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Newbie needs CR treatment pointers... pic
Old 16th November 2009
  #1
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Newbie needs CR treatment pointers... pic

I know the answers are here to be had, but after 10 hours or so of rooting around on here, I've come to the conclusion that it's a bit too much to dive into headfirst, and I need a bit of guidance.

I am currently recording an album and have very limited time in which to do so. I cannot stop production to spend months investigating acoustics and have very little money to do so. I recently moved into a new place with very limited space, but have managed to dedicate most of one room into a home studio. It is currently untreated, and I need to find the best quick, practical, and inexpensive way to do a reasonably good job of treating it for critical listening.

Since the music is mainly sequenced, my only other acoustic concern is the vocal recording area, but I will address that separately.

I have attached a diagram of my room, complete with it's limitations, and speaker placement. I am not asking for anyone to give me all the exact answers, just some quick, practical pointers. I do not mind doing a BIT of research into specifics of the room, but I cannot be diagnosing charts a month from now... I need to treat it and move on quickly.

Space is limited and there are a few constraints. The bookshelf shown is in the only location in the house it will fit. I can treat the wall behind it, I can shuffle the books to make it diffuse, but I cannot move it. The large window is the only source of real light on that part of the (shared) house and it is greatly preferable to maintain that. It is covered with vertical blinds which are angled slightly to reflect toward the back of the room, but that could be reversed. The window does not need to open.

The large planter is 2 feet tall, with a large statue of personal significance rising to 6 feet coming out of it. The rest of the planter, however, could be filled with some sort of baffling if that helps create a bass trap. I have a very large 40inch monitor filling the space between the reference monitors. The walls and ceiling are sheetrock. The window wall is the only exterior wall, and the floor is carpeted. The doors are french doors with glass panes.

If there is any test that needs to be performed, my limitations are the gear on hand which is an AT 4060 microphone and a pair of Mackie HR824's.

Sorry, forgot to put on diagram... ceiling is 8 feet.

Again, if you just have some general pointers to get me going, it is greatly appreciated. Trying to figure out basic philosophy at the moment and get into action quickly. I will be making any diffusers or absorbers myself, but not sure about direction ... should I go LEDE, etc.
Attached Thumbnails
Newbie needs CR treatment pointers... pic-studio-diagram.jpg  
Old 16th November 2009
  #2
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
I need to find the best quick, practical, and inexpensive way to do a reasonably good job of treating it for critical listening.
Here's my standard reply which will get you 99 percent of the way there. All rooms need:

* Broadband (not tuned) bass traps straddling as many corners as you can manage, including the wall-ceiling corners. More bass traps on the rear wall behind helps even further. You simply cannot have too much bass trapping. Real bass trapping, that is - thin foam and thin fiberglass don't work to a low enough frequency.

* Mid/high frequency absorption at the first reflection points on the side walls and ceiling.

* Some additional amount of mid/high absorption and/or diffusion on any large areas of bare parallel surfaces, such as opposing walls or the ceiling if the floor is reflective. Diffusion on the rear wall behind you is also useful in larger rooms.

For the complete story see my Acoustics FAQ.

There's a lot of additional non-sales technical information on my company's web site - articles, videos, test tones and other downloads, and much more.

--Ethan
Old 17th November 2009
  #3
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Well, I was figuring basically that I need max diffusion behind me even though it's a small room. I actually have a very large and extremely dimensional mask (sticks out over 2 feet) that I was planning on hanging there... and I guess I need to figure how to properly diffuse rest of back wall.

I wasn't sure about ceiling, tho... I see so many examples of angled contraptions hanging from ceilings... low ceilings here, tho, but if there's an easy way to maybe have some angling and also mid absorption... and I do have carpeting, so I'm not sure if deadening the whole ceiling is right, or maybe some diffusion.

I was planning on just deadening front wall as much as possible for mids and higs (like huge fuzzy wall on echochamber's site, with bass traps at ceiling... then filling planter with some sort of heavy spun whatever... bass trap behind me at the other right angle... and some sort of basstrap behind the chair.

Where the door is, I'm not sure what I should do there... not sure if I should hang something over glass, etc... I'm thinking leaving them open is better.

