How to Build Sound Baffles

Written by scott shpak
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How to Build Sound Baffles
Baffles are handy to help achieve separation between instruments while recording. (Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Controlling the acoustic environment is a key function of the space of a recording studio. When sharing space in your home, acoustic treatment must exist alongside living space, so size and portability can be important. Homemade baffles can be wall-mounted to address room acoustics or free-standing (called "gobos") to increase separation between open microphones and control unwanted reflections from solid surfaces. Building gobos in several different sizes increases the flexibility of your home studio space.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • 1-by-6-inch lumber
  • 1-by-8-inch lumber
  • 2-by-2-inch wood bracing strips
  • Mineral insulation
  • Open-weave fabric
  • Trim moulding
  • Drywall screws
  • Finishing nails
  • Angle brackets
  • Staple gun
  • Woodworking tools

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Calculate the sizes of the baffles and gobos you want for your studio. Common sizes are 2-by-2-feet for wall-mounted panels and 2-by-4-feet or 4-by-4-feet for free-standing gobos. Baffles can be made in any size to fit your needs. For illustration, we will consider a 2-foot square wall panel and a 2-by-4-foot gobo.

  2. 2

    Cut four pieces of 1-by-6-inch lumber to 22.5 inches for the top and bottom of both baffles. Cut two pieces of 1-by-6-inch lumber to 24-inch lengths for the sides of the wall panel. Cut two pieces of 1-by-6-inch lumber to 48 inches for the sides of the gobo. Cut one piece of 1-by-8-inch lumber to 26 inches for the base support for the gobo.

  3. 3

    Construct the box frames using the 1-by-6-inch pieces. Top and bottom boards go between the side boards in both cases. Use 2-by-2-inch bracing strips inside each corner, and fasten each board to the bracing strips with four or more 2-inch drywall screws evenly spaced along the 6-inch ends.

  4. 4

    Fill the box frames with mineral insulation. Cover the insulation with open-weave fabric, such as burlap, stapled to the frame. Start at one end, and pull the fabric tightly and evenly as you go. The gobo requires fabric on both sides, while the wall panel can be covered on one side only.

  5. 5

    Cut away excess material and cover the staples with trim moulding. Center the gobo on the 1-by-8-inch board, with a 1-inch overhang on each side. Fasten the base using 2-inch drywall screws. Hang baffle panels on the wall with angle brackets.

Tips and warnings

  • This design is deliberately not assembled with glue and heavy reinforcement of the corners to prevent raising the resonant frequencies of the boxes into an audible range. Some care should be taken when handling larger gobos. Adding handles to the sides is a useful upgrade. For blind hanging of wall panels, you may wish to attach the box to the wall with angle brackets inside the box before you fill with insulation and cover.

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