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Room Acoustics - Ghetto Style Modular Synthesizers
Old 9th November 2014
  #1
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Room Acoustics - Ghetto Style

I put a HUGE DISCLAIMER at the beginning of this post: if you are planning to get nerdy over designing a PERFECT Mix Room, plus you’re ready to stop making music for a year, or have put 100 grand aside for that purpose, then this article is NOT FOR YOU!

If you’re ready to go Ghetto Style – here we go:

Lack of Acoustic Room Treatment is the single biggest cause of frustration during the mixing process. Records are made at people’s homes today, and with the music industry on a “Titanic”-course, this won’t change any time soon.

The majority of producers are set up in an untreated small or midsize bed- or living room.

The TOTAL COST of our Ghetto Style Room Treatment is $ 300. And I bet you it easily beats any $ 1000 pre-made room treatment set you can buy.

This article is not gonna give you an in-depth theory-lesson on room acoustics – instead I will show you the cheapest ghetto-way to give your mix room a massive improvement – without breaking the bank.
Don’t get me wrong: when you look into the rooms designed by folks like Northward Acoustics (currently one of the top teams in that field, just as an example), they are totally worth the money.
I’ve been involved in a few studio-builds, and you can easily spend $ 50K and more building a top quality high-end room.

If your plan is making music – DON’T DO IT! (just my 2 cents)

Instead – do the following…

I promise, you will be able to make this happen. On a budget. Ghetto-style.

ROOM ACOUSTICS – GHETTO STYLE
1. First rule
The speakers and you have to build an equilateral triangle.




Self explaining, right? I’m sure you’ve seen this before!

2. Early Reflections from the sides
This picture explains the problem best… right side is treated, left side on untreated:




Ideally, we only want the direct sound that comes from the speakers (-> green arrows) to reach our ears.

But unfortunately, some of the sound goes to the sidewall and bounces back from the wall to your ear (-> red arrows), and that journey adds a millisecond of a delay to the direct signal, which causes some nasty phase cancellation – NOT GOOD!

The graphic shows an absorber mounted on the right hand side to the listener (producer/engineer), and you can see how it doesn’t reflect back anymore (-> yellow arrows).

SOLUTION
A relatively basic absorber does the job. This could be a self-made wooden frame covered with cloth, and some Rockwool behind (or Owens Corning 703 fiberglass boards).

Note: this is NOT, and doesn’t have to be a Bass Trap. One layer of Rockwool is sufficient.

$ 20 half a pack of rockwool
$ 20 squared timber
$ 10 cloth
$ 10 misc.
– – – – –
$ 50


2. Early Reflections from the ceiling

Yep, the ceiling has the same effect as the side-walls. Sound bounces back from the ceiling and mixes with the direct signal when arriving at your ear.
Thats why we put another absorber above your head. It’s called an “Acoustic Ceiling Cloud”.



For my own mix room I have built a 3 x 3 meter ceiling cloud made of a timber frame, covered with cloth, and a layer of Rockwool on the back of it.



I made it that large mainly because the console underneath is almost 4 meters wide.

The one thing you need to be extremely careful with, is assuring that the ceiling cloud can’t fall down on your head.
In my own room we drilled 6 massive hooks into the ceiling and used them to attach the ceiling cloud.

The cloud in your own room doesn’t have to be that large, if it covers the area above the speakers and above your listening position it will do the job.

Breakdown of the material list would be similar to the two Absorbers:

$ 20 half a pack of rockwool
$ 20 squared timber
$ 10 cloth
$ 10 misc.
– – – – –
$ 50


3. Improving the low-end of your room

This is easy;
• make sure you have at least 50 centimeters of free space between the wall you’re looking at, and your equipment/speakers
• stack 4 large packs of Rockwool in each corner (8 packs total)
• find a way to secure the Rockwool-packs, so they can’t fall on your equipment



The eight packs of Rockwool are about $ 200, which adds the total cost of our Ghetto-Style room treatment up to roughly $ 300.

Here’s the final plan for your new room:

http://i1.wp.com/www.mixedbymarcmoza...e_complete.jpg

Optionally, as you can see in the drawing, you can plaster the entire back wall with Rockwool. Adds a few hundred $ more to your bill and can further help the linearity of the low-end in your room.

THE 10-MINUTE ROOM TEST

Here’s a YouTube-clip with test tones I’ve created with Logic Pro – you can playback this clip to do the test I’m describing below, if you want to skip setting this up in your DAW.

Be careful – this clip starts with subsonic frequencies you won’t hear in most rooms!
In about 47 seconds you will know how ****ty your room sounds. Just listen and let me know if the volume of the test tone is perfectly consistent?



1. Find a test tone generator in your DAW software.
Most DAWs come with an oscillator or test tone generator for creating a basic sine-tone (if in doubt, google „test tone generator daw“ + the name of your software).
The frequency of the oscillator can be set. (You can also use a synth playing a sine-wave, THIS LIST shows the range of notes needed)

2. Turn the volume of your speakers fully down.
…to not destroy the speakers or your ears, as test tone generators can produce some nasty high tones! (which we don’t need for what we’re doing today)

3. Set the test tone generator (or synth) up.
In Logic Pro, for example, the oscillator can be inserted as a plug-in, in any track or even output.
Set the output level of the test tone to -18dB and start with a frequency of 100Hz (G2 on a keyboard).

4. Turn your speakers up slowly, until you can just hear the low 100Hz tone clearly.
Do not turn it up too much – at a low volume it will be easier for you to notice changes in level, which will be important.

5. Bring the frequency of the oscillator down, slowly – step by step.
Take your time, change the frequency gradually from 100Hz down to the lowest available frequency, but take a minute to do that.

Notice how the level of the tone keeps changing? On some frequencies the signal might seem to disappear completely, on others it’s louder than the original 100Hz tone.

If you are listening on small speakers, the tone will disappear completely when you reach a certain frequency, this could be around 40/50Hz if you don’t have a subwoofer. Keep going down to perhaps 20Hz, even if you don’t hear the tone any more.

