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While acoustic treatment might seem like something reserved for top of the line home theaters, it’s surprising how much of a difference it can make. If you’re thinking of adding some acoustic treatment to your home theater, I’d definitely recommend starting with bass traps.
Bass traps are much more useful in small and medium size rooms than other forms of acoustic treatment, as bass and low mid-range frequency problems are quite common. However, a room of any size will benefit from strategically placed bass traps.
In this article I look at the best bass traps for home theaters, along with some advice on how to get the right product for your needs.
Also read: Why are bass traps so expensive
Best bass traps for home theaters
There are currently many that are available for home theaters, but here are 8 of the best bass traps:
- ATS Acoustics Foam Corner Bass Trap
- UA-Acoustics Acoustic Bass Trap
- New Level Acoustic Bass Trap
- Auralex Acoustics LENRD Bass Trap
- Metatron Acoustics Bass Trap
- Sound Addicted Corner Bass Trap
- JBER Column Acoustic Bass Trap
- Foamily XL Bass Trap
Below I discuss these in much more detail.
1. ATS Acoustic Foam Corner Bass Trap
These bass traps are designed for corner placement and have a range of mounting options. Also, the same company produces acoustic foam panels, so if you’re happy with this product then you can always expand your range.
ATS have chosen a relatively open structured foam, which makes the bass traps pretty effective at absorbing low frequencies. What’s more, they’re a pretty affordable, entry-level option for those new to acoustic treatment.
The panels measure 12” x 12” x 24” and cover 4 linear feet of wall space. Also, you get 2 in the pack. The NRC (noise reduction coefficient) of the product is 1.20, which isn’t brilliant.
Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that these bass traps come vacuum sealed, and have to be left for at least 48 hours before you put them up. While this isn’t a massive problem, don’t work under the assumption that you can just put them up when they arrive.
- Class A fire safety rated
- Good beginner’s option
- Relatively inexpensive
- Easy to install
- Not much to look at
- Function exactly how you’d expect a beginner’s model to function (not amazingly)
2. UA-Acoustics Acoustic Bass Trap
These bass traps from UA-Acoustics are definitely a higher-end design. While more expensive than some other options on this list, they certainly justify the price in their performance.
Designed for absorption of low frequencies, these bass traps have an NRC (noise reducing coefficient) rating of 0.44, which is relatively good. The bass traps have high sound absorption and a scattering range of 200Hz to 4000Hz.
One of the best features about these bass traps is that they’re covered in laminate wood, which makes them much nicer to look at than bare foam. The wood casing comes in a wide range of colors, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that matches your room design.
The pack contains 4 bass traps, so they work out as not that expensive. One of the downsides to the wood casing is that the bass traps take a bit more DIY knowledge to install, but still only involves drilling a few holes.
- Laminate wood exterior provides discreet appearance
- High sound absorption
- Fire rated
- Comes as pack of 4
- More expensive than some other bass traps on this list
- Requires more effort during installation
3. New Level Acoustic Foam Bass Trap
New Level have designed these bass traps in a slightly different format to other brands. Rather than being a standard peak and valley design, these bass traps have got grooves of varying depths, which further breaks up the surface.
The foam used in these bass traps has a slightly closer texture than some other models, although this doesn’t seem to affect absorption too much. However, you might notice some issue at lower frequencies, but it shouldn’t be anything too major.
One of the highlights of these bass traps is their attractive price point. They’re suitable as an entry-level model, but this also means you can expect them to behave as such.
Although the absorption range might not be amazing, these will certainly make a difference in small and medium size rooms. You get 4 bass traps in the pack, making them very inexpensive. Similarly, they’re incredibly easy to install, and you have a number of options.
- Easy to install
- Help to reduce reverberation and echo, particularly in small rooms
- Comes in a number of colors
- Grooves of varying depths to create an uneven surface
- Lower performance than a more expensive model
- Uncovered foam isn’t the most attractive thing to look at in your home theater
4. Auralex LENRD Acoustic Bass Trap
Again, these bass traps from Auralex might be slightly more expensive, but they perform pretty well. They’re a very similar design to the ones described above, but are made with higher quality materials.
The foam used has an open-cell texture, but is more rigid than some other models. While this doesn’t make loads of difference to the performance, it definitely makes them feel higher quality than some of the others on this list.
LENRD stands for low-end node reduction device, and this is basically just a fancy way of referring to the traps absorbing low frequency sound waves. However, they do a pretty good job of this, so the name is pretty justified.
Each bass trap measures 24” x 12” x 12” and covers 2 linear feet of space. You get 4 in box, so this should start you off pretty well. Similarly, the bass traps are really easy to mount on the wall; this can either be done with nails or spray adhesive.
- Easy to install with several mounting options
- 4 bass traps included in the pack
- Works well at absorbing low frequency sound waves
- Effective in both small and large rooms
- Higher price point – possibly not entry-level model
- Uncovered foam can be a bit of an eyesore
5. Metatron Acoustics Bass Trap
Unlike other bass traps on this list, this pack comes as a 3-part trap. Rather than covering the dihedral points of the wall, it can be used at the trihedral points. This makes it ideal as a starting point for acoustic management, as this is the most important area to target.
Technically, this pack is made of 3 bass traps and a corner block, but it at least provides you with the necessary parts to target this problem area. The corner block isn’t particularly useful but it at least gives a cleaner appearance.
The foam has pretty good sound absorption and will make a noticeable difference to the acoustics in your room. Although reasonably priced, this bass trap does perform better than most of the budget options on this list.
Of course one of the biggest drawbacks is that you only get 1 corner set in each pack, while others come with up to 4 bass traps. However, it’s not too expensive to order 2, and overall you’ll get more bass traps and coverage.
