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Acoustic Treatment advice for pitch roofed studio

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Acoustic Treatment advice for pitch roofed studio

Postby Blott » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:48 am

Hi,

Last year I had built my own home studio/man cave.

It was a bespoke build by a carpenter friend and it's great but I always intended to acoustically treat it - something I haven't yet done.

It's primarily for writing and recording my music, but I also use it for watching the footy on Sky and relaxing listening to some vinyl - the wife is barred! :)

So I'm looking for advice of how best to treat it please and also where to purchase treatments from (I'm in the UK).

It's a home studio so budget is tight (I have a maximum of £600 to spend) and it has a pitched roof (see photos). Most of the acoustic kits that fall within my budget online seem to be designed to treat rectangle rooms (which mine isn't) and I've read various contradictory posts about the effectiveness of them.

So I'd be grateful for any advice on what I need and where I need to place it to be most effective please.

The dimension of my studio are approximately 10' x 10' the walls are approx 6' 3" high rising to 7 feet in the apex of the pitched roof.

My builder made it from scratch - timber frame, concrete base.
The walls were lined with a damp proofing membrane, then layer of 100mm acoustic Rockwool, then plywood then acoustic plasterboard which had the gaps sealed with plaster and then painted - same for ceiling.

The floor has rock wool, then plywood, then 10mm underlay and thick carpet.
There are two doors (air lock style). One is a multi lock steel security door and the other a wooden fire door and there is only one small window which is triple glazed with security glass, the roof is covered and sealed with roof felt.
The exterior is interlocking wood panels, gaps sealed and coated in two coats of waterproofing ronseal type stuff.

It's not perfect I know, but it does the job of allowing me to record my music without waking the wife or my neighbours which was my primary objective. :)

I'd imagine it's the bass I mostly have to sort out, so bass traps are probably my priority - but any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks

Pictures below...
https://www.dropbox.com/s/f8jgjc6jji4jgl3/Studio%20Oct%202017.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/jls6lzt6qdxd3da/8Undercoat%20and%202nd%20interior%20Door.jpg?dl=0
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Re: Acoustic Treatment advice for pitch roofed studio

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:47 am

The budget won't go far if you're buying commercial products, but is quite sufficient if you can do a bit of DIY and make your own broadband and bass traps. Simple timber frames and rockwool will do most of it without too much difficulty.

The apex roof isn't really a problem, but you could fit a ceiling cloud over the mix position if you think you are getting reflections from the ceiling. Other than that, it's a case of treating the mirror points and the wall behind the speakers, then the corners with bass traps.

Look through a bunch of Studio SOS articles going back through the years and you'll get the general idea.

H
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Re: Acoustic Treatment advice for pitch roofed studio

Postby Grappa » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:45 am

Hi,

Looking at your room I would comment as follows;

1. Room dimensions wont help given that you will get modal build up due to two dimensions being identical.
2. The room construction will help at the low end as basically your room should pass some low frequency energy straight outside

IMHO you have two options.

1. Guess (educated of course)
2. Don't guess

I suggest the don't guess approach!

Get hold of a copy of Room EQ Wizard (REW) and measure your room/speakers. It's really easy to do and there's loads of stuff on the web to help. You need a flat omni mic (I use a Behringer ECM8000) and if you're anywhere near Hertfordshire I can lend you one. Then seek some help analysing the results to make informed decisions. No only will you potentially make better choices but you'll also learn loads along the way about your room/monitors (which is really helpful when you're working) and acoustics in general.

As Hugh stated, with your budget you can make some very effective bass trapping and broadband absorption that will improve your listening environment significantly. If you're not happy with making yourself your going to limit your options (and outcomes) as even a 'starter' kit is going to eat that and some. Like all things in life it depends on what you want to achieve and how much you're prepared to pay or invest your own time in.

As an aside I have loads of unused Rockwall suitable for the broadband stuff and would be happy to give it away if you're anywhere near me!

Hope that helps.

Regards,

Si
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Re: Acoustic Treatment advice for pitch roofed studio

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:45 pm

I mentioned this on my Old Studio Rebuild thread but it seems relevant here so has anybody considered this product http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pro-coustix-Ultraflex-Studio-pack-One-24x-Acoustic-foam-Tiles-4x-Bass-Traps/182268320067?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

Probably with some additional DIY bass trapping?
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Re: Acoustic Treatment advice for pitch roofed studio

Postby Blott » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:18 pm

Grappa wrote:Hi,

I suggest the don't guess approach!

Get hold of a copy of Room EQ Wizard (REW) and measure your room/speakers. It's really easy to do and there's loads of stuff on the web to help. You need a flat omni mic (I use a Behringer ECM8000) and if you're anywhere near Hertfordshire I can lend you one. Then seek some help analysing the results to make informed decisions. No only will you potentially make better choices but you'll also learn loads along the way about your room/monitors (which is really helpful when you're working) and acoustics in general.

