You may wonder about the 6′ stack of fiberglass insulation in my studio.
The reason for this? I discovered Ultra Touch cotton batt insulation. Let me back up.
When I first took over this studio project there was a very noticeable slap-back echo going from wall to wall. The long wall, 23 ft. There was also a lot of boxy room sound around 400hz. Then there were the modal issues with low frequencies that all but the largest rooms have.
Quickly I realized I could spend 5 times the worth of all my gear rebuilding and treating the room. For example my very affordable GIK acoustic panels and corner bass traps ran just over 1k for 6 panels and 4 traps. So i had to get ghetto. Ghetto like a ghetto fox i hope.
All of my walls were open and I had dreams of a room in room design. But I gave it up for several reasons. For one my room is pretty big which equals big costs. Second you loose a decent amount of volume having a 10 inch air space between inner and outer wall. Hello lower ceilings. Since I’m not recording metal bands and have none as neighbors I didn’t need a STC rating of 60.
My idea? Insulate the open wall. Keeps the room thermally insulated, and provides acoustic absorption on about 70% of the room (floor is concrete).
Up went the fiberglass. I couldn’t find any technical info on absorption for household fiberglass insulation, but i reasoned since many acoustic panels are made with compressed fiberglass these would be somewhat effective.
After much work the room sounded much better. No slap echo, almost no box sound, low freq modes better. Great!
Not so fast. I didn’t want to have exposed fiberglass so all the fiberglass was Kraft faced. Basically a paper moisture barrier. I had been forewarned that this paper would reflect back high frequencies. But I was treating bass issues right?
No doubt bass is the biggest issue in small rooms. But I think this needs some modification. All frequencies can be an issue! But bass is the most expensive to correct. have a pinging sound? Put up a blanket. Have a huge bass mode at 50hz and you need some serious and expensive bass traps.
Back to my treatment… With all the paper Kraft face in the room I’m now reflecting too much high stuff. I could hear some pretty great (not great) comb filtering. My big test was to sing about 12″ away from the Kraft face and compare it to open fiberglass or Ultra Touch. Wow! Sure can hear the high stuff coming back off paper. Now I had a whole ceiling covered with it. Big oops.
Enter Ultra Touch. Seen here installed on my studio wall with netting.
This stuff is great. It’s about 1/3 more then standard fiberglass insulation but here is what you get.
According to the brochure it has some great acoustic properties. I’ve been comparing the absorption charts for Owen’s corning 703 and 705 (commonly used in acoustic panels) with Ultra Touch. Ultra touch appears to be comparable or better (like at 125hz) then compressed fiberglass. As you probably know the lower the frequency the harder it is to treat. So better performance at 125hz is pretty cool.
Easy to work with. This stuff is soft like cotton which is actually is. No fiberglass itch.
Looks better then fiberglass imo.
Cost: What I just bought cost about $1 per sq/ft. Comparable performing Owen’s Corning (703 at 4″) costs around $3.3 per sq/ft.
Down came the Kraft face itchy stuff.
Now I have a huge pile of it in my studio. I’m giving it away to a guy doing a remodel on the cheap. For a little more money (then standard fiberglass insulation) I’m getting no itch, better looks, way better acoustic performance. Did I already says it’s 1/3 the price of comparable performing Owen’s Corning 703? Yeah, I did.
I really wish I had taken acoustic measurements, a few waterfalls, before the room had anything in it. But with each iteration of treatment my ears tell me I’m headed in the right direction.
In a week or two I should be able to post the new pics and talk about what my ears hear.
Lastly, I know there are different approaches to studios and control rooms. Obviously I’m going for more of a low reverb or anechoic sound. If you like lots of lively sound bouncing around don’t do this!