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  1. #1

    The Importance of Studio Acoustics!!!

    I have been researching a lot of complex systems and ideas focusd in the acoustical arena because simply, I need to know this now. I wish I knew this stuff BEFORE I spent the little money I had at the times in the past, where I was making modifications to my studio to improve the sound bu didn't really realize I could have done much better for the same or even less $ ...

    So from a few years of practice and reading, researching, and designing, I have decided to take that info I wish I knew then, and share it with you all here and now.

    Why is this important to delve into?

    IF you are a serious, do it yourself kind of artist, guy, mechanic, construction worker, then you need to know this to help you make better descisions in the studio and to save $ of course. But maybe the more important reason is, because it relates to your product, and the sound, quality, legnth of time it takes to polish it... maybe your studio is so bad you said screw it, and are paying for a mixing engineer or a mastering engineer to finalize your product for you. That costs time and $ ...

    I wanted to learn the process in iteself so I can do it myself. On top of that, I wanted to save $ by not paying for a mixing engineer or a mastering engineer. At least to this degree, I don't need to hire the engineer because I can get my mix and master - close enough - to sounding like a pro did it, and thats the point.

    Some basic concepts that I think are important for any aspiring artist to know:

    If you purchased a nice B & W set of monitors and paid out for a nice McIntosh amplifier, and have the finest pre amps and tubes, cables etc... and put it in a room that is of an UNDESIRABLE size and ratio, whatever you play thru those then thousand dollar speakers will sound like crap. I think its important for everyone to know just how important the SHAPE and SIZE of your room is AND why.

    Each rooms size and shape impact the sound in the room. the size and placement of your speakers also have just as much effect on the sound in the room.

    As a reference, you are looking to hone your room into a zero point. Something you can use as a ground basis. Understanding your rooms EQ curve as well as the response time in decay, and the room eigenmodes, will give you the information you need to know what you can put in the room, how much you need, how much is too much. It will also help you decide where is best to position the listening seat in the room.

    This is why people TREAT their studios with acoustic absorbers, quadratic, skyline, 2d or 3d diffusors, bass traps, foam panels, maybe dual walls and a completely isolated room in a room... depending on your goals or needs.

    Most home artists don't need a room that is de coupled from the room the studio resides in.

    What most artists DO need though is, a simple room analysis using free room analysis software and a $100 omni dir mic.

    IF you were to do this, it will give you a graph of your rooms EQ curve. Before anything, your gaol is to get this line as flat as possible. The more effort you put here, the easier ALL of your producing and mixing will be later down the road. Stay with me here!

    Its not difficult to understand and treat your room. Im not a rocket scientist, if I can do it, ANYONE can do it! So dont get discouraged...

    Acoustic treatment CAN cost a lot of $...

    It can also NOT cost a lot of $ should YOU do a little research, planning, and work yourself.

    EVERY room has acoustic issues, MOST of us are unaware of, cant hear, dont know exist, yet we think we make tight basslines and kicks. IF that is true, I ask those artists, then why are you paying for a mixing engineer or a mastering engineer to make your music sound good? Are you mixing and mastering yourself but not getting it to sound good, or are you having to work on a mix or master for hours?

    This is why... Its like trying to win a formula one race with a pinto.. while competing against others who ARE driving formula one race cars.

    Back on track. No pun intended. I want to walk you thru it as if It was our first studio we were going to do together. This is what I would do, should I do a studio tomorrow and you were my partner.

    So the studio is 13 ft wide x 13.3 ft deep x 8.4 ft tall. Its a small studio. We will have issues with this room that will require a bit of taming to get a neutral room response. This itself, may be more important than buying GOOD monitors or a sub, or a new pieceof shiny hardware... take into consideration.

    This calculator will help us here.

    https://www.hunecke.de/en/calculator...igenmodes.html

    It will point out our pressure issues within the low freq energy in the room and its placement as it is distributed throughout the room. the mid and high freq energies mathematics and properties are different than the low freqs. This is why foam used for high and mid freq and why 8 inches of compressed rigid fiberglass board or mineralwool is used for low energy. We need inches and inches, heck, feet and feet of basic insulation to compare to specific tested and used design. But we are limited. We cannot compress 30 ft of treatment into a 4 inch thick panel. It just dont work like that.

    https://www.hunecke.de/en/calculator...acoustics.html will give you an overview of why its important, what what is imporant.

    http://arqen.com/bass-traps-101/plac...up&omhide=true this may be a more friendly guide but I think both are essential to understand before spending a single dollar on anything.

    Take the time to read all the articles or sections on both sites. both are short and quick to read thru. I got them both done in an hour or two. Its better explained there and I can do here btw.
    Last edited by Natifix; 04-07-2019 at 07:06 PM.

