Can I substitute 2" Auralex foam for bass traps?

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Music Afficionado
Member Since: Aug 12, 2008

Finally getting ready to set up the new studio (I appreciate everyones advice so far) and would like to know if I can place the standard Auralex 2" foam in the corners instead of actual bass traps. Budget is tight and I have plenty of foam - both in the 1 sq. ft types and several 2'x4'. Bass traps seem to be pretty damn expensive so I was curious as to how much I need them. My follow up would be, if I use the foam I already have initially, should I be looking to upgrade to true bass traps with my next paycheck? Thanks guys.

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MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
Since: Aug 05, 2008

Nov 14, 2008 02:02 pm

Most definitely, broadband traps. Foam isn't capable. I've yet to be in a room that needed more than a sheet or two of foam.

A lot of people think that I "diss" Auralex - And that's totally not the case. Auralex is fantastic stuff, cheap as hell for good acoustic foam, etc., etc.

But it will not - will NOT help with the low end (which is 95% of ANY room's problems, almost no matter what the situation).

Always, ALWAYS handle the low end FIRST - And you'll probably find you don't need *any* foam at all.

Foam will generally make an improperly treated space considerably worse than if there were no foam at all.

It's incredibly easy to "over-foam" a room -- Contrarily, it's nearly impossible to have too much broadband trapping in a room. Can't stress it enough. I have 29 traps in this room and I'm "pretty happy" with it. I'd put in 29 more if I had the space.

Foam in the corners allows the 'real' problems (the lows and lower mids) to take over. It's like killing off bacteria and allowing crap to build up. Get rid of the crap and you get rid of the bacteria too.

Music Afficionado
Since: Aug 12, 2008

Nov 14, 2008 02:41 pm

Understood. I suppose I will just have to auction off my wife this weekend, so I'll just blame you! Seriously though, thanks for the well thought out advice (as usual). I am really trying to do this one right from the beginning and if that means having some short term credit card debt, so be it. Have a great weekend.

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Nov 14, 2008 02:58 pm

I suppose I will just have to auction off my wife this weekend

All-RIGHT! Does she like to fish? Does she own a boat.

Wait a minute, I don't think current missus would cotton to that.

er, anyway, you could look into making your own basstraps. It's been done quite often, with pretty good results.

I'm glad you answered this MM, I was thinking along the same lines, but didn't have any empirical data to back it up.

MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
Since: Aug 05, 2008

Nov 15, 2008 12:25 am

Heh... The only empirical data I have is from my PhD in spending *twice* to get the job done.

I've foamed up a room or two in my time, I've used bad nearfields as mains, I bought "flavor of the month" LDC's for vocal use before a wise, seasoned recording veteran introduced me to my first SM7 and RE20's.

But seriously - Two things are more important than anything else -- The speakers and the room.

You *can* go cheap -- Bags of R32, left right in the bag, shoved into the corners. Pretty effective, somewhat easily covered (a few 1x4's with a bevel cut every few feet and then staple up some burlap to hide the mess). But even just recently (within the last years or so) I've altered my tune on corner trapping -- I had GIK 244's in the corners until recently when I switched to their Tri-Traps. The difference is dramatic - I'm now convinced that "stuffing" the corners (the Tri-Traps use rigid 703 "corner cut") is far more effective than using traditional 4" thick OC703/Roxul based broadband traps (GIK has the empirical data on that).

That said, the Tri-Traps are pricier. THAT said, they're far more effective. *THAT* said, the R32 bags aren't a bad thing.

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