As Hugh stated, with your budget you can make some very effective bass trapping and broadband absorption that will improve your listening environment significantly. If you're not happy with making yourself your going to limit your options (and outcomes) as even a 'starter' kit is going to eat that and some. Like all things in life it depends on what you want to achieve and how much you're prepared to pay or invest your own time in.

As an aside I have loads of unused Rockwall suitable for the broadband stuff and would be happy to give it away if you're anywhere near me!

Hope that helps.


Thanks for the info on room eq wizard - i'll definitely give that a try.

Thank you for your very kind offer of the rock wool and microphone.

Very generous, but sadly I'm going to decline as unfortunately I'm useless at DIY so there's no chance of me making my own and I'm located in Nottingham so too far away for the mic.

Appreciate the offer though - thank you. :)

£600 really is as much as I can throw at my room treatment at the moment.

If that's not enough to get a significant (audible) improvement then I'd probably not do it at all.

My space is far from perfect, but it's still MUCH better than my previous 'spare room' setup that I used for years and I will always do the 'multi system sound test' on all my mixes to check them out, but it'd be great to be able to achieve a more accurate environment if at all possible for the budget I have.

I've actually already got a dozen or so 50mm foam absorber tiles which I was thinking of using for the early reflection points, but some have claimed online that foam is all but useless for this, so I'm conflicted about the merits of using them.

Then theres things like this...
https://www.studiospares.com/Studio-Gear/Acoustic-Kits/Primacoustic-London-8-Black_464580.htm

or this...
https://www.studiospares.com/Studio-Gear/Acoustic-Kits/Primacoustic-London-10-Grey_464572.htm

The above look similar to each other in design, yet one is half the price of the other so you have to assume one is far more effective than the other in its absorption, but there's very little in the way of info to make an informed choice.

Any clarity that can be offered on the above differences, or any similar solutions from any retailer in the UK that anyone can recommend I'd be grateful for.

Thanks to Hugh and yourself for your input - much appreciated.
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Re: Acoustic Treatment advice for pitch roofed studio

Postby Grappa » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:08 pm

Blott,

You can defo deliver an improvement with £600 but obviously it just limits how far you can go.

Just for your information my 15 year old son built my 50mm absorption panels (for reflection points) whilst I did the 100/200mm ones and it took him three hours straight with a little guidance! If you can build an Ikea flat pack you can build these. Honestly..they are just a wooden frame, some Rockwool filing and an open weave covering. We did use gloves and face masks before anyone chips in around the abuse of children! You could probably build all you need for £250 which would be a greater number than the minimum suggested below.

The foam stuff can help with ER points but you still need decent broadband absorption to bring the room under some frequency control (with exception of the low end) and improve time-domain issues. Foam doesn't cut the mustard.

Without looking at the specific room layout (doors, windows etc) and putting a finger completely into the air the following would get you a long way to where you want to be;

4 off 1.2 x 0.6 x 100mm broadband absorption panel (each corner)
1 off 1.2 x 0.6 x 150mm broadband absorption panel (behind you)
3 off 1.2 x 0,6 50mm broadband absorption panel (side and ceiling reflection points)

Stick the foam panels in front of you at the reflections points behind the monitors.

Look at GIK acoustics 244, monster trap and 242 for examples that come in your budget and they are a great company to deal with. There are others of course and I have no affiliation other than using them as part of my room project.

Hope that helps.

Simon
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Re: Acoustic Treatment advice for pitch roofed studio

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:43 pm

Blott wrote:I've actually already got a dozen or so 50mm foam absorber tiles which I was thinking of using for the early reflection points, but some have claimed online that foam is all but useless for this, so I'm conflicted about the merits of using them.

There's nothing wrong with foam as an acoustic absorber material, as explored in this article (although you do need to be careful about the fire ratings of different foam materials):

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/ch ... -absorbers

However, many commercial foam panels are quite thin, and so they are not very effective at mid and low frequencies. You can improve things significantly if you space them from the wall (typically by the same amount as their own thickness) since this usefully extends their low-frequency range.

Better still, use them as attractive dressing for simple rockwool traps!

You don't need to be a master carpenter to make very effective and good-looking broadband absorbers! We made some in these Studio SOS articles, for example:

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... nd-leakage

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... -treatment

The construction isn't critical and tehre are many variations on the theme. All you need is some timber for the outer frame soemthing like 70-150mm wide (deep) depending on how much rockwool you're planning on stuffing inside -- the more the better -- and 20mm thick. The timber needs to be long enough to encase the sides of the rockwool slabs, with the shorter top/bottom pieces sitting inside the longer side pieces). You don't need to mitre the corners or do mortise and tenon joints! Just chop square and screw together! Most DIY stores will cut to length for you if you give them the required dimensions.