  2. #2
    After reading those guides, grab you some graph paper and start drawing your rooms outline to scale, I use 3 cubes of graph to equal one foot. It just works for me. Can use 4 maybe...

    Anyway, We convert the room dimensions to meters and enter it into the eignenmode calculator. We get our results and note the standing wave issues created. We need to treat the front area first, near the monitors and sub itself. then the first reflections, which is left and right side of your listening position, as well as above you. The front wall must be treated, as well as the front corners.

    Say we take a omni dir mic and we use

    https://www.roomeqwizard.com/

    this to READ the rooms eq and decay timings as well as use the calculator provided above. We now have pretty much what we need to tame the room, one step at a time.

    This rooms dimensions are that of my own. The dimensions themselves are undesireable...

    We have a short ceiling... ideally we want 12 - 14 ' ... but hey, who can get that with todays rent costs? most of us are stuck with 7-9 ft ceilings... Ideally we want to base our rooms width and length next. "Faborable spatial proportions would be" like this

    Acoustics_July_GoldenRatios.jpg

    I want to do is shorten the width of the room from 13 ft to 11 ft. The studio will then be 11 ft wide x 13.3 ft deep x 8.4 ft tall.

    That will make the studio close to one of these ratios. This alone will help the sound in the room a lot. Arguably, one of the more common BEST STUDIO dimensions wound be around 17 ' wide x 23 ' deep x 10 ' tall. Its all in the math. Should you have more than 23 ' in your real estate, you must be rather lucrative in your income or business. and you wouldnt have much to worry about in a room this size.

    Most of us are stuck with 8 - 12 foot dimensions though. A room that has the same size width and length is even worse. a square room is terrible. a room 2x long as wide is just as bad. This has to do with how the rooms reflections dissapate over time. the dimensions can imcrease or decrease this alone.

    The wall construction itself is a discussion alone, but lets say that we are just considering it to be of a normal wall or barrier no different than that of any other wall any of you have seen. Its easy to do if you need it to be "temperary" because you live in an apt like me, tell you what, do like I did and draw up something easy that will attach in a few locations to the existing structure but can be removed upon leaving, and ask your property manager if you feel hesitant on the liking of this idea...

    Personally, I made my wall divider out of 3/4 x 1 1/2 pine and it secures in 8 locations and my landlord said I can do whatever as long as its not pernament and as long as I dont cut into the existing. I explained it as attaching just like a picture frame would, or a tv frame, a few screws here or there.

    So whatever you have to do, get the room to a proper ratio. that is the lesson here.

    Moving on. Speaker placement is considered now... the room is empty, the new wall is built or the old is moved to make the ratio complete. We need the width and length to be of ratio for the next parts. Speakers sitting farther than 1 meter from the front wall will have negative impacts in your studio unless you are around 6-7 feet away from that wall. ITs all in the literature I gave links to above. So we want to stick with either up to 3 ft from the from front wall or at least 6 ft. Width wise, you want to be at least 1-2 ft from the side walls. but ideally everything speaker related is placed according to a ratio of the rooms width and depth. Same for your listening position.

    art_room-setup1.jpg

    It is said, its best to have the merging point sweet spot just behing your head. Rooms dimensions let me sit 36-38% of the rooms depth, with my monitors about 4 ft in front of me but the are 6 ft wide. The reason I can do this is becuase I created a REFELCTION FREE ZONE by treating my first and second reflections AND because they are properly placed. I can move my head 2 ft foward or back and there is no change in the low end. I get too close to the wall, I step outside that RFZ and there is a sharp increase of low end. I move back past the merging point of the speakers, and the bass dissappears, Im in a huge null in the center of my room, clearly shown by that eignenmode calculator. This is why its important to understand. You have to find your rooms sweet spot. and Id like like all rooms have low end problems, all rooms do have a best listening position. and you need to take advantage of that.

    Monitors-Placement-3.jpg

    The width of your monitos and the distance from the wall will vary in accordance with the golden room ratio. Ideally though, you will be 12 inches to 24 inches from the side walls with a room of average small proportions. The only time you really want to put your monitors up against a wall, is when you have no other room and your monitors have eq curves to adjust in the back settings for this positioning, and when you are designing to put them in the front wall section, to remove as much comb filtering as possible. More expensive design studios build a front wall and place the monitors in cavities in the wall construction, this does a few thigns to improve sound in the studio but also gives you a lil more room. Ideally, though, we all have desks and we are not building walls in our apts. so we may be better using stands or the desk and by keeping the monitors off all wall surfaces by no more than 3 ft.

