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Old 10-24-2016, 08:04 AM
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Default Acoustic Foam the Myth the Reality

This is an excerpt from an article over on the Pro Tools Expert websight.

I thought it might be useful to those starting on the journey of delving into treating Room Acoustics.





"Myths Of Modern Recording – Acoustic Foam Treatment Improves Room Acoustics.......

Many believe sticking acoustic foam tiles on the walls and ceilings of their studios is the be all and end all to improving room acoustics. In this Myths Of Modern Recording article I will argue that using just foam tiles as acoustic treatment does little to improve problematic room acoustics. Foam merely changes the acoustics of a room as foam can only physically absorb a narrow range of frequencies. You will never know for sure if a room’s acoustics have been improved or deteriorated with off the shelf "acoustic foam treatment". Several years ago I learnt a valuable lesson in over using acoustic foam treatment - Read my article Acoustic Treatment - What Are We All Doing?

Marketing - Read Between The Lines
Acoustic foam treatment is marketed in some quite outrageous ways, such as:

Control the acoustics in your studio with foam product A
Get better acoustics with foam bundle B
Enhance your space with foam bundle C
It’s easy to see why so many buy into the idea of foam. If you read between the lines of foam marketing you’ll see that you are being led to believe that your recording studio is worse off for not having foam stuck to every wall. Low-cost room bundles advertised in a way that makes you believe you should cover almost every square inch of your studio in foam.

Acoustic Treatment or Acoustic Torture?
Let’s compare acoustic treatment to medical treatment. You go to your doctor when you are sick - you want to find out what the illness is and treatment. The doctor diagnoses your illness and prescribes the correct treatment... treatment works - you get better.

Now think of the acoustic problems in your studio as that illness. You don’t know what the problems are, so how do you know what the correct treatment should be? Many wouldn’t have a clue how to find out the illness (acoustic problems) is in the studio. Many will guess and self-diagnose problems with the cheapest option of "treatment" being used as to correct the issues – acoustic foam. The biggest problem with foam is the final installed results. Once it has been stuck to the walls we hear a difference to the sound of the room, this difference is often interpreted as an improvement, however this isn't always the case. No-one will want to admit they have degraded the sound of their newly foam treated studio.

Foam - Part Of The Acoustic Treatment
I will admit I have been quite one-sided in this article. Foam does have an acoustic purpose if used correctly and in conjunction with other acoustic treatment solutions. Foam absorbs a narrow range of frequencies that can address flutter echoes and high-end reverberations if the correct amount is used and positioned well. Read how Mike Thornton uses small amount of foam in his studio - Acoustic Treatment - What Are We All Doing - Part 3
"

Here is the link

http://www.pro-tools-expert.com/home...room-acoustics
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Old 10-24-2016, 08:18 AM
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Round one!
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Old 10-24-2016, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Round one!
Well it does state what foam is useful for, so I guess I do not see the rumble.
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Old 10-24-2016, 10:32 AM
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I just skimmed this. What I got is you need an acoustic engineer or use a expensive studio. All others use foam.
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Old 10-24-2016, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Jelly View Post
I just skimmed this. What I got is you need an acoustic engineer or use a expensive studio. All others use foam.
Well I suppose the illness analogy could lead you to consider an Acu. engineer and no doubt it would most likely help.

But there are some diagnostic tools available to download that can help also and do not require hiring and outside engineer. These can go a long way towards actually solving problems. And there is a plethora of information online about studio acoustics and designs and about acoustic room problems and possible solutions. As well info from commercial absorber mfg's and DYI absorber designs, uses, likely placement, etc.etc.


And have no idea where you came up with "All others use foam" Most of the people I know who have treated their own rooms (sans an engineer) have done so without foam or with foam for specific uses per the last paragraph above and then also more broad band absorption products .
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Last edited by KevWind; 10-24-2016 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 10-24-2016, 12:56 PM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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I loathe how people assume every room has acoustic problems and must be "fixed." I'm getting very nice sounding recording is my untreated living room. All I have is an Auralex MudGuard and a moving blanket. Works fine for me, but the experts insist I should put in $1,000's of dollars in room treatment, and I'm not worthy until I do. And they do this without ever seeing my room.
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Old 10-24-2016, 02:57 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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As a professional acoustical engineer, just an hour ago I was visiting a client about remedial treatment in his conference room, and a possible future recording booth.

