Sitting listening to the TV, stereo, having a conversation, or trying to make a recording can be difficult in many homes due to their poor acoustic design and treatment. The reverberation, echo, and cascade of noise created by many multi-directional sound systems can make your head pound. Media and sound specialists recommend strategically placing acoustic panels that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars around the room to control the noise. Those costly pre-made panels may look pretty, but less expensive DIY acoustic sound panels can look and work just as well.
To assist you with the design and build of acoustic panels to reduce reverb and echo, we’re here to help. In this article, we discuss how acoustic panels work, what the best materials are, and provide a step-by-step guide to building your own. We also review 25 online acoustic panel designs and builds to help you select one (or more) that suit your skills, toolbox, and budget. Hopefully, you’ll find a solution here to your noise problem.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
- How Do Acoustic Panels Work?
- Best Materials for Acoustic Panels
- How to Build Sound Absorbing Panels: Step by Step
- DIY Acoustic Sound Panels: 25 Creative Builds
- 1. How to Make DIY Acoustic Panels
- 2. Decorative Sound Absorbing Panels
- 3. High-Performance DIY Acoustic Panels
- 4. How to Make Acoustic Wall Panels
- 5. Do-It-Yourself Acoustic Panels
- 6. How to Make Acoustic Panels for Your Studio
- 7. DIY Sound Absorbing Panels for Churches
- 8. How To Make Your Own Cheap and Awesome Panels
- 9. How Professional Acoustic Panels are Made
- 10. Make Soundproof Hexagons
- 11. Sound Proof Padding Wall Panels
- 12. Making Sound Dampening Ceiling Panels
- 13. Pro Acoustic Panels DIY
- 14. Cheapest Broad Spectrum Damping Panels
- 15. How I Built My Acoustic Panels
- 16 DIY Acoustic Panel Build
- 17. Build Acoustic Panels for Under Us$30
- 18. Building Broadband Panels for Room Treatment
- 19. DIY Acoustic Sound Panels
- 20. Cheap Easy Sound Absorbing Panels
- 21. Movie Poster Acoustic Panels For Home Theater
- 22. DIY Curve Diffusers
- 23. How To Build Absorption Acoustic Panels For $20
- 24. DIY Acoustic Sound Panels
- 25. How To Made Curved Acoustic Diffusers
- Where to Place Acoustic Panels?
How Do Acoustic Panels Work?
Acoustic panels are wall-mounted, attached to ceilings, set on floors, or on stands for flexible sound treatment. They can be placed, hung, or stood in corners to absorb, trap, and condition multi-directional reflection too. Panels are made of different materials and in a variety of shapes and profiles. The hardness and density also play a role in how sound is controlled.
The panels may be rectangular, square, multi-sided, or triangular prisms for corner treatment. Some offer different surface or profile finishes to deflect soundwaves so they don’t reflect 180° back to the source and distort the sound. Others have flat surfaces and condition the sound by absorbing and reducing or slowing down the returning sound.
Sound waves travel at the speed of sound outward from their sources until they encounter a surface that reflects, deflects, or absorbs some or all of their energy. The waves can even vibrate through objects! The more conversations in a room or the use of multi-directional sound systems can produce a cacophony of noise that makes it difficult to focus or hear.
Listening to the TV, a conversation or music, or trying to record vocals or music is made more difficult by the reverb, echo, and slap of noise off surfaces in a room. If you’re sitting 6-feet from the speakers or sound source and the wall is a couple of feet behind you, the speed of the sound returning from the wall dirties and distorts what you hear.
Acoustic panels help control sound within a room by absorbing low, mid, and high-frequency sound waves for a cleaner, softer sound. Sound waves that hit an acoustic panel, enter the softer material, and vibrate through it. Some waves reflect back off the wall and travel back through the panel material again. As the wave vibrates through in one or both directions, the sound energy vibrates off the panel material converting it to heat or kinetic energy.
