How-To: Low Cost Acoustic Wall Panels

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How-To: Low Cost Acoustic Wall Panels

This article from seasoned acoustical engineer Eric Wolfram of may be short on flashy pictures, but it is long on technical info and great practical advice from someone who obviously knows his business.

Pricing for manufactured, two-inch thick, fabric-wrapped fiberglass sound absorption panels is usually $6 to $8 per square foot. I have seen sound absorption panels priced as high as $12.25 per square foot! Given the large square foot area that needs to be covered to achieve a suitable home theater acoustic, this falls well outside of the average consumer’s budget.

I may annoy a few people by telling you this, but equivalently-performing sound absorption panels can be home-built for MUCH less. What follows are explanations, instructions, and specifications for how to build your own sound absorption panels.

Eric goes on to explain how to select and source the sound absorbing core material, how to build the wooden frame, how to select and install a sound-transparent fabric wrap, and how to mount the panels to ceilings or walls. [Thanks, Billy Baque!]


12 thoughts on “How-To: Low Cost Acoustic Wall Panels

  1. Adam W Young says:

    This article would be helpful if it actually linked you to the instructions or something.

    Edit: I see now that it was linked to, but it wasn’t abundantly clear. “So and so of” – didn’t know to click the to bring up a specific blog post.

    In anycase, thanks!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Whatever you do, *don’t* cheap out and use urethane foam glued to the walls (Google for “Station nightclub”). It’s flammable and releases toxic gasses when burned. Spend the extra money, be safe and do your soundproofing right.

    1. Eric Wolfram says:

      Yeah, that’s a major tragedy.  I wonder if that contributes to the generally reverberant and echoic conditions in most bars and clubs now..  The material options specified in the article are all non-flammable and safe.

  3. Tim Kemp says:

    Outside of anechoic chambers, the most acoustically dead space I’ve ever been in was a file room I cleaned when I worked as a janitor.  I’ve often thought that stacked strips of old newspapers treated with borax would be wonderful for sound deadening a space.  It would also be much cheaper than even the least expensive of the solutions shown here.

  4. Eric Wolfram says:

    Thanks for posting this Makezine!  Why you don’t like my photos? :)

  5. andrewmatthew807 says:

    In my opinion, the Commercial & Corporate settings have specific acoustical requirements in order for the space to be most soundproof. And spaces like Call centers, Computer and server room, Conference rooms and offices will definitely benefit from acoustic sound panels. But my point is, do you think these cheap panels are capable of addressing all needs of places like these?

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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