Building a live room is an incredible opportunity to tailor a space to fit your production style, as well as leaving possibilities open to diversify the sound of the room as it fits your needs. One of the most important characteristics of a multi-purpose room is proper acoustic treatment which will help it sound its best for electric and/or acoustic instruments, vocals, and any other various sound sources you wish to record.
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What’s Different About Rehearsal Spaces & Live Rooms?
Typically a live room has a much more diverse set of needs than a control room. One of the most important variables to tackle is the use of multiple sound sources placed in different spots around the room which may differ based on each tracking session’s needs. Each room has it’s own unique sound and acoustic treatment can be used to help create the preferred environment that best fits the instruments used in the space.
- Place bass traps in all of the corners. The first step for acoustic treatment in any small room should be to place bass traps in all available corners. Bass Trapping is especially important in smaller spaces that do not have tall, vaulted ceilings. 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. Symmetry is less important than in a mixing space, but try to achieve it whenever possible for maximum benefit.
- Make your room sound LIVE: Short rooms (~10-12′ in length or less) often struggle to provide a “large” sound in recordings. These rooms tend to sound “boxy” or “closed off” as opposed to longer rooms which sound more “spacious.” The reason for this is simply that sound waves have more room to travel freely and expand before reflecting off wall and ceiling surfaces. One simple method that can help is to use diffusion. Diffusion products or Diffusors help control direct reflections and prevent frequency buildups in your space while making your room sound “bigger.” In essence, diffusors help mimic the conditions of a larger room by scattering sound and keeping it “excited” or moving equally around the room. Grouping diffusion on the ceiling above a tracking location for drums and other sound sources that make use of room microphones or overheads will help enlarge the space in an auditory manner. Spacing out Diffusion and absorption products on the walls (starting 30” – 36” off the ground) in approximately 1:4 ratio in favor of absorption will additionally enhance this while controlling reflections and also prevent the room from being “echo-y” or too“bright.” Spreading out absorption on the rest of the ceiling can be a benefit as well, depending on the size and purpose of the room.
- Consider your needs. Is this your only live room? If so, you may desire some diversity in your treatment in order to accommodate for different sounds and recording set-ups. Consider Portable Treatment such as our ProMAX V2 to allow you to create more controlled tracking locations by surrounding the sound source(s) with Absorption. Have a window to the control room that’s providing an unwanted reflection during a specific session? Portable Treatment can easily solve this without permanently blocking natural light. Not sure if you have over-treated with Absorption in the space? Swapping out some wall Absorption with Portable Treatment in the design phase allows you to remove the product when unneeded, or ProMAX V2 specifically has a reflective rear surface that can be used to supply tonal variations in a session if faced outward.
Need some help or tips to get the best sound out of your room? Auralex can help! Questions?
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