6. Take notes of what you hear.
I’m now explaining you how to write down what we hear. Finish reading the rest of this article before you start. It’s quick and easy but there are a few steps involved.
Starting with a test tone of 20Hz, we will gradually move up the frequencies – and make notes about how we hear the volume changing.
We take notes using the simple categories
“NO TONE”
– you don’t hear a test tone
“LOW”
– you can hear it, but it’s lower than the average
“NORMAL”
– the average level of the test tone throughout all frequencies
“HIGH”
– when it’s louder than average

Click on the chart below and print it out.
(the left arrow going up shows the level you are hearing, the arrow in the middle going to the right is for the frequency of the test tone, starting at 20Hz, going up to 293Hz)



Once you have printed the chart (you could draw this in 2min if you don’t have a printer close by), start going up with the frequency from 20Hz all the way to 300Hz, and make corresponding little crosses on your printed chart.
The only slight challenge is that you have to look at your computer screen to see the current test tone frequency displayed in the test tone generator, while making a subjective judgement of the perceived volume.

Here is an example on how the chart of my own test looked:



(for example, at 20Hz I heard “NO TONE” hence the cross on the bottom left, at 130Hz the tone was really “HIGH”… you get the idea)

BTW, just in case you are wondering why we won’t go above 300Hz… the low end spectrum is most important for the overall balance of your room, and it takes a lot more effort to fix this, while getting the mids and treble right (in comparison) is almost a trivial task when it comes to room treatment.

7. Once you’re done, connect the dots, and voilà – here’s the low end frequency curve of your room!!



Note, this is the frequency response at your listening position. The measurement curve can look different by changing your listening position even a few inches. Also, the graph doesn’t tell you anything about the reverb-time of the room which is equally important (we’ll measure that in the next part).

For the graph above I did the test in my home office, which is a completely untreated and small square room with a pair of cheap active computer speakers. The results are really bad, the peak at 130Hz as well at the notch around 207Hz would make this room a serious headache to mix in.

I'm looking forward to your comments - there is an online-version of this post on my website that I will keep updating with new ideas.

Keep it ghetto!

Cheers,
Marc
Mixed by Marc Mozart.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Here for the gear
Hello

why would you only want to catch early reflections from one side?

thanks

Jason
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Here for the gear
I'm still curious about the above question. I have pretty low end acoustic treatment similar to what you mention except i am trying to dampen early reflections from both sides. Is there a reason you recommend just doing one side?

Thanks
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Jason Foi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjason71 View Post
I'm still curious about the above question. I have pretty low end acoustic treatment similar to what you mention except i am trying to dampen early reflections from both sides. Is there a reason you recommend just doing one side?

Thanks
You want to treat all first reflection points. Both side walls, ceiling, and rear wall, and anywhere else causing reflections that show up in your ETC on REW. Room acoustics is a science, half way, "ghetto" treatment gets you exactly that. Half way "ghetto" results. If youre doing DIY it doesnt have to be rediculously expensive to get good results.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Here for the gear
Yeah I would think both side walls as well...this just has one and I thought maybe there was some logic to that that I cant fathom...
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjason71 View Post
Yeah I would think both side walls as well...this just has one and I thought maybe there was some logic to that that I cant fathom...
If you look at the final plan for the room it shows all reflection point absorbers in place.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by molelos View Post
If you look at the final plan for the room it shows all reflection point absorbers in place.
The final plan in the original thread posted here seems to be the one below: it has no absorber on the left wall... Only on the right wall and the ceiling...

I didn't see any other plan posted after that one... Just links to off-site locations that I won't bother visiting. If a poster can't be bothered to take the trouble to put all relevant images in his own thread, then I can't be bothered to go looking for them.

That said, there's so many other things wrong with this plan that it's not really worth commenting on ("Rule #1 ", for example, is totally incorrect, as are many other comments). Plus, the OP specifically said that he didn't want any comments that might help to improve it: he was so satisfied with the outcome that he apparently doesn't want to know how it could be improved further... He wasn't aiming to make the room really good, apparently: just get it a little better.

So be it!
Attached Thumbnails
Room Acoustics - Ghetto Style-final-plan-.jpg  
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Gear Maniac
Er

The picture is obviously showing the difference between having an absorber and not having an absorber.

Its fine go on tell us how you make it better with a total budget of $300? With a detailed breakdown of exact costs.

Last edited by Carl Freeland; 1 week ago at 09:09 AM.. Reason: detail
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Freeland View Post

Its fine go on tell us how you make it better with a total budget of $300? With a detailed breakdown of exact costs.
To me this thread reads as a sarcastic joke that the OP was playing on green "newbies". I mean, his sig lists a 4000 G so I find it hard to believe he would actually take his own advice. Spend $25K+ on an SSL console and allocate a mere $300 for CR treatment ? Seems like he's playing a devious joke knowing that those with even a little knowledge will see thru it, and perhaps that those who are truly "green" might actually fall for it -- basically leading them to the acoustics "slaughterhouse" of failure !
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Here for the gear
ah yes i see in that link he has a different pic with both walls treated...he moves on to the ceiling and still is using the pic with only one treated so i thought that was how he was leaving it...

Its better to have a room treated like this than not treated at all, correct? Do people think otherwise?
Old 1 week ago
  #11
He is toally right....
This thread and treatment method is what most kids are willing to spend for their treatment.
Its efficent and gives you an idea of what you are aiming for in the first place.
get rid of ER and try to improve your low end by using cheap Basstraps for the corners....

You guys are acting like he got everything wrong or trys to fool people...

Why tho'? he is absolutely right and helps like 20 guys a week who are asking for real cheap treatment advice.

So here we go....

The basic rules on how to improve your bedroom to get better results mixing or producing beats n stuff.

All good in my opinion.

Keep cool guys, most kids do not even have that 300 $ budget.

Please no carpet or egg box recomendations!


You could also explain that leaving an "air" space between your abdsorption panels and the wall with the same width as the absorber panels can improve your results by 100 %
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by SecretSociety View Post
He is toally right....
This thread and treatment method is what most kids are willing to spend for their treatment.
Its efficent and gives you an idea of what you are aiming for in the first place.
get rid of ER and try to improve your low end by using cheap Basstraps for the corners....

You guys are acting like he got everything wrong or trys to fool people...

