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Help with Room Acoustic Treatments?
Old 22nd May 2006
  #1
Gear Head
 

Unhappy Help with Room Acoustic Treatments?

Hi Gang,
I need some help in trying to prepare a room to record and Mix down a few demo projects. . .The room in question is roughly 40' x 17' with 7.5' ceilings.

I realize that's its a really awkward, and funky shaped room, But I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions, on what I can do, or what materials I might buy to at least TRY and make the room, somewhat usable for recording and mixing. . .

You can tell by the diagram that my mixer board and monitors are set up in the middle of the room, I was thinking of possibly hanging some thick drapes behind the mixing board halfway down the middle of the room, and also possibly draping some canvas on the ceiling to give the ceiling a more contoured shape. But, I'm not sure if that's gonna help much.

So, if anyone has and ideas on what corners might be a good place to hang some bass traps, or if I should just re-arrange my studio setup, I would love to hear some input.

My budget in minimal, . .roughly 500 bucks . . I know that's kinda of low for a problematic room like this, . . But, that's all I have to work with right now

So, any help you can offer, would be greatly appreciated! Thanks
Attached Files
File Type: pdf STUDIO SPACE_3.pdf (21.0 KB, 578 views)
Old 22nd May 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

I think you should probably do a bit of research on acoustics before you do anything.
Go to www.ethanwiner.com and www.johnlsayers.com. There isn't much available about acoustics that can't be gotten from either of these sites. Tons of info!

With that said, some observations.

1) yes, you have a shoe box to deal with. Your first main issue seems to be separation between your control room and your live room. Unfortunately, hanging a thick curtain probably won't do much for you. But lots of dry wall will. You can probably find proper construction advice at John Sayers site. But with a 500.00 budget, Im not sure you will get much unless you can find deals on lumber and drywall and can do it yourself.

2) Draping canvas over your ceiling will give you a nice aesthetic appearance, but will not do anything for your acoustic treatment. Only the highest of frequencies will be only slightly affected by a piece of canvas, everything else will go right through it and bounce back off the next available hard object and then continue to ping-pong off the ceiling and floor. Go to Ethan Winers site and get some ideas for bass traps on the ceilings. You want to treat the ceiling and not the floor. Keeping the floor "live" will yield a better sound drum kit, better acoustic guitars.. just about everything. You may be able to get away with treating the area over the drum kit, or over where other instruments will be stationed.. instead of treating the whole ceiling.

3) The same ping pong-ing that will happen between floor and ceiling will happen between your parellel walls unless those are treated too. The most economical way around that is to treat the walls with a variety of traps (back to Ethans site you go!). My personal recommendation (from what I did in my room) is to treat opposing walls so that there isnt the same surface on the exact opposite side. re: if your left wall has the first 4 foot section treated with a trap, have the first 4 foot section on the right wall left untreated. Then do that sort of plan all the way down. Then you get reflections, just not the ping pong effect.

Good luck!
Old 22nd May 2006
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Nutmeg II.'s Avatar
 

Your main problem is the low ceiling!
You need to put some rockwool/mineralwool up there.

Try to get the drums in the spot that is the fares away from all the walls (right part of your room).

Place the bass away from the drums and don't get to close to the walls either (corners are even uglier!).

Try moveing the cab wile sombodie is playing the bass and find a spot that sounds good (not boomy or bassless).

With the mix position you should try to place it so that you sit at about 1/3 into the room between the wall infront and behind you.
This does get you out of the nastiest bass mods (peaks and notches in the bass spectrum).

Here are two ideas how you could rearange your room.
The gray stuf could be walls (drywalls) or gobos.
The gobos would be my choice because you could moove them to record a vocal group or a chior or the like.

This are only some ideas to start with, but they will not cost to much and the moveing of the equipment alone could fix some problems.
You defenetly need to fix the ceiling.
Attached Thumbnails
Help with Room Acoustic Treatments?-idea-one.gif   Help with Room Acoustic Treatments?-idea-two.gif  
Old 22nd May 2006
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studiodrum
Hi Gang,
I need some help in trying to prepare a room to record and Mix down a few demo projects. . .The room in question is roughly 40' x 17' with 7.5' ceilings.