The sound waves lose some or all of their momentum passing through the panel, thus decreasing or softening the returning sound, and slowing it down. The thickness of the panel material and what it is made of determines the frequency ranges it best controls. Most polyurethane foams absorb mid to high frequencies from 500 Hz and up, while stone wool, fiberglass, and cellulose control from 100 Hz and up to condition low through high frequencies.
Best Materials for Acoustic Panels
Acoustic panels may be purchased from stores or online, or they can be manufactured at home. The size, thickness, and materials used affect the price and effectiveness. There are three main parts to acoustic panels, however, some panels may only have one or two depending on their core material.
The frame is commonly a hard material such as 1” thick wood varying from 2” to 6” in depth. It provides support and protection for the core material and can be used to mount the panel. It also finishes the look of the panel. Many foam panels don’t have frames making them lightweight and easy to mount with spray adhesive, rigid stone wool and fiberglass panels also often dispense with frames to make them lighter too.
The hardness, density, and shape of the core material determine how sound is controlled. Many manufactured acoustic panels rely on 1” to 4” thick, slightly spongy open-cell polyurethane foam sculpted into different profiles to control sound. The sound waves entering the foam lose energy as they weave their way through the porous material. Foam panels are often more expensive and only provide mid and high-range frequency control above 500 Hz.
Panels that use stone wool, fiberglass, or cellulose insulation for their core don’t have fancy multi-directional faces, however, they absorb frequencies from 100 Hz and up. They are more effective at absorbing sound waves and decreasing distortion, plus they are usually much less expensive.
Insulation is frequently used by DIYers and professionals to make panels, with rigid or batten stone wool being preferred – although slightly more expensive than other insulations – since it doesn’t have tiny bits of glass or paper that need to be contained to prevent them from becoming airborne.
Most foam panels don’t have fabric covers, while those made with cores of insulation commonly have permeable fabric on the front and back to prevent airborne fibers and dust. Fabrics come in a variety of colors, weaves, textures, and prints – can even be photo art – and may be fire-rated.
Heavy, 12oz to 18oz cotton duck canvas, 10oz or greater linen or cotton, canvas, burlap or jute, denim, and even corduroy are excellent choices for covering the front of panels. Often a thin lightweight cotton fabric covers the back. A good way to test if a fabric is permeable is to hold it to your mouth and blow through it, if there’s any resistance select a different fabric.
How to Build Sound Absorbing Panels: Step by Step
Building sound-absorbing panels can be easy or difficult depending upon the design, your skillset, toolbox inventory, and budget. Here are the steps to building sound-absorbing panels:
Step 1: Find Panel Dimensions
Determine where you need sound control. Commonly, sound control panels are located across from or in front of noise sources. This often means behind where you sit to listen or watch. If the conversation or sound comes from multiple directions, sound treatment will need to be in more than one location. Cover 10% of the wall surface for light coverage, 15% to 20% for medium, and 25% to 35% to provide a high level of sound treatment.
Once you’ve determined where you need acoustic panels, measure the distance from the listening location to the reflecting wall. Walls within 4-feet will benefit from wall-mounted panels more so than walls further away, so free-standing panels may prove more helpful. However, the panels can be made for wall mounting and then be placed on a stand if it works better.
Take measurements to determine the wall or ceiling area you want to be treated. Identify the dimensions that will work best to cover the walls. A common DIY size is 2’x4’ and 2” to 5-1/2” in thickness, which allows for multiple panels to be placed side-by-side to condition larger areas. You may choose to make larger or smaller panels but the process is basically the same.
Step 2: Select Materials
Determine the look, shape, and pattern the acoustic panels will have. Whether rectangles, squares, triangles, or multi-sided shapes, decide how they will fit and look on the walls. Will they be framed or unframed, one solid color or multiple, patterned, textured, photo art, or a combination. Select a sound-transparent fabric in the color and texture desired.
Choose the core material, foam or insulation, board, batten, or loose, and the thickness that will work best for sound control and aesthetics. How they will mount to the wall or ceiling, or will they be freestanding are also important considerations.
