Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How To Build A Guitar Amp Isolation Box

OK, you live in an apartment or have some neighbors with sensitive ears so you can't crank up that Marshall to get your sound. What you really need is an isolation box to keep the level from waking up the baby next door. Here's a pretty good video on how to make a guitar amp isolation box, with some caveats.

The layering technique that's described definitely works, but I'd replace the acoustic foam with some Rockwool or Owens Corning 703. This is the same stuff that's used in recording studios and if you use Rockwool, it's a lot cheaper and much more effective than acoustic foam. You can find out a lot more about what it is and where to find it from this post on acoustic treatment, or from The Studio Builder's Handbook.

Remember:
1. Make sure that the seal on the box is absolutely tight for max isolation. Air is like water and if any can leak out, there goes your isolation.

2. If you place a combo amp inside, it's going to heat up because there's no place for the hot air to escape, which can end up causing some major damage. You're better off using just a speaker cabinet inside.

2A. Players tend to crank their amp up all the way when you get as much isolation as an iso box can offer, but be careful. It's really easy to overheat your amp head even if it's not in the box. Once again, this can cause considerable damage.


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6 comments:

Jef Knight said...

After reading an article in Guitar Player circa 1980? saying that Michael MacDonald recorded with a Pignose in a closet I had to try this technique.
Upside; you can sound like Billy Gibbons. Downside; no room sound.

When I build The Temple of Digital Gratification studio V1 in 2001 I incorporated a 6'x 5' x 7' iso booth for such things. But again, lack of room sound was harshing by buzz. It's currently the mech closet for the comps/storage in V2.

So I gave up on iso. I do the Todd Rudgren thing now and have various rooms in the house wired for I/O. My library is just live enough/dead enough that I can crank my MesaRoadster up to about 7 before knockin' the screws out of the drywall....lol. *That's* a guitar sound!

Cheers

Dan said...

I think I will build one of these in my next house. For now my studio is right next to the garage so I pull the Caravan in remove the middle seats and throw a bass trap in the back seat. With the van doors shut and the door to my studio shut I get some great isolation.

Jef Knight said...

Dan, that's brilliant!

Cheers

Jeremy Blasongame said...

Sweeet! Makes me want to build a little enclosed box for isolating vocalists. ;)

marcin pajak said...

Hi there , i have made a video of how to make isolation cabinet step by step. have a look at the link :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEI9-fY4bjc

Ben said...

Brilliant tutorial - I'd really like to try this! Some advice I received years ago for getting a decent amp sound was to turn up the amp to maximum and then change the amp settings / mic placement until the 'hissing' of the speaker cabinet sounds 'sweet' (obviously quite subjective :-) )

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