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Small mix room - big ambitions Studio Monitors
Old 23rd October 2018
  #1
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Small mix room - big ambitions

Hi,

I'm buying a new apartment and want to dedicate one of the rooms to music production. The room I have in mind is situated in such a way that no neighbours will be disturbed by the noise (even without soundproofing), which is a huge deal for me since I would mainly be using it in the evening/night/weekend.

Unfortunately, the room is rather small and the dimensions are not ideal: L439 x W248 x H260. Also, one of the ends has a large window that covers about 2/3 of the wall. Other that the window and a door, the room is made from solid concrete.

I tried using John Brandt's impressive room mode calculator (Resources - John H. Brandt Acoustic Designs) to figure out if I will be able to make the room work for me, but I have trouble interpreting the results.

I work with electronic music (synths and drum machines only) and do ghost/co-productions, mixing and mastering. I need to be able to work efficiently without too much guessing and deliver professional results.

In the music I work with, the bottom end is typically quite prominent (down to approx. 30 hz). Spectral balance is obviously important but stereo imaging and "natural sound" are not big concerns.

What are the chances that I can make this room work for my purposes? How should I approach the acoustic treatment (DIY with a decent budget)?
Old 23rd October 2018
  #2
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bowzin's Avatar
In a rectangular room, generally put the monitors along a short wall, vs. along a wide wall. As a starting point, I would try to put the nearfield monitors VERY nearfield, like within a few feet of your head. This increases the direct-sound you're hearing, and somewhat lowers the reflected sound. Otherwise, try placing them as flush against the "front" wall as possible, but experiment with speaker placement, it's kind of a big deal. Don't just throw them up once and never think about it again.

Do your monitors play back all the way down to 30hz, or are you using a sub, or relying on headphones...? How are you planning to monitor that low?

Download Room EQ Wizard (REW) and pick up a cheap test mic. Watch some youtube videos and dig into the online instructions to understand the basics. Run some waterfall graphs and you can see what your room is actually doing. You will see you have big acoustic peaks and nulls. You can read up on the advice around here to treat your room the best you can, but it will never be perfect and it will never be truly "flat". So dig into REW or something equivalent and you can at least see more clearly what your room is doing to your signal. Compensating for that is up to you as an artist! Do you have a big giant null around 100hz? Then you'll have to keep that in mind, and instead of boosting the heck out of 100hz in your mixes, resulting in poor translation on other systems, you'll have to mentally familiarize yourself with the room and do lots of test/reference mixes to try it in the car, on the stereo, with headphones, at a friend's house, etc. and learn your space.

The key is it will never be perfectly flat or perfect, so understanding how to do some test measurements to get a feel for your how room is actually behaving is really important in my opinion. Otherwise it's mostly guessing. You can approximate this to a degree by running a test tone sine wave from 20Hz to 20kHz... and pay attention along the way... at what frequency does the sound drop down... make a mental note. What frequency seems to really "stand out"? That frequency is exciting/interacting with your room causing excess energy at that frequency so make a mental note... etc.

Good luck!
Old 23rd October 2018
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
Do your monitors play back all the way down to 30hz, or are you using a sub, or relying on headphones...? How are you planning to monitor that low?
I currently use a pair of Genelec 8030A near fields with an 8" 7050B sub for monitoring.
Old 23rd October 2018
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
Download Room EQ Wizard (REW) and pick up a cheap test mic. Watch some youtube videos and dig into the online instructions to understand the basics. Run some waterfall graphs and you can see what your room is actually doing. You will see you have big acoustic peaks and nulls. You can read up on the advice around here to treat your room the best you can, but it will never be perfect and it will never be truly "flat". So dig into REW or something equivalent and you can at least see more clearly what your room is doing to your signal. Compensating for that is up to you as an artist! Do you have a big giant null around 100hz? Then you'll have to keep that in mind, and instead of boosting the heck out of 100hz in your mixes, resulting in poor translation on other systems, you'll have to mentally familiarize yourself with the room and do lots of test/reference mixes to try it in the car, on the stereo, with headphones, at a friend's house, etc. and learn your space.
I didn't actually finalize the deal for the new apartment yet, so I can't do any measurements right now (the current owner is using the room for storage). I'm just concerned about being able to set up a (semi) pro mixing room in my new home, as will most likely be living there for the next 20 years...

I will try out REW when the time comes, though.

Also, I understand the need to "know your room" but I really want to eliminate as much guesswork as possible. I am willing to spend some money on this (not sure how much exactly... it cost what it costs, I guess).
Old 23rd October 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post

Good luck!
Thanks
Old 23rd October 2018
  #6
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bowzin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lutz1972 View Post
I didn't actually finalize the deal for the new apartment yet, so I can't do any measurements right now (the current owner is using the room for storage). I'm just concerned about being able to set up a (semi) pro mixing room in my new home, as will most likely be living there for the next 20 years...

I will try out REW when the time comes, though.

Also, I understand the need to "know your room" but I really want to eliminate as much guesswork as possible. I am willing to spend some money on this (not sure how much exactly... it cost what it costs, I guess).
Yep, I understand. Most folks on here are in the exact same position, trying to make imperfect spaces as usable as possible. So you are not alone. Be sure to read the stickied posts. You'll most likely want to put lots of absorption on the walls, corners, ceiling, everywhere you can stand. If it's "too dead" you can always add reflective surfaces back to reflect some highs, but I've never had that problem. Stay away from foam, and use fiber-based products like mineral wool or fiberglass. Use lots of it, lots of mass, and at good depths too. That's the simple answer but you can take it as far as you want, as acoustics is a very interesting field of science that people devote their whole lives to, so there's not really any shortcuts or hacks, as it's all based on math/physics. However you can follow some common advice and be a LOT better off than doing nothing at all, that's the good news, so keep digging and good luck!
Old 24th October 2018
  #7
get the bass sorted out first and as even as possible, I'd recommend acoustic fields plans for their bass traps, and diffusion plans, I haven't found anything better personally, I am planning on making them over the next few months.
Old 25th October 2018
  #8
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akebrake's Avatar
 

Practice REW

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lutz1972 View Post
I will try out REW when the time comes, though....
Why don't start practicing REW now!
Many GS are uploading their mdat's here. Just download and start playing with the different graphs and get familiar with all the features.

Also REW Room Sim is nice tool for trying different (simulated) speaker and listening positions and get a hint of what happens when moving speakers or adding absorption.

Best
Old 25th October 2018
  #9
REW won't fix modal problems, better off actually treating the room properly.
Old 26th October 2018
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pencilextremist View Post
get the bass sorted out first and as even as possible, I'd recommend acoustic fields plans for their bass traps, and diffusion plans, I haven't found anything better personally, I am planning on making them over the next few months.
Sounds like some bs shillin to me brotha !

Acoustic fields is a joke imo, a 2 bit charlatan with some overpriced pie-in-the-sky pseudo science junk to sell the gullible uninformed masses of newbies.

Buyer beware !
Old 26th October 2018
  #11
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Jens Eklund's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pencilextremist View Post
REW won't fix modal problems, better off actually treating the room properly.
Yeah … why try to identify and understand the cause of the problems and address it properly, when you can just blindly add treatment to areas that work from practical and aesthetic perspective and hope for the best …
Old 26th October 2018
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by sage691 View Post
Sounds like some bs shillin to me brotha !

Acoustic fields is a joke imo, a 2 bit charlatan with some overpriced pie-in-the-sky pseudo science junk to sell the gullible uninformed masses of newbies.

Buyer beware !
not really, I've built one of them, it's not overpriced or pseudo science unless you can prove it, what do you suggest as your genius alternative? I'm very curious to find out.
Old 26th October 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pencilextremist View Post
not really, I've built one of them, it's not overpriced or pseudo science unless you can prove it, what do you suggest as your genius alternative? I'm very curious to find out.
Well, HOW do you know what you have built actually works ? Did you even bother doing a "before" and "after" test with REW to see if there were any significant changes ? Or did you just "use your ear" ?

As you say "REW will not help to fix modal problems". That somehow makes me feel that you have never used the software, and do not even understand what it is used for.

And at the same time you are shamelessly shillin for know-it-all "mullet" man !
Old 26th October 2018
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by sage691 View Post
Well, HOW do you know what you have built actually works ? Did you even bother doing a "before" and "after" test with REW to see if there were any significant changes ? Or did you just "use your ear" ?

As you say "REW will not help to fix modal problems". That somehow makes me feel that you have never used the software, and do not even understand what it is used for.

And at the same time you are shamelessly shillin for know-it-all "mullet" man !
lol that's hilarious, I'm not shilling for anyone, I mistakenly thought the software was one of those EQ correction programmes, I have made one of his traps and it made a difference in my room, and plan to make a few more, what's wrong with mentioning that? I don't have to feel ashamed for anything I say or do, thankyou.
Old 26th October 2018
  #15
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Jens Eklund's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pencilextremist View Post
I mistakenly thought the software was one of those EQ correction programmes ...
Ok

Well, next time; quick check on what’s referred to and you´ll spare yourself the embarrassment.

Old 27th October 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pencilextremist View Post
lol that's hilarious, I'm not shilling for anyone, I mistakenly thought the software was one of those EQ correction programmes, I have made one of his traps and it made a difference in my room, and plan to make a few more, what's wrong with mentioning that? I don't have to feel ashamed for anything I say or do, thankyou.
Well, simply saying that any particular acoustic treatment device has "made a difference in my room" isn't really saying anything ! For all you know it could have made things WORSE, especially if you are talking about a control/mix room.

The best way to know if an improvement has been made is to use a program like REW and verify it. Simply because something may "sound better" to your ears is not a reliable method.

And then you go on to state that you "haven't found anything better" and recommend others follow your lead, yet you seem to be the blind trying to lead the blind. As far as I am concerned, that is shilling my friend -- even if it was not your intention.
Old 27th October 2018
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sage691 View Post
Well, simply saying that any particular acoustic treatment device has "made a difference in my room" isn't really saying anything ! For all you know it could have made things WORSE, especially if you are talking about a control/mix room.

The best way to know if an improvement has been made is to use a program like REW and verify it. Simply because something may "sound better" to your ears is not a reliable method.

And then you go on to state that you "haven't found anything better" and recommend others follow your lead, yet you seem to be the blind trying to lead the blind. As far as I am concerned, that is shilling my friend -- even if it was not your intention.
it's obvious you hate the company, that isn't my problem, perhaps you need to look at that. If it disturbs you so much I'd gladly be banned from gearslutz for saying it, I won't be pigeon holed into being called a shill.
Old 29th October 2018
  #18
Here for the gear
 

Wow... this thread really took off

For the record, I'm familiar with the marketing tactics of Acoustics Fields and will not be buying from them anytime soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akebrake View Post
Why don't start practicing REW now!
Many GS are uploading their mdat's here. Just download and start playing with the different graphs and get familiar with all the features.

Also REW Room Sim is nice tool for trying different (simulated) speaker and listening positions and get a hint of what happens when moving speakers or adding absorption.
Will do, thanks.
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