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Studio Project: Seeking Advice On Fuzz Measure & Room Treatment Options
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W3Gold
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3rd November 2010
Old 3rd November 2010
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Studio Project: Seeking Advice On Fuzz Measure & Room Treatment Options

Hi There,
I have recently moved my studio setup from my bedroom to a new dedicated space and have decided to make some adjustments to the space to optimize it for my studio setup. I have been browsing gearslutz.com for a number of years now but have never had the time to open a thread or ask questions / post comments. At the moment I am in the middle of it all and would appreciate any further insight into what I am trying to achieve in particular with regards to Fuzz Measure and the best room treatment options that fall within my budget. I will try to describe the processes I have been through from start to present and give visual demonstration where possible for clarification.
Thanks in advance for any advice or help you may offer.thumbsup

My Setup

The studio will be primarily used for mixing, mastering, recording vocals and various other percussion instruments. My production setup is mainly computer based (i.e. Drum Machine/BDF2, AmpliTube/Line 6 Pod, MIDI Keyboard etc), however I may occasionally want to amp up a guitar say if a friend insists on this method, however this is not a priority when considering the overall room acoustic treatment/room ambience.

The room dimensions are 14 (L) x 7 (W) X 8 (H).

The pictures show the room. The site is a residential property however the space is not within main structure of the house.
Soundproofing is less of an issue in terms of disturbing the neighbours as I have carried out tests playing loud levels of music in the space and there is minimal disturbance audible within the rest of household (except the adjoined laundry room – which is not a problem). The biggest problems in this respect are in stopping excessive sound levels getting into the room through the weakest points – The Doors. The laundry room washing machine and dryer from one end, and cars, aeroplanes etc from the other end represent the main noise levels throughout the day. In this respect, I understand that with minimal soundproofing these will to some extent be unavoidable at certain times of the day but I have factored all of these issues into the overall design plan.

The Sketch Up design plan shows how I intend the final studio to work. I have opted to have the speakers firing down the length of the room, despite being aware that it is quite a narrow room. My main objective will be to achieve as neutral a listening position/room as is possible given the stated dimensions.

The first steps involved re-doing the electrics and lighting. In order to deal as much as possible with the weak doors I had to come up with a “non-permanent” solution that wasn’t too taxing on my budget and decided to do a stud wall frame and use a fire door with plasterboard bonded to both sides. By incorporating this into the existing doors with an airtight airgap of around 3 inches I hope to achieve as much isolation as possible for a relatively budget “temporary” operation. The next step will be hanging up the doors & sealing up the gaps etc, painting and carpeting etc…

In the meantime I have been looking ahead to the room treatment side of things. Thanks to Gearslutz I understand that it would be best to carry out Fuzz Measure tests from the start to give me a reference starting point of what is happening in my room and how best to go about treating it. I have read quite a bit about “ideal treatments”, calculating room modes and interpreting Fuzz measure waterfalls etc. So I think perhaps it best at this point If I ask some specific questions to help point me in the right direction and get off to a good start in trying to achieve as neutral as possible a listening environment.

I have read that quite heavy bass trapping in the corners is almost always a “standard procedure” in the treatment of small rooms such as mine. I have also read that the 1st reflection points should be treated with absorption to prevent immediate reflections that blur the stereo image and that the rear wall should incorporate some Diffusion in order to prevent large amounts of reflections heading straight back at the listening position.

In the diagram above I have tried to incorporate this into the design with the following products:

8 GiK Tri Traps
6 Auralex B24 Pro Panels
6 Vicoustic Multi Fusor DC Disperion Panels (*Not yet included on diagram)

Q1. Can anyone suggest a better/cheaper alternative, pro’s/cons of this product if any, better approach for my rooms dimensions, or is it simply a matter of judging by the results of my Fuzz Measure readings?

Q2. Why do some acoustic treatment products cost so much more/less than others? What are the reasons for the large variation in pricing for similar products as this can be confusing when comparing products based on their acoustic benefits/properties?