Step 3: Build a Frame
Frames may be of wood, cardboard, plastic, or other rigid material, or they can be absent. The length, width, and thickness of the core material commonly dictate the dimensions of the frame. The frame needs to be strong enough to support the sound absorbent material and mounting hardware.
Use half-inch or one-inch-thick material for the frame and either paint, stain, or otherwise seal it, or cover it with fabric to compliment your décor. Many DIYers use recycled wood slats from skids or pallets and angle brackets to fasten and square corners. For an exposed frame finish, build a frame within a frame for the fabric to fasten to.
Step 4: Add Sound Insulation
Select a sound-absorbing material that has the thickness and density to control sound – usually the thicker the better. Rigid stone wool or fiberglass panels or boards don’t require a frame, while battens or loose-fill do. Double or triple thin layers to increase thickness depending on the desired noise control too.
Stone wool is more effective than cellulose or fiberglass of equivalent thicknesses, ‘R’-value, and structure. The insulation should friction fit into the frame and be flush with the front which may or may not provide airspace at the back depending on the frame depth.
Step 5: Wrap in Fabric
Don’t cut the fabric to fit until it has been attached or pre-fitted. Lay the fabric out flat on a hard surface, flatten wrinkles, and place the frame or rigid panel in the center. If the fabric is only wrapping a frame within a frame, it only needs to wrap enough to be stapled before being inset into the exposed frame.
For wrapping unframed panels, it needs to wrap and cover the back, so should be cut to fit with overlapping folds on the back – spray adhesive works well but some staples into the back through the fabric will add support. Pull the fabric so there are no wrinkles on the front or sides, and try to keep staples at the back. Trim excess fabric as necessary and keep folds as flat as possible. It’s much like wrapping a gift for someone.
Step 6: Install the Panel
The weight, size, and location of the panel will often determine the installation method. Framed panels commonly are heavier and can be hung on walls with D-rings, picture wire or clips and hooks, or with French cleats. Those mounted to ceilings or in corners require mounting blocks, slide-on clips or other methods. Those on stands are self-supporting but may require guy-wires to keep them from toppling if bumped.
Frameless panels are lighter in weight and can be secured with Velcro strips, impaling clips, or hooks mounted through the rigid panel prior to wrapping in fabric. Another common practice is to inset and glue a furring strip into the back of the panel. It should be inserted about 1/3 of the way down the back from the top, so hooks or clips can be used to mount it.
DIY Acoustic Sound Panels: 25 Creative Builds
DIY sound panels are a great way to improve sound quality, listening pleasure, and save money. They are also often more aesthetically pleasing as you choose the colors, sizes, shapes, and even the images portrayed. I know a couple who had a wedding photo enlarged on canvas and stretched on a frame.
They inserted it into a deeper frame, friction fitted 2” rigid insulation behind and hung it behind their sofa across from the TV to absorb reflected noise.
Here are 25 more ideas to check out!
1. How to Make DIY Acoustic Panels
A comprehensive step-by-step guide on building and placing sound panels, including links to an acoustical room coverage calculator, a sizing calculator, plus free blueprints for an acoustic panel. The build demonstrates how to construct a frame within a frame using OSB, ensure a built-in gap between the wall and insulation, and how to stretch fabric on the back and front.
The core material is 4” thick 2’x4’ stone wool, and the exposed framing is 2×6 pine, so this isn’t a lightweight acoustic panel. The thick core controls low, mid, and high-frequency reverb and echo and are ideal for recording or mixing studios, home theaters, and living rooms.
The use of felt spacers on the back is also recommended to increase the air space, keep the panel from marking the wall, and \ prevent the panel from vibrating.
2. Decorative Sound Absorbing Panels
How to use unpainted art canvases to acoustically treat concrete block walls in a home theater and playroom is presented. The 2’x2’ or larger canvases come pre-stretched on 1-1/2” pine frames which are then filled with egg-carton profile foam. The foam was cut and fitted tightly inside the frame, and paper glued and tacked over the back to hold it in place.
