Following on from the previous posts about building acoustic treatment I’m going to walk through the creation of the panels I made to hang from the ceiling walls and doors of my living-room studio.
First I made and installed three panels as clouds, hanging above the mixing console and speakers. To make things easy I made each one the same size as a slab of insulation which is 120cm x 60cm and 10cm thick.
Step one was to make 120cmx60cm squares using wood. For this I used reclaimed pallet wood and joined the butts together using wood glue and staples.
Next I stapled a roughly cut 120cm x 60cm bed-sheet onto the back of the frame and placed that on top of my slab of insulation (Pictured upside down here so you can see the fabric stapled to the frame).
To square off the edges on the front of the panel I used some pine edging strips 18mm wide and 10mm thick. I made a frame 120cm x 60cm again using the edging. I then used some 2 x 2 cut to 100mm lengths to attach the thinner front frame to the thicker back frame of the panel. I screwed and glued this into place with the insulation slab inside.
Then I simply stretched my coloured fabric over the whole thing and stapled it to the back of the panel. How lovely and satisfying.
The real challenge was hanging three of these things from the ceiling. I had originally intended to use “Toggle Bolts” which ago through the plasterboard then spring out and spread the weight. I wasn’t worried about the plasterboard holding the bolt but I was worried about the nails holding the plaster board into the ceiling and the entire board coming crashing down on all my gear! Instead of risking disaster I decided to fix two wooden beams into the ceiling joists and hang the panels from them. I quick internet search found an ingenious way of finding the joists in the ceiling.
I purchased a Rare Earth Magnet from Maplin. Rare earth magnets are extremely powerful. Moving it around a wall or ceiling, it will be attracted to the screws that hold the plasterbaord to the joists and when it finds one it will stick to it. In this way you can mark out where all the screws are that enter the joists. I varnished some long 5cm x 5cm pieces of wood and screwed those across the joists using some huge screws. I glad to say all of them hit the mark. I then screwed some heavy duty cup holders into the wooden beams at carefully spaced intervals. The were four hooks per panel. I used eye hooks screwed into the frames on the backs of the panels to secure top to and hook on the the beams. The rope could then be adjusted to get the panels even and straight.
Door Hanging Panel
Because of the layout of my living room I have to hang some absorbers form my doors. Both sit in reflection zones. The construction of the panels was exactly the same as that for the clouds above, only this time I used two thirds the length of insulation as the panel would have to stop where the door handle was. This means my door panels are 90cm x 60cm x 10cm. And they’re green instead of white. Rather than attach them to the doors i purchased some door hook brackets from BnQ. I attached these to the frame on the back of the panels and then they just hook over the top of the door. The great thing about this is that I can easily move them if I want a more reflective room sound when recording.
Wall Hanging Panel
Using the same construction as before I made a large panel for the back wall of the room. This is about 5-6metres away form the listening position but still warrants some treatment. If I had not planned to be recording acoustic instruments in the room I’d have gone for a diffuser, but with the room being so small I decided that it would be difficult to get a decent distance away from the diffusors reflections. To make this one look nice I covered it with an india drape. It has lots of hard shiny things stuck to it and so will give some life to the high-end of things because at this stage I was running the risk of making the room too dry and unnatural sounding. This one was 150cm x 100cm x 10cm so required a lot of cutting and faffing about with insulation slabs.
Free Standing Panel
Finally I decided to make a free-standing movable absorber with my left-over insulation. I made exactly the same panel as I had done for the clouds and made some wooden legs for it to sit in. The panel can be positioned horizontally or vertically as the legs are not attached to the panel. It can be covered with a drape to make it look nice.
I’m going to make some more of these soon because they’re incredibly useful for altering acoustics for different recording scenarios and will stop all of my living-room recordings always being the same.
That just about completes my studio for the time being. Once I’ve put some rubber feet on my speaker stands I’ll be running some tests and publishing the results so please check back soon!