Q3. What exactly do I need in order to make an accurate assessment of the rooms behaviour and where possible how best to treat it.

Low Frequency Waterfall Graphs?
Reverb Time of Room? (RT60? How do calculate this?)
Low Frequency Magnitude response graphs?
???…

How do you interpret these tests and are there any other essential tests I am not aware of?

Q4. From what I know it is apparently beneficial to draw a grid of around 12 different locations to take readings? Is this correct and how does that accumulate to give a final result?

Q5. I also noted something about doing readings for each speaker independently. Is this true and if so how does it help?

I appreciate these questions are quite varied but would appreciate any advice prior to getting started to help me avoid making any obvious mistakes.

Thanks Again in advance.
W3Gold
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3rd November 2010
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The space

Sorry having difficulty loading more than one pic, this one is what the room looked like prior to beginning the work
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W3Gold
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3rd November 2010
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more pics

more pics showing progress.
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Studio Project: Seeking Advice On Fuzz Measure & Room Treatment Options-img_0812.jpg   Studio Project: Seeking Advice On Fuzz Measure & Room Treatment Options-img_0831.jpg   Studio Project: Seeking Advice On Fuzz Measure & Room Treatment Options-img_0841.jpg   Studio Project: Seeking Advice On Fuzz Measure & Room Treatment Options-img_0842.jpg   Studio Project: Seeking Advice On Fuzz Measure & Room Treatment Options-img_0849.jpg  

Studio Project: Seeking Advice On Fuzz Measure & Room Treatment Options-img_0851.jpg  
W3Gold
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3rd November 2010
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Sketch Up Design

These designs show how studio set up will eventually work...whew.
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jwl
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3rd November 2010
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Looks like you have the right idea overall.

For more on using software to analyze rooms:
RealTraps - Room Measuring Series
RealTraps - Optimizing Acoustic Treatment using ETF
RealTraps - How Does That Sound Look?
RealTraps - Measuring Microphones
RealTraps - Test Tone CD

Quote:
Originally Posted by W3Gold View Post
Q2. Why do some acoustic treatment products cost so much more/less than others? What are the reasons for the large variation in pricing for similar products as this can be confusing when comparing products based on their acoustic benefits/properties?
Great question. The main benefit in our case is build quality and quality of materials used. For instance, one of our metal frames used in a trap costs more to build than an entire canvas-covered rockwool trap. You can get decent-performing traps with relatively inexpensive materials, but lesser materials such as foam degrade significantly (fall apart, and simply disintegrate) within a surprisingly short amount of time. Other materials will begin to flake or sag over a few years. By using the best quality materials, we can offer a 10 year guarantee on our traps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by W3Gold View Post
Q3. What exactly do I need in order to make an accurate assessment of the rooms behaviour and where possible how best to treat it.

Low Frequency Waterfall Graphs?
Reverb Time of Room? (RT60? How do calculate this?)
Low Frequency Magnitude response graphs?
???…

How do you interpret these tests and are there any other essential tests I am not aware of?

Q4. From what I know it is apparently beneficial to draw a grid of around 12 different locations to take readings? Is this correct and how does that accumulate to give a final result?

Q5. I also noted something about doing readings for each speaker independently. Is this true and if so how does it help?

I appreciate these questions are quite varied but would appreciate any advice prior to getting started to help me avoid making any obvious mistakes.
See the above links for detailed answers to these questions.

Good luck!
W3Gold
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4th November 2010
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Thanks

Thanks for your help. The links you have given me are extremely helpful. Once the room is ready i will carry some tests and i will post the results as well as my thoughts.

After reading through the links you provided another question has come into my mind. One side of the ceiling in my room is at an angle as shown in the images. Apart from having bass traps going most of the way up the corner, is there a product you know of or any other way to deal with the very top part of the corner which creates a seemingly funny angle/shape for which i dont think i have seen in conventional shapes of acoustic materials on the market...however im sure there is a way to block up that space without more construction needed or the DIY trap approach... any thoughts on this?

