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Foam Factory (Foam by Mail) Dilemma Studio Monitors
Old 3rd December 2008
  #1
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Foam Factory (Foam by Mail) Dilemma

Hi everyone,

Before I explain, I would like to clarify that I am not posting this to make any accusations or create an aurgument for or against anything, or anyone.

My dilemma is that I have recently purchased a considerable quantity of foam from The Foam Factory - Foam by Mail - prior to seeing any reviews about it here or anywhere. I have already installed it in my 12x10 control room and have a good mix of (what they call) bass traps and "2 wedges".

Upon reading postings here at GS, I of course now have some doubts as to the effect and efficiency that this product has, however, the only support of how "ineffective" it is are the results from Ethan Winer. I am in no way doubting the talents and knowledge of Mr. Winer, but I would like to know if there is any other data that can confirm his results. The reality is that he is also trying to promote and sell his line of products. Very understandable.

My thought is that regardless of the validity of the values that Foam Factory is stating, the fact that the foam is
A. Open Cell
B. 2" Thick and
C. Promotes a wedge shape

that there has to be some benefit to any room and that I should be able to achieve some of the desired result. Granted that Auralex, Realtraps, etc. are proven to be reliable and provide max efficiency, my question is still did I totally go in the wrong direction? Did I just waste several hundred bucks? More importantly, am I effecting my working environment for the worse?

Thank you all. I look forward to any positive feedback, maybe from Glenn and Ethan thumbsup
Old 3rd December 2008
  #2
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
My thoughts on the matter.

The company went out of there way to copy and paste Auralex's numbers as if they actually tested it. That should if for no other reason give someone reason to think about what kind of company they are. Companies like mine (GIK) spend a great deal of time/money researching, testing and educating to make sure our customers understand what they are buying and how to use it.

Second, Ethan tested there product in a test lab. Lab numbers don't lye.

Now with all of that said I bet that if you used some of the 3" foam to tame some of the high end it might just work (so do packing blankets), but for the low end that is another story.

Glenn
Old 3rd December 2008
  #3
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

Besides Glenn's good comments, it's very easy for you to determine for yourself how effective Foam by Mail is compared to Auralex. All you need is a small sample of real Auralex (or Sonex etc) foam. Then do what I call the "talk into it" test. Put a piece of FBM foam 6 inches in front of your face, then say loudly, "Testing, 1, 2, 3" and listen to what sound comes back at you. Now do the same with known-good foam. The sound is a lot more dead, yes?

And there's your proof. Besides the lab data on the RealTraps site.

--Ethan
Old 3rd December 2008
  #4
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johndykstra's Avatar
 

Speaking in regards to foam style products as a generality (I have no experience with the particular company you ordered from):

My live room at one point had 16 linear feet of 18" deep foam corner traps, and 16 linear feet of 8" deep foam corner traps... as well as a good amount of 2" thick 703 wall traps. I too read the disheartening information regarding foam on this site, and decided to make a change.

I currently have (4) 4' tall by 2' wide bass traps that are 4" thick (+ 3" of air frame) straddling the corners of the room, with some of the 18" foam traps sprinkled around for good measure. It should be noted, that I also built some 2.5" rockwool ceiling clouds as well. And of course, all of the wall panels from before.

The difference is astounding. With my room as it was with the foam traps, I could certainly tell that it was far better off than it were when the room was empty. No question, they do DO SOMETHING.

BUT 16 linear feet of rockwool straddle traps did a whole lot more for me than the 32 feet of foam I had previously. Again, the cloud defineately has a huge roll in this. THe room is way clearer sounding. Dynamics are vastly more distiguishable. My vocal pa (this is also a practice space) used to have the low end butchered to get decent gain before feedback, now it's darn near flat.

Do I think you wasted your money... no. But it probably could have been spent a little better. Live and learn I guess.
Old 3rd December 2008
  #5
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Thread Starter
Thank you all very much for your replies, especially Glenn and Ethan. I more than anything wanted to know if what I had done was a 100% waste of energy and money. (The rooom looks great with it all on the wall heh). But, as the last post read. It's sounds as if my money could have been better spent.

Thank you again,
Old 4th December 2008
  #6
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by debo5150 View Post
Thank you all very much for your replies, especially Glenn and Ethan. I more than anything wanted to know if what I had done was a 100% waste of energy and money. (The rooom looks great with it all on the wall heh). But, as the last post read. It's sounds as if my money could have been better spent.

