Take the 2-minute tour ×
Sound Design Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for sound engineers, producers, editors, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have built a vocal booth for my own studio and plan to line it with acoustic studio foam (a.k.a., "egg-crate foam"). However, acoustic foam is very expensive (http://www.amazon.com/Acoustic-Foam-1-1-24-18/dp/B0002ZPLPC/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1381863674&sr=8-6&keywords=studio+foam) and can cost hundreds of dollars to fill a 140 sq. ft booth.

Are there appropriate and cheap alternatives to studio foam? If you think the cost of studio foam is justified, please explain why.

share|improve this question
add comment

migrated from avp.stackexchange.com Jan 27 at 15:04

This question came from our site for engineers, producers, editors, and enthusiasts spanning the fields of video, and media creation.

4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The point of sound absorbing foams is that they a) have lots of air spaces and b) have angles that divert sound. The second part is relatively easy, but making sure to get consistent sound absorbing characteristics of the appropriate type of foam, along with the appropriate amount and size of air spaces and an acceptable level of durability does make it relatively costly to make.

Honestly, properly preparing a studio space can easily cost several grand in materials to do properly, so a couple hundred bucks is already pretty cheap. There are budget alternatives, but they aren't generally that much cheaper and can be more difficult and time consuming to work with.

Acoustic foam is a) relatively easy to work with, b) produces consistent results and c) is reasonably durable. That makes it worth the price in my opinion.

Heavy blankets and/or fiberglass can do the job too, but both have their own challenges. (Blankets can be pricy and heavy by the time you have enough of them, fiberglass is messy and can't be as easily removed.)

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks a lot for your answer. Though I know it wasn't a part of my question, do you have thoughts on the difference between 1.5inch thick foam vs. 2.5 or 3? The price significantly changes with thickness –  mcranston18 Oct 15 '13 at 21:44
    
@mcranston18 - unfortunately I do not. I can tell you that the thicker it is, the more it is going to dampen, but I really don't have a lot of direct experience with it because I haven't had the chance to build my own studio yet, only work with others, so I don't know the before and after. –  AJ Henderson Oct 16 '13 at 0:58
add comment

There are no "truly cheap" solutions to sound treatment, I'm afraid - unless one has access to free materials.

I'm in the similar situation as you are, and what I usually do is DIY some sound absorbing panels. Size depends on your situation. If you want a universal, reusable solution, then build some 24" x 48" x 4" panels and fill them with fiberglass or wool-based sound absorber.

You can then stand or hang these panels as needed.

You'll need:

  • some wood and L-brackets to build the panel's frame;
  • sound absorbing material (Roxul Safe-n-Sound 23x47 will do just fine, get them from Home Depot/Loews) to fill it up;
  • some sound-transparent fabric to stretch and staple over the frame. Fabric serves to stop fibers from flying off to your place; and also as a decorum. In a pinch, cheap burlap works fine - just make sure the one you chose does not produce some bad smell (it happens!)
share|improve this answer
add comment

For vocal work, they (most music stores) have a product that wraps half-way around the mic. I have used them myself, and they work very well.

They cost a bit, but are substantially cheaper than treating an entire room.

share|improve this answer
    
Voxgaurd makes one. sE Electronics makes one called "Reflexion Filter". Couple that with a noise reduction plug-in like Waves W43 and you've got a really good solution. –  Don Nickel Oct 15 '13 at 19:57
add comment

The expensive foam has a better fire rating and is designed for commercial facilities that need to meet fire code and insurance requirements. The house brand of foam items at www.markertek.com do not have as good a fire rating, but they are very affordable. They have sheet egg crate, blade tiles, and bass traps. I have no affiliation other than being a satisfied customer.

Don't cover the whole room. Do some googling on acoustic room treatment. I have some sheet egg crate behind my speakers to kill reflections, some blade tiles on the opposite wall to break up reflections, and bass traps in the rear corners. There's about 85% of the original walls exposed, and I have a nice clean listening environment.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.