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Advice for my small room...

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Advice for my small room...

Postby Cross Hare » Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:41 am

Hi all

I've just moved into a new house and have a small room that I have started using as my studio. It is far from ideal and I have a few questions if I may.

The size is L 277cm W 220cm H 244cm and all four walls are solid (I presume brick)

Are these dimensions so close that I should basically consider it a cube? Or are the sizes different enough to be a slight improvement on this regarding standing waves etc?

Unfortunately the setup of the room has put my head about 124cm from the front room... which is not far off half way... a bad start...

I have built 2 120cm square 100mm deep broadband absorbers each made out of two sheets of Rockwool RW3 slab. These are mounted (with a small air gap) on the left and right walls covering the first reflection points. I have also built two 60cm by 120cm RW3 panels which I have put across the front corners sitting on the floor.

When playing sustained bass tones from a synth and moving my head around the room the situation is pretty bad, with the sound almost disappearing in some areas. In general having installed the panels the sound of the intense flutter echos have gone and the room feels much more damped in the mids and highs which is good. Some additional commercially produced foam panels have helped this further.

Having read some articles on sound on sound I am considering buying a couple of duvets to shove down behind the corner absorbers... Is this likely to do anything? Bass wise I am under no illusions about really making any significant improvement but are there any easy tips to improve the situation a bit?

Having read this article https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/green-studio a few weeks after making them, I'm also worried about the fibres in my RW3 panels... I had not seen the advice about spraying with a PVA solution and have simply covered them with Cara speaker fabric... Since reading the article I am now pretty paranoid about any little fibre that seems to be sitting on top of the fabric and am worried about what is getting into the room... Are lots of people using panels with only fabric on top of the Rockwool and if so have you noticed any problems with fibres in the air? The idea of un stapling all the fabric to spray PVA seems crazy and would probably loosen up even more fibres anyway...

Back to the room acoustics. I have two 100mm slabs of RW3 left and am wondering what to do with them. i was thinking about making two wedges by cutting each slab into four triangles and stacking them up to make wedges 400mm high with a front surface of approx 900mm. These would go in the back corners against the ceiling. Is this worth bothering with if I don't have enough material to go floor to ceiling (there is a door in the way on one side anyway). I have read some things that seem to suggest the difference would not be worth the effort. Alternatively I could make a couple more normal absorber panels to go on the back wall and maybe the ceiling... Which of these two options is likely to be better?

Many thanks! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Chris

For what its worth here's a photo.

Image
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Re: Advice for my small room...

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:52 am

You will benefit by more bass trapping but, as it will also absorb mid/high frequencies too you may end up with a dull sounding room so consider replacing some of the foam panels with bass traps rather than adding more. You are right it is near enough a cube to be troublesome but any room that small will have issues with bass so get some decent headphones to check the low end of your mixes and try to find the optimum mix position where the speakers sound as close to the headphones as possible (this may well be behind the halfway point in the room).

I use Cara over rock wool and didn't spray with PVA, I haven't particularly noticed any fibres escaping (I have backed the panels too though). BTW, do be careful as the rock wool does compress if you poke it with guitar heads etc (I have a 1.9m ceiling).

Im sure others with more knowledge will be along soon to elaborate but that's what I would do.
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Re: Advice for my small room...

Postby CS70 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:10 pm

Remember that you have to optimize the sound at your mixing position, not necessarily the entire room. As long as you have any reflective surfaces, you will always have interference patterns at some point in the space, it’s only about how strong they are. Bass trapping is useful to reduce reflected energy, but diffusers and angled corners can also change the direction of the reflections for more directional waves (from mids up) further reducing heavy interference. Doing so however may improve the room average behavior but worsen the one at the mixing position. The optimal compromise is usually found by trial and error, verifying the sound at the mixing position only, not so much elsewhere.
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Re: Advice for my small room...

Postby CS70 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:12 pm

In a space that small however you might be better off simply mixing by using headphones.
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Re: Advice for my small room...

Postby Cross Hare » Sat Jul 21, 2018 4:21 pm

Thanks for the replies. I guess I'm going to have to accept that acoustically theres not really a great deal I can do... I really haven't got the hang of mixing on headphones. I have a pair of Sony MDR-7056 which are very good but everything sounds so different from speakers that I struggle to use them.

I've been doing more reading about rockwool and am starting to really regret not spraying with PVA. This forum page in particular is pretty terrifying... https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... f=24&t=116

I am seeing small threads of what I assume is the rockwool pocking through the cara fabric and its not surprising as when i hold a spare piece of the fabric up to the light there are loads of tiny holes throughout the weave (which of course is why it is breathable). Perhaps I bought too course a fabric?

At this point I'm considering either removing the fabric and spraying or possibly wrapping them in a second layer of fabric...

Or am I crazy?
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Re: Advice for my small room...

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:34 pm

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Re: Advice for my small room...

Postby James Perrett » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:47 pm

I'm using plain Rockwool (well Rocksil's equivalent) under Cara fabric and there's no sign of anything escaping. In fact, my current studio seems to be remarkably dust free as I rarely seem to need to dust the mixing console (which used to be almost a weekly job in previous studios).
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Re: Advice for my small room...

Postby CS70 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:21 pm

It’s only natural that you aren’t used to it, mixing on headphones is indeed different. But it just takes time to get used to the sound and plenty of good mix references to understand how things feel when reproduced there. It is well worth learning as it allows you to create consistent mixes everywhere so long you have your cans with you.

The main differences are reverbs and the stereo image, and by paying attention to how they are set up in good references mix it’s fairly fast to learn how to deal with them.
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Re: Advice for my small room...

Postby awjoe » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:12 am

CS70 wrote:In a space that small however you might be better off simply mixing by using headphones.

+ 1

I'd be starting with headphones in a room like that, cuz you're going to need them for mixing anyway, so why not see how good you can get with them right out of the gate. If it turns out headphones don't go the whole distance, there's always the room to fall back on and this thread's got good ideas. And the referencing software. And a CD burned so you can listen in a friend's room. I bet you could nail it with that.
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Re: Advice for my small room...

Postby Cross Hare » Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:35 pm

All good advice, Thanks!

Awjoe: I was wondering what you mean by referencing software? Something you load commercial tracks in to A/B with your own?
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