$50 DIY vs $450 PRO Acoustical Panels (Worth It?) – Echo & Sound Proofing

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(Please note that although I'm a podcaster, I'm not a professional acoustics expert or sound engineer. I did my best trying to test these panels against each other and share the results, but if you're expecting a PRO level analysis, this is not the place).

There are a lot of options for acoustical and sound proofing solutions for recording podcasts and videos, but I was just curious – which works better: cheap egg crate sound panels you can buy on Amazon, or professional acoustical treatment solutions?

Well, let's test and see!

Big thanks to Audimute for hooking us up with their line of Standard Acoustic Panels for this test, which you can find here

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Cameron Long

  • Tony Collum the HOW-TO HERO says:

    Obviously I’m going to go with the DIY version, but the pro ones do sound great

  • Nate O'Brien says:

    I use $13 mattress foam from Walmart. More bang for your buck

  • Τόμας Μαγγάνα says:

    Foam density on the DIY was not good. The better panels are just more dense. You can find more dense foam for DIY and much cheaper than the ready to go products.

    • Jay Preston Swafford says:

      I was thinking the same thing…1″ tiles would do very little…a minimum of 2″ foam density tiles are needed to dampen sound on walls.

    • Hidde says:

      @Jay Preston Swafford If you are going DIY, you are better off making absorbers with rockwool and diffusers. Foam just isnt a great material for absorbtion

  • Time To Thrive says:

    To me, the sound difference between the cheap ones and nothing was still much more noticeable than the the cheap ones and the pro ones… although it was noticeable between the two.

  • Howard Lee Harkness says:

    I heard a lot of difference between the bare walls an the $50 set of panels. Less difference between the $50 & $400 solutions. If I were to choose, I’d go with twice as many of the cheaper panels.

    The solution I implemented in my studio is a backdrop frame with 3 different color bedsheets. Frame was $35, sheets were $9 each at Walmart. Double duty – choice of background color to go with what I’m wearing, and no discernible echo on my recordings.

  • Matt Wanders says:

    Hey Pat this reminds me of when I set up my first music school. We had good luck with the cheap stuff on the wall underneath a tapestry FWIW. . . and believe it or not, towels work really well acoustically, so I’ve stapled those under something more aesthetically pleasing too and it’s worked really well on a budget 😜

  • Corey Corpodian says:

    Wow! those Audimute panels absolutely helped with the echo. Couldn’t believe there was that much of a difference. Thanks pat, this video was super helpful.

  • Myles David says:

    Great vid! Bouncing through each version worked great!

    It would be really cool if you showed us and talked about what the expensive panels are made of and why they absorb reflection better.

  • George Rady says:

    Yeah, I’ll go with the idea that – while the high quality panels will definitely dampen the sound that gets to it – better coverage of the cheaper panels over all the wall spaces not covered would have produced just as good an effect… so it really comes down to portability. If you wanna deck out a room dedicated to sound Studio recorded, I’d buy twice as many cheap eggs and cover all the walls and flat reflecting surface… like a thick table cloth for the table…

    • Orion Burdick says:

      More of the cheap panels will cause more problems than it will solve. They only absorb very high frequencies, so no matter how many of them you add, you won’t be reducing echo and standing waves at the lower frequencies. You can however build panels similar to the pro ones in this video for a very reasonable amount of money if you’re handy.

  • WAHB 50YY says:

    If you stick the cheap ones onto 1.5 thick styrofoam panels you’d still get a much cheaper solution achieving the same results as the Audimute!

  • IPAS - Australia says:

    I definitely heard the difference. The Audimute panels reduced the echo greater than the Amazon foam… but the foam did work, just not to the same degree. Thanks for taking time to post this vid.

  • -Visii- says:

    You can make basically the same thing as the pro panels for not much more these foam ones, and they will be extraordinarily better.

    Make a simple 2ft x 4ft wooden frame that is 4 inches thick. Buy rigid fiberglass or rockwool, put it in the frame and cover it with a sheet. I used to do this all the time, it’s extremely easy and you can make 3 or 4 panels for $100. These are the same materials a lot of pro panels use.