Thanks again
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5th November 2010
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Ceiling Corners

Bass waves are enormous, they won't notice that irregularity at your ceiling corner. You could hang traps along both tri corners which would make it disappear. Some lights behind it.....
These ones are hanging with only a little angle. White Room « SoundSound
You could easily do a 45 degree with yours.

When in doubt use one speaker only. When you know why, use two!
The why is in the Sticky at the top of the forum.

DD
W3Gold
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2nd July 2012
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Update: Fuzz Measure/Treatment Mods/KRK VXT 6's for mixing & mastering?

Hello there, thank you again for all of your replies and input.

Up to date I have made a couple of changes to my studio. Most of the "construction work has been completed (bar a couple of minor issues i.e replacing faulty acoustic air duct etc) and I am now fully focused (as much as time will allow me at least) on getting a room that functions well as a mixing / mastering room. I understand that mastering engineers such as Bob Katz advocate not having a large control surface or any other items that can cause comb filtering in his mastering room as well as mounting speakers on floor stands (he also goes on to recommend having a separate room for auditioning "club mixes" and showing clients why going for "that" bass sound in the main mastering room will cause imbalances and likely exaggerated bass end once the track is played elsewhere on a variety of different playback systems.

I have been setup for about 6 months and have had time to work on a couple of mixes and one mastering project however due to various reasons (and partly my knack for always seeking perfection) there are definitely some remaining issues to be addressed in my studio in order for me to feel confident taking on more high profile jobs (and of course get the required result, being professional sounding mixes and masters that translate well onto a variety of listening systems outside of my studio).
Hello there, thank you again for all of your replies and input.

Up to date I have made a couple of changes to my studio (new wooden floor and black rug, due to asthma, plus a whole lot of software upgrades and a whole host of new plug-ins (or toys as i like to call them)). Most of the "construction work has been completed (bar a couple of minor issues i.e replacing faulty acoustic air duct etc) and I am now fully focused (as much as time will allow me at least) on getting a room that functions well as a mixing / mastering room. I understand that mastering engineers such as Bob Katz advocate not having a large control surface or any other items that can cause comb filtering in his mastering room as well as mounting speakers on floor stands (he also goes on to recommend having a separate room for auditioning "club mixes" and showing clients why going for "that" bass sound in the main mastering room will cause imbalances and likely exaggerated bass end once the track is played elsewhere on a variety of different playback systems.

I have been using my setup for about 6 months and have had time to work on a couple of mixes and one mastering project however due to various reasons (and partly my knack for always striving for perfection, or atleast trying) there are definitely some remaining issues to be addressed in my studio in order for me to feel confident of taking on more high profile jobs (and of course get the required result, being professional sounding mixes and masters that translate well onto a variety of listening systems outside of my studio).

I have installed the following acoustic treatment so far:

8 GIK Tri Traps in the corners of the room, plus 2 GIK 242 Panels on either side of the sweet spot at the wall early reflection points as well as 2 GIK 242 Panels which hang above the above the sweet spot (all should be visible in photos i will upload shortly). I initially intended to install some diffusors on the back wall/door as well as more Panels/Bass Panels on stands behind the speakers on the "front wall". However I decided to first apply some fuzz measure readings to the room and see what effect my acoustic panels and bass traps were having so far as well as hopefully figure out if these additional acoustic treatments would be necessary (or perhaps more importantly "what/which" kind of acoustic treatments are required to tighten up the room).

I first carried out the fuzz measure tests on the room without any treatments (i.e empty room) and then again with the above mentioned treatments installed. I will also post up theses shortly.

The diagram shows the readings taken pre-treatment (in red) and post treatment (in orange). The waterfall graphs also demonstrate the readings taken before and after in the same way. I have had some problems with the impulse response readings and RT60 etc... and am in the process of figuring these out, but i wont trouble you all with this at present as i am sure i can figure out what im doing wrong).

