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home studio room acoustics – is this a good idea?

Discussion in 'Room Acoustics / Studio Design' started by ouzo77, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    My wife and I are moving into a new house. In the basement there's a spare room, that I want to turn into my new home studio.

    Room size is approx. 236 sq ft/22 qm and 7.5 ft/2.27 m high.

    The acoustics in this room are quite terrible. It's stone walls and tiled floor and there is a metal pipe running along one wall about two inches below the ceiling. I get a "nice" reverb when I clap my hands.

    Also I will need some sound proofing to the neighbors basement (it's a semi-detached house) because I would like to play drums. The existing isolation is already quite good, because I have never heard anything from the neighbors house (I know the house for almost five years because it was my mother-in-law's). But just to be sure I'd like to enhance it a bit and minimize the noise to the neighbors house.

    So I made a plan:

    I will build absorbers with a 3"/7 cm Rockwool panel (3.3 ft x 2 ft/1.00 m x 0,625 m) in a wooden frame, covered with cloth.

    On the wall to the neighbor's basement I will put 4 IKEA Billy bookcases (height 6.6 ft/2.02 m), stuffed with 12.5"/28 cm Rockwool and covered in cloth.

    In the corners of the same wall I will place 2 stacked Rockwool packages (3.3 ft x 2 ft x 2.1 ft / 1 m x 0,625 m x 0,65 m each) on each side as bass traps.

    In the gap above the stacked Rockwool and Billy bookcases I will put more Rockwool. They will also hold one side of the angled ceiling clouds (absorbers) over the desk.

    The walls at the drum set will be covered with absorbers and there will be a cloud above it.

    It should look something like this:



    So what do you think? Is this a good plan or do you think it's not gonna work?
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    You have good ideas but before you put any absorbsion in a room, you should know that it could change the frequency response of the room. Why ? because no material absorb the frequencies equally. The more tickness you have the more bass you will drop but it's never a strait line from 20hz to 20khz.

    So in you case, without calculation, I'm guessing you will kill far too much bass with your bookcases and basstraps.
    Obviously you will want to reduce fluter echo and the reverb of the room if it's not sounding good but in my opinion, I'd start by actually record some stuff in the room and listen to how bad it really sounds before doing anything to it and create new problems (ex vocal, acoustic guitar)

    2 site of interest :

  3. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    Hello Marco! Thanks for your reply.

    Of course I will do some measurements before doing anything. But anyway, in its current state you can't really record anything in that room. It sounds almost like a reverb chamber. Though the drums might sound quite cool...
    The bookcases are mostly for noise leakage dampening. Maybe it would be better to cover two of them with some hard surface...

    The main purpose for the room is mixing and recording vocals, maybe some drum recording. I don't use real guitar amps and I record the acoustic guitar mainly from the pickup. So I'm after a rather dry room.

    What I'd really like to know is, if I'm totally wrong with the direction I'm planning to go or if you guys think that this is a legit way to do it.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Your drawings look great.
    If it were me, I would get RealTraps or similar acoustic treatment from an acoustic tiling outlet, fill the corners with trapping and foam, put a cloud above you and have fun.
    After you learn your room, hear the areas you don't like, which is most certainly going to be the drums no matter how much you try to improve them, replace them and/ or retrack them in a larger area like a church and forget about ever making your small room work for real drums. (at least professionally or modern sounding).
    Your home is not a large studio and never will be so join the crowd of learning how to get the best you can and replace the rest through sound replacement or location room augmentation.

    Even well designed studios built by pros lack the full sound you get through emulation and smart mixing yields today. Put your money into pre's that are awesome. Get great dynamic mics and/ or what helps capture you and avoids unnecessary wall reflections.
    Use your new home to make music and build a control room to improve it via mixing technologies. This can be accomplished for thousands less than the never ending disappointment trying to reconstruct a home will never be.

    All the money in the world will never pay off trying to get your drums to sound like they are tracked in a 40 foot ceiling plus 1 million. Treat it as best you can, and get great at mixing.
    pcrecord likes this.
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I'm sure mixing and recording vocals won't be a problem if you just reduce echo and room reverb.
    You can start with a few rugs and thick curtains on the walls and it will certainly be better.
    After that comes the measurements and the work on the defects alone. Big setups may look cool but we often need less, a lot less...

    For leakage, you can't just put things in front of the wall with gapes between them. If you have a hole the size of a dime, you have done it for no reasons.
    Soundproofing is a lot more complicated and costly than making the room usable.
    The best way to block noise leakage is to build a double wall in which there is gonna be absorbtions and mass. (ex : multiple layers of sheetrocks) Or a room within a room.
    Chris likes this.
  6. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member

    Thanks for the RealTraps mention Chris. I'll add that bass traps always improve the low frequency response, and in a normal home-size room it's probably not possible to have too many bass traps. In most rooms the main problem is a lack of bass, usually caused by destructive interference from reflections coming back from the rear wall behind you. As more and more bass traps are added, the nulls improve and the result is an increase in bass. So while corners are the usual place for bass traps, the rear (and front) walls are also viable candidates. The attached graph shows the LF response in a typical size room before and after adding bass traps.


