Do I need acoustic foam in my listening room?

I'm buying a new house and plan to build a listening room in the basement. The room will be (approximately) 14 feet wide and 16 feet deep with an 8 foot ceiling. There will be carpet on the floor and the room will be closed in with French doors on one side.

The speakers will be sitting close to 3 feet from the front wall and there will be at least 3 feet behind the couch. I have a sub that I place betwen the two speakers.

Will acoustic foam help with the sound? Do I need bass traps? If so, how would you arrange the panels?


If this is a dedicated room, almost like an audio studio, use foam. It works best. Other room treatments are compromises intended to look reasonably acceptable in a living room.

If you have any freedom to alter room dimensions this would do more good than any tratment. Talk to Rives.
Try to sit more than 3 feet from the back wall. 38% of room length is often the optimum position.

Of course acoustic treatment will help with sound - foam or anything else to absorb. Probably everyone could benefit form treatment in a domestic setting.....the problem is aesthetics and WAF, as heavy acoustic treatments look pretty ugly in most cases, unless you enjoy feeling like you are an extra on a Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon set!
Thanks for the tips.

Can anyone recommend a good foam product?

The 2 common types of traps are foam, or rockwool based. The foam is more effective on higher frequency, the rockwool is more dense, and better for lower frequency control.

Try to plot the response of your room before you apply any fix. Adding foam to a room with a really bad low freq spike won't show as much improvement as a real bass trap.

John C.
If you need to buy in bulk, I have found to be an excellent source. They supply foam for all sorts of applications, but they do have an acoustic division that could answer questions.
Lenrd bass traps from Auralex in the front corners will help tremendously in taming the megaphone effect from those areas of your room and will even out the reponse. Also I use the small 2 inch thick 1 foot sq panels on top of my bookcase where noone can see them and I think they help.

In my recording studio I cover about 30% of the walls with 2 inch thick 2 x 4 foot panels and this quiets the ping effect from drywall to a great degree. I am able to obtain good soundstaging while monitoring and that translates well to other playback systems and formats.