Thank you again,
The problem you are going to run into is that the balance of the room is going to be off. Meaning there will be WAY MORE absorption on the high end and very little on the low mids and low end. You can always go back and put some bass traps in the corners over those foam wedges if need be. Really you would need to test the room to see where you are at and what is needed.

Glenn
Old 4th December 2008
  #7
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Kuras View Post
Meaning there will be WAY MORE absorption on the high end and very little on the low mids and low end.
Actually, if you look at the graph on my site you'll see the FBM foam is lousy at all frequencies, not just bass. FBM absorbs less than half as much as Auralex across the board.

--Ethan
Old 4th December 2008
  #8
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johndykstra's Avatar
 

Interesting. I'd have thought that open cell foam is open cell foam. Huh. Bummer.

Ethan, any experience with these folks? This is where I had gotten mine:

Foam N' More And Upholstery, Michigan USA

Their website is a train wreck. THey have everything mislabeled as to it's purpose, (i.e. bass traps are under high frequency control) whatever.
Old 4th December 2008
  #9
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Interesting. I'd have thought that open cell foam is open cell foam. Huh. Bummer.

Ethan, any experience with these folks? This is where I had gotten mine:

Foam N' More And Upholstery, Michigan USA

Their website is a train wreck. THey have everything mislabeled as to it's purpose, (i.e. bass traps are under high frequency control) whatever.
I believe it is the same company. They have different names for some reason.
Old 4th December 2008
  #10
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Actually, if you look at the graph on my site you'll see the FBM foam is lousy at all frequencies, not just bass. FBM absorbs less than half as much as Auralex across the board.

--Ethan
I believe you only tested the wedges.
Old 4th December 2008
  #11
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Weasel9992's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Their website is a train wreck. THey have everything mislabeled as to it's purpose, (i.e. bass traps are under high frequency control) whatever.
Man, I have to say this...I just can't trust a company, especially one in the "technical" end of the pool, who can't keep up a frickin' website. Seriously. It's not hard, even if you have to do it yourself. If you can't, it's not all that expensive to pay somebody else to do it. I mean, this is the portal for about 95% of their customers and they can't be bothered to keep it sorted out? That speaks volumes with respect to what kind of support you can expect after you buy something.

Sorry John...I know it's a rave, non sequitur but that kind of thing drives me nuts. Okay, I'm done now. Time to go take my OCD medication.

Frank
Old 4th December 2008
  #12
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johndykstra's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 View Post
Man, I have to say this...I just can't trust a company, especially one in the "technical" end of the pool, who can't keep up a frickin' website. Seriously. It's not hard, even if you have to do it yourself. If you can't, it's not all that expensive to pay somebody else to do it. I mean, this is the portal for about 95% of their customers and they can't be bothered to keep it sorted out? That speaks volumes with respect to what kind of support you can expect after you buy something.

Sorry John...I know it's a rave, non sequitur but that kind of thing drives me nuts. Okay, I'm done now. Time to go take my OCD medication.

Frank
No apologies necessary.

From that website, their "sound control" products seemed to be an afterthought, since the bulk of the site is devoted towards upholstry and such. I guess I gave them a pass on not knowing what their products are actually for. Based on the test data from their site, which apparently I wrongly assumed was actually done, not copy and pasted, and the price; let's face it 32 linear feet of corner traps for under $200 sure "sounded" like a bargain.

We all live and learn yes?

I still stand by the statement that the product is useful, to some degree.
Old 4th December 2008
  #13
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Kuras View Post
I believe it is the same company. They have different names for some reason.
They are both in Michigan, but I don't believe they are the same company. The product looks different, specifically the traps. I could be mistaken however.

Doesn't matter anyway I guess. Most probable that you would still get the same results. They are doing the same thing as foam factory and advertising false values. I agree with the other posts - lesson learned, money could have been better spent.
Old 4th December 2008
  #14
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Kuras View Post
I believe you only tested the wedges.
Yes, but I ASSume it's the same basic foam material.

--Ethan
Old 4th December 2008
  #15
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Foam N' More And Upholstery, Michigan USA
Well, they seem to specialize in upholstery foam...
Old 4th December 2008
  #16
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Thread Starter
My assumption was the same. I suppose any company that specializes in mattress foam etc. should be taken as a warning sign heh
Old 7th December 2008
  #17
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BudgetMC's Avatar
If you can get your hands on one piece of Auralex foam, try this test.