I realize that's its a really awkward, and funky shaped room, But I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions, on what I can do, or what materials I might buy to at least TRY and make the room, somewhat usable for recording and mixing. . .

You can tell by the diagram that my mixer board and monitors are set up in the middle of the room, I was thinking of possibly hanging some thick drapes behind the mixing board halfway down the middle of the room, and also possibly draping some canvas on the ceiling to give the ceiling a more contoured shape. But, I'm not sure if that's gonna help much.

So, if anyone has and ideas on what corners might be a good place to hang some bass traps, or if I should just re-arrange my studio setup, I would love to hear some input.

My budget in minimal, . .roughly 500 bucks . . I know that's kinda of low for a problematic room like this, . . But, that's all I have to work with right now

So, any help you can offer, would be greatly appreciated! Thanks
I think you need to move your mix position. It is great you have a long room but you need to be 38% from that front wall. that would put you at about 15 feet. As far as bass traps any corner is a good corner, but I would focus on the front to corners.
The other thing I would do is place 2" panels above the mix position. That is going to help with the floor to ceiling flutter within the room.

Glenn
Old 22nd May 2006
  #5


I like suggestion 2.

Make sure to build some DIY bass traps and put some bookcases and 2" absorbtion panels where you need them.

I assume the walls are concrete, so adding a fair amount of absorbtion is good. Recessing insulation into the ceiling with cloth covering might be good.

Go out right now and buy a pair of PZMs for the drum overheads - that's the only thing that will work with such a low ceiling.



-tINY

Old 23rd May 2006
  #6
Gear Head
 

Thanks everyone for all your input!
Everyone's ideas have been really helpful, . . It has given me a chance to take a more in-depth look at my situation, and better evaluate what I need to do, . . to try and make the room a bit more user friendly and a little tighter.

I think that I'm going to move the drums more to the center of the room, away from the walls, as much as possible, . . then maybe find another location for my mixing board. I think that I'm going to put a few of those GIK Acoustics, 4" thick bass traps in at least 2 of the corners to start, . . and to hang a few acoustic panels on the ceiling, both over the drum set, and the mixing board, . . and then add more as bass traps, and additional panels as time goes on, . .

The only thing that I'm not sure about, . . is whether, or not I want to divide the room in half, or 3/4's with some nice a big heavy drapes. . and only use half of my existing space or all of it. . . ? Also, some PZM mics overhead the drums is not a bad idea either. . .

Anyway, if anyone has anymore advice, I would love to hear from ya. I will keep you guys posted, and let you know how things develop!
Old 23rd May 2006
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studiodrum
Thanks everyone for all your input!
Everyone has been really helpful, and has contributed some great ideas, . . It has really helped me take a more in-depth look at my situation, and better evaluate what I need to do, . . to try and make the room a bit more user friendly and a little tighter.

I think that I'm going to move the drums more to the center of the room, away from the walls, as much as possible, . . then maybe find another location for my mixing board. I think that I'm going to put a few of those GIK Acoustics, 4" thick bass traps in at least 2 of the corners to start, . . and to hang a few acoustic panels on the ceiling, both over the drum set, and the mixing board, . . and then add more as bass traps, and additional panels as time goes on, . .

The only thing that I'm not sure about, . . is whether, or not I want to divide the room in half, or 3/4's with some nice a big heavy drapes. . and only use half of my existing space or all of it. . . ? Also, some PZM mics overhead the drums is not a bad idea either. . .

Anyway, if anyone has anymore advice, I would love to hear from ya. I will keep you guys posted, and let you know how things develop!
Keeping a room large is best because you don't have as many bass problems. The down side is recording is a bitch IMO. Everything is a give and take.. BTW curtains are really not going to do much (maybe look cool). Most of the mid and low go right through them.

