Room acoustics shouldn't drive you up your studio walls!
Discover the basics you need to know about your room acoustics below...
Mission: Create a room where sound sources can be recorded or monitored without coloration or distortion introduced by the room itself.
Factors Involved: The shape and dimensions of your room, the position of the sound source, types of surfaces and the furniture in the room.
Possible Obstacles: Room modes, standing waves, flutter echos, reverb, distortion, coloration, filter combing... aaaarggh no!
Causes for Obstacles: A square room, a small room, reflective flat surfaces, corners.
You can clearly see by the above that room acoustics is very a technical and in-depth subject.
There are many great sources available should you wish to delve deeply into the subject of room acoustics.
You won't find on this page a long explanation about the technical aspects of how sound behaves in a room.
No, I simply provide you with a very basic way of looking at room acoustics and tips on how to improve your DIY home studio sound quickly and on a budget. The 20%.
You will deal with two types of sound in your studio...
1) Direct Sound - Sound which comes directly from the source of the sound to your ear.
Reflected Sound - Sound which travels from the sound
source and bounces off a surface before it reaches your ear.
Reflected sound waves can cause echos when mid and high frequencies bounce of walls or other surfaces.
sound waves can also form standing waves which occur between parallel
walls and which causes accentuation of certain frequencies as opposing
waves interfere with each other.
You will find that all your room problems are caused by reflected sounds.
don't have to get too technical to improve your room sound. You can
get a good recording and control room space when you follow some basic
guidelines outlined for you below.
The Room Acoustics Quick Fix Guide...
Possible room acoustics problems with mid and high frequencies...
Clap your hands.
I'm not joking! ;-)
Do you hear an echo or distorted fluttery or springy sound after you clap?
You may have a case of flutter echos.
you want some room reverberation, not too much though, and definitely
not anything which will actually distort the image of your source sound
before it hits your ear.
The medicine you want for this mid to high frequency issue is a bit of absorption and diffraction.
Play some music in your room...
You'll find that selective and strategic placement of studio furniture and acoustic foam or panels will overcome flutter echos.
You also want to lay a carpet in your home studio should you not have one already.
trick is to add absorbents and diffusers little by little until your
room sounds decent. Just enough reflection present so the room is not
dead and also not too bright.
Possible room acoustics problems with bass frequencies...
You will have to overcome certain basic problems in the bass frequencies around and below 300Hz especially in smaller rooms.
Two such issues are room modes and standing waves.
modes are resonances created when sound is played in a room and the
waves of the sound interacts with the structure of the room.
sound waves between parallel surfaces can also collide to create
standing waves which means you will experience peaks and dips in
frequency as you move around the room.
Furniture and bass traps can help to absorb bass frequencies and reduce your room mode or standing wave issues.
Room Acoustics Quick Fixes You Can Do Right Now...
- You want to add padding, convoluted foam and furniture to absorb and diffuse high and mid frequencies.
- You can use bookcases to absorb low frequencies and diffract high and mid frequencies.
- Your cupboards can act as bass traps.
- Carpets will help reduce reflections.
You can also create picture frames and mount pictures without any glass
in the frame as this can also help diffuse high and mid frequencies.
- Use acoustic panels and diffusers to break up waves between parallel walls in a square space.
panels are available from specialist sound and music retailers though
they can be quite pricey, so to save money you can easily make some
yourself. You may find this great little tutorial video helpful should
you decide to create your own acoustic panels...