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nyladude
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#1
24th March 2005
Old 24th March 2005
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Small room, Nice Gear, Bad Sound

Hey everybody,
I've just moved out to LA and set up a studio in a spare room in my house. I use it mainly for composing/recording/ mixing music for commercials and films. The gear is good (HD2, Rosetta 800, Great River MP2NV, etc.), but the sound in the room is terrible.

The room is relatively small 10' x 12' and had concrete floors but I put wood floors over them.I also have put a few boxes of Auralex mineral fiber insulation around the room 12 2' x 4' panels, but I honestly don't know what I'm doing so I'm just trying to absorb as much of the sound as possible. I also put some of the Metrofusor diffusion panels on the ceiling above the mixing position and on the opposite wall. And just yesterday I put up some Bass traps in the corners behind the speakers, but the sound is still pretty rough.

I am using Mackie 624 speakers, but am more than willing to upgrade if it would solve the problem. I was considering the dynaudio BM6As but would rather get the 15As but am concerned that they will be impossible to manage in my difficult room.

Basically I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions. I don't do a whole lot of recording, I stay mostly in the box, but occaisionally need to record a vocal or acoustic guitar or something.

I am interested in hiring an acoustician to helps, but I don't know how to find somebody who knows what they're doing. I'm in LA by the way so I'm sure there are several, I just don't know where to look. Alright, well I appreciate any suggestions anybody has. Thanks.
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24th March 2005
Old 24th March 2005
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here is the floor plan i have laid out for my mix room.
i have not got it finished so i cannot make any promises.
hope this will help you with some ideas
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24th March 2005
Old 24th March 2005
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Pardon me if it would be sounding like just smart-assing, but regarding a certain detail I heard and believe that surface mount speakers would only make sense in a massive environment / wall. Other than that including a bunch of further aspects to it, monitors on stands well positioned would be giving better results.

What do you think?

Ruphus
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24th March 2005
Old 24th March 2005
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I only see two dimensions here...

What does the third look like? Two parallel surfaces 8 feet apart?



-tINY

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24th March 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY


I only see two dimensions here...

What does the third look like? Two parallel surfaces 8 feet apart?



-tINY

sorry
my cousin has been taken my scratching and inputting it into the comp, and the other drawings are not done.

the ceiling will be on a 6 degree angle leaving the back of the room a full 8' tall.
it will also be slated and fiberglass filled.
and bass absorption along the ceiling and back wall.

it is a small room so i know it can never be anything more then a small room.
i put this up just to offer some ideas for others.

i welcome any input

also http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/vi...049&highlight=
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24th March 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pan60
i welcome any input
Aha!

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24th March 2005
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You may want to consider sloping the roof the other way. This will put more damping in the back of the room.



-tINY

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24th March 2005
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http://www.johnlsayers.com
check out their forum, lots of useful info and they seem to be real helpful if you got specific questions.

Jaye
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nyladude
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24th March 2005
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Thanks for posting your setup pan60. That is a far more advanced construction than I have, or am really going for. I am renting the place and am hoping to move up to a real studio within a year or two, so I'm not really looking to do any construction, just some surface sound treatments if possible.

Does anyone know a good acoustician in the LA area, or where to find one.
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24th March 2005
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I wouldn't mount any monitors in a wall unless they were specifically designed for that and your space was designed by an acoustician to hold them. The walls surrounding the speaker become part of the radiating sound wave.

You are better off with near fields on top of your desk or behind on stands.

Jim
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24th March 2005
Old 24th March 2005
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Yeah...you have some great gear.
Hmm....when you say mineral fiber Auralex, are you
talking about what they use in between walls or just the
foam stuff? My room is around 14X18. For the sides, i use
just the 2" foam but i combine it with an MaxWall which i also
re-configure for specific applications. An Atom12 which covers
the corners/bass traps. And i have a fairly thick typical apt
carpet on the floor. I think the room is pretty much 'deadened'.
Works for me. Monitors on mopads. Yeah, it might also be
the speakers you have mounted as Bluzzi mentioned.

=j
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24th March 2005
Old 24th March 2005
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nyladude, you probably have some serious room modes happening. If you give me the exact dimension, (LxHxW) I can post a print out of your room modes (I assume the room is rectangular). The only way to deal with room modes is to build tightly tuned absorbers to target the problem frequencies, a bit like a acoustic graphic equaliser. Wideband traps do not solve the problem 100%.

