You are here

Acoustic treatment for a tiny studio!

Customising, building or repairing your own gear? Need help with acoustic treatment or soundproofing? Ask away…

Acoustic treatment for a tiny studio!

Postby jimmycooney94 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:59 pm

I’ve gathered this is probably the best place on the internet to get some detailed advice on my acoustic treatment dilemmas, so here goes…

I’m moving into a new house and I’ll have a dedicated music studio for mixing/composing (but not really recording). The issue is, it’s small - and the main part of the room is ‘almost’ a cube at approx 1900mm x 1900mm x 2400mm height:

Image

I don’t have an alternative permanent area in the house so I’ll have to make the best use of this space. The bonus of this is I can go to town on acoustic treatment as it will all be permanent.

I have seen some notable electronic producers with similar-sized studios and I feel if it’s good enough for them then it must be good enough for little old me, for example Turno's studio is a similar size (although from my research I would have thought broadband absorbers and more substantial bass traps would be better: https://youtu.be/yK-osANFSrY?t=109

With this in mind I think there are three main issues with the space that will need to be addressed.
1. because parallel walls are close together, I’m expecting to have extra trouble taming reflections and particularly flutter echoes.
2. because the room is small, I am expecting to have to do a lot of work to deal with the low end i.e. as many bass traps as I can muster.
3. because of the short corridor leading in to the room, the stereo image will not be symmetrical in either of the two possible configurations - although I think this could work to my advantage.

So I’ve designed the below as a starting point:

Image

The rationale for this:
1. Desk against the window rather than against the other wall to make the most of the corridor which might help out with minimising reflections.
2. 100mm thickness broadband absorbers on the side reflection point with a smaller 100mm board on the exposed wall to the rear to mitigate the mid/high reflections and tame some frequencies
3. A large 100mm thickness ceiling cloud with 100mm gap centred between listening position and desk.
4. Bass traps 300mm width, floor to ceiling in the 3 available corners (I could actually increase the one on the back wall to 600mm - would this be beneficial?)
5. Possibly an additional 100mm board probably on wheels to place in the corridor (as shown in image) - I thought this might be a really effective trap for lower frequencies in that corridor?

After this initial treatment I could look to add further 300mm width bass traps along the length of the exposed ceiling corners for the main square of the room - possibly even around the floor corners if further treatment was needed.

It feels like this is about as far as I can go , although I’ve chosen not to use any thin foam pads in favour of broadband absorbers, as well as leaving diffusers as I’m expecting frequencies to be bouncing all over the place as it is.

After this treatment my final step would be to utilise the sonarworks reference software to squeeze as much out of the space as I can.

So with all this in mind, how do you think this will fare? Is there anything I should change or prioritise?

Thanks in advance for any kind help!
jimmycooney94
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:29 pm

Re: Acoustic treatment for a tiny studio!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:18 pm

I'd definitely make the back corner traps 600mm wide, and you might want to think about building si liar traps horizontally around the ceiling/wall corners.

And invest in some good headphones! ;-)
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 28361
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Acoustic treatment for a tiny studio!

Postby CS70 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:48 pm

Also, I would avoid the monitors on the desk like that - the hard surface will create reflections hitting your ears directly. If you can, place them on desktop stands (or just bricks :) and as much out as you can (which probably isn't much). You could also consider wall installations, or even better (as you can remodel the room) into the wall, maybe with removable frames (but check out temperature issues).

And +1 on headphones :)
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6075
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Acoustic treatment for a tiny studio!

Postby jimmycooney94 » Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:20 am

Thanks both for your comments, I'll definitely make the rear bass trap 600mm since there's plenty of room. I think that will do for 'phase 1' and then next I'll tackle the ceiling wall corners like you suggested Hugh!

I'll also be sure to raise the monitors, I could move them forward but I'm wary this will push my listening spot back and give me less room (however this may be a good thing since it would push me off-centre? I know the whole 38% guide - would that work 38% from the back wall?

Additionally is the bass trap for the corridor any use? I thought this would help trap longer bass waves due to the increase in length.. the corridor is about 1.2m. Would it be worthwhile putting treatment along the corridor walls too?
jimmycooney94
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:29 pm

Re: Acoustic treatment for a tiny studio!

Postby CS70 » Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:10 am

jimmycooney94 wrote:I'll also be sure to raise the monitors, I could move them forward but I'm wary this will push my listening spot back

Yeah that's what I was thinking about when I wrote "not much" :) I guess the best compromise you manage will be ..the best :) and the only way to find is to spend some time moving the monitors a little and listening.

Additionally is the bass trap for the corridor any use? I thought this would help trap longer bass waves due to the increase in length.. the corridor is about 1.2m. Would it be worthwhile putting treatment along the corridor walls too?

Well consider that the wavelength of low freqs can be easily in the 3-4 meters range - think expanding spheres all around the speakers, every time they touch a wall they fold on themselves.. so basically everywhere you put a bass trap you will capture some energy and you never capture enough! :D So yeah if feasible definitely place the trap in the corridor (but from the drawing.. does it become a door? :) )
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6075
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Acoustic treatment for a tiny studio!

Postby jimmycooney94 » Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:33 pm

Thanks again for the notes. Yeah I think the speaker placement and listening position will only become apparent once I'm actually in the room.

The 'corridor' is part of the same room with a door about 1.2m in, so in theory I could have a large, up to 1.2m 'trap' and being in wheels I imagine I can wheel this back to a certain position to target particularly difficult frequencies?

It's a big learning curve but now that I started thinking critically about what I can do with the space I'm feeling a lot more positive I can get far from perfect but 'adequate' sound in that room!
jimmycooney94
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:29 pm