1) Hold the Foam by Mail panel up to your ear.
2) Hold your hand on the other side.
3) Rub your fingers together.

Now... repeat with the Auralex panel.

I bought a batch of FBM stuff a while back. I wasn't impressed. My brother kindly gifted me a batch of auralex a while later, and I tried the above test. tutt There was no comparison.

Mind you, since then I've found rigid fiberglass panels to be even more effective in terms of treating rooms. But, at least Auralex stuff actually does what it claims.
Old 10th July 2009
  #18
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i bought some of the 1" pyramid foam from the foam factory to try to stop an echo and it didnt seem to do much. i held a piece in front of my center channel compleatly blocking it and it made almost no difference in the sound coming out of it, this to me seems like it is not a very good product.
Old 9th September 2009
  #19
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Eatin Weenies's Avatar
 

In my opinion, it makes no difference if an open cell 2 lb pcf Ureathane foam comes from one company or another,... provided they are equious in formula, and the chemistry of the product is what they say it actually is,...

Of course confusion abounds when you don't have a million dollar advertising (read: Brain-washing) budget behind you to perpetuate your "Hype".

Furthermore, it sure helps if you have a couple of heavily active internet forum "self-proclaimed experts and helpful souls" (who just happen to be promoting their products in the process of helping YOU find the "Correct acoustic solution" for your problem and budget) and to further complicate matters regarding the simple facts.

Think it though please,... how can the fancy box and marketing intensive graphics from a box somehow alter the natural chemistry and the laws physics?

FACT: Industrial companies buy raw polyurethane as well as poly-ester as little hard plastic pellets in bulk, which are then melted down into a liquid state, and injected into a mold for curing and forming. Provided both finished foam shapes are the same in size, dimension, density, composition, cell structure and topigrahical features, what possible characteristic (Mojo perhaps?) could be creating the so-called "Expensive Magic Foam", and therefore justifying the high price.

I believe this company is trading on the ignorance of the general public, and using their intensive graphics and fancy packaging to create the illusion in the consumers mind that there is "Something" special going on here with their foam, and "the other guys cheap mail order foam" can't possibly have,.... besides "El Cheapo Foam" dosen't have the color catalogs, trade show booths, graphic heavy website, or the distribution hook-up with the big music box stores.

Perhaps if the buying public would actually look at the M.S.D.S. and research the REAL MARKET PRICE of industrial UR, they just might discover that the so-called "Cheap Foam by Mail" is actually priced fairly FOR WHAT IT IS, and the "Magic Music Store Foam" itself created the confusion with disinformation and marketing tactics to HIDE the fact the their product is nothing more than "Overpriced Foam in a Fancy Box",... and some smoke and mirrors thrown in for good measure.

Perhaps, as a "controlled laboratory experiment", I'll take money out of my own pocket (as a demonstration of good faith & will,.. and to "prove" my impartiality) and hire a witch doctor to perform an exorcism on some fancy foam, and discover which evil spirit is operating inside the foam which contributes to the "Difference", and then endorse their claims while promoting my personal products at the same time (this is known in the trade as a "ruse" folks). But then again, I am not using this forum to endorse or sell anything.

FACT: In a controlled environment with a repeatable test, if the results vary, then either the tester is faulty, or the materials being tested ARE DIFFERENT.

FACT: You can back a piece of "Cheap Mail Order Foam" with an inexpensive alternative to O.C. BRAND rigid fiberglass and create a substrate which can acoustically compete nose to nose with a "REAL TRAP" of the same dimensions, and make it yourself for the price of "Magic Foam in the Fancy Box",... you'll have great broadband absorbtion at all frequencies (depending upon thickness of the O.C.), and get the finished look of foam,.... and with all the savings, you can take YOURSELF to Hawaii for vacation.

Think about it folks, trust your intincts, and try to remember what you learned in physics and chemistry,... and about the "Helpful Hucksters" you may meet in your travels.
Old 9th September 2009
  #20
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macc's Avatar
This should be good.
Old 9th September 2009
  #21
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by macc View Post
This should be good.
Lets see here, the person has one post and right out of the box is slamming Ethan and myself, but seems to know all kinds of insider details??? I seem to be singing the following song right now.
YouTube - Keith Moon - The WHO - Who Are You

All I can say is "The lab has spoken" and he is more then happy to prove everyone wrong. In fact it would be GREAT, I would LOVE to invest in making foam instead of how we do it. I could retire much quicker!!
Old 9th September 2009
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eatin Weenies View Post
Provided both finished foam shapes are the same in size, dimension, density, composition, cell structure and topigrahical features, what possible characteristic...