Why tho'? he is absolutely right and helps like 20 guys a week who are asking for real cheap treatment advice.

So here we go....

The basic rules on how to improve your bedroom to get better results mixing or producing beats n stuff.

All good in my opinion.

Keep cool guys, most kids do not even have that 300 $ budget.

Please no carpet or egg box recomendations!


You could also explain that leaving an "air" space between your abdsorption panels and the wall with the same width as the absorber panels can improve your results by 100 %
I agree. Why is it that so many threads on gearslutz get de-railed by pedantic semantics. Because people only read one line and then post an essay on how their way is the only way. Still not heard any suggestions on how you could improve this advice within the $300 budget.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by sage691 View Post
To me this thread reads as a sarcastic joke that the OP was playing on green "newbies". I mean, his sig lists a 4000 G so I find it hard to believe he would actually take his own advice. Spend $25K+ on an SSL console and allocate a mere $300 for CR treatment ? Seems like he's playing a devious joke knowing that those with even a little knowledge will see thru it, and perhaps that those who are truly "green" might actually fall for it -- basically leading them to the acoustics "slaughterhouse" of failure !
OK then specifically what is wrong with this advice within the context of a $300 budget? Are you saying that treating the early reflection points is a bad idea? Corner traps a bad idea? Absorption a bad idea? Having an SSL console a bad idea?
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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I also think its pretty good advice. He needs better pictures and explinations but the basic plan is decent in the final link. My biggest gripes against it are not using REW to measure (much simpler and more accurate) and the fact that he seems to advise leaving the insullation in the bags. This will lower the performance of the traps. It would be better to cover the whole back wall a minimum of 24" deep with the batts fluffed up. It would cost maybe $75 more to build the frame for that.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Its fine go on tell us how you make it better with a total budget of $300? With a detailed breakdown of exact costs.
Oh dear! Looks like I stepped on somebody's toes! Gee whiz...

As I mentioned, there are many problems with the advice, starting with the OPs' "Rule #1 ", that reads: "The speakers and you have to build an equilateral triangle."That simply is not true. It's a very common myth, but not true. The truth is that you should be in a triangular arrangement, yes, but not necessarily an equilateral triangle. That is bad advice. Your head should, indeed, be the same distance from both speakers, but there is no need for that distance to also be the same as the distance between the speakers. Pure myth.

I'm sure you are about to argue that this arrangement is published in pretty much every speaker manual, and spread all around the internet, so therefore it cannot be a myth. But it is. There is no acoustic or psycho-acoustic reason for such a setup. Rather, it is much better to put the speakers in their optimal location for the room, then put the mix position in it's optimal location, and set the speaker toe-in angle accordingly, regardless of what that angle turns out to be. If it happens to be 30° then wonderful! And if happens to NOT be 30°, then that's wonderful too! It is what it is.

Oh, and the cost of doing that is "nothing at all", which is a bit cheaper than the arbitrary limit you placed on my advice. Which means that so far, I'm doing way better than the OP...

Ahh, but you wanted a cost breakdown, so here it goes:

- Move speakers to correct location in room: US$ 0.00
- Move mix position to to correct location in room: US$ 0.00
- Toe-in speakers to correct angle for mix position: US$ 0.00
TOTAL COST: US$ 0.00

Benefit: best psycho-acoustic response, clean, accurate sound stage, good stereo image, better sweet spot.

Happy?

The next totally wrong advice:

"make sure you have at least 50 centimeters of free space between the wall you’re looking at, and your equipment/speakers "Absolutely and completely wrong. Doing that would create a huge SBIR dip in the frequency response at 80Hz to 100Hz (depending on the size of your speakers). As every acoustician will tell you, if you have a speaker a short distance away from a wall, then you WILL get SBIR artifacts. The only solution is to either place the speaker far enough away from the wall that the SBIR dip is below the audio spectrum, or if the room is too small for that, then place the speakers right up against the front wall, which forces the SBIR dip up into the low-mid range, where it is not so terribly obtrusive, and can probably even be attenuated with suitable treatment on the front wall.

Cost of setting up speakers against the front wall, instead of with a 50cm gap: US$ 0.00

Total cost so far: US$ 0.00

Benefit: No SBIR in the low frequency end of the spectrum.

Third incorrect advice: "Ideally, we only want the direct sound that comes from the speakers (-> green arrows) to reach our ears.". Wrong. You only want the direct sound, yes... but just for the first 20ms or so! After that, it is critically important to have a good diffuse field returned by the rear end of the room, around 20 dB
down in intensity. With no diffuse field, your brain doesn't have a point of reference for the acoustic signature of the room, and thus isn't able to correctly identify the size of the room, in order to take it into account when judging reverb tails, reflections, sound-stage, etc.

There's no cost attached to this one (thus cost is US$ 0 once again), because the real correction here is a basic misunderstanding of acoustic principles and room design.

Next up: "But unfortunately, some of the sound goes to the sidewall and bounces back from the wall to your ear (-> red arrows), and that journey adds a millisecond of a delay to the direct signal, which causes some nasty phase cancellation – NOT GOOD!" Wrong again! The delay would only be 1 millisecond if the difference in path length was exactly one foot, which would only happen in a really, really, REALLY small room. Typically, the delay is several times longer than that! Also, the delay is NOT added to the direct signal, as stated by the OP: Rather, the delay is added to the REFLECTED signal. Ignorance of acoustic principles once again visible. Simple logic tells you that the signal taking the longer path is the one that is delayed, not the signal that took the direct path. Plus, a reflection at just 1ms is not necessarily bad: the critical range is about 4ms to about 20ms, give or take a few on each end. That's the range taht messes with your psycho-acoustic ability to correctly determine directionality and real frequency response of the signal. That's often referred to as the Haaas time, or the precedence effect window, and is a key reason behind the studio design concepts such as LEDE, NER, CID, and RFZ.