  • Rick says:

    huge difference, the pro acoustical panels are on another level

  • Nandan says:

    I heard a very good difference in the Amazon panels. Tbh I didn’t really expect it would work that great. I don’t know why he is saying no big difference. The expensive ones were better but not as much. Definitely not worth spending that extra money other than for a clean look.

  • Holy Koolaid says:

    If you only cover part of one or two walls with cheap foam, of course you’re going to still get echo. I bought two 96 packs of these Amazon tiles for about $180 and covered the walls of my studio. It’s a night and day difference and still $270 less than the pro tiles recommended here.

    If you’re on a budget, you can also fill your studio with chairs, lighting equipment, a desk, monitors, a camera + tripod, desks, pictures, shelves, etc. The more stuff in the room, and the fewer exposed flat surfaces, the better your results will be.

    • sanyam jain says:

      If you need more i can give you at $150 for 96

    • sanyam jain says:

      Which have the self adhesive so you don’t have to put tape on it

    • eyocs says:

      your last sentence isnt true, because it depends on the room

    • Orion Burdick says:

      For less than $20 each you can make panels that perform as well as the expensive panels in this video, and you’ll end up with much better sound because it will absorb a wider frequency range than the cheap foam, which only absorbs high frequencies. And you won’t have to coat your entire walls of your studio because a few well placed panels will have a better effect.

  • Chili Powder says:

    To me there was a huge difference between no insulation and the foam. From the foam to the professional wall there was minor difference. It looks like you simply want to feel like you didn’t throw away your money 😂😅

    • Jade Cohen says:

      Foam is perfectly fine, it really just matters what frequency the sound is, because the foam doesn’t work so well at stopping deeper sounds

    • Edward G. Talbot says:

      Agree 100%. Those echoes disappeared with the foam. There WAS a difference from foam to professional wall, just not as big.

    • Hzu says:

      Pretty sure the 450 dollars panels were sponsored.

  • Edward G. Talbot says:

    Listening to this, I heard at least as big a difference between no treatment and the foam panels as I did between foam and the professional panels. Almost all the harsh echo was removed by the foam. To be honest, the professional panels almost sounded too dead – if I envision recording singing vocals, the foam was closer to the sound I’d be looking for.

    That said, none of the sounds you tested were low spectrum. Your voice is maybe high baritone, so there’s a whole range of lower stuff which my guess is the foam panels wouldn’t handle. Really should have compared a wider range of frequencies.

  • Mathew O says:

    For anyone here looking into purchasing acoustic treatment for a home theater or studio, here are a few things you should know:

    1. Generally speaking, acoustic panels are better than acoustic foam, however, acoustic panels generally are made with fiberglass, so it can hazardous.
    2. If you’re looking to treat a bedroom like studio (3.5m W x 3.5m L x 2.5m H), my personal opinion would be to purchase acoustic foam (perhaps from Auralex or another more trustworthy brand), enough to cover the primary reflection points and a bit on the back wall.
    3. When it comes to bass traps, nothing beats acoustic panels, so, if you REALLY don’t want to use acoustic foam (due to pricing, aesthetics, etc) another solution is to use polyester insulation batts and DIY the frames yourself.

    I’m an audio engineer, not an acoustician, your situation might be different to mine – number one rule: Don’t buy cheap foam, these videos are really an unfair comparison.

  • Jason Wright says:

    The pro panels were better but not $400 better. I’m sure if you bought an extra pack of the cheap foam or even bought thicker ones in the first place you would have gotten much better results for $100 vs $450, but then again, the video was sponsored. Also, a little bit more care could have been taken to at least make the DIY panels look presentable

    • Relnano says:

      he made less noise with the expensive ones as well you can clearly hear it. He just really wanted the expensive ones to be good.

  • Miro Dybinski says:

    If you have used 2 inch thick acoustic foam instead of the 1 inch, then the result would be much better.

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