Best solutions for hanging acoustic foam? I'm dreading the use of spray adhesives

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Anthony Newcomb, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    I understand the confusion.
    Ive not looked into Auralex testing procedures, but what can be learned from the chart is what they claim is the effectiveness of the foam at the various frequencies. The chart shows a lot of absorption at 250Hz and practically none at 50Hz for example.
     
  2. Anthony Newcomb

    Anthony Newcomb Silver Supporting Member

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    If for any reason I run into issues, I suppose I could make a few DIY traps to add in combination. Like you said, worse case they will probably be great for low-mid, so by no means are they going to be useless.
    :beer
     
  3. pipelineaudio

    pipelineaudio Member

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    Only in as much that having decent acoustics make my making a living much easier, and where I live now, the real estate is ridiculously bad enough and costs so high that it would be really hard to justify flying someone who really knows what they're doing in, so I have to know some functional acoustics myself.

    Whether yours is good or not, I don't know, I usually don't look at foam as something to deal with bass problems, though I've seen for example, Ethan Winer say, I think, that if the foam is the right type and thick enough it can be somewhat effective at some bass duties.

    But really it depends on exactly what issues you are dealing with. For example, currently in one of my rooms, that's 25'x20'x12', I really don't have bass problems that really bother me, but if I took down the high and mid reflections down enough to be happy, it would certainly skew into making it a muddy room, so I'm using a lot of 2" 703 or equivalent (in my case Roxul S&S 3") which isnt SUPER effective at lows, but a hell of a lot more than foam or carpet would be, and so far, the room is now controlled, but still very even in response
     
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  4. Anthony Newcomb

    Anthony Newcomb Silver Supporting Member

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    Interesting, I definitely need to wait until I get everything mounted before I start to panic over possible bass issues. I'm beginning to understand what others are saying about the effectiveness of foam traps, I do think they'll be useful but for what frequencies is yet to be determined. Worst case, I'll just have to buy additional supplies
     
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  5. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Don't sweat it, but I'd suggest doing the following after the foam installation.
    Keep in mind the best approach is to spend $55 on a measurement mic, and download REW and use it to shoot the room. Lacking that, try this routine first. Its not as scientific as REW but hey! it's easy:

    1) Initial mix position (your chair) should be initially 38% of the total room length back from the front wall. Often (not always) there will be less nulls there...38% not a hard rule, could be some inches either way. Are you going to have a ceiling cloud above mix??
    Shoot the speakers down the long dimension of the room. Mix position is exactly in the middle of the width of the room with mirror-image treatment on both sides.

    2) Go online and learn how to identify the "first reflection points" and be certain they are treated sufficiently. The "mirror trick" works.

    3) With the foam you are almost certainly going to have some largish nulls in the bass; however, the most important thing is to get as "flat" as you can at and around mix; I have nulls in my room, but they are 10 feet from mix. If you can get a real nice even sound 4 feet either side of mix, and 6 feet behind it, thats pretty good for a project studio. That means a nice even 8' x 6' mix area. Not bad.
    BTW a "null" is a spot in the room where a frequency seems to dip in volume. It could only be 1 foot wide....but 30db softer than 1 foot either side!!! The room treatments purpose is smooth these out/eliminate them.

    4) Here's the quick-and-dirty part: it's rough and not precise, but will certainly make any major basic probs known to you, regarding the lows and mids. Im going to suggest a simple 1/3 octave series at first, which is very coarse; you could have big probs in between those freqs, but it will get you started.

    a. Get on youtube and use the test tones here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRwHD3nEPeOQehdfD_qTVHQ
    b. Start a new session in your DAW and record the following tones, each at -10 level (digital) on your DAW's meter. 1 minute of each tone is plenty.

    All in Hz:
    40, 50, 80, 100, 125, 160, 200, 250, 315, 400, 500, 630

    5) Play each tone as you walk around your room. Listen for volume variations as you stalk about....you WILL hear some. There might be some spots at which certain freq's almost disappear! However, if you can get that 8' x 6' mix area sounding real even with these tones, you are well on your way. Mind, there could easily be a big prob between these freq bands but you'll have some idea whats going on.

    6) Try adjusting the mix position/speaker placement to see what if any improvements occur as a result. Just be sure to maintain a mirror-image of treatments either side of mix.