Cheers
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24th March 2005
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Thanks for your help. The room is essentially a rectangle, but I have kind of split it in two sections with a gobo. The mineral fiber insulation I have up on the walls is the same thing that is used between walls or in gobos. I intended to build more, so I have more of it than I need, so I tried to make it work. Here is a diagram of the space. Any suggestions?
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25th March 2005
Old 25th March 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyladude
I am renting the place and am hoping to move up to a real studio within a year or two, so I'm not really looking to do any construction, just some surface sound treatments if possible.
You can buy some Real Traps/Mini Traps if budget is not an issue.
Otherwise check this link out if you don’t want any permanent construction:
http://www.bobgolds.com/AbsorptionCoefficients.htm
Scroll down, towards the bottom there are bunch of links to modular DIY absorbers, panels etc.
Build couple of those and hang them at problem areas (just like Real Traps).
Most of them are pretty simple to make plus you can take them with you when you move.
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25th March 2005
Old 25th March 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Farrant
nyladude, you probably have some serious room modes happening. If you give me the exact dimension, (LxHxW) I can post a print out of your room modes (I assume the room is rectangular). The only way to deal with room modes is to build tightly tuned absorbers to target the problem frequencies, a bit like a acoustic graphic equaliser. Wideband traps do not solve the problem 100%.


Actually, in a small room, you are better off with wideband bass-trapping. You have the primary, secondary, and tertiary room modes given all three dimensions, which may, in fact, add to together in a complimentary way to evenly support the lower frequencies.

But, you also have phase cancelations based on the distance form the wall to your ear. When the round-trip distance from your ear to the wall and back is 1/2, 1.5, 2.5 wavelengths, you get a null. If the distance is 1,2,3 wavelengths, you get a peak.



-tINY

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25th March 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY


Actually, in a small room, you are better off with wideband bass-trapping. You have the primary, secondary, and tertiary room modes given all three dimensions, which may, in fact, add to together in a complimentary way to evenly support the lower frequencies.

But, you also have phase cancelations based on the distance form the wall to your ear. When the round-trip distance from your ear to the wall and back is 1/2, 1.5, 2.5 wavelengths, you get a null. If the distance is 1,2,3 wavelengths, you get a peak.



-tINY

agree
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25th March 2005
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Yeah, I thought I was getting the Auralex Metro Studio Foam which would have provided some diffusion as well as absorbtion, but instead I got the MetroFusor panels which are strictly diffusors. Do you think coating the entire back wall with Mineral Fiber Insulation would help, or does any one have a better suggestion
Thanks
#18
25th March 2005
Old 25th March 2005
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I fought with a 10x12 room for about a year and a half. Spent a fortune on DIY fixes. Mineral Wool just killed the highs, Foam Corner Bass Traps did nothing, hired a contractor to build in room bass traps, tons of foam wedges.
Finally I bit the bullet and bought 4 MiniTraps from Real Traps. Then I bought 4 more and this finally did it.
If you want to quit wasting time and your sanity I reccommend these 100%
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25th March 2005
Old 25th March 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY


Actually, in a small room, you are better off with wideband bass-trapping. You have the primary, secondary, and tertiary room modes given all three dimensions, which may, in fact, add to together in a complimentary way to evenly support the lower frequencies.
Well sorry but my calculations show that in small rooms the modes are still widely spaced at upper bass frequencies (where it is critical for listening) so they do not add together at all. You end up with big dips and peaks. The bigger the room, the more modes you end up with at these frequencies, in which case your theory is correct. If the room dimensions are anywhere near cubic, then the problem is worsened.

Tim
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25th March 2005
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How does this apply to nearfield monitoring?
IOW if I am using a fairly full range monitor like a Mackie 824/Event ASP8/Dynaudio BM15 at reasonably close range, wouldn't the room be mostly out of the calculation?
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25th March 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Farrant
Well sorry but my calculations show that in small rooms the modes are still widely spaced at upper bass frequencies


Did you take into acount all of the modes (axial, tangental, and oblique), the bandwidth of the resonances, the position of the listener, the cancelation of modes due to multiple sources, the frequency dependant transmission through the walls (depending on material and construction, and so on?

I know just enough about acoustics to not make definiative statements about a particular room without taking some measurements. Some general things can be said and done that usually help. But I don't know if I'd start building Hemholtz resonators before measuring the room response in various locations.

Here is a smattering of good white papers to chew on. I know I learned a few things....

http://www.harman.com/wp/index.jsp?articleId=default



-tINY

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25th March 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY
Did you take into acount all of the modes (axial, tangental, and oblique)...
For the purposes of "small room" treatment the Axial's are the ones to be concerned with really... the others aren't any where near as important here.
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25th March 2005
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Two words... Mini Traps.... End of story.

