written by: Aunindita•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/29/2010
If you are experiencing a reduction in sound quality with your custom home theater, read on to find some tips on bass trap placement and how it can help you.
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How can bass trap placement help you? See if this situation seems familiar. You bought the most expensive gear you could afford, but there is a problem. When you watch movies or TV and a song comes on with a heavy bass, the music “booms" making it difficult to distinguish the individual notes being played by bass instruments and you can forget about easily following what the actors are saying without reducing some of your settings. Or sometimes there is a sudden lessening or total absence of bass, diminishing the clarity. So what do you do to get a fuller sound? When you are building a home theater - or even after it is all set up - place bass traps around the room to get the highest quality sound possible from your equipment.
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What is a Bass Trap?
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A bass trap is a device that absorbs excess bass and is used often by home theater construction professionals. It basically helps in making a sound proof room to an extent. It is a common misconception that this won’t help, but while you “hear" the problem as being too little bass, there is actually too much. Instead of passing through the walls (or being absorbed in the case of sheet rock walls) like very low frequencies, the higher bass frequencies are reflected back into the room. They can cancel out the bass altogether at points and distort sound. Careful bass trap placement in custom home theaters greatly reduces this effect. You can buy them at electronics retailers or you can make them yourself.
Image Credit: Sevenstring.org
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Types of Bass Traps
There are two types of bass traps: porous and resonating. Porous bass traps absorb low, mid and high frequencies while resonating bass traps absorbs a much narrower range of frequencies. Both are effective at achieving a fuller sound, but porous bass traps have a couple of advantages. They are smaller and easier to build than resonating bass traps and they don’t need to be “tuned" to your equipment during the home theater construction process.
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Tips for Bass Trap Placement
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Wall and Ceilings: When building a home theater, most rooms can use as many bass traps as you can afford. The more of a room’s total surface area you treat, the more effective the bass trap placement will be. That means putting bass traps on the walls and ceiling and carpeting the floor if it is not already.
Corner Placement: Custom home theaters are expensive, so you may not have a lot of money to buy or build bass traps. The minimum number you need to get a noticeable effect is one for each corner of the room. This is where the pressure from the sound waves is the greatest.
If you can, have your bass traps custom built to fit the corners or build them yourself. You want the bass traps to be as wide and as high as possible to get the most out of them. As mentioned before, in bass trap placement you will have better results if you cover as much area as you can.