DIY Acoustic Panels - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 67 Old 11-24-2004, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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My HT roome needs some acoustical help. I made a diagram of my layout, faxed it to a manufacturer of acoustical panels, and received a quote for over $3,000! This may not be a big deal to some, but........

My question is: Has anyone had any success with home made acoustic panels? I have seen some threads discussing materials for covering walls, but can't find anything specific on fabrication of absorptive or diffusing panels.

Thanks.

With my system, In my room, to my ears......
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post #2 of 67 Old 11-24-2004, 10:29 AM
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I don't know how well these would do for HT but I make these for my music production studio for about $35 a piece

http://www.longsoughtfor.org/postn/h...view_album.php

(^not my website.)

click around and you'll find a parts sheet. they work and looked great. I just recently sold the house and the new owner request that I leave them.
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post #3 of 67 Old 11-24-2004, 10:53 AM
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Nice DIY stuff there.

You can also look on the web for Jon Risch as he has some plans for DIY stuff. Also, Ethan Winter has some DIY plans posted on his site.

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post #4 of 67 Old 11-24-2004, 11:00 AM
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First, you should check around for some local suppliers of acoustic materials for gymnasiums, offices, etc. There is a place here in Edmonton that will custom make 2' x 4' acoustic panels covered in Guilford of Maine cloth for $70 each. For extra money you can get them trimmed in oak, patterned fabrics, etc.

Or, you can build your own. You can buy 2 x 4 acoustic board for around $10. The cloth is another $20 or so for that square footage. What I'm going to try is to take some resin and soak the edges of the boards - this will make a fiberglass composite that will be very strong and hard. Then I'm going to wrap the board in cloth, attaching it to the back somehow (not sure yet - maybe another line of resin, or some sort of fastener. I could use suggestions on that...). And there you go - one acoustic board, for maybe $30. I believe my room will need 6-8 of them, as a guess right now. That's a lot cheaper than $3,000! Even the commercial pre-made boards will only run around $500 for the set.
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post #5 of 67 Old 11-24-2004, 11:11 AM
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post #6 of 67 Old 11-24-2004, 05:27 PM
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To compare your DIY prices you can check out these guys... Acoustical Solutions. I have purchased several panels from them and they provided great service.
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post #7 of 67 Old 11-24-2004, 06:15 PM
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There's a bunch of DIY examples in the links near the end of this page about 80% of the way down
http://www.bobgolds.com/AbsorptionCoefficients.htm

An amateur built the Ark. Titanic was built by professionals. Of course Noah took a little advice.
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post #8 of 67 Old 11-24-2004, 08:45 PM
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BasementBob,

As many times as I have looked at that link, I never knew there was a "how to" near the bottom.

Question. It is stated that the LFE is best handled on the Sound Absorbers if there is a gap between the panel and the wall. Is he talking about Bass Traps ONLY or the Absorbers at the first reflection points too?

How do you hang these panels out from the wall? Do you hang them from the ceiling so they do not touch the wall?

It was stated on Jon Risch's site that if you use 6" or above in Fiberglass, you do not need the rock wool on the back of the absorber. Is it acceptable to build the frame, stuff with R19 (6.5") and place a piece of plywood on the back for strength?

Tony
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post #9 of 67 Old 11-24-2004, 09:15 PM
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tonybradley:

Quote:
It is stated that the LFE is best handled on the Sound Absorbers if there is a gap between the panel and the wall. Is he talking about Bass Traps ONLY or the Absorbers at the first reflection points too?
I define 'bass trap' to be something that absorbs a lot more at 50hz than it does at 8khz. Typically that would be some sort of membrane or helmholtz.

Porous absorbers -- Plain/fluffy and rigid fiberglass/rockwool/foam/cotton/polyester absorbers -- tend to absorb more HF than LF.
Thicker panels of whatever tend to absorb lower frequencies, in addition to also absorbing the higher frequencies that the thinner versions do.
Moving a panel out from the wall a couple of inches tends to absorb lower frequencies than the same thickness of material placed against the wall -- this can be very cost effective. Of course some people buy $5 rockwool panels and then mount them out from the wall in $100 of wood, which isn't very cost effective. It would have been cheaper to buy $10 of rockwool and skip the frame.
For more details about changes in absorbtion due to
a) thickness
b) mounting out from the wall (air gap)
please see the tables at http://www.bobgolds.com/AbsorptionCoefficients.htm

Quote:
How do you hang these panels out from the wall? Do you hang them from the ceiling so they do not touch the wall?
Porous absorbers can be mounted any way you can dream up. They can be self supporting with feet, or hung from cables or springs from the ceiling, or attached to the wall. I've seen them screwed to walls, or velcro-ed, or when they are in frames I've seen the frames sitting on french cleats.

