There are many factors that are important to the overall sound of your room. Some of the most commonly overlooked are the size and shape of the space along with its surface materials. These will significantly affect the overall accuracy of the sound in the room, regardless of the equipment you are using. Even if your room is less than perfect, using Absorption, Bass Traps and Diffusion in a space can help control sound considerably.
FAQs Referenced in this Article
- What is a Diffusor?
- Where do I place my Studiofoam and LENRDs?
- How much Studiofoam do I need to "soundproof" my room?
- How do I treat my room without damaging my walls with adhesives?
- What is the difference between Studiofoam and bedding foam or "Brand-X" foam?
Find the "Sweet Spot" Listening Position
Before you even treat the room there are few things you can do to help ensure you are getting the most out of the sound in your space. Best of all, these are things you can do easily and for free!
Move your mix/listening position to the 38% point of the room. This is a method developed by world-renowned studio designer, Wes Lechot and works very well in the majority of simple, rectangular rooms.
How To: Take the longest dimension of your room and multiply it by 0.38 to get 38% of the overall length. This is where your chair/listening position should be located (not your speakers).
Align your desk, speakers, and listening position in the center of room and away from the walls and corners to achieve sonic accuracy - it is important to have as much symmetry as possible.
Point your monitors at a 45° angle inward towards the listening position. The monitor’s tweeters should be placed at ear level – typically 48″-50″ high. Lastly, there should be a 60° Angle at all three intersection points of the large Equilateral Triangle, this means all sides should be the same distance – ideally 67.5″, if possible. This step is where some sources start to offer conflicting information and some answers (or the math behind them) can be very complex.
These are very basic instructions, you can get much more in depth with each of these aspects if you choose do so – but we wanted to try and keep this simple for our example. Remember, these are not “hard and fast” rules, but simple, yet effective ways to try and minimize axial and modal issues in a smaller, rectangular-shaped room. The correct method for you and your space may be different, so you should try different placements and listen to the results yourself.
- Place Bass Traps in all of the corners. One of the most common problems in small rooms is the buildup of low frequencies, especially in corners of the room. This makes proper Bass Trapping very important in smaller spaces. If you have a more limited budget concentrate on placing traps (and all treatment) at ear level – about 30-36″ off the ground. If you have an uneven corner or some other anomaly that doesn’t allow for all corners to be treated vertically, Bass Traps can also be placed horizontally. As mentioned in the steps above symmetry is important to sound accuracy, so try to maintain as much as possible.
- Place treatment behind your monitors and mix position. This helps to tame secondary reflections or slap back echo from the rear wall. This helps to tame secondary reflections or slap back echo from the rear wall. Also, consider floating your monitors and subwoofers on isolation platforms such as Auralex® MoPADs™, ProPADs™ and SubDude™.
- Place Treatment at First Reflection Points. Think of the way the sound waves emanate from a speaker – they radiate in all directions. The reflections that happen after a sound wave reflects off a hard surface like drywall or a concrete floor can cause common problems like slap-back echo and reverberation.
To correct this, you need to first locate the First Reflection Points. The easiest way is to use a method called the “Mirror Trick.”
How To: For this you will need a mirror and a friend. Sit in the mix position and have a friend move the mirror along the wall at the same height as your monitors. When you can see the monitors in the mirror, make a mark or the wall or use tape to note that area.
The locations you identified with the mirror trick are reflection points and this is exactly where you should place acoustic treatment. Be creative, but keep in mind that symmetry plays an important role in the effectiveness of the treatment as well as its look and visual appeal.
- Add Ceiling Treatment. Directly above the Mix Position is a place where treatment is sometimes overlooked. This is definitely a place where reflections from the ceiling to floor and work-surface can cause a problem for critical listening. Placing absorption panels or clouds above the listening position is highly recommended.
Need some help or tips to get the best sound out of your room? Auralex can help! Questions?
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