I know there have been threads posted before showing very tactful, elegant, rich looking acoustic panels made by the members here...this will NOT be one of them.
In the spirit of Club Polk Harmony, I almost didn't post this thread. I thought the Rockwool supporters would take offense to my choice of OC703 and an argument would ensue. Then I'd have to find some clever way to blame the bickering on gun control and then inevitably someone would accuse me of having "bad form". So play nice people! There is enough room in this world for Rockwool and Owens Corning fans to live in harmony. I'm trying to bring world peace one acoustic panel at a time. High-five!
The room is 11.5' wide and 14.5' long, so I'm just trying to make a bad situation a little better. This is a ranch style home with no basement, and my living room has hardwood floors with many windows, so that is why I put a home theater in a small spare bedroom (carpet, one window).
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I've been searching since this past summer for some used acoustic panels or rigid fiberglass to make panels out of with no luck. The first time I searched on CL, I found four used panels with black fabric within an hours drive, but they were already sold and the guy forgot to delete the listing. Then I thought I found some raw rigid fiberglass, but it wasn't what I needed. I didn't want to order some online because I kept seeing awesome deals on used panels, but they were never in my area. I almost ordered two panels from GIK just to get me started, but decided to just order some Owens Corning online and make them myself. The cheapest place I could find it was a site called BuyInsulationProducts. I don't want to spam the thread, so you can Google it. They had OC704 4"/box of three for $54, but their 2"/box of six was $48 (not including shipping). So if you want to use their four inch product, you are better off buying the two inch and doubling it up. I purchased one box of two inch for $81.91 with UPS ground shipping. Originally I was going to make three 4 inch panels, but changed my mind. I went with two 2'x4'x4" panels for behind my front speakers, which are also near the corners of the room. I had read an article that said even if the panels aren't in the corners, but near the corners, you can get some added benefit by using thicker panels. Since my front speakers are near the corners, I figured I'd try it.
I have a twin bed behind my chair with one of those new taller/thicker mattresses, so putting 2'x4' panels vertically wouldn't work because the bed is all the way up against the wall. I could have put one horizontally, but I wanted to go with three 2'x2'x2" panels on that wall behind the listening position. Then I made two 1'x2'x2" panels for the side walls for the first reflections. Those were difficult to deal with because I have a desk in the left position and a curio cabinet and chest in the right position. I thought I'd use one 1x2 panel horizontally as a back rest for my desk, and the other 1x2 panel vertically for the curio. I was trying to find a way to use these panels and still make things look decent.
I went through some leftover lumber I had from various projects. I grabbed a rough grade pine 2x6, some 1/2" plywood, and some quarter round. I thought I had a 1x6 but I must have used it, so I substituted the 1/2" plywood in it's place. I was able to find two 2' sections of the 2x6 that was in good enough shape (no knots) to work with. I cut two pieces 2'2" long. The edges were a little rough, but it didn't matter because I used a router on all four sides. This will be the base of the two floorstanding panels that go behind each front speaker. Sanded it and cut a piece of quarter round to go on the front only, leaving a small reveal above the top most router line. Nailed it, then will eventually prime the two identical pieces and paint them black to match my speakers, equipment, and entertainment stand. I took the plywood and ripped two pieces that were four inches in width using a circular saw with a guide. Cut the two pieces to two feet long. I took two OC703 panels, put them together to make them 4 inches thick, then took the plywood and attached them to the bottoms of the panel. I covered the panels, including the plywood with fabric. I noticed as I handled the fiberglass that it didn't take much to loosen the fiberglass dust from the sheets so I bought enough fabric to cover both side of the panel. It was probably overkill, but I though in case a panel got bumped, knocked over, or fell off the wall, it would prevent fiberglass particles from becoming airborne or making a mess on the floor. Also if I relocate and the panels happen to end up near an air conditioner vent, I'd feel more comfortable not having the backs of the fiberglass panel exposed. I also knew I'd be moving them around a lot until I came up with the proper placement. Now that the fabric is on, I plan to nail the bases to the plywood on the bottoms of the panels. The bases will make the two floor standing unit more stable and bottom heavy. These are for the panels behind the speakers which are out of the way and won't be bumped. The panels actually stand up by themselves without the 2x6 bases because of the plywood.
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The tools I used were: miter saw, router, sander, nail gun, staple gun. I had a plethora of scrap wood, the only thing I had to buy was the insulation and the fabric. The fabric I bought yesterday. I wanted a very dark color for the two panel behind the speakers. I went with a black microsuede and went with a two-shaded grey alova suedecloth for the rest. I could easily push air through both fabrics, but it was dense enough to hide the insulation, unlike a lot of loosely woven burlap. Ironically the grey looks better but cost less than the black. In Elaine Bennet's words, "I didn't have a square to spare."
I ended up not going with my original idea of placement. If I hang the three 2x2 panels behind my chair they will be above ear level. And I thought I would benefit more by trying to treat the first reflections on the side walls. I replaced the 1x2 panels with 2x2 panels. I won't be winning any Decorator of the Year Awards anytime soon! I put one 1x2 panel on the side of the chest of drawers and was left with one 2x2 and one 1x2 which I can either put on top the chest or lay against the wall behind my chair, but I don't think they are wide enough to benefit behind the chair. I might go to Garden Ridge and buy a couple large over sized decorative pillows to put on the bed against the wall behind my chair. Nothing is permanently attached to the walls so I can still move everything around. The two Stanley Kubrick Monoliths were originally centered behind each speaker, but I ended up sliding them more towards the TV to cover the bare wall area, they still cover the wall behind the speakers. I really like having that dark background on each side of the TV. When I complete a drawing, I always name them before framing them. So I decided to name my panels in the same tradition. The two monoliths are called Itchy and Scratchy after the condition of my hands during this project.
Wuji Caviar Solid Black Microsuede 3 yards @ $12.99/yrd $38.97
Wuji Charcoal/gray solid Alova 3 yards @ $8.99/yrd $26.97 ($70.56 with tax)
Owens Corning 703-2" 6 panels/box $48.00 + $33.91 UPS Ground ($81.91)
Two 1'x2'x2" panels
Total cost: $152.47
GIK Acoustics prices on different packages if I had gone that route:
242 Acoustic Wood Frame Panels $59.99 each (sold 3 per box $179.97) + $25.46 s/h
244 Wood Frame Bass Traps $69.99 each (sold 2 per box $139.98) + $25.46 s/h
Acoustics Spot Panels 24″ x 24″ x 2″ $35 each (sold 6 per box $210.00) + $25.46 s/h
If I would have bought 1x6 pine board for frames, the savings would have been minimal compared to GIK.
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Sometimes I think I would have been better off just investing to a really good set of headphones!