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Acoustic treatment for your home recording studio is extremely overlooked by most upcoming artists.
The focus is usually on buying the best microphone for recording vocals, the best microphone preamp, the best studio speakers, and whatever other accessories that help you to record higher quality music.
While there’s nothing wrong with focusing on purchasing the best quality equipment you can afford – you may still have a problem. A lot of artists will notice that after buying good equipment, their recordings still don’t too good.
Some common problems include:
- A “wet” reverb sound mixed in with the vocals
- Vocal delays or echoes introduced in the recording
- A mix that sounds good in your music studio but doesn’t sound as good in other locations like your car or headphones
If you’re experiencing any of those issues that I listed above, you’re probably suffering from an acoustic problem in your room.
What Is Acoustics?
Acoustics are basically the physics of sound, which is both confusing and not at all essential to fully comprehend.
Great room acoustics are generally low-priority tasks when building a home, so most rooms don’t have a layout that is great for both listening to and recording music. In a room where the energy is not absorbed (like most of the rooms in a house), it bounces around until it eventually dies out.
So basically, the sound and music that comes out of your speakers will bounce around in your room until they die out – which can clash and cause problems with recording music (and mixing it – if you’re going to be the engineer as well). That’s where acoustic treatment comes in – it helps you create a controlled acoustic environment where you are absorbing a lot of frequencies to prevent them from bouncing around, thus making the music sound more accurate.
What Is Acoustic Treatment?
Acoustic treatment is the combination of the right materials and the right placement or layout to control frequencies and create the best sounding environment for recording and listening.
How Does Acoustic Treatment Work?
Acoustic treatment works by absorbing frequencies and making sure they don’t bounce around your studio to make sure that you’re hearing the music in its most accurate form.
What To Look For In Acoustic Treatment?
Acoustic treatment is based on the type of room you have. You may already be aware of the acoustics just from speaking or clapping your hands and noticing a sharp, ringing sound.
If you’re just trying to record vocals (and not make beats or mix your own songs in studio monitors) – cheap foam can get rid of bare walls and the absorb some of the high frequencies that may be causing a “damp” or ringing sound. It will not absorb low frequencies – which won’t be that much of a problem if you’re recording vocals close to the microphone.
However, if you’re looking to make beats or mix your own songs with studio monitors – you’re going to need something that’s more efficient for absorbing both high and low(er) frequencies. In this situation – you would look to add “broadband absorbers” panels and “bass traps”.
Broadband panels are usually rectangular in size and filled with insulation such as Owens Cornin 703 or Rockwool. Regardless of what material you use (research the pros and cons of acoustic materials in the GearSlutz.com forum) – the most important factor is how thick they are. It’s best to start with 4″ thickness (or something close).
Bass Traps are typically insulation as well, but the most important factor is size and density. The bigger these traps are, the better they work.
Where To Get Acoustic Foam For Home Recording Studio?
In my opinion, the best place to purchase acoustic foam is Amazon. They have several different vendors that carry multiple colors, sizes, and structure (foam panel, bass traps, etc..)
Below are a few different types of acoustic foam that I’d recommend you purchase and test in your home recording studio. You don’t have to purchase each one listed below as a few of them are the same foam but in different colors. However, you should pick up a set of square acoustic foam panels and a set of bass trap foam panels (depending on your current acoustic situation).
Where to buy:
Red/Black Acoustic Foam Panels: http://amzn.to/2oEhV3H
Solid Black Acoustic Foam Panels: http://amzn.to/2oKbKbI
Blue/Black Acoustic Foam Panels: http://amzn.to/2nc5oVe
Bass Trap Acoustic Foam: http://amzn.to/2oKbdX7
Where To Get Acoustic Broadband Panels?
When it comes to broadband panels, you have 2 options available:
- Buy the materials and build them yourself
- Buy them pre-made from a company
Acoustic Panel DIY
There are pros and cons to both methods but if you’re going to buy the materials and build them yourself, you can buy them from Amazon or from Home Depot (you may have to order the insulation from their support desk).
Pre-Made Acoustic Panels
If you’re going to buy them pre-made, I’d recommend getting them from GIK Acoustics. They have a nice selection of colors and fabrics, use the correct materials, aren’t that much more expensive than DIY, and also have cut-outs in their frames – allowing the acoustic panels to work more efficiently.
Where To Get Acoustic Bass Traps?
To keep things simple, I’d recommend following the same methods as the broadband panels – either DIY it or buy it pre-made from a company like GIK Acoustics.