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moving my studio to a smaller room

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moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Fri May 09, 2008 9:40 am

Marriage and lifestyle changes and all that, and I've moved out of this place (my first SOS post I think), on to a bigger home but a rather unsatisfactorily small music room only 375cm by 272cm by 242 cm high. Here's a pic.

Image

I haven't run modecalc on those dimensions yet, but I will. I have 4 mini traps and some Auralex, which I'll suitably place.

I had KRK Rokit 8s in the old place. I'm guessing they are too big for the new room, so I rashly bought a lightly-used pair of Klein and Hummel O110s on ebay. They haven't shown up yet.

So anyways, is proper bass monitoring possible in small rooms? The range of stuff I like to work on includes hip-hop and dance music, so I'd like more bass than I expect out of the K&Hs. If I were to pair a sub (with crossover) with the O110s, would the bass be just as problematic in the small room as with a pair of 8' woofers, or worse?

I fully expect to be told by you lot to go out and get some proper headphones, so I'm eyeballing the Sennheisers that have been recommended elsewhere, but if it's in any way possible to get pumping bass in this shoebox, I'd sure like to.

thoughts?
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby Glenn Kuras » Fri May 09, 2008 1:21 pm

I will say your room is pretty small, but with enough bass trapping (more then 4) it can be done. In fact you would not be the first one, MANY have done mixing in rooms that size with much success.



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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby magicdog » Fri May 09, 2008 7:48 pm

I think you would be better off to avoid a sub in a room that size...
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Sat May 24, 2008 9:26 am

An update:

After a day of farting around with Room EQ Wizard, I've come up with the best positions for the 4 bass traps I have.
Image
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Three of them will go in 3 of the 4 corners of the room as shown (the 4th corner is impossible because of the door), and the 4th, which you can see freely standing, will go under the desk. These seemed to be the best positions.
Image

The two plots in this graph show the room without the bass traps (red) and with the bass traps in the above positions (blue). (I did try a whole lot of other positions, but I'll spare you the graphs-- this was the "best", or least problematic, response.) But there's clearly room for more bass trapping-- that trough between 90 and 100Hz is particularly disturbing.

The scary thing, though, is the high end!!! What's worse is that I already had the auralex that you see in the pictures in place when I did the tests!!

The duvet on the back wall wasn't there at the time of the testing, but other than that everything was just as you see it here. I'm thinking of moving the rear Auralex panel in front of the window, and I have a few small pieces still lying around, but clearly I need a WHOLE lot more high-end damping, and some more bass trapping.

I can't damage the walls permanently as we're renters, but I don't mind throwing some money at the problem. DIY is difficult/impossible; although I was fairly at home with DIY projects in Canada, the whole culture here is just not conducive to people doing things themselves, which makes it really hard to source materials etc., and besides I'm without most of my tools.

Suggestions?
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby thefruitfarmer » Sat May 24, 2008 11:25 am

ryan mead wrote:

Suggestions?


You can mount minitraps horizontally rather than vertically, as you have them now. ie...with a long end against the ceiling rather than a short end.

This way you can put some more bass traps along the ceiling / wall corners as well as the tri-corners, which you already have.

I did this in an 8'6" cube room and it made a clearly audible difference but less of a difference than trapping placed in the tri-corners.

I used RW5, based on Ethan Winer's advice for a smaller room, which is one of the denser grades of rockwool.

Tricky really.....you could just get more minitraps and then experiment with where you can position them. In your case it seems there is a trade off between the "best" position and where they can be placed in practicality. That said, anywhere you put them will make some difference and even if you can't get them in the "best" position you could probably get acceptable results using more of them...

Hope this helps.
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby young david » Sat May 24, 2008 7:06 pm


If you haven't already done this, I'd start by experimenting a bit with moving the listening position a foot or two along the lengthwise dimension. Might help with the bump around 46 and your 90-100 dip.

Failing that I'd agree that dip at 90-100 is likely to be the biggest problem, so would think about something that will help with that on the back wall and/or wall/ceiling apex.

Wouldn't be too worried about the top end - looks fairly smooth apart from the roll-off after 10k but if that's not the mic then maybe your new monitors will help. I think it's normal to have a lot of narrow peaks and troughs but as long as they're narrow it's not something that will affect your judgement. Besides, the wavelengths are getting so small up there that if you move your head a centimetre it will all change anyway.

