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General:  Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think)


04-Oct-05 (ViS)
04-Oct-05 (.humanoidalert)
04-Oct-05 (ViS)
05-Oct-05 (.humanoidalert)
06-Oct-05 (ViS)
06-Oct-05 (FIZMO100)
06-Oct-05 (Dr. Whammo)
06-Oct-05 (sauce)
06-Oct-05 (alles_ist_dada)
06-Oct-05 (alles_ist_dada)
09-Oct-05 (ViS)
10-Oct-05 (Giant Robot)
10-Oct-05 (ViS)
10-Oct-05 (Giant Robot)
11-Oct-05 (Steveo)
11-Oct-05 (Giant Robot)
11-Oct-05 (ViS)
11-Oct-05 (Giant Robot)
12-Oct-05 (ViS)
12-Oct-05 (Dr. Whammo)
12-Oct-05 (Giant Robot)
13-Oct-05 (SpeckO)
13-Oct-05 (SpeckO)


Original Message
ViS.... Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (04-Oct-05  08:31PM )

- Well guys, I'm currently renovating my home studio and was wondering if you have any good tips or advice on whether I should go for hardware (wood) or software (carpet) :) How do these affect room acoustics?

Floor coverings - should it be carpet for better sound absorbency? Does wood-based flooring cause too much unwanted reflection?
Windows - are curtains a better choice than say vertical wooden blinds? for the same reasons as with flooring

What have you all got on your floors & windows? I am under the impression that it is better to have lots of soft furnishings but that could just be misinformation.
Thanks!

ViS


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.humanoidalert.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you thi (04-Oct-05  09:45PM )

- man i didnt know what to think there.

Link: http://www.viagra.com/

.humanoidalert


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ViS.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (04-Oct-05  11:37PM )

- haha indeed - so have you got a useful answer to my question then?

ViS


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.humanoidalert.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you thi (05-Oct-05  12:15AM )

- no sorry, i was just being a smartass. im sure someone else will answer your question tho.

.humanoidalert


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ViS.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (06-Oct-05  02:52AM )

- bump

ViS


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FIZMO100.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (06-Oct-05  06:59AM )

- Well, I've got bugger all to add really. Only that when recording an acoustic guitar it's often a good idea to place a reflective surface underneath to brighten the sound. Never tried it myself, but I've read that tip in quite a few places.

As with most things, it's probably a metter of personal preference and balance - oh how very helpful.

Maybe a browse through articles on Sound On Sound might turn up something helpful?

Link: http://www.soundonsound.com

FIZMO100

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Dr. Whammo.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you thi (06-Oct-05  10:48AM )

- hard surfaces which reflect sound are generally unwanted unless you have a room specifically designed and built for recording (which means no 90 degree angles, no features that create standing waves, etc.)

i would suggest soft things in all possible circumstances, curtains, carpet, etc.

in my home studio/control room, I put a sack full of fiberglass insulation against my window, and covered that with sound proofing foam

i also had to use liberal amounts of foam on my walls, due to the fact they were constructed with aluminum girders that resonate quite loudly...

to test resonance/reflectiveness in your room, simply clap your hands loudly once - you will hear all the early reflections and other obvious acoustic characteristics of your room... if you are in a small space, its probably best to try to make it quite "dead" - or unreflective

Dr. Whammo


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sauce.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (06-Oct-05  02:47PM )

- Get the hardwood floor, and then a bunch of various sized rugs. Then you can make everything how you want it to fit the situation.

Also, you should hire models to come to your studio in shifts. They should be instructed to take of their clothes and pose artistically behind glass, never saying a single word to the patronage... like living sculpture!

sauce


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alles_ist_dada.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you thi (06-Oct-05  07:09PM Edited:06-Oct-05  07:14PM)

- I've always heard carpeting is a bad idea as it acts like a low pass filter, and since a major problem in most small rooms is uneven/too much bass, you may want to go with hardwood. My guess is that reflections off the floor are the least of your worries. IMHO, You should focus on the walls and ceiling first, then worry about your floor. If you decide you'd like a rug, you can get one later for pretty cheap. Looking at the bigger picture, carpeting is just one component that goes into making a good sounding studio. Take care of the worst room modes, and save the carpet until you have your studio set up and have been working in it a bit.

