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Planning out homestudio treatment
Old 9th December 2019
Here for the gear
Planning out homestudio treatment

Hello everyone,

I finally have the means and money necessary to treat my room and create a workspace of some sort. I think (I hope) I can handle the calculations and treating by myself, but I have some questions to prevent sinking too much money and regretting it later. I am not linking any calculations or measures, because I haven't done any - this is merely a theoretical preparation, as I'd like to tackle this whole project in a short span of time at the beginning of 2020 - I know myself and the problem of procrastination all too well.

The dimensions of my room are 4,7 x 3,4 x 2,4 meters with windows and a balcony at shorter wall, straight behind my desk. Not ideal, I know. My plan is to get rid of almost all furniture, leaving only my workstation desk, a TV on a rather small cupboard, a couch with a small table and an electronic drumset (if that counts as furniture).

First thing that came to my mind was to place bass traps/panels at the corners and at points of first reflections only at the front side of the room (where the workstation is located), treating the remaining space (both front and back of the room) with acoustic foam (including the ceiling), with a heavy curtain covering the windows. The second idea was to also use acoustic panels at the rear side of the room, hopefully hanging them quite regularly across the whole room, cause aesthetics is also important here, to a lesser extent.

The panels would be DIY, using rigid glass wool with or without a thin wooden frame, wrapped in a porous material.
Unfortunately adding a layer of rockwool to the walls and ceiling is not an option here.

The room is to be multi-purpose, both for audio work at the computer and for recording (mostly vocals or DI stuff).

The thing is, I am using lots and lots of absorption and no diffusion at all. My mind and limited knowledge tells me this would be better for recording, while sacrificing a little bit of "more interesting" sounding room for listening purposes. Am I wrong and should I limit the acoustic foam, keeping some of the wall space bare or using some sorts of diffusors there?

The second question is, would I perhaps be better off moving my desk to the window-side of the room, keeping curtains between me and the windows? This would allow me to better treat the reflections coming from the back of listening spot.

I don't care if my room sounds good or not, as long as its fairly accurate and better suited for recording.

How would You handle this situation? Any suggestions, thought?
Thank you and have a great day, especially if you've made it this far and read this whole uninteresting wall of text :-)
Old 9th December 2019
Gear Maniac
A few suggestions before you buy any material for your room treatment:
1. First just move all furniture and everything else (except your computer/soundcard/speakers) out and do some REW ( measurements of your room. Experiment with different locations/orientations to find the least troublesome listening/mixing position. I'm sure you already heard it a million times that you should set up your speakers in an equilateral triangle (usually tweeter at ear height) and you should sit facing the shorter wall (in the middle), roughly 38% of the length of your long room wall. The truth is that in a small room like yours (and mine) this is often not true. Slightly deviating from the above mentioned "rule" often gives you much better (meaning less troublesome) spots/areas/setups/angles.... You need to play with the listening position and the speaker position not just vertically but also horizontally. Also play with the monitor toe-in (whether the acoustic axis of the speaker is precisely towards your ears, or slightly past your ears, or perhaps in your room it's even better if there is a bit more deviation). You will be surprised how a few cm position difference of the speaker or your listening area can completely change your measurement results.

2. Obviously low frequency management is going to cause the biggest problems. Experiment positioning your speakers as close to the window as possible (even try literally less than 1cm from the window) because windows are often great "bass traps", some of the bass energy can just leave your room through your window, leaving you with less nasty build up/cancellation trouble.

3. In my experience (in 3 different small/smallish rooms I treated) placing any absorbing material (not thicker than 6") directly behind the speaker did not make any meaningful/measurable difference (though I'm using sealed speakers, perhaps a back ported speaker would have given me different results).

4. Check your room modes with a room mode calculator ( or you can use REW's own room simulation).Mind you though that more often than not you're not going to get perfectly precise mode results as for example in your case windows, balcony doors, outer vs inner wall width differences...will all influence the results.

5. Try this as well:

6. When all this is done (and you found your "starting sweet spot") move your workstation desk back in the room and test/measure the effect of the desk on your "sweet spot"s acoustics. I'm pretty sure you'll have to do again some adjustments. (Finally move your electric drum kit, your couch... back in the room and measure the room again.)

7. When you're done with all this you'll have a much clearer idea what needs to be done and how much it would cost. Than you can draw the line and you can negotiate some reasonable compromises with yourself and you can decide how much are you happy to spend on this project.

8. Acoustic foam looks great but it is really expensive (considering it's effectiveness) and based on my own measurements (with 6cm deep foam with 3-12cm air gap behind it) it does absolutely nothing below 600Hz. In my opinion you are much better off spending your money on eg rock-wool/glass-wool and than use different depth at different areas of your room. Too much foam will kill all the high end frequencies, dry your room sound and you'll be left with a lot of uncontrolled low end.

9.I would keep some of the wall space bare but you need to first sort out the basic treatment (bass traps; first reflection points) before you can figure out how much wall area should be left alone.

10. Check the air resistance and mass details of the glass-wool product you intend to buy. You can find detailed info here on gearslutz about what depth (usually between 10-32 cm), AFr (usually between 5-15 kPa.s/m²) and density (usually between 28-75kg/m3) is ideal for which room treatment application.

11. Don't plan to do everything in one go. I would do the prep measurements and based on that I would decide about the listening position/monitor position etc. I would also listen to my reference songs and make necessary adjustments. Than I would treat the corners and first reflection points than I would make all the necessary adjustments and I would listen reference material again and measure again and again. Than I would buy material for the remaining treatment and constantly measure-listen-adjust, measure-listen-adjust.

12. Learn to use REW properly. If your measurements are wrong your decisions will be wrong; the more precise your measurements the more informed decisions you can make.

13. Use air gaps in your DIY traps! .

I hope some of this will be useful for you
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