Best Bass Traps (Tips on Their Placement, Setup, and Installation)
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: acoustic foam is an excellent soundproofing tool. Although it doesn’t do much to block sound from leaving a room, it definitely stops it from bouncing around it. So since I’ve already written about acoustic foam panels before, I’ve decided to review some of the best bass traps I’ve found. And after my reviews, I’ll also include some tips on where you can put these bass traps and how you can set them up.
But before we get to any of that, let’s talk about what acoustic foam bass traps are and how they can help the sound quality in a room. After that, I’ll present a short shopping guide before we get into the reviews. So let’s begin!
ABOUT BASS TRAPS
As you’re probably aware, bass traps belong to the same category of soundproofing products as acoustic foam panels. There are usually several layers of materials making up a bass trap:
- The innermost part, or the core, can be either glass or mineral wool insulation or dense open-cell foam.
- Sometimes, there’s a steel or wooden frame around the core. However, most of the bass traps I’ve seen are pure foam. They even come in a cellophane wrap and expand over the course of a day, like some mattresses do.
- Finally, the core (and the frame) is encased in a porous fabric or foam.
If you’re interested in making your own DIY bass traps, those layer descriptions should be enough to get you started. However, if you’re concerned with the price, plenty of the products I’ll be talking about are very affordable.
Now, you may be curious about whether or not bass traps actually make a difference in the audio quality inside of a room. Well, if you’ve got your walls covered with foam panels already, the difference will be audible, but minor. Still, if you put up bass traps on bare walls, you will hear the difference instantly.
Because bass traps soften up the hard edges of your room, those lower frequencies won’t have anywhere to go. The result will be a richer bass sound and less noise leaking out of the room. However, I should repeat, the primary job of acoustic foam is to improve sound quality, not block it from leaving the room.
FEATURES TO LOOK FOR WHEN YOU’RE SHOPPING FOR BASS TRAPS
Alright, now that we all know what bass traps are and what they can do, let’s discuss some features you’ll want to keep in mind when you go shopping.
One of the most important indicators of the effectiveness of a bass trap is the materials the manufacturer used when making their product. So that’s going to be one of the things I’ll point out during my reviews.
As I’ve already mentioned in my article on acoustic foam products, these products are usually open-cell polyurethane. Between their core materials and their design, they are meant to prevent the passage of sound.
However, one of the drawbacks of these foam products is that many of them have a certain odor when you first put them up. This will pass quickly, but I thought that it was important to note, to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Noise Reduction Coefficient
Some products on the market won’t make you guess their effectiveness. Instead, they might provide an NRC rating, or a noise reduction coefficient.
If you run into these ratings, you should know that the higher numbers represent better sound absorption. For example, if an acoustic product has an NRC rating of .80, it means that it’s going to absorb 80% of the noise in a room.
However, some of the products on this list will even have ratings above 1.30. They’re definitely more efficient, although even I am not sure how they get to 130% sound absorption.
Size and Quantity
Since bass traps are different shapes than foam tiles, you should expect somewhat different dimensions as well. Typically, bass traps are either 12 or 24 inches long. The parts of the foam that touch the walls are 12 or 10 inches wide.
So while bass traps are usually about the same width as foam tiles, they’re definitely thicker. Also like foam tiles, bass traps usually come in sets of 2, 4, and even 8.
Naturally, you need to consider these different sizes and quantities of products when you’re shopping for a bass trap. After all, you have to be sure that they’ll fit wherever you need them to.
Shape and Pattern
As I’ve said, bass traps are shaped differently than foam tiles. However, as I have mentioned before in my article on preparing for house parties, they can be great conversation starters.
Unlike foam tiles, they don’t just rely on the texture but also on the jagged shape of foam to trap the sound. But not all bass traps have the familiar jagged shape. Some, in fact, have a design that’s similar to stairs. And some also have a flat surface facing the room.