    Attached Files:

    Chris likes this.
  7. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    Thanks Chris. Doing things like that is my daytime job.

    Recording drums isn't a priority. If I do record drums I will definitely replace or enhance with samples.

    I just want to be able to practice without too much leakage to the neighbors. That's why I planned on adding the book cases. I wouldn't leave any gaps and thought that they would add some extra protection.

    The real traps look nice, but they are a bit too expensive for my needs. I think the diy solution would do it for me. Do you think 3" is enough or would you make them thicker? 4 or 5"?

    I'm well aware that the room will never be Perfect.
    Chris likes this.
  8. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    Hello Ethan,

    As you can see in my drawing there's a subwoofer for my secondary monitors beneath the desk. Would you put some kind of absorber/trap between the subwoofer and the wall?
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    @Ethan Winer @Chris @ouzo77 @pcrecord

    Remember that you can also increase the efficiency of absorbent material if you put an air gap between it and the boundary. For example, you don't have to mount the cloud directly to the boundary above you. You can suspend it down from the ceiling, which will increase it's efficiency... (maybe "efficiency is the wrong term here...? ... maybe "effectiveness" is better terminology? Ethan can weigh in and correct me if I'm describing it wrong.)
  10. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I thought of this to be true for absorbtions but not for soundproofing. Of course when you reduce room reverb you have less build ups so less spills. ;)
  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    at least 4" ..... and if you can, use rigid fiberglass instead of rock wool. 1" spacer blocks will increase efficiency.

    imo, your plans look pretty good. the one thing that alarms me is your mention of a sub woofer in conjunction with the ceiling height. a minimum dimension of 7.5 feet will allow for a 150 Hz. bass wave to fully form. keep this in mind and try not to stuff 10 lbs. of stuff into a 5 lb. bag. you cannot make boundaries "disappear". all you can do is to minimize their effect. one way to do this is to not introduce lo freq energy into the room below a pre determined frequency.

    after you place all the absorption, try to do an analysis of some type on the room and look for nulls and peaks. then you can go in with the membrane or Helmholtz traps at targeted frequencies. it makes much more sense to do it that way than to just plaster up a sh*tload of expensive freq specific traps that are working where you don't need them to. absorption for broadband, traps for specific problem freqs. see Everest's book for detailed DIY info on traps and absorbers.
  12. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    That's what I thought.
  13. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    Hello Kurt.

    Do you mean 1" spacers for the wall mounted absorbers?

    The subwoofer is only for the secondary monitors, which are a 2.1 system from Syrincs. I don't use them very often. Usually I monitor on Yamaha HS80's on low to moderate levels.
    I never mix with high levels.
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

  15. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member

    Even better, put the subwoofer against the wall, then slide it left and right in 2-4 inch increments while measuring the low frequency response.

  16. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    Ethan, you mean it should touch the wall? Don't think I can put it so close to the wall. It will have a 0.5" gap at least.
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Mine are all suspended, as are all the RealTraps I have . Thats how they are designed to work.
    I have 13 in total and I would love another dozen + for my piano room now. Plus, I would love to have a few of Ethan's stands for the sides where I mix and for a window in the piano room. Easy to place and remove at will.
    For those who haven't seen RealTraps, they are beautifully made so they not only work well, but they look good in a nicely designed musical home or studio. The way they install and hang is really well thought out.

    No, I don't work for RealTraps but I don't have any inhibitions in passing on the love for them. Well deserved imho.
  18. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member

    It doesn't have to touch the wall. When a speaker is closer to a boundary, the peak and null frequencies that result from those reflections are higher. At four inches away the first null is at 850 Hz. This is easily tamed with thin absorption, but even that's not needed because speakers don't radiate frequencies that high from their rear. So just put your sub close to the wall and slide it left and right while measuring. Being close to the wall also increases its output, letting you turn down the volume which in turn reduces distortion.

  19. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Correct me if I'm wrong Ethan but you are saying that a sub (which may produce between frequencies between 30hz-250hz) will create a null at 850hz?
    And how can you never have too much bass traps ?
    I'm all with you that when doing measurements moving the sub around is a good thing, but help me understand, it's like you are giving a part of a solution without the foundations... I'm not nagging, I'm just interested to learn about room acoustics.
    Chris likes this.
  20. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    Okay. Thanks for all the great information to all of you.
    We're moving in 3 weeks. So it will be at least a month before I will/can do anything in the room. It's not my wife's priority! ;-)

    I think he meant speakers in general. And since it's a subwoofer I don't need any absorbtion.

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