Really take the advice....

thumbsup

...and do a search around here.

You need wideband bass-trapping like tINY said. I have similar issues with my space, a little too small. I did all the foam and corner traps and yadda yadda but adding 5 Mini Traps made the biggest improvement that I have seen to date. I am going to get 5 more (as Ethan says you can never have too many and I think he may be right).

I would recommend that you treat the ceiling with some foam to stop phase issues if it is low. Only other thing I would recommend outside of that, Ethan sells some modo traps that go down lower and don't have any high frequency reflection like the Mini Tapes do. In such a small space you might want to suck up a bit more of the highs as well.

Good luck.
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25th March 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY


Did you take into acount all of the modes (axial, tangental, and oblique), the bandwidth of the resonances, the position of the listener, the cancelation of modes due to multiple sources, the frequency dependant transmission through the walls (depending on material and construction, and so on?

I know just enough about acoustics to not make definiative statements about a particular room without taking some measurements. Some general things can be said and done that usually help. But I don't know if I'd start building Hemholtz resonators before measuring the room response in various locations.


-tINY

... I agree...if you really want to improve your roomacoustic...the first step should always be to analyse what the momentary acoustic situation is...you could hire an acoustian or...do it your self...therefore you'll need a mesurement system, for example: http://www.nt-instruments.com/X0-ASP...X1-default.htm

...next step, based on your analyses, would be to improve your acoustic treatment.

if only installing some traps, diffusors or helmholtz resonators without knowing what the problems are caused by, might be a waste of money and time. ( don't do the same mistakes I did!)

andreas
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25th March 2005
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It seems like the consensus is the Mini Traps are the best solution, but I have already invested a fair amount of money and a ridiculous amount of time in the treatment that I already have, so I would rather not just toss it out, but I guess if it makes the room sound right, then it is worth it.

I think I would like to get an acoustician out to my place, but I don't know how to find one. Any suggestions on where to look?
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25th March 2005
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Before you get an acoustician out and spend all that cash, you might want to try checking out Acoustic-X. It's a software suite that will allow you to input your room dimensions and will suggest both an optimal speaker placement plan and will also tell you where to put your various absorbers.

You can find it here: http://www.2psii.com/index2.htm

Hope this helps.
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25th March 2005
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After spending two years in an almost identical room (10x12x8), trying 5 different sets of speakers and sub/no sub combos, and eventually spending a few thousand dollars on acoustic treatments, I can tell you that (in my particular situation), I concluded that I COULD NOT rely on ANYTHING I heard in that particular room...

Massive absorption and S3As got me the closest to 'accurate', but even at that, I had to take every pass (at every mix) out of that room, to properly assess... I burned a LOT of CDs up. Thank God I'm no longer in that hole.

I wish you better luck!

PS- I would suggest you dump the foam and diffusors, and buy as many of Ethan's minitraps as you can physically fit in the room. Sell a piece of gear if you must; It will make a much bigger difference (in your mix translation) than any cool pre or comp.

May your mileage vary!
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25th March 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackcatdigi
... I would suggest you dump the foam and diffusors, and buy as many of Ethan's minitraps as you can physically fit in the room....
Agreed... though you could probably make due with a few well placed "mt's" to start.
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25th March 2005
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Wow, that's not terribly encouraging, but I appreciate the honesty. I was looking at getting a pair of S3As, but I figured they would be too big for such a small room. You didn't happen to try either the BM6As or the 624s in you speaker switches did you? Just curious.
What's the consensus on the idea of buying the MiniTraps instead of spending that money on an acoustician?
I like the idea of buying the MiniTraps because they apparently are the best solution around, and are easily movable to a new room whenever that happens, but I am concerned that it is all for not if I don't have the help of an acoustician or at least somebody with a little more experience than me to place them correctly.
Thanks again for all the help
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25th March 2005
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Dude,

> Does anyone know a good acoustician in the LA area <

You don't need an acoustician to deal with a 10 by 12 foot room.

Thanks to the folks here for suggesting my company's products. What you need most is broadband absorption that works to as low a frequency as possible. The more low frequency absorption you can manage, the flatter and tighter the low end will be. It's as simple as that. If you already have a bunch of foam, and it's good foam (not Foam by Mail junk), you can use that to treat the first reflection points on the side walls and ceiling. That will help imaging enormously.

--Ethan
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