How To Treat A Room On A Budget.

Getting a good home recording sound, can be difficult in untreated rooms with lots of flutter echo, or bass boomy-ness.

Real spaces are great for capturing IRs for custom reverbs, but can be challenging for close miking techniques that favor isolated sounds.

Using a gate plug-in can do a lot for reducing the apparent noise floor of your recordings.

Recording studios often have treated rooms, which utilize physical Absorber, Reflectors and Dispersion units to treat the room for better recording and mixing. There are several different approaches to creating the ideal room, coming down to intended use and an engineers or artist/producers preference and budget.

Aside from very high end mastering suits recording studios aren’t usually intended to sound dead, like an anionic chamber. Some of the options for creating a listening or recording space are back or front wall absorptions, and dispersion of high end in a small space to open up the sound stage, or bass traps which absorb excess bass energy. Tuned membranes can be designed to treat bass energy. Skyline diffusers can be scientifically calculated to disperse a wide band of frequencies equally.

Most often in home studios, budget and space preclude building custom diffusers and the like. Treating flutter echo is the usual first step and, for close miking to isolate vocals or acoustic instruments, produces adequate results for demos. Acoustic foam tiles or , “Rockwool” insulation constructions are used to mildly treat rooms. Wedge shaped bass foam traps are sold, but unless your room has a significant corner mode problem, these aren’t going to do much.

Given that chuck of info, let’s consider a planing stage for treating a room which involves some acoustic testing. I’m not a scientist, but I can share enough to get you started in the right direction. 

You’ll want to find a room mode calculator online. Measure your space and input your information to get a an idea as to how your ‘theoretical’ empty room will resound to sound.

Secondly you’ll need to find a ‘waterfall’ acoustic testing application. it’ll take some research that goes beyond this articles scope to explain their exact use.

Summery: with these tools you’ll be able to get an idea about what kind of treatments your room might need. Apply those treatments, and then reset to see the results.

Ideally, you end up with a room with a pleasant, response to music at mixing volume that you can rely on to translate your mixes to other environments. In the end this is tested by treating your room, producing material in that space and seeing how it sounds on your phone, through earbuds, in the car, the television, streamed online, or at home theater full volume, etc.

Published by ModGuitar Senior Editor

I have been building and modding guitars for 20+ years. My goal is to share my knowledge with readers, as well as offer affordable learning and do-it-yourself resources.