How to Acoustically Treat a Room
In this post we will discuss how to acoustically treat a room in your home music studio. I will list a free resource that will help determine what and where your space might need treatment. I will also include a few affiliate links to some very affordable treatment options.
In my last post we talked about the nature of sound as it relates to our studio monitor placement. Learning how to acoustically treat a room is the other side of this equation.
Let me start with a more personal note. Recently I've turned a corner on this subject. For some time now I've had a good understanding of how sound works in relation to my studio space. I've also had a good idea of what needed to be addressed in the spaces I've mixed in.
What I didn't realize, until recently, is that there are some very affordable options beyond the do-it-yourself approach. Eventually I might even be able to take my blankets off the wall. ;) Thanks to Graham at the Recording Revolution for his post about this one. You can check that out later here.
Using our previous illustration (read that here if you need to catch up), lets consider what sound waves will do in your studio space. As audio is generated by your monitors, it exits in several directions. Each room responds to these audio frequencies differently. Some frequencies are amplified while others may even be canceled out all together. This is where knowing how to acoustically treat a room comes into play.
In my opinion the most important area to treat first is the wall you face while mixing. Though the placement of your studio monitors does play a big role here, acoustically treating this space is usually needed as well. Often, sound waves are bouncing off the wall behind your monitors and back into your mixing position.
There can literally be frequencies that you are unable to hear while trying to adjust your EQ. Tones that are amplified in your room will also create an inaccurate mixing space. This is the result of sound waves hitting one another and the cancellation or boost it may cause.
Proper acoustical treatment of this wall will drastically lessen the chances of frequency boost and/or cancellation. Using studio foam absorption and diffusion panels would be ideal.
Many rooms have low-end "hot spots," specifically in corners. If left untreated you will hear more lows than your mix is actually producing. The end result may be a mix that has too little low-end. Bass taps or panels, with high absorption ability are needed to correct low-end room boosts.
The truth is, your space may have all sorts of frequency inaccuracies going on.
Learning how to acoustically treat a room will assure you're listening to an accurate picture of your projects. This plays a major factor in the quality of your mixes.
I realize that all this frequency boost/cut stuff can get confusing real quick. Here is one valuable and FREE resource that can save the day. Auralex Acoustics is a company that has been around since the late 70's. They offer an online personalized room analysis.
Take some measurements of your room and create a drawing of that space. Auralex will then look at your information and give you their feedback as to what they would treat. You can submit your info free online to Auralex here. Once you've completed that step, below are a few affordable options to begin acoustically treating your room.
Auralex Studiofoam Designer Kit Charcoal Gray $108.99
The Auralex Studiofoam Designer Kit uses an advanced design to dampen rogue sounds in your studio. Designer kit provides 32 - 1' x 1' x 2" panels in your choice of burgundy or charcoal with 2 tubes of Tubetak Pro Liquid Adhesive and an instruction sheet.32 sound-absorbing panels 2 tubes of liquid adhesive
Auralex D36-Dst Roominators Kit Charcoal $154.99
Roominators-DST Kits are designed to dramatically improve your acoustics, and give you a great designer look! Now you can have the expertise, features, and performance that you have come to expect from Auralex!Perfect for spot treatment and that designer look. The Roominators D36 acoustic sound control kit offers you a starting point to reduce unwanted slap and flutter echo in your room. Think of all the creative possibilities these kits afford as you begin to tune your room.The D36 kit includes:18 DST-112 panels 18 DST-114 panels 2 TubeTak Pro Adhesives
Learning how to acoustically treat a room is often a science (literally). Yet with a little help and forethought, the benefit can truly out weigh the potential learning cure. What do you think?
“Thanks to Graham at the Recording Revelation” Hmm, that doesn’t sound quite right ;)
Ha ha, ya your right Japheth, thanks for catching that one for me. ;) It’s Recording “Revolution” not “Revelation”. Tried to give props here but it does help to spell it right. ;) I’ve updated the post accordingly.