What’s more, some people also like to use foam cubes with bass traps as well. Usually, you’d use a foam cube in the upper corners of the room. Then, you’d surround them with bass traps to soften up the whole area. I’ll explain all about how and where you can install each of these bass traps after my reviews.
The pattern is not the only aspect of design you might want to look for in your bass traps. While most acoustic foam products come in dark gray, you’ll be able to find bass traps in other colors as well.
For one, there are plenty of red, blue, or purple foam products. And on top of those, some of the bass traps in my reviews have microsuede or vinyl covers that come in various colors. And if you want to buy a product that doesn’t have a cover, you can make your own pretty easily. So now that we’ve cleared all of that up, we can proceed to the reviews.
BEST BASS TRAPS (REVIEWS)
I should now say that I haven’t really listed these products in any particular order. After all, they’re some of the best bass traps on the market, so I can’t really compare how they perform against each other.
However, I did group them by shape, starting with three traditional jagged-edge bass traps. After those, I’ve got three more flat-faced traps, as well as two longer, stair-shaped ones to end on. So let’s start with a jagged bass trap from Foamily.
Some of the most effective and the most affordable acoustic foam products come courtesy of the Foamily company. So the fact that I’ve got two of their products on this short list should tell you something. But if you were hoping to make a decision based on price, I’ve got bad news (or good ones, depending on your outlook). All of the products on this list belong to the same price category, so I think you’ll be equally happy with any of them.
That being said, let’s talk about these Foamily bass traps, in particular. They’re 12 by 12 by 12 inches, like a cube that’s been cut in a jagged line diagonally. The two flat sides will be touching your walls, leaving the jagged side facing the room. Jagged bass traps are actually the most recognizable ones, although I wouldn’t say that they’re the most effective.
Many manufacturers make their bass traps jagged, as they are supposedly the best at eliminating reverb and low bass frequencies. However, the other shapes should work just as well, but we’ll talk about those a bit later on.
If you like this product, you’ll be able to get it in sets of 2 or 4 bass traps. But if you were hoping for some different color choices, you’ll need to look elsewhere. If you end up going with this product, you’ll have to settle for the classic charcoal color.
Next up, we’ve got these Auralex LENRD bass traps. The LENRD part of the product name stands for Low-End Node Reduction Device. Essentially, it’s nothing new for this product category. The manufacturer is simply telling us that the foam is most effective at dealing with low-frequency bass noises.
Now, while there is a slight jump in the price in comparison to the previous product, it is, in my opinion, completely justifiable. After all, these bass traps are twice as long as the previous ones, at 24 inches. However, the other dimensions are the same since the sides measure in at 12 x 12 inches. Also, like the previous product, these are jagged edge traps, although the edges themselves are slightly different.
Another feature that distinguishes this product from the others is the scope of color options that are available. While you could get the 4-pack of bass traps in charcoal, there are also burgundy and purple versions.
Lastly, this manufacturer made sure to include the NRC rating in their product description. So we know that with a rating of 1.50, it’ll be able to reduce the noise down to 63 Hz.
The next two products on my list are Mybecca bass traps, which are famously durable. What’s more, Mybecca products frequently find themselves on people’s top 10 acoustic foam materials lists. Due to their quality build and low cost, they’re actually some of the most popular products in the category.
Like the first product on my list, these bass traps are 12 by 12 by 12 inches with a jagged edge cutting across diagonally. All three of these jagged-edge traps have their own special cut across the diagonal, but they should all work just as well. Although, while the previous foam trap had an NRC of 1.32, this one has a slightly lower rating of 1.32.
Although you don’t get any color choices other than the standard dark gray with this product, you do get a few quantity options. Namely, you can get this Mybecca bass traps in packs of 1, 2, and 4 pairs.
4. Mybecca TriAmp Acoustic Corner Alpha Acoustic Bass Absorber
While we’re on the subject of Mybecca bass traps, let’s use this chance to transition into our next group of products. These Mybecca bass traps are one of three flat-face products on my list.
