OK so you have your home theater, and you have your incredible subwoofers in your home theater. But, something isn’t right, something doesn’t sound right. The bass is not even, the sound is not clear, your theater does not sound the way you thought it would sound.
You forgot your bass traps, didn’t you? Don’t worry if you did, it is very common for theater owners to skip the bass traps in their theater – but they regret it later. And if they don’t yet, when they go to visit a theater that has bass traps and acoustic panels (panels will be discussed in a separate article), they quickly realize what is missing.
It is time for you to add some bass traps. And, quite often, the easiest ones to make also have an immediate impact, the Super Chunk Corner Bass Traps. So we’ll go over how to build your own corner bass traps, it won’t take you very long and it won’t cost very much. Let’s get started.
The idea is simple. You are going to fill up the front corners of your home theater, from floor to ceiling, with a material that will ‘absorb’ the bass that builds in the room. Now technically nothing “traps” bass, rather it slows down the reflection of those low frequencies, so to speak, so that they become much weaker in the room.
There are several kinds of bass traps, and there are several implementations for bass traps. The kind that is most common as a DIY project is the Corner Bass Trap, so that is what we will focus on here.
Corner bass traps, as the name suggest, go in the corners of your home theater. The single most common location for these traps is to place them vertically in the front of your room, usually behind the screenwall.
Therefore, you would have a vertical corner bass trap along the front left and the front right corners of your theater. If you have the option, you can also place them vertically along the rear corners (although that is harder for most theater owners, due to seating placement, door placement, equipment placement, and so on. Lastly, you could place them along the horizontal corners of the room, where the walls meet the ceiling – meaning you could have bass traps all the way around your room on that upper ‘corner’, but most theater owners do not go to that level.
So we will keep our focus then on the common vertical front corner bass traps. It is recommended that virtually all home theaters have bass traps in these front corner locations.
You can use mineral wool panels, each two inches thick, or you can use Owens-Corning 703 (OC703) fiberglass insulation, also two inches thick. If you are looking at insulation, or other panels, and you find them as four inches thick, that is fine as well – less cutting for you!
These bass traps, the "Super Chunk corner bass traps" are actually quite easy to make, which is why this is an excellent DIY project.
You start out with a sheet of rigid fiberglass (or the mentioned mineral wool), which often comes in 4-foot by 8-foot sheets, or 4-foot squares. Lay down the insulation and cut it into two-foot by two-foot squares, then cut each square diagonally to create a pair of triangles from each square.
Next, you simply stack these triangles on top of one another in the corner of your theater, from the floor to the ceiling. You don’t need to ‘overstuff’ them into place, meaning there is no need to hold the stack down and squeeze in more triangles. Just enough to fit so that the stack is in place.
These images are from a theater called "The Bacon Race Home Theater", one of the many theaters featured in The Ultimate Course on Designing and Building Your Dream Home Theater. You can see a few angles of the bass traps as installed in this home theater.