Two picture hangers were attached to the upper frame in the corners to make it easier to hang on the wall. The blank canvasses were then covered with children’s handprints in primary colors. The panels help control the reverb, bounce, and high-frequency ringing and enhance the look and warmth of the room.
3. High-Performance DIY Acoustic Panels
This clip explains how to build high-performance acoustic panels that are equilateral triangle-shaped and mounted to create a modern contemporary design. Each panel is made from 6 angled aluminum pieces and connected using 3-D printed brackets – the link is provided. The pieces are drilled and countersunk, and then bolted together.
One aluminum triangle forms the front frame and one the back. The two frames are connected at the points using threaded hexagonal spacers. The frames were then covered with cotton sheet fabric secured with hot glue to the front and sides, the back was left open to insert the high-density upholstery foam.
Short nails were hot glued to the back corners and the frames push-mounted into the drywall wall. A partial shopping list and links are included.
4. How to Make Acoustic Wall Panels
Using 2’x4’ chip-foam panels of 4 different thicknesses to absorb sound and control reverb and echo off walls, and to improve the look of plain walls. A hexagonal or honeycomb pattern was cut from 1/4″ plywood. A utility knife was used to cut out the foam initially, however, a bandsaw worked better.
The hexagonal shapes were stuck in groups of 4 to 1/4” MDF backing and hung from a nail to create an aesthetically pleasing sound-controlling pattern. The panels can be easily removed or rearranged too.
5. Do-It-Yourself Acoustic Panels
Building inexpensive 2’x4’ acoustic panels is explained on this site. It includes a comprehensive video, pictures with explanations, and materials required – with links for acquisition – for a sound building plan. The frames were cut from 1×4 boards, glued, and nailed to form 2’x4’ rectangles.
Nylon window screen stapled to the back of the frame prevented core material from escaping while maximizing sound movement. Stone wool insulation battens compression fitted into the frames form the sound-absorbent core.
Screen was again used to close the open face, and then covered with fabric stretched over the face and sides of the frame and stapled to the back. Two D-rings were attached to the upper frame for mounting the frames to walls.
6. How to Make Acoustic Panels for Your Studio
A comprehensive tutorial with explanations, material list, and pictures. The 2’x4’ frames are 1×4 pine with plywood triangles to reinforce the corners and also maintain a gap between the core and the wall. A piece of 1×4 was ripped for center support too.
Denim insulation formed the sound-absorbing core and was easy to cut and compression fit into the frames. The front and sides are covered with fabric, which is stretched and then stapled to the rear of the frame. Picture wire and hooks for hanging finish the project.
7. DIY Sound Absorbing Panels for Churches
Improve the sound of a music, media, or recording room using 2’x2’ panels. The panels were framed with 1”x2” furring strips glued and nailed to 3/16” thick 2’x2’ squares of plywood, with a core of 2” thick mineral wool acoustical and fire-rated batting. Burlap cloth in different colors smoothly wrapped the front and sides of different panels and was stapled at the back.
Self-leveling picture hooks attached to the back for hanging. The colored panels are easy to arrange in pleasing patterns to cover large or small areas of the walls. This site includes a materials list with links for sourcing, a list of tools required, and assembly instructions, and pictures.
8. How To Make Your Own Cheap and Awesome Panels
Building professional-quality 2’x4’ acoustic panels for less than $20 is the highlight of this tutorial. 1”x4” strapping forms the frame with an added crosspiece inside at the top and bottom to keep the core in position. Safe’n’Sound acoustic insulation batts make up the core and friction fit in the frames with no cutting or waste.
The front and sides were wrapped in breathable fabric and stapled to the back – helpful suggestions for clean flat corners are included. Thin fabric covered the back to prevent core fibers from escaping and for a professional finish.
