Acoustic Panel Installation

Written on 02/03/2017
Marc Spagnuolo

Acoustic panels can make the shop a much more pleasant place to work, and in my case, make videos.

The Case for Acoustic Treatment

Since I record videos in my shop, the quality of the audio is very important to me. Most garages and shops features lots of hard surfaces and that means voices and tool noise tends to bounce around the space creating lots of echo and reverberations. To combat that, I’m installing ATS Acoustic Panels (2′ x 4′) on the ceiling. These panels are actually pretty easy to make as they consist of a acoustic panel core, a solid frame, a plywood back, all with a layer of acoustically-transparent fabric on top. But it’s been a few months since I built a piece of furniture and time is money, so I decided to buy my panels instead of building them myself.


While these panels are meant for the wall and the manufacturer specifically says NOT to install them on the ceiling, I’m going to do it anyway. Yes, I’m a rebel. The panels come with Z-clips which are like tiny aluminum French cleats. With four of these cleats per panel, I have no concerns about these panels coming down. But follow my lead at your own risk. Each cleat is attached to the ceiling using s.

The Difference

With 12 panels, I only covered about 1/3 of the shop space but I can already hear a significant difference. If you want to hear it too, use a pair of headphones and listen to me talk in the first scene of this video. Then skip to the last scene and listen again. You should hear less reverberation and room echo and my voice will have more presence. To be honest, the audio in this space wasn’t terrible to begin with so the difference isn’t quite as dramatic as the one I experienced in my last shop.

Soundproofing Vs Acoustic Treatment

I cover this in the video but it bears repeating: adding acoustic treatments does NOTHING for soundproofing. If you want to isolate sound in your shop space, you have a much bigger challenge on your hands. All we’re accomplishing here is improving the quality of sound within the space by cutting down on how much sound gets bounced around the room. If you want to get a good idea of what can be involved in sound isolation, check out what my buddy Andy Klein is doing in his basement shop. It’s a lot of work!

I plan on adding more panels to the shop just to make sure I have full coverage, but for now this is pretty effective in the areas I need it most.