ACOUSTIC TREATMENT – How to Build a Home Studio (Part 3)

In this video, you’ll learn how to add acoustic
treatment to your room to instantly improve the sound of your studio. So, keep watching if you want to make mixing
easier. But first be sure to download the free Acoustic
Treatment cheat sheet. There’s a link in the bio or on screen now. [Music Being Played 00:00:14] So, the studio is pretty much done. We’re getting there. If you’ve been watching this series so far
we spoke about room choice, and then in the next video speaker positioning. So, before you even think about acoustic treatment
you need to get those two things down first. But now let’s talk about acoustic treatment. So, the first question what material should
you use? Now, this can be quite a polarizing topic,
because there’s a lot of foam acoustic treatment out there and from the photos that I’ve
seen from my students and just generally online it seems like a lot of people opt to go for
foam treatment. Personally, I don’t think foam treatment
is the right thing to use. Of course, there are numerous benefits it’s
more affordable, it’s much easier to put up in your studio, it’s lighter. However, there are downsides too. Take a look at these two graphs. On the left you can see foam acoustic treatment
and on the right you can see an acoustic panel which is made of fiberglass or materials like
rock wool. So, personally I choose to use acoustic panels
that consist of rock wool mostly because of that more level frequency response, and also
more absorption in the lower frequencies. When it comes to acoustic treatment it’s
really the low frequencies that we’re concerned with. If you’ve already got loads of foam don’t
panic, because it’s still useful. Actually you can see it does absorb some of
those high frequencies. You just need to start thinking about getting
some more acoustic panels in there that aren’t foam to counteract that. So, now that we’ve covered that let’s
talk about the purpose of acoustic treatment. There are two ways to approach acoustic treatment. You can treat an environment to make it sound
good when you’re recording or you can treat an environment to make it sound good when
you’re mixing. And quite often in a home studio we have an
overlap of those two things. In professional studios live rooms where you
record we generally have less treatment, they’ll be less muffled; normally it’s just a good
sounding room with a bit of treatment. Whereas, the mix room is a different story
altogether we’re trying to create a reflection free zone and that’s something I’m going
to come back to in a minute. But to do that we need lots of absorption
around the mixing area. So, in this video and generally in a home
studio environment if you’re working in one room you treat it for mixing and that
will tend to also just slightly lower the reverb and improve the frequency response
when you’re recording too. When you do this right the end result is really
quite striking and you’ve probably already hear just in my voice if you’ve seen one
of the earlier videos where I was in the same room but with no acoustic treatment. Already there’s much less reverb which is
great for recording. So now if I record vocals in here, if I record
acoustic guitar there’s not loads of room resonances or reverb ruining the recording,
but then when it comes to mixing we see the real results where mixing gets so much easier
because we’re in a much flatter environment where small EQ tweaks are easier to hear and
your mixes are going to translate better because your room isn’t tricking you into thinking
that there’s too much or not enough bass for example. Trust me if you’re going to do anything
to improve the sound of your recordings and make mixing easier and more enjoyable it’s
treating your room and just a few hundred dollars is all you need to do this to a professional
standard. So, in a minute I’m going to show you how
you can build these panels yourself to save money or where to buy them from, but before
we do that let’s figure out what panels we need and where we’re going to place them. There are two key things you need to do if
you want your room to sound good. First you need bass traps. Second, you need to treat the first reflection
points. If you do just those two things your room
will sound so much better and a lot of professional studios even will only do these two things
or focus on these two things. This whole idea of acoustic treatment is obviously
quite overwhelming. I can remember when I started researching
this years ago trying to treat my first studio and there was just so much information out
there that I left the whole experience feeling more confused than when I started. But we really can narrow it down to those
two things being the core elements bass traps and first reflection points. So first, what are bass traps and why do we
need them? Well, in any room you get a buildup of certain
frequencies and these are called standing waves or resonant frequencies. In layman terms it’s just an increase of
volume at certain frequencies, so we might have a sudden peak at 70 Hz because of the
dimensions of the room, where our speakers are, what speakers we’re using, etc. Now, generally these major issues tend to
be in the low-end anywhere from 20 Hz up to 600 Hz, 700 Hz is where we want to focus our
energy when it comes to finding standing waves and treating them. We can make quite a big difference, because
that’s where we tend to get a lot of issues with translation where if you got a 70 Hz
peak in your room you’re mixing and it sounds 70 Hz or around there is way too strong, so
you turn that down in the mix but then you take it to your car and suddenly the low-end
is missing that’s the example of what can happen when you don’t treat your room. But when we use bass traps and bass traps
are just larger panels, thicker material that can actually trap some of that low-end and
absorb it then we create a more accurate listening environment. Now, the easiest way to do this is by using
bass traps in the corners of the room, because this is where the bass builds up where two
boundaries meet. So, where the two walls meet like that, and
then also where those walls meet the ceiling. We have three different points meeting you
get so much bass buildup there. So, when we put bass traps, fit acoustic treatment
in the corners of the room we can really effective absorb that low-end and try to get a flatter
response across the frequency spectrum. Now, I didn’t build my bass traps myself
because we’re working with the corners of the room generally you want a kind of triangular
shape where you use loads of treatment that goes right into the corner and the easiest
way to do that is by buying panels. So, I use Tri-Traps from GIK which are triangular
shaped floor to ceiling trap that I can just add to the front corners of the room, and
then for the rear corners of the room I can have floor to ceiling either side because
on one side there’s a door and on the other side there’s a bed. So, instead I got these really cool little
corner traps that were super easy to fit and I’ll include links to all of these products
