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Old 05-12-2012, 08:25 PM
MBE MBE is offline
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Default Inexpensive room treatment options?

Hi guys,

I'm relocating for work and my new apartment will have a relatively small spare room that I intend to convert into a home studio. However, one wall is basically nothing but window and the floors are hardwood - lots of hard, reflective surfaces. I haven't had a chance to go test out the acoustics but I'm assuming it will need some help to tone down on reflections/reverberation/whatnot.

I am an amateur by any standard when it comes to recording, but hope to get some decent mics and record instrumental guitar and acoustic folk with a vocalist. My ideal scenario would be to have a setup where I can record the raw tracks at home, get them mastered by someone who knows what they're doing, and have a decent end result.

Does anyone have any resources or advice on treating a room on a budget? I'll only be in this place for 2 years so I don't intend to sink thousands into room treatment. Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:15 PM
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I'm in the middle of making some panels from Knauf RS60, white satin (whatever cheap close-weave fabric is on offer will do), and 6mm MDF board cut into strips to make wooden frames. To keep the cost down, I just glued the frame pieces together with wood glue (stick a 20x20mm block in each corner). That came to about £10 per 120x60cm panel (4'x2'). These materials will make some very light (and rather flimsy) panels which you can hang on a wall as easy as a painting.

The details of room treatment get quite complicated but, to start, off plan to break up any large flat surfaces (including the ceiling) with a bunch of broadband absorber panels, like the ones I've described.

And read up about bass traps. An open door makes a great bass trap, incidentally, if you have that luxury.
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:20 PM
donh donh is offline
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Laundry. And throw-cusions.

Toss all the laundry and cushions in the corners.

Record.

Then do the laundry.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:32 AM
funeralsinger funeralsinger is offline
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Have a look at some of this. None of it is permanent and can travel with you to your next space. They make it pretty easy, and it works. The kits are hundreds of dollars, but not thousands.

http://www.primacoustic.com/index-rm-kits.htm
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MBE View Post
...I haven't had a chance to go test out the acoustics but I'm assuming it will need some help to tone down on reflections/reverberation/whatnot.
Hi MBE...
As a recordist, not necessarily. Many studios have hard floors and walls which are easier to tame than padded up ones which have to be artificially livened up later.

Our living/dining room was fully carpeted and recordings made there were very dull. After we had them converted to hardwood, with three small area rugs and just the couches remaining, the sound is massively better with all the reflective surfaces (including two large uncovered windows).

Inexpensive room treatments are Fran Guidry's specialties, and he's done tons of posts about them on his blog (can't remember the url somebody please help).

Also, just your recording technique and placement in the room can affect the outcome of recordings greatly too.

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Old 05-13-2012, 10:50 AM
michaeljohnr michaeljohnr is offline
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An idea is to hang curtains on the walls so that you can slide them around to different spots on the wall to change the acoustics.

Just buy longer rods as if each wall contained a large window. You can use different thickness fabric to see how it effects to sound. You can also use multiple panels on the same rod.

Another idea I have seen are tapestries, but that cost a lot more.
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:56 AM
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High density mineral wool is much better at absorbing sound and it absorbs across a wide range of frequencies. You can actually make a room worse with curtains and rugs etc. They will attenuate a little at the high end of the spectrum but they'll leave all the lovely low and mid-range mud bouncing around untouched.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:50 PM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default Aloha MBE! A Plan for Room Treatment - OR NOT!

Aloha MBE,

Here's a progressive general "plan" for DIY, portable room treatment that worked for me. You can start cheap with room treatment. But your ears will probably tell you to increase the treatment as you learn & require more sonic control, or wish to experiment more with mic placement. A least that's how it's worked for me.

The truth is that Room Treatment is more important than the gear itself for dramatic improvements to your home recordings early in the game. It will also save you a lot of money & time on gear upgrades you may not even need. No, I think treatment needs to be a priority, not an after-thought, for any level of recording, especially using microphones on voices & acoustic guitars!

NOTE: My 30x40' studio has floor to ceiling windows on three sides - so room treatment was an absolute necessity. I couldn't get rid of all that reflected mud - Ha!

DA PLAN-

1) READ ETHAN WINER's ROOM TREATMENT TREATISE BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING!:

http://www.ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html


2) Test your room to find out where the early reflection problems are. Here's a useful link from Fran Guidry's site:

http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/tag/reqw/

3) Mover's Blankets: Go to a moving company, & see if they can spare some used mover's blankets for you ( I got tons for free in good shape). Wash them, add some 1/2" grommets so you can hang them where you need them. Very useful!

http://www.uline.com/BL_7900/Moving-...FQF7hwodgVsrRg

Around & above your tracking area, you could make a little room-within-a-room using hung mover's blankets. Hang a double layer w/ 4" airspace in between over the windows. You can even use mic stands for hanging the blankets around & above where you play.