    7) Again, this is quick and dirty, pretty rough; but you NEED mix position to pass this rough test if you are serious. You want zero nulls in your mix area on these freqs

    * WARNING*
    WATCH YOUR VOLUME! YOU CAN EASILY BLOW YOUR EARS AND MONITORS WITH TEST TONES. CRANK IT UP JUST ENOUGH TO HEAR EASILY, NOT MUCH MORE! 80 DB IS PLENTY.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  6. ToneDeVille

    ToneDeVille Member

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    I've been using these for decades:


    They hold well, even on ceiling mounted foam. Use a tack hammer to gently tap them into the wall or ceiling and get the "T" against the foam. When it's time to remove the foam just grab the 'T" with pliers and pull.
     
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  7. jmoose

    jmoose Member

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    FWIW - haven't had time to read it all, but yes indeed foam is pretty terrible for absorbing low end but there are a few tricks to help

    #1 - Those bass traps? Pretty damn useless if you stick one in every corner. Best method is to stack 'em floor to ceiling in a single corner. Then they'll start to actually do something...

    #2 - If you mount the 1x1 panels on a sheet of pegboard or some other thin plywood, take a hole saw or large spade bit and drill a few holes in the back. Not a ton, but a handful... and then mount the whole sheet off the wall using rubber spacers or grommets. I typically use hockey pucks. The extra inch of space gives a bit of pass through & re absorption which doesn't quite double the effectiveness, but we're getting there...
     
  8. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    BTW it's extremely common in control rooms of many sorts to have big dip (at mix) at around the 125Hz area, or thereabouts. A biggish bump at around 60Hz with a big ditch at around 100-150 is the culprit for lots of bass heavy mixes! Even in rather decently treated environments.
     
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  9. Anthony Newcomb

    Anthony Newcomb Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks Terry for that informative post, much appreciated! I've got a good amount of patience so I think I can tackle the task at hand. I hope to start getting foam up this weekend.

    So I was thinking about my room's shape, as it's kinda small and pretty square which I read can potentially increase the chances of bass issues...but, one end of the room (which will be to my back) has wood doors with angled louvres almost all the way across the wall which enclose one huge closet packed full of clothing on hangers and stacks of jeans and shoes. I'm hoping this might help to eat low frequencies like a bass trap? There is one door and one small window.

    Anyways, here's a couple pics. The desk is kinda close to where I'd like it to be, but nothing's been hooked up and tested in the room yet so its position may have to change a bit. When my chair is in the mixing position, it lands at about 40% from the wall (50% being the room's center)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for the advice! Well I've got enough bass traps to do both full corners of the room that are near the sides of my desk/monitors. I have two sizes so I can stack them alternating in size because I don't have enough of the larger ones to go from floor to ceiling. I posted a pic of them on page one. I also have 8' ceilings.

    The opposite side of the room doesn't really have corners to put traps in because of the closet doors shown above. I may have to make something for those little corners if needed.

    I've noticed that these traps are very dense compared to other foam traps I held in the past. I would imagine this is a good thing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018 at 1:00 AM
  10. Anthony Newcomb

    Anthony Newcomb Silver Supporting Member

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    I get what your saying here, I think I want to try this. I have about (6) 1'x1' and (22) 2'x2' so there is extra material to experiment with.
     
  11. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Regarding the closet....it could be useful, but clothing isn't going to do anything about the sub 125Hz. What you COULD try, would be to store a few unopened packs of compressed rock wool in there. These typically measure 2' x 4' x 1'. They can be considered to be ready-made traps. You could place several of them in the room too, and you'll hear a difference.
     
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  12. pipelineaudio

    pipelineaudio Member

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    We were just having a Facebook discussion and Ethan chimed in about fiberglass left in the bag working better than opened for some frequencies in some situations, which is extremely counter intuitive to me, but their tests and the available actually tested litterature seem to bear it out. What a whacky field
     
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  13. spence

    spence Member

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    The reason to leave the insulation in the plastic is to help reflect highs back into the room that would otherwise be absorbed into the insulation, making the room even more dead sounding. You want a good balance. Insulation will work WAY better than any kind of foam, which is why you won't see much if any foam in any major studios.
     
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  14. Anthony Newcomb

    Anthony Newcomb Silver Supporting Member

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    Ok, so it's been made clear to me that foam is dreaded far more than any spray adhesives lol.

    The "Dead" room statement has been mentioned a lot but I need to let it be known that Nothing is going to be Mic'ed as everything is being recorded direct to daw. Tube head into load box then usb to daw...so no mic'ing of cabs, guitars, or vocals (because I play instrumentals). All keyboard and other instruments including drums are virtual instruments from daw.

