the frame and set it down somewhere, preferably on top of some old plastic or newspaper. Take that 3M adhesive spray, and shoot a thick line of it all the way around the Rockwool panel. Then, shoot another thick line of it all along the inside of the frame. I warn you: this stuff gets everywhere. I made a damn mess all over my old foldout table, the concrete floor, my hair (yes, my hair :atoz:), random objects in the room, etc. Find somewhere safe to do this, folks.

    Next, put a nice bead of wood glue around the inside of the frame.

    Once you're done, carefully put the frame back around the Rockwool panel. This will take some shimmying and finagling, but should slip back on there without too much fuss.

    Now that you've made a mess and put together the basic part of your first panel, go pour yourself some scotch and reflect on your poor decision making that led you to this crackpot endeavor. I recommend Ardbeg Uigeadail - the extreme peat bomb should distract you from all the insulation fibers that are digging into your skin.

    [​IMG]

    Alright, now that you've got a decent few completed and your wrists are starting to scream at you...

    [​IMG]

    It's time to staple on some fabric. This part is pretty straightforward: Lay your length of fabric out straight and unwrinkled on a table surface, and lay one of your panels on top of it, leaving enough at the end for it to wrap around the other side of the frame. Cut the other end where you need it, then staple it all to the back.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And again, you'll have the basic package done and ready to go!

    [​IMG]


    I'll continue updating this throughout the next week as the build continues, including bass traps, mounting, and decoration.

    Thanks for reading!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  2. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Nice work!

    What direction were you given to go with Comfortboard? I ask because the standard for this type of thing is Owens Corning 703, which has a density of 3pcf. Comfortboard appears to have a density of 8pcf.

    24" (2') wide
    48" (4') long
    1.5" (0.125') thick
    2' * 4' * 0.125' = 1cf per panel
    Package weight of 48lbs
    Six panels per package
    48 / 6 = 8lbs/panel
    8lbs/panel / 1cf/panel = 8pcf

    At more than double the density of the standard material used for bass trapping you might run into problems with reflectivity due to high density. This can cause frequencies you'd want bass trapping to absorb, which are reasonably through the upper bass and lower midrange but not down into truly deep bass, to be nearly as reflective as an untreated room. This is why superchunk style bass traps are made with regular pink fluffy insulation rather than stacks of 703. You may be able to remedy this potential problem (if it ends up being a problem at all) a bit by not stacking them in corners from floor to ceiling as you typically would. Leaving a gap between panels may help. You'll need to experiment to see what works best. With a 3pcf product you can safely just stack them up in the corners from floor to ceiling and forget about it. At this density you'll have to play around to get the best results. If you can add an air gap behind any broadband placement panels may help as well.
     
    And I likes this.
  3. ofajen

    ofajen

    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    I made somewhat similar panels in about 1990 using duct board in the rear of the panel and R-19 in front of it. They were very successful for treating reflections and some bass trapping. The R-19 helps because, as Silky mentioned, the hard board on its own will tend to reflect more than you want.

    I've since torn them apart and used some of those materials to make lighter, unframed versions that are attached at key points to the ceiling in my music room. I handle the rest of the room with ASC Studio Traps and huge DIY versions of the Tube Traps in the corners.

    If you want to do DIY versions of the Tube Trap, unlined 1" duct board in the cylinder form used to line pipes is just about all you need, plus plastic sheet for one side, fabric covering and cutting some wood discs to make end caps. Oh, and glue that can glue fiberglass.

    Otto
     
    IconBasser likes this.
  4. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Fontana, California
    Okey dokey, here's part two: basic bass trap construction. I don't know if these are even technically "bass traps" or not, but I'm using them as such, so that's what I'm calling them.

    I read on a few gearslutz threads that 4" depth of fiberglass should be sufficient to capture lower frequencies, so we're going to double up our Rockwool panels and eventually hang them at an angle that covers the 4 corners where the walls meet the ceiling.

    First things first: break out the 3M spray and Gorilla Glue to stick two Rockwool panels together. get a good bunch of glue sandwiched between them.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Next, we're gonna cut out some strips of the 1" x 3" strips for the frame. Don't worry that it's not as wide as the two panels glued together, it'll still hold em' in place.

    [​IMG]

    Build your frame just like you did before.

    [​IMG]

    Get all your glue up in there and then smoosh that frame back on and let it dry.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Make damn sure that you don't underestimate your rate of scrap and buy too little wood. I did. Only bought 8 strips. Shoulda gone with 9. And, like any self respecting half-witted dude with delusions of adequacy, I improvised.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Aaaaaaaalrighty then. As of today, I've gotten all the basic panels put together.

    [​IMG]

    That's 20 panels total. 4 "bass traps" and 16 regular panels. (not pictured are the other 2 that I put the fabric on).

    I'm gonna let the rest of these dry and dress them up tomorrow.

    My housemates are doing a yard sale here on Saturday, so I doubt I'll get to mounting them this weekend. That final stretch will be an adventure for next week.
     
    kesslari, seamonkey and Guzzi Toad like this.
  5. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Fontana, California
    hmmmmm. Taking a look at the sound absorption coefficients given by each manufacturer, they actually look pretty dang similar. I guess the biggest gap is in the midrange there around 500.

