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Audio Treament of My New Living Room: Advices Needed

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Audio Treament of My New Living Room: Advices Needed

Postby jasno84 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:21 pm

I want to do some acoustic treatment of a place (where I will produce and mix my tracks) where I will probably move in the near future. I know the importance of room treatment and I'd really like to do the best, but I have to face one big limit: I cannot do heavy/permament works; my parents are the owners and since they will still use it sometimes they don't want that I will transform their loved small attic in a studio-room with lots of panels and stuff permanently around. So...I need to do the best I can do in the less easthetical-impact way. But I want at least to cure the most obvious problems...So I have some basic questions:


1) what is the difference between a classic bass traps (the one to be glued or fixed to a corner) and a "cylinder" bass that sit on the floor near angles and that can be moved away when not needed. Are the second types of the same quality? These are interesting, since are movable and don't need to be installed permanently.


2) I just discovered that the previous owner of the place made a sort of "general soundproof" of the place (he played the piano). So he added to almost all the walls a layer of isolating material (don't know exactly which material), and then a layer of wood. So sound from my monitors will reflect against wood-walls instead of classical walls. Same for the cieling. This is good because my neighboors will hear me definitely less But is this something good from a "room acoustic" point of view? Floor is wood-parquet as well (may use a carpet that I can remove if needed).


3) Place is really particular: it's the living room of this small attic, with these measures:

- length: around 6 metres (little less, because there is a sofa at the end of the length, and a small furniture at the beginning....)
- width: around 3 metres
- height: since it's an attic, it starts at 3.20 metres on the highest part, but goes down to 1.10 metres on the edge of the wall. Considering the width, which length I said it's about 3m, cieling starts with a highest heigth of 3.20 on the left and goes down to a heigth of 1.10 metres on the right.

The important thing is that the space is not "closed", like a normal room: at the end of the 6 metres of length there is space on the left for walking into another small part of the house and on the right for entering in the kitchen. And most of the walls that divide the various zones oh the house don't go up to the cieling, leaving some space for sound to go in other spaces. I may post here some pics of the place and the planimetry, so maybe some good soul can tell me if I'm effectively thinking of placing the monitors in the best possible place of the house or not...and which would be the biggest problems I'm going to face.


4) Would be great having some advices about choosing the "perfect" (of course perfection never exists in nature!) monitor size for a place like that. From what the kind Hugh Robjohns said, bigger the woofer size of the speakers and bigger the bass punch / extension, but at same time bigger the problems of the room if not properly treated. And it seems that low end are the most difficult frequencies to be cured. So...choosing the best solution it's not easy with so many different monitors around!


5) would I be able to do the proper inobtrusive audio treatment by myself or do I need to call an engineer for doing so? How much will I need to spend for a consultation like this? I've not done anything like that, so if it's not tooo expansive I'd like having someone that can help me.


6) Where to find an engineering (is this the correct name of the person that take measurement and help with room audio treatment) ?


Thanks for your help!!!
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Re: Audio Treament of My New Living Room: Advices Needed

Postby GIK Acoustics » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:02 am

1) Bass traps come in many different sizes and shapes. Cylindrical bass traps are nice because they are free standing, but then lack some bass absorption in the corners compared to ones that have absorption all the way through to the corner, like a triangular trap or a square soffit style bass trap.

2) No, that won't affect the actual sound inside the room too much.

3) The fact that the slat only goes one direction is quite problematic. In order to get an even stereo imagine you'll likely want to face the really short side wall, though it wouldn't be the best option, would probably be the only one for a good stereo image and a similar bass response for each speaker. (So the short 1.1m tall wall is directly in front of you, and the ceiling slopes upwards above you to the rear). You would need a good amount of ceiling treatment here.

4) Monitor selection is very personal and there is never a 'perfect' speaker for the room, only a perfect speaker for the individual inside the room. The room is a pretty decent size, so most speaker sizes 8" and under would be fine. I would highly recommend speaker stands as a priority as well as acoustic treatment in the room.

5) That depends on your woodworking and construction skills. Many can DIY panels, but few come out with sharp, clean, easy to hang panels that will hang around forever without tarnish and have resale value. With that being said, I've certainly seen some nice ones DIYed - I guess it just depends on if you have the time and tools to do it.

6)The correct term is an "Acoustician". There are many local acousticians that can come and do measurements of the space and give recommendations of what to buy, but is usually an expensive service one can do themselves. If you want to test the space, grab a Behringer ECM8000 for $50 and run some tests with the free program REW. We give free personalized acoustic room advice via forums and e-mail if you have any questions, or even if you just want a second opinion if you do have an acoustician come out to look at your place. Feel free to fill out our form here: http://gikacoustics.com/acoustic-advice/ or send me an e-mail (alex.r@gikacoustics.com) with any questions!
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Re: Audio Treament of My New Living Room: Advices Needed

Postby jasno84 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:46 pm

Hello Alexander,

thanks for your comment, I've just sent you an e-mail

Another question to all: The Behringer ECM8000 seems a pretty good quality/ratio mic for measurements, but at the same time I've read through forums that it should be calibrated (extra cash and efforts) in order to work properly. That's why I always gave up in the end in buying one. Is it true? Should I buy it or some better models in this price range?

Consider that I would use it just to measure the room frequency response for room treatment, so I will use it not too often. That's why I'd like to spend not too much on a measurement mic. But of course I know that a measurement mic should measure everything correctly, otherwise it would be useless.


Thanks
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Re: Audio Treament of My New Living Room: Advices Needed

Postby GIK Acoustics » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:36 pm

Thanks for your mail. I'm responding to it as well but wanted to post about the ECM for others to read as well.

ECM8000s do not have to be calibrated. Calibration helps to give a more precise measurement result, but in either case a non calibrated mic will still show you nulls, resonances, and all the acoustic problems we look for in measurements. I usually suggest that unless you're an acoustician, or unless you need wildly accurate results, a non-calibrated mic will work fine. Similarly, you don't need to do a loopback test to generate a cal file for your SoundCard. These calibrations are resulting in +/- a few dB here and there. With measurement, we're looking at resonances in the time domain which are apparent regardless, deep nulls that non-calibrated equipment wouldn't cause, etc. A few dB up or down doesn't really matter in the measurements, really, and likely change when you move the mic a centimeter anyways.
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