Biggest issue I see is side walls. I have a bookcase (bare to wall between rows of books) on one side and the huge window on the other. I'm thinking best I can do is to radically stagger books for diffusion and put absorbtion behind the shelves, so bare areas absorb and rest diffuses... good idea?

Window... I have no idea. I don't know if (plastic verticals being turned a bit toward the rear helps at all...

I guess I also need a relatively quick and easy way to tell if I am better off moving the speakers a bit... not too much room to work with, but I can shuffle a bit.
Old 17th November 2009
  #4
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jhbrandt's Avatar
Gosh! Ethan, that's what I was gonna say...

extra suggestion: You may want to build some absorptive panels on stands... it looks like you have a window in the way of one of your first reflection points.

Also, Al, you have a very small and square room... you will really need those corner bass traps! Just do as much as you can afford.

... and maybe move the bookshelf to where the table and chair are - behind you. That'll give you a small amount of diffusion.

Last edited by jhbrandt; 17th November 2009 at 02:46 AM.. Reason: missing word
Old 17th November 2009
  #5
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jhbrandt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
Well, I was figuring basically that I need max diffusion behind me even though it's a small room. I actually have a very large and extremely dimensional mask (sticks out over 2 feet) that I was planning on hanging there... and I guess I need to figure how to properly diffuse rest of back wall.
For a room that size, you need more absorption. You could use polys dispersed among the absorptive panels will help diffuse. But I would suggest that instead you checker-board the absorptive panels - that will give you the diffuse atmosphere you need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
I wasn't sure about ceiling, tho... I see so many examples of angled contraptions hanging from ceilings... low ceilings here, tho, but if there's an easy way to maybe have some angling and also mid absorption... and I do have carpeting, so I'm not sure if deadening the whole ceiling is right, or maybe some diffusion.
You don't need angling. just good broadband absorption - again... checkerboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
I was planning on just deadening front wall as much as possible for mids and higs (like huge fuzzy wall on echochamber's site, with bass traps at ceiling... then filling planter with some sort of heavy spun whatever... bass trap behind me at the other right angle... and some sort of basstrap behind the chair.
I wouldn't worry about LEDE design in your room. It's too small, bro. But, if you simply apply the absorption panels uniformly in the room, paying very close attention to your first reflection points, you should be able to end up with a workable situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
Where the door is, I'm not sure what I should do there... not sure if I should hang something over glass, etc... I'm thinking leaving them open is better.
Open is great, as long as you don't have to worry about sound in or out of the studio. Closing the doors probably does not attenuate sound coming or going very much anyway. But you could have some hanging panels for them when they are closed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
Biggest issue I see is side walls. I have a bookcase (bare to wall between rows of books) on one side and the huge window on the other. I'm thinking best I can do is to radically stagger books for diffusion and put absorbtion behind the shelves, so bare areas absorb and rest diffuses... good idea?
Maybe. ?? Just stacking the books in a normal fashion often does the same... It's not optimal. But it's ok. Try moving it to the back wall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
Window... I have no idea. I don't know if (plastic verticals being turned a bit toward the rear helps at all...
NO, not really. Put an absorption panel on a stand for there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
I guess I also need a relatively quick and easy way to tell if I am better off moving the speakers a bit... not too much room to work with, but I can shuffle a bit.
It looks like from the pic that your speakers may be in the boundary interference zone.. a few inches out you may notice a more accurate low end... but ONLY after you treat the room.

Good luck!
Old 17th November 2009
  #6
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Read everything on your site for faq, etc., Edgar. Very helpful. thx

Sorry John, not quite getting one thing: When you say checkerboard, do you mean checkerboard them vs. the bare wall... or them vs. diffusion panels, or...

Well, I have a nice deep window frame behind the blinds, so I suppose I could figue out how to put a panel in the frame... and remove it if I need to for light.

I realized as I started to set up in here the books would be better behind me... but the chair won't fit on the side, (and pic isn't quite to scale because there's really no extra space in middle of room)... which would mean there is absolutely no place for anyone but me to sit... which is a whole other sort of problem. So, it can be done, but I need to considder seating and some other issues due to limited space as well. I should mention there is a bit of checkerboarding there as they are bassic ladder frame shelves where on each shelf I have maybe 12 inches of books with 6-8 inches of bare wall, then another 12 inches of books, 6-8 inches of bare wall... which is why I was thinking maybe covering wall behind them with absorption to get that checkerboard automatically. Now, I realize if they stay on side wall, I have additional first reflection issue... better on back wall for that.