in the description below. Now, also I have what I call a day-bed in
one of the rear corners of the room, and this is just a single bed that I’ve dressed as
a sofa, so that if people in the studio working with me they have somewhere to sit but it
also has an acoustical benefit in that mattresses can be really good at absorbing frequencies
across the frequency spectrum. So, they can absorb some low-mids as well,
so I’ve got quite a heavy single mattress on there and then because of the bed frame
there’s also an air gap underneath the mattress. So, I am hoping this acts as somewhat of a
bass trap when you combine that mattress with that air gap and the fact that it’s in the
corner and it’s just above where the three boundaries meet on the floor corner of the
walls that should absorb quite a few frequencies, so just a little trick there only theory but
we’re going to come back and do some tests later and see if all of this actually work. Now, I mentioned air gaps there and the GIK
panels that I have in the front of the room are just full of material. They’re triangle shaped; they’re full
of material going floor to ceiling. This is the most effective way to treat the
corners, but you can also use air gaps and by just adding an air gap behind treatment
wherever it’s just a flat panel or those corner traps that were in the ceiling corners
they are not actually thick all the way back. They’re only about that thick and then behind
them is an air gap, because adding an air gap extends the frequency response so that
you can absorb even lower frequencies than you would normally be able to if the treatment
– the absorptive treatment material was just flat on the wall. So, pretty much all of my panels have air
gaps built into them and the ceiling panel is actually a few inches from the ceiling
because that just means they can all absorb lower frequencies. So, even my panels that I’ve got on the
side wall and outside of the corners are actually going to absorb quite a lot of low-end, because
they are 4 inches thick, and then they got a 2 inch air gap. So, a really easy quick little trick there
if you want to improve your panels just add an air gap. So far, you’ve addressed the standing waves
in the room and you’re trying to bet a more even frequency response across that low-end
and lower mid spectrum, but the next issue that we have is the reflections off of walls. So, if you imagine you sat in the room and
you haven’t got any treatment and you’re looking at your monitors, you’re listening
to music, and of course a lot of the sound is going straight from the monitors to your
ears. But then, equally there’s going to be a
really loud reflection from your side walls because there’s not a lot of distance going
on there in most cases, so the sound waves bounce off the side wall and arrive at your
ears quite loud but a slight delay. Now, this causes something called comb filtering
without going into the science of that it’s bad. Any kind of strong reflection from your monitor
speakers is going to cause issues with the frequency response and cause lots of dips
across the frequency spectra. Equally, this can also mess with you when
you’re trying to add reverb and create space in your mix, because you are not only hearing
the space within the mix but you’re also hearing your room. So, you might think oh that’s not reverb,
but maybe you’re just hearing the reverb in the room, so it starts to mess with that
as well. So, there are actually four reflection points. Besides the side walls we also have the ceiling,
and then we have the floor or the desk. Sometimes it’s the floor sometimes it’s
the desk it depends how close your monitor speakers are to your desk, how big your desk
is. So, just look at your speakers. Look around you think okay well I’m going
to get reflection from the ceiling, the side walls, and the desk or the floor. These are the points that you need to treat
to create what’s called a reflection free zone which is just an area around your listening
location where you’re not getting any strong reflections. So, generally you do this by having some quite
big panels on the side walls, a panel or two floating above the listening location, and
then we get to the desk or the floor which is the one that’s commonly overlooked but
can be just as problematic as all of the others. So, if your monitor speakers are quire far
in front of you and it’s actually the floor where you’re going to get that reflection
and an easy way to test is to just use a mirror or just use your phone when it’s unlocked
because that just kind of acts a mirror and just put it somewhere and see if you can see
your monitor speakers that’s how you find the reflection points. You can just run this along the wall or get
someone else to do it until you see the speaker and that’s how you know where the reflection
point is. There is actually another way to do it with
masks that I’m going to show you in a second, but just imagine if you had your phone or
an imaginary mirror where would you see the speakers on the floor if they’re quite far
ahead, and then the best thing you can do is just add treatment on the floor where that
first reflection point is and it might even be that you’ve just got a really narrow
desk. So your monitors are that wide, your desk
is that wide so there’s a lot of spot on the floor where you can actually see okay
there’ll be a reflection coming from that and you just add maybe some small panels or
however you want to do that. Now, more commonly the problem is the desk
itself, especially if you’ve got quite a large desk so again use that little trick
of imaginary mirror or using your phone or a real mirror and figure out where that reflection
would be. And if it is on the desk you have a few options. You can either add treatment on the desk,
tilt the desk to about 10 degrees or add something on top of the desk that acts as a tilt. Now, the easiest way to picture what I mean
by this is if you imagine an old school mixing desk. A big mixing desk, it will be a slight slant
and you have the monitors behind the desk then the mixing desk slanting down towards
you, and then you might have a small area for your mouse and your keyboard. And this slant in the desk going towards you
will actually direct the reflections much lower, so they go instead of to your ears
the reflections will hit the desk and because of the angle of the desk rather than going
bouncing into ears they’ll bounce off the desk and hit the floor somewhere behind you. Now, if you don’t have a huge mixing desk
to do that you can either tilt the desk itself if it’s just normal office desk by putting
some cardboard or blocks of wood at the back of the desk. This could be kind of annoying because then
you’ve got the whole desk and you have to tilt it quite a lot around 10 degrees to make
sure that they’re reflecting behind you. Again, just put a mirror on the desk. Scan the desk once you’ve tilted it and
if you can see the speakers at any point then you need to tilt them more, and then the other
option that I opted for is to add something else to your desk like a monitor riser or