Picture hangers or D-clips and wire make hanging the panels easy too. The plan is easy to follow and includes tool and material lists, plus helpful hints and recommendations.
9. How Professional Acoustic Panels are Made
This clip explains and demonstrates how professional acoustic panels are manufactured, so you can see how similar DIY panels are to those of the pros. Framing is done with 1”x3” pine with a 1/2″x3” plywood spacer insert into the back to keep the stone wool in place. All fabric is fire-rated and acoustically transparent.
The back of the panel is covered first with upholstery quality under cover fabric to hide the insulation. The front is then covered and the sides wrapped with the edges stapled to the back. The main differences between the DIY and the Pro are the dedicated workstations, tools available, and experience.
10. Make Soundproof Hexagons
Making soundproofing hexagons using pallet boards and toweling highlights this video. All the nails must be removed from the pallet boards which were then ripped to width and sanded. The ends of the boards were then miter cut at 30°. The six pieces were glued to form the hexagonal-shaped frame.
Once dry, the inside back was routered to take the 1/4″ plywood backer board. The frames were then primed and painted. The towel cover was stapled taut inside the front of the frame using thin wooden strips. The core was filled with strips of toweling zig-zagged loosely inside the frame, and the backer board was then stapled into place and a picture hanger attached.
11. Sound Proof Padding Wall Panels
Using acoustic tiles to make a 50”x37-1/2” picture to hang on a blank wall to reduce echo and reverb is explained in this clip. This is a step-by-step guide and includes links to the acoustic tiles used. The tiles selected form a picture and plain tiles are cut to make a frame.
Instead of attempting to arrange it all on the wall, the tiles were attached with construction adhesive to the 1/4″ piece of painted plywood backer board. A slot cut in the backer board facilitated hanging the acoustic picture.
12. Making Sound Dampening Ceiling Panels
Making 4 large acoustic panels for the ceiling using 1×3 pine mortised and tenoned together and covered with cotton fabric is covered in this tutorial. The front fabric is stretched around the frame and stapled to the back. Multiple layers of fabric were added from the back for the cores of two panels, and fiberglass added to the other two.
A sound test identified the fiberglass cores performed better but were also thicker. The panels were fastened to the ceiling so they were suspended about 6” from it. The panels are large and control echo and reverb, making the room seem less hollow.
13. Pro Acoustic Panels DIY
Inexpensive and simple high-quality DIY acoustic panels to control reverb and noise in a home or professional studio are the focus of this clip. Panel cores are high-density RW6 stone wool for a more balanced sound as they absorb a greater range of frequencies. The frames were rectangles of varying sizes made from 1×3 pine and covered in inexpensive bed sheeting, which was doubled up and stapled to the back edge of the frame.
The insulation was cut slightly larger to friction fit in the frames. 1×6 pine framed the outside of the cloth-covered frames, providing built-in airspace between the wall and the core. The extra space also made it easier to mount on walls or hang on ceilings. The site includes research and material links too.
14. Cheapest Broad Spectrum Damping Panels
Improving the comfort of a room or quality of recorded audio using 12 high performance, 48-1/2”x 16-1/2” DIY acoustic panels to reduce broad-spectrum echo is discussed and demonstrated in this video. Materials and tools are identified through the clip, and even include links. 3/4” MDF is ripped to make the 1×3 frame material.
Safe’n’Sound insulation friction fits for the cores, weed barrier cloth covers the backs, and craft felt fabric wraps the fronts and sides of the panels. Chain was used to hang the panels from the ceiling to provide a gap between the panel and ceiling for more effective noise control, and French cleats from scrap MDF fastened the panels to the wall. Before and after sound readings are also provided.
15. How I Built My Acoustic Panels
This clip discusses acoustic panels for walls and ceilings, and ‘cloud’ panels to hang strategically, such as over mixing positions. The 62”x32-12” frames were cut from 1×4 pine for the sides and 1/2” plywood ripped into 4” strips for the tops and bottoms. 2-1/8” holes were cut into the sides of the panel frame to increase side absorption.