In a controlled environment with a repeatable test, if the results vary, then either the tester is faulty, or the materials being tested ARE DIFFERENT.
That's a lot of provisos. I don't think there's any reason to assume that auralex and f.b.m. (or their vendors, as the case may be) use precisely the same procedures and specifications to make their products. There actually seems to be a lot of reason to assume they don't.
Old 9th September 2009
  #23
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Eatin Weenies's Avatar
 

Exactly correct BrainChild (you chose your name well). If we can do away with all the 'helpful misdirection', it would be obvious that one or more of the following condition must exist:

1. Many of the various foam companies (be them "Cheap" or "Fancy") are not accurately reporting the true composition and performance values for their products. So it stands to reason that they MUST BE DIFFERENT, and therefore NOT COMPARABLE in either price or performance.

2. Acoustic environments and the treatments used in same are HIGHLY SUBJECTIVE regarding their value to the end user, on a case-by-case basis.

However, just because a foam product reports values above that of the competition, and the general consensus is that it "seems" to feel and perform better", it does not in anyway JUSTIFY THEIR ASKING PRICE in relation to what the lesser performing foam companies charge. This is even more so when one factors in the real cost of what they are buying (packaging excluded).

3. Even in the best case scenerio, ANY FOAM is not going to get the job done BY ITSELF across the frequency spectrum, regardless of its price or properties. In small rooms, you are going to need as much broadband absorption (and if at all possible, diffusion as well) as you can create.

4. If a Fancy Foam producer is willing to offer for sale common sewing notions "T-Pins" at something 50 times their market value, as specialty "fasteners", why on Earth would you not think they are over-charging for the rest of their catalog?

These facts become even more critical when by simply backing the "cheap foam" with a non-branded commercial substitute for the expensive Owens Corning rigid fiberglass, the users himself can create a low cost, highly efficient, and attractive custom broadband absorber, specifically tuned to the users needs based on how many inches of backing is used. (Commonly 1" - 4" as you all know).

And as everyone also is probably aware, by leaving a gap between the absorbing substrate and the wall, even of 1", the performance properties increase dramatically.


Furthermore, both rigid fiberglass and foam (Cheap or Fancy) can easily be cut and tailored to custom shapes at the users whim, to satisfy aesthetic or structural needs.

Since the rigid fiberglass can be directly mounted to a coupling spacer (a little block of wood screwed into the wall) and then faced and completely edged with ANY "STUDIO" FOAM, there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED for wood or expensive powder coated metal framing boxes, making installation EASY AS A SNAP. Nor is there any need to be forced to use that gawd-awful looking dyed potato sack material as covering to keep fibers in, as the cheap foam can now do that job,... and look great doing it.

I really hope the next time someone on an acoustic engineering board is lamenting the fact that they unwittingly bought "cheap foam", one of you kind souls (who is not offering "Acoustic Solutions For Sale" ) will just tell them back it with some rigid fiberglass and edge it with more cheap foam,... besides, even if they sold their Grandmother to buy the "Professional Big Boy Traps",... what are they really getting behind the material and inside that fancy frame? hmm,... rigid fiberglass in an even more fancy package and higher price tag?

Since this is only my second post, which somehow "MAGICALLY" disqualifies my post from possibly having any merit whatsoever, please disregard all of the above, as I can't possibly know what I am speaking about. Unless of course I was selling something, then I might have enough posts listed (read: ADVERTISMENTS) to be deemed worthy of an opinion.

Best of sucess to all those open-minded and budget conscience readers who TRY IT FOR THEMSELVES and keep there minds unbent and their wallets intact.
Old 9th September 2009
  #24
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eatin Weenies View Post
Since this is only my second post, which somehow "MAGICALLY" disqualifies my post from possibly having any merit whatsoever
What disqualifies you and your posts from having any merit is simply the inaccuracy of your statements. Foam By Mail was proven inferior beyond all doubt by official lab tests that I paid for as a public service. Proof below.

I also subtract extra points from your statements because you hide behind a screen name, even though it's clear you are not an impartial bystander. I'm quite certain that Jules has rules against that.

