DIY Acoustic panels - Fabric question

zygoat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,162
Hi all,

In preparation for a home studio build, I've been building some general purpose panels. I plan on purchasing bass traps from a reputable vendor like GIK, but the broadband panels seemed easy enough to make on my own. They are 24"x48" panels stuffed with Rockwool. I used a layer of cambric, which is a lightweight materiel like what you would find on the underside of a couch, to provide another layer of protection against escaping Rockwool fibers.

Main question is on the outer fabric material. I know this fabric must be breathable so that sound can pass through. I found out about the Guilford of Maine material after I made my fabric choice. I went with a duck cotton canvas material, and this was based on look, feel, and breathabililty. Thing is, I can breathe through the canvas when I cover my mouth with it, but I'm not sure how easy I should be able to breathe through it! Like, I could survive with it over my mouth but it would likely become a chore to breathe through it for a few minutes.

So, does anyone have any wisdom they can share, specifically for duck cotton canvas type material? I *think* I should be good to go, but I won't know until I install them in a house that is yet to be built. I'm building these in anticipation of my new home studio and it's really out of boredom at this point. Cheers
 

RLD

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,805
You're probably over thinking it.
Plastic sheeting is sometimes used to cover insulation in studios because it reflects back some of the highs while still
allowing the lows to pass through.
So, if your fabric is "breathable" you're fine, and even if the material is tightly woven you're probably still fine.
When I made by traps I bought the least expensive bed sheets from Ikea as the fabric..and it's fine. ;)
 

zygoat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,162
Thanks for the reassurance! I think I am overthinking it as well. I've just noticed that some common materials around the house, like a t-shirt, are more breathable than what I covered these panels in. But the fabric I chose is certainly more breathable than other options at the fabric store. Thanks
 

mikebat

Member
Messages
12,125
Pick up the material, put your hands behind it, blow into it. If you feel the air flow on the other side of the material, you are good to go, in my opinion.

The benefit is this.... that simple test tells you if it is breathable, which I want in a sound control panel. Now... you can pick ANY fabric and finish if it passes the test regardless if it is this cotton, or that cotton, or that synthetic fabric.
 

Miroslav L

Member
Messages
2,742
So, does anyone have any wisdom they can share, specifically for duck cotton canvas type material? I *think* I should be good to go, but I won't know until I install them in a house that is yet to be built. I'm building these in anticipation of my new home studio and it's really out of boredom at this point. Cheers

I'm sure a lot of things could "work"...but I don't think the absolute measure of acoustically transparent cloth is to just check if you can "breathe" through it.
I've made a LOT of panels, and I always went with the GOM 701 fabric because it's the classic acoustic fabric I've known for years, though GOM has other types now that are also great.

Now, AFA the duck cotton...from what I know about that material, is that it's usually stiffer and thicker than any GOM stuff, and probably a much tighter weave, which means it will have greater "reflection"...but the other consideration that some folks miss on, is that cotton is a natural fiber, so fabric made from cotton will both absorb and release moisture...which means it wrinkles and sags easily.
You could make the panels today looking tight and trim...and on a rainy day when humidity is up, the cloth shows some sagging.
GOM fabric is 100% polyester, it's not prone to those issues.

There are plenty of polyester fabrics one can buy...just go to any fabric store, and you can find hundreds of rolls to choose from...but I wouldn't just pick something purely on the "can I breathe through it" test.
Likewise, as some have said...the GOM is fire rated too.

If you do buy GOM fabric...buy it DIRECT from them. You will get the best price, compared to ANY acoustic material retailers.

I just did around 40 2'x4' panels for my new studio...and right at this time I'm finishing a bunch of gobos, which will also be covered with the same GOM fabric, since I bought a couple of bulk rolls of it last year, knowing I had a lot of panels + the gobos to make.
 

zygoat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,162
I'm sure a lot of things could "work"...but I don't think the absolute measure of acoustically transparent cloth is to just check if you can "breathe" through it.
I've made a LOT of panels, and I always went with the GOM 701 fabric because it's the classic acoustic fabric I've known for years, though GOM has other types now that are also great.

Thanks for the great info. Funny, shortly after starting this thread I actually ordered some GOM 701. Good thing I haven't completed many panels or bought a lot of duck canvas, and the bit I did purchase was pretty cheap. I want to do this right (and hopefully not over and over again trying to correct) so I'm OK with overshooting my initial budget for this project. Cheers.
 




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