You have my sympathy as my room's about this size at the mo, though it's better acoustically than larger ones I've had before. Final tip would be once you've settled on the layout, print your room eq graph and stick it on the wall. Helps to know that your mixes should sound slightly boomy or thin in certain areas, and you'll start to recognise these peaks and troughs in reference mixes. All about making the best of it.

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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Sun May 25, 2008 5:00 am

thefruitfarmer wrote:
You can mount minitraps horizontally rather than vertically, as you have them now. ie...with a long end against the ceiling rather than a short end.
I did try holding one of the Realtraps across the back wall-ceiling interface (much to my wife's amusement) and it had less of an effect than in the corner, where it is now. (But of course it still had some beneficial effect.)

young david wrote:Wouldn't be too worried about the top end - looks fairly smooth apart from the roll-off after 10k but if that's not the mic then maybe your new monitors will help. I think it's normal to have a lot of narrow peaks and troughs but as long as they're narrow it's not something that will affect your judgement. Besides, the wavelengths are getting so small up there that if you move your head a centimetre it will all change anyway.
Really? The high end sounds so much more lifeless than in my old (bigger) room. Just sort of dull, lacking crispness, and generally worse, like when my old room had no treatment in it at all.

The mic was a Rode NT2A in omni mode and the preamp was one of my Fireface 800 preamps (used as a preamp only, sent to the Tascam US122 sound card I used for testing) so I don't think the mic is responsible for the high-end rolloff.

I've had a suggestion to put 6 GIK 244s up-- four across the wall/ceiling interface and two on the back wall-- but I am still worried about my top end.
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby Jim Y » Sun May 25, 2008 1:59 pm

The high end trouble might be due to reflections off the TFT and desk. Try the TFT further back and see if something absorbent (pillow, thick towels) temporarily placed over the desk improves things.

I wouldn't be surprised if it would also improve things if you can move the speakers further away from the window.

Would it not be better to experiment with desk/speaker position before putting any traps in? - That way, changes for the best with these positions will be more apparent, and you can then position your traps to suit the room with all your equipment in place.

I have a small room - what became apparent to me was that the acoustic effect of the objects in the room is greater in this situation than it would be in a larger space - even changing the size and style of my studio chair made a difference (out went the executive swivelchair - in came a canvas directors chair).


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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby JWL - RealTraps » Sun May 25, 2008 4:25 pm

Hi Ryan,

I replied to your email, but for posterity's sake I'll include my reply here, so that it hopefully benefits others as well.

You can definitely get good results in a room that size. Smaller rooms need proportionately more bass trapping. The 4 you have are a good start. If you want to expand on them, I'd consider the following:

1. More bass traps (such as MiniTraps) in the wall/ceiling corners. The front wall looks tricky because of the window, but the side walls and the rear wall look doable. Start with the rear wall, and then do the sides.

2. Rear wall treatment. I'd recommend using the HF version of our MiniTrap, mounted on the rear wall above the couch. I think you could get 3 on the wall. You'll want to space the panels out a few inches from the wall, as described on this page: http://realtraps.com/mini_door.htm Mounting this way will increase the overall absorption, and give you about an extra octave of bass trapping. Most rooms, especially smaller rooms, have a bass buildup on the rear wall, so adding these will help a lot. I recommend the HF version so that they also absorb the rear reflections.

Just these 2 steps will help quite a bit. Once you have the rear wall treated and as many wall/ceiling corners as you can fit, the next thing I'd do if you desire further room improvement would be to replace the Auralex tiles you have with additional HF MiniTraps mounted at the first-reflection points on the side walls and the ceiling, spaced out the same way as the rear wall traps. You could then move the Auralex tiles to other areas of the room (ie, the ceiling or side walls at the rear of the room, spaced out evenly in a quasi-checkerboard pattern).
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby young david » Sun May 25, 2008 8:32 pm

ryan mead wrote:
Really? The high end sounds so much more lifeless than in my old (bigger) room. Just sort of dull, lacking crispness, and generally worse, like when my old room had no treatment in it at all.

The mic was a Rode NT2A in omni mode and the preamp was one of my Fireface 800 preamps (used as a preamp only, sent to the Tascam US122 sound card I used for testing) so I don't think the mic is responsible for the high-end rolloff.

OK, well if it's not the mic then I guess the roll-off is a bit worrying. I guess with the Rode you should have a presence peak somewhere high up. Plus if it sounds bad...

My point was just that the sharp peaks and dips before 10k aren't necessarily cause for alarm - even really well-treated rooms will have these.
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Mon May 26, 2008 1:59 pm

JWL - RealTraps wrote:I replied to your email, but for posterity's sake I'll include my reply here, so that it hopefully benefits others as well.

