Your space must be acoustically complete to produce beautiful music. One of the ways that you can heighten the sound you want is by incorporating bass traps. These little traps are the secret ingredient to the perfection you crave.
Thankfully, using cost-effective, DIY methods, you can make these traps for less.
Understanding Bass Traps
Before you head to your local hardware store ready to create your masterpiece, you need to understand what a bass trap is and what it can do for you. The main goal of these traps is to absorb acoustic energy. Then, they take the low-frequency sound energy they collect and dampens it. The energy is then turned into heat using friction.
When it comes to recording studios and other places where the environment is vital for listening and recording, the goal is to reduce low-frequency resonances to produce the best sound. There are many methods that you can use to accomplish this, but the bass trap is by far the most cost-effective.
When exploring designs, you will find bass traps are either porous or resonant. From there, you will find subcategories of Helmholtz resonators and panel absorbs, which might sound confusing. Either style is instrumental, although they have a vastly different way they work.
The porous ones are crafted from materials such as cell foam, fiberglass, or wool. The Helmholtz resonators are much like a guitar. There is an open hole where the sound is amplified, so they are made from wood and contain either air or gas.
They must also be tuned mechanically to resonate at the proper frequency. The porous ones don’t need to be tuned as they don’t have the power to resonate like the Helmholtz.
DIY Bass Trap Material List
You need to create a blueprint for this job, which will include how many traps you need and their size. The dimensions will be designed for your specific space, and they are not universal. However, the materials and tools are the same for the job. The tools needed are as follows:
•Power Stapler Gun
Materials needed are as follows:
• Wood – Plywood Works Best and is Cost-Effective
• Plastic Mesh
• Fabric Material for Insulation
You may already have many of these supplies on hand. You should always pull from your reserves to save money. Additionally, the material needs will increase depending upon the number of traps you wish to create.
How to Make Bass Traps
The hardest part of the project is trying to cut the wood and put together the frame. It’s better to get the most challenging part out of the way first. Here are the steps to creating the perfect bass trap:
Step 1: Make Wood Cuts
Using your blueprints, cut the wood to the appropriate size. You can either create a triangle-shaped box or one that is panel styled. Both styles will serve the same purpose.
Step 2: Design the Frame
Use the wood to make a frame.
Step 3: Fill the Box with Insulation
Stuff the frame with insulation. If you use cellulose, then you will also need some mesh to keep it inside the box.
Step 4: Wrap the Fabric Around Box
Use the fabric you select and wrap the trap. You want to ensure you pull it tight, so there is no puckering or wrinkles that can affect its performance.
While these instructions are simplified a bit, you may need to improvise based on the number you create and any obstacles you run into along the way. Keep your plans handy, so you can create replacement or new boxes with the same dimensions if necessary.
Make Triangular Bass Traps
While the shape of the wood you cut is different, the steps involved in creating the panel and triangular bass traps are very similar. The size, shape, and number of panels you cut are different depending on the style you select. First, here are the steps for the triangle bass traps.
Step 1: Devise a Plan – Create the Blueprint
You only need fundamental skills to create these boxes, so don’t feel that you don’t have adequate experience. Start with a sketch/blueprint that shows what the desired trap should look like. Notate the dimensions of the wood panels and how many parts you need to cut. You can quickly figure the costs while creating your blueprints.
Step 2: Making the Cuts
Cutting the wood can be challenging, especially if you are not accustomed to this type of work. However, by the time you make one box, you will be a master. If you are going to make the triangular size trap, then you will need to have two walls. Additionally, you will have to make a triangle frame for the bottom and one for the top.
Step 3: Assembling the Frame
Before you put the Gorilla Glue on the wood, it makes things easier to get the end of the wood wet. Plywood is a little thin, so you can use staples to put it together. If you choose a thicker wood, then you should use screws to hold the frame together.
Regardless of what you use, you want the frames to be nice and tight.
Step 4: Insulating the Trap
There are many types of insulation that you can use to create these traps. Some of the insulation are more cooperative than the others. Cellulose is a tricky substance to work with, and if you decide to use it, then you will need a plastic mesh to keep it in place.
Step 5: Upholstering the Frame
Now, it’s time to install the fabric. You want to choose one that is going to be sound-transparent as well as breathable. If you have the wrong type on your box, then the trap won’t work as it should.
The fabric should be cut using the blueprint dimension, with an additional amount added so you can staple it tightly. While you don’t have to wrap the entire box, it will make the final product look better.
You may need to enlist the help of another person to get the fabric right. Spray adhesive is a great option to help wrap the trap. It will also allow you to have an exceptional finished product. You can use staples to secure the fabric once it’s glued down.
Making Panel Bass Traps
The simplest of the forms is the panel traps, as there are no triangles to create. Their basic style is perfect for the beginning do-it-yourself master. Even though these are easy to make, you still need a good plan to pull off this project seamlessly.
Step 1: Drafting the Blueprints
To build the wood frame, you will need four pieces of the wood of your choice. Additionally, you will need two insulation panels. Choose your insulation material wisely. The best insulation for sound absorption is fiberglass, and it’s a cost-effective material too.
Step 2: Make the Wood Cuts
With these bass traps, your dimension is the same size as the fiberglass panels. You can make your woodcuts based on these sizes.
Step 3: Assembling the Frame
It’s best to pre-drill pilot holes before assembling the frame. Use your drill and screws to pull everything together. Screws work best because they keep things nice and tight, and the pre-drilled holes keep the shell from becoming damaged during the insulation process.
Step 4: Upholstering the Trap
The final part is to put the upholstery on the outside of the box. Using spray adhesive and Gorilla Glue can help you to secure all the edges. Also, using staples is useful to help everything in place.
DIY Bass Traps Are Amazing
It’s not time-consuming or difficult to build a bass trap. The key is having a good plan and making sure that you get the measurements correct. Sure, you can purchase these traps, but you won’t have the pride that comes with knowing you created something with your hands.
As with most projects, it’s very cost-effective to build these boxes from scratch. It’s best if you have some basic knowledge of carpentry and some tools at your disposal. If you need to purchase gear, it can certainly increase the overall price of making these traps.
Alas, having a good supply of tools is something you can use now and in the future. Plus, there are many places where you can find amazing prices to help build your supply. Bass traps are an essential part of enhancing sound quality when recording music.
Sure, there will always be some sounds that penetrate a room, but blocking out as much noise as possible gives better quality to your recordings. So gather your tools and get ready to work. It’s time to craft some bass traps to show off your carpentry skills, you can take your music to the next level.