Instead of having the jagged front we’ve seen before, these bass traps are 24 inches long with 10 by 12-inch sides and a straight diagonal cut. The traps come in pairs of two pieces that can be put together to form a larger block of foam. And you can also get a 4-pack of these bass traps on Amazon.
Although the manufacturer doesn’t reveal the NRC rating for these products, customer reviews seem very promising. The foam itself only comes in the standard gray color. However, the manufacturer recommends wrapping the bass traps in vinyl, linen, or microsuede if you’re using them for decorative purposes as well.
- Flat face bass traps
- 24 x 10 x 12 inches
- 2 or 4-pack options
5. ATS Acoustics Bass Trap Low-Range in Black Microsuede
Now, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of wrapping your foam bass trap in fabric yourself, you can check out these microsuede ones from ATS Acoustics.
They’re 48 inches long with a triangle base that has two 17.7-inch sides and one 24-inch side. What’s more, while the manufacturer does offer 4 different microsuede wrap options, they’ve also got a high-quality product under them.
You can choose to have black, camel (tan), shell (white), and wine (burgundy) microsuede covers. Having seen them in action, I’ll bet that all of these colors would add an interesting stylistic element to any room. However, the really impressive part of this product isn’t its outer appearance, but its interior build.
Surrounding the open-cell foam underneath the microsuede fabric is a solid wood frame. Because of this frame, the overall weight of the product is greater than that of the other products on this list. Still, in my opinion, the frame does a great job of lending the bass trap some support and protecting the foam inside from deterioration.
Actually, I’d use some kind of fabric wrap on any type of foam product for the same reason. In fact, the fabric covers also make maintenance a bit easier. As I’ll explain in the setup tips segment following these reviews, you’ll want to vacuum your bass traps every once in a while. Having a flat product with a fabric cover does make it a bit easier, at least.
Seeing as this product has an NRC rating of 1.0, it’s clear that ATS Acoustics haven’t neglected the audio absorbing aspects of this product either.
6. Ultimate Acoustics UA-BTBG Bass Trap Professional Acoustic Foam
The last flat-faced bass trap on my list has a slightly different shape than the previous two I’ve reviewed. Rather than have a completely triangular base, the Ultimate Acoustics bass traps have a slight slope around the front side.
Now, this is probably more of a design feature than a functional one. However, the bass traps are supposedly able to filter and absorb everything from the lowest to the highest sound frequencies. So maybe there’s something to the shape of the foam after all.
Unlike the previous product, this bass trap doesn’t have any type of solid construction. Although, the manufacturer does claim that the foam at the core of this product is much denser than that of other bass traps. If so, the denser foam may be one of the reasons why this product is one of the most popular ones on the market.
The Ultimate Acoustics bass traps do share some design specs with other products, though. For example, these bass traps are 24 inches long, like a few others. However, their sides are 12 and 8.5 inches long, rather than 12 inches each. In addition to this slight design shift, the manufacturer also offers the foam bass traps as they are or with vinyl covering the front side.
If you don’t know how to arrange your room around these types of foam products, Ultimate Acoustics have got you covered. Along with the 2 or 4 bass traps, you’ll also get a free Room Analysis app for design. Last but not least, the bass traps also come with several adhesive mounting tabs for easy installation.
7. Foamily XL Column Acoustic Wedge Studio Foam Corner
Finally, we’ve moved on to the stair-shaped bass traps. At this point, I should emphasize that these Foamily bass traps aren’t really the full-size ones we’ve seen so far. In fact, while they’re 24 inches long, like the others, their sides are only 6 inches. The side that will be facing the room has three “steps,” so to speak.
Because we’re not talking about huge bass traps, though, these do cost less than some of the other ones. On top of that, Foamily has always been known for their budget-friendly products. However, you’re not going to be worried about quality, at least going by what the users are saying.
