Acoustic foam - any good experiences

Mn02

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I just finished off a room in my basement that is going to be my home office / drum room. It basically a 13’x16’ echo chamber. I am not looking for sound proofing just echo and ring control. Anyone had good experience using acoustic foam and if so, which brand? Thanks.
 

Trey Gray

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Good morning! I've been doing something a little bit more "vibey" to rooms that need a little softening up. Here's a pic of my office at the school where I'm the "Artist in Residency"....cheap rugs that I can take when I leave...good luck to you!

Cheers and blessings, Trey

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Matched Gripper

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I just finished off a room in my basement that is going to be my home office / drum room. It basically a 13’x16’ echo chamber. I am not looking for sound proofing just echo and ring control. Anyone had good experience using acoustic foam and if so, which brand? Thanks.
If you’re not concerned with sound proofing, ear muffs or ear plugs are a viable solution.
 

drummingbulldog

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Auralex foam works well. Best thing is to attach the panels in a non-permanent way. No glue unless you like the idea of scraping foam residue & repainting. If you go with foam I suggest doing it halfway and see if it's enough. I did a complete floor to ceiling once & didn't like it all. Too dead 1970s sound. My new home has it to approximately half covered & it works well. It does work. It's easy to go overboard. You could go with diy acoustic panels too. Cheaper than foam for sure. There are tons of options.
 

bconrad

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Rugs, foam, etc. will tame room reflections but bass traps are generally a good first start. I wouldn’t rely on foam for corner traps, though, but it probably won’t hurt. If you can afford true bass traps and absorbers, that would be ideal.

Here is what you are looking for: https://www.gikacoustics.com/product-category/bass-traps/
 

bob

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mine isn't as fancy as , trey's i hung moving blankets on the walls
my room has a dropped down acoustic ceiling and i have r-20 insulation above that
big area of the floor has carpet .... it's a pretty dead room for sure
here's a couple pics. good luck with what you decide
 

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Cauldronics

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Acoustic foam makes great packing material when you ship drums or recording gear, but only if you get it for free. Like another reply said, rockwool or compressed fiberglass (Owens Corning 705 or 705) are far more effective.
 
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Beefsurgeon

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Rugs, foam, etc. will tame room reflections but bass traps are generally a good first start. I wouldn’t rely on foam for corner traps, though, but it probably won’t hurt. If you can afford true bass traps and absorbers, that would be ideal.

Here is what you are looking for: https://www.gikacoustics.com/product-category/bass-traps/
I agree with others that foam won't cut it. It'll tame the cymbals and snare brightness, but it won't absorb low frequencies too well. It may leave the toms and kick sounding quite tubby. Rockwool panels and bass traps will even things out better.

GIK stuff is great. It's not the cheapest (and shipping can be $$$) but it's the gold standard and hold its value. If there is anyone local to you who makes panels, that can be a great option as well. If you're in the mood for a project, diy is very cost effective and there is a lot of information available online. Another option might be your local craigslist--I've been able to pick up some pretty good deals (search "panels" in the musical instruments section).

Room treatment really can make a world of difference. I spent an embarrassingly long time trying to get my toms to sound good before I caught on.
 

EyeByTwoMuchGeer

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Acoustic foam is not totally useless, but you have to accept it for what it is. For practice, it can certainly help make your room more controlled and "quieter" when you are inside, playing or listening to music. However, if you want to record anything, you will be in for a world of trouble.


First off, the FoamByMail site has sound profiles for all of its foam products. That should help you get an idea of what to expect. Long story short - the best stuff is 4" Wedge Foam. It will kill most of your higher frequencies. Basically anything above 1000Hz will really be tamed. But for drums, that isn't exactly ideal for two reasons. One, you don't cut down on anything really below 1000Hz, which is where all of the boxy frequencies live, like 300-400Hz. The BIGGEST problem is that none of the bass frequencies are absorbed. And Two - you end up making those sub 1000Hz frequencies even more problematic because now you've enriched them relative to the other frequencies the foam removed.

I was fortunate to come by a large quantity of 4" Wedge foam for, essentially, free, so I plastered almost half of my studio wallspace with that. The results are quite striking and very apparent when only practicing. Your bass drums and toms sound a lot bigger and the high shrill stuff is really tamed. But, when you go to record something, your low end and reverberations are all over the place. I performed a crude RoomEQ analysis from my drum throne and will post the results as soon as I can get back into my studio. Its pretty great, considering that it mirrors almost the 4" Wedge Foam chart of frequency absorbance. And by "great" I mean that the foam seemed to absorb exactly how it was supposed to - all the highs were gone and a ton of low end remains.

I'm planning on converting my space to cover tracking duties as well as practice. I'd very much second the GIK recommendations for sound treatment if that is a route you're willing to take.
 

Mn02

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Thanks all. This is helpful info. Fortunately, I am not looking to record. I am mostly just looking to get the room sounding good for practice and my own personal enjoyment.
 