Next issue: "The graphic shows an absorber mounted on the right hand side to the listener (producer/engineer), and you can see how it doesn’t reflect back anymore (-> yellow arrows)." Yup, you guessed it: "Wrong yet again"! A thin absorber on the wall does NOT prevent all reflections from reaching the mix position. Not even close. It attenuates the reflections, yes, but it does not create a situation where "it doesn’t reflect back anymore". Typical porous absorbers only have coefficients of around .8 or .9 in the mid range, and far less in the low end (less than .3, usually), so at best they are just knocking off a few dB from the reflection. It has to be very thick before it has a decent effect on even the low mids, and insanely thick to get down into the lows.

Once again, the cost is US$ 0.00, because the statement is simply incorrect. Yes, absorbers on the first reflection points are a good idea, but no, they do not accomplish what the OP claimed the accomplish. Angled panels on the first reflection points are far more useful, s throw in a sheet of OSB, MDF, or plywood for a few bucks, placed at an angle behind the absorber, and you'll get a more reasonable result.

Next: "stack 4 large packs of Rockwool in each corner (8 packs total)": What type of Rockwool? The company makes MANY different products, and not all of them are meant to be used as acoustic treatment. In addition, stacked like that just two packages high does not reach the ceiling, so it is not in the most effective location for treating room modes.

For some unknown reason, he shows those in the FRONT corners, which are not the most effective for bass trapping. They work, yes, but the REAR corners are more useful... yet there's no suggestion of doing that. So this advice is wrong as well. Stack them in the rear corners.

Cost of moving insulation stack from each front corner to rear corner: US$ 0.00 each, times two = US$ 0.00

Also, the text says to stack four in each front corner, total 8, cost US$ 200, but the "final plan" image shows SIX in each front corner (total 12, cost US$ 300), plus an additional SIXTEEN stacked across the rear wall (eight on each side, double high), for another US$ 400.... so the OP lied about the cost: It's over US$ 800 so far, and that's without counting the extras that he forget to mention. So probably close to US$ 1000... Which sort of brings into question his original claim that his solution "easily beats any $ 1000 pre-made room treatment set you can buy." His solution costs about the same, and does not beat a properly designed solution, either commercial or DIY.

There's also the minor issue of room size: the OP said he was going to show us how to treat a typical small room, yet when he gets on to clouds, he shows a picture of his cloud, with plenty of space around it, and says: "For my own mix room I have built a 3 x 3 meter ceiling cloud" So he built a cloud that is 3 METERS long by 3 METERS wide, and there's lots of space between that and the walls? In other words, the room isn't actually that small at all! If the cloud is over the mix position, then it is about one third of the way into the room. So let's say 1m form front wall to cloud, the cloud is 3m long, and it isn't yet half of the room. Thus, the room is likely 8 m long, or more, and at least 5m wide... Not many home studios have the luxury of a 40m2 room to work in... that's over 400 square feet. Even if the image is deceiving, and there's only 50cm on the front and sides, and just 2,5m to the rear wall, the room is still 6m x 4m = 24 m2 = 260 ft2. In other words, it is NOT a typical small home studio! At that size, it would have decent acoustics that didn't need too much treatment to make it usable....

Then finally, he writes a heading in large black letters saying "THE 10-MINUTE ROOM TEST"... and proceeds to give you an explanation that would likely take a couple of hours to complete, including hand-drawing a detailed on paper, carefully labeled with both musical notes and frequencies! I challenge anyone to print out those instructions, sit down at their DAW, then produce the same results in "10 minutes".

He then has the audacity to say that "this is the frequency response at your listening position.". I had to laugh at that! That curve is nothing at all like what the REAL frequency response would be at the listening position! What a joke!

On the other hand, by using REW you really could have an accurate test of your room, and could do so inside of ten minutes. Any old mic you happen to have on hand, hooked up to your DAW, would give far, far more accurate results than a few hand-drawn "x" marks on a piece of paper.

Cost of installing REW on your DAW: US$ 0.00
Cost of running REW: US$ 0.00

Benefit: Infinitely more useful for understanding the performance of the room (as compared to making doodles on paper), even with a terrible mic and no configuration of REW at all. Just plug in the mic and run the test, no setup or config, and it will be MUCH better than the cartoon. If you take the time to setup REW properly, and use a good mic, it will be even better still.

Then comes another bunch of total garbage: "BTW, just in case you are wondering why we won’t go above 300Hz… the low end spectrum is most important for the overall balance of your room, and it takes a lot more effort to fix this, while getting the mids and treble right (in comparison) is almost a trivial task when it comes to room treatment." So glaringly wrong that it isn't even worthy of commenting... but I will anyway: the "balance" of a room does not come from the low end. It comes form the mids and highs. What comes from the low end, bass tightness, clarity, and smoothness. Low frequencies are not even directional, so there is no "balance" down there (unless he's using the word incorrectly, perhaps out of ignorance of English usage, as related to studios?).

And I'm really glad that he thinks that treating the mids and highs is "is almost a trivial task "! I reckon a lot of people who have actually treated their home studios successfully, would disagree with that, while laughing hilarious at the sheer silliness of the claim...

Yeah, it's difficult to treat the low end: not in question. But treating the high end is not a piece of cake!

Then the cherry on the cake is this: "Here is an example on how the chart of my own test looked:" where he proudly presents his hand-drawn squiggles on paper, leading you to assume that this is what he got AFTER implementing all of his treatment... that only seems logical... however, there's a note several paragraphs later, right near the end, and easily missed, where he admits that the results he shows actually are totally unrelated to his room, or anything he did in it: "For the graph above I did the test in my home office, which is a completely untreated and small square room with a pair of cheap active computer speakers. " So why in hell bother to post results that have no relationship at all to the treatment he is so feverishly promoting??? Why why why?

Oh, yeah, and the total cost so far of correcting the silly original post, to make it actually usable for a typical home studio, is about US$ 0.00, plus the cost of a couple of bits of OSB.

The results would be a vast improvement over this advice, which does not actually cost US$ 300 anyway, as advertised, but rather more like US$ 1,000, which he encouraged you to NOT spend, as it wasn't worth it... So strange to say "Don't spend US$ 1,000 on treating your room! Instead, spend just US$ 1,000 to treat your room!" Ummm..... Maybe a more accurate description would have been: "Don't spend US$ 1,000 on treating your room the professional way, and getting good results! Instead, spend just US$ 1,000 to treat your room my way, and get a disaster that is so bad even I didn't want to show the actual results I got!".

