If you invest in only one acoustic treatment for your in-home studio or home theater, make it bass traps. Corner bass traps are very effective at flattening a room’s low-frequency response and absorbing a range of frequencies, including low and mid-frequency sounds.
Corner foam bass traps are especially useful in home studios, home theaters, and smaller rooms where bass and mid-range frequency problems are most common. They may also be used in commercial applications with the right product selection.
5 Best Acoustic Panels Compared
*Last updated 2019-11-15 at 12:33 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The Many Benefits of Bass Traps
There are many benefits to installing bass traps. In fact, if you asked studio professionals, many would recommend bass traps over acoustic foam as the first thing to buy when upgrading your home studio or music room. They are that good at acoustically treating a room.
- Greater clarity of sound from speakers.
- Reduced or eliminated echoes and reverberations.
- Absorption of unwanted mid- to low-frequency sounds.
- Proper diffusion of sound throughout a room.
- Dramatically improved sound recording quality.
Bass Traps vs. Acoustic Panels?
If you’ve been doing some reading on the subject, you may have seen the terms acoustic panels and bass traps. Both are panels made of sound-absorbing materials that are either porous or resonant. However, they serve slightly different purposes when it comes to improving acoustics
Acoustic foam panels in 1.5” and 2” thicknesses are effective absorbers of mid- to high-frequency noises. Bass traps have 4” panels – twice the thickness of acoustic panels – and can also absorb low frequencies and bass tones. Both types of panels absorb high frequencies, but bass traps are the better option for treating low-frequency noise.
Usually, bass traps are installed in corners, whereas acoustic panels are usually only installed on flat walls. The benefit of corner bass traps is the sound dampening at the meeting point of two or three points of contact. Low-frequency sounds tend to reverberate in corners, and bass traps solve this problem.
Types of Bass Traps
There are two types of bass traps to choose from, defined by the materials they’re made of and how they dampen sound. We are focusing on porous absorber bass traps in this article, but it can be helpful understanding all the options.
Porous Absorber Bass Traps
These wedges of acoustic foam are simple, effective, cheap, and easy to use. They’re also the most common variety sold for home use.
A porous absorber or foam bass trap generally consists of absorbent, sound-dampening material, a frame, and some sort of covering. Materials often used in porous absorber bass traps include:
- Fibrous or foam-cell core
- Wall-mounted frame made of metal or wood
- Porous fabric cover
Resonant Absorber Bass Traps
This type of bass trap is more complicated, often more expensive, and more challenging to use in comparison. It requires more knowledge of acoustics to design and install in a room.
Resonating bass traps absorb sound at their frequency of resonance. Designing and building resonant bass traps requires a greater understanding of resonance, typically acquired by measuring the room or calculating its modes. A room’s mode refers to the tones of sound that tend to build up inside.
There are two types of resonant bass traps: Helmholtz resonators and panel absorbers. Helmholtz resonators are somewhat old-fashioned, so panel absorbers are more common now.
There are differences in the absorption spectrum between resonant and porous traps. Resonant bass traps have a have narrower spectrum, while porous bass traps have a broader absorption spectrum.
Resonating absorbers are highly effective but require a great deal more time to design and build. You’ll need to know exactly which frequencies you need to block.
8 Best Bass Traps for Home Studios
Read on as we review the best bass traps for home studios, office, and home theatre. You’ll see that each one has dimensions and a noise reduction coefficient (NRC) rating to help you gauge how efficient it is at absorbing sound.
1. Auralex Acoustics LENRD Bass Trap
We ascend to a higher price point with Auralex Acoustics LENRD Bass Traps. LENRD stands for Low-End Node Reduction Device, and the product delivers on the name. They are designed to be mounted either vertically or horizontally between walls and ceilings, especially in corners.
LENRD Bass Traps have an NRC of 1.5 and measure 12” x 12” x 24”. They come in a four-pack.
2. ATS Acoustics Foam Corner Bass Traps
ATS Acoustics Foam Corner Bass Traps are designed to be mounted in room corners or on ceiling junctures. Users have several mounting options from which to choose. It’s worth noting that these bass traps are shipped in compressed form to reduce shipping costs and must be allowed 48 hours to uncompress fully before mounting.
ATS Acoustics Foam Corner Bass Traps are designed to match their companion product – ATS Wedge Foam Acoustic Panels. These bass traps have an NRC of 1.20. They measure 12” x 12” x 24” each and come in a two-pack.
Audimute Acoustic Bass Traps are 4” thick to maximize low-frequency sound absorption. Audimute uses a core of recycled cotton and cellulose fibers, making it the greenest bass trap on the market. They have an NRC of 1.15 and come in various fabric options.
The Audimute acoustic bass trap material is naturally thicker than egg crate-style foam top layers and offers maximum absorption without using fiberglass filling, such as that used in other foam options.
Unlike acoustic tube traps, Audimute’s acoustic bass traps hang on the wall for fuller room coverage. Corner bass trap orders include a Z-clip for mounting, but corner wall mounts must be purchased separately.
Among the eight choices listed here, Audimute Acoustic Bass Traps are among the more aesthetically pleasing. These bass traps come in three sizes: 24” x 24” x 4”, 24” x 36” x 4”, and 24” x 48” x 4”. All have gallery-wrapped edges. Unlike the products on this list so far, these are sold individually, not in a pack.
4. New Level Acoustic Bass Trap
The New Level Acoustic Foam Bass Trap is an affordable option for in-home studios. These units are professionally designed to reduce unwanted noise in the form of low-mid frequencies and reverb.