    This is why

    sbir-speaker-wall-quarter-wavelength-cancellation-w1024.jpg Genelec.jpg

    keep in mind this is considering 2 and 2.1 stereo listening. if you were to have a 5.1 or 5.2 or 7.1, 7.2 setup, your placement and treatment will be different.

    https://www.hunecke.de/en/calculators/loudspeakers.html
    Last edited by Natifix; 04-07-2019 at 07:08 PM.

  3. #3
    The goal in your treatment is to acquire a room that has a fast decay, meaning it takes less time to deplete the room of 60 db worth of sound, to control the sub bass region, as well as control echo, fluttering, comb filtering, phaser interference, and standalone waves. There are more issues but these are the more common with studios not planned out and prepared for.

    The best thing for home studio guys is, to buy up some safe and sound rockwool at your lowes dept hardware store, they carry it, Id get the 16 inch wide vs the 24 inch wide because you pay more for the 24 inch wide but its the same sq ft of material. they come 16 x 48 x 3 inch thick. I got three bags the first time, and this made me floor to ceiling 4 corners full 8 inch thick as well as 14 - 2 x 4 ft reflection panels. I got msyelf some variation in fabric. Some was easier to blow thru, the others were more restrictive. This turned out to be a good thing. I used the less restrictive materials on the rear and rear side wall panels, and the more restrictive material on the front and front side wall panels. This allows the stiffer material to interact with the front of the studio, in which is where the more energy is. Safe and sound is good as well as 703 but I think the rockwool is cheaper, $50 a bag which is 60 cu ft. use gloves and long sleeves and wear a paper mask or bandana, even though its safe to handle. it is kinda itchy, so you dont want to aggitate it or break it apart aside from cutting with a "LONG BREAD" knife or a bread cutter - works best. Its easy to work with. Get a brad nailer and an air compressor for 150$ from harbor freight and you can make almost any framing with that thinner pine material! If you plan it out, you can make them separate items that stack or clip together and provide overall, wall coverage.

    Next best thing is to build yourself a set or variations of sets of quardratic diffusors. They HAVE to be based on a prime number sequence or they wont work properly and will create other problems or intesify existing problems. Use these sources and tools to get what you want. the deeper the well, the lower the freq the diffuser can work. Remember for 100 hz low end QRD needs three feet deep wells. So if you want to go all out and build 4 or 8 ft tall x 8 ft wide diffusor to cover the rear wall, do it right the first time. Its in the design. The ceiling needs either a cloud and or diffusion.

    http://apmr.matelys.com/Parameters/S...sistivity.html

    http://www.whealy.com/acoustics/Porous.html

    http://digitalaudiorock.com/cgi-bin/qrd.cgi

    http://www.oliverprime.com/prd/?show=calculator

    http://www.acousticmodelling.com/

    http://actools.tunetown.de/prd/


    If you got money, just buy some carbon activated bass traps from Acoustic Fields and some QRD 11 or 13 diffusors for the rear wall.

    hj.jpg

    Some diffusion as well as reflection and trapping in this design here. All in corporated into one wall structure.

    Rear_Wall_Diffusers_2.jpg

    These both are from GS archive, this later is of a mastering studio. notice the thick rear wall insulation and angle on the diffusion... nice touch!



    If you dont know what activated carbon can do, its quite interesting to say the least. I had to do some digging, because my work experience never brought me to this specific material before, so I had no idea it was used for this purpose, or could be used... lets say that.

    Activated carbon is carbon that has been sized in a pellet. some have a shiny coating on the pellets and are for fish or water treatment, while others are left porous to help with odor control. I found a company that makes a product in which they themselves do their own processing to the carbon that is siad to be specifically purchased from LA or London. This company then treats it somehow, and then uses it with their acoustic furniture to help tame specific low end freq. They have been tested, they work, they sound amazing, but they are expensive, and they weigh 250 lbs, AND you have to sign an NDA disclose to license the carbon to purchase it directly from them... sadly to say a bag of this weighs 60 lbs and costs 350$ ... After some research I have an idea of what he is doing. Im not sure if I should say anything but I will say you can buy fish pellet carbon, do something to it, and then use it like they do in their fancy bass absorbers. thing is, it will still cost, 600$ in materials to build plus whatever the carbon cost you... so its not an inexpnsive investment, and idk who has 600$ to half ass a build project... so do it right, do your research before building or attemtping. It can be done though.

    I am building my own cause I can afford the materials and can make **** with my eyes closed.

    That said, I have invented a product idea and am researching a provissional application so I can patent the idea and protect it. make a few test pieces and give a few out to some folks who will test them and get back to me on it. Id like to develop my own acoustic treatment items in which in combination would exempt one from having to buy 4 - 1200$ carbon activated units to tame the low end in a given room. Mind you, it takes several devices to tame these issues, we are talking an investment of 10k$ more or less... if you buy these active carbon products. Thats fine if you got the money,. I dont... Id rather create a company and work the problem a different way and see if I cant create an item that everyone has to have in their studio.
    Last edited by Natifix; 04-07-2019 at 07:13 PM.