    703:
    hz: 125 250 500 1000 2000 4000
    co: 0.10 0.71 1.41 1.14 1.03 0.95

    Rockwool:
    hz: 125 250 500 1000 2000 4000
    co: 0.43 0.78 0.9 0.97 0.97 1.0
     
  6. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    You could make and sell these to restaurants. Many of them are insanely loud with dozens of conversations happening in rooms with high ceilings. You have to yell at someone across the table to ask how their soup is...

    I helped a restaurant owner friend of mine build DIY panels like this (and by 'helped' I mean I showed him a YouTube video) and he hung them from the ceiling. Even covering just 5 or 10% of the ceiling made a huge difference.
     
    seamonkey and IconBasser like this.
  7. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I believe these are the ASTM coefficients which are sort of a lesser version of a transmission loss graph. These have to do with isolation values, not absorption characteristics, which are two different things. The density aids in isolation, but increases reflectivity down into lower frequencies.
     
  8. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Fontana, California
    Today after work I did all the fabric stapling. The only thing left is to mount them. I didn't install all the mounting harware yet because I don't yet know where all the studs are hiding in this garage. I figure I'll do them on a case by case basis; slower, but less likely to cause calamity.

    I'll make sure to record a couple pre and post sound samples to compare the difference that this endeavor makes.


    [​IMG]
     
    seamonkey likes this.
  9. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    A cool way to hang up things like this in a garage is French Cleats
    Cut a 1 x 4 down the center at 45-degrees
    One goes up on the wall. Cut smaller pieces to put on the backs of things.
    Easy to adjust up/down left/right and hang/mount many other things.

    Something like:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    u9jRPfh.

    ;)

    looking forward to the 'field testing'. nice work! good luck! :thumbsup:
     
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Nicely done. I built a bunch of these for my 15'x16' music room at home, including 2'x10' "quasi bass traps" that stand in all four corners and an array of panels on the ceiling. they do a great job of making the room a more friendly place to play and much less of an echo chamber of doom. It was a bit of work, but well worth it. Kudos for taking the time and effort.
     
    IconBasser likes this.
  12. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Fontana, California
    Alright then, here's an update. This has dragged on longer than expected, mostly due to life getting in the way and derailing me preconceived times to work on it. I wanted this done ASAP, but, well... it is summer here in So-Cal and the beaches are lovely at the moment.

    [​IMG]

    Once everything's built, it's time to start hanging things. I started with the corner "Bass Traps" because they're the hardest and I'm a glutton for punishment. basically I just drilled a pilot hole into the frame and hand-screwed a small hook into it. 2" in horizontally along the top piece, which is going to be the top of the panel, and about an inch in from the bottom for the lower hooks.

    [​IMG]

    By solving a series of right triangles, I was able to get the general mounting positions such that the plane of the panel is oblique to each wall/ceiling by 45 degrees.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Well... I mean... I almost got it right. I forgot to factor in the fact that the bottom hooks would be swung backwards, and thus change their angles outward relative to the toggle hooks.

    as you can see, I had to drill another set of holes into the drywall to put them in their proper spots.

    [​IMG]

    I followed the process again (with the noted adjustments from the prior one) to get the next one behind the garage door rails. Everything went perfectly... until I tried to open the door, and it turned out that I needed about 3 more inches of vertical clearance. So I had to abandon the whole 45 degree angle thing and tilt it further up against the ceiling so the door would clear. You can see the previous hooks in there that I had to abandon.

    [​IMG]


    With this in mind, I pretty much eye-balled the spots for the next garage-door corner trap with the help of an extra set of eyes, marked the spots where the corners were on the drywall, and mounted it.

    [​IMG]

    and, as you can see, they're both snug as can be, without bothering the garage door.

    [​IMG]

    The final corner was a piece of cake, and I actually managed to get it right in one go. Sure helps when there's not a bunch of stuff in your way to much up your measurements.

    Once that was done, I started along one wall.

    [​IMG]

    and then called it quits due to my whole-body sunburns acting up and my muscles aching. Doing mile laps swimming in the ocean after having only gone outside maybe twice so far in the year was apparently more abuse than SPF 100 could weather. That, and while it's a lovely 75 F on the coast, here in Fontana, it's been over 100 degrees every day for the last 3 weeks. The garage is sweltering and it's not doing my skin any favors while I'm doing me best lobster impression.


    [​IMG]

    that's it for now. I'll have more updates as I finish mounting the rest of them, along with some before/after sound samples.
     
    seamonkey likes this.
  13. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Fontana, California
    Alright, I got the two ceiling panels up over the spot where the drums are going to live.

    [​IMG]

    And got some more of the wall panels up as well.

    [​IMG]

    I'm almost finished at this point. Another afternoon of buttoning up that other wall and this will be good to go!

    I was thinking of also getting a few thick blankets and hange them between a couple posts or something, covering the garage door itself. Might help cut some of the high-frequency slapback from that surface. Any of you ever try that and notice any actual difference?
     

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