Weed stop fabric wraps the sides and front to keep fibers from floating out, and then covers the back once the stone wool batting is friction fitted into the frame. The front and sides were then wrapped in a breathable and more aesthetically pleasing fabric. 3/16” Luan or underlay cut into 1-1/2” strips and stapled to the back or front help scatter sound. Ceiling and wall panels were hung or mounted at angles to enhance sound control.
16 DIY Acoustic Panel Build
Building eight 4”-deep 2’x4’ acoustic panels using 3/4″ plywood for the frames was presented in this video. There are links and material lists provided, and lots of helpful hints. The front and sides of the frames were wrapped in cloth and stone wool friction fitted for the core. There is a built-in gap between the insulation and the back of the frame to improve long-wave absorption.
The same type of fabric is stretched over the backs to finish it and prevent the escape of airborne particles. Five tips for placing the panels are also provided. Panels were hung with picture wire, and wine corks placed at the corners increased the gap between the wall and the core for better sound control.
17. Build Acoustic Panels for Under Us$30
A tutorial for making eight acoustic panels to improve the sound in a home studio. The 2’x4’ frames were made from 1”x4” primed MDF door molding, plus two cross braces for support and to ensure an air gap between the back and insulation. Soundbreak acoustic fiberglass insulation was friction fitted into the frames, and fabric stretched across the front and wrapped over the sides, and stapled.
Hints to measuring the fabric and folding the corners are included. The backs were then covered with under-upholstery fabric to prevent fiberglass fibers from escaping.
18. Building Broadband Panels for Room Treatment
This video demonstrates and explains the process for building eight broadband acoustic panels for about $25US each. It also includes measurements and links to materials used. The 2’x4’ frames were made of 5/8” particle board ripped into 4” widths. Two 2” wide cross braces finish the frame and help support the insulation.
Pilot holes are a must to prevent particle board splitting. Stone wool was fitted into the frame, and fabric pulled tight across the front, wrapped over the sides, and stapled. A less expensive fabric closed the back to finish. Panels were slipped onto L-brackets mounted to the wall.
19. DIY Acoustic Sound Panels
An in-depth discussion with a professional comparing pro-made and DIY acoustic panels and the importance of different material choices and construction techniques highlight this clip. The discussion compares insulation and identifies the benefits of 3.5lb vs 2.5lb densities. The quality of fabric choices and framing materials is also discussed.
The key differences between professionally made and the DIY acoustic panel tend to be the look of the finished product, not their ability to control reverb and echo. However, the biggest difference is the cost with a professionally made 2’x4’ acoustic panel – $150 and $300 – and similar DIY panels costing between $25 and $40 depending on fabric and frame material choices.
20. Cheap Easy Sound Absorbing Panels
Building 24”x24” acoustic panels using stone wool for sound absorption is addressed in this video, with links to materials and tool list also provided. The frames were 1”x3” pine with two cross braces to support the core material.
Two layers of foil-backed 1” rigid fiberglass insulation make the core, with the foil sandwiched between both layers. Sound absorbent fabric wraps and covers the front and sides of the panels, but the backs were left uncovered. A link is also provided to sound tests of different materials.
21. Movie Poster Acoustic Panels For Home Theater
Making poster acoustic panels to improve the sound in a home theater is demonstrated in this clip. Movie poster pics were printed on polyester fabric by a local company and stretched over the frames. The frames were made from 1”x2” pine to fit the poster images. Acoustic batten insulation stuffed into the frame provides sound absorption.
Centering the poster images and stapling them taut proved the most difficult. A fabric backing covered the back to keep fibers from becoming airborne. Velcro tabs attached to the four corners secure the panels to the walls and make the sound cleaner and crisp.
22. DIY Curve Diffusers
This site demonstrates building a curved diffuser to improve sound quality. The 2’x4’ frame is strips of 1×3 particle board with 1”x1” 90° angle aluminum L strips fastened to the outside edge of the front face of the long sides. A curved piece of particle board was screwed to the outer edge of the two short sides, and a 1/8” thick sheet of veneer bent and fastened over the curved ends.