  4. #4
    The goal in your treatment is to acquire a room that has a fast decay, meaning it takes less time to deplete the room of 60 db worth of sound, to control the sub bass region, as well as control echo, fluttering, comb filtering, phaser interference, and standalone waves. There are more issues but these are the more common with studios not planned out and prepared for.

    I hope this helps you all, Im not sure if this is finsihed but Im taking a break for a few. lol

  5. #5
    So we have that 11 ' x 13.3 ' studio with the 8.4 ceiling... and we have the ratio near good, its not perfect. but its the best I can do without moving or doing a lot of work that may not be allowed here. lol that said I think many of you will relate here. Still with me?

    Okay! lets keep rolling on. We know abouts roughly where we will sit, and where our monitors will sit. Now is a good time to set up your system just to get a stereo playing some music in the room with no treatment and take note of the sound. Maybe run the analysis tool, save the graph of the original room and take some pics. you shuld have a few pages of graph paper with your rooms dimension out and outline drawn, and maybe estimates of where you will place your monitors and chair... maybe layout, the rest of your studio on paper too. now is the time to play with variables, possibilities, ideas, etc. but essentially, like myself, you may spend time finding things not working. So keep on track here but I emplore you to expirement and be creative! spend time laying out led lights, your outlets, what wall is your front wall?

    Its best to have no windows in your room as well, imo.

    You can do a few things from this point. You can add a few hundred cubic ft of mineral wool or 703 rigid fiberglass where its needed and call it good enough. It will be like night and day if you have no idea what any of this **** is here, and you have not properly setup your monitoring enviroment. Moving your monitors to proper locations in accordance with a room with a good ratio, with a good listening position and a reflection free zone, you will hear your mix more clear, defined, and will alone make your production and mixing improve greatly. You will hear your kicks snap, your snares crack, an your highs will slighly sharpen. Basically Im describing an increase in definition... and that is exactly what an artist or producer, engineer needs, to be good at what ever it is they create. You will have to make your own reflection panels, corner traps, and bass traps. You can spend 200 - 400 $ top and have a drastically improved listening environment. Doing things this way vs just buying a bunch of amazon acoustic panels is more benificial I found. In my first studio I did it the amazon ebay way. The second I did it the half ass way but made it sound so much better!!! that is what I am describing above. and yea, its half assed. but its accurate to some degree and with some planning out the treatment phase, you can tame up to 90 - 100 db of sound.

    Going to the next phase, which is what I have been testin with recently, is what I want to say is doing things right... and that does take more investment and time but is essentially, the way to go. and with that, there are different paths you can take. Lets discuss some ideas.

    First, you need to know what it is you are going to be doing exactly in this room. Any investment of thousands of dollars is a serious investment. You want to do it right.

    My room is for three purposes. And you can do this if you plan it out. I want to produce, mix, and master in one room.

    That said, you have only a few options of studio design. You can do it yourself and save money and learn just a little bit more to do it correctly. We need to consider what we are doing: Control Envirnment.

    Parallel surfaces are a sin.

    Untreated surfaces are sin.

    Target specific trouble frequencies.

    That said, we want to build some temparary framing to hold the treatment and provide a shape to the room that will be mathematically sound for assisting in the breaking apart of reflected waveform we desparely need.Its not difficult. A few tools, a few pages of graph paper and or a spreadsheet made to look like graph paper will do, some materials and a guide, you can have yourself an even further improved studio environment.

    jk.jpg

    Thisi s one artists layout of his studio he did from GS...I do like it, but I dont like that his listening position is almost half way of the depth of the room. It doesnt seem proportional to the distance he has listed as I have a 13 foot depth as well, and I have a bit of room behind me. Im sitting eactly 36% of the distance front to rear. The shape of his studio however may change that and it may sound right, tight, accurate, right there. I havent made a studio like this yet, so I can say from experience yet, as I am in the design phase. I have a layout, done the math for my room and have a few variables to add. Anyway,

    s10.jpg

    This shows how your room should be symetrical but there are no parallel surfaces! I see tons of glass... they have special glass, but it costs a bit.

    s11.jpg

    This studio uses hanging rockwool baffles and they cover that frame with fabric... this helps with the low end accumulation of what ever specific freqs collect at the ceiling. Taht eigenmode calc shows what freqs collect and where.

    studio.jpg

    This studio here is using 2 x 4 703 baffles from the looks of it, which will be behind some fabric.

    CIDexample2.jpg

    My current design is based of this above but, is simplified.
    Last edited by Natifix; 04-07-2019 at 07:04 PM.

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