That's a cheap place to start & will make a difference in both clarity & control issues. But mover's blankets will only help with reflecting mid-range freq's. You'll need to add bass traps to the corners to attentuate the basses & eliminate the lower-mid mud. Which will lead you to:

4) Fran's DIY Broad-band Absorbers. I started with these free-standing gobos by making nine (9) using Owens-Corning 703 ($135 for 12 sheets) & 705 FRK (faced - $125 for 6) rigid fiberglass panels. I doubled up two 2"x2'x4' to make one 4"x2'x4' panel. Covered them in white burlap (Walmart). Use Loctite HD 200-300 spray glue for the faces & edges. then hot-melt glue sticks w/ a cheap glue gun from Walmart for the corners & fabric joints. Also added other nice colorful porous fabrics from remnant piles. Fran's great video's here - it saved me thousands on pre-made panels & shipping:

http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2011/...adband-panels/

http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2009/...-on-the-cheap/

To start with, I placed two of the FRK panels (one above the other) across each corner (w/ the faced side out to the room) as BASS TRAPS, & one above my tracking area. They really, really worked well w/ the blankets & are portable, self-supporting (no need for frames) & easily storable, allowing you to use the room for other functions.

NOTE: I even use the "room-within-the room" idea, placing two absorbers both front & back, & two on each side of me, where I play/track/sing, & two more hanging above me. With the blankets around the room (two layers over the windows), the bass-traps in the corners, & also around the mixing area & other strategic places like reflection points on walls, I find that this approach really provides ALL the control I need - even for mic placement experiments. It really increases the headroom too. But with portable absorbers, just start w/ two or four as Fran suggests & place them whereever you need them - usually behind your mic & behind you playing. You can take it from there as needed, MBE.

5) Add more absorbers in wall-ceiling corners & other areas as needed (especially around & above your mixing space). Subsequently, I've added more (now 22 in all), to control my space. It really tightens up everything, separates the freq's, adds depth to the sound-staging & gives you the clarity you need to mix & master w/ accuracy.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/bass-...res-added.html

btw, you shouldn't even frame out absorbers like those guys did - their hard surfaces defeats the purpose.

6) Investigate Diffusers if necessary. Use less treatment if the room gets too dead sounding & diffusers to add some reflection in an organized way. After much A/B'ing, I'd recommend using 1/4" plywood for the floor where you track, instead of carpeting.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/bass-...anel-idea.html

More info:

http://www.gikacoustics.com/gik_screen_panel.html

Gearslutz "studio acoustics" forum is invaluable:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/studi...ing-acoustics/

If something more permanent evolves, ya might take a look at Doug Young's studio building experience for clues.

http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/studio.php

Finally MBE, you really don't have to do all of this plan. Start w/ the blankets & build your knowledge. You'll build the rest naturally as you become more informed. And room treatment doesn't have to be expensive or permanent. But it IS SO IMPORTANT in maximizing ANY recording signal chain of ANY size, even hand-held recorders!

Good Luck, MBE!

alohachris

Last edited by alohachris; 05-14-2012 at 01:22 PM.
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  #9  
Old 05-13-2012, 03:22 PM
billder99 billder99 is offline
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Default Treatment resource gold mine

Quote:
Originally Posted by alohachris View Post
Aloha MBE,

Here's a progressive general "plan" for DIY, portable room treatment that worked for me. You can start cheap with room treatment....
Holy Moly Chris... talk about a Do-All forum post... this should be a sticky in the Recording section, Best of the Best all in one handy location.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:53 AM
KevWind KevWind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billder99 View Post
Holy Moly Chris... talk about a Do-All forum post... this should be a sticky in the Recording section, Best of the Best all in one handy location.
Yes Chris,s info can be a super resource . Hey noticed you're location, went fishing there a few years back had a great time. Actually going again this year but to the Los Barriles area . Can't wait.
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:40 PM
Ivan Lee Ivan Lee is offline
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Another thanks to Aloha Chris.......

Such generous and informative posts !!!! Excellent links........

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Old 05-14-2012, 03:16 PM
prsplayer12 prsplayer12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post

Inexpensive room treatments are Fran Guidry's specialties, and he's done tons of posts about them on his blog (can't remember the url somebody please help).
http://www.homebrewedmusic.com

And jeez Chris.. Thats a ton of awesome information.
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:18 PM
GibbySWD GibbySWD is offline
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I had a dedicated audio room a few years back that badly needed treatment. I purchased a couple of pieces of mineral wool, dropped them in some homemade frames, and covered them with fabric. Great investment.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:02 PM
ukejon ukejon is offline
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Listen to Chris! He is a wealth of info on this topic (and others). My playing/recording space is very much based on his recommendations.
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:11 AM
j3ffr0 j3ffr0 is offline
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gikacoustics.com Best pricing; excellent product. Cheaper than DIY for me when I factor in what I think my time is worth and much better result too.
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