(PS: He also links to a website that shows the same advice, saying that there will be regular updates, but there haven't been any on over four years....)
Old 6 days ago
  #16
Gear Maniac
Thumbs up Great post and why

The OP is really good for the following reasons that were clearly intimated within the text.

1. It won't put off the inexperienced by using too much technical language.

2. Despite being open to nit picky pedantic and obvious critique this IS a good starting point in general.

3. The equilateral triangle thing is not a myth. But I do agree that as the studio has not been designed from the ground up it is unlikely that some toe in or out would not be needed to fine tune the image. But it is a good starting point and as you learn you can experiment. Speaker manufacturers tell you to use 30 degrees if they design the speakers to be used like this. Also some people like a wider fizzier image and some like a tight and dense image. I have a nicely focused phantom centre here and my speakers are almost exactly in an equilateral triangle. Could be a coincidence I guess.

4. You don't have to read yet another epic thread about SBIR

5. It will be a lot better than doing nothing.

Very clever the way he says things like just stack up your Rockwool in the packs in the corners. To translate this for you what he obviously really means in more verbose terms is...

"theres no bloody way anybody with any sense would leave it like that forever, they will probably go on the acoustics forum to find out which Rockwool is best and how to make a corner trap" etc etc etc. Clever.

Very positive and encouraging post. Gets people off their arses doing and thinking about stuff.

There seems to be a compulsion for some that they must read every word written and take its meaning to a literal nth degree. Then they can morbidly pick at the bones after they have ignored the meat and write exactly the sort of vile off-putting essay ramble you see all over gearslutz. In reality there are NO absolutes that can be expressed concisely. Especially in acoustics.

We need to use language more efficiently and in context to communicate without going insane.

He painted a picture and I saw what he meant. No I don't mean he actually painted a picture!

We need more fun stuff like this.

Lets make acoustics fun again! Great post. How about a ghetto acoustics sub forum.
Old 6 days ago
  #17
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Jason Foi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Freeland View Post
The OP is really good for the following reasons that were clearly intimated within the text.

1. It won't put off the inexperienced by using too much technical language.

2. Despite being open to nit picky pedantic and obvious critique this IS a good starting point in general.

3. The equilateral triangle thing is not a myth. But I do agree that as the studio has not been designed from the ground up it is unlikely that some toe in or out would not be needed to fine tune the image. But it is a good starting point and as you learn you can experiment. Speaker manufacturers tell you to use 30 degrees if they design the speakers to be used like this. Also some people like a wider fizzier image and some like a tight and dense image. I have a nicely focused phantom centre here and my speakers are almost exactly in an equilateral triangle. Could be a coincidence I guess.

4. You don't have to read yet another epic thread about SBIR

5. It will be a lot better than doing nothing.

Very clever the way he says things like just stack up your Rockwool in the packs in the corners. To translate this for you what he obviously really means in more verbose terms is...

"theres no bloody way anybody with any sense would leave it like that forever, they will probably go on the acoustics forum to find out which Rockwool is best and how to make a corner trap" etc etc etc. Clever.

Very positive and encouraging post. Gets people off their arses doing and thinking about stuff.

There seems to be a compulsion for some that they must read every word written and take its meaning to a literal nth degree. Then they can morbidly pick at the bones after they have ignored the meat and write exactly the sort of vile off-putting essay ramble you see all over gearslutz. In reality there are NO absolutes that can be expressed concisely. Especially in acoustics.

We need to use language more efficiently and in context to communicate without going insane.

He painted a picture and I saw what he meant. No I don't mean he actually painted a picture!

We need more fun stuff like this.

Lets make acoustics fun again! Great post. How about a ghetto acoustics sub forum.
While i mostly agree with what you are saying, the other side of the coin is not so nice. Acoustics is a science and should be treated as such. When someone partially treats their room or incorrectly treats their room, they dont get an ok room to work with usually. They just end up with a different version of a bad room. Thats not really helping them in the long run. It just wastes their time and money and discourages them from further attempts at treating their room properly. The right way is the most costeffective way. Proper measurement and treatment targeted to adress the rooms issues. Guess and check is a fools errand. Cheap IS expensive. So while i do think the bare basics of the OPs post are valid, they are also dangerous.
Old 6 days ago
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
1. It won't put off the inexperienced by using too much technical language.
Anybody who isn't prepared to learn at least a little of the "technical language" probably should not be attempting to treat their room! If someone can't understand what a "bass trap" is, or what a "wall" is, or how to put a "speaker" up against a "wall", then it's doubtful that they would be able to make the room usable at all. There's no need to learn the advance concepts, sure, but you still need to understand the basics. Saying that you don't need to know the basic technical language in order to treat the room, is akin to saying you don't need to know what a "fader" is, or what "high-shelf EQ" does, or what "trim" or "gain" is for, in order to mix... just sort of "twiddle the knobs till it sounds good" without knowing what they do, doesn't seem like a good way of mixing... In the same way "stacking bales of unknown insulation in the corner" doesn't seem like a good way of treating a room acoustically.

Quote:
2. Despite being open to nit picky pedantic and obvious critique this IS a good starting point in general.
Not really. As Jason pointed out, the CONCEPTS are fine, but the IMPLEMENTATION is off. Unless you understand what you are doing, and why, following a bad recipe is not going to give you good results.

Quote:
3. The equilateral triangle thing is not a myth.
Actually, yes it is. Sorry. It just is. Ask any studio designer, and you'll find out that we seldom follow that layout when we design studios. Rather, we search for the optimal layout for every single room individually, because all rooms are different. "One size fits all" doesn't work. Not for clothes, and not for mythical acoustic triangles. As I said, it is a myth that the equilateral triangle is the way that you have to set up your studio in order to have the best sound. It works in most rooms, sure, which is why the speaker manufacturers stick diagrams of it in their manuals.... along with a lot of other advice that designers often ignore, in our pursuit of excellence. If you want a lowest common denominator that sort of works reasonably well for most rooms, then by all means stick to the advice in the manuals, including the infamous equilateral triangle. But if you want the room to be better than merely "OK", then forget the myths, and go with the science.

