Welcome to Acoustic Frontiers Blog

Creating a system you love shouldn't be difficult. The Acoustic Frontiers blog is here to help.

Acoustic absorber panels - buy or DIY?

by ct_acoustic_frontier July 06, 2022

Introduction

This blog article is the first in a series looking into the DIY potential of acoustic treatment. Today we are discussing acoustic absorber panels, typically just referred to by the shorthand 'acoustic panels'. They are also known as acoustical panels or sound absorber panels but whatever they are called they are definitely the most straightforward to build and therefore the most suitable for DIY. For a survey of commercial products and the differences between them read this article: Acoustic Panels - a Manufacturer survey. If we are going to understand the ease of contructing an acoustic panel the first thing we should do is understand how they are made, so let's take a look at the materials and how they are used in the panel construction.

Inside an acoustic absorber panel

Acoustic panels have three main construction elements:
  • A core which does the 'work' of converting sound waves into heat and therefore providing the acoustic absorption. The core is typically made of compressed fiberglass but rockwool or acoustical cotton can also be used. Foam is also a potential core material although it is only around 50% as effective an absorber as fiberglass so the thicknesses need to be roughly twice those of an equivalent fiberglass panel.
  • A fabric covering which provides two functions: firstly it keeps the core elements from becoming airborne and becoming a potential health hazard and secondly it allows for a nice aesthetic finish in a choice of colors and textures
  • A structural element which provides stiffness to the core and allows the fabric to be fixed solidly. Some commercial manufacturers use a resin on the corners which dries hard, others a wood or metal frame around the core.
The actual assembly is also simple. The core is reinforced by the structral element and wrapped in fabric. That's really all there is to it!

Buy or DIY?

Now that we've understood the construction let's take a look at the pros and cons of making a DIY acoustic panel vs. buying one. Pros:
  • The 'idea' of money saving - that it is cheaper to do it yourself rather than paying for someone else's time and profit.
  • You can DIY a product that is just as acoustically effective as a commercial product.
  • Potential to build into the room as an architectural element such as a coiffered ceiling or framed element.
Cons:
  • Low cost of commercial products makes DIY less attractive. If a commercial product is priced keenly, as many of them are, the time it takes you or I to source the materials and assemble them makes DIYing less of a money saver. Of course many of us DIY not for money saving but for the excitement of having a project completed!
  • Wood is generally used as the structural element in DIY products making the panels heavy and visually intrusive. Commercial products can have mitered or beveled edges to reduce the visual bulk of a 3"+ absorber panel.
What do you think readers? Buy or DIY?



ct_acoustic_frontier
ct_acoustic_frontier

Author



Also in Blog Articles

Room Correction: A Primer

by Nyal Mellor July 28, 2022 0 Comments

Much confusion still exists about what a room correction product does, what problems it can (and cannot) solve and therefore its 'place' in a modern high quality sound reproduction system. Part of the challenge of understanding room correction is that it requires a reasonable level of understanding of sound quality, acoustic science, acoustic measurement and psychoacoustics (how humans perceive sound). The majority of the articles I have read online or in print magazines do not cover the fundamentals in enough depth to allow the curious and committed reader a chance to understand room correction on anything more than a cursory level. By the end of this article I hope that you will have learnt enough to judge for yourself what room correction can and cannot do and how best to apply it in the context of a world class music or home theater system.

Continue Reading

Acoustic Frontiers Blog

by Shopify API July 19, 2022 0 Comments

Continue Reading

We are giving away $1800 in free services!

by ct_acoustic_frontier July 06, 2022 0 Comments

Continue Reading

Contact Us About This Product

video-design

Nyal Mellor, Founder, Acoustic Frontiers

  • (415) 524-8741
  • Serving USA & Canada
  • Fairfax, Northern California, USA

ask us a question about this product