What are Bass Traps, and why do you need them?

Bass traps are an integral part of a home content studio's acoustic treatment. They are used to reduce the amount of low-frequency sound waves (which we hear as "bass") that are reflected around the room, or even leave the room and enter other rooms or hallways. Bass trap acoustic panels play a crucial role in preventing bleed from your content space into neighboring spaces, or vice versa; bass traps can also help prevent unwanted noise from entering your space through floor-to-ceiling windows and doors that open directly onto hallways.

What are bass traps?

Bass traps are a type of acoustic panel designed to absorb low-frequency sound waves. They're often placed in a room's corners, where they can catch and muffle the rumblings of bass frequencies before they reach your ears. If you've ever heard booming music under your neighbor's window or felt the walls shake when someone turns up their stereo to 11, then you know what we're talking about here!

The most common type of bass trap acoustic panel is made from open-cell foam, but there are also bass traps available that use other materials like insulation and polyester.

What do bass traps do?

Bass traps are usually used to control how low frequencies in a room bounce around. They can help to prevent low frequency sound waves from interfering with the sound produced by other sound sources including instruments and voices in a room, which can cause the dreaded "muddy audio".

A bass trap acoustic panel is traditionally placed in an area where these unwanted low frequencies tend to build up, such as in the upper corner of the room where the ceiling and the wall meet. These acoustic panels absorb these sound waves and prevent them from bouncing around your space or being reflected back into the room by walls.

How do studio bass traps work?

The idea behind bass traps is pretty simple: these acoustic panels are made of porous materials so when a sound wave hits them, some of that energy gets absorbed and converted into a minute amount of heat. That heat makes the air inside the bass trap warm up. As it gets warmer, it expands—and because of this expansion in size, there's less pressure on any other parts of the room (like your desk or walls). Ultimately, this means that more sound energy can be absorbed before escaping through cracks in your ceiling or other places where air leaks out.

Remember that it takes a lot more energy to vibrate big objects like walls and ceilings than small ones like desks or chairs; so if you want to absorb as much sound as possible from high-frequency sounds (like cymbals), you'll want to add an acoustic panel on every surface that makes sense.

Why are bass traps important?

Have you ever been listening to audio in your content studio and found that it sounds off? It might be missing the low end, or it might sound like the bass is turned up too high and it's overpowering the other frequencies of the audio?

This is usually caused by the sound waves bouncing around your room from your speakers and creating phase cancellation. Phase cancellation happens when an audio signal is reflected into itself in just a way where the wave is inverted. Once these sound waves hit each other, the sound cancels itself out, reducing the overall volume of that frequency of the wave. In many cases, there are one or two frequency bands that are overly canceled, due to the shape and layout of your room.

Sound absorption panels, like bass traps, have high absorption those rogue waves and lessen the impact on these phase-canceled frequencies, helping your audio sound more true. Bass traps specifically are important because the sound wave is so long, it needs more material to absorb. Traditional acoustic panels aren't usually thick enough to absorb the whole frequency, where corner bass traps are much more effective.

Are bass traps enough, or is a full treatment needed?

Bass traps are a great place to start, but they're only part of the puzzle. As the name implies, bass traps are usually effective at absorbing bass, though they will absorb all frequencies of sound. However, because they are usually corner bass traps (i.e. acoustic panels used to absorb bass in corners), they don't pick up the reflected sound in the higher frequencies.

Full treatment of a room also considers acoustic panels that are usually less thick and bulky and are placed in strategic locations in the room. When you couple regular acoustic panels (like AudiGlow™ lighted acoustic panels) with bass traps, you can get very effective sound treatment in your room.


Bass traps are a great way to deal with bass issues in your studio, but they can only go so far. You should always look for the best possible solution with your situation and environment in mind. Bass traps work best when used in conjunction with other treatments like acoustic foam wedges or diffusors, which help to reduce some of the harshness that can come along with these acoustic panels.

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