Creating a high-quality podcast involves more than just having great content; ensuring optimal sound quality is equally important. To achieve professional audio results, podcasters usually focus on podcast microphones but where they should be looking first is the acoustic treatment of their recording space.
The money invested in eliminating unwanted frequencies and reverb from your room will have a greater impact on audio quality than changing your microphone.
In this guide, we’ll explore how you can improve your podcast recording space with acoustic panels, discuss the best types of treatment for podcasters, and address common questions about cheap foam panels.
If you are on a budget then you might not want to invest in high-cost professional audio absorption panels or audio diffusers. But you can DIY some of this yourself!
What is the difference between audio absorption and diffusion?
Absorption: Absorption panels, made from materials like foam, rockwool, or fiberglass, absorb sound energy, reducing echo, reflections, and other room resonances. They are effective at improving speech intelligibility and can be strategically placed to target primary reflection points.
Diffusion: Diffusion panels scatter and spread sound waves, creating a more natural and spacious acoustic environment. Ideal for larger rooms or when a livelier ambiance is desired, diffusion helps minimize excessive reverberation and comb filtering effects.
As a general rule though, the smaller the space the less valuable diffusion is and the more you should focus on absorption.
Ultimately, a combination of both absorption and diffusion may be the best approach for most podcasters. Depending on the size and specifics of your recording space, a professional assessment can guide you toward the ideal configuration.
Go to this website to enter the details of your room to calculate the type of frequencies or standing waves you may have in your space > Amcoustics Analyzer
How to DIY Audio Absorption Panels?
DIY Home Podcast Studio Acoustic Panels using Rockwool
If you have some DIY skills and want to save some money, creating your own acoustic panels using Rockwool insulation can be a great option. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Measure your space: Determine the size and number of panels you’ll need by measuring the dimensions of your recording space.
- Acoustic panel frame: Build a wooden frame using plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Make sure to consider the desired thickness of the insulation material.
- Cut Rockwool insulation: Cut Rockwool insulation to fit within the frame. Wear gloves, a mask, and safety goggles to protect yourself from the fibers.
- Attach insulation to the frame: Securely attach the Rockwool insulation to the frame using adhesive or staples, ensuring a tight fit to prevent sound leakage.
- Fabric cover for panel: Wrap the panel in a breathable fabric such as acoustically transparent fabric, stretched tightly, and stapled to the back of the frame. This provides an aesthetically pleasing finish while allowing sound to easily pass through the panel.
- Mounting options: Install your panels on the walls using a French cleat system, adhesive, or hooks, depending on your preference and the layout of your recording space.
If you have the time and skills then this may be a great option to make your podcast sound great.
What was that old saying? – If you have more money than time, buy it. If you have more time than money, build it. Something like that. I think it applies here.
Buy Acoustic Panels for Podcast Studio
If you can afford it or don’t have the time or energy to build your own panels how do you choose some good ones?
If you don’t want to get your hands dirty there are also pre-made acoustic panels suited for podcasting studios. These commercially produced panels often feature professional-grade designs for optimal performance, and are available in different styles:
- Fiberglass or mineral wool panels: These panels provide excellent absorption properties and can effectively control excessive room reflections, improving recording quality.
- Fabric-wrapped foam panels: These panels offer a combination of absorption and aesthetics. They are lightweight and provide decent sound control for mid to high frequencies.
- Diffusion panels: Particularly useful for larger spaces, diffusion panels are available in various designs and geometries to disperse sound waves evenly and minimize unwanted reflections.
The Myth of Inexpensive Foam Panels
Foam panels, commonly found online and in various marketplaces, are often marketed as a cost-effective solution for acoustic treatment. While they can provide some benefit in reducing high-frequency reflections, they have limited performance for lower frequencies.
And the low frequencies are often the ones that bother us the most!
Foam panels are less effective at absorbing and controlling sound compared to other materials like rockwool or fiberglass.
For the best results in your podcasting studio, it’s generally recommended to invest in higher-quality acoustic panels designed specifically for sound control.
To absorb the lower frequency range (bass) you need to have much thicker panels than these cheap foam panels come with.
At least 4 to 6 inches of material like Rockwool is a good start.
So, let’s get some acoustic treatment for your space…
Wood for frame
plywood for the back of the panel
Sound absorption panels
Now let’s get your room sounding great so you can get back to recording great-sounding episodes!
But remember not to focus too much on the audio. As podcasters, we are always trying to improve our sound but don’t let it be an excuse to podcrastinate! Keep up your recording schedule and tweak your audio and your acoustics as you go!
Enhancing your podcast recording space with acoustic treatment can significantly improve the audio quality of your show. Whether you opt for DIY acoustic panels using Rockwool or choose pre-made solutions, selecting the right combination of absorption and diffusion panels (maybe) will help you achieve a professional sound, ensuring a more enjoyable listening experience for your audience.
Hope you enjoyed this article and was helpful for you!
Live long and podcast
Do you have any questions about acoustic treatment?