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New Studio Dilemma -- Ratio vs. Room Volume
Old 2 weeks ago
Gear Head
New Studio Dilemma -- Ratio vs. Room Volume

Hello Slutz (especially those of the acoustic variety):

I will be moving to a new studio space soon after 15 years in my comfy (read: small) room. My new studio will be only slightly larger, at 10.6' (width) x 17.7' (length) x 8.25' (height). At a hair under 1,550 cubic feet it's really not great, I know, but I've somehow made my current even smaller space workable due to prioritizing acoustic treatment over open space: huge superchunk Owens-Corning R-30 bass traps in multiple corners (including where both the front and rear walls meet the ceiling), 4"-8" of Ultratouch insulation (denim insulation with a density roughly between that of rockwood and fluffy fiberglass) on front and side walls, entire ceiling is 4" rockwool, and rear wall is two 9" deep N7 QRD diffusors in front of 4" rockwool. It's a live-end-dead-end setup, with an emphasis on dead. Against all odds, my frequency response and low-end RT60 is very workable.

My new digs will be set up nearly identically, but with one potential modification that has me going back and forth as to whether or not it will be beneficial or a costly blunder. It currently has a flat ceiling which is below a pitched roof. The top ridge of the roof runs parallel to the front and rear walls, so it rises as it goes over my head, peaks halfway back, then slopes back down to 8.25' again by the time it gets to the back wall. The question is: Do I stick with the flat ceiling, or open it up to expose the taller pitched roof? My thoughts are as follows:

Opening up the ceiling would give me approximately 375 additional cubic feet, which would be extremely welcome. However, the top of the pitch is 12' high, which would make the average height about 10.1' -- a darn-near 1:1 ratio with the 10.6' width. No good. However, I could make that entire open ceiling a huge superchunk bass trap by filling it with Owens Corning R-30 which would be held up by a flat cloud at the same 8.25" height that the ceiling would have been had I not gutted it. So the whole "ceiling" would be ~375 cubic feet of bass trapping.

Therefore, the question, given a small room where every cubic foot counts, is whether or not I should:

a) open up that ceiling to create a massive bass trap but consequently create a ~1:1 ratio (which may or may not be nullified by the new massive bass trap), or:
b) leave the ceiling lower, forego the huge bass trap, and be glad that I have a 1.28:1 width:height instead of 1:1?

In other words, what is the larger killer in a small room like this: the small cubic footage or the ratio?

Phrased one other way: Would that huge new bass trap more than offset the new 1:1 ratio enough that it's worth it and potentially be beneficial overall?

Given the fact that some construction will be involved, I unfortunately can't test it both ways, and will have to commit based on an educated guess. Any wisdom you are willing to impart to better educate my guess is very much appreciated!

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