Glenn
Old 24th May 2006
  #8
Gear Head
 

Thanks for the input Glenn! Yeah, I think you're right on about the curtain plan, I'm gonna nix that idea, I gotta enough cool lookin things in that room that I cant operate already.

Anyway, I have come up with a new and updated layout that I think might work a bit better acostically, . . I'm going to move the mixing console to the opposite side of the room, facing into the wall, but positioning the board about 5.5' from the wall-- which is roughly 38% from the wall. . .so that I have a little better room symmetry for my mixing console. . .

Also I think that I will move the drum to the center of the room, especially since the ceiling becomes a little bit higher at that point in the room, . .roughly 8.2', . . rather than the 7.5 on the other side of the room, . .and in the middle of the room-- there is that Alcove, which will eliminate at least one wall to worry about. . . and give the drum sound a bit more space to breathe.

I included a diagram of the new setup, and a diagram of where I would place some of the various acoustic panels. . .
Attached Files
File Type: pdf New STUDIO Space.pdf (18.0 KB, 344 views) File Type: pdf Studio Treatment Plan1.pdf (18.6 KB, 333 views)
Old 24th May 2006
  #9


Get more bass trapping in there. Probably 8-10 of them. Put them in the "corner" where the ceiling meets a wall too.




-tINY

Old 27th May 2006
  #10
Gear Head
 

Thanks guys!

Here is a pdf link to my new studio layout, and possible treatment plan, . .http://www.sessiondrums.com/New%20Treatment%20Plan1.pdf keep in mind I'm very limited on funds, so for now, I need to keep the cost down, and the amount of panels and room treatment to a bare minimums. . . If anyone has any new comments, . . bring'em on fellas

I was thinking of getting (2) 4x8' sections of 3/4" ply board and attaching them to the floor and set the drums up on them, . .since the entire room is wall to wall carpeting, . . Do you think its worth it, . or is it really not going to buy me anything?

Drum Direction:
Also, do you think that the drums would be better facing in the direction of the mixing console (WALL C) or in the direction of the Alcove area on (WALL F) , . . ?
see pdf for labeled corners and walls: http://www.sessiondrums.com/STUDIO%2...%20Corners.pdf

Thanks guys, I hope everyone has a happy & safe Memorial Day weekend!
Old 28th May 2006
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

> Here is a pdf link to my new studio layout ... If anyone has any new comments <

You should rotate the setup so you're facing the wall on the right side of the drawing. Then the speakers will fire the long way down the room, which puts the wall behind you much farther back. The closer the wall behind you is, the worse the peaks and nulls will be.

Then add at least a dozen or more bass traps in the wall-wall and wall-ceiling corners.

--Ethan
Old 28th May 2006
  #12
Gear Head
 

Hey Ethan,
Thanks so much for blessing my thread with your input! heh

I originally had the mixing board positioned on the other end of the room, but then changed it. . Now, after your comment, I'm thinking of changing it back. Does it matter what side of the room the mixing board is placed, since the right side of the room (Wall C) has a higher ceiling?
Here is another link to an updated room plan with the mixing board positioned 38% from the right side of the room; http://www.sessiondrums.com/STUDIO_Wall_No2.pdf

Also, . . .

1. If you had to choose, do you think that I should concentrate hanging the bass traps on the wall-to-wall, and wall-to-ceiling area, . . or hanging some panels directly on the ceiling?

1. Do you think that the drum-set should be facing the wall (WALL B), or be positioned so that it is looking down the long way of the room at (WALL J)

2. Do you think that by placing some sheets 4x8 sheets of ply board under the drums, that it will help with the drum sound, since the room is wall to wall carpeted.

Thanks again Ethan for your comments!
Old 29th May 2006
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
<1. If you had to choose, do you think that I should concentrate hanging the bass traps on the wall-to-wall, and wall-to-ceiling area, . . or hanging some panels directly on the ceiling?<

BOTH!!! heh For bass traps you want to place the panels straddling the corners. First reflection panels should go on side walls and ceiling.

>1. Do you think that the drum-set should be facing the wall (WALL B), or be positioned so that it is looking down the long way of the room at (WALL J)<

I would try it both ways and see how it reccords.. My guess is shooting the kick down the long way of the room will work out better.

>2. Do you think that by placing some sheets 4x8 sheets of ply board under the drums, that it will help with the drum sound, since the room is wall to wall carpeted.<

If you have carpet then yes, but if you have concrete then no.

Glenn
Old 29th May 2006
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

> Does it matter what side of the room the mixing board is placed, since the right side of the room (Wall C) has a higher ceiling? <

Yes, it's better if the ceiling rises higher behind you. So your new version is better.

> If you had to choose, do you think that I should concentrate hanging the bass traps on the wall-to-wall, and wall-to-ceiling area, . . or hanging some panels directly on the ceiling? <

As Glenn said, all corners are good candidates for bass traps. The more you have, the flatter and tighter the low end will be. Always.

> Do you think that the drum-set should be facing the wall (WALL B), or be positioned so that it is looking down the long way of the room at (WALL J) <

You'll have to experiment. But I can tell you that reflective walls close to an instrument or microphone should be avoided. So it's more important to have absorption on nearby surfaces than where exactly the drums are in the room.

> Do you think that by placing some sheets 4x8 sheets of ply board under the drums, that it will help with the drum sound, since the room is wall to wall carpeted. <

Again, only you can decide that. I tend to like a reflective floor, but some people don't. This is more a matter of taste than acoustics science.

--Ethan
Old 30th May 2006
  #15
Gear Head
 
dcpianoman's Avatar
 

Just wanted to throw in something real quick that doesn't have to do with acoustic treatment but might be applicable. When I was interning at Mercenary, I asked Fletcher what he'd do if forced to track drums in a room with small (<10ft) ceilings.

He said that in the past (his new studio in the Mercenary shop has a beautifully large tracking room - with the downside that aerobics classes take part directly above during the day) he would use "underheads". Stick the mics a few feet in front of the drums, height varying around rack-tom level. He said they worked like a charm and really helped the low ceiling side effects.

I've been fortunate that since my internship ended, I've always been able to find larger rooms to track in (halls and churches etc) but next time I have low ceilings I'm going to give it a shot.

As he always says YMMV but I'd be curious to hear if that technique works for you.

I'm also going through an acoustics treatment phase (703 coming this week) so good luck to you.

Dave
Old 24th June 2006
  #16
Gear Head
 

Okay, so I think I'm gettin closer! Thanks so much guys for all your input and advice!

Since my budget is very limited at this time, . . I think I'm going to start off with two, or three (4" thick) Bass Traps in the corners, and one or two 2" Panels on the ceiling over the console, and maybe the drums. . . and the start adding additional 2" panels, as time goes on. . .

However, since the room is going to be setup as a dual room for both recording, and mixing,. . I'm kinda struggling with the best location for some of the instrument in the room, . .especially the drums, and the mixing console~ Most of the time I will only be tracking drums, and bass going direct with a DI box. So, isolation shouldn't be too much of a problem.

I have included 3 ideas, where I think might be the best setup. So, if anyone can help me with the better choice, . . or has a better solution, . . feel free to give a shout!

Choice B1
http://www.sessiondrums.com/Studio%20Space_B1.pdf

Choice B2
http://www.sessiondrums.com/Studio%20Space_B2.pdf

Choice B3
http://www.sessiondrums.com/Studio%20space_B3.pdf

. . .also keep in mind that the drop ceiling is not a typical drop ceiling made with acoustical tiles, it's made of drywall, and that there is no wall along those dotted lines, its just to show that the ceiling lowers to 7.5' in that part of the room . . .
Old 24th June 2006
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
ericzang's Avatar
 

Just came across these program that claim to be helpful in regard to monitor placement:

http://www.rhintek.com/cara/cara21desc.php

http://www.rpginc.com/products/roomoptimizer/index.htm
Old 24th June 2006
  #18
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

Eric,

> Just came across these program that claim to be helpful in regard to monitor placement: <

"Prediction" software is never a substitute for measuring. Programs like those might get you to a usable starting point, but the only way to truly optimize loudspeaker and listener placement is to measure at a very high resolution continuously while you move things around.

--Ethan
Old 25th June 2006
  #19


Yeah, modeling software is usually a cunundrum: By the time you measure all the relevent parameters (transmission/reflection coefficients of all the surfaces at all frequencies in this case) and create an acurate model, you could have taken a guess and tried a dozen itterations.

I like the mix on the left - it'll give you some options for isolating instuments and vocals in those nooks.



-tINY

Old 25th June 2006
  #20
Gear Head
 

Hey tINY thanks for the input.

I think you are right, . .STUDIO SPACE B2 is the better way to go, . . or even possibly the new PDF diagram B4. (http://www.sessiondrums.com/STUDIO%20SPACE_B4.pdf)

B4 is probably not as optimum as B2, since the mixing console is facing the opposite direction. But, I would really like the console to be facing in the directions of the other musicians. . .But, I realize that if I go that route, . . I will need to treat the wall behind the mixing console with a lot more acoustical panels, . . and that of course adds more money to my already non-existent budget. But, I feel like that layout is coming together, and I'm getting closer.

Now, all I have to figure out is where to place the drums AND what DIRECTION should they be facing in that room? ( I realize I have to experiment, but if anyone wants to throw some idea out there, to give me a starting point, . .that would help)
Old 26th June 2006
  #21


The direction they face doesn't matter too much for the sound - but the drummer should face the rest of the musicians unless he is particularly ugly.

Best place, acoustically, is in the stairwell....



-tINY

Old 26th June 2006
  #22
Gear Head
 

Anyway, . . since you guys have been holding my hand through all this, and helping me out with all my wacko questions, heh

So, I finally got off my butt, and took some photos of the space that I have been talking about. I thought that I share a few a few, . . so you guys can have a better visual reference, . rather than trying to decipher those one dimensional pdf diagrams.

Room Position A
http://www.sessiondrums.com/Pos%20A.JPG

Room Position B
http://www.sessiondrums.com/Pos%20B.JPG

Room Position C
http://www.sessiondrums.com/Pos%20C.JPG

Room Position D
http://www.sessiondrums.com/Pos%20D.JPG

Room Position E
http://www.sessiondrums.com/Pos%20E.JPG

(YOU ARE HERE) Photo Diagram
http://www.sessiondrums.com/STUDIO%20photos.pdf
Old 27th June 2006
  #23
Gear Head
 

Talking Room Treatment Time!

Thanks for all the great input guys!

Okay, . . so I have attached 2 layouts & treatment plans, . . that I think work best for this space. . . with the amount of money I have to spend. Eventually, I would like to add more Bass Traps in m,ore corners, and additional 2x4' panels on the walls and ceiling. But for now, . this is the extent of my budget.

The first layout (STUDIO TREAT1) has the drums setup on the other side of the room, on the opposite of the mixer. This seems like a good symmetrical layout. The drums are facing down the long way of the room in the direction of the mixer, and the 4" thick bass traps.

However, my concern is that since the room get slightly narrower in this area, and the drums are closer to more walls and funky corners. . .

Second layout (STUDIO TREAT2) the drums are more in the center of the room. The only reason that I favor this layout over the first one is that this area really opens up. . .Its hard to tell from the diagram. .But the drums are away from most of the walls, and less corners. . .

Anyway, I would like to hear which layout you guys think would work best, . . and you are more than welcome to pick it a part, or change things around, . . Especially, if you see any panels that might work better in another area of the room
Attached Files
File Type: pdf STUDIO TREAT1.pdf (24.0 KB, 320 views) File Type: pdf STUDIO TREAT2.pdf (26.1 KB, 288 views)
Old 28th June 2006
  #24


More bass traps.

Floor to ceiling in all the corners of the room. Maybe at the Ceiling-wall and floor-wall intersections near the mixer.



-tINY

Old 28th June 2006
  #25
Lives for gear
 
RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

Id put the drums in the back... would also be nice if you could build a wall and have them in an iso booth.

Id also say you need more bass traps in front of the mixer. You just have one trap centered between the two speakers... and it leaves those two huge gaps that are going to reflect right back at you.

I also noticed your speakers were sitting on two keyboard stands and a shelf across them. Don't buy the Auralex mo-pads for under the speakers... they don't work. I know, I bought them, and they don't work. Instead, cut a chunk of 4 inch 705 and wrap it with fabric so it looks like a small deep dish pizza box.. put one of those under each speaker and it will keep it from vibrating everything to hell.
Old 28th June 2006
  #26
Gear Head
 

Thanks for all the help guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWallStudio
Id put the drums in the back... .
Yeah, I'm definitely swaying toward the drums being in the back as well, on the other side of the mixer, . .as in the diagram TREAT 1. But, I'm still concerned with being that close to those corners in the back, . and the fact that the room get narrower-- where as putting the drums more in the middle, . . the room opens up a bit. . .BUT, the jury is still out on that one. . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWallStudio
Id also say you need more bass traps in front of the mixer. You just have one trap centered between the two speakers... and it leaves those two huge gaps that are going to reflect right back at you..
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY
More bass traps.
Floor to ceiling in all the corners of the room. Maybe at the Ceiling-wall and floor-wall intersections near the mixer.
Yep, I totally agree, . . Unfortunately, right now I'm at the top end of my budget. But, eventually I will plan to add more Bass Traps in all the corners, and, . .and floor to ceiling traps, in front of the mixer, . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWallStudio
I also noticed your speakers were sitting on two keyboard stands and a shelf across them. Don't buy the Auralex mo-pads for under the speakers... they don't work. I know, I bought them, and they don't work. Instead, cut a chunk of 4 inch 705 and wrap it with fabric so it looks like a small deep dish pizza box.. put one of those under each speaker and it will keep it from vibrating everything to hell.
Great idea, . . .! Thanks 'Red'
Old 28th June 2006
  #27
Lives for gear
 
RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

I see what you are saying about the drums. Having them "firing" towards that alcove and stair area might break up that first reflection better than having them in the 3 sided box at the end of your room. If you can make your overhead bass traps moveable... try it in both spots and see what works. Maybe as your budget situation improves, have a plan to make the right side of the room into an drum iso booth and treat the crap out it with bass traps.. and build a wall to give you some iso.
Old 28th June 2006
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
dbluefield's Avatar
 

http://malcolm.bignoisybug.com/rsdp/fuzpoly.txt

that's Malcolm Chrisholm's link for building boxes and poly's.

here's the general link:

http://malcolm.bignoisybug.com/rsdp/

Great stuff there...

Also the poly's are about as cheap as corner treatments come..Malcolm said nobody believes they work cause they are too simple stupid...I built 4 of them..

...you can see one poly behind my studio monitors here:

http://www.johnlsayers.com/Studio/Mainpage/MP-Bluefield.htm


note: the DIY 703 boxes (6" thick).

Best,

Dave
Old 29th June 2006
  #29
Gear Head
 

Thanks for the links Dave, . .That looks like some good stuff! heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWallStudio
I see what you are saying about the drums. Having them "firing" towards that alcove and stair area might break up that first reflection better than having them in the 3 sided box at the end of your room.
Yep, Exactly 'Red' . . .especially if I hang a 4" thick bass trap in the small 'L' shaped area of the room next to the Alcove. .
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWallStudio
If you can make your overhead bass traps moveable... try it in both spots and see what works. Maybe as your budget situation improves, have a plan to make the right side of the room into an drum iso booth and treat the crap out it with bass traps.. and build a wall to give you some iso.
Yeah, . .I like that idea, . .!!! Thanks 'Red'
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