Small bedroom studio acoustics help

HobbyProducer94

New member
Hello everybody :-)

I'm singer/songwriter and recently I wanted to build home studio to record some of my songs because this was hobby of mine for a long time. I have one spare room where I could build it. Small problem could be small dimensions of the room, and I was wondering if anyone have a suggestions on acoustical treatment of room.

Purpose of the room should be recording vocals, acoustic guitar and also mixing it. I know I can not get the highly professional mix but that is newly discovered hobby of mine and I have strong will to do mixing myself, bought a few courses and got highly addicted to it :unsure:

My plan is to get bass traps on the every corner of the room, and DIY variant of acoustic panels (with rockwool) that i'll be spreading across the room. I had a plan also of building some wooden diffusors if that could help acoustics of the room (i am a woodworker by profession btw, so any diy variant works for me).

I have a little floor plan with dimensions of room and also furniture that i attached into post. Small white boxes that are drawn into floor plan should represent acoustic panels that i plan to build.

I am most grateful for any suggestions that you may have for me.

Thank you,
Mile
 

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Atkron205

Member
I built these for 30 bucks per panel, I built 30 of them for $1000.00. R80 Rouxul ridged insulation
 

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ecc83

Well-known member
Mile, it is ENTIRELY possible that this old brain has the math wrong but the dimms on your drawing do not seem to gel with the stated area? That aside it seems we are dealing with a small room and so an even bass down to 20Hz is just not going to be possible. In fact it might be quite difficult to generate much useful LF below about 80Hz...on the basis that "if you can't beat 'em...don't try and if you haven't bought your monitors yet go for small ones, 200mm bass/mid cones or even smaller. Folks like Genelec and Quested make some stonking small monitors.
Small is also beautiful for accurate stereo imaging and a wider 'sweet spot'. Co-incident designs are especially good in this are and allow closer listening thus taking benefit of the 'Nearfield Effect' to reduce room modes. Smaller cabinets can be made more rigid at lower cost than big'uns and so you get lower mid band colouration.

For useful VLF information use some high quality headphones.

As EVER! Look up the back 'Studio SOS' articles at www.studiosound.com.

Dave.
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
The acoustic panels you show in your drawing are not in corners. Corners are the worst place for unwanted sound wave build-up and reflections. At least 4" (100mm) rockwool straddling each corner will be better than putting two flat panels on each wall (assuming space allows, of course).
The other problem you face in your design is non-symmetry in your listening position. As long as you don't mind covering that window up, I would set the desk against the wall to the right. It still wont' be symmetrical, but you can treat the corner (upper left area) and side walls (top and bottom in your drawing) more evenly.
 
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keith.rogers

Well-known member
The advice you have received so far is good. I have an even smaller and worse space, but it is essentially for mixing, some acoustic recording and occasional vocals, and the basic rule is treat it as much as possible. Summarizing what I read:
1. Bass traps in corners
2. Put your monitoring space where it is symmetric, especially with the side walls, which will be the "first reflection point" for your monitors. Either of those long walls looks better. (This is a "do as I say" kind of advice - I did not have any symmetric location in my room, though I had a wall where the 1st reflection points were at least treatable.)

I have small 5" (Yamaha) monitors for my space (an 11' (335cm) x11' (335cm) square room with low-ish, 8' (244cm) ceiling. All panels and traps were DIY, using rockwool and fabric covered wooden frames. I usually don't mix with much bass content unless I have an electric bass track, and then I tend to rely on headphones at least for the bass quality and content.

In my space, I don't have wall panels "everywhere" but kind of alternated on opposing walls, and the back wall is a mix of a heavy duvet/quilt, gobo and short bookcase. (The last is my "diffuser" wall :).) However, I've heard/read that in really small spaces, it's hard to over-treat, at least for recording, since you will likely get better results making sure the room does not enter into the recording, and rely on good reverb plugins to get ambience back. I confess I did not do a lot of home recording initially, and the room's prime purpose was mixing. That has shifted a lot in the past year plus.

p.s. I see that in the forum upgrade, old photos/albums have sort of disappeared, so here's a photo of my space (at the time of the photo - it has not changed a huge amount, though the e-bass and never used vocal shield are gone) taken from the entry door in the corner.
 

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ecc83

Well-known member
"for recording, since you will likely get better results making sure the room does not enter into the recording, and rely on good reverb plugins to get ambience back."

I agree. Now, my son in France records classical guitar in his bedsit but it is a reasonable size and sparsely furnished so quite lively. This does not seem to matter for C guitar since the bottom note is ~80Hz and mostly harmonics anyway. He does however want the sound a bit more 'spacey' but has not so far found a 'verb plugin he is happy with (or can afford!) He monitors on a pair of Presonus Eris 3.5s. Okay yes, 'pimped' computer speakers but he does not like loud so they suit him fine for now.