Thanks JWL for the considered reply, and welcome to the SOS forums! I'll be in touch via email.
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Mon May 26, 2008 2:13 pm

A big "thank you" to everyone who's been following this thread-- you've given me a lot to think about!! For the next few weeks it's going to be tuning this room and keeping up on my chops on my wife's clavinova in the living room-- no mixing!!!

Sooo... I finally got the K&H O110s out of custom's clutches today.

Wowowow. I played some Sumi Jo, the Waterboys' "Fisherman's Blues", and some other acoustic stuff. Those speakers have been reviewed elsewhere so I won't do it again here but I am positively spanked.

Then I played some trance and was less than impressed-- all of the bass information really muddies up the middle, much as was happening with my Rokits. Let's blame the room, not the speakers. I'm going to fix the bass end with about 6 more 2x4 traps, but as I mentioned in my first post, I never expected the very diminutive K&Hs to be up to working on dance music by themselves.

I do, however, have a Tannoy sub with a crossover lurking unused in my parents' basement back home.....

magicdog wrote:I think you would be better off to avoid a sub in a room that size...

Second opinions on that one? Even if the room is bass-trapped to the bejeezus? (As it soon will be.)
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby magicdog » Mon May 26, 2008 2:48 pm

magicdog wrote:I think you would be better off to avoid a sub in a room that size...


Second opinions on that one? Even if the room is bass-trapped to the bejeezus? (As it soon will be.) [/quote]

I would still say the same...!

If you add a sub you will be adding hugely to the bass problems in a small room and in the end you will need so much bass trapping, you won't be able to get into the room...
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Wed May 28, 2008 5:04 am

magicdog wrote:in the end you will need so much bass trapping, you won't be able to get into the room...

OK I get it...
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:34 am

So, I've got all this rockwool, and as I don't have room for any superchunks, I think I'm going to apply it 15cm deep, floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall on the back wall.

Any thoughts on that one?

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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby . . . Delete This User . . . » Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:03 pm

well, it'll do something.....

it just won't do what you need it to do........


whaddya mean No room for superchunks??


there's ALWAYS room for superchunks.... but you might have to think laterally to find it....

remember., ANY corner is valid , whether it's wall meets wall, or wall meets ceiling, or wall meets floor......


and there's NO excuse really for not filling in the upper tri-corners, where ceiling meets 2 walls ....... there's always ways of doing things.....
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:56 pm

idris y draig wrote:and there's NO excuse really for not filling in the upper tri-corners, where ceiling meets 2 walls .......

er... a door? A window that's the width of the room? That seems to be a pretty good excuse to me as far as 3 of the 4 upper tri-corners go!

I could do the 4th (see the above pic; I've taken down the Realtrap for the time being), but it would be at the expense of symmetry at the back of the room. Still figure it's worth doing?
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby . . . Delete This User . . . » Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:37 am

there's no reason you couldn't mount stuff on the door you know..... there's all sorts of clever ways .... if using the mini-traps, then it's possible to use a hinge arrangement so that it can be folded out of the way , either mounted on the door, so it opens with the door, or on the other wall and arranged to fold out of the way of the door....


(i've done this sort of thing no end of times)


note I said the upper TRI-corners....


also, look up a product called clearsorber... it can be formed to create a transparent bass trap across the window.... or across the top ceiling to window/wall corner....


there's almost always a way to do what's needed, but it's often not the straight forward obvious and "normal" method...
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:34 pm

idris y draig wrote:if using the mini-traps, then it's possible to use a hinge arrangement so that it can be folded out of the way , either mounted on the door, so it opens with the door, or on the other wall and arranged to fold out of the way of the door....

You are fuggin' brilliant! Stay tuned...

(and yeh the ceilings are low so the door effectively interferes with a tri-corner...)
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:34 pm

ryan mead wrote:DIY is difficult/impossible
Scratch that.

idris y draig wrote:whaddya mean No room for superchunks??
OK, you convinced me.

First up for your viewing pleasure we have the patent-pending "sofa-straddling-superchunk-stand"... stay tuned for the sofa-to-ceiling superchunk that will call it home...

Image

Next we have the bottom right corner superchunk, which will also double as a base for a narrower (and less overbuilt) superchunk that will go right to the ceiling. That narrower superchunk will be one of a matched pair for the front wall-wall interfaces.

