How to Evaluate Home Studio Acoustics and Approach Treatment/Soundproofing

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Hey, what’s up? Scott here with you, and I hope you’re having a wonderful day. In this video, I wanted to talk about how to soundproof and treat your home studio for home recording.

So the first thing I wanted to say before getting into all the other points I wanted to make was it’s important to understand the difference between soundproofing and acoustic treatment, especially for those of you who might be newer to home recording. So it’s really quick and really simple.

Soundproofing is about keeping sound out. Keeping sound that you don’t want out. And acoustic treatment is about controlling sound waves, controlling how sound behaves in a space. So soundproofing, again, keeps sound out of the space, and treatment controls how that sound behaves.

So that said, the next point is, is, well, what do you do if you decide…How do you decide if you need to treat something or soundproof it? The first step, and the most important step, is to evaluate your room. So, many of us record in imperfect spaces, I’ve mentioned this before in other videos. I’m recording in my bedroom, unfortunately, I don’t have the money or the time to set up a brand-spanking-new home studio. Maybe someday.

But for now I’m working in an imperfect space, so I have to evaluate that space and realize no, it’s not going to be everything I want it to be, but what I can do is dial in on the areas of the space, be they areas that are creating more sound than I want that could bleed into my recordings, or when I’m mixing or recording something else, areas where the sound waves will be bouncing off walls and behaving in ways that can harm my recordings. That’s all part of it, that’s all part of evaluating your room, and then deciding if you do want to treat or soundproof it.

For example, if you’re recording in a room that is near a window, you might have a bunch of different,you know, extraneous noise coming in through that window, especially if you live on a busy street or something. In that case, you may want to say, “Hey, I need to take some steps to try to soundproof this and get it so that I’m not getting this extraneous sound coming through that window.”

If your room is a perfect square and you’ve got hardwood floors, then you might have a lot of reflection, so you might say, “Oh man, I really want to do some acoustic treatment.” So evaluate your room, that’s step one. From there it’s all about building your acoustic treatment up piece by piece.

Don’t feel that you need to go and drop, you know, hundreds and hundreds of dollars, if not more, to get this perfectly treated space, because that’s just not true, and in fact, you shouldn’t have a space that has, I don’t know, every single wall covered from top to bottom with acoustic treatment, because that’s too much. At most, in general, the tip is about 70%, no more than 70% of your room should be covered with acoustic treatment.

Another myth is that, in terms of sound proofing, that you don’t want any extra sound, that you want it to be completely dead for the world. Well, that’s not necessarily true, because some reflections and some other sound can actually add character to a recording, it all depends on what your goals are.

So, really quickly I wanted to show you a diagram here, and this kind of ties into evaluating your room and the types of treatment you might want to use. So I was mentioning those reflections, and again, that’s a problem when you have walls that are parallel with one another, that is the most common reason you would want to get some acoustic treatment.

And what type of treatments might you want to get? You can get absorption panels, so that just absorbs those sound waves. You can get diffusers, which are designed to sort of break up those sound waves so they don’t come reflecting all back en masse, and those generally are going to be the mid- to high-frequency ranges, and again, you can see in this example it is on the walls.

And then this, this would be a little more for if you’re monitoring, if you’re mixing, but bass traps, and then you put those in the corners, and bass traps are designed to absorb those lower frequencies so you don’t get a lot of things bouncing around and creating a ton of mud in your recording or in your mix. Those are why you might want to use that.

Real quick, wanted to show you one more diagram here, this is from a guy named Max, his studio layout, he posted this on a forum, johnlsayers.com, check that out. But essentially what he did is…You can see here where his listening position is, he says it’s about 39% from the front wall, and you can see again, he’s got a perfect rectangle here, so he’s got reflections from the parallel walls, so what has he done, he’s added absorption panels and treatment to deal with that.

And then of course, he’s got his bass traps in the corners. So then the last thing, I just wanted to show another picture so you can actually see how a treated studio might look, at least on one angle. Again, you can see the diffusers here that are designed to kind of break up those sounds, then you’ve got absorption panels here. Also he’s put some on his ceiling, and then he’s got bass traps right here and in the corners.

These are all different things you can do to treat your home studio.

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