Quote:
But I do agree that as the studio has not been designed from the ground up it is unlikely that some toe in or out would not be needed to fine tune the image.
In other words, you agree that the equilateral triangle is a myth, since you yourself say that is likely to toe-in or -out will be necessary.... which means that you no longer have an equilateral triangle... Think about it for a bit.... As soon as you toe-in, the triangle is no longer equilateral. So thanks for demonstrating exactly what I was saying all along: It's a myth that this equilateral triangle is the best way for all cases.

Quote:
Speaker manufacturers tell you to use 30 degrees if they design the speakers to be used like this.
It's not related to speaker design at all: No manufacturer designs their speakers to only work at 30° toe-in with 30° intercept. The layout of a room depends on the room, not on whether or not the speakers were designed for a 30° toe-in.

Quote:
I have a nicely focused phantom centre here and my speakers are almost exactly in an equilateral triangle. Could be a coincidence I guess.
It probably is but I'm betting it would be possible to improve on what you have, with careful analysis and careful design...

Quote:
4. You don't have to read yet another epic thread about SBIR
If you don't understand what SBIR is and how to avoid it, or at least minimize it, then your room will be terrible, period. It really is that simple. You only need to take a look at some of the REW graphs posted here by new forum members who don't have their speakers set up correctly, to see it. It's right there, highly visible, in every single graph. Ignoring SBIR is certain way to get lousy acoustic response in your room. It affects the entire spectrum, not just the low end. The famous "SBIR dip" is just the first notch in a massive comb filter that goes right to the top (and beyond).

Quote:
5. It will be a lot better than doing nothing.
You seem to have missed the part of my post where I explained all of the "something" that is needed in addition to basic treatment, to make a room usable.... I'm looking really hard at my post, and just cannot find the part where I said "doing nothing is better". Maybe you can help me out here, and show me where I said that?

Quote:
"theres no bloody way anybody with any sense would leave it like that forever, they will probably go on the acoustics forum to find out which Rockwool is best and how to make a corner trap" etc etc etc. Clever
Not clever at all, actually. Especially considering that you just told us that the original post advice is all that anyone needs. So now you are saying that, after spending the US$ 1,000 or so that the OP calls for, on buying the WRONG Rockwool, then finding out that it didn't work, the newbie user following this advice should then do more research, learn how to ACTUALLY do it right, then spend ANOTHER US$ 1,000 on buying the right Rockwool? That certainly seems to be what you are advocating here.... You say that after they try it and realize they don't want to " leave it like that forever" (in other words, after stacking the wrong product), they should then " go on the acoustics forum to find out which Rockwool is best and how to make a corner trap", in other words: they should "learn the terminology" that you said they don't need to learn, then learn how to actually do a bass trap properly... and all because the advice given in the original post was WRONG! Which was my point entirely. So once again, thanks for demonstrating what I was saying originally: the advice is incomplete, and following it verbatim won't get you a good room.

You seem to be making a habit out of confirming everything I said, even though you are trying to do the opposite...

Quote:
Very positive and encouraging post. Gets people off their arses doing and thinking about stuff.
But you just said that the entire point here was that they DON'T have to think for themselves! They can just do exactly what it says in the original post, and their room will be as good as Blackbird, or Galaxy! So how come you first say they don't need to think for themselves and learn the terminology, but now you say they do? You seem to be contradicting yourself...

Quote:
There seems to be a compulsion for some that they must read every word written and take its meaning to a literal nth degree.
Right. Because words do actually have meanings (News Flash!), and not saying things correctly will mislead people into doing the wrong thing, or not doing the right thing. When people give incorrect advice, it really is a good idea to analyze that, and correct them.

Quote:
Then they can morbidly pick at the bones after they have ignored the meat
Which, incidentally, you seem to be doing quite well yourself...

Quote:
and write exactly the sort of vile off-putting essay ramble you see all over gearslutz.
nice try! I guess we could include your very own "vile off-putting essay ramble" in that category, now couldn't we? You do seem to be rather obsessed with attempting to defend the indefensible, with some rather vile and off-putting rambles. I can't argue with that.

Quote:
In reality there are NO absolutes that can be expressed concisely. Especially in acoustics.
Really? Clearly you haven't studied the science of acoustics very well.... in reality, there is a very large number of acoustic absolutes that can be expressed very concisely. Just because you don't know them, does not mean that they don't exist... But don't worry: once you learn the terminology, and look into the theory, you'll find some. There's plenty of them.

Quote:
We need to use language more efficiently and in context to communicate without going insane.
Well, perhaps for the simple-minded that works, but for people who actually want to understand how to treat their rooms effectively, good clear valid explanations are the only logical way to go about it. There is no need to use language "efficiently", since that would contradict your previous comment: After all, you just told us that "In reality there are NO absolutes that can be expressed concisely", thus implying that the absolutes can only be expressed non-concisely: in other words, with long explanations. Why do you continually contradict yourself? Either things SHOULD be expressed concisely, or they should not. So which is it?

Quote:
He painted a picture and I saw what he meant.
So you are saying that what he said should not be taken at face value? That it was just a picture, illustrating something, but not to be taken literally? It needs more effort and thought and conceptualizing to understand it fully and get it right? I thought you also implied that his advice was spot-on, complete, and nothing else was needed? But now you are saying more IS needed, because what he said was just a picture that needs to be interpreted, in order to get the complete concept?

Quote:
How about a ghetto acoustics sub forum.
Cool idea! How about a ghetto "mastering for cine" forum as well. And a ghetto "tracking symphony orchestras" sub forum, and maybe even a ghetto "neurosurgery for beginners on a low budget" forum. Yup, lets make it FUN!

- Stuart -

Last edited by Soundman2020; 6 days ago at 10:00 PM..
Old 5 days ago
  #19
Moderator
 
Northward's Avatar
Well, I actually think Ghetto style is a bit of a mandatory step in one's early career. Not that I think it's a good or fun step, but kind of necessary. Part of the learning curve. Been there in the mid 90s' - in my family's house basement or attic. Learned a lot. Could be a good "DIY best bang for the buck" type of sub-forum where user's experiences can be shared - though trying as much as possible to keep it in the realm of facts and not myths.
(Quick reminder: some professional Designers are still applying formulas known to be BS and/or purely marketing schemes... It's not only the beginners that are subjected to die hard myths)

Later in life when things are more comfortable a lot of people also tend to forget how difficult it was to start from scratch with no budget and little experience. How stuff that you now forget you even own were seen as Unobtanium.