Here are two views of the front floor superchunk in progress.
Image
Image

I'm going to do all of the prep for all of these superchunks and make some frames for new mirror-point panels, which will incorporate my existing Auralex with rockwool behind it. Then we're going to have a 48-hour period of CSA (Complete Spousal Absence), during which I'll tie into the rockwool. (Koreans believe unquestionably that rockwool causes cancer. Period.)

Meanwhile, if anyone has any suggestions or sees anything amiss, I'd love to hear about it...
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby zvalera » Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:28 pm

How do you upload your pictures as part of your post???
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:52 pm

zvalera wrote:How do you upload your pictures as part of your post???


Quick answer: you don't upload them to this website. Find a home for them elsewhere on the web (e.g. photobucket, flickr) and then reference them in your post using the "Image" tag, which you can find under "Instant UBB Code".
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:32 pm

Here's a big trap that will go flat on the back wall. I'm already kicking myself thinking it's too high, because it will stretch all the way from the sofa to the ceiling, and thus interfere with putting something along the rear wall-ceiling interface.


Oh well... maybe I can put one of my realtraps in front of it when it's done.
Image
It's upside down in this shot, btw.
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:36 pm

nice to see it coming along ryan.... yes you can mount the mini trap in front of the flat trap... although the actual results would be difficult to precisely predict, theoretically they will at least probably not be detrimental.


glad the pet dragon seems to have inspired you to find your diy soul
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:46 pm

Max! wrote:your diy soul

My diy soul??? I'm ready to throw my &%$#*@ jigsaw out the &%$#*@ window

I've created a monster. Er, rather, given that "monster" and "mondo" are taken, I've decided to call my monstrosity a "whaleTrap"(TM). Et voila:

Image
Image
Image
Image

It groans under its own weight, and weighs well over 100 pounds! I'm going to have to build a floor stand for it.

By the way, the walls in my room seem to be concrete (or at least when I try and drive a nail in, it bends and gets nowhere) and the ceiling seems to be some kind of fairly strong plasterboard (I had a realtrap mounted to the ceiling, hanging simply from two wood screws without any kind of anchor). My original plan was to hang a few things from the ceiling (a quick plaster and wallpaper job when we move out) with the superchunks on the floor, but now I'm thinking about getting serious with holes in the wall.

I'm really wishing I had spec'd slightly less dense rockwool just to mitigate the whale/weight problem somewhat.

On to the mirror-point traps (did I mention I'm sick of jigsawing?):

Image

Notice in the background that one of the (two) piles of rockwool has shrunk from 4 packs to three. So I've got 87.5 percent of my rockwool left...
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby . . . Delete This User . . . » Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:28 pm

the framing looks to be a bit heavier than is perhaps strictly necessary, which is perhaps where some of the weight is......

other wise... nice work...
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby Ian Savage » Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:41 am

Looking at the response graph for the room (and my acoustic engineering is rusty, years since I had space to practice it ), haven't you got a resonance at 45Hz, cancellation at 90, resonance at 135, cancellation at 180 and so on?

That being the case, could you build a tuned absorber of some sort, maybe a resonant panel type? It'd be too big to get in the room to knock a hole in the 45Hz resonance but tuning for 135Hz might have an effect?

EDIT: having just done pack-of-fag-packet calculations, a resonance of 45Hz would have a wavelength of 7.6m, hence a half-wavelength being around 3.8m (the longest length of the room).

I'll have to go back to the books to check whether tuning something to knock out the peaks in the response would make the troughs better or worse though.
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby Ian Savage » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:35 pm

Thinking about it the peaks and troughs at the listening position will be caused by standing waves at half-wavelength multiples of the room's lowest resonance (in this case 90Hz); I'd guess that you'd get the opposite if you measured next to the rear wall (trough at 45Hz, peak at 90Hz etc) so setting up a tuned absorber at 45 or 90Hz would knock out some of the wave energy at those frequencies.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug98/a ... ustic.html
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:46 pm

Ian Savage wrote:Looking at the response graph for the room (and my acoustic engineering is rusty, years since I had space to practice it ), haven't you got a resonance at 45Hz, cancellation at 90, resonance at 135, cancellation at 180 and so on?
Hmmm, according to this screenshot from the mcsquared website, it looks like you might be onto something.
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Image
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I'd always interpreted these results to mean that I should be getting peaks at 45, 90, 135 etc and troughs in between. Am I wrong?
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Re: moving my studio to a smaller room

Postby ryan mead » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:51 pm

Oops! Looks like we cross-posted.

Anyways, I have another theory about the 45Hz peak, which is that it's the resonance of the ported 8" KRK Rokits I used for the original tests. Those speakers have since found another home.
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