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How To Control Sound
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How To Control Sound

The terms sound proof and acoustic treatment are two entirely different things. Sound proofing is very expensive and most of the time not really associated with recording studios or other types of audio production environments. Acoustic treatment however is exactly what you'd be looking to do if you were considering altering your house for the application of building a music recording studio.

Professional recording studios are normally designed by big dollar acousticians who have degrees is stuff that I can't even pronounce. They see the angles of walls and materials the walls are made out of and can tell you without even being in the room what it's going to sound like. Most of us however can't afford the likes of folks like John Storyk or Russ Berger. However there is hope. I had the opportunity to educate audio students at Full Sail University along side Mr. John Storyk for five years. A few times a year John would come to the school as a guest speaker and as an Advanced Recording Instructor I worked close to him and was able to attend many of his lectures.

Most of the big dollar acoustic techniques can be used when considering your home recording studio space if you plan and anticipate how the space is going to react when you turn it into a critical listening environment. Here we will discuss a few of those issues and a couple ways you can plan for them as well as potentially fix them.

A home recording studio is not as controlled of an enviroment as a profession recording studio but can controlled to certain degrees if you take the time to understand your surroundings. One of the first issues I recommend scouting for is what is called a flutter echo. A flutter echo happens when a sound wave, aka sine wave, bounces back and forth continuously between two parallel surfaces. In our setting, probably the walls of your bedroom or something similar. The easiest way to identify a flutter echo is to walk around in the area you want to use and simply clap your hands. As you walk around clapping you'll end up hearing somewhere in your room a flutter echo. Once you hear it you'll understand while it's called a flutter echo. I recommed putting some tape or something on the floor to remind you excatly where in the room you found these flutters.

The other main potential problem in the acoustics of your make shift recording studio is a physcoacoustic principle know as nodes and anti-nodes. A node is a place in an air space (not outter-space you Sci-Fi types), a place in an air space where two sine waves (sound waves) occupy the same space but at opposite polarities. A sine wave is essentially a positive and negative energy that moves through air. If another sine wave of a certian frequency passes through the exact same space as another sine wave of the same frequecny but at opposite energy poles, then they will essentially cancel each other out. When this happens there will be a decrease in volume in that frequency range in that space. So if you are listening to music in your bedroom and the guitar part of the song gets louder when you move from the bed to another part of the room, there is a chance that you were sitting in a node while on your bed. Again I recommend taking some tape or something and marking the place where you found this nasty node.

The idea here is identify where these problem spots are so you can start working on fixing them. Go back to the place where the mark on the floor is located and identify the walls that are in a straigh line from where you are standing. Mark those walls and then place a comforter or something on the walls. Then clap you hands and you should immediately hear a reduction in the flutter echo. The same thing should happen as it pertains to the sine wave node example. If in fact you are able to reduce the effect of the flutter echo and the sine wave node, then it's time to head down to your local music store and purchase some highly effective studio acoustic treatment solutions. Auralex is a very popular brand and works great.

Once you've worked out these acoustic treatment issues within your new home recording studio you'll be able to get muc better recording and mixing results. It's pointless to try and mix a song from your D.A.W., aka digital audio workstation, if you are sitting in the middle of a node. If you didn't test the room to see if it was there in the first place you would have never known about it and would have potentially ended up with many frustations due to your studio monitors not producing acturate representations of your mix.

Take the time to fix your acoustic problems first and then add the gear later. This will save you a ton of time and money. It's really important to make your listening area in the sweet spot of your studio monitors as accurate as possible.


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Thanks Geoffrey, I'm glad that found it help. Take care and have a great holiday season!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Hi Eli, My wish to you is a very good morning and the next parts of the day. I just passed by to say hello and to tell you that I liked your article because it is rich and informative. Thank you very much.

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  about 9 years ago
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