My advice would be for each to do the best they can within their particular scenario - to balance the gear vs acoustics ratio in their early investment(s). Plan carefully and incrementally over time.

If I were starting today, I would stay 100% ITB at first, get the best speakers I can for my budget, a simple monitoring section or AD/DA interface then focus on and plan DIY acoustic treatment that I can build over time. With all the included plugins you get with the various DAW and free tools like REW and online forum, so much more can be achieved than 20 years ago.

The very real and recurring mistake I see young(er) engineers do is later in life when they invest money in a facility that is not a home studio situation anymore but not quite a pro studio either. Expensive, but still not performing well enough. This "middle area" in studio build & design has by far the worst ROI.

If your career is going well enough that you can think of investing in a pro studio, go big or go home.

A pro studio is about working and delivering better productions, mixes or masters, much faster and with confidence - down the line increasing income which is how these facilities pay for themselves in a few years.

Pretty much all my clients started one way or another in a ghetto style home studio. Talent and years of hard work, no matter the technical situation they were in got them to a very different place now. I have a lot of respect for them.
Old 5 days ago
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Jason Foi's Avatar
 

And yet there's no room in the inn for the one guy i know who really shines at "ghetto acoustics" aka guerilla acoustics... smdh

Pride is silly
Old 5 days ago
  #21
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundman2020 View Post
Anybody who isn't prepared to learn at least a little of the "technical language" probably should not be attempting to treat their room! If someone can't understand what a "bass trap" is, or what a "wall" is, or how to put a "speaker" up against a "wall", then it's doubtful that they would be able to make the room usable at all. There's no need to learn the advance concepts, sure, but you still need to understand the basics. Saying that you don't need to know the basic technical language in order to treat the room, is akin to saying you don't need to know what a "fader" is, or what "high-shelf EQ" does, or what "trim" or "gain" is for, in order to mix... just sort of "twiddle the knobs till it sounds good" without knowing what they do, doesn't seem like a good way of mixing... In the same way "stacking bales of unknown insulation in the corner" doesn't seem like a good way of treating a room acoustically.

Not really. As Jason pointed out, the CONCEPTS are fine, but the IMPLEMENTATION is off. Unless you understand what you are doing, and why, following a bad recipe is not going to give you good results.

Actually, yes it is. Sorry. It just is. Ask any studio designer, and you'll find out that we seldom follow that layout when we design studios. Rather, we search for the optimal layout for every single room individually, because all rooms are different. "One size fits all" doesn't work. Not for clothes, and not for mythical acoustic triangles. As I said, it is a myth that the equilateral triangle is the way that you have to set up your studio in order to have the best sound. It works in most rooms, sure, which is why the speaker manufacturers stick diagrams of it in their manuals.... along with a lot of other advice that designers often ignore, in our pursuit of excellence. If you want a lowest common denominator that sort of works reasonably well for most rooms, then by all means stick to the advice in the manuals, including the infamous equilateral triangle. But if you want the room to be better than merely "OK", then forget the myths, and go with the science.

In other words, you agree that the equilateral triangle is a myth, since you yourself say that is likely to toe-in or -out will be necessary.... which means that you no longer have an equilateral triangle... Think about it for a bit.... As soon as you toe-in, the triangle is no longer equilateral. So thanks for demonstrating exactly what I was saying all along: It's a myth that this equilateral triangle is the best way for all cases.

It's not related to speaker design at all: No manufacturer designs their speakers to only work at 30° toe-in with 30° intercept. The layout of a room depends on the room, not on whether or not the speakers were designed for a 30° toe-in.

It probably is but I'm betting it would be possible to improve on what you have, with careful analysis and careful design...

If you don't understand what SBIR is and how to avoid it, or at least minimize it, then your room will be terrible, period. It really is that simple. You only need to take a look at some of the REW graphs posted here by new forum members who don't have their speakers set up correctly, to see it. It's right there, highly visible, in every single graph. Ignoring SBIR is certain way to get lousy acoustic response in your room. It affects the entire spectrum, not just the low end. The famous "SBIR dip" is just the first notch in a massive comb filter that goes right to the top (and beyond).

You seem to have missed the part of my post where I explained all of the "something" that is needed in addition to basic treatment, to make a room usable.... I'm looking really hard at my post, and just cannot find the part where I said "doing nothing is better". Maybe you can help me out here, and show me where I said that?

Not clever at all, actually. Especially considering that you just told us that the original post advice is all that anyone needs. So now you are saying that, after spending the US$ 1,000 or so that the OP calls for, on buying the WRONG Rockwool, then finding out that it didn't work, the newbie user following this advice should then do more research, learn how to ACTUALLY do it right, then spend ANOTHER US$ 1,000 on buying the right Rockwool? That certainly seems to be what you are advocating here.... You say that after they try it and realize they don't want to " leave it like that forever" (in other words, after stacking the wrong product), they should then " go on the acoustics forum to find out which Rockwool is best and how to make a corner trap", in other words: they should "learn the terminology" that you said they don't need to learn, then learn how to actually do a bass trap properly... and all because the advice given in the original post was WRONG! Which was my point entirely. So once again, thanks for demonstrating what I was saying originally: the advice is incomplete, and following it verbatim won't get you a good room.

You seem to be making a habit out of confirming everything I said, even though you are trying to do the opposite...

But you just said that the entire point here was that they DON'T have to think for themselves! They can just do exactly what it says in the original post, and their room will be as good as Blackbird, or Galaxy! So how come you first say they don't need to think for themselves and learn the terminology, but now you say they do? You seem to be contradicting yourself...

Right. Because words do actually have meanings (News Flash!), and not saying things correctly will mislead people into doing the wrong thing, or not doing the right thing. When people give incorrect advice, it really is a good idea to analyze that, and correct them.

