Putting in Acoustic Panels – Steve Pavlina

One undertaking that I’ve been eager to do for some time was so as to add acoustic panels to my house studio and workplace. Acoustic panels take up sound, to allow them to enormously assist to cut back room echo. Some rooms in my home are very echoey, which might be noticeable when doing recordings or reside calls in an untreated room.

Beforehand my studio was ringed with a number of sound blankets (80 inches sq.) hanging on mild stands. That was acoustically efficient however slightly ugly, and I didn’t like that the blankets blocked the home windows too. I used the sound blankets for just a few years to good impact although.

There are a lot of YouTube movies sharing make your individual acoustic panels on a budget. I might need gone that route if I solely wanted just a few panels, however I wished greater than 20 panels, and I assumed I’d discover the DYI method actually tedious after some time if I needed to manually make that many panels. I additionally felt that it could add too many further selections to the method and gradual me down so much. I’d must resolve which wooden to purchase, which material to make use of, which acoustic materials to place inside, and the place to supply these things. I additionally don’t personal an electrical noticed or a stapler that may safe material to work, so I’d must spend money on extra instruments as effectively. That every one appeared like I’d be biting off greater than I wished to chew. This was a case the place I’d slightly spend extra money to avoid wasting time.

So I concluded that it could be approach simpler and fewer dangerous to purchase professionally made panels. I nonetheless wished a bit of little bit of the DIY expertise although, so I opted to put in them myself, which was nonetheless a substantial quantity of labor.

Good acoustic panels are about 3x as efficient at absorbing sound reflections as sound blankets, so that you don’t have to cowl as a lot wall space with the panels. It’s typically undesirable to have an excessive amount of protection. You wish to retain some reflections, so the room doesn’t sound fully lifeless. A typical suggestion I’ve seen is to cowl at the very least 25-30% of wall space with panels.

My rooms even have carpeting too, so I don’t want to fret as a lot about vertical reflections. Therefore I didn’t intend to put in any panels on the ceilings.

The issues for acoustic panels are completely different if you happen to’re recording music or if you happen to’re utilizing them for controlling the reflections of audio system, resembling in a house theater setup. I’m solely involved about vocals for audio/video recordings and for reside video calls, so I prioritized my panel and set up selections based mostly on that.

I additionally wished panels that may look good aesthetically. I wished to understand the look of the panels once I’m within the rooms the place they’re put in. That’s one cause I didn’t go together with the cheaper foam panels. Foam panels are a lot much less efficient acoustically too, particularly if you happen to get the thinner ones (like 1 inch thick).

Sourcing the Panels

After researching numerous choices, I made a decision to order all the panels from Acoustimac. (I’m not an affiliate, and I’ve no sponsorship relationship with them.) I went with them after seeing some optimistic opinions and suggestions on-line. I really feel that was a good selection, however since that is my first time utilizing acoustic panels of any sort, I don’t actually have something to match them to apart from the sound blankets I used to be beforehand utilizing.

I began by requesting material swatches, which they graciously despatched free of charge. Their web site gives an choice to order the swatches for 1 penny plus about $8 transport, however I didn’t discover that possibility until I’d already despatched the request by way of the contact type. The swatches have been very useful in deciding which materials to go together with. They’ve numerous completely different coloration choices, and the colours can look barely completely different than the pics on their web site.

I discovered that a great way to get a greater worth per panel was to make the most of Acoustimac’s multi-panel packs as an alternative of ordering them individually. Additionally they allow you to customise the colours per panel. Even once I ordered an 8-pack the place the order type invited me to specify two colours (4 of 1 coloration, 4 of one other), I discovered by contacting their help that I might stand up to eight completely different colours for a similar worth if I wished. In order that stage of customization was very nice. Actually, total I discovered their buyer help to be wonderful all through the method. They even held up on transport the panels once I requested them to (after I’d positioned the order) as a result of I noticed they may arrive whereas I used to be out of city. I actually appreciated that.