The majority of high end studios I've been in have hard wood, but then again I'm sure they've hired an acoustician to tell them what they should and should not do, and like Dr. Whammo said, there were very few 90 degree angles. They also had quite a bit of insulation on the walls and ceiling.

You may want to check out this DVD. It completely covers what you should do to get rid of room modes and reflection. I'm setting up my studio based a lot on what I learned in here. Granted, much of it is very basic stuff that anyone who's making music would know, but we're not all engineers or acousticians, and that's where this really comes in handy.

Link: http://www.secretsofthepros.com/dvd_basics.html

alles_ist_dada

My Music:

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alles_ist_dada.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you thi (06-Oct-05  07:10PM )

- I also like sauces idea...forget the flooring, spend the money on models.

alles_ist_dada

My Music:

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ViS.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (09-Oct-05  10:06PM )

- Ok, thanks for the advice guys. Yes my room does suffer quite seriously from acoustic problems, particularly with the low-end, that's the reason I want to try and treat it properly. The clap test reveals quite a dead space but I understand this only shows problems with high frequencies rather than low end.

Thanks for the suggestion alles_ist_dada I will definitely look at that DVD as my knowledge of this area is very thin.

haha yep the living sculpture might be out of my budget, but then maybe I can convince my girlfriend to model..

ViS


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Giant Robot.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (10-Oct-05  12:09PM )

- I agree- forget carpeting, on the floor go with hardwood.

Then spend as much money as you can on rockwool and/or 703 fiberglass panels and make some diy broadband absorbers, such as those described in the link. It's as simple as buying rockwool or 703, making a box of of MDF or wood to hold the rockwool or 703, covering the thing with fabric of some sort so it will look ok and throwing it up on the right places on your walls and ceiling. Such as the corners. You can also do what the acoustics forum calls Superchunk traps in the corners.

'Cause you gotta trap that bass.

If you are using foam, check the acoustic coefficients of said foam and see how it does with bass frequencies- if it is bad, which it most likely will be, well there you are.

Link: http://forum.studiotips.com/viewforum.php?f=8

Giant Robot


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ViS.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (10-Oct-05  07:50PM )

- Excellent, thanks for the link Giant Robot, that superchunk trap design looks ideal.

ViS


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Giant Robot.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (10-Oct-05  08:12PM )

- It works really well, as do the absorber panels- and they're not terribly expensive to DIY.

Giant Robot


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Steveo.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you thi (11-Oct-05  04:28AM )

- Well I tend to agree with Dr-Whammo , recently I moved my home studio from a carpeted room into a hardwood floored room (approx same size and layouts) and couldn't believe how much more reflective it was, in fact it was so reflective that even just talking I could hear small echos !

Anyway I found it completley useless and moved the entire studio back into another carpeted room which was fine.

Bottom line - I think , if you go with a hard wooden (reflective) floor you are gonna have to spend a lot of time and possibly money getting it sorted even with near field monitoring. A carpeted room should be much less hassle.

Sure most pro or top end studios have h/w flooring and wall panels but you can bet that the budget they spent on acoustic design was probably more than the cost of most folks entire studios!

Steveo

Music is the art of thinking with sounds.

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Giant Robot.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (11-Oct-05  02:17PM Edited:11-Oct-05  02:41PM)

- What kind of treatment did you do to the hardwood room?

Some food for thought (or absorption coefficients for thought).

At the following frequencies:

63 125 250 500 1k 2k 4k 8k

Carpet= 0.02 0.02 0.06 0.14 0.37 0.60 0.65 0.65
Wood= 0.15 0.15 0.11 0.10 0.07 0.06 0.07 0.07

Hmmm.... one seems shall we say flatter than the other, no?

