Acoustic treatment

Posted by on Aug 23, 2012 in Studio | No Comments
Acoustic treatment

My homestudio needed acoustical improvements. Sound reflections were coming from the walls, the bass tended to accumulate in the corners and my listening position wasn’t very centered. An easy step to test reflections in your own room is to clap in your hands and listen to the reverb tail. It should be non-existent in a room where you need to make mixing and mastering decisions. Maybe these problems made me reach for headphones a bit too often.

I did some research and found GIK Acoustics. They have an online acoustic advice service, which means you can email them about your current situation and they’ll try to guide you through the steps of improving your acoustic environment. I sent them a map of my room, included some pictures and gave an indication of my budget.

Frequency response

Frequency response and reverb waterfall

I also created a recording with REW V5, an application which allows you to get measurements and visual feedback of your room acoustics. Just put your microphone at the listening position and let the software record the sounds that it plays through the speakers. Many aspects can be analyzed: I focused on both the frequency response (measuring the amount of dB during a sweep from 20 Hz to 20 KHz) and the reverberation times using their waterfall plot.

After some emails back and forth it became clear I needed 8 panels – so called bass traps – and needed to center my listening position. All adjustments would cost me some space but I was willing to give in.
The panels came in from England, 4 days after I had ordered. After mounting 6 panels to the walls and 2 panels to the ceiling I can honestly say that this was one of my best studio investments ever. I already noticed that everyday sounds like speaking or typing on a keyboard changed radically, it all sounds so much tighter. As if you stepped into some kind of vacuum room. The same counts for the music: less reverberation and no muddy bass but a much clearer audio spectrum.

Are we done? Not quite. Since the room isn’t that big, I will always have some audio difficulties, especially when trying to maximize bass control. Maybe some more panels / diffusors will even further optimize this room. For now however, I’m more than satisfied with the results.