The aluminum strips were pinched against the veneer to hold it in place, and stone wool cut and stuffed to fill the inside. Mounting brackets are attached and self-adhesive foam strips applied to the back of the frame. The frames can be wall or ceiling-mounted.
23. How To Build Absorption Acoustic Panels For $20
Building nine 96”x16” $20 acoustic panels using 2”x4” lumber to control echo in a workshop is presented. Each panel had a center 2×4 to provide strength and help friction fit the stone wool insulation. White landscape fabric wrapped the front and sides and was stapled to the back.
Four joist angle brackets were used to fasten the panels to the ceiling. A before and after sound test was presented. The site includes a list of tools used and a material list with links for more information or to purchase.
24. DIY Acoustic Sound Panels
Acoustic panels are expensive to buy, so using recycled or thrift store sourced materials can greatly decrease costs for DIY panels. This site explains and demos the building of 2’x2’ panels for $12 to improve recording audio in a home studio. 1”x2” strapping formed the frames and terry cloth toweling stretched over the front and sides and stapled to the back was the cover.
Other towels were cut to fit and laid flat to fill the inside of the frame. The layers were then removed and stitched together, then reinserted and stapled to the frame. A finishing fabric cover was then wrapped over the front and around the sides for an aesthetic finish.
25. How To Made Curved Acoustic Diffusers
Curved diffusers improve sound within a room but are more difficult to build than rectangular or square acoustic panels. This tutorial walks you through the construction of three panels with curved faces. The backs of the 2’x4’ panels are 1/4″ plywood bevel cut along the long sides. The maximum depth is 5”, so the curved ends and center support were cut from 1”x6” pine, and glued and screwed to the back.
Waterproof wall paneling lined with pieces cut from a moving blanket was bent and glued to the curved ends and middle support after blanket material was glued to the plywood back. The blanketing helps to attenuate sound vibrations.
Fabric was attached to the curved face using spray adhesive to improve and soften the look of the panels. Links to materials and tools used are included.
Where to Place Acoustic Panels?
Place the acoustic panels where they will absorb the most sound. Commonly on walls directly across from sound sources or behind and above listening (seating) arrangements. If possible, leave a 1/4″ to 2” gap between the back of the insulation and wall or ceiling to further decrease echo and improve absorption. Panels are often arranged like artwork to be more aesthetically appealing and less utilitarian.
Wall-mounted panels should be mounted across from speakers or mics to clean and soften the sound and reduce echo and reverb. Place the panels on the upper half or 2/3rds of the wall to improve the sound in the standing or sitting position. Use a hand mirror held against the panel, if the speaker or mic is visible, the panel is correctly placed.
Panels can be placed together on the back and front walls to treat key areas, or spread out to break up and soften larger reflective areas. Place acoustic panels behind monitors to treat feedback, and stand or hang them in corners to absorb bounce. Decrease flutter echo with panels on the rear side walls too. It isn’t necessary, however, to cover all the walls to improve the sound quality.
To decrease slap-echo and reflection between the floor and ceiling it is recommended that acoustic absorbing panels be ceiling mounted to the sides of the recording or mixing positions. Additionally, a 12” thick cloud or hanging panel should be suspended directly above where recording or mixing occurs. Adding more panels to break up large reflective surfaces between listening and speaker positions further helps reduce bounce and echo.
Controlling reverb, echo, and bounce with homemade acoustic panels can save hundreds or thousands of dollars. The difference between many professionally built panels and those of the DIYer tends to be the quality of construction and finish.
Breaking up flat reflective surfaces with sound absorbent, densely filled acoustic panels finished in your choice of fabric is a great way to improve your listening or recording pleasure. Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or a newbie, hopefully, you’ve found some helpful suggestions and ideas for tackling your noise problem.