John Sayers' Recording Studio Design Forum

My bass trap project
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Author:  Jakeman [ Sat May 16, 2009 1:31 pm ]
Post subject:  My bass trap project

Ok, so here are my initial attempts at a good looking, efficient bass trap. I stole most of my ideas from ... aps-5.html. I'll post more pics as I get farther along.







Should have more up in the next few days.

I'm thinking about wrapping the fiberglass in the material starting on the front face and pulling it all the way around to the back and stapling the fabric to the frame on the back side of the board to make it look cleaner on the front. Prolly trickier though.

Author:  Ro [ Sat May 16, 2009 5:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project

Great work!
Did you use a saw to cut them holes? Could you tell us, just to be complete, what materials you used and what dimensions.
Did you make a plan/sketch-up? Love to see those..

I'm currently working on a few devices in sketch-up and will post them soon.

Author:  Jakeman [ Sun May 17, 2009 4:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project

Ya, I'll elaborate a little on my last post. I was pretty tired last night.

I started by making a sketchup and getting all the supplies. The supplies I needed (so far) are:

$86.25 - 12 sheets OC-703 (SPI-Dallas)
~$100 (I don't remember exactly how much) - eight 2'x4'x5 1/2" and eight 2'x 2' 1 1/2" x 5 1/2" stain-grade pine boards
$41.51 - 10 2/3 yards of some good looking, breathable fabric I haven't posted pictures of yet (I will)
$7 - quart of Golden Oak wood finish (pretty sure that's the name)
$10 - semi-gloss polyurethane (haven't used it yet)
$3 - probond woodfill
~$3 - wood glue
$3 - screws

The sketchup I did was here and basic as I am new to the software and had to learn it first. Grouping saved me a lot of time, making the different boards groups so if I changed one, the other would change the same amount. All my dimensions should be right in the sketchup. I did not know when I started that in wood terms, 6" means 5 1/2". Now, I am doing a little improvising to get 3 semi-rigid 2" sheets into each frame. I have a white plastic trim that was laying around. I'm going to clean that off and attach it to the back of the frame. Should extent it 1/2" and also have the added benefit of a plastic bumper of sorts in case I want to mount this stuff directly to the wall with no spacing. Attaching the fabric is going to be tricky. The design I posted earlier I am basing mine off of didn't attach the fabric in a way I think I'd like, staples going into the wood on the front side of the trap. So, I'm going to try to wrap the fabric around the front and sides and pull it into the back where I'll staple it to the sides of the frame around the back (after putting the plastic trim on). Then, I'll just lay another piece of fabric over the back itself and staple it around the frame in the same place. So, staples will really only be visible from the back around the sides. Don't know if it'll work, but we'll see.

I decided not to spray my fiberglass with natspray for fireproofing. The way I see it, the stuff really only lasts 2 years before chemically breaking down, and these panels are no more flammable than I couch I figure. This is probably ignorance talking though.

bass trap.skp

By the way, I never mentioned the fact that I'm making 4 of these things. Most of the supplies I bought account for this (with the exception of maybe the stain, etc). I think at the end of the summer, I'm going to try to make another 8-10 of these, and also a 4'x4' or 6'x4' ceiling cloud.

I guess with these 4 only, I will put two in the front corners of the room and two at the side first reflection points (on stands I'll make). My ultimate goal is to have 2 of these panels in each of the 4 room corners (both on respective tri-corners). Then, two in the first reflection points, 2-3 more on the front wall, and temporarily (until I make some qrd diffusers - 1-dimension or 2-d I'm really not sure) 2 more on the back wall.

Author:  Jakeman [ Sun May 17, 2009 7:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project

Ok, I went ahead and sketched up the room I'm putting these things in in hopes of getting some feedback on where exactly to place them. I am making four right now, soon to be more, and I thought I'd put them exactly where they are in the sketchup. Everything in this sketchup is exact with regards to measurement. The circle in the middle is where my head usually is. I left out all the furniture though, and there is a lot. The entire back wall behind my head (rear reflections) is covered by bookshelves about 2/3 height of the room extending out 1 1/2 - 2 feet. There are two large windows on the side the man is standing on and a tall bookshelf between them (1 1/2 feet thick). There is a computer desk where my right side trap is extending to the angled wall (1 1/2 feet thick). And there is a pool table in the back end of the room in the middle (the large open area). I may draw this stuff in later but this has taken quite a bit of time. The furniture is movable but I don't think the people I'm living with will be happy if I move it all out of the room. Oh, and carpeted floors :(

Please tell me your thoughts. I am new to all this and trying to learn.

Upstairs room measurements.skp

I have a section plane so you can't see the ceiling, but they are angled. Remove the section plane and you can see the exact details.

Author:  John Sayers [ Sun May 17, 2009 9:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project

Jakeman - unfortunately those 4 units in a room your size won't make much difference.

may I suggest you test it yourself with this calculator

put in your room dimensions (as if it were a rectangle 13' x 23' ) then add your 4 x 2' x 4' areas of 2" - 703.

For now - I'd place them here.