I basically told him, "never bring a knife to a gun fight". In other words, you have to use the right tool for the job. There are really only three things you can do to sound in a room. You can absorb it (foam or fiberglass). You can scatter it (diffusive surfaces) or you can reflect it to where it doesn't hurt you (walls at non-parallel angles).

As Martin Maniac said just before me, "Is there really a problem to begin with"? It is vital to identify the actual problem. Is it sound transfer between adjoining spaces? Is it sound bouncing around in the room creating echoes or audible artifacts? Is it a major lack of absorption / excess general reverberation or liveness? I also told him that 90% of what you read on the internet is not based on facts or experience, but rehashing of the same misinformation. I can almost count on one hand where bass traps have been useful, and that was always retrofit in existing recording studios.

Personally I record in the extra bedroom, which has painted sheet rock surfaces and two beds, plus an open closet full of clothes. The beds and closet give me plenty of absorption, and the walls give me nice reflections and "presence". As a pro I have access to all the products - often at cost or free - and the relevant data, but I just don't bother. Mic'ing techniques and placement are far more effective and important than most room surfaces. I could go on for hours discussing this topic, but need to get back to work now.
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Old 10-24-2016, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Maniac View Post
I loathe how people assume every room has acoustic problems and must be "fixed." I'm getting very nice sounding recording is my untreated living room. All I have is an Auralex MudGuard and a moving blanket. Works fine for me, but the experts insist I should put in $1,000's of dollars in room treatment, and I'm not worthy until I do. And they do this without ever seeing my room.
I don't think the article was about your room was it ?
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Old 10-24-2016, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Maniac View Post
And they do this without ever seeing my room.
Hearing your room would be far more effective. Post up some clips.
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Old 10-24-2016, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Maniac View Post
but the experts insist I should put in $1,000's of dollars in room treatment, and I'm not worthy until I do. And they do this without ever seeing my room.
That's simply not true Martin. Virtually every conversation you've been involved in here has revolved around the absolute fact that decent room treatment and money invested can be exclusive of one another. That and it's not only been me but virtually all who have been proponents have mentioned the same. I know I've preference each and every conversation, without fail, that lot's of money is not needed for a good room. You have consistently chosen to ignore that even within the scope and context of the conversation. Some have pointed you in the direction of extremely inexpensive DUY projects and your retort is your not rich like Peter Gabriel.
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Old 10-24-2016, 06:11 PM
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What should I do with all this foam now?
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Old 10-24-2016, 06:52 PM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wengr View Post
Hearing your room would be far more effective. Post up some clips.
here ya go....

http://www.soundclick.com/html5/v3/p...&q=hi&newref=1

Here's another...

http://www.soundclick.com/html5/v3/p...&q=hi&newref=1
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Last edited by Martin Maniac; 10-24-2016 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 10-24-2016, 07:49 PM
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No foam in mine, but lots of midrange absorption and bass traps, and a carefully constructed back wall diffuser tuned to the room, designed with a QRD calculator.

I wish foam would have been enough to save the day...
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Old 10-25-2016, 09:49 AM
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Often room treatment is not needed in a recording room. But in a mixing room (i.e. one with 'monitor' speakers) treatment can be crucial to making mixes that translate well to other playback systems.
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Old 10-25-2016, 10:51 AM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Hanna View Post
That's simply not true Martin. Virtually every conversation you've been involved in here has revolved around the absolute fact that decent room treatment and money invested can be exclusive of one another. That and it's not only been me but virtually all who have been proponents have mentioned the same. I know I've preference each and every conversation, without fail, that lot's of money is not needed for a good room. You have consistently chosen to ignore that even within the scope and context of the conversation. Some have pointed you in the direction of extremely inexpensive DUY projects and your retort is your not rich like Peter Gabriel.
There ya go again...you're assuming that I need room treatment without even seeing my room. I don't care if it only costs $50 bucks...I don't feel I need it, so why bother ?? You're starting to sound like a pushy snake oil salesman but pushing room treatment to any one who'll listen.
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