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Wood walls vs. Pressed Fiber walls?
Old 9th September 2011
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Wood walls vs. Pressed Fiber walls?

Sup slutz,

First time poster here. Be gentle, I've been hurt before.

Got some acoustic questions for my home studio project that I've just begun. I made a short version of this post, for those that don't want to hear me babble, followed by the long version.

Short Version:

Room dimensions: 16.5' x 10.5' x 8' tall
Suspended hardwood floor

1. Should I rip out the painted 1/2" pressed-fiberboard (similar to soundboard from home depot) on my walls and ceiling to reveal the 3/4" wooden tongue and groove panels behind it for my mixing room? The pattern on the face of the wood panels is just horizontal grooves that are 1/8" deep and spaced 1" apart. I will be adding bass traps, broadband absorbers, and diffusers either way. Isolation is not as important as listening environment.

2. If I do rip out the fiber board stuff, would it be worth it to try and make absorbers out of it? Even if it's painted on one side?

Long Version:

I've just started work on turning a room of a pre-1950's guesthouse-type building into my home mixing room. The dimensions are 16.5 x 10.5 x 8'. The walls are made out of this pressed soft fiberboard stuff. The most similar material I could find is those Soundboard sheets at Home Depot. There's a 0% chance that it's the same stuff because this had to be put in before 1957, and so there's also no way of getting any information on it. So for my purposes, I'm just going to assume it's close enough (tell me if I should not). From what I understand Soundboard is for isolation and not absorption and what is on my walls is also painted with a substantial layer of what is likely to be lead-based paint, so perhaps any absorptive properties it may have had are further minimized. Underneath that, though, I've discovered that there is soft wood (looks like pine) tongue and groove panels on all the walls and ceiling. It's about 3/4" thick and absolutely would look better than the painted fiberboard. It would be like having hardwood floor on the walls and ceiling. I'd like to know if there's any acoustic benefit (besides isolation) to keeping the painted fiberboard up as opposed to the wood underneath? I will be adding as much bass trapping and absorption and diffusion as I can afford regardless. If it makes no difference, I'd like to remove it because the wood beneath would look a lot better. Plus I would not have to patch up and paint the current walls. The ability to turn the fiber board into absorption panels or bass traps would also help my decision. There's so much of it that I could make them of any thickness. They're just painted so I don't know if that renders them useless for that application. But if there's any benefit to keeping it up please let me know! Thanks!
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