- Provides trihedral point coverage in a single pack
- Easy to assemble and install
- Corner block at least makes the bass trap look more complete
- Relatively good performance
- Each pack only comes with 1 corner’s worth of bass traps
- Package comes shrink wrapped and so has to be left to air for at least 48 hours
6. Sound Addicted Corner Bass Trap
The target market for these bass traps is people looking to get set up quickly with some acoustic treatment. While this might be more applicable to home recorders and vloggers, they definitely make a good place for home theater users to start too.
While an entry-level model, the performance of this bass trap is relatively good. It has decent sound absorption and deadening properties, but isn’t that effective at very low frequencies. More than anything, the foam isn’t as high quality as some other models.
Another benefit of them being entry level is that they’re really easy to set up. You could simply tap them into place using a couple of nails, or some spray adhesive. However, like some other budget models, they don’t have any covering, so aren’t really much to look at.
Overall this bass trap does absolutely fine at providing acoustic treatment for home theaters, and is a good place to start. However, you might find yourself upgrading relatively soon in search of a better model.
- Inexpensive and easy to set up
- 4 bass traps in the pack, giving you a good starting point
- No frills bass traps make a good choice for beginners
- Vacuum packed so have to be left for a few days
- Some issue with low frequency sounds, particularly at high volumes
7. JBER Column Acoustic Wedge Bass Trap
Rather than the standard peak and valley design, these bass traps use a wedge pattern. Although unconventional, this still does a fine job of reducing echo and reverberation.
One of the best features of this pack is that you get 16 bass traps included. While this makes them very inexpensive per unit, it does mean you get much more coverage than with some of the other packs on this list.
However, this also has its drawbacks in that the foam used isn’t as high quality as some other models. That said, they still provide good sound absorption at low and mid-range frequencies.
The bass traps are really easy to install in your home theater, and the best method is to use adhesive spray. As I mentioned, you get pretty good wall coverage with these, and they could always be used alongside more conventional bass traps.
- Pack includes 16 bass traps, which give you good wall coverage
- Relatively good sound absorption and echo reduction
- Dampens sound and reduces reverb in your home theater
- Inexpensive, entry level model
- Foam isn’t the best quality
- Wedge design isn’t as effective in small spaces
8. Foamily Acoustic XL Bass Trap
These bass traps from Foamily are designed to work with the acoustic panels the company also produces. However, it’s entirely possible to use them on their own, and they make a good starting point for acoustic treatment in a home theater.
The varying grooves of the bass trap create an uneven surface that helps to absorb and dissipate sound waves. What’s more, this model is effective at low frequencies, which is a feature some cheaper models lack.
One of the best features is that you get 4 bass traps in the pack. Each one covers 2 linear feet of wall, and I’d definitely recommend installing 2 in each corner opposite your speakers. This will be much more effective than installing one in each corner.
That said, the low price on these bass traps means that you could buy several packs and not be that much out of pocket. Either way, these make a good starting point for improving the acoustics in your room.
- Relatively inexpensive, so good starting point
- 4 bass traps in a pack
- Fire resistant
- Does a good job of absorbing low and mid-range frequencies
- Quick and easy to install
- Don’t perform as well as some higher end models
How to choose bass traps for a home theater
Bass traps offer more acoustic benefits to a space than acoustic foam. They make a good way into the world of acoustic treatment, and I’d always recommend them being the first step. Some of the benefits include:
- Reduction or elimination of echo and reverberation
- Greater sound quality from speakers and subwoofer
- Absorption of mid- and low-range frequencies
- Correct sound diffusion
As you can see, the main job of bass traps is to reduce the echo and reverb of lower range frequencies, which improves sound quality. While you might not even notice a problem in your home theater, you’ll definitely notice a difference if you install some bass traps.
Bass traps are typically fitted in a room’s corners, as this is where sound waves are much more likely to bounce across each other. This is because each wall provides a point of contact, and sound waves just love bouncing off flat, hard surfaces.
You can get 2 main kinds of bass traps: porous and resonant. Each does the job in a different way, but in this article I’ll be focusing on porous bass traps because they’re the more accessible option for home theater users. Resonant bass traps are generally more expensive and saved for commercial/professional situations.
Porous bass traps are generally inexpensive and easy to use, and consist of a porous, open-cell foam and its housing. The foam used is generally the same as acoustic foam, but with a slightly different structure.
How many bass traps to install
Although this will depend entirely on the size of your room, I’d recommend a minimum of 2. These should be placed in the corners opposite your viewing device and speaker system, as the sound waves will bounce in these corners first.
However, if you’ve got a bit more money to spend, or a larger room, then buy 4. Start with one in each corner, and then add bass traps to the corners until you have floor-to-ceiling coverage. This won’t be possible for everyone, but if you have enough money then go for it.
Also check out my guide on number of acoustic panels required for home theater.
Where to place bass traps
The most common place for bass frequencies to resonate in a room is in the trihedral corners of the room. This is a fancy way of saying 3-point corners (wall, wall, ceiling or wall, wall, floor). So I’d recommend making these the first placement areas for your bass traps.
Again, if budget isn’t a problem, then you should add bass traps to the dihedral corners. These are the points where the 2 walls meet, and I’d recommend starting at the mid-point of the wall.
Some final thoughts
Choosing the best bass traps for your home theater isn’t too difficult once you know what to look for. However, I’d always recommend doing some shopping around once you’ve set your budget. It’s definitely better to invest in a few good quality traps than loads of budget ones.
Similarly, it’s always best to start small and invest more money if you’re happy with the results. I’d start with a single set and address the corners opposite your speakers, and then build up from there. However, one of the biggest downsides to bass traps is their appearance, but this can always be remedied by buying a contained model.
Thanks for reading!Check out my top recommended products for home theater.