I ended up shopping for 8 of their 412 panels (4′ tall x 1′ large x 2″ thick) and 16 of their 422 panels (4′ tall x 2′ large x 2″ thick). You’ll be able to mount the panels vertically or horizontally. I deliberate to mount most of them vertically. In the event you’re recording music, you may wish to go together with their thicker 4-inch panels, that are simpler at absorbing low bass sounds.

I additionally went with Acoustimac’s “eco” filling for the panels, which prices a bit extra per panel. In the event you purchase the panels individually, that possibility is $10 extra per panel, however it may be as little as $3 per panel while you purchase them in multi-packs.

Recording Studio

Listed below are some pics of the brand new acoustic panels I added to the studio. From left to proper, the colours alongside this wall are rust, tan, spa, charcoal, grey. These are all 422 panels.

I put 3 of the 412 panels between the home windows (charcoal, rust, black), and there’s one other 422 panel (peat) behind the sunshine with the sunshine field on it.

Acoustic Panels

One other modest improve could be so as to add some further storage to the studio. I’ve a small glass bookshelf and a bit of submitting cupboard within the room, however I might use some small cabinets or a cupboard or two for storing numerous gear. This room doesn’t have a closet. It’s a comparatively small area for a studio (about 14′ sq.), however it works.


Right here’s the house workplace. I put a few 422 panels within the nook (shell, tan). And I add 5 of the 412 panels behind the world the place I do a number of Zoom calls (navy, spa, apple, tangerine, ruby). There are 5 extra 422 panels on different partitions of the room too, which aren’t proven (spa, shell, khaki, tan, grey).

How the panels look on digital camera is basically delicate to the lighting. The navy blue panel appears to be like practically black on digital camera if it isn’t getting a lot mild, so I’ll use a 4′ tube mild to splash some further mild on it once I’m reside. The ruby pink panel appears to be like a lot brighter on digital camera. I’m utilizing Amaran 100X’s with Mild Dome Mini II delicate bins for my key and fill lights, which work properly. I usually set the important thing to fifteen% and the fill at 7%, each at 5600K. I beforehand calibrated the lighting for a plain background the place I primarily simply needed to deal with mild myself, so I’ll have to re-calibrate the sunshine settings for this completely different look.

I like how this appears to be like on digital camera up to now. It provides a little bit of coloration, however I don’t assume it’s overly distracting. We put the darker colours on the surface of the body with the milder colours within the center. With the framing on a Zoom name, you’ll solely see about half of the navy and ruby panels, so the center 3 panels are essentially the most prevalent.

I additionally like that we are able to change the look a bit by splashing some coloured mild on the panels. I in all probability gained’t try this for Zoom calls, however for recorded movies it might probably create some fascinating appears to be like.

Dwelling Room

We added 3 panels to the lounge too since I do some occasional filming there. Partly this was as a result of we received a very good deal shopping for the panels in 8-packs (24 whole). We used 12 panels for the workplace and 9 for the studio, so we had 3 further 422 panels to make use of for this room (spa, sunshine, apple).

Set up

It took me a number of hours to put in the panels over the course of about 3 days since I fastidiously measured and calculated the precise positions for every one, having to steadiness points like acoustic effectiveness and symmetry.

The 412 panels weigh about 8 lbs every, and the 422 panels are about 15 kilos. The set up package consists of screws and steel brackets to hold the panels on the partitions. I questioned if I’d want to make use of drywall anchors, however that turned out to be pointless. With 4 screws securing the brackets to the partitions for every panel, they appear fairly safe within the drywall. In case you have very weak or flaky drywall although, I would suggest utilizing anchors, simply to be secure.

One challenge I had was getting the thinner 412 panels to hold straight. When hung vertically, the brackets are fairly shut collectively, so even with cautious measuring, I discovered it fairly troublesome to put in the brackets exactly sufficient to get the panel to be completely vertical when hanging. It will have been simpler to get them to hold straight with a unique mounting system, resembling utilizing image hanging wire. A few of my 412 panels have been a bit crooked when mounted, offset by 0.5″ or extra horizontally from high to backside. I discovered that if the distinction was lower than 0.25″, the panel will look sufficiently straight, however at 0.5″ or extra, the crookedness turns into very noticeable.

