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Why Do I Need Bass Traps?

Today’s blog is very brief in length; however it is an extremely important subject, that is the subject of bass trapping.  Bass trapping is an area of acoustic treatment that often gets left out or neglected when people are planning acoustic treatment.  Bass trapping is an extremely important aspect of any room whether you are building a studio, control room or listening room.  The only time bass trapping doesn’t need to be considered is when you are building a vocal booth or treating offices.  Even thoughbass traps are required for so many applications it is still surprising how often people purchase acoustic tiles but don’t bother with bass trapping.  Installing bass trapping in a room is not a complicated process; it’s not difficult to find the correct locations to place bass trapping

Firstly let’s look at the purpose of a bass trap.  Low end energy, bass, are long and strong frequencies.  These frequencies build up along the room boundaries and then congregate in the corners.  Sound can be 6-18dB louder in a corner than in any other part of the room.  So by installing acoustic foam in these areas is a great place to start when it comes to treatment.  We also mentioned that these frequencies are strong and long so this means a lot of mass and depth is required in order to reduce it.  When you create a source such as through your monitors you are creating energy which is bouncing around the room and building up.  To be able to get rid of this energy you need to put some form of resistance in the way.  Bass traps placed in the corners of the room where the buildup of energy is at its strongest will convert the energy you have created which is motion and convert it to another energy which is heat.  This is the First Law of Thermodynamics at work right here in your studio.  Now there is no need to be concerned when we say that sound is converted to heat.  The amount of heat created is minute so you aren’t going to be placing bass traps in corners that will then turn into radiators.

Because low frequencies are long and strong even our thickest acoustic tiles such as the Multi Wave and 4” Tegular Acoustic Tiles are going to have very little impact on the treatment of bass energy.  Acoustic tiles are only really effective at the lower midrange upwards.  This is because the tiles are thin in comparison to bass traps and so can only absorb shorter sound waves.  This means that if only acoustic tiles are installed in a room there is nothing in place to control the longer, stronger waves.

So where do we place them? These bass traps should be placed anywhere that two or three boundaries meet.    So the first area to start is what we call the Tri-Corner.  This is where the walls and the ceiling all meet together.  Treatment of this area is so important that we have even put together kits that allow you to treat these corners effectively.  Our bass trap corner kits come with all you need to treat a Tri-Corner.  The next area is where two boundaries come together, so this would be the vertical and horizontal corners.  So depending on where you have your door or windows placed you will have 4 vertical corners, where 2 walls come to meet.  You will also have the horizontal corners, where the wall and ceiling meet and where the wall and floor meet.  Treatment of all these corners with bass traps such as the Quadrant Bass Traps, making best use of the space and budget available will drastically improve room acoustics.

With these bass traps installed you will now find that peaks are brought under control and reduced and valleys are increased because an interfering wave has been removed.  Bass traps do not just absorb the low-end frequencies in your room. They also help to better define the low frequencies making them easier to control and recognize. This in turn helps you to achieve better results in your recordings. If a person is having trouble with the music sounding good in the studio but terrible in another room he or she needs bass traps. The situation just mentioned is a common problem and can easily be solved with the use of bass traps. These are not expensive and it is not necessary to fill a room with them. With correct installation in the right places low-end frequencies are tighten and excessive colouration is removed.