DIY Bass Trap – Capture the Low End Before it Captures Your Recording
Are the bass frequencies in your recording studio unstoppable? Well, this is common. Is the low-end buildup causing rumble and muddiness in your recordings? Yep, that is expected. Now that the problem has been identified, it is time to do something about it. This is the job for bass traps. Bass traps absorb the low-end energy anywhere it decides to gather. This is most often in the corners of a room.
So where do I get a bass trap? Well, if you are rich, you can certainly purchase professional acoustic products on the internet. There are plenty of websites that provide them. They look and perform great, but that greatness comes with a steep price tag. That leaves the other option: constructing a DIY bass trap setup. Seeking out valuable acoustic treatment information on recording websites and forums can be helpful. It can also be a pain. Forums are often occupied by know-it-all audiophiles who seemingly have all the answers. Strangely enough, many of the members have opposing ideas. This leaves newbies with a bunch of information. However, the question still remains. But if you search enough, you will see a pattern. There is one material that is across-the-board popular for creating a DIY bass trap. This material is rigid Owens Corning fiberglass. This material is unlike the fluffy pink material. Owens Corning fiberlass 703 is packed tightly, creating a density which is great for capturing bass frequencies. There are a number of ways to assemble a DIY bass trap from rigid fiberglass. Some folks choose to cut the material into triangle shapes and stack them in the corners from the floor to the ceiling. This works. Some people choose to construct panels and position them diagonally in the corners, allowing the air behind them to do some of the work. This works well also. There are also other methods to creating a DIY bass trap setup, but they do not interest me. If you would like to find out about them, then oh well.
Rigid Owens Corning fiberglass is not the easiest material to track down. I have found places on the internet that supply it. It can also usually be found on Ebay. However, shipping is usually steep. Also, I would like to see the material in person before making a purchase. So I decided to go a different route. I used the fluffy pink fiberglass (well, actually white) in the design of my DIY bass trap setup. I decided to construct a set of panels to go diagonally in the corners. By compressing a couple feet of the fluffy fiberglass down to 4-5 inches in thickness, I was able to get a density comparable to the rigid Owens Corning fiberglass. Well, how did I do this? I built each frame out of any spare wood I could locate. Then I packed the fiberglass tightly into each frame and held it in place with chicken wire. Simple enough, right? After that, I covered each DIY bass trap with fabric. This makes the setup a bit more pleasing to the eyeballs. The main thing to consider when choosing fabric is to make sure it is breathable. What does this mean? Well it simply means that if you blow air through one side of the fabric and place your hand on the other side, you should feel the air coming through. This is important. You do not want the trap covering to reflect any signals. Always keep this in mind while selecting fabric to cover a DIY bass trap.
After I completed the desired amount of bass traps, I placed them in the corners of the recording studio and collected some room measurements with a nice condenser microphone and REW (Room EQ Wizard). I altered the placement of each bass trap until I obtained the appropriate results. It may be necessary to alter the design or create additional bass traps if the initial results are not desirable. Experiment. That is what it took for me… a whole lot of experimenting.