It appears as though the bass traps/panels are doing a good job of reducing the low frequency resonances which do appear to ring around the room (particularly at 40Hz, 80Hz, 120Hz etc) and the frequency response appears to have been "compressed" (as i like to call it)...so that the extravagant peaks are being pulled down and the deep nulls are being pulled up into a more consistent frequency response.

What i took most notice of was how the frequency response (both pre and post treatment) still appears to have a very turbulent amount of sharp peaks and deep nulls. I understand that this is to be expected to some degree and the best an acoustician can hope for is to "tame" these peaks and troughs as much as is possible resulting in a much more uniform and consistent frequency response which fluctuates less.

I have read through a few posts and it seems there is some debate (between certain members at least) as to which measurements are actually required and to what extent they are actually useful. My particular stand point on the matter is that "as long as the mixes and masters coming out of my studio translate well outside of the studio 9 times out of ten, i am in no way attached to any particular belief or working practice/methodology is "right" and which is "wrong". Once again my sole goal and focus is to achieve a studio where my mixes and masters translate well on a variety of other systems as soon as possible...and i state this fact again in the hope of avoiding igniting any unproductive debates aside from which please feel free to comment and offer advice, opinions and suggestions are welcome and much appreciated.

Lastly (for now atleast), In terms of my own experience mixing in the room so far...I have been having some real trouble getting my mixes to translate to other environments at all. I have spent a great deal of time contemplating why this might be and have highlighted the following as possible issue that need attention:

1) Completion of acoustic treatment, perhaps the room simply needs more treatment, I have researched additional GIK panels which can target specific frequency areas which might help tighten up the seemingly excessive peaks and troughs in the low end and low mids. However there also appears to be less and less space in my studio as a result and i also have that fear of the room sounding "too dead". At present the room sounds ok to my ears, and the difference between empty room and when all of the panels are installed is night and day...I dont actually know how i managed prior to any treatment.

*Quick Recap - my room is roughly 13ft(L) x 7ft(W) x 8ft(H)...

2) Another area of contention (in my mind at least) is that of monitoring. I have been using a pair of KRK VXT6's since 2008 and have mainly been using them in my bedroom before moving to the new room and have always liked how they sounded(despite no treatment). However since trying to mix in the new room all of a sudden i feel lost as if i can no longer trust the monitors (i understand to a certain degree this is normal as my ears adjust to the new room) and it has lead me to question whether the VXT6's are the ideal monitors for the room size/shape or indeed if these monitors are even ideally suited to the task at hand (predominantly/more commonly mixing, secondly mastering---as tracking monitors they have always sounded great, but great sounding tracking monitors are not my priority!!!). According to Bob Katz I understand that mid range monitors are always preferred to near fields for mastering except for in exceptional situations (perhaps when we are talking about more experienced engineers?). However I don't believe that mid range monitors will fall within my realistic budget any time soon (let alone the adjustments id have to make to accomodate them in my small/medium sized room) and have always been used to using near field active monitors where ever iv been lucky enough to work.... I almost suspect that i might have to seek out a better suited pair of monitors for my room and perhaps with a flatter frequency response and a more natural and clearer sound "so i can hear ALL of what is "really" going on precisely. On this point in particular i am in need of some advice from a more experienced engineer as i have read so much about the subject as to the point i feel as if i know nothing about it (anyone else ever get that?). Finally in considering if my monitors are perhaps not helping the problem, I also have read a great deal about the need for subwoofers, and to be honest am not sure in terms of: Subs cause more problems/are uneccessary in small rooms? True/false???

In closing (for now?)..I will again be very appreciative of any advice that can help steer my project in the right direction, as at this stage i would benefit greatly from avoiding any obvious pitfalls regarding making the wrong decisions on purchases and if necessary i.e extra acoustic treatment/replacement monitors/sub etc.)

Thanks All Peace
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hi
good job

I have also MAudio pro88 and the krk s in a small basement studio in Greece

Yiannis
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