Pro Acoustic Foam Leading the way in Acoustic Treatment
Acoustic treatment is vital for any room in which music is to be recorded, rehearsed, mixed or edited. In a control room the room has to be free of distortion so that the signal can be judged accurately. So the main areas around the mixing desk make up the most coverage of bass traps and acoustic tiles. Acoustic foam may also be required on the rear wall depending on how short the room is.
In a live room the sound waves in the room must be controlled but be natural so some reflections are still desired in the room. Usually a live room calls for between 20 and 40% coverage of pro acoustic foam and this will involve the installation of both bass trapping and acoustic tiles. In a live room the use of the room can sometimes vary greatly in terms of the genre of music that is being recorded or rehearsed so effective acoustic treatment are a must to achieve the best results.
In a vocal booth pro acoustic foam tiles are the only requirement. The amount of coverage in vocal booth depends greatly on how ‘dead’ the space needs to be. So if a vocal booth’s recordings are to be used in music then about 50% coverage of pro acoustic foam is required. If the vocal booth is being used for voiceovers then the acoustic tiles need a heavier coverage for tighter recordings. Never will 100% acoustic tiles be required in a vocal booth or any room for that matter. Some reflective surfaces will always be required in a room. Without reflective surfaces the recordings will sound very unnatural and claustrophobic and during mix downs reverb will need to be added to give the recordings air to make them sound natural.
A room without any pro acoustic foam treatment will be very reflective. If there are no surfaces in the room where sound waves are being absorbed then the results of the recordings will be out of control. By installing acoustic treatment the ‘liveness’ of the room can be brought under control and the response of the room can improved. Use of acoustic treatment is the only way you can tell if what you are recording, editing, mixing or monitoring is accurate as well as not negatively affected by the room you are in. Acoustic Treatment gives you the added ability to record and monitor accurately. Whether you want the room live or dead, acoustic treatment is the only way to tame the beast that is your room and keep it under control.
Acoustic Treatment Overview
Q: What will acoustic treatment do for my sound?
Acoustic Treatment : Whether you’re treating a media room or a recording space, you will notice by using acoustic treatment that the sound seems more focus and the bass tighter, more even and more punchy. The stereo image will be much improved with center panned sounds appearing to come from the space between the speakers and noticeably better definition for sounds coming from the extreme left and right. In short, your audio equipment will now deliver the best results of which it is capable rather than being hamstrung by the limitations of your room
Q. Will acoustic treatment stop sound from leaving or entering my room?
A: No. Acoustic treatment is not designed to stop sound. A construction process is needed to block sound from traveling from one space to another. Acoustic foam will improve the quality of the sound within the room, but will not block it from leaving. .
Q: What should I expect to hear after the acoustic foam is installed?
A: You should expect a more accurate sound – more consistent low frequency response, less reflected energy. Your recordings should sound more controlled and professional and your mixes should translate better to other systems.
Q: I like what I hear. Is there anything else I can do to improve my setup?
A: Yes. The next step would be to place additional Bass Traps to the vertical and horizontal corners of the room. You cannot have too many bass traps in a small room, so adding bass traps will only improve your low frequency response. If you desire more control, additional acoustic tiles could be added as well to your acoustic treatment.
Q: Pro Acoustic foam products come in grey and do not suit my room. Can I cover them in fabric?
A: Yes as long as the fabric will allow sound to pass through (test it by blowing through it) and it meets any applicable fire safety regulations.
Q: Spray adhesive used to fix these panels looks somewhat permanent. How else can I fix up the panels so that they can be removed without damaging the walls?
A: You can hang the flat panels on the wall much like picture frames. Using the spray glue, you can stick a thin strip of wood (or even an old CD) to the back of the panel, near the top edge, then simply hang this on a picture hook. The bass corner traps are heavier so the best non-permanent solution would be to screw some thin plywood, hardboard or MDF to the wall where the traps need to be glued. You can then glue the traps directly to the plywood. When you come to remove them, you’ll only be left with the screw holes needed to secure the panels. Ceiling panels can be suspended from chains or nylon cord. A simple and tidy way to do this is to make a wooden frame for the panel, (leaving the top and bottom surfaces exposed), then use this to fix the necessary hooks. The foam is so light that conventional drywall fixings can be used in the ceiling.
Q: I would need to cut some of the panels to fit around window openings and wooden mouldings. What’s the best way to do this neatly?
A: Professional installers often use a woodworkers’ bandsaw as these make a beautiful job of cutting the foam, but for DIY installation, an electric carving knife gives excellent results. Though you can use a sharp knife to cut the foam, it is more difficult to keep the cuts straight and tidy.
Q: You said that spacing the foam from the wall improves its efficiency. How can I do this?
A: It is tempting to stick the foam panel to a board and then space that off the wall but that would lose all the acoustic benefits unless the board was heavily perforated. Instead, use some spacer blocks made from furniture foam or bass trap offcuts and stick them to the rear corners and centre of the panels to use as spacers.
Q: If this acoustic foam is so effective, wouldn’t it be better simply to cover all the walls in it?
A: No, you still need some high frequency reflection to keep the sound balanced across the audio spectrum. Normally you’d need to treat no more than 25 to 30% of the wall surfaces and often you can make a significant improvement with much less.