Which, incidentally, you seem to be doing quite well yourself...

nice try! I guess we could include your very own "vile off-putting essay ramble" in that category, now couldn't we? You do seem to be rather obsessed with attempting to defend the indefensible, with some rather vile and off-putting rambles. I can't argue with that.

Really? Clearly you haven't studied the science of acoustics very well.... in reality, there is a very large number of acoustic absolutes that can be expressed very concisely. Just because you don't know them, does not mean that they don't exist... But don't worry: once you learn the terminology, and look into the theory, you'll find some. There's plenty of them.

Well, perhaps for the simple-minded that works, but for people who actually want to understand how to treat their rooms effectively, good clear valid explanations are the only logical way to go about it. There is no need to use language "efficiently", since that would contradict your previous comment: After all, you just told us that "In reality there are NO absolutes that can be expressed concisely", thus implying that the absolutes can only be expressed non-concisely: in other words, with long explanations. Why do you continually contradict yourself? Either things SHOULD be expressed concisely, or they should not. So which is it?

So you are saying that what he said should not be taken at face value? That it was just a picture, illustrating something, but not to be taken literally? It needs more effort and thought and conceptualizing to understand it fully and get it right? I thought you also implied that his advice was spot-on, complete, and nothing else was needed? But now you are saying more IS needed, because what he said was just a picture that needs to be interpreted, in order to get the complete concept?

Cool idea! How about a ghetto "mastering for cine" forum as well. And a ghetto "tracking symphony orchestras" sub forum, and maybe even a ghetto "neurosurgery for beginners on a low budget" forum. Yup, lets make it FUN!

- Stuart -
You can re-read my previous post and apply it to this brain fart too.
Old 5 days ago
  #22
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post

Pretty much all my clients started one way or another in a ghetto style home studio. Talent and years of hard work, no matter the technical situation they were in got them to a very different place now. I have a lot of respect for them.
Thanks for your insight Thomas I really appreciate your words. The bit about the middle ground is very pertinent to me and wise advice.

At that point I will employ a well know expert acoustician who is also a rational human.
Old 5 days ago
  #23
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post

The very real and recurring mistake I see young(er) engineers do is later in life when they invest money in a facility that is not a home studio situation anymore but not quite a pro studio either. Expensive, but still not performing well enough. This "middle area" in studio build & design has by far the worst ROI.
Yep, and this seems to be exactly the situation of the OP -- invest big money in a SSL 4000 G, and then allocate as little resources as possible to do his CR acoustics "Ghetto Style". Unless he is not taking his own advice, which is most likely the case IMO.
Old 5 days ago
  #24
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Foi View Post
While i mostly agree with what you are saying, the other side of the coin is not so nice. Acoustics is a science and should be treated as such. When someone partially treats their room or incorrectly treats their room, they dont get an ok room to work with usually. They just end up with a different version of a bad room. Thats not really helping them in the long run. It just wastes their time and money and discourages them from further attempts at treating their room properly. The right way is the most costeffective way. Proper measurement and treatment targeted to adress the rooms issues. Guess and check is a fools errand. Cheap IS expensive. So while i do think the bare basics of the OPs post are valid, they are also dangerous.
Most people who are trying to set up a studio have enough common sense and education to know already that it is part of science. The post shows that really sometimes you just have to dive in, learn from your mistakes and design and build as you go. You will learn to measure adjust and tune eventually. Dangerous? No risk no gain. The mistakes I have made in the past have been my best lessons.
Old 5 days ago
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Jason Foi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Freeland View Post
The mistakes I have made in the past have been my best lessons.
Mine too, and I'll be damned if i knowingly lead somone down a path i KNOW is a waste of money.
Old 5 days ago
  #26
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by sage691 View Post
Yep, and this seems to be exactly the situation of the OP -- invest big money in a SSL 4000 G, and then allocate as little resources as possible to do his CR acoustics "Ghetto Style". Unless he is not taking his own advice, which is most likely the case IMO.
Yeah you give him a big telling off "sage"! Wag that finger hard. It's possible that the desk could have been left to him in a will or there could be ten thousand other reasons why he has an SSL.
Old 5 days ago
  #27
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Foi View Post
Mine too, and I'll be damned if i knowingly lead somone down a path i KNOW is a waste of money.
But the OP never really did that. What he did do is give hope to those less fortunate that they can do something. His plan is not optimal but those who are serious will realise eventually what they need to understand to improve things.
Old 5 days ago
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Jason Foi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Freeland View Post
But the OP never really did that. What he did do is give hope to those less fortunate that they can do something. His plan is not optimal but those who are serious will realise eventually what they need to understand to improve things.
Like i've said, i mostly agree with the OP. I'm not attacking him.
Old 5 days ago
  #29
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Freeland View Post
You can re-read my previous post and apply it to this brain fart too.
Those do seem to be a recurring problem with you, don't they? Maybe you should see a doctor about that....

Of course, the glaring issue here is that you did not respond to any of the technical issues I mentioned, that were completely on-topic and totally relevant to the OP and his thread.

Instead, all you have is insults...

When an internet troll only responds with ad hominen attack, and refuses to address the actual subject under discussion, that's a clear indication that the conversation is beyond his abilities to understand ...

So, getting back on topic again: Northward summarized it all quite well: Ghetto style is, a common way of getting started for many newcomers, so having incorrect advice on how to do "Ghetto style", such as displayed in the original post, is not a good thing. It would be more useful to have a thread with a similar title that explains clearly how Ghetto style should REALLY be implemented, rather than in this incorrect, incomplete, unclear manner.

And as Northward also said (similar to what sage691 said), the BEST advice for beginners is to get the best speakers they can afford, and the best DIY treatment they can afford.

Smart.


- Stuart -
Old 5 days ago
  #30
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Freeland View Post
But the OP never really did that. ... His plan is not optimal
... and finally you recognize it. Thanks for being honest in the end.

Quote:
...but those who are serious will realise eventually what they need to understand to improve things.
... after already spending a thousand dollars on the wrong type of Rockwool! Which could have been avoided if the OP would have actually posted complete, valid, optimal information...
Topic:
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