Three points on acoustically treating your room for recording
1. Making the most of it:
As most of us don’t have the budget to build the dream recording space, it pays to know how to work with what you have and generally it’s a spare room with flat walls.
Flat walls combined with a flat ceiling can generate a lot of reflection and phase cancellation. Start by off setting your monitors so they are not pointing directly at the wall.
2. Use what you have:
What we are going for is to change the shape of our room to stop even reflection, so some pieces of everyday furniture will help a lot. A book case full of books acts as a great treatment for standing waves and a nice soft couch can also help in diffusing some sound waves that gather in the room. If you don’t have any budget for studio foam, grab some egg cartons from the local market and stick them up behind your monitors & on the wall directly facing them..
3. Fix the roof
Your celling and high corners will also cause a lot of issues with reflection. So once again use egg cartons or if you can afford them studio designed acoustic foam tiles.
The reason for all of this is to stop phase cancellation and wayward frequencies colouring the sound while you are trying to mix-down.
Sound diffusion: A common mistake with studio foam is to think it will make a room sound proof, when in actual fact the ripples of foam are for breaking up sound waves and diffusing reflection. See (fig 1 and fig 2. bellow)
(fig 1.) Sound waves that hit an even surface like a flat wall bounce back on themselves & can cancel themselves out (phase cancellation).
This will give you a false level for what is really happening in your mix.
(See fig 2.)
(fig 2.) The undulating mountains of the egg shell foam causes the sound wave to arrive on the surface at different times.
The foam material softens reflection and combined with the uneven surface breaks up the sound wave so it doesn’t bounce back on it’s self.