The reason that studios typically have hardwood floors is because the sound bounces off the floor, sure (though not that much if you have nearfields and properly placed panels), but is absorbed by the broadband absorbers on the walls and ceiling (unless you're talking about specific designs with non parallel walls like a Hidley room which would be bad news to try to diy). With carpet you can see that the room will be deader in the 1-5k range (so it will sound dead in the freqs we hear the best) but will actually absorb less than wood in the 63-500hz range. Essentially acting, as has been said before, as a low pass filter.

Giant Robot


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ViS.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (11-Oct-05  08:55PM )

- So the flatter frequency absorbtion range of wood means that you're starting with a blank canvas (as it were) and can control reflections with effective broadband treatment.

Whereas the high frequency absorbtion characteristics of carpet means you have to be more narrow in your approach and just treat those frequencies that carpet doesn't absorb on it's own, ie bass.

I think from this you could summarise that either would be suitable, given effective acoustic treatment although wood may be slightly better. But not by enough to bother ripping out carpet and replacing it with wood if you're on a budget.

I am going to stick with carpet in my studio and put in some good bass traps, purely due to budget restrictions. Especially seeing I've blown part of it on a new A/C which is gonna keep my studio nice and cool when the Aussie summer hits 40C degrees plus outside(That's 104F btw)

ViS


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Giant Robot.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (11-Oct-05  11:30PM )

- Right... a carpet floor isn't ideal but you can work around it. Of course hardwood looks better:)

Giant Robot


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ViS.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (12-Oct-05  01:13AM )

- which probably explains why most professional studios have it

ViS


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Dr. Whammo.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you thi (12-Oct-05  11:07AM )

- That was my basic point - to stay with the carpet you have. If you were putting in a new floor regardless - i would also say go with the hardwood floor + oriental rug combo. It looks good, feels good - has a good vibe as well as the good acoustic properties. But yeh - thats expensive. They also have various kinds of hardwood floor tiles you can put in yourself, but its a big job.

In terms of a live room, or a recording space - I would not use carpet on the floor. You definately want tons of absorption on the walls, possibly on the ceiling as well - but having a completely or almost completely anechoic room is kinda freaky and basically can get boring after a while. Its kinda essential for foley work and ADR, but not much else.

Dr. Whammo


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Giant Robot.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (12-Oct-05  12:13PM )

- So true. Especially when you're putting up room mics, if you have a good slightly live sounding room (hopefully kind of a big one) to record in it will make a huge difference in quality from something that's recorded in a dead room with digital ambience added later.

I like my control room to be a *little* live too- so long as it has a flat frequency response. I think it's more like the real world environment that the music will be played on in that respect.

Giant Robot


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SpeckO.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (13-Oct-05  01:44AM )

- The rug idea is the best one I've seen. I've seen an engineers remove the rug due to acoustic preference., so it's handy to b able to have it there or be able to remove it.

A carpet will absorb hi freqs down to a certain frequency, while reflecting anything below that freq just as well as if the carpet weren't there to beging with. So you get an uneven response rther than consistent, exactly like Giant Robot pointed out. But, it depends on how well these freqs are controlled at the other points in the room...the other surfaces and then the bass trapping for the low lows.

Peronally, I have a solid painted concrete floor, with scatter diffusers at the rear wall and HF absorbtion panels at the sides and on the ceiling, and some simple bass traps designed loosely around Ethan Winer's realtrap philosophy (perhaps replce 'loosely' with 'lazily' though..I'm a lazy builder :)

This is all DIY treatment and works really well, I firmly believe better than some of that commercial Auralex stuff (which dos look cool i suppose).

My personal reference for a DIY job studio, be it pro level or a complete makeshift job, is to have a reflective floor, and an absorbtive ceilng. I suppose ultimately, reversing that theory can work to, reflective ceiling and absorbtive floor, as in carpet and nprmal ceiling plan as per most human buildings.

SpeckO

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SpeckO.... Re:Studio DIY - Hard or Soft (but not what you think) (13-Oct-05  01:46AM )

- fark, sorry about missing letters. Too much Port & Vodka has been spilled on this kboard.

SpeckO

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