There's an example of frame/french-cleat mounting here
Dave Portocarrero Trap

Quote:
It was stated on Jon Risch's site that if you use 6" or above in Fiberglass, you do not need the rock wool on the back of the absorber. Is it acceptable to build the frame, stuff with R19 (6.5") and place a piece of plywood on the back for strength?
There's stats for this at
http://www.bobgolds.com/AbsorptionCoefficients.htm
Look it up. :)

Some people who can't find rigid rockwool/fiberglass in their area have been known to manually compress it in a frame, giving them absorption in less space. e.g.
Digipenguin's fiberglass traps using hand compressed R25 batts in a frame with wire mesh

For first reflection points (mirror trick) I think broadband absorbtion is a good thing.

An amateur built the Ark. Titanic was built by professionals. Of course Noah took a little advice.
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post #10 of 67 Old 11-25-2004, 04:40 AM
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I made my own panels and the sound is unbelievable! I used 2" Roxul for the sides/ceiling and mounted each panel 1 1/2" off the wall. For the Front/corners (LFE) I used 4" Roxul and again mounted 1 1/2" off the wall, except the corners which completely encase the corners (no stand-off but still air behind them). I've extremely happy with the results.
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post #11 of 67 Old 11-25-2004, 11:46 AM
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davey_fl,

Do you have any pictures? Where can you purchase Roxul?

Tony
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post #12 of 67 Old 11-25-2004, 12:11 PM
 
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Its very easy to make some absorber panels with fiberboard, I spent probably 200 bucks or so for 6 4-inch thick panels with frames, fabric wrap and everything, and some corner bass traps floor-to ceiling spanning the corners. The fabric is probably the most expensive part.
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post #13 of 67 Old 11-26-2004, 04:32 AM
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Hi toneybradley,

There's a few pics on my site, how I made the frames and how I mounted them to the wall etc. Bob's site is an excellent resource. I'm not sure where you buy it states side as I'm in Canada, but it shouldn't be very hard to find..
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post #14 of 67 Old 11-26-2004, 01:10 PM
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Thanks Davey_fl. I will take a look at your site.

Tony
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post #15 of 67 Old 11-26-2004, 02:29 PM
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At the risk of offending purists who measure performance in dollars spent, I've installed sound control in a home studio for about $100 total.

Materials:

- several 8-packs of 2'x4' drop-ceiling acoustic tiles, $18/pack

- 1 bolt of open-weave polyester black cloth at JoAnn fabrics, $3/yard

- a buttload of 1-inch nylon spacers

- box of 3-inch drywall screws

- glue

I cut the cloth (which resembles speaker grille cloth) to size and covered the finish-sides of the acoustic panels, attaching with glue on the back side. Stapling may work, too.

With the panels covered, I attached them to the walls using the drywall screws (4 or 5 per panel), and used the spacers on alternating panels. The look was professional, and the sound was dynamite. Live drums, guitar, bass - all brought down to a manageable level with no funky overtones or resonances.

Just a thought....

- Danny
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post #16 of 67 Old 11-26-2004, 02:41 PM
 
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DIY is the way to go. That's the idea behind the DIY fiberboard traps and absorbers. They are very cheap, easy to make, and extremely effective.
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post #17 of 67 Old 11-26-2004, 07:00 PM
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There are three main acoustic treatments.Acoustic panels,diffusion (Skyline type),and bass traps. You have gotten some great advice here and I have made them all.703 ridgid board from owens corning is great.It least two inch thick.Remember to cover with a very acoustic porous material.Speaker grill cloth as an example. My Skyline diffusers cost about 30.00 for a 48"x48" panel.You paint and you are done. Bass traps by Jon Risch.My only mod to his design is more inside supports with the centers cut out.You can role em' better with more support.Good luck.
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post #18 of 67 Old 11-26-2004, 07:46 PM
 
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kgvet: what method and materials did you use to make the skylines?
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post #19 of 67 Old 11-26-2004, 08:12 PM
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ChrissWiggles:
http://www.bobgolds.com/DifuserKgveteran/home.htm
BTW, note that in some parts of the world, these materials are illegal to put on the wall.


Fartnokker:
I like it. :) ( "several 8-packs of 2'x4' drop-ceiling acoustic tiles,")

An amateur built the Ark. Titanic was built by professionals. Of course Noah took a little advice.
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post #20 of 67 Old 11-26-2004, 09:02 PM
 
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Thanks bob, that's what I guessed! I've been thinking of making the same out of 2x2s. I might instead make some quadratic type diffusors instead, I haven't exactly figured out a great way to construct them though.
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post #21 of 67 Old 11-26-2004, 10:16 PM
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ChrisWiggles:
Have you considered PolyCylindricals instead of: skylines or QRD?

Or building cross frames with cardboard plugs
http://www.rbdg.com/projects/lg.php?...al&f=CRJackson

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post #22 of 67 Old 11-26-2004, 11:05 PM
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Drop-ceiling acoustic tiles would probably be a lot easier to find, though probably not cheaper, than 703/705/etc. Looking at your site, Bob, it looks like the Armstrong Fine Fissured 3/4" tile is somewhat comparable to 1" 703. I don't know how the tile surfaces affect its acoustics -- do you think 2 thicknesses of Fine Fissured tile would perform comparably to 2" of 703?
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post #23 of 67 Old 11-27-2004, 07:10 AM
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For anyone who is interested, JoAnn Fabrics has 36" muslin for $0.50/yard through Sunday. This stuff makes great coverings for acoustic treatments. You'll have to dye it to whatever color you want. It comes in white, bright white, and off-white!

