Acoustic treatment is the most undermined and misunderstood parts of the building or a home or a studio. The special touch can turn an ordinary room into a recording environment.
Getting started with acoustic treatment can be intimidating. It becomes, especially for the average producer. Pro studios spend more money on improving the acoustics of the workspaces where they record.
The reality is that acoustic treatment is something anyone can take advantage of in a home studio. In the following article, we will go through everything you need to know about acoustic treatment.
What is the Acoustic Treatment
Acoustic treatment is a process of improving the acoustic properties of a room or recording or mixing music. Acoustic treatment aims to make your environment sound neutral and sonically pleasing with controlled ambience with predictable qualities for recording. Acoustic treatment is accomplished by mounting absorption or diffusion devices in workspaces where problematic reflections keep on occurring.
Diffusion and Absorption
There are two prominent ways to deal with problematic acoustics.
The first is to prevent undemanded frequencies from reflecting into the recording or mixing environment. This method is called absorption. The acoustic absorber is made from a material that stops sound energy from reflecting or bouncing off hard surfaces like walls and ceilings. The “trapped” reflections no longer interfere with the direct sound from the source. That makes a significant improvement to the quality of the sound of the space—and recordings.
Diffusion is another approach to acoustic treatment. Distribution works by scattering problematic reflections in different directions. This reduces the harmful effect. The acoustic diffuser is made of rigid materials arranged in patterns of varying size, height, or direction.
In all the cases, a combination of both approaches is necessary for effective acoustic treatment.
How to acoustically treat your room
There is no single fix size to fit all solution for acoustic treatment. Every room is unique and different problem areas. But if you are getting started with acoustic treatment, some basic recommendations can make a significant improvement.
To treat your work area or room for recording or mixing, you need to use the following types of acoustic treatment:
- Bass traps— low frequencies
- Acoustic panels— broadband absorption
- Diffusers— late reflections.
We will go through every to explain how they make proper acoustic treatment.
What are Bass Traps?
These acoustic absorbers can prevent problematic reflections from low frequencies. This manner of acoustic treatment requires extra mass and absorptive properties to deal with low rates effectively.
They are shaped like triangular prisms. They are placed in the corners of the room, typically where bass frequencies build up.
Bass traps must be filled with absorptive material to be effective at low frequencies.
Controlling your room’s bass properly is crucial. Low-end energy can be extra problematic for recording and mixing environments, especially in small workspaces.
The longer a sound’s wavelength, the lower the frequency. Like, one cycle of a 60 Hz sine wave is approx. 19 feet!
- Room reflections mix and blend with the direct signal and can cause destructive interference before a full cycle of the wave, even has been completed.
- With the entire energy of the sound wave nearly fighting against itself, your bass will disappear in critical areas and build-up in others.
- As we process our tracks, we will attempt to compensate by boosting the low end in our mix. When we listen anywhere outside of our wrong mix room, then the final product will be far too bassy.
- Bass traps are an appropriate solution to such issues.
- There are significant commercial companies that offer premium pre-built bass traps, but it’s also entirely possible to build your own.
All the various types of acoustic treatment in the article are surprisingly accessible if you’re willing to DIY.
What are the Acoustic Panels?
Acoustic panels are those absorbing devices that work for a broad frequency range of sound energy. Bass traps handle at the lowest frequencies, and acoustic panels take care of the rest.
- The next most problematic areas are the first reflection points. This is a crucial area for the usage of acoustic absorption panels.
- These are the places which are the initial reflections convergers where the listening area has the most intensity.
- The first reflection points are generally located on walls to the immediate left and right of the listening position as every room is different.
- Acoustic panels are made of a rectangular frame filled with absorbent material and hung on walls.
What are Diffusers?
- Acoustic diffusers are a form of acoustic treatment that scatter reflections rather than absorbing them.
- They’re an essential part of comprehensive acoustic treatment. If you only use absorption, you’ll end up with a space that sounds unnaturally “dead.”
- Diffusion allows you to control room reflections without eliminating them.
- There are different diffusor styles that each use a different strategy to reduce the harmful effects of acoustic reflections.
- Diffusion works best for tackling late reflections at points further back from the primary listening position, but it’s still a crucial part of a complete acoustic treatment strategy.
- This type of treatment is a commonly misunderstood component of excellent studio setup.
- There’s a lot to learn, but the basics are surprisingly simple—control reflections and stop critical frequencies from cancelling each other out.
- A combination of bass traps, broadband absorbers, and diffusers is a productive start to treating a room.
- Use the information in this article to get started on your journey with treatment.