Guide to improving your Home Studio Acoustics
Creating your own home studio is the dream of every musician. Having the independence to create YOUR way is at the heart of every creative endeavor. However, making great sounding recordings isn’t just having expensive gear and the latest software. You must have a space, or a room that is appropriate for recording and mixing music, and for that, you need a little bit of knowledge. Knowing a few tricks about room acoustics will go a long way to creating a room you can create in.
Most home studios are just a bedroom or a corner of your garage or basement. These are rooms that were never meant for recording or mixing music. If that room has poor acoustics, you’re facing an uphill battle from the start. The good news is there’s a solution to your problem and we can help!
- Choose your room carefully: If you have a choice in picking a room, choose the one that is not square (meaning, having the same dimensions all around). This will help with “standing waves” which is basically just sound ping-ponging back and forth at certain frequencies, and canceling out what you want to hear. Sloping ceilings help a great deal with this because then the walls are no longer parallel, and avoid the standing wave problem. If you do have parallel walls, you can use acoustic damping, making the walls less acoustically reflective.However, most of us aren’t lucky enough to find a perfect room. Don’t fret, we have many other tips to follow.
- Use a Mattress: A tried and true method for improving vocal recordings is the use of a thick mattress in your vocal booth. Those familiar with DIY improvements can appreciate using this highly cost-effective, natural sound absorber that is readily available in every home. All you need to do is to place it firmly against your wall directly behind the singer/recording artist’s back, and it will reduce acoustic reflections and greatly improve the clarity of the vocal track.
- Speaker Placement: “Firing” your speakers in strategic direction is a great way to improve the acoustics of your room. We already mentioned the problem with standing waves, so do not fire your monitor speakers directly at a flat wall. Angle them slightly. Also, get good quality desktop stands to place your speakers on. This will help to reduce the loss of acoustic energy to the surface they are sitting on. Most desktop speaker stands come with built with rubber, sound isolating feet to reduce the transmission of vibration.
- Improving bass quality: If your room has a low bass resonance, you will need very thick materials, but effective bass traps should take care of your recording studio’s acoustic issues. Depending on the frequency you’re trying to address, there are different kinds of bass traps available. Some are big and bulky, but the right sound-absorbing materials in the right locations are quite effective over a broad range of frequencies.
- Seek professional help: For those that don’t want to go the DIY route, or don't have the time or inclination to build their own bass traps and panels, it is best to leverage the help of an acoustic professional. Many companies can draw up a treatment plan that works best for your specific room and budget.
To sum up, whether it’s a home studio in your bedroom, a small club venue or a basement recording studio at your friend’s house, acoustic treatment can drastically improve the clarity of whatever you are recording, editing, mixing, or mastering. It also gives you the ability of recording and monitoring accurately.