Then you need some rigid rockwool slabs. Wickes sell it in convenient bags, but most builders merchants have it -- it looks like weetabix and is stiff enough to stand up on its own!). Usually available in 30 or 50mm slab thicknesses and 1200x600mm. You can use multiple layers of the stuff if you want.

Drill pilot holes and screw the frame together with a couple of screws in each corner. Corner wall plates are good for holding it all square and fixing to the wall. Paint the timber and allow to dry, then fix to the wall and push in the rockwool slabs which should be a snug fit. It's a good idea to wrap the rockwool in some way to stop the fibres getting out because they can irritate. In the examples above we actually covered the front with foam tiles which makes it look professional and tidy, and stops the fibres escaping if someone knocks into the panel. Just don't smother the rockwool or tiles with glue and seal up all the pores!

Again, these panels work better if the rockwool is spaced from the wall, so you could git some beading or cross-members around the inside of the frame to help with that.

With a little planning and care you can build and install half a dozen panels in a day very easily, with just a saw, drill, screwdriver, and some quick-drying all-surface paint. An electric chop-saw or a mitre saw in a frame will help to keep the sawn edges neat and square -- or get the timber cut to length at the store!

It's best to wear an overall and use a face mask and safety glasses when working with the rockwool -- it's not carcinogenic or anything nasty like that, but the fibres can irritate the skin and you probably don't want to be breathing in the dust if you can avoid it so easily.

H
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Re: Acoustic Treatment advice for pitch roofed studio

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:41 pm

I've used the Studiospares own-brand fibreglass acoustic panels in my room... two sizes and three colours available.

They're all 25mm thick and I've improved the performance by mounting them 25mm from the wall... Battens on the wall and then screw the panels to the battens. I was hoping to put a 'cloud' above the mix position but the memsahib vetoed that one...

As with all treatments of this type they've been effective at taming mid and high reflections, but haven't done very much for the low-end. But effective bass-treatment means bulk... and it's crowded enough in this tiny space as it is. So when I need to do anything critical with regard to bass I use headphones.
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Re: Acoustic Treatment advice for pitch roofed studio

Postby Blott » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:37 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Drill pilot holes and screw the frame together with a couple of screws in each corner. Corner wall plates are good for holding it all square and fixing to the wall. Paint the timber and allow to dry, then fix to the wall and push in the rockwool slabs which should be a snug fit. It's a good idea to wrap the rockwool in some way to stop the fibres getting out because they can irritate. In the examples above we actually covered the front with foam tiles which makes it look professional and tidy, and stops the fibres escaping if someone knocks into the panel. Just don't smother the rockwool or tiles with glue and seal up all the pores!

Again, these panels work better if the rockwool is spaced from the wall, so you could git some beading or cross-members around the inside of the frame to help with that.

With a little planning and care you can build and install half a dozen panels in a day very easily, with just a saw, drill, screwdriver, and some quick-drying all-surface paint. An electric chop-saw or a mitre saw in a frame will help to keep the sawn edges neat and square -- or get the timber cut to length at the store!

It's best to wear an overall and use a face mask and safety glasses when working with the rockwool -- it's not carcinogenic or anything nasty like that, but the fibres can irritate the skin and you probably don't want to be breathing in the dust if you can avoid it so easily.

H

Thanks Hugh, :)

That's fantastic instructions and I'm sure a doddle to anyone with even basic DIY skills - I'm just not one of them unfortunately. :(

I'm sure it's a straight forward job for you and others with the correct tools, but I'm useless with a drill and even worse with a saw - and don't get me started on painting! :)

Anything I build would look like something Homer Simpson cobbled together!

So, thanks for taking the time for the very thorough instructions but for me I need a solution I can buy rather than build.

Grappa wrote:Blott,

You can defo deliver an improvement with £600 but obviously it just limits how far you can go.

Without looking at the specific room layout (doors, windows etc) and putting a finger completely into the air the following would get you a long way to where you want to be;

4 off 1.2 x 0.6 x 100mm broadband absorption panel (each corner)
1 off 1.2 x 0.6 x 150mm broadband absorption panel (behind you)
3 off 1.2 x 0,6 50mm broadband absorption panel (side and ceiling reflection points)

Stick the foam panels in front of you at the reflections points behind the monitors.

Look at GIK acoustics 244, monster trap and 242 for examples that come in your budget and they are a great company to deal with. There are others of course and I have no affiliation other than using them as part of my room project.

Hope that helps.

Simon

Thanks Simon that looks like the kind of solution i'm after - very helpful & much appreciated. :)
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