a big slab of wood anything like that that is then tilted at an angle. Okay, we’re nearly there. You’ve done well to get this far. This isn’t the most interesting topic, but
it is really, really effective and once you’ve treated those two areas the next thing is
to think about the rear wall. Now, this isn’t as important. Really focus on those two first, but if you’ve
done both of those things and you still want to improve the sound or you’ve got more
panels leftover or whatever the reason the rear wall is the next place to treat. So, you can just add some absorption here. Traditionally in a professional studio you
would have actually diffusion on the rear wall, but that’s really expensive to do. Generally diffusive panels are expensive to
make and manufacture. So, instead just go for some absorptive panels
on the rear wall and that would just ensure that there aren’t any strong reflections
coming off of that back wall. The other benefit of having more treatment
on the rear wall and just in general in other places in the room is that again it’s going
to reduce the reverb in the room. So, when it comes to recording whether that’s
vocals or acoustic guitar you’re going to get a more controlled sound. Generally, this is going to sound more professional
and give you more options when it comes to mixing and less issues with weird frequencies
in the room and that kind of stuff. Now, one more place that people often wonder
about is the front wall i.e. the wall behind the speakers that you’re facing that’s
why it’s the front wall and you really don’t need to worry too much about treatment there
because speakers are directional, so all if the top-end is going to be coming out of the
speakers towards your ears where they’re pointing then it’s going to bounce off those
first reflection points but you’ve treated those. So, if you imagine where those frequencies
are going from the speakers they’re going behind you, so that’s why the rear wall
always a good place to add treatment. But by the time they bounce off the rear wall
and got back to the front wall in front of you they’re going to be so quite especially
if you have absorption on that wall behind you. You really don’t need any absorption on
the front wall behind those speakers. Now having said that, it is very useful to
have bass traps on the front wall in those corners because low-end is omnidirectional,
so that’s nowhere near as directional it’s just going to come out of the speakers in
every direction. So, it’s going to be quite strong or strongest
in those front corners where the monitors are, so that’s a really important place
to have bass traps but you don’t really need to treat the area behind the speakers. And that reminds me you should really check
out Jason’s channel Behind the Speakers if you haven’t already. With all of that in mind let’s now figure
out exactly where the panels need to go in this room. So, here is a rough outline of the room. The listening location is around there. The speakers are around here and here forming
an equilateral triangle and the first thing we want to treat are the corners with bass
traps. So, in the front corners I have got floor
to ceiling bass traps. So, this whole thing is filled and it covers
this corner and goes from floor to ceiling and the same over here. Now, on the back walls here we have a door
that opens out like that, so we can’t put floor to ceiling treatment here and here we
also have a bed that’s kind of in this back corner so we can’t have floor to ceiling
there. So, instead I’ve got these cool little corner
traps that go flush into the corner where the ceiling meets the two walls, so I can
still have treatment on these rear top corner so not on the floor but on the ceiling. And after doing some testing with my measurement
microphone just doing sign sweeps using Room EQ Wizard and putting the microphone in different
places. These corners had some of the strongest buildup
in the low-end, so really important to treat these that’s why I got these panels. They are not thick all the way there. Actually you have an air gap, so they’re
a few inches thick and then an air gap behind but because they’re in the corner of three
different boundaries where the side walls meet the ceiling that’s going to be quite
effective. Now, when I was measuring I also found that
this corner here where the front wall meets the floor was also getting a lot of buildup
because it’s right behind the speakers. The speakers are rear pointed, so I’ve got
some thick 4 inch panels that I’m going to put here behind the speakers and they’re
going to be leant against the wall to create an air gap behind them kind of like these. So, we’ve got 4 inch thick foam and then
quite a big air gap because they’re going to be leaning at a 45 degree angle and they’re
quite long. They’re about 60 centimeters long, so that
hopefully will trap lot of bass as well, so that’s a lot of our bass trapping done. Now, the panels that I use at the first reflection
points are also thick. They’re 4 inches thick with rock wool, and
then again a 2 inch air gap built into the panels. These ones that I built myself, so they’re
also going to trap quite a lot of low-end as well and that’s the benefit of using
really thick panels even in your first reflection points. So, the most important places are here and
here on the side walls, and I am going to figure out that exact distance in a moment. We’re also going to have some panels above
the listening location that are going to pretty much span from the speakers to the listening
location like that and we’ll come back to the desk in a second. So, I’ve got a few panels left. I’ve got a couple of smaller panels and
one more big panel that’s 2 inches thick with a 2 inch air gap, so not quite as strong
and I’m going to use all of those on this rear wall. So, we’re just going to put one panel here,
and then the smaller panels to the either side and I made them this way on purpose because
visually it’s quite nice to have a big panel, and then the small panel either side. It creates this nice kind of 3D effect where
this one sticks out more than these two. So, I think this one actually might be 4 inches
as well with a 2 inch air gap again and these are just 2 inches of treatment with a 2 inch
air gap. Ceiling brackets have a built-in air gap as
well, so pretty much all of the panels have air gaps. So, like I said that’s a really great way
to improve the effectiveness of your panels for free, and then I’ve actually got one
more GIK panel left over because I bought this for the ceiling but it came with one
spare. So, what I’m going to do with that is use
it as kind of a floating panel, so if I’m recording vocal something like that it’s
going to be on a mike stand and that will allow me to move this around the room and
if I am recording vocals for example, I’ll probably face this rear wall because we got
treatment there and it gives me a lot of room and I’ll put this behind me, so it’s in
here singing towards the wall and the microphone is pointing that way. And I could do something similar with acoustic
guitar too if I wanted, but when I am not using that for recording I can move it here
into this corner, so when the door is open I can tuck in here somewhere behind the door
but then when the door closes I can just move it into this corner, and now we effectively
have a bass trap in this corner too which – there was quite a lot of buildup here
because that door I mean I can quite easily just move that here when I’m mixing move
it back when I’m not mixing or move it around when I want to record, so that’s going to
be a really handy panel to have as well. Okay, so once you know where the panels are
going the next step is to actually make them or buy them, so either option really depends
if you’re strapped for time then you can buy them. If you’re strapped for money then you can
make them. I have got a mixture of both, so here is one
that I made a while ago and it’s just rock wool in the back, and then I’ve built a
wooden frame around it. Used corner bracket just to create the frame,
I got this muslin cloth material stapled that in and I’ve also just got a bit of string
across the back to keep the rock wool in. Now, just a quick side note when I actually
made these I didn’t realize rock wool can be kind of dangerous for your health. So, when you’re handling it make sure you’re
using gloves and glasses and a mask to make sure you’re not inhaling all of these fivers. I did look into a bit more in rock wool apparently
is the safest. I’ll include links to some of this info
below, but just something to be aware of and what I’m going to do next is get some more
material so I can actually cover up the whole back of the panel. So, that there’s no risk of these fibers
just getting into the room and causing issues. So, if you do want to make these yourself
I’m not going to cover it in detail here. There are plenty of great resources online
that will show you how to do this and I’ll make sure there are links below. And then, the other option is buy them, so
this panel is from GIK Acoustics really, really good high quality stuff. Not too expensive for their standard panels. I’d definitely recommend them if you want
to just buy panels instead. Now, in this case I already had a desk that
I wanted to use, but it’s really, really wide and it’s quite deep as well. So, there would have been some strong reflections
coming off of that desk. Probably stronger than the side walls or the
ceiling, and it’s so easy to overlook this. I’ve overlooked desk reflections so many
times in the past, but I wasn’t going to make that mistake again. Now, I tried angling the whole desk. So, I put some wooden blocks at the back of
the desk, so that it was angled towards me by that 10 degrees is generally what you need. Maybe you can get away with 8 again just using
mirror to check that, but 10 degrees works but then you’re just way too slanted uncomfortable
to work on. So, what I did instead was ordered this wide
desk monitor stand off of eBay and it’s meant to have some feet on it but I just wanted
the wide wooden slab, and then all I’ve done is put that on the desk, added some makeshift
feet to the back so that it’s at an angle, and then I’ve put my keyboard, my interface,
and there’s room to add some more stuff in the future. And this is a good 10 degree angle where it’s
angling those reflections to go behind me and probably hit the rear wall something like
that, but I can’t see my monitors anywhere now when I put the mirror on the desk or on
that slanted bit. I can’t see the monitors anywhere, so that’s
perfect. I’m not going to get any reflections off
of those fingers crossed and of course we’ll test this when we do some room measurements. So, how far forward should your side panels
be? I found a great formula for calculating this
distance on Real Traps dot com. Really great site for anything about acoustic
treatment. The company also seems incredible, so I highly
recommend you go check that out. Of course, we’ll include a link below, so
go check out that link and scroll down to the bottom for that image and that formula
and a bit more about how to calculate that distance. And then, when it comes to the ceiling you
can just put the panels half way between your listening location and the speaker location. So, that’s all of the treatment in place. I am going to do a measurement now using Room
EQ Wizard and compare that to the measurement I took before I added any treatment. Okay, so my treatment is up. I took a measurement with Room EQ Wizard. If you haven’t used this software before
GIK Acoustics have a great tutorial on it that I recommend you check out and again I’ll
include a link to that in the description but it’s pretty easy to use just need to
calibrate it. Take a measurement and here in red I took
a measurement before treatment, so you actually saw me take this in the video on speaker placement,
and then in green we have the new measurement and this was made after adding treatment to
the room. All of that treatment that we just went over
is now up and ready and I also took a measurement with Sonarworks Reference which has applied
a slight EQ curve to the room and this is everything. This is now my listening environment on this
green line. So first of all, you can already see we have
got a bit more control in the low-end. I matched these by matching up this peak at
45 Hz, because a lot of the treatment here I don’t think is going to extend that low. So, to get the volume to about the same we’re
matching up there and already we can see a reductions of some of these peaks. So, this peak here at 133 Hz was around 87
dB now it’s around 73, so that’s a drop of 14 decibels that’s pretty drastic. Not so great here. The lower we get the less effective the treatment
is, so the absorption around 40 to 50 Hz is pretty much non-existent even with these big
corner bass traps. To get absorption there you need really thick
materials or even a Helmholtz resonator which is something else that – I’ve never actually
seen one in real life but I know some really good studios have Helmholtz resonators to
treat this stuff. But we’re still getting a drop here at 80
Hz which is great, so 78 decibels down to 74ish, so not huge but across the board here
we’ve got more control in this low-end here up to 200 Hz, low and mid range also more
under control. We have this weird dip here between 500 and
1 kHz and this is the trouble when you add lots of treatment especially if it’s broadband
treatment because you want to control the low-end you’re going to inadvertently start
to reduce the volume of the low mids as well. So, I need to look into why this has happened. It might be that the speakers have moved slightly. I did add some plants to the room. There’s all kinds of things that could have
introduced this quite a wide dip here between 500 and 1 kHz and that’s a really important
range. So, I’m going to look into that and moving
up then we have just less volume overall. So, what I’m going to do to make this easier
to analyze now is go to controls and in Room EQ Wizard we can smooth this out, so I’m
going to apply psychoacoustic smoothing. So, straightaway what you can see is we’ve
got way more control in this low-end, and this is really the area that we’re focusing
on when it comes to treatments, so nowhere near are big peaks and it’s just more consistent. Here it’s going up, and then down, and then
down here. Whereas, here it’s going up and down but
not by as much it’s more consistent. Again, we’ve got this issue here that I
need to look into, but where it goes really useful and the tool that you need to focus
on really when it comes to Room EQ Wizard is the Waterfall. So, this is before we add a treatment. Now, let me explain what this shows. So, like the other graph we’ve got frequency
along the bottom, so 20 Hz on the left, 600 Hz up here on the right because this is the
kind of range that we’re focusing on when it comes to treatment, and then we’ve got
decibel, so this is the same. So, this curve here is kind of like what we
saw, and then we have this added element which is the depth element here. So, as well as seeing – okay this frequency
is louder. We can see how long it takes to decay, so
this is clearly a standing wave, standing wave, standing wave where it’s louder and
it’s also taking longer to decay this gap here for example, between 50 and 70 we’ve
got a much stronger peak here around 40. Let’s compare now to after treatment, after
Sonarworks Reference all of that stuff. So, straightaway more consistent, we don’t
have these huge peaks. Again nowhere near as much control down here
around 40 Hz, so if we focus just on this peak here look at the lines how far it extends
out. It’s pretty similar, it doesn’t really
move much. However, this peak here around 63.8 is quieter,
and also we can now see the end of the decay time. So, it’s decaying out at around 288 milliseconds,
whereas before treatment this was going out much further, so the decay time was much slower. So, that frequency is really bouncing around
the room a lot more. Definitely here at 96 Hz so really, really
loud again really long decay time going off the graph, whereas here 90 Hz so much quieter. The decay time is much, much shorter as well,
and then across the board from here and out it’s pretty consistent. Yeah, we still have these ups and downs with
the decay times are generally shorter, whereas here again we’ve got these peaks and troughs,
and also the decay times are much longer. Then the final graph that I want to show you
is reverb time. So, if we got to overlays and reverb time. Before the reverb time in general across the
room was kind of in this 550 to 600 millisecond range, whereas now we’ve got this pretty
far down to – in the lower mids, down to half that 250 around there. Again, struggling to treat this low-end here,
but once we get into these lower mids it is much, much lower and it shows that we’ve
effectively created that reflection free zone around the listening environment. We’ve halved the reflection time or more
than halved in some cases, so now it’s going to be easier to mix, easier to add reverb
to the mix, and actually know what we’re doing to create depth without being tricked
by the room. So, there you go in general effective. Still some work to do if I wanted to really
go in-depth with this I could get Helmholtz resonator to try and treat that big peak around
45 Hz. I need to figure out why there’s this sudden
dip between 500 and 1 k and that’s just going to involve moving things around the
room doing another test, removing panels doing another test. Playing around with the treatment on the desk,
because I know that’s going to be a problem area even I’ve got that slab of wood and
angle maybe that’s not effectively treating those reflections. Need to do some research as well, and I studied
acoustics at UNI but this isn’t what I do for a living. I am a mixer, I’m a musician, I am not an
acoustician. So, I’ll go to other people for help with
this as well. And then, the one last thing that I wanted
to show you just because I’m really impressed with Sonarworks Reference which is just room
adjustment software. So, you use a calibration mike it measures
your room, and then it adjusts with an EQ curve to figure out how to improve your room. So, you can see here this was my measurement
before, and then actually if I turn this on applies correction which is the opposite. So, it measures your room and we can see the
same peaks happening, and then it applies an EQ curve that does the opposite that’s
the green line, and ultimately the end goal is that your frequency response is like that. Now, that is not what happens in real life. It’s going to nudge it in the right direction
but you don’t get a perfectly flat response. Instead what you get if we compared those
two, so if I get rid of before and instead have Sonarworks bypass. Again let’s also smooth that out, so what
we have instead is it pulls it in the right direction and just counteracts some of those
peaks and troughs on a wider scale. So, rather than focusing in on really specific
frequencies like this big peak here 80 Hz, yeah it’s reducing that. We can see afterwards it’s reduced it quite
a bit, but it doesn’t do it perfectly and here there are dips as well. It’s going towards it, but not perfect. But when we apply some smoothing we can see
how it just generally levels it out, so we’ve got less low-end here, where it was a bit
too much. A bit more in this lower mid area, it’s
struggling around this 500 to 1 k area but I think that needs to be addressed in the
room first, and then just across the board it’s more consistent. And we could see the same with the Waterfall
actually. So, this is before with Sonarworks bypass
and we can see these decay times here and I’m going to go to engaged and it would
just kind of tightens up a bit more consistent lower decay time. So, that works really well and I’d recommend
once you’ve setup your room to use something like Sonarworks Reference personally I think
it’s the best option on the market and that is going to just take your room to the next
level. You need to treat it first, but then this
final step just finishes it off. So, there you go acoustic treatment, how to
build a home studio? Everything you need to know to create a professional
listening environment at home and not break the bank. Now, there is so much to remember when it
comes to acoustic treatment. Like I said earlier it can get really confusing,
there’s a lot of advice out there, some of it not accurate. So, I put together a cheat sheet with all
of this information. I’ve also got a checklist in there, so the
cheat sheet part will give you a recap of all of this. So, if you want to take your notes it’s
all there and the checklist you can use that when you’re actually going through and setting
up your room to make sure you don’t miss anything out and it takes you through each
of those steps one-by-one. It’s completely free. There’s a link in the description below
or on the screen now. So, go download that free cheat sheet and
improve the sound of your room and if you’re new around here don’t forget to subscribe
and click the notification bell. So, that’s all from me I am Rob Mayzes from
Musician on a Mission and remember Create Regardless. [Music Being Played 00:30:13]

100 thoughts on “ACOUSTIC TREATMENT – How to Build a Home Studio (Part 3)

  • Definetely the best acoustic threatment video series on Youtube, very good information and you made it really interesting. Love that you took the time to share your measurements! Thank you very much!!

  • Fine video. Your acoustic treatment looks exactly like the one I have, but then again I use GIK Acoustic stuff and got advice from them when buying.

  • Rob, we could be confused, but this seems to be controdictary to a previous video on creating a home studio vocal booth, where upu suggested acoustic blankets and PVC pipe were suggested. 🤔 So now those that followed that video now have a decent vocal booth and a untreated mix environment. It would have been cool to mention that little detail.

  • Nice one Rob. Question: if one has a big dip at, say, 100hz, can you add a temporary EQ on the master buss that does a narrow boost at the 100hz to counteract the dip? Then prior to bouncing down, disable this correction eq ?

  • I've had many rooms over the years and have never had one that was perfect. Treating rooms is often not easy. That said you can become familiar with the deficiencies and begin to compensate in your head providing that you use many different references such as your car, living room, multiple studio speakers and, yes, go listen to your mix in a commercial studio for a half hour. I believe Rob mentioned this in another video somewhere. Great Video.

  • Brilliant, very very helpful indeed, and personally the timing couldn't be better as I'm setting up my own room which looks a lot like yours!

  • If I slant my whole desk by 10 degrees, won't that be kinda risky when it comes to the speakers? I don't want my desk to act like I'm on the Titanic. My speakers weigh 16 kg each, and I don't want to get those on top of me. Wouldn't a rug underneath the desk be good enough? I can't have any panels on the floor behind the desk as I need space to move when I'm rewiring things.

  • I use one room for mixing, and another for recording, because the room for mixing has too much noise, what should i do for treatment ?

  • Really helpful, I’m literally in the same boat, new house and the opportunity to make a room a mixing room. I’ve got new Focal front ported speakers and a sub with footswitch bypass (I do electronic music with an ear to club play out so need to be aware of the very low end), Sonarworks 4 and will treat the room with rock/glass mineral wool panels I’m making myself. Plus an old sofa! So thank you, this is all very helpful and especially as I can see someone else in the UK doing it and not someone using stuff only available in foreign lands!

  • Hi Musician on a Mission, Can you do a video on how to noise isolate your garage to reduce the drum sound to stop the neighbours from complaining 😉

  • Be careful when considering EQ to correct dips in your frequency response. If your listening position happens to be in the null point caused by multiple reflections, adding gain will not help, since you are not only adding gain to the direct sound, but also to its inverted phase, so they basically continue to cancel each other out. The best you can do is add additional treatment, if you can isolate from where the reflections are coming. This point is mentioned in the REW documentation, and I'd be interested to know if Sonarworks admits to it as a limitation.

    EQ DOES work well however, for peaks in the response!

  • The 500Hz-1000kHz region from my experience is typically mainly affected by the direct sound from the speakers coupling with the immediate reflections from hard surfaces located between the speakers and the audio engineer. The REW measurement result can be sensitive to the height the measurement is taken at, more-so if the desk is built with various angles being present at the reflection point. That being said, I find it unlikely that such audio wavefront coupling would result in a dip of 10+dBSPL…. This is a really interesting problem.

    It seems that the frequency region above 1kHz is starting to exhibit 'comb filtering'-like effect, probably a result of mis-matched phase between the stereo pair. When was the SW calibration profile made that was used in this video?

  • Hey the REW messureing shows your treatment make the room better but it shows also you cant mixing the bass area. its not enough. Its easy for everyone to reach this result, but a professionell result is muuuch more difficult to become.For helmholz resonator you need an absoluteley master of room treatment and there a not a lot out there. Building a helmolz resonator by yourself its near impossible.

  • I have nearly the same room dimensions and treatments. Just thinking about to set up a 2.1 System with temblor t10. Can you recommend a sub or is it making more "damage"?
    Btw, thanks for all the vids!

  • Hello and thanks for the video! Very informative! Could you share your computer info? I am in the market and trying to find the best choice (also a Logic user). Thanks!

  • I assume you are using thick curtains on that window? I get your point about the area behind the speakers being less of an issue, but that much glass, while allowing light in, has got to be an issue, even if your speakers aren't really close to the window.

  • Hello, since in this video you use Absorbers to do the work, I'm wondering if Diffusor suit for home studio treatment? Usually, what's the case to use Diffusor? Thanks.

  • How do you like your HS8's? I've had some experience with them in the past and I just pulled the trigger on some Adam Audio T7Vs. I'm curious about the differences since they're both such well regarded reference monitors.

  • i hope this isn't ignorant, but if this is the studio space you've constructed, why are you greenscreening most of the video? hmm…

  • Hey! Thank you for the information, I'm trying to find a quick fix for vocal recording in my home and I'd be grateful if anyone could give me a bit more information on that panel at 19:13 . Which type did you buy? I see the stands on the website but I'm not too sure about the dimensions in the video. any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

  • So it’s important to treat a room depending on where the microphone is for recording AND where the speakers are for mixing and playback. I am currently using headphones to mix music. Should I be using speakers instead, or do I only need to worry about treating the room for microphone placement?

  • To make an easy DIY diffuser just buy a bookshelf or a few from IKEA and fill them up. Now books are expensive, but there are websites where you can buy books by the foot in bulk and use that to fill up your bookshelves. Because the various books are gonna be all different widths and sizes it’ll act as a diffuser because of all the different shapes and sizes. If you don’t want to use just books you can also put little knickknacks and extra things that you just like for decoration and bam. Unique, affordable and easily customizable diffuser. You can also use a CD or vinyl rack for this too

  • Damn acoustic guitars … I treated my room and noticed my box guitars causing a slight reverb when singing loud ,no matter where I put the mic . Into the closet they went . Now my room sounds ok . Lol

  • This was a great video on acoustic treatment on a budget.
    Can you also do a video that considers soundproofing materials for musicians?

  • Desks in the BBC Radio4 studios are not solid – they use metal mesh, and they work very well – no colouration at all. But your measured response at the end – never seen anything like that. Mine measures up essentially flat in Sonarworks.
    Should clarify – the desks I know are the ones in the Today studio where John Humphries etc interview people. Solid desks can do unpleasant things to voices.

  • A nice hack for dealing with the rear wall is to put a bookshelf there, full of books or vinyl, or an open wardrobe full of clothes.
    BTW, a wigwam is the best mixing environment. I rented one in Breacon, took my bluetooth speakers and discovered new elements to albums I've listened to hundreds of times. Things that I never heard even when listening on quality headphones. Things that possibly even the producer didn't hear (phantom melodies, upper harmonic summing of multiple instruments etc). The music sounded incredible. So if you have a spare wigwam and a garden in the middle of nowhere, this is highly recommended!

  • Ive got my ceiling tilted like 30° and a short balcony from the second floor of my house over the room Im planning to use, this may need ceiling conditioning panels or something like that? or may it be fine so I have to treat the walls only?

  • Hi, I have a question about windows. Should I cover them with a rock wool panel? What about if they are behind the monitors just like in your video? I am also wondering about carpet, would I be better off with wood flooring or could I get away with using carpet? Any help would be much appreciated, thanks.

  • A lot of this stuff also works for a home theater. Only major difference is you are just sitting further away from the speakers. Doing the mirror trick will help you place your panels on the wall and dictate where you put a rug if you don't have carpet. Lame thing with home theater though is you have to find the best location for your speakers, then equalize the levels, then install your paneling, then re-equalize your speakers again.

  • Rockwool/Earthwool/Fibreglass (loft insulation) absorbs lower frequencies and is a better choice for technical effectiveness.

    However, the drawbacks are significant. Firstly, the Health & Safety of construction and installation: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is needed in the form of a mask 😷, goggles 🥽 and gloves 🧤 as these fibres are highly irritant. Can only think of asbestos which is a respiratory/lung killer. Secondly, the fibre “wool” panels (actually made of glass usually) can of course be purchased readymade and pre-treated for acoustic installation (framed and covered in breathable fabric)… however they are significantly more expensive. It’s a great choice for semi-pro or professional home musicians/engineers who value the absorption co-efficient in that muddy mid-range area (especially the effectiveness at 500 Hz).

    The absorption co-efficient of foam (lightweight thin sponge 🧽) only really kicks in significantly around 1,000 Hz. This is a relatively high frequency and will do nothing for low or muddy echoes and reverb. However, it will absorb high piercing frequencies such as vocal high notes, the sibilance range and high notes produced on instruments (great from C6, the sixth C on a piano, which is just over 1,000 Hz).

    My aim and intention for acoustic treatment is to reduce or eliminate the echo/reverb/resonance of high harmonic overtone frequencies. Whether this is to do with “comb filtering” or “acoustic flutter” 🤔 I don’t know 🤷🏾‍♂️ (nor particularly care for the scientific details). All I know is that when I play middle C (C4) on my instrument, for example, I naturally get octave overtones significantly higher than this (C5 and C6 etc also vibrate) and these high frequencies are bouncing off the walls and causing high pitched resonances that almost sound like microphone feedback (it’s not, it’s certain frequencies being cancelled and others amplified).

    Because foam is effective in the higher frequencies (especially upwards of 1,000 Hz) this solves my problem… quickly, cheaply and effectively (over and above the more cumbersome, expensive though superior fibreglass/rockwool/earthwool loft insulation).

    Finally, I’m not recording any bass-heavy instruments, so I’m not concerned with low frequency absorption, diffusion nor bass traps etc… which are far more important for neutral mixing. When mixing, I like my bass, and can always compensate during the mixing process if I know my room (for monitoring) is bass heavy. I don’t mind bass heavy. I like bass. I’ll playback in the car/iPod/nightclub and adjust as necessary!!

    Thanks for the great, informative and entertaining video. I love making use of your content to analyse my own situation and make effective n efficient decisions 🔥🙌🏾😎💫

    PS 🔊 my monitors for mixing include two HomePods (I also have two Beats Pill Speakers as alternatives/backup). The HomePod listens for echoes and compensates for standing waves. Therefore, having paid a pretty penny for them, I’m not about to install bass traps and attempt to create a quasi-anechoic chamber… the flat, and high-fidelity, frequency response achieved by the Apple patents and sound geeks should be enough for me ✨🕺🏾🎶

  • What if no speakers – I’m just narrating – and in a tiny 3.3 x 3.3’ closet with carpet, 2 doors (long story) and high ceilings? Barely room for my chair, stool as desk, laptop and mic stand. Thanks!

  • That’s a very detailed video. I got a room that is not perfectly shaped, I have a little part of it (the entrance) that’s making the room shape weird. If I manage to treat the first reflection points, will it help or do I need a new room ?