Author:  xSpace [ Sun May 17, 2009 2:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project

"I decided not to spray my fiberglass with natspray for fireproofing. "

Fiber glass itself is inorganic and is noncombustible. Unfaced fiber glass insulation is accepted as a fire block in wood frame walls(USA). What is, however, flammable is the kraft paper or the current plastic method used to enclose the insulation to restrict air-borne particles.

In your assembly, the wood is more flammable then the completed panel.

But neither one should keep you up at night with concern.


Author:  Ro [ Sun May 17, 2009 6:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project

Great sketch-up model!

Your design says 6" thick wool was used, did you? That makes it a low-end absorber instead of just broadband. Thaz cool.

I've linked you in the ever growing "DIY absorber" threat, here:

Author:  Jakeman [ Tue May 19, 2009 4:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project

Well, I'm too tired to work any more on my bass traps today, so here's an update.

I stained and varnished all of the wood. I put my white plastic trim on the frames and got the corner brackets on one frame. I went ahead and wrapped the fiber in the cloth and stuck it in one of the frames. It was terrifying. I did not think I would be able to get it to fit. Needless to say, it was TIGHT. The hardest part was probably getting the fabric to look good in the frame, stretching it out well in all the visible areas. Varnishing was also a pain too. Good weather though :D







Author:  Jakeman [ Tue May 19, 2009 4:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project





On the last picture, you can see that I changed up the trim. In the first frame, the corners had nothing. For the other three, I went ahead and cut out the back end of the plastic trim so that the top part could overlap and cover the corner. I thought it looked nicer.

Everything I have done so far has been ridiculously hard and time consuming. I am very happy with the result so far, but maybe some of those prices on retail traps aren't so bad after all :roll:

Oh, and the L brackets are both for stability for the fiberglass and primarily for mounting purposes. I figured it would be nice to have the versatility to mount these things using some reasonably easy attachment method. I'm going to use Ethan Winer's mounting method shown here:

And one other tip if someone decides to do this and stain their wood. Get Golden Oak!!! I tried three different colors of stain and the others looked absolutely terrible. The difference was amazing. I should have taken pictures of the other kinds but I didn't. They did not look good. Even colors very similar to golden oak ended up looking abysmal.

Author:  Ro [ Tue May 19, 2009 6:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project

Hey man, that's really worth all the hard labor! It looks fantastic.

What's with the plastic trim btw? What's its function? I would saw beveled corners if I were you, that would look way better.
Have you ever heard of the "french cleat" ? it's a wonderfull method to hang stuff on walls.

Love to see your panels in action. Keep up the good work and keep us posted :mrgreen:

Author:  Jakeman [ Thu May 21, 2009 1:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project

I finished! And I have to say, it turned out a lot better than expected. I really didn't fully know how I was going to get the fiberglass wrapped and put into the frame and look good when I started out. But I came up with a really good technique that I'm definitely going to use again.

I cut out the fabric to lay the fiberglass on, wrapped it around the back, and stapled the fabric on the back end to the inside of the plastic trim. Then I cut another sheet of fabric for the back with just a little bit more on each side than the dimensions of the panel, laid it on and tucked the sides into the panels edges with a Popsicle stick. It sounds weird but it worked amazingly well. I did cut a little bit off of the fabric being tucked in on the sides where the staples were located from the previously attached fabric (the fabric on the front and coming around the sides to the back). Then I just ran a hot glue gun along the edges of the back to hold it all together. The fiberglass was a very tight fit in the first place. With the staples and the glue, it is very sturdy. And looks great everywhere.

I am very happy. I spent another $15 on the l-brackets for mounting. I decided not to do the french cleat b/c even though it would be wonderful when mounting on the side walls, it seemed limiting for what I want it for (a lot of ceiling mounting and angled mounting). I probably will also build some stands for versility too (they're pretty unstable standing up on the ground).

Here's some pics of the rest of the process, not really in order. I'm too lazy to explain them all but the general process is outlined above. :D







Author:  Jakeman [ Thu May 21, 2009 1:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project


Author:  John Sayers [ Thu May 21, 2009 1:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project

very nice mate - I bet that changed the sound of your speakers in the listening position :)

Author:  Jakeman [ Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project

As a quick update, since installing these bass traps, my mixes have improved tremendously. I can't emphasize that enough. I now have 8 bass traps and hopefully will get that number up to 12, plus a cloud, soon.

My ultimate goal is to have a room that is great for both mixing and recording, specifically recording acoustic guitar and vocals.

From watching Ethan Winer's video on diffusion, I think diffusers are a critical feature I'm going to need for a great acoustic guitar sound, correct? Please tell me your thoughts on what I should do.


Author:  Jakeman [ Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My bass trap project


The suggestions I received earlier regarding bass trap placement for the 4 traps I made were great. The sound has dramatically improved. I am now up to 8. Based on the layout I provided earlier in this thread (the large room sketchup), how would you go about placing 8 bass traps?

My desk is now on the other side of the room but about 38% of the length of the room out from the wall. I am not opposed at all to putting traps way out in the middle of the room. The first 4 bass traps are currently:

2 right behind my head, next to each other.
1 on each side of me, catching first reflections. They are just about a foot further out to the sides than my studio monitors.

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