Asking for help with room treatment

Discussion in 'Studio Construction & Acoustics Forum' started by dantewurliuchi, Sep 30, 2003.

  1. dantewurliuchi

    dantewurliuchi

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    Location:
    Kelseyville, CA
    Here are some drawings of my one-room studio (obviously I'm not a draftsperson).
    I do both tracking and mixing in this room. I've always had problems with my mixes
    not translating well when played on other systems. It has cost me a lot of time,
    work, money and frustration--not to mention hair loss--to make corrections.

    Tracking problems: Vocals and acoustic instruments always sound hollow. That's the
    only word I can use to describe it.

    Mixing problems: You name it, I got it. Mid-range is unfocused. The mixes end up hard
    and harsh sounding. Bass is unfocused. I need to push the bass in order to hear it
    when I'm mixing, but I've learned to back off because I know it will be too much when
    played on other systems.

    I've been contemplating treating this room for quite some time, but, because I don't
    know what I'm doing, have worried about making things worse. I almost had a professional
    acoustics engineer come out here, but I live in the boonies and just the travel expense
    alone was more than I could pay for the whole job.

    I've now read Ethan's article and have read some of the posts on this forum. I have to
    say that Ethan's article is EXCELLENT. I've read other books and articles on the subject,
    but the science and math was too much for me to grasp. My eyes would roll back into my
    head as I slipped into a coma.

    I would most appreciate some guidance about what kind of treatments I should use, and
    where I should put them in the room. Thanks for your help.

    I was thinking, Would it help if I posted a link to an MP3? I can do a quick mix of a
    song I just wrote and recorded. That way you could hear what a mix that sounds good in
    my room sounds like on your system. I won't make any adjustments to it for the
    outside world. Would that help?

    Regards,

    Dan Worley

    Below are the drawings: They should each fit and print out on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper.

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  2. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer

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    Dan,

    That's a nice sized room that has the potential to sound very good once you put in enough treatment.

    > Ethan's article is EXCELLENT ... I've read other books and articles ... My eyes would roll back into my head as I slipped into a coma. <

    Thanks. Keeping it simple and free of math was a major goal.

    > Would it help if I posted a link to an MP3? <

    Not really, unless you just want to share some of your work with us. :cool:

    > I would most appreciate some guidance about what kind of treatments I should use, and
    where I should put them in the room. <

    The usual advice is to install a mix of bass traps in the corners and mid/high absorption on the walls. Since your room is so large you may need additional traps on the walls. But you can start with maybe a dozen or so traps in the corners and see where that takes you. Besides the regular wall/wall corners there's also a lot of corner space at the tops of the walls where they meet the ceiling.

    --Ethan
  3. dantewurliuchi

    dantewurliuchi

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    I finally got some time to post some images of my room. You can see them below. I have some specific questions: Should I get rid of the bookcase in the front-right to make the front of the room more symmetrical? Should I get rid of the carpet and just go with hardwood flooring throughout? What should I put in the space between the two front widows? Will I have to build some type of inserts for the front windows, or is closing the curtains enough? For lower frequencies, would you recommend corner traps or panel traps for this room? How many traps should I put where the ceiling meet the walls? How many traps (if any) should I put across the peak of the ceiling. How do I know where to put the traps? So many questions...

    Thanks,

    Dan Worley

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  4. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer

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    Dan,

    > Should I get rid of the bookcase in the front-right to make the front of the room more symmetrical? <

    Symmetry is always important, but that bookcase is pretty far away from the mix position. The big issue is avoiding wall reflections, or at least making them the same on both sides. You're so far away from the walls that I doubt it matters. I think general ambience and bass control are the main things you need to focus on.

    > Should I get rid of the carpet and just go with hardwood flooring throughout? <

    Sure. Or at least you could try that.

    > What should I put in the space between the two front widows? Will I have to build some type of inserts for the front windows, or is closing the curtains enough? <

    Again, all of those surfaces are pretty far away from your loudspeakers.

    > For lower frequencies, would you recommend corner traps or panel traps for this room? <

    Are you looking to build or buy? Either way, you'll probably do better with something based on rigid fiberglass than panel traps. To build enough panel traps for a room that large will require quite a bit of labor and/or expense.

    > How many traps should I put where the ceiling meet the walls? How many traps (if any) should I put across the peak of the ceiling. <

    The more the merrier.

    > How do I know where to put the traps? <

    In the corners.

    --Ethan
  5. dantewurliuchi

    dantewurliuchi

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    Ethan,

    Thanks for your help. How about the placements on the images below: Good? Bad? Overkill? Underkill? Should I go with Mini Traps in the wall corners instead of panel traps? Because of the cost (or the skill that is required to construct them), that's what I'd like to do. But I want to do it right.

    Count:
    16 Mini Traps (2' x 4')
    3 low bass traps (2' x 7-1/2')
    3 high bass traps (2' x 7-1/2')
    2 ??? (I think I can use 1 horizontal for this)

    Thank you,

    Dan Worley


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  6. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer

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    Dan,

    > How about the placements on the images below: Good? Bad? Overkill? Underkill? <

    Actually, that all looks just about right. 16 to 20 MiniTraps spread around the room as you show will do a fine job. And if you get MiniTraps you really don't need any wood panel traps. For the corners where you show both types of panel traps you'll put one MiniTrap vertically straddling the corner. And for the front right corner marked "?" you can put a MiniTrap there too, straddling all three boundaries in the tri-corner.

    One thing that's not clear from the photos is the center peak. I see one MiniTrap there, near the fan, but there should be several MiniTraps along the entire length of that "corner." That will help reduce some of the floor to ceiling reflections.

    --Ethan
  7. dantewurliuchi

    dantewurliuchi

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    That's good news. Speaking of tri corners. I was wondering about placing Mini Traps over all the other ceiling tri corners, too. Do you think that is necessary? Because of the peak ceiling, there is six tri corners.

    I understand. I had planned to use two Mini Traps in that area (one on each side of the fan) but I will now use four across. I think that is one of the major problems with this room--floor to ceiling reflections. Once I get that and the corners in check, I'll probably have to also do something about the flat wall surfaces. But I don't think that will take anything major.

    Thank you so much for your help, Ethan. You're awesome!!!

    Best regards,

    Dan Worley
  8. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer

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    Dan,

    > I was wondering about placing Mini Traps over all the other ceiling tri corners, too. Do you think that is necessary? Because of the peak ceiling, there is six tri corners. <

    All corners are good for MiniTraps, and tri-corners are especially good where the regular vertical corners are unavailable. In a room that large I think it is a good idea to cover all six tri-corners. Then you can distribute the rest evenly around the room in the other corners as shown in your second set of photos.

    > I had planned to use two Mini Traps in that area (one on each side of the fan) but I will now use four across. <

    For most mountings a MiniTrap's "reach" is about twice its physical size. So one MiniTrap is good for about eight feet of length. If you put one in each tri-corner in the ceiling peak, two more along the length of the peak should be enough. When you put them under the peak, be sure they hang down a little so the depth right at the peak is at least eight inches.

    --Ethan
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