This article deals with simple ideas on how to improve the acoustics of your home recording studio design.
One of the main concepts of control room acoustics is to gain some sound neutrality regarding the room so that the sound engineer can perceive correctly the sound coming from the speakers.
Setting up the correct location of speakers and listening position in your recording studio design
Before we start dealing with acoustical panels we need to setup the exact location of the speakers and listening position.
There are three basic principles to follow:
First, the location of the listening position should be at the center of the minimum axis of the room usually the width. In a rectangular room this means that the sound hits both ears at the same time. Symmetry is very important in a recording studio design.
The listening position should be at around 38 % of the maximum dimension of the room (usually length), never on the middle of the length.
Secondly, the spacing between the speakers should be around 1.5 m if possible. Placing the speakers too close to each other will decrease the stereo image.
And finally, in your recording studio design you need to consider that the distance between the speakers should be identical to the distance to the listening position in a way that they all create an imaginary triangle with the identical angles (see picture below).
Treating first reflection points
After setting up the location of the speakers and the listening position in your recording studio design, it is time now to deal with the acoustical treatment.
The basic idea here is to place absorbent material on the mid points between the speakers and the listening position as shown below.The kind of material used could be acoustical foam or rockwool covered with light fabric that allows air to pass through.
The suggested density should be around 40-70 kg/m3 and minimum thickness should be around 40 mm but the thicker the better.
Another suggestion is to use an air cavity behind the absorption panels; it really makes them much more effective in your recording studio design.
Using a panel with 40 mm thickness with an air cavity of 40 mm is a great solution for first reflection points. Hanging the acoustical panel as a cloud (suspended panel) on the ceiling is also a great idea and it brings out interesting aesthetical quality to the room.
Treating bass frequency inside a room
Bass frequencies are very problematic in rooms, particularly if the recording studio design is square or has dimensions that are multiple of others. The room has the capability to act as an amplifier at low frequencies creating irregular frequency responses inside the room.
In order to treat bass frequencies we use absorbent material on the corners. A good idea is to place slices of rockwool from top to bottom, covering the entire corner and use light fabric on top of it. The thicker you can make this bass traps the better.
Floor, windows and additional treatment
Avoid using large carpets on the floor of your home recording studio design. Carpet floors take too much sound at mid and high frequencies and since they occupy a large area, they will make your room unbalanced. Floors should be reflective, preferably made of wood.
Windows are always a problematic part of the room since they are highly reflective. Using a light curtain spaced away from the window will solve the problem partly at mid and high frequencies.
Additional treatment can be used in your recording studio design, by adding acoustical material on the back wall as well on the sidewalls or ceiling if the room is too live.
Taking measurements inside the room
Doing measurements inside your room is always beneficial since it allows you evaluate your room. Microphones should be flat and omnidirectional.
Two good and affordable solutions are the Behringer ECM 8000 or the Beyerdynamic MM1 (more expensive but more robust).
A good and freeware software both available for MAC and PC is the REW (www.roomeqwizard.com).
Article Written by: André de Brito
an acoustical engineer, artist, singer, songwriter and producer.
He works in acoustics as a consultant for room acoustics projects and works as a singer, composer and and songwriter
You can find out more about him on: