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Is my studio room hopeless?
Old 13th December 2019
  #1
Gear Head
 

Is my studio room hopeless?

I have to share my music studio with my home work office.

I don’t really have an option to move anything so I’m stuck with the corner setup. And I’ve got the sub for the blue sky monitor system under the desk, and right side speaker is under a book shelf.

I’m thinking about buying some sound treatment panels to put behind the monitors. I’m mostly 100% at a loss on how to approach this.

I am gearing up to try to do some demo quality mixing on prog metal project and also am trying to record vocals. I’m considering building a mobile vocal booth that can put up for vocals then taken down.

What do you guys think? Hopeless and invest in good cans or try to do some treatment and get a mic to measure the room?
Attached Thumbnails
Is my studio room hopeless?-75eaea9b-0a9a-4bd2-bccb-645353304caf.jpg  
Old 14th December 2019
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tahoebrian5 View Post
I have to share my music studio with my home work office.

I don’t really have an option to move anything so I’m stuck with the corner setup. And I’ve got the sub for the blue sky monitor system under the desk, and right side speaker is under a book shelf.

I’m thinking about buying some sound treatment panels to put behind the monitors. I’m mostly 100% at a loss on how to approach this.

I am gearing up to try to do some demo quality mixing on prog metal project and also am trying to record vocals. I’m considering building a mobile vocal booth that can put up for vocals then taken down.

What do you guys think? Hopeless and invest in good cans or try to do some treatment and get a mic to measure the room?
I'm not a studio designer/acoustician, so I'm not a proper expert on the field but:
1. The corner set up is really not ideal
2. The book shelf on your right side (which I guess reflects sound in a million different ways differently than your plain wall on the opposite side) completely destroys the symmetry between your R-L speakers, hence your stereo image, your frequency balance... is heavily compromised. If you really can not do anything about the corner issue, this is where I would start, I would tear down the book shelf on the right side and make the listening area as symmetrical as possible.
3. I wouldn't put treatment behind the monitor. I would deal with the first reflection points on the side walls. Than I would try to do something about the corner behind the speakers in front of you (proper bass trap there, if needed I would move the corner table a bit off the wall so that as much bass trapping can be put in the corner as possible) and also the corner behind you as that corner will most probably reflect a lot of sound back at you. Don't move sideways though, if you need to live with a corner setup than face precisely the corner.
4. I imagine you'll still need to have a good pair of headphones, I can't imagine to have a controlled low end response from a corner set up.
5. Instead of a vocal booth I would just use Aston Halo or SEreflexion Space if needed with some DIY stuff (eg. mattress behind/around you) and spend that money on the treatment (porous absorbers like rock wool/mineral wool, not thin foam).
I hope I managed to help
Old 14th December 2019
  #3
Gear Head
 

Sounds like your opinion is in the hopeless camp. That is pretty much what I was thinking as well. Moving anything is not an option at this time.

I’m going to buy some Senn HD 6xx from drop today

But that being said i am still interested in doing some treatment to attempt to improve things as much as possible within reason.
Old 14th December 2019
  #4
SRS
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I am not getting the "moving anything is not an option". Why can you not center the speakers and your sitting position centered on that area? That will help. And then put some first reflection point absorption on the side walls. That is ultra easy.
Old 14th December 2019
  #5
Gear Head
 

I work from home 100% and work pays the bills so takes precedence. Now once my prog metal project takes off and makes me a triple digit income I’ll go ahead and build a dream studio ?

Seriously though, I suppose I could move so my work station is centered on the wall the guitar is hung on, but the monitors will be basically right up against the wall. Do you really think this would move me out of the hopeless category?

The room is about 11’ x 13’ going off memory with single slope ceiling.
Old 14th December 2019
  #6
SRS
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Your room and potential setup of it for music is not hopeless. You just need to move it around some and put up some very cheap (could even be obtained for free if you are resourceful) sound treatment. You just need to think a bit and apply it to your space. It can and will work.
Old 14th December 2019
  #7
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Plus your photo only shows a small portion of that space. What is the rest of the room?
Old 14th December 2019
  #8
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Here are a couple more pics (sorry I can't get them to rotate!). So I really have 3 work stations setup.
Attached Thumbnails
Is my studio room hopeless?-corner-3.jpg   Is my studio room hopeless?-corner-2.jpg  
Old 14th December 2019
  #9
SRS
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Looks like you have plenty of room to make the audio portion proper. But you will have to move some things a bit and do some treatment. It certainly is not hopeless by any means. And never consider what you approach as "demo quality". And I would scrap the vocal booth idea and maybe... just maybe have a gobo for vocal tracking, but that isn't even necessary if done with some thought, with the right mic, mic setting and room location.
Old 14th December 2019
  #10
The large window could help alot. How about using a monitor switcher two switch between your computers and moving the desk in front of the window?
Old 15th December 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Seriously though, I suppose I could move so my work station is centered on the wall the guitar is hung on, but the monitors will be basically right up against the wall. Do you really think this would move me out of the hopeless category?
Definitely! That would make a big difference. Three reasons: 1) It gets you out of the corner, which is a terrible place to be. 2) It gets you better symmetry, and symmetry is critical. 3) It gets your speakers up against the wall, where they should be to minimize SBIR artifacts. Make that four reasons: 4) It looks like it would free up some space on the walls for a bit of treatment.

- Stuart -
Old 15th December 2019
  #12
Gear Head
 

Okay you guys are doing a good job convincing me.

So assuming I did move to the center, what would you recommend for bass traps etc?

Also, what is the deal with having a window in front of the listening setup?
Old 15th December 2019
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tahoebrian5 View Post
So assuming I did move to the center, what would you recommend for bass traps etc?
I would measure first and then think about treatment. It could be your room modes are very high up (small room) or not very strong (windows).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tahoebrian5 View Post
Also, what is the deal with having a window in front of the listening setup?
The best thing it can do for you is to let the low bass through. It may be reflective to high frequencies but a curtain should stop that.
Old 15th December 2019
  #14
SRS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tahoebrian5 View Post
Okay you guys are doing a good job convincing me.

So assuming I did move to the center, what would you recommend for bass traps etc?

Also, what is the deal with having a window in front of the listening setup?
Move your mix/listening position centered equidistant and symmetrical on a wall, preferably the short wall. This really isn't argued or debated in acoustics, as the benefits almost always outweigh the drawbacks. As for bass traps, if you have a few $ you can make some out of either Owens Corning 703 or 705 and put them into the corners where possible, as the corners are where the bass tends to "collect" or build-up. In a room that size, you will likely benefit by using a substantial amount of absorption. As for the window, it will allow low freqs to pass more easily and reflect mid to high freqs as well, but the main thing that will benefits most is centered, equidistant and symmetrical. Otherwise you stereo imaging will always be second-guessed when mixing.
Old 17th December 2019
  #15
I'm part way through treating a similar sized room and I've gotten it down flate +/-4dB down to 15hz, but I've covered every wall with 12 inches of broadband absorption to do it. I'm at about $500 in materials so far. I think I'm going to add a bit more on the celing and that should get it flatter.

Small rooms are a huge pain in the ass.

At the same time, I bought a pair of Audeze LCD-X headphones. The early testing I've done with them is great.

If you're not willing to give up 2 feet in each direction, my advice is LCD-X.

I have the HD600s and I've used them with Sonarworks they don't come close to a well treated room or the LCD-X headphones.
Old 17th December 2019
  #16
Gear Head
 

Well I already ordered the Hd650 (mass drop 6xx or whatever they are called). So hopefully I can get a handle on some reference tracks with those.

Ya I can’t remodel the whole room with super thick wall coverings. I’m hoping to be able to do as much as I can within reason for now and next year am hoping to build an addition on my home as a dedicated studio.

One thing this little room has going for it is the ceiling is sloped fairly steep and starts at 9’ so at least I don’t have the same dimension in more than 1 direction.

I’m going to give room eq wizard a try and shoot the room today and see where I’m at. It sounds overly bassy in the 100hz area and not much below that to my ears as a guess.
Old 17th December 2019
  #17
SRS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
Small rooms are a huge pain in the ass.
This is pretty accurate, but they can be treated and with good results. If you are going for the headphone approach, then nothing else really matters in the room, other than your physical comfort. I have owned the HD650 for quite some time, and they can be helpful for monitoring, just know they are open-back and any "outside" noise can get in and potentially throw you off.
Old 18th December 2019
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tahoebrian5 View Post
Well I already ordered the Hd650 (mass drop 6xx or whatever they are called). So hopefully I can get a handle on some reference tracks with those.

Ya I can’t remodel the whole room with super thick wall coverings. I’m hoping to be able to do as much as I can within reason for now and next year am hoping to build an addition on my home as a dedicated studio.

One thing this little room has going for it is the ceiling is sloped fairly steep and starts at 9’ so at least I don’t have the same dimension in more than 1 direction.

I’m going to give room eq wizard a try and shoot the room today and see where I’m at. It sounds overly bassy in the 100hz area and not much below that to my ears as a guess.
High frequencies travel are directional. So they're not much of an issue when you're in the corner.

Thin treatments don't affect the low frequencies which are the problems.

One thing that can happen is that you have a room that's got problems with too much low end relative to the high end. If you add simple thin treatments you fix the high end problem but you've made the low end even more of a problem relative to the high end.


It's definitely possible to do just a little and make things worse. More likely it will just make things different.


Once you start spending a little money on treatments and see the beginnings of improvements, you'll be hooked and keep spending and in the end, easily spend as much as it would cost to by really ideal headphones. With the limitation you've got, you'll be able to make improvements, but not as much as buying ideal headphones.


Assuming you're not going to follow that advice, I'd trap your entire ceiling with 12 inch porous absorption. Don't bother measuring, cover every square inch. You can compress it a bit so that you don't lose an entire foot in ceiling height.


One thing I'll say is that a ton of broadband absorption will make the room much quieter and I'm guessing you'll find yourself more productive during day job work.
Old 18th December 2019
  #19
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I mixed most of my recent album in less than Ideal conditions w/ less than ideal gear. It's not a top shelf production, I know that. However, It's a lot better than I've ever done, in the past & I mixed it all in my apple EarPods. I find them pretty consistent, for levels. I have an older set of Yorkville monitors, another set of Sony headphones, the car stereo & anywhere else I could find to check the mix. By the end of the album, I really came to trust the EarPods. I'd mix, check the mix on another source, & adjust, if necessary. The biggest learning curve was getting the sounds "right" when recording/laying down tracks. The mixing board I used, doesn't have EQ. So, I worked on the Less is Better theory. In the end, I'm pretty satisfied. If I had done this in my little tiny corner studio, on my Yorkville monitors, it would have been a nightmare. Before you go & start throwing money at a problem that may not be worth throwing money at, consider that you may have simple solutions.
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