Dave.
 

HobbyProducer94

New member
First of all, I want to thank you all for such helpful and good comments, honestly I didn't expect such good advices in such short period of time 🥳

@Atkron205 these are exactly the kind of panels I'm planning to get, thank you for your suggestion Sir, good to know somebody else have this kind of panels and that it works for them. :geek:

@ecc83 Regarding your question about room size, this is entirely my fault because on the application that I've made my floor plan metric system is used (in cm) (I'm from Europe and I'm sure that you can see that by the grammatic errors that could be found in my writings 😁). Room lenght (bottom dimension of the plan) is 15 feet and 5 inches, and width 7 feet and 4 inches (I used a convert application for these measurements, I don't know imperial system very well). I had a hint that everything could be problematic in this room (not only bass freq). My plan was to get good set of studio headphones for that reason and use program like sonar works for color correction of the particular headphones (i have seen that M50x could be good solution with correction and they are also budget frendly). I have not bought studio monitors yet and this is great advice from you Sir regarding the dimensions of monitors that will work good on the room this size. I'm sure that I will get exellent advice for specific model of monitors when the time comes 😊

@mjbphotos I thought that this could be a problem, and i did not see the possibility of arranging the desk and other furniture in accordance to the function this room should have. Thank you so much for this good suggestion Sir, if it's not to time demanding I'll ask you to take a look at my new drawing that I did in accordance to your advice (difference is that I've put some closet on the top part of the room in order to help overall symmetry and I've put the desk in accordance to your great tip). I've also put some bass traps on the corners of the room (colored black triangles).
 

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HobbyProducer94

New member
@keith.rogers That is a very nice setup on your studio, I'm afraid that I could not get good results on my room because it's weirdly shaped, and also longer than it is wide. If it's not to time demanding on my behalf, I'll ask you to take a look at my second floor plan that I've made in accordance with the tips from all of you here, and tell me what do you think of it 🙂

@ecc83 I also want to reduce as much of reverb from this room in order to get good vocal and guitar recording later on (that I'll add with plugins of course). I know that I am asking for too much from one room (both for recording and mixing), but my plan is to build it to get decent recordings and that there is possibility of mixing (just to get an idea of track).

Best regards,
Mile
 

keith.rogers

Well-known member
@keith.rogers That is a very nice setup on your studio, I'm afraid that I could not get good results on my room because it's weirdly shaped, and also longer than it is wide. If it's not to time demanding on my behalf, I'll ask you to take a look at my second floor plan that I've made in accordance with the tips from all of you here, and tell me what do you think of it 🙂
...
Actually, a room like yours, i.e., not *square* is less problematic than some, even though it's small.

I'm not sure how to interpret the image, but if there is a large window or sliding door then some heavy, "blocking" drapes may be adequate, since you have a semi-open space on the opposite side, i.e., use your original plan for the mixing/monitoring station. I don't think putting it in the middle of the longer area is better, since it's not centered between the hard walls, as well as being inefficient use of space.

Really, I would get the corners trapped as best you can, and build a few panels, and then start listening, and, if you are serious, measuring, to identify what issues remain in the room. And, get a couple different types of good headphones, 1 closed back for recording, 1 open back for mixing/validating what you hear on the speakers.

Where you record is going to be a factor of noise control in the recorded track, since you'll have damped the room effectively (IMO). You have to be able to set the source and microphones so external/ambient noises, like your computer, HVAC or appliances in the house and external sounds, like passing airplanes and landscaping equipment (my problems!) etc. are minimized, usually by insuring that the microphone polar patterns emphasize sensitivity in the direction of the source and minimize it in the direction of noises. And then be prepared to do multiple takes and comping when things go wrong. Or rearranging furniture and panels :) - really, it's largely living with the space you can carve out and experimenting to discover what works. The sooner you start recording, the sooner you'll be able to make better choices about what you really need in your space, i.e., planning only works until you actually implement it, when you may find out what the real issues are.

Also, don't forget about sealing the door. I found that little gap around the doorframe and under the door probably let in much of the audible, ambient noise from the house. Some LF content from an old refrigerator and HVAC equipment in the attic overhead can still get through, unfortunately, and often not detected in the dash to get a track recorded, so identifying those kinds of problems is one bit of sleuthing you may have to do. (It seems you are not stateside, so may benefit from better housing construction standards!)
 

ecc83

Well-known member
You might be interested in a stereo recording my son made a few weeks ago. He says he wants more reverb 'space' on it but I think it is fine as is?
The mics were a pair of Behringer C2 capacitors setup as a crossed pair.

With regard to your dimensional crisis? I don't worry about 'Them over there" I tend to do everything in SI units. THEY can do the conversions if they like. 'Bout time they went metric anyway! MOST of the world is SI, 230 volts and 50Hz!

(but we DO love 'em)


Dave.
 

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Orson

Well-known member
They have told you everything but forgot to tell you about the floor. Cover it. Cover it with carpet because sound doesnt care what it bounces off. Hard wooden floors especially so.
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
@mjbphotos I thought that this could be a problem, and i did not see the possibility of arranging the desk and other furniture in accordance to the function this room should have. Thank you so much for this good suggestion Sir, if it's not to time demanding I'll ask you to take a look at my new drawing that I did in accordance to your advice (difference is that I've put some closet on the top part of the room in order to help overall symmetry and I've put the desk in accordance to your great tip). I've also put some bass traps on the corners of the room (colored black triangles).
1) The bass traps you have drawn (left side) don't look like could be thick enough to be any good - at least 4" thick rockwool or compressed fiberglass needed. In the corner near the door, you may only be able to put a flat trap against the wall into the corner (that's my situation too).
2) You have left the front corners (the corners/wall you look at when at the desk) untreated.
3) Not sure why you moved the desk out from the front wall, you room is not large enough for this to make a difference, but you probably will need treatment directly behind the monitors on that front wall.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
They have told you everything but forgot to tell you about the floor. Cover it. Cover it with carpet because sound doesnt care what it bounces off. Hard wooden floors especially so.
True, but....ONCE you have trapped and absorbed the **** out of the room, things like acoustic guitar can sound better with the area around it hard floor. Useful to put carpet on some ply/MDF sor it can be flipped over as required.

Dave.
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
You might be interested in a stereo recording my son made a few weeks ago. He says he wants more reverb 'space' on it but I think it is fine as is?
The mics were a pair of Behringer C2 capacitors setup as a crossed pair.

With regard to your dimensional crisis? I don't worry about 'Them over there" I tend to do everything in SI units. THEY can do the conversions if they like. 'Bout time they went metric anyway! MOST of the world is SI, 230 volts and 50Hz!

(but we DO love 'em)


Dave.
I guess the reason your son hasn't found any reverb he likes is because he is trying to add it OVER the existing room reverb. I can certainly hear that it is a small less-than-ideal space, even on my computer speakers.
 

HobbyProducer94

New member
Actually, a room like yours, i.e., not *square* is less problematic than some, even though it's small.

I'm not sure how to interpret the image, but if there is a large window or sliding door then some heavy, "blocking" drapes may be adequate, since you have a semi-open space on the opposite side, i.e., use your original plan for the mixing/monitoring station. I don't think putting it in the middle of the longer area is better, since it's not centered between the hard walls, as well as being inefficient use of space.

Really, I would get the corners trapped as best you can, and build a few panels, and then start listening, and, if you are serious, measuring, to identify what issues remain in the room. And, get a couple different types of good headphones, 1 closed back for recording, 1 open back for mixing/validating what you hear on the speakers.

Where you record is going to be a factor of noise control in the recorded track, since you'll have damped the room effectively (IMO). You have to be able to set the source and microphones so external/ambient noises, like your computer, HVAC or appliances in the house and external sounds, like passing airplanes and landscaping equipment (my problems!) etc. are minimized, usually by insuring that the microphone polar patterns emphasize sensitivity in the direction of the source and minimize it in the direction of noises. And then be prepared to do multiple takes and comping when things go wrong. Or rearranging furniture and panels :) - really, it's largely living with the space you can carve out and experimenting to discover what works. The sooner you start recording, the sooner you'll be able to make better choices about what you really need in your space, i.e., planning only works until you actually implement it, when you may find out what the real issues are.

Also, don't forget about sealing the door. I found that little gap around the doorframe and under the door probably let in much of the audible, ambient noise from the house. Some LF content from an old refrigerator and HVAC equipment in the attic overhead can still get through, unfortunately, and often not detected in the dash to get a track recorded, so identifying those kinds of problems is one bit of sleuthing you may have to do. (It seems you are not stateside, so may benefit from better housing construction standards!)
On the right side of the floor plan there is a window opening, I've read somewhere that there should be space left behind studio desk (ofc there was proper panels behind them but there is not much room for me to do it right). On the window I thought to put some heavy curtains in order to minimise sound reflections but that is the most i can do with the window. I also think that original plan is more functional in space organisation, but don't know how it's going to sound with so much asymetry of the room (problem that @mjbphotos made me realise).

There should not be so much noise problems because the home studio I'm building is located at a country side. Haven't got any noise problem recording with a low budget CM25 cardioid microphone but terrible reverb natural sound of small untreated room (I guess that this problem will be solved with panels).
You might be interested in a stereo recording my son made a few weeks ago. He says he wants more reverb 'space' on it but I think it is fine as is?
The mics were a pair of Behringer C2 capacitors setup as a crossed pair.

With regard to your dimensional crisis? I don't worry about 'Them over there" I tend to do everything in SI units. THEY can do the conversions if they like. 'Bout time they went metric anyway! MOST of the world is SI, 230 volts and 50Hz!

(but we DO love 'em)


Dave.
@ecc83 First of all Dave, your son plays beautifuly, it's very pleasing to hear it. I'm hearing a lot of noise on my speakers for some reason but I am not sure how to help you with that because I'm a beginner in this area.
1) The bass traps you have drawn (left side) don't look like could be thick enough to be any good - at least 4" thick rockwool or compressed fiberglass needed. In the corner near the door, you may only be able to put a flat trap against the wall into the corner (that's my situation too).
2) You have left the front corners (the corners/wall you look at when at the desk) untreated.
3) Not sure why you moved the desk out from the front wall, you room is not large enough for this to make a difference, but you probably will need treatment directly behind the monitors on that front wall.
For the bass traps I thought on buying them as a finished product (not really sure on how to make it). I have attached the traps I was planning to buy.

@Orson Thank you for the tip Orson, I'll be putting carpets all over studio area (should cost to much because of the small dimensions of the room) :-)

Just to summarize quickly. If the second floor plan would made any difference in the sound quality, do you think that assymetry problem on the first plan should be too apparent?

Thank you all for being a part of this discussion, it means a lot for me. :-)

Best regards,
Mile
 

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ecc83

Well-known member
I guess the reason your son hasn't found any reverb he likes is because he is trying to add it OVER the existing room reverb. I can certainly hear that it is a small less-than-ideal space, even on my computer speakers.
I have to say Mike I/we hadn't considered that! I shall suggest he starts amassing some absorbent material. Our problem is that although he is a good musician he knows little about technical matters and my ears are now too old to help him much!

Dave.
 

keith.rogers

Well-known member
On the right side of the floor plan there is a window opening, I've read somewhere that there should be space left behind studio desk (ofc there was proper panels behind them but there is not much room for me to do it right). On the window I thought to put some heavy curtains in order to minimise sound reflections but that is the most i can do with the window. I also think that original plan is more functional in space organisation, but don't know how it's going to sound with so much asymetry of the room (problem that @mjbphotos made me realise).

There should not be so much noise problems because the home studio I'm building is located at a country side. Haven't got any noise problem recording with a low budget CM25 cardioid microphone but terrible reverb natural sound of small untreated room (I guess that this problem will be solved with panels).
...
My room is over-symmetric, but I have recorded in some more open, completely asymmetric space in the house and it's not a problem in recording so much as one in mixing. And, having *near*-field monitors is the primary tool used there, along with attacking the 1st reflection points on the sides with trapping (or really heavy drapes) and, possibly "clouds" (overhead panels).

The energy in the sound dissipates (inverse square law) with distance, so anything that gets past your ears is going to travel some distance before it returns. If it returns quickly, then it potentially confuses your mix decisions, especially if it hits highly reflective surfaces. That's why you trap 1st reflections and behind you. And, it's why the asymmetry is beneficial to some extent there, since it some reflections will effectively lose all their energy in that travel. Now, if you are recording a drum-kit or loud electric guitar amp, not so much, but for acoustic recordings, the energy is low, and you should mix with your speaker levels not too loud, either. I'm not discounting it as a factor, just saying I think you can probably control it, once you set up and get an idea of what it *might* be doing to your monitoring environment.

I have "Pergo" flooring with some cheap area rugs, and just trapping for monitoring overhead. I think it's Ok. (Should be some videos in my profile recorded in that room, and the recent mandolin duet to decide if I am full of mud or not.)
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
For the bass traps I thought on buying them as a finished product (not really sure on how to make it). I have attached the traps I was planning to buy.
No! Those are foam. You need at least 4X as much thickness of foam to accomplish the same bass trapping as rockwool.
 

keith.rogers

Well-known member
No! Those are foam. You need at least 4X as much thickness of foam to accomplish the same bass trapping as rockwool.
+1. My bass (corner) traps (you can see one in the pic I posted) are double-thick rockwool batts totaling about 7" (~18cm) of mass, from floor to ceiling. Mass is what "traps" lower frequency audio waves. The rest of the panels are half that thickness. I did not use the denser, more compressed "board" material as it was not available locally, and shipping costs made it prohibitive to procure that so I could make somewhat thinner panels.
 
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