    I have direct neighbors from my apartment and want to kill as much bouncing waves as posible.

    For mixing, if I can get All the frequencies in the room to be as equally flat and dead as possible, and all I want to hear is my monitors, then what is the issue with trying to kill off the room? As long as I can keep the boom as equally suppressed as the highs and mids, how is this dead room approach going to affect my mixing if all I want to record is going direct and only being heard through my monitors...(not needing any natural room reverberations)?
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018 at 12:55 PM
  15. pipelineaudio

    pipelineaudio Member

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    If its going "dead" evenly its ideal. Just losing treble without losing lows is the mudmaker people are usually rightly worried about
     
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  16. pipelineaudio

    pipelineaudio Member

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    That can or cannot be a benefit depending on your needs, but, I just had to check this and got a reply just a few minutes ago from Ethan Winer, "it also increases LF absorption quite a bit. You can see that in a comparison of normal and FRK type rigid fiberglass"
     
  17. Anthony Newcomb

    Anthony Newcomb Silver Supporting Member

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    I know this subject can reveal the experienced pros from the amateurs, and my foam choices have apparently shown where I stand, but why hasn't anyone actually asked me what I'm going to be doing/using the room for? I'm surprised by this because not all rooms are being used equally. I know there are basic principles regardless, but I'm thinking dead is ok for my purposes as long as the bass is equally suppressed?

    As you can probably tell, I'm getting a bit discouraged and now questioning the PILE of foam I purchased that is just sitting in my workshop.

    If all I need are a few extra (actual) bass traps added to the foam I already have, then I'm happy. But all this talk of "you won't see pros using foam" is literally getting me down. I can't afford a $600 box of Rockwool from Home Depot so rigid fiberglass may be my only option at this point.

    I don't mind people being helpful, but you may want to ask me these questions first:

    • How will you be using the room
    • What can you afford
     
  18. pipelineaudio

    pipelineaudio Member

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    From my point of view, I have never, ever once, never ever met a room that was actually evenly "dead" that was "too dead"....Every time I've seen complaints of "too dead" it was the very highest highs being sucked out and a muddy mess of doom bouncing all around the room like cats on crystal meth catnip at a laser light show

    I don't care what the room is used for, I'll take it evenly dead every single time, unless maybe its for some esoteric surf guitar thing.

    There's nothing wrong with rigid fiberglass, you may be in a lucky spot but where I live, rockwool is WAY the hell cheaper than rigid fiberglass at about a dollar per square foot for 3" thickness

    If you have the money to hire George Augspurger, then yeah, I don't want to see any foam in your control room (though at our old Augspurger designed studio, some of our tracking rooms did have foam in some of the corners at the ceiling). Until that day, if foam helps, use the foam! If you needent catch anything below 500 hz, then DEFINITELY use the foam and don't even worry too much.

    Add some real bass trapping and things will get better, whether its super critical or not, it will still be better. But still, remember, if you got the songs, everyone will tolerate a tiny balance problem...I think we'd all just rather hear better music, even if we really also like to geek out on the sonic characteristics from time to time
     
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  19. Anthony Newcomb

    Anthony Newcomb Silver Supporting Member

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    Good to hear, I appreciate your optimism. Though I only have about $220 into the foam, I'd hate to not use it.

    I think I may have priced a Pallets worth of rock wool lol. I just searched again and found some smaller quantities for around $50. I like the idea of this stuff because of the non "itch" factor. I hate dealing with fiberglass :confused:. I read that Ethan says you really can't overdo bass traps so I may look at utilizing most of my corner space and just use a few foam corner traps if there's enough room leftover above and below.

    I was going to wait until I was done hanging foam before I started making bass traps, but I think I'm going to the store today to get some ideas of how I want to do this.

    I have carpenter skills and hate unfished looking stuff so I may just go all out with creativity and make something that looks nice and professional. I've been researching Ethan's suggestions all over the internet for DIY traps. I think I've got enough info on size and thicknesses to make something that will help.
     
  20. pipelineaudio

    pipelineaudio Member

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    The big bang for the buck is corners, and you can, usually, use the super cheap, gross, itchy fiberglass pretty effectively to make nice things for that. But if you have finish carpenter skills, you can not only make it sound great for cheap, but look beautiful. People use rigid fiberglass or rockwool to make the "superchunk" versions of that, which can be more effective, but a good corner using whatever is going to do wonders for the least money and space lost. I got some extra Roxul here I'll be doing corners with, but as I have no carpenter skills, its not so pretty

     
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