For absorbers, anything that is non-reflective and reasonably thin will work fine. You don't need anything 'transparent' as you're just trying to absorb anyway. $.50 beats the heck out of $19/yard unless you need to match GOM elsewhere in the room or you just prefer that look. I like the muslin because it's easy to work with, is easily dyed, can be printed on, is easily available, and is cheap.

I got a whole bolt (25 yards) for my anniversary from the wife. Total cost $13.

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post #24 of 67 Old 11-27-2004, 12:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Or building cross frames with cardboard plugs
Bob: I've considered all these, but I'm not sure which would be the easiest to manufacture. I'm thinking that the skylines out of foam or wood blocks would be the easiest, but a large skyline of wood 2x2s would be insanely heavy. I will refrain from the foam because of fire concerns.

I think the basic QRD is probably the simplest design to build, but I'm not exactly sure what I'd use as the well dividers.

The pictured 2-d QRD version in your link seems a magnitude harder to build unless there's some easy way I don't realize. I'm not much of a woodworker, so I'm thining relatively easy things to build, looks are not so much a concern as I can mask them with a fabric cover to match my absorbers.

I was also thinking some very simple polys, or just flat sheets of plywood tilted in different directions to help diffuse a little, and eliminate some flutter echoes, but I figured something like QRDs won't be that much harder to build, and provide more diffusion.

Haven't really settled in on final ideas yet, though.

I'm surprised I haven't seen any really good explanations on assembling QRD type diffusers anywhere, even on the studio design forums. DIY skyline designs from foam seem very easy, but I'd rather use wood, and that would weigh a zillion tons!
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post #25 of 67 Old 11-28-2004, 07:05 AM
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For dividers for 3D QRD's, just use any 'craft wood'. You really don't want Balsa but anything a bit harder will work fine. OR, if you have a Rockler's close, they have 1/8" plywood that is gorgeous and not outrageously priced.

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post #26 of 67 Old 11-28-2004, 12:18 PM
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Here's a page I put together a couple of years ago showing the differences between acoutic tile and 1" fiberboard:

Comparison of TheaterShield vs Armstrong Acoustic Tile

I got the data for the Armstrong tile from Armstrong's site, and I can't remember the mounting method they used to test it. It might be for typical ceiling mounting (with a large air gap on the other side).
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post #27 of 67 Old 12-06-2004, 09:43 AM
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Hey guys,

new to the whole acoustic treatment subject but i would like to know...

i want to add panels to our family room, but the WAF of these panels is pretty low. We had talked about putting movie posters up around the family room, and would it be possible to slap a piece of movie poster on top of the acoustical panel?

poster paper is pretty thin but I'm not sure how much sound it would reflect if we covered the panels with them

thanks!
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post #28 of 67 Old 12-06-2004, 09:57 AM
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It would affect the highs quite a bit. If you want to spend the $$$, you can also have the fabric printed on with pictures from a large format ink jet at a commercial printer. It's not cheap but it can turn out pretty nice.

Somebody had a post not too long ago with pics where they did this. I don't remember where it was off the top of my head though.

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post #29 of 67 Old 12-06-2004, 09:59 AM
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Movie posters would reflect a large portion of high frequencies negating the effectiveness of the treatments at higher frequencies.

Now for bass traps it probably wouldn't effect them much.
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post #30 of 67 Old 12-06-2004, 02:51 PM
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I used the cheap method also. I based my panels on the ones built by Jerry Pease. First I built frames out of 2 layers of MDF. By using 2 layers you can overlap the corners and get good joints. All panels were built on the walls, I used a finish nail gun to shoot the first layer on MDF strips into the wall just enough to hold it in place. The second layer went over the first, overlaping the corners and using glue and nails short enough that they did not reach the sheet rock. By building directly on the wall I saved time transferring measurements and keeping things square. This method insured a perfect fit. After the glue had dried I pulled the frames from the sheet rock, most had only 3 or 4 nails holding it up. Once they were off I cleaned them up with a sander and beveled the front edge to give them some dimension. After that the faces were painted with a flat black since I didn't want the MDF showing through fabric.

The frames were covered in black cloth that was as porous as I could find. For the acoustical fill I used 2 layers of an Armstrong ceiling tile. The white vinyl facing just peels off. Once the fabric was stretched I just press fit the ceiling tiles into the frame. Finally I stapled 2" industrial velcro to the back of the frames and to the wall where studs were located.

Overall I'm very apply with the panels, they were much easier to make that I had imagined and I like the fact that I can remove them if needed.

1st photo is the frame covered in fabric

Clay
LL
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