In Tape Op #36, I reviewed the panel traps that RealTraps used to manufacture out of wood. In issue #38, Larry Crane reviewed RealTraps MiniTraps, which performed so well (while being easy to ship) that the company stopped making the wood panel traps. Since then, RealTraps partners Ethan Winer and Doug Ferrara have added MondoTraps and MicroTraps to their line. The MondoTraps are similar in construction to MiniTraps in that they're made of panels of rigid acoustic insulation bonded to a limp-mass membrane, wrapped in cloth, and framed in metal. (This design increases low- frequency absorption by more than half over plain rigid fiberglass of the same density and thickness.) You may recall in my review of the original wooden traps that even after installation of the bass traps, I still had a fairly big "hole" in the frequency response of my control room between 63-72 Hz due to the axial dimension of the room. I wanted to "fill in" that hole a bit and also reduce the rear wall reflections for band members sitting on the couch in the back of the room. Therefore, over the course of a few months, I ordered and installed six MiniTraps and three MondoTraps for my control room, and more for my live room. My first test was to place a single MondoTrap in the floor-to-wall corner at the front of the control room, hidden on the far side of the recording console. Using my trusty Terrasonde ATB-1, I generated tones at 1 Hz intervals and measured the response before and after placement of the MondoTrap. I was surprised at how effective that single trap was at filling in my low-end hole. Between 44-89 Hz, the bass response went up an average of 3 dB. After the rest of the traps were mounted (some on the rear wall and wall-to-ceiling corners, and some on the front) another set of measurements showed an increase in bass response of 5-7 dB throughout most of that same range. Furthermore, my secondary goal, reducing the rear-wall reflections for the couch-bound band members, was achieved. Imaging and bass response on the couch were discernibly improved. I can't say enough about how awesome RealTraps products are. I'm convinced that they're the most cost-effective off-the-shelf means of treating a small room for low-end acoustics. When people ask me what gear they should buy to improve the sound of their home or project studio recordings, I tell them to buy RealTraps bass traps, because a room with crappy acoustics will give you crappy recordings, no matter what mic or compressor you use. Check out the RealTraps website for all sorts of new additions to the company's product line, including gobos, stands, and even built-in SoffitTraps. Volume discounts and room kits are also explained on the website. ($299.99 direct for a single MondoTrap;

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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