Unconventional, Unattractive, but Easy and Effective

ashcat_lt

Well-known member
I've been mixing in this living room for a few years now. Even without treatment, it has always sounded pretty good. It's about 12 x 21 x 8.5, so almost big enough for decent near field monitoring, and it kind of opens to the rest of the house behind this and like half the walls are just flimsy paneling, so the bass tends to blow through them without quite so much chance to bounce around and mess things up. It wasn't really ideal, but since I listen to everything from Netflix to my music collection on these speakers in this room, I got pretty familiar with it and I feel like the mixes I've done here have been some of the best I've ever achieved.

I was, however, working around a few issues. The side walls are a little too close for comfort. Worse yet, one side is paneling and the other is a window, so it's not really symmetrical. And of course, while the bass wasn't bad, and I have some "poor man's bass traps" (bags of old clothes and fabric) in some of the floor/wall corners, it can always use some tightening up.

Now, a big problem in this particular room is that I can't really fuck with the front or left side wall. The homeowner put a bunch of money into that fancy wood treatment you see in the picture, and of course there's also the big window on the left, so no way of really attaching more traditional panels. The attic is full of blown in insulation, so attaching a cloud to the ceiling would be likewise problematic. So anything I did pretty much had to be free standing.

So I did this:

mixroom.JPG

It really is almost a room-within-a-room. Both walls and the ceiling are constructed pretty much like basic stud walls, 15" on center with R30 pink stuff in between. There is no hard surface to them, though. The kraft facing is on the outside, so any high frequencies that might bounce back from that has to go through the insulation twice anyway. I just happened to have two rolls of that weed-stop fabric used in landscaping that is a pretty fine, tight weave, but completely breathable, and that turned out to be exactly (like just barely!) enough to cover the "inside" of these things. This covers the front 8' of the room, but it's built in 4' sections to make it easier to get in, up, down, and out.

The mix position is almost nuts on that magic 39% spot everybody talks about, which puts it pretty much right at the edge of the panels so they are completely covering all of the reflections between the speakers and my head. We're not actually catching first reflections behind the speakers, of course, but I went all the way back to the corners because: 1) It still covers the floor/wall, wall/ceiling, and wall/wall corners to help with bass trapping and B) eventually I'm going to stick a couple pairs of speakers up in those front corners, so the reflections from those will be covered too.

We also build a simple box that sits behind the rack/screen there to isolate some of the horrible fan noise from two computers and a hard disk recorder that had been really pissing me off. ATM, I've got a couple of extra bales of insulation batts just propped up (and covered with fabric) in the front corners for added bass trapping. Eventually, that will be hidden by some shelving, and whatever structure I end up building to hold those speakers in the corners will include some more trapping action as well.

It made a lot more difference than I thought. The stereo image now is honestly kind of scary well defined. The low end which had been pretty good already is now noticeably tighter and flatter. It really is a case of I didn't really know how far off it was until I fixed it. It sounded good, but often good and accurate aren't quite the same thing. It's actually taking me a bit to get used to things after the change, but I'm already hearing a difference in the couple mixes I've made since the build. I've got ideas for things I might eventually do to make it look a little nicer, but that was never really even on the priorities list.
 

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ashcat_lt

Well-known member
Course, I can't seem to figure out how to make that attached picture actually show up in the message! :facepalm: :RTFM: :drunk: :confused:
 

ashcat_lt

Well-known member
Is it possible the image is too large (dimension and/or file size)?
It was more because I was trying to coordinate it between my phone and work computer. This forum goes wonky some times on those machines. I got it now, I think.
 

Pinky

and The Brain...
It was more because I was trying to coordinate it between my phone and work computer. This forum goes wonky some times on those machines. I got it now, I think.

Yeah, I see it. Kinda wish I could undo that, man it *looks* hideous. :p
 

ashcat_lt

Well-known member
Yeah, I see it. Kinda wish I could undo that, man it *looks* hideous. :p
I did warn you! There are some really simple things that could be done to finish it and make it a lot more aesthetically pleasing. Somebody with actual carpentry experience could do something very similar very easily and probably make it look a lot more "real". I personally don't much care, and almost kind of dig the half-assed ghetto feel. :cool:
 

miroslav

Cosmic Cowboy
Hey if it works for you....like how's that go...beauty is in the eye of the beholder. :D
I might have gone with a different color than black....kind has a funeral parlor vibe to it. :p

Just one question...so the homeowner won't let you do the other shit in there to the room...but he's OK with that?
 

ashcat_lt

Well-known member
Hey if it works for you....like how's that go...beauty is in the eye of the beholder. :D
I might have gone with a different color than black....kind has a funeral parlor vibe to it. :p
Weed stop fabric only comes in black. ;) It's actually not as bad as I was afraid it would be when you're really sitting there.
Just one question...so the homeowner won't let you do the other shit in there to the room...but he's OK with that?
This is not actually attached to anything. It's completely free standing and will be relatively easy to remove if/when I need to. Didn't have to screw anything into the fancy wood or get into the attic or anything. The walls pretty much just stand on their own, and the ceiling part sits on top and it's only just barely tacked together, but I don't think it needs to be.
mjbphotos said:
And maybe something better than a $4.98 folding Walmart tv table!
It's actually part of a 4 piece set. I have no idea where it came from or how much it cost. They are super convenient. In this room it's all I need to hold the keyboard and mouse and even my NanoKontrol when I choose to use it. I can move it around the room as necessary, and anything more would really just take up too much space. I use the others pretty often in the big room downstairs for getting amps up off the floor, or when I want to be able to reach my pedalboard without bending down, or to hold any number of other things.
 

Pinky

and The Brain...
It's actually part of a 4 piece set. I have no idea where it came from or how much it cost. They are super convenient. In this room it's all I need to hold the keyboard and mouse and even my NanoKontrol when I choose to use it. I can move it around the room as necessary, and anything more would really just take up too much space. I use the others pretty often in the big room downstairs for getting amps up off the floor, or when I want to be able to reach my pedalboard without bending down, or to hold any number of other things.

I've dragged a wooden folding table into my space for similar purposes (mostly as a keyboard stand). Works as a table and keyboard stand. Win/win.
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
Thanks for pointing me here, ashcat ;)

I'm using a 24 x 80 x 1-1/4 unfinished interior door (hollow) as my table. Pre-holed for knob and latch, which is really nice to run all the wiring down and under behind everything. It's propped up by 4 vertical 16-inch cinder blocks (1 per corner), and 2 additional 2-1/4 inch red bricks for an extra 4-1/2 inches of height atop each block.

My computer and PC speakers, along with all power strips and misc. wires and cables are all piled up under and in the rear. I have no rack. Very clean to look at, but I need to mess it up with some sound deadening materials.
___________________

The room-within-a-room I had in mind for myself would be around 50-60% the size of yours. Especially in height. I figure on sitting within it; no standing. Oh man.. I'd have to have a black light.

QnUe9On.jpg
 
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