Why Hemp?

A musician's quest for safe and sustainable audio solutions.
Why Hemp? 
Well, to be blunt, because it's dope. 
It began with an obsession for music, music production, and capturing my wife's incredible voice in the most accurate, clean, and intimate way my budget would allow. I needed to record audio and then balance her voice in to a dense mix of guitars, strings, synths, drums, and my admittedly obnoxiously loud bass, before "mastering" in the same Los Angeles, apartment, living room/office/rehearsal space/dining room, and I needed it to blow the cheesy sunglasses off of the faces of A&R reps across the globe, so constructing baffling, enclosures, and experimenting with every treatment option available became one of many new "research subjects".  After many trials, followed by even greater errors, I came to some realizations about the physics of sound on matter, and the viable options available in the market to maximize listening and recording environments. If the audio in your room sucks, and it probably does, then the only way to make it better is to start removing frequencies by mounting absorbent material over reflective surfaces. The amount of frequencies one would want to remove is a bit elusive, and fluctuates greatly on the structure of your room and what your intended goals are. but that is an entirely different discussion. The 2 most trusted absorbent materials most used in studios around the world are open cell foam and mineral-wool/fiberglass. Mineral-wool and fiberglass are denser than foam and absorb more low end energy, with far less cubic space.  
I always went with foam because my wife and I didn't want to bring irritants within range of her vocal chords, even though it is far less effective for frequencies below 1khz, and when the glue manages to keep the foam stuck to the wall, without proper bass frequency absorption, our vocals would get, dull, boxy, or muffled. The other problem with foam is that it breaks down rather quickly depending on levels of temperature, moisture, dust, bacteria, fungus, and the usual destructive oils from existing around humans and their preferred domestic life forms, rendering most foam useless within 10 years.. Plus, I have always wanted to steer away from the dependence on petroleum based products for geo-political, global financial, and environmental reasons, which speaks to the level of fear I had about molten mineral fibers.
Despite the claims from well funded PR firms, mineral wool and fiberglass should only be handled with a mask, eye protection, and gloves. I could never figure out why people would want to bring these irritants into their personal creative space with only some fabric between the irritant and their flesh. I thought mineral wool might be great for internal wall assembly, I mean it is technically made from recycled material (slag from the steel making process) until I started considering an aging house, where cracks in the walls, ceilings, and floor boards could send these fibers flying through the house everytime a door opens and closes. While the industry claims mineral wool as a "Green" product it requires an enormous amount of heat to create, it does not decompose, produces toxic gasses in it's production, and the companies that make it have had a checkered history with mesothelioma lawsuits.
Then I found hemp wool insulation.

I fell in love. My wife would get jealous by the loving ways I would gaze upon those naked batts of absorbent fibers. Hemp wool insulation has a class A fire rating, it is carbon negative, mold resistant, pest resistant, it is made from a crop humans have cultivated for over 7000 years, and it continually catches my eye with its robust R value.
Because of the unique structure of hemp, it absorbs better than any other natural fiber, it can be grown in half the time, on half the land as cotton, using half the water, and using far fewer pesticides. It actually benefits the soil to grow hemp, because it extracts heavy metals from the soil.
Hemp is literally the dopest crop ever.
If your your room sucks, and it probably does, then you need to get yourself some Dope Panels. We can stop using mineral wool and fiberglass now.

1 comment

  • Is the wool insulation or felt safe to have inside the actual house ?? I have a old camper I don’t wanna renovate (might get a newer one or build one) but still would like to just add some insulation to the walls, maybe hanging the help felt. Or wrapping the hemp batts in cloth and Velcro them up. But I was wondering what the rest of the hemp batts were made of since I saw they were 92%hemp. Thanks – kevin


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