In this article, I’m going to share my experience of assembling 4 Primacoustic Bass FullTraps and some thoughts on whether you need something like this in your studio.
First of all, we’re very excited to have Primacoustic on board as our newest Sponsor! Primacoustic has a killer line of products dedicated to making your studio/listening space sound the way your speakers mean for it to. Everything from giant wall panels to printable panels to amazing speaker mounts, and of course bass traps of all kinds. You may not have heard of Primacoustic, because historically they’ve done a great job of serving the music market. But now I’m bringing them to you, because you need to have some of their product in your studio.
First, it’s super easy: you send them what your listening environment is, and they do a great job of recommending their products. They’re also very happy to work with you on an ongoing plan if your budget doesn’t cover everything right away.
Second, some of you are super handy folk, and it’s very likely you could build a lot of these products yourselves. I applaud you, because in any group of men, I’m always the least handy. Even so, for the price they’re offering their products, I’ll suggest that you can save money buying their products instead of spending your time building them yourself. How much is your hourly? $50-$100/hour? How long will it take you to build, say, a Broadway panel + materials? See what I mean?
Third, my Primacoustic bits came palletized at around 600 lbs, and wouldn’t you know it, someone in the shipping process
(almost certainly the good folks at UPS) rammed their forklift into the pallet and destroyed two of the panels. In the world of customer service, the Primacoustic folks were awesome. I sent them pictures (having had this happen with other gear over the years), and I had replacement items in days. Dope. I also had a situation where one of the panels of the Bass Traps had been drilled wrong. Again, instant responses with next day shipment. Things happen. Especially when you’re building and shipping out as many items as Primacoustic is. I understand. Things happen to me when I’m mixing a 400 channel mix as well. It’s how they’re handled that makes all the difference for me, and these folks have shown up like champs. FAR, FAR, FARRRRRR better than their competition who the staff of Cinema Sound and myself have spent weeks trying to get responses from on various matters over the course of the launch of Cinema Sound (we didn’t choose those folk as sponsors obviously).
What the heck is a bass trap anyway? Well, bass frequencies look at standard absorptive materials which work great for high and mid frequencies, laugh, and go right around them into places we don’t want them to go. Bass frequencies are giant high energy waves which require special products to capture and attenuate. Moreover, bass frequencies tend to congregate in corners, and other ends of spaces. As a result, having “traps” are required to lower the amplitude of these frequencies. The trap products usually have multiple layers of solids which force the bass frequencies to move through many states (solid, gas, different solid, gas) before congregating and ruining a listening environment. Every state a waveform must traverse attenuates it’s amplitude. Primacoustic says it best about the FullTrap:
“But where the FullTrap truly shines is in its capacity to absorb deep low bass. The FullTrap’s remarkable low frequency extension is achieved by way of a suspended diaphragm that stretches nearly the full height of the device and essentially acts like a huge microphone, capturing bass by vibrating where the low frequencies are most prominent. As room modes combine, they either reinforce certain frequencies or cancel them out. The FullTrap’s limp-mass structure naturally migrates to the most powerful frequencies where it quietly resonates to remove excess bass and subsequent modal frequencies.”
That “diaphragm” they’re talking about is a loaded piece of vinyl which is suspended in the frame. It’s sort of the opposite of passive woofers in certain active speakers. Instead of taking the energy of the active speaker and have a giant passive speaker create super lows, it takes the incoming energy and nullifies it. Dope.
Sounds Good. Who Cares.
I understand, this thing is 55 lbs and no small footprint. Why should you, an independent filmmaker/creative, need to drop a
couple of these in your work space and face the wrath of your spouse? Well, if you’re like most folks, you’ve got your edit/work bay up next to a wall and/or corner. Right where bass frequencies congregate. Ever listened to your mixes in a theater/car and wonder why they sound so limp? Lacking bass? Flubby? Lacking sharp bass? Well, it’s likely that you’re experiencing a strong amplification of bass frequencies where you’re working – which will have you unnecessarily pull down bass frequencies…and then when it translates to another system…yep. No bass.
But, drop a couple of these in your space, and all of a sudden your “speakers” will sound anemic and you’ll need to start adding that bass back into your mixes. Of course, it isn’t your speakers which have changed, it’s the standing waves in your space which have been killed, and now you’re able to mix that sharp bass you’ve been missing – without having to upgrade your speakers – although, hey, you should upgrade your speakers, right?
Some Assembly Required.
I mentioned these things are 55 lbs, and they come like an Ikea cabinet: some assembly required. Now, I’m a former model maker: I’m not handy, but I do love putting things together. The instructions are pretty clear – except when they try to describe where the loaded vinyl goes. It shows that it’s flush with the entire frame but it isn’t. When I asked them about this, their quick response was:
“Although the drawing in the manual shows otherwise, the barrier does not run the full length of the cabinet. Align the top edge of the vinyl barrier with the top of the wooden panel stop pieces. There will ultimately be a gap both above and below the barrier, but the positioning is not critical.”
It took me around 45 minutes for the first one, and much faster for the other three. These units also come with extensive mounting hardware and instructions for safe wall mounting.
I’ve enclosed a little timelapse of me putting them together for your enjoyment – and laugh. I recommend strongly that you treat your listening environment, and I also recommend you look to Primacoustic to begin and end your search. In the coming weeks we’ll be doing reviews on their wall and ceiling mounted treatments as well as their printable treatments.
Be sure to check out our articles on Surround Sound here:
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