New Level Acoustic Bass Traps are recommended for smaller rooms and in-home studios, as well as applications such as recording podcasts, webinars, or YouTube videos for reducing echo in sound recordings.
These bass traps measure 12” X 7” X 7” each and come in a four-pack.
5. Foamily XL Bass Trap
Foamily XL Bass Traps are designed to complement 2” to 3” acoustic wall panels and be mounted in corners and wall and ceiling joints. They’re recommended for spot treating in-home studio walls and surfaces.
These bass traps will provide professional acoustic control, sound dampening, acoustic treatment, and noise reduction. Foamily XL Bass Traps absorb low to mid-frequency sounds, helping stop reverb in the corners of a room. They’re inexpensive, and they’ll work best in smaller rooms.
As the name suggests, they’re large (at least compared to other budget bass traps), measuring 12” x 12” x 12”, and they come in an eight-pack.
6. Mybecca Acoustic Bass Trap
Mybecca Acoustic Bass Traps are recommended for both in-home and commercial applications and are an affordable bass trap option. They’re recommended for smaller rooms.
Mybecca states their acoustic bass traps eliminate standing waves and flutter echoes, as well as unwanted reflections. The bass traps dampen and diffuse lower frequency sound waves and minimize interference, increasing sound clarity.
Mybecca Acoustic Bass Traps measure 12” x 6” x 6” and come in a four-pack.
7. Acoustimac Low Frequency Bass Trap
Acoustimac Low-Frequency Bass Traps are 8-square-foot low-frequency absorbers crafted of high-grade cabinet plywood and wrapped in Acoustimac’s trademark fabrics. Their panels are not foam, but instead a wooden frame filled with acoustic insulation.
The panels are trapezoidal for a snug corner fit. They’re fabric-wrapped on the front and sides, have a wooden back and come with mounting screws. Acoustimac Low-Frequency Bass Traps have an NRC rating of 0.95 or higher and come in several colors.
This bass trap measures 48” x 24” x 4”. As with the Audimute, each panel is sold separately.
8. Sound Addicted Corner Bass Trap
Sound Addicted Corner Bass Traps are both designed for professional or home use. They trap and absorb unwanted sounds in the low-to-mid frequency range in commercial and in-home recording studios, offices, and home theaters.
Sound Addicted Corner Bass Traps are designed for both form and function, so they’re also among the more aesthetically pleasing bass traps reviewed. Their design approach helps your studio or theater look more modern and professional.
These bass traps measure 12” x 7” x 7” and come in a four-pack.
Bass Trap FAQs
Still have questions about bass traps? Here are some answers to the most common queries.
How Many Bass Traps Do I Need?
The answer depends on room size, application, and budget. In a small- to medium-sized room, the minimum number of bass traps required is between two and four, ideally with one in each corner.
Bass tends to build up in the trihedral corners of a room where three points meet (wall-wall-ceiling and wall-wall-floor), so this is clearly where the bass traps will be most effective. If floor-to-ceiling units are in your budget, these will provide the most complete coverage
If budget is not an issue, placing bass traps on dihedral corners – at the midpoint of each wall at the wall-floor and wall-ceiling touchpoints – is the next step. Additional bass traps further reduce low-frequency, unwanted sound reflection. You’ll need six to eight bass more traps to cover the dihedral corners.
That brings the total to eight to twelve bass traps.
Where Should Bass Traps Be Placed?
As stated above, place bass traps at the trihedral and dihedral corners of a room. As a reminder, trihedral corners are where three surfaces meet, and dihedral corners are where two surfaces meet.
At a minimum, place two bass traps in the corners located nearest the primary sound source, floor to ceiling. Sound sources may include:
- Amplifiers or speakers
- Locations of acoustic instruments or vocalists
- Home theater soundbars
If you want additional low to mid-frequency sound dampening, additional bass traps may be mounted floor to ceiling in all four corners, as well as on the dihedral midpoints of walls touching either floors or ceilings.
How Thick Should My Bass Traps Be?
Most common, in-home bass traps consist of porous absorbing acoustic foam and rely on passive absorption and friction to dampen unwanted sound. This means bass traps – especially those made of porous absorbing materials like foam or fiber core – need to be a minimum of 4” thick. Ideally, your bass traps will be as thick as 8”.
Active absorption requires using resonant-absorbing, limp membrane bass traps which require expertise in acoustics to design and install. The thickness is not as important as the frequency they’re designed to absorb.
Can’t I Just Use Acoustic Panels?
Acoustic panels absorb and control mid to high-frequency ranges and are generally thinner than bass traps. Bass traps are often two to four times thicker than acoustic panels.
Bass traps treat low-frequency noise, generally installed in corners, floor to ceiling. Acoustic panels are typically flat wall panels, whereas bass traps are more often triangular and designed to fit in trihedral and dihedral corners. However, there are flat panel, corner-mounted bass traps as well.
There are advantages to using either kind of bass trap. Triangular bass traps have more mass for sound absorption, while flat-panel bass traps use an air gap between panel and wall that covers more surface area with less material.
In either case, bass traps are used to augment acoustic panels and to absorb the mid-to-low frequency sounds. Thinner, less dense acoustic panels dampen mid-to-high frequency sounds the best. Using acoustic panels alone is not a viable solution for managing mid-to-low frequency sounds.
When purchasing bass traps, consider thickness, height, and value for money. Take a closer look at any the products on this list, and you’re sure to find one that fits your needs.
*Last updated 2019-11-15 at 12:33 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API