TPC

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I would second the DIY rockwool panels. I bought some 8x4x1/8” wood panels, a big pack of 3” rockwool, and some canvas fabric. Cut it up to a bunch of 2X4 panels and stapled the rockwool inside the canvas. The panels work well and cost A LOT less than the equivalent foam.
 

GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

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Acoustic foam definitely isn't useless, but I think people have different expectations of it and are let down when it doesn't achieve their goals. My drums were set up in a pretty echoey room (in my townhouse) that was giving me a lot of high frequencies and boomy echo. I didn't use a ton of the stuff, but with strategic placement of wedges and mini corner traps I was able to seriously tame the echo and high frequencies. While it doesn't provide sound-proofing, it did help to reduce the frequencies that most bothered my family and neighbours. I'll be moving to a detached house with a dedicated music room (yippee!), and plan on bringing the foam with me to reuse for better acoustics. It's easy enough to put up with a staple gun, and was easy to remove. I used this stuff:


 

drums1225

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When I was considering how to tighten up the sound in my studio, I looked into Auralex acoustic foam. The first Google search I did on acoustic treatment revealed that not only is acoustic foam far more expensive than rigid fiberglass or Rockwool, it's less effective.

I built 2'x4' frames out of 1x3 pine boards from Home Depot, stuffed them with 2" thick Owens Corning 703 rigid fiberglass insulation, which comes in 2'x4' sheets, and wrapped them in fabric from JoAnn Fabrics. Each one cost about $20 to make. Some companies sell them for $200 each.

Don't buy acoustic (insulation) materials from an acoustic company, but rather a building supply. Acoustics companies charge almost twice as much. I believe I paid $94 for 12pcs at Kamco Building Supply, when the acoustic sites sell 6 pcs for around that.
 
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cashmanbashman

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Here are a few pics of what I have done in a very large bedroom. The foam is behind the 2 kits That face each other and then some 12x12 pieces on the ceiling above the drums only. I tried a rug on the wall and it worked well to. The larger ones came in 2 packs for around $40 on Amazon. There 2 inch thick panels. I changed the entire sound dynamic for under $200.
 

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owr

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Seems like this conversation comes up every other week, so some searching will lead you to some good discussions. I'm not an expert, but am a few years ahead of you on building out my own room. The dichotomy between the folks saying "foam sucks" vs. "I did my room up in foam and it changed significantly" is that both are right. Covering your walls/ceilings with foam will soften up an extremely bright room, but it mostly just tames the highs. It seems like its doing a lot to the naked ear. but its not taming the low end resonances at all. So you can end up with a less bright but muddy sounding room. To tame the low end too you need mass, there's no escaping it.

I started my 8' x 10' room with Auralex corner bass traps. They were better than nothing, but once I replaced them with proper GIK tri-traps the difference was readily apparent. When I added in my own 4" deep panels on the walls at key reflection points it really brought the room around. Right now I'm just fighting resonances off the untreated ceiling, they make every pair of hi hats I have sound harsh and metallic. I just got some panels from GIK for this last spot, can't waiting to get them hung.
 

Cauldronics

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Seems like this conversation comes up every other week, so some searching will lead you to some good discussions. I'm not an expert, but am a few years ahead of you on building out my own room. The dichotomy between the folks saying "foam sucks" vs. "I did my room up in foam and it changed significantly" is that both are right. Covering your walls/ceilings with foam will soften up an extremely bright room, but it mostly just tames the highs. It seems like its doing a lot to the naked ear. but its not taming the low end resonances at all. So you can end up with a less bright but muddy sounding room. To tame the low end too you need mass, there's no escaping it.

I started my 8' x 10' room with Auralex corner bass traps. They were better than nothing, but once I replaced them with proper GIK tri-traps the difference was readily apparent. When I added in my own 4" deep panels on the walls at key reflection points it really brought the room around. Right now I'm just fighting resonances off the untreated ceiling, they make every pair of hi hats I have sound harsh and metallic. I just got some panels from GIK for this last spot, can't waiting to get them hung.
To me, the whole point is, if you’re going to spend money on foam when there’s another material that’s far more effective for about the same price (if you go about it wisely), there’s no reason to bother getting foam.

Maybe there are too many fine points to the conversation and people are looking for a quick answer, but it’s a little more involved than that. Not much, but a little.
 
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Tornado

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Mineral wool / Rockwool is really fantastic stuff. It's virtually identical to the Corning 703 in absorption characteristics, at a fraction of the price. The downside is that it's more difficult to work with. If you're handy, you'll have a much better sounding room using rockwool in covered frames at a lower price than acoustic foam.

 

hsosdrum

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There is one factor in the "foam vs. home-made w/rockwool or fiberglass" debate that hasn't been discussed: Time. My time is worth a great deal to me, and buying and installing quality acoustic foam takes MUCH less of my time than would constructing my own absorber panels. That's why I use foam.

Remember: If you spend money you can always earn more; once you spend time you can never get it back.
 


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