I recently moved to a different teaching studio room. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have nearly as much acoustic foam as my previous room, its louder with more echo. I’m looking for recommendations for sound panels to help. I know there’s tons of DIY videos on YouTube, but given the time it would take to build 5 of them, it may not be as cost efficient. Room is roughly 10’x9’x12’ (yes 12’ tall!). If anyone has ideas or products they like, I’d love to hear it (yo @gquarrie!).
Wow! Nice big room for teaching Dave. If no carpet, an area rug on the floor should help, especially since it will be difficult to treat your upper walls and ceilings given the 12 foot height. I once hung up some smaller, attractive area rugs on my walls, sort of like modern tapestries. They yielded good sound absorbing results. Heavy, porus and squishy is what you want for any improvised sound absorption.
If you hang a largish rug with an inch and a half gap between it and the wall, you will get the added advantage of it functioning as a bass trap, which will smooth out the room’s frequency response. It should hang loosely without a frame. See corner bass trap info below.
You will get the most bang for your buck if you place your chosen sound absorbing materials in a staggered fashion (each sound absorbing panel opposite a blank space on the opposite wall). This helps to eliminate the strongest resonances while saving on materials and not sucking all of the life out of a room. Also put your initial sound absorption at ear height for addinal bang for the buck.
A squishy chair can help to absorb excessive reverb as can having a second human in the room (for instance your student). You can start with some basic absorption and add more as time and budget allow. If you do it all at once you may go too far anyway. Leaving your sax case open can help absorb a small amount of reverb.
You will likely improve the quality of the reverberation by diffusing the sound. Reverb diffusion can be accomplished by introducing some furniture, a bookshelf with stuff on the shelves, instrument cases, three dimensional wall art, plants etc. into the room.
If the room generally sounds unpleasant you may want to place squishy dense stuff in some of the corners where wall meets wall or wall meets floor or ceiling. These corner bass traps as they are called can really help to smooth out a small room’s frequency response. Most teaching studios can benefit from some bass trapping due to their relatively small size.
Some good sound absorbing materials are terry cloth towels in multiple layers, slightly compressed fiberglass insulation, stuffed animals, squishy furniture, carpets, pillows and cushions.
You can place these soft items in milk crates and stack them as high as you like in the corners and drape them with a table cloth to improve their appearance. The open lattice of the milk crates allows the sound to penetrate the squishy stuff. These towers (short or tall) can also function as surfaces on which to place books, reeds or your Charlie’s Angels lunch box. They can be arranged side by side in artful terraced arrangements. Very shabby sheik… Call me if you want me to come take a look at and listen to the space. Happy for your new studio!
I got a foam mattress pad covers, cut it to size and put in the window of my man cave / practice room. I then covered it with one of those black out curtains. The room is fairly close to my neighbors and didn’t want to disturb them. I thought about getting another mattress pad and covering them with some fabric to make sound absorbing panels.
I had a projector and a surround sound system in there too, to watch movies but the bulb went out in the projector.