Week 12: DIY Studio Sound Absorption Panels

(Update: Click here for the full diy sound panel tutorial, or visit InityAcoustics.com for professionally made panels)

This week I took on a little DIY project for the studio. I’ve needed some sound absorption acoustical panels for a while now. They can be pretty pricey – anywhere between $60 and $200 per 2′ x 4′ panel – but the materials themselves aren’t nearly that expensive.

So, I made some myself… for under $20 a piece!

Sound absorption panels not only make a huge difference in a studio, but they’re also quite useful in any home theater or media room. We’re all generally used to acoustically untreated rooms, so we don’t even realize what a difference they can make. But when sound bounces off walls before reaching the listener (or microphone, in the case of the studio) it gets muddy. The short delay in the reflected sound causes a subtle echo effect that greatly reduces clarity and distinguishability.

Sound absorption acoustical panels effectively cut the reflections off hard surfaces in the room and leave you with just the clean, direct, unadulterated sound. This is why movie theaters have giant panels on every wall. In a home theater, It’s like combining the clarity of headphones with the power of surround sound speakers!

Glenn Leybourne

In the studio the panels serve to create crisp, clear recordings. I built the panels last night, and today we had a great acoustic player in the studio by the name of Glenn Leybourne. Anything short of the clarity of an environment treated with these panels would be an injustice to Glenn’s great sounding voice and guitar. Give a listen to this!

New York’s Not My Home – Glenn Leybourne

Crisp and clear!

The panels are pretty simple structurally – made from sound absorption insulation within a wooden frame and wrapped in a sound-transparent fabric (that lets the sound through to be absorbed by the insulation, instead of reflected by the fabric). In my next post I’ll do a little tutorial on how they’re made.

In the meantime, enjoy Glenn’s music, and stay creative!

8 thoughts on “Week 12: DIY Studio Sound Absorption Panels

  1. you did a great job Glenn almost sounds like Jim Croce…i was wondering if you use Ovation acoustic guitar with pick-up or just an acoustic.sounds clear as crystal..keep it up dude!

    • Glenn used a beautiful Taylor on this. The pickup wasn’t used. As great as acoustic pickups can be for live performance, I’ve never found one that doesn’t color the sound too much and take away from the natural tone and resonance. I don’t like to use them in the studio unless there’s a lot more instruments in the mix and the player really wants that plugged in acoustic sound.

      Each guitar part was actually double mic-ed to give it a nice full sounding stereo spread. Glenn’s guitar has such a wonderful tone – I’m totally smitten for that guitar!

    • Yes, on the panels in the pic above I’m using burlap. We use other fabrics on the Inity Acoustics panels we sell now, but burlap is the quick go-to solution for acoustic panels.

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