My answer was so as to add a Command Strip to the underside of every panel, so I might principally swing the underside into excellent alignment after which “Velcro” it to the wall in the appropriate place. Command Strips are fairly robust, and technically I might need been ready to make use of them to safe the panels to the partitions fully with no different mounting {hardware}. However these panels are proper across the weight limits for Command Strips, and I’ve by no means used Command Strips earlier than. I wasn’t certain how a lot I might belief them to carry the complete weight of the panels, particularly since my partitions are textured (not fully flat), and the backs of the panels are wooden (additionally having some texture and never 100% flat). I actually didn’t wish to danger panels probably falling off the partitions if the adhesive doesn’t maintain.

The Command Strip answer labored completely for straightening out the crooked panels, so I’m proud of that repair. With just a few 412 panels, I received fortunate in that the panels have been very straight with the default mounting, so I solely used the Command Strips to straighten out 5 of the 8 panels of that kind.

With the bigger 422 panels, the brackets are far sufficient offset from one another (16″ aside as I put in them), in order that made it a lot simpler to get these hanging straight (with 0.25″ or much less horizontal distinction from high to backside). I didn’t want to make use of any Command Strips to straighten these panels.


This was a terrific undertaking to do with Rachelle as a result of our strengths complemented one another properly. I’m good at driving tasks ahead with motion and decisiveness, however typically to maintain advancing, I’ll gloss over aesthetic considerations and favor useful options. Rachelle is far more detail-oriented, and she or he has correct coloration imaginative and prescient whereas I’m coloration blind. She’s significantly better at choosing coloration schemes and contemplating aesthetics. She largely picked the colours and materials whereas I targeted on the acoustical issues.

We spent hours going over the colour and material choices for the panels earlier than we ordered them, taping material swatches to the partitions to attempt to visualize what the outcomes would appear like. The panels are made to order, and it prices so much to ship them, so we wished to do our greatest to get the alternatives proper the primary time. Earlier than we positioned the order, we mapped out the place we’d positioned each single panel in every room.

I did reject some coloration choices that didn’t look good to me. As an example, the spa and grey colours look an identical to me. These are the third and fifth panels within the first pic above, respectively. I didn’t need these colours subsequent to one another as a result of it appeared like two of the identical in a row. It was a bit difficult to determine choices that regarded good to each of us color-wise, however we managed.

I additionally wished to get a wide range of colours, so we might probably change them up by swapping panels from completely different places. That additionally offers us extra flexibility in case one coloration doesn’t look so good on digital camera. So we now have some backup prospects, simply in case we’d like them.

Luckily I believe we succeeded. I don’t have any regrets in regards to the panel selections up to now. It can take time to offer them a radical take a look at, however up to now they do appear to work effectively acoustically.

That is my first expertise with acoustic panels. As with many upgrades of this nature, you shortly be taught that you might have gone additional than you probably did as a result of extra is all the time attainable.

For this undertaking I wished to go far sufficient to create a pleasant enchancment that I’ll admire, however not as far as to really feel like I’m over-reaching, over-spending, taking too lengthy, or getting slowed down in micro-decisions. I made a decision going into this undertaking that I also needs to stick to the fundamentals, at the very least till I’ve a greater grasp of how these panels work acoustically. I made a decision to keep away from the actually creative design prospects for now, despite the fact that I’m conscious that far more is feasible in that route. Likewise I felt it was a sensible choice to start with easy sound blankets till I felt the timing was proper to improve to acoustic panels.

I like that this undertaking felt edgy and took me a bit out of my consolation zone, particularly when it comes to coping with colours. I additionally like the way it blended audio and visible selections with hand-ons working with instruments. It took some persistence to drive it to completion, so it was a very good undertaking to method with a really methodical perspective. I discovered it useful to acknowledge and have a good time every little act of progress alongside the best way, together with choosing the colours, inserting the order, unboxing all the things, and putting in every particular person panel in its correct place. It feels good to have all of it completed. ?

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles