Just treated my studio / rehearsal space with acoustic foam... comments?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Axeplyr, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. Axeplyr

    Axeplyr Supporting Member

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    Hi all! As I mentioned in a recent thread, a friend gave me a pile of sound proofing foam. After comments in that thread and reading on the Auralex site and a few other places, I got busy. My results are in the pics below.

    A note on mounting: I found a wonderful tip about using T-pins. Sure enough Wal-Mart had these things, so I bought 4 boxes at ~$2.50 / box for 40. They worked really really well! They're about 1-3/4" long, hold the foam quite well, and seem to stay put - even on the ceiling.

    Notes on sound.
    The room is definitely quieter.
    And my guitar amps sound much clearer, transparent, etc. So for that benefit alone this was worth it, especially for $50. :banana
    Not sure yet how much effect it's had on the room for recording though. I listened to a couple of recent mixes, they still sound ok, but playing CDs I have noticed better bass response. So I hopeful, but won't know until I try a new mix.

    As you peruse the photos below, I still have a couple of unanswered questions. Maybe you studio cats can help. :)

    1. Poking around the web, it seems the LENRD bass traps I have are on the smallish side. It seems the Auralex ones are 12", while the ones I have are 6". I'm wondering how diminished their performance will be compared to the Auralex, and I'm also wondering who makes these. He bought them at GC, and it seems maybe Prosonic makes a similar model. Thoughts?

    2. In the first pic, you'll see the bookshelf on the right side. Should I move it? I have read in a few places that symmetry is desired.

    3. Any places I've put foam which appears unneeded? Maybe there are places I've missed, and I should relocate? In did put some aginst the wall opposite my amps (by the drumset in the last pic), and that may be why the guitars sound clearer.

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  2. Beat Poet

    Beat Poet Member

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    Daymn, you're lucky having a space like that!
     
  3. Joseph Hanna

    Joseph Hanna Member

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    Have you specifically identified the actual problems your room is presenting you? A great sounding room is a LOT of work and for most studios an ongoing journey of discovery and fixes.

    Maybe you already have but I wouldn't do anything until I identified what issues exist.
     
  4. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    I probably would have done more around/near/over the drum kit.
     
  5. Axeplyr

    Axeplyr Supporting Member

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    Ha, thanks! It's the upstairs bonus room! Mine, alllll mine!

    I have a sign on the door that says No Wives Allowed!

    Joe, I agree... I have so far taken the easy route. I started with the baseline suggestions on various websites on room layout and basic foam treatment starting points.

    I imagine it will evolve as my ear and knowledge do. Right now I just know my mixes lack bass so I overcompensate, and they generally come out sounding pretty weak.

    I guess I need to make some recordings, then learn/adjust accordingly from here.

    Thanks. I wasn't sure how to tackle that. I have two issues in this room; first, it is a wierd shape. Second, I have a drumset in there.

    I really want to treat the poor mix thing first, without considering drums. If I can mix well on this pc in this room, then I can tackle the myriad other problems right?
     
  6. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    Nice job-it looks really good. I'm sure it makes a big difference in the room sound.

    3 things I see:

    You do want symmetry in the mix position-if you can move all the bookcase stuff from the wall on the right and treat that wall the same as the left wall, it will help.
    The goal is to kill primary reflection points (from the monitors to your ears) off both side walls. Maybe you can move the bookcase stuff back to that side wall by the drum set (move the set out and forward a bit). Think of bookcases as good diffusers. Irregular shapes hlep sread the sound back out into the room better than a flat wall.

    In your last pic, I see a big piece of foam by the return vent-probably not doing that much good there-I'd put it on the sloped wall up to the ceiling over the drum set to help control cymbal splash. Looks like you have a LENRD on the floor-move it to a corner.

    Auralex makes LENRDS, that is their terminology and product. They may have large and small sizes, check the website.

    Are your monitors (speakers by the computer) high enough off the desk so the tweeters are at ear level? If not, get something solid to help decouple them from the desk and get the tweeters in line with your ears as you sit in the chair.
     
  7. Joseph Hanna

    Joseph Hanna Member

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    Yea I just gotta jump in here. I realize this is gonna ruffle some feathers but it really is in the spirit of helping.

    Good sounding rooms are almost non-existent these days and that's unfortunately sad. It is my opinion that a good sounding room is (next to the artist and his or her instrument) the single most important component in the recording chain.

    Auralex is NOT the answer....a band-aid sold in a box maybe, but no where near a cure. Not even remotely. If you really want a great sounding room you have only two choices. A) Hire a firm to come out and identify the existing problems and have those existing problems properly addressed.

    B) Invest the blood sweat and tears and time and energy and commitment it takes to read, learn, understand what are the sonic issues that are causing the problems and invest the same energy in doing it correctly yourself. It absolutely can be done and for not much cash outlay but I say to you with all the sincerity I can possibly muster.....purchasing a box of Auralex and then agonizing over how well it's placed in a room it the equivalent of a sonic placebo.

    Sorry I don't mean to be hard edged but tacking Auralex on the walls of a studio is not room treatment.

    Ethan Winer http://www.ethanwiner.com/ is pretty good with tossing the truths and snake-oils out there for all to see. If you want to do things right I'd invest some time reading through his stuff. Some timestedious but worth the investment of time.
     
  8. jmoose

    jmoose Member

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    Looks pretty good... few things overall;

    Those big sheets, on the floor next to the drums aren't doing anything. Generally accepted wisdom is that reflections within the first 24" of the floor never make it back to our ears, they scatter elsewhere. Usually the "bottom" of treatment is about 30"

    Foam bass traps, the Lenards are pretty close to useless... the times when I've done a home-studio-makeover kinda thing they get stacked up in one corner where they don't do much, but at least start doing something. So all those little pieces around the top of the room... they aren't doing anything more then looking pretty. Stack 'em all up in one corner of the mix position, or both corners if you have enough.

    Rex is right... that big bookcase should probably be moved elsewhere. Possibly to the back of the room. But I dunno, your mixing in an alcove with parallel walls so diffusion on one side can be good. The best way to figure it out is to get a tape measure, protractor and the graph paper... grasp the physics of it.

    Couple other things look a bit off as well, like that one sheet of foam by the dreadnaught. Without reaching for a protractor & getting all technical the initial reflection points can generally be eyeballed and "close enough for rock & roll"

    Get a mirror and a pencil... put the mirror on the wall and walk its length. When you can see the monitors in the reflection THAT's where the foam should be hung. You'll probably need to extend it back to at least where the Thinline Tele is hanging. And do that on both sides of the mix position, mirror image.
     
  9. NBarnes21

    NBarnes21 Member

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    are your monitors at ear level seated at that desk? they look too low. That'd be the first thing I'd fix. great space though!
     
  10. Axeplyr

    Axeplyr Supporting Member

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    Thanks, lots of astute observations here. I will definitely move the book case. I had a feeling it needed to leave the desk area.

    I put the big piece of foam by the return vent because it is opposite the guitar amps, and thought it better to have the acoustic foam there instead of a bare wall... I will at placing it above the drums instead.

    The monitors are definitely not in a good place. They are definitely too low and need to come off the desk for sure. That's part of the next phase. :)

    Thanks Joe. Funny you mentioned Ethan's site. I was actually on there reading this article yesterday, lots of great info there.

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

    Your points are well-taken. I got the foam for free, so decided to give it a shot. I do have a lot to learn and not much time, so this could end up being a temporary band-aid until my schedule frees up and I can invest the time, effort and money into creating a truly great sounding room.

    For now, though, I have noticed a couple nice improvements, but I realize to have a great room a lot more effort is required.

    Thanks! I will move those big sheets next to the drums. I put them there because that wall faces the guitar amps, so I thought maybe an echo of that wall would affect the guitar tones, but the general consensus is they aren't doing anything.

    I wondered about the bass traps too. These appear smaller than the ones offered for sale by Auralex anyway.

    Book case is moving for sure.

    The sheet by the dreadnaught was my eyeball at the early reflection point on that side, I'll look at tweaking it per your suggestions. I figured it might not be far enough, just wasn't prepared to move my guitars. :worried

    But, if I must, I must!

    Thanks, I love this little piece of Heaven. :)

    Yes, they are too low. I might buy some speaker stands and completely re-position them off the desk (maybe just in front).

    Thanks again for all the great suggestions... I'm learning a ton!
     
  11. NBarnes21

    NBarnes21 Member

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    Ideally you want your monitors to make an equilateral triangle at the "listening position" (where you sit) and be ear level. I bought some On Stage brand monitor stands for only $60 or $70 at GC and they work really well, I'd recommend that.
     
  12. Shiny_Beast

    Shiny_Beast Member

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    what he said.



    I'd not sure, it's kind of sporatic all over the place, might it be an idea to have a dead wall somewhere?
     
  13. Shiny_Beast

    Shiny_Beast Member

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    Maybe not, but it's a million times better than bare drywall and helps deal with the #1 PITA in most hobby rooms which is drywall flutter. I noticed a huge difference in the small room I play in, it's like night and day. I know what you are saying, 2 inch, or even 4 inch foam isn't going to deal with all of the problems in a room and get recordings sounding pristine, but it's not like he covered the room with egg cartons.

    They say start at the bottom though, I reckon some bass traps might be in order. Iv'e seen some online that come recomended that aren't too expensive.

    And I may be wrong, but I'd cover that ceiling above the drum kit, unless you hardly ever have a drummer in there.
     

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