How To Build Jon Risch’s DIY Acoustic Panels

Jon Risch’s DIY acoustic panels have changed my system more than any other tweak and component upgrade. After placing the panels at my listening room’s early and diffraction reflection points (two behind the speakers and four on the sidewalls (the two panels closest to me actually sit in easy chairs because I can’t move the chairs out of the way)) I heard these improvements. Since that initial listening session I’ve had mixed results from CDs played in my Pioneer DV-47ai and Taddeo Digital Antidote II: certain frequencies and instruments are too laid back. I’ll remove the Taddeo and see if I get the same great performance as from my Airtunes playing MAX ripped Apple Lossless tracks.

Read on for my tips and tricks to build these panels yourself and save up to 90% over commercial acoustic panels.

Materials needed for 6 17×48 inch acoustic panels:

* Home Store: 24 feet R-25 Insulation (15 in. wide and 8 in. thick)

* Home Store: 16 4 foot long 1×4 Std boards

* Home Store: #8 2 in. Screws (I bought the self-drilling kind so I only had to drill countersunk pilot holes in the long boards of the frame, the shorter boards to the screws without any splits)

* Home Store: 9/16 Staples (you need the long staples to get through the many layers of fabric and batting)

* Fabric Store: 10 yards 4 oz. 100% Polyester Batting

* Fabric Store: 10 yards Burlap (let your spouse help pick the color, then she can’t complain later)

Tools needed:

* Power Drill/Driver

* Corner Vise (spend at least $8, the $3 one broke as soon as it touched wood, which cost me another trip to the home store)

* Staple Gun (you will be stapling like a madman on this project so be sure and get a nice staple gun, I killed my Black and Decker Powershot half way through the project and had to buy a new one that still had jamming problems, so don’t use a Powershot, get a nice Arrow gun)

* Miter Hand Saw


Wood Frames

* Match 4 ft. studs for length into 6 pairs

* Take 4 worst studs and cut down to 12x 15 in. lengths Ceiling Rafts with hand miter saw (or table saw), make 90 degree cuts

* Take a small scrap of 1×4 and mark depth at either end of 4 ft struts

* Drill 2 counter sunk pilot holes at each end in the middle of the marked off area on the long boards

* Using a 90 degree corner vice, butt up a short and long post. Drill screws through the pilot holes into the short board. Repeat for the other long and short pair. You now have two “L” shapes.

* Attach the two “L”‘s just like in the previous step to form a rectangle 17 in. x 48 in. x 4 in. depth.

Attach Insulation to Frames

* With all the frames finished set up two saw horses (or storage boxes like I improvised) in an area where you can easily cut and clean up fiberglass (like your garage)