According to the manufacturer, you’ll even be able to use these for home studios and theater setups. And if you’re interested in bass traps that will add style points to your room, you can go for these. They actually come in four colors, including charcoal, burgundy, a more electric red, and a saturated blue color.
8. Foam N More Studio Acoustic Wedge Foam Corner Absorbers
The last product on my list is a Foam N More corner kit that consists of a cube and three zigzag bass traps. Essentially, the foam cube is supposed to go to the upper corners of your room. Then you can surround it with bass traps on all sides, so two along the ceiling and one below the cube.
The bass traps are 24 inches long, with 6-inch sides to match the 6-inch foam cube. However, this pack actually includes 2 cubes and 6 bass traps for the sides. According to the product descriptions, the foam has an NRC rating of 1.35, which is fantastic.
You don’t have a great variety of color options, so if you are looking for a statement piece, you should look elsewhere. In fact, you’re kind of stuck with the standard charcoal foam with this one. Still, it’s definitely worth a mention, if only to see the unique setup you can achieve with bass traps and foam cubes.
TIPS ON BASS TRAP PLACEMENT
Now that we’ve gone through each of the reviews, you probably have some idea as to where you’re supposed to put your foam bass traps. Naturally, they ought to go to the corners of your room. Personally, I recommend first reading up on the way sound travels in order to know where to put these.
The short of it is that sound travels in all directions at once, although bass has the most impact on the corners of the room. That means that your bass traps can go anywhere where two or three surfaces meet. So vertically, in the corners connecting the floor to the ceiling, and horizontally, in the bend between the walls and the ceiling.
Another thing you should consider is where your sound is coming from. If you have a speaker setup, calculate where the sound waves are going from there and where you need to place your bass traps. Is it in the corners behind you or in front of you? Do you need them to go along the ceiling as well?
If you don’t know the answers to that question, you can measure the amount of bass buildup in the corners of the room with a Sound Level Meter.
Ideally, though, you’d have something covering the middle parts of your walls too. Furniture, soundproof blankets, and foam tiles are all good ideas. If you’ve already got foam panels on your walls, you can take them off the corners to put your bass traps up. Also, in that case, I recommend choosing bass traps that match your existing decor.
Bass traps will improve your sound audio whether you already have foam tiles on your walls or not. Still, as I’ve previously mentioned, you’ll hear more of a difference if you’re working on bare walls.
How to Install Your Corner Bass Traps
As you can see, the more bass traps you’ve got, the flatter and richer the low frequencies will sound. But once you know where to put the products we’ve been talking about — how do you install them?
Well, there are several ways to go about this. If you don’t mind working with adhesives, you can use spray-on glue or double-sided tape on the back of the bass traps. Or, you can even give Removable Mounting Squares a shot.
However, if you have drywall, I’d recommend simply pinning the foam up. You can even use thin tailor pins instead of nails. Just put the bass trap wherever you want it to go and pin through the sides into the drywall.
Obviously, this would be harder to do on brick or concrete walls. Still, decent removable alternatives for those types of walls include mounting tacks or even Velcro strips.
Bass Trap Maintenance
As I’ve said before, if you don’t want your bass traps to become dust traps, you’ll need to vacuum them from time to time. Or, you could also make a removable or permanent fabric cover, as we’ve seen on some of the other bass traps.
The easiest type of bass trap to cover would be flat-faced ones. However, if you put in some extra time into it, you could probably make fabric covers for any type of bass trap. Typically, bass traps come with vinyl, linen, or microsuede covers. However, you can pretty much use any type of fabric you want.
And as a bonus, you can also use fabric to fit the foam in with the other decor.
Ultimately, bass traps can be great ways to make the sound quality inside of a room that much better. Not only are they great with other foam products, but they’re also very effective on their own.
So hopefully, all of this information will come in handy when you choose your own bass trap. When you’re done implementing the tips in this article, you should have a completely bass-proof studio or home theater room.