Noise bleed isn't an issue at all with the door... I prefer to just keep them open... just wondering if I should hang something over the glass... which would also mean you can't see through them... and maybe let me put some sort of bass panel behind them if that's helpful...

I am trying where possible to consider aesthetics as well, would it be possible instead of checkerboarding to cover an entire surface with broadband absorption, and then hang several very dimensional sculptures with many jutting surfaces over them and get the combination of absorption and diffusion that way? If so, how much does the material matter? I have several metal sculptures already that are nearly random shapes... and a giant plaster one as well.

Also... is there anything in particular I should do to deal with asymmetry of door opening?

The furniture is bigger than in the picture, and I'm out of room, so panels on stands is probably not going to work very well. I could just in front of window, but also the blinds I was referring to... are actually hand painted... I designed them, and the painting alone took over a year to complete... those blinds are the most striking thing in the house.... so would it be possible to put the panel in window frame and just pull back blinds when necessary? Also, they can flip so they all angle forward or back... is there any particular benefit to this? they are all same direction, but not parallel with anything else.

Reading up about carpeted floors too. Would I be better off doing thick absorption on ceiling and maybe covering a good bit of the floor with some quick lock laminate? (just laid over the carpet.)

The front wall, there's nothing above the desk once you go above monitors and screen. I could just do enormous bass trap that covers top of entire front wall... any benefit to that vs. just in corners?

Edited to add: I am aware of the squareness of the room being an issue, have taken a basic look at node issues which I don't fully understand. I'm already short on space, but is there anything in particular I can do to "unsquare" the room a bit? If so, what sort of distance? A few inches? Maybe not with an entire wall, but perhaps in certain part of back wall or....
Old 18th November 2009
  #7
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Well, I may have found a way to move bookcase to back wall so I can do absorber of first reflecton on that side... and put a bench there down lower.

What about using very dimensional sculptures with many jutting bits for diffusion? Is it a reasonable compromise, or sonically unacceptable?
Old 18th November 2009
  #8
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jhbrandt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
What about using very dimensional sculptures with many jutting bits for diffusion? Is it a reasonable compromise, or sonically unacceptable?
It will probably do something, but I wouldn't count on much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
Sorry John, not quite getting one thing: When you say checkerboard, do you mean checkerboard them vs. the bare wall... or them vs. diffusion panels, or...
By checker-boarding, I mean: Don't cover the entire wall. You will get about the same absorption with half the panels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
I am trying where possible to consider aesthetics as well, would it be possible instead of checkerboarding to cover an entire surface with broadband absorption, and then hang several very dimensional sculptures with many jutting surfaces over them and get the combination of absorption and diffusion that way? If so, how much does the material matter? I have several metal sculptures already that are nearly random shapes... and a giant plaster one as well.
This is exactly what I am talking about.. and everybody does it. It is an ineffective use of absorption. You can leave spaces between panels and get about the same absorption due to edge diffraction tending to alter the wave-fronts... Only make sure that there are no exposed untreated walls facing each other.

The sculptures probably won't do much for diffusion.. especially because your room is small. You will get all the diffusion you need from checker-boarding the absorptive panels.

And don't worry about asymmetry. Your room is too small, so you will have lots of absorption panels about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
The furniture is bigger than in the picture, and I'm out of room, so panels on stands is probably not going to work very well. I could just in front of window...
.. and yes panel on a stand in front of the window only.. OR you could mount some hooks just above the window so that you can hang a portable panel on wires right in front of the window.thumbsup

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
so would it be possible to put the panel in window frame and just pull back blinds when necessary? Also, they can flip so they all angle forward or back... is there any particular benefit to this? they are all same direction, but not parallel with anything else.
In the window behind the blinds would work too... as long as the blinds are open. The angling of the blinds may add some character... good? - I don't know. It's a very small room and you definitely do not want any early reflections.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
The front wall, there's nothing above the desk once you go above monitors and screen. I could just do enormous bass trap that covers top of entire front wall... any benefit to that vs. just in corners?
That is a corner. It's a horizontal corner and it works very well there too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
I'm already short on space, but is there anything in particular I can do to "unsquare" the room a bit? If so, what sort of distance? A few inches? Maybe not with an entire wall, but perhaps in certain part of back wall or....
Move the wall??? Really, IMHO, don't worry about it. The trouble may not be worth it in your case. Just trap the heck out it and get your RFZ and go make some music.
Old 18th November 2009
  #9
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OK.