  • This was so incredibly helpful. Acoustic treatment is the boringest topic to me, but with your video presentation style and way of explaining, I just managed to cover 30 minutes of material on the subject and I now feel more confident than ever before to try pursuing this.

    I’m still quite confused on the “mirror trick” for finding first reflections. You’re saying you put a mirror on the side walls (or on the desk) and look for any point where you can see your monitors… but doesn’t that just depend on how you position yourself relative to the mirror? Or is this all done from your position in your chair, where you would mix, and from THERE you look at the mirror to see if you can see the monitors? Hope that makes sense. Thanks!

  • did you figured out what causes the mid dips ? and how you fixed it ? im starting now to make my "living room" beat making/mix station a better listening expirience

  • How about attic acoustic treatment? I'm dying to find info if it is better than a square room I mean triangles being really popular within the music industry of many years when you think about it.

  • Great video, very informative, but the background music and incessant ringing every 10 seconds was so bad I had to turn it off. Seriously get rid of that background.

  • Great video Rob.I will try to combine all the information I find on YouTube and your channel is for sure one of the best.I also want to share the following link:

  • Is the mirror phone thing really a thing? That is so cool! I'm currently researching this stuff for my husband. Trying to surprise hime with it. I'm very handy and willing to purchase all the panels and hang myself. I just need to know where to put things. How do you find the proper speaker placement of the room? Thank you so much for your time!

  • I'm converting a bedroom into an office / recording studio. My wife is pushing me to get laminate flooring (faux wood) because it looks better than carpet. Do you have an opinion / advice regarding flooring? Thanks much! 🙂

  • This is an awesome video I used this information for dampening noise at my facility and… "it just works"..)

  • If I make these with acoustic foam inside instead of rockwool (rockwool too heavy, and need them portable) how effective will they be ? Not a studio but for my living room/stereo. Will they still be worth ? Thanx !

  • thank u for ur great explanation …
    one help : can you please give tips for setting up acoustic panels for my 7.1 home theatre which includes 6 units of 6 inch drivers, 1 klipsch r25c center channel, 10 inch sub n denon 7.1 receiver. room size 11*12 ft.
    my usage is just personal n i am not an audiophile …
    appreciate ur help in this regard … thank u 🙂

  • Great video! Very clear. I need to improve the acoustic of my studio, it's a not so big room and the main sound source are my saxophones (soprano, alto and tenor), I don't use to do a lot of mixing/mastering work. I just want to reduce the reflections for getting a nicer audio in my recordings and when practicing. Could I avoid the bass traps? Would foam do the work? What percentage of the ceiling should I cover with panels/foam? Thank you very much in advance.

  • lol dude those huge dips in your frequency response in the mids is no reflection based distortion… but I guess you already figured that out.

  • On the graph, it seems like Sonarworks was almost doing most of the work compared to the treatment. Not sure if you noticed too

  • 13:12, about the "Front Walls" u need treatment especially if you have speakers whose bass firing port is on the back… Like in your case…

  • 23:42 – I can see you had both speakers active for the second measurement. Comb filtering will give an inaccurate frequency response, especially in the higher frequencies (above 500Hz). If you're going to use both speakers at the same time during measurement, it's best to have an FFT active while whitenoise being played, then shift the mic position until you see the comb filtering disappear. Some of this may be due to early reflections from the desk, but it's most likely due to the mic being at a different distance from one monitor than the other.

  • I've seen people use a book shelf full of books and/or vinyl collection to defuse the back wall. Seems like and idea worth trying.

  • Solid, however i would not treath the Floor.. it ussually kills the room when youve got your walls sorted..(specially when you also record in the room)

  • Put a mirror on your first reflection point and look it from your monitors and place D shape diffusers to there, also you could make your own diffusers pretty cheap too.

  • Hello Rob, I am sorry but i dont watch your video' s anymore. In the beginning i loved your tutorials, because they were really for the beginner musican/sound engineer., and i learned a lot from you. But now a days you're too bussy with paid courses and so on. The tutorials you make at this moment are not anymore for the beginners. We beginners want to make music on a budget and don't have a lot of money, In your current videos you often says : oh it costs only a few hondred doller or a good mic you can have for around 500 to 1000 dollars. Also this tutorial about acoustic treatment. If you wanna do this right, it will cost a few thousend dollars so you are right, but i dont know about the other beginners, but i dont have a few thousend dollars only for acoustic treatment and then the rest is till comming. By the way you are not the only one. The same also counts for your colleages Graham Cochrane, Jason Moss, and a few others. So thank you for the years I learned a lot from you but its time to go and find an other teacher

  • I have a question .. why do many people on the internet sit facing the wall..can I sit back off the wall and treat the first reflection point like this video, does it work?
    thanks in advance.

  • @Musician on a mission:
    When you measure your room ( especially with a window outbreak like yours), do you measure between the corners?
    or do you take into account the distance of the outbreak also ?
    Because this can have some impact on the location of the 38% spot, no ?

  • I’m sorry about my bad english but I have some questions, I really appriciate if you guys help me figure it out, here are my questions:

    – My room’s treatment is foam and I want to replace all those foams by acoustic panel. But I can’t choose between 2 inches and 4 inches thick. My room is really small (L x W x H = 136x112x111 inches). So which one should I choose?
    – At my 4 corners of my room, can I use the 4 inches thick panels instead of the triangle corner bass traps? (I use a pair of KRK VXT6, I think it’s too loud to my room, so I have to use the low frequency cut off)
    – How can I choose the size of the acoustic panel (LxW)?
    – What can I use for my desk’s surface treatment?
    Thank you so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *