A 3 Part Resource for D.I.Y. Acoustic Sound Treatment and Room Development
As a conclusion to my series on Building Cost Effective Acoustic Treatment, I wanted to put a link to all three articles in one place along with a “before and after” video. I also wanted to put this up on our forum in one place in case anyone has any questions about what I did with my studio. If you are planning on trying to save some money by building your own acoustic treatment panels these three articles are worth reviewing.
The effort to build all this acoustic treatment was not minimal, but well worth it. Besides saving a lot of money I was able to customize the panels so that they fit the room well. Using the QuadCurve EQ which comes with SONAR X3Producer is where I can really tell the difference in my environment. The QuadCurve EQ is very advanced and allows the user to surgically tailor frequencies. Now that I have my room treated properly, I can really hear the difference between the EQ modes.
So the first step is to get going with a version of the SONAR X3 family, and then do your homework and figure out the best listening environment FOR YOU.
[Click on any picture for higher resolution] For the last couple of weeks I have been writing about how I’ve been building custom acoustic treatment panels for my new project studio which is running SONAR X1 Producer Expanded. I started with the sound cloud over the mix position and then showed how I basically cut out all the corners of my room (a square room unfortunately for me) by building corner traps. This week I’ll dive into probably the most important component; the wall panels.
The wall panels are really important for me for a few reasons. (1.) They absorb the first sound reflection from the speakers so that the frequency waves are tamed down, and (2.) They absorb the sound in the room in general to control echo and reverberation. I do a bit of professional moonlighting work on the side including songwriting/production for ESPN Sports Center as well as other commercial stuff, so it’s important for me to have a controlled environment to listen to my mixes and productions on SONAR so that what I deliver is the real-deal. As I stated before, it’s pretty much impossible to create a perfect listening environment unless you are building a room from scratch (floating room, sound proofing inside the walls, etc…,) but it is possible to greatly improve your surroundings. In my own opinion, I think the way to look at it is to figure out what it is you are trying to accomplish before you purchase or build anything. I think some of the important questions to ask are:
*How much can I afford to put into the project?
*Is it important for the place to look professional?
*Will a vibed-out room make you or whoever is using the room feel more creative?
*What are the basic sonic trouble elements to the room?
So maybe you have SONAR X1 Production Suite running on a killer computer, and now you might have a sound cloud over your mix position; what’s next? Last week I exemplified how I built and installed a hanging sound cloud and this week I will go into detail how I built corner traps to help tame my unorthodox (square) production room. Before reading this post, you may want to visit my article from last week which goes into some detail on room shapes.
My room, unfortunately for me is dead square. This is about the worst case scenario so I had to do some research and talk to a lot of friends who are acoustic professionals such as Gavin Haverstick of Haverstick designs. With my room being about 13.5’ x 13.5’ and 7.5’ ceilings, he has my mix position at 62” off the front wall. So with my positioning about right, and a sound cloud overhead to take out the first ceiling reflections, the next thing to do was try to knock out the corners of the room where bass frequencies could become a big problem.
I decided to make custom corner traps based on my personal situation. Once again, every room and everyone’s needs are different, so if you are on a tight budget, I think it’s best to first figure out what’s important to YOU. For my situation, here were my goals for corner traps:
Just as important as having a killer DAW such as SONAR X1 Production Suite 64bit running on a good machine, one needs to take a good hard look at their recording and mixing environment. If you are starting to get to the point where the word “professional” (as in making some money) comes into play, you should probably start to think about your sonic room environment as well as your environment’s presentation.
The beauty of the music industry today is that you CAN make extra money as a part time job utilizing tools such as SONAR, but there comes a point in time where you need to step it up if you have what it takes to succeed on certain levels. In my personal situation, as a writer/mixer/producer I take on some decent paying side jobs once in a while when time permits such as recent tracks that I sold to ESPN Sports center, but I can tell you that if I didn’t have SONAR X1 Producer Expanded and a decent mixing environment, there’s no way I would have been able to deliver those tracks.
In the upcoming weeks I am going to be talking about, as well as be demonstrating how I recently treated my new music studio room with great looking acoustic treatment panels. I built all the custom panels myself so it cost me a fraction of what it would have been to order these panels online; and in my opinion they look better because I elected to design them with exposed natural wood where the cheap ones online are just basically fabric-wrapped.