Would it be preferable, tho, to have some sort of diffusion rather than bare wall in the negative bits of the checkerboard?

Also, I have a large 40inch flatscreen in between my monitors. Would it be helpful to angle it down just a bit so it's not such a bright parallel reflection to back wall?

And the doors... would you angle them in a bit? Hang tapestries over them? 7 feet of flat glass there.
Old 19th November 2009
  #10
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jhbrandt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
Would it be preferable, tho, to have some sort of diffusion rather than bare wall in the negative bits of the checkerboard?
Yes, it can usually help, BUT your room is so small that any rich diffusion may only interfere. You want to eliminate early reflections... and in your room every reflection will be early.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
Also, I have a large 40inch flatscreen in between my monitors. Would it be helpful to angle it down just a bit so it's not such a bright parallel reflection to back wall?
I wouldn't worry too much about that one. It's behind the speakers and you will be in front of in - in between it and the back wall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
And the doors... would you angle them in a bit? Hang tapestries over them? 7 feet of flat glass there.
Tapestries would be nice.

Oh, btw, his name is not Edgar ... it's Ethan.
Old 19th November 2009
  #11
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Ahh... sorry, Ethan.

Well, bookshelf being behind me willl definitely be quite a bit of reflection... semi-diffuse as it may be. I'll do it if I have to, but I'd prefer not to have to get rid of beautiful chair and buy something else to sit on.

If the purpose is to eliminate early reflections, what about leaving it where it is to my right, and hanging a large panel in front of it that can be moved to allow me access to books, but more than covers any early reflections... then fill in entire giant window on opposite side so no parallel. That way I can also put more absorption on back wall. Remember too this 40inch screen is extremely large in this small space, so large portion of my "front wall" is automatically reflective... certainly need to deaden back wall in center of room, right?

OOOOHHH! just had good idea i think.

They are ladder type bookshelves, so leaning with bottom kicked out and narrow top... what about just making very large panels and placing panels in front of them leaning on them, so panels not only absorb all the mid-high stuff, but I get to keep my chair, I get more absorption in the room, AND... they are angled, thus breaking the parallel with the window wall.
Old 21st November 2009
  #12
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OK, I am taking measurements tonight and will buy some mdf tomorrow, figure out where to get insulation, etc ... so I hope to have this done by next weekend... depending on materials I suppose.

One other thing, though... I want to make sure I'm getting the best sound in the room... and part of that is what's coming from my monitors. Not sure which forum to ask this one in, but since it ties into treatment...

I have a pair of Mackie HR824's, and I've long since tossed the documentation. I'd like to make sure I have the appropriate settings for the switches in back for my particular room.

Switches read:

First is "accoustic space." Options are whole, half, and quarter. Speakers are a little over a foot from the back wall, but room is small, so they are only 3-4 feet from side walls. I may end up moving them a bit further from back wall, but if side walls are that close, is this truly (half) space?

Second is LF cut. Options are 37, 47, and 80hz

Third is HF cut. Options are -2db, 0db, and +2db

And there's also a switch for input sensitivity. It's been so long since I learned this stuff, I'm not sure. I'm coming from my computer into my 828 directly into the mackie powered monitors. Options read "off," "-10" and "normal."

Room is not currently, but will shortly be very heavily treated with 4" panels, and some pretty serious bass trapping with a bit of diffusion, but mainly absorption and trapping to compensate for it's small and boxy 12foot7 square shape.
Old 23rd November 2009
  #13
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Keep thinking I'm ready, but new questions pop up. Not sure if I should be doing frk or not for corner bass traps... or if I just need to deaden room as much as possible given it's small size.
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