Anyway, I'm no defender of foam. All I care about is honesty, accuracy, and what they call these days "transparency."

--Ethan

Old 10th September 2009
  #25
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Eatin Weenies's Avatar
 

NEARLY ALL FOAM, is all pretty much useless at low frequencies, and not much better in the low mids and high mids. So it matters not how the various foams test out side by side, as they are all equally useless across the most important areas of the frequency spectrum.

HOWEVER, Foam, even the cheapest foam makes A FANTASTIC FIBER BARRIER
, for rigid fiberglass board and or mineral wool, which is what you need for acceptable broadband absorption,.... and as a barrier, it has that "Studio Eye Candy" appeal to boot.

Here is the FREE RECIPE folks for a typical 48"x24" WEENIE TRAP:

3 sheets of 48"x24"x1" thick Rigid Fiberglass (i.e. OC 703 or Rolux 60)
COST = $25 ave.
3 sheets of 48" x 24" x 1" the foam of your choice ( I like the wedge style)
COST = $18
4 little 1" x 1" wood blocks
COST = seriously?
4 screws
COST = .25 cents,.. if that.
1 tube adhesive
COST = Free from most foam houses with order
1 pair of scissors
COST = You already own them

Sandwich the rigid boards together.
Face with the foam of your choice (Front and Back)
Cover all exposed edges with "foam strips" cut from sheet #3
Attach 1" wood spacers
Attach to wall with screws leaving 1" air gap

Total Cost is under $45.00,.... keep $150.00, plus shipping in your pocket each and every time you build a "WEENIE TRAP"

Enjoy!,

Eatin Weenies
(Who tripled his veracity by making his third post)
Old 10th September 2009
  #26
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
NEARLY ALL FOAM, is all pretty much useless at low frequencies, and not much better in the low mids and high mids. So it matters not how the various foams test out side by side, as they are all equally useless across the most important areas of the frequency spectrum.
Well there are foams that have tested ok in the mids and highs. In fact it can be used for early reflections points if done 3" thick.

Instead of covering the panel in foam you could just use GOM, which will look better (imo) and cost less.
Old 10th September 2009
  #27
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Eatin Weenies's Avatar
 

While it is possible that GOM and its generic substitutes might be less expensive in relation to the cost of even the cheapest foam, how does spending even more money on alternate coverings solve the original posters problem of what to do with his pile of cheap non-performing foam?

Boys, when you are stuck with a pile of cheap lousy foam,
but you can't afford to take out a whale sized loan,
And if mediocre lower and upper mid absorption just wont do,
Listen to your friend, Eatin Weenies, he sells nothing, it's actually true,
I'd Beware of helpful charts which gently steer you to a site,
Thank you kind sir, I'll keep my wallet closed and run away in fright,
Get yourself a sheet of rigid fiberboard, and slap it on the back,
or perhaps you'll add 2 more and build yourself a WEENIE TRAP!

GO WEENIE,.... GO WEENIE...., GO WEENIE,....
Old 10th September 2009
  #28
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Weasel9992's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eatin Weenies View Post
... besides, even if they sold their Grandmother to buy the "Professional Big Boy Traps",... what are they really getting behind the material and inside that fancy frame? hmm,... rigid fiberglass in an even more fancy package and higher price tag?
You may be right...the physics work out okay by my reckoning. Go build 12 and have them lab tested. Then you'll KNOW you're right. Until then, feel free to continue to conjecture as to the effectiveness of your idea. I also agree that if someone is stuck with a ton of cheap foam that this is one of several good options for putting it to use. I for one *never* tell someone to throw out the foam they already have.

Frank
Old 10th September 2009
  #29
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 View Post
You may be right...the physics work out okay by my reckoning. Go build 12 and have them lab tested. Then you'll KNOW you're right. Until then, feel free to continue to conjecture as to the effectiveness of your idea. I also agree that if someone is stuck with a ton of cheap foam that this is one of several good options for putting it to use. I for one *never* tell someone to throw out the foam they already have.

Frank
Agreed and for the guy who posted (10 months ago) that would be best for him.
Old 10th September 2009
  #30
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Kuras View Post
the guy who posted (10 months ago )
Our anonymous friend also dredged up this even older thread to post his fantastic money saving tips:

Foam

Imagine, saving $150 per trap! But compared to what?
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