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Old 04-27-2021, 07:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
Juicious Maximus III
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Scabb Island
Posts: 6,268

I have built a couple of home studios now using mostly cheap solutions, so I may have some tips.

To do things cheaply, I think the goal should be to make your studio a dead space in terms of sound. Don't aim for "good" acoustics, just try to deaden everything. It's relatively easy and cheap. If you want reverb or good acoustics, you have software/hardware for that.

The general idea is of course just to cover hard surfaces with something soft that will absorb the energy from the sound waves. In my first home studio, I used heavy blankets and duvets and got them up on the walls. I had a gigantic, thick bed cover blanket that I folded double and draped across the walls on one side of the room and had duvets on other walls. It looked like ****, but it worked.

I also had thick carpeting on the floor and some home-made, free standing acoustic panels. Basically, they are wooden frames with something soft in the middle. I had made a couple that I had hinged together so I could move them around. I had another free standing one that I mostly just left in the corner. I had filled these with foam rubber, mostly, though today I would've put something else in them. Got some old towels? Perhaps an old sleeping bag? Some materials, like layers of towels, works great. Some work less great, but it all works to some extent and since it's cheap and you're just aiming to kill any reverberations, just go overboard. Use different materials in the hope that you might catch more frequencies.

Today, I'm on my second studio and it's not as cheap-ass as my first, though I've still tried to be frugal. I got some really thick and quite expensive rubber mats on the floor (talking close to 2000 USD) covered with second hand woolen carpets. Because I have sloped roof/walls reflecting everything into the floor, that was the most important thing so I spent some cash on that.

In addition, I have a lot of acoustic panels. I've now made them out of these watchamacallit.. industrial ceiling tiles made of compressed insulation. They're made to quiet down industrial locales and usually come in bulk. I had to buy a bunch, but they were really cheap compared to the stuff that is marketed more towards studios. On paper, they're not that different from the expensive stuff in terms of what they do to sound.

I have them in three sorts of places:
  • On the walls, usually framed, where they optimally should have an air gap between themselves and the wall. In the most important places (where the mics are), the air gap is 5 cm, though it could've been 20 if I had the space.
  • Free standing ones in wooden frames that I can move around
  • In wooden frames that fit inside my window frames, covering the windows. These are fitted with cupboard handles so that they're easy to take out. It's like a cozy cave in there when they're all up, but sunlight is supposedly good for us.

At first, I put everything inside wooden frames. After a while, I got tired of how time consuming that was, so I just secured them directly to the walls in the less important areas.. like this. As you can see, I have put some egg-cardboard-style foam rubber on top of this. You can buy that cheap from stores like wish or aliexpress if you don't mind the carbon footprint. They're not essential, though.. the acoustic plate beneath is what's important. Also note the "bass trap" pillows in the corner.

When you're in the room and you clap loudly and you don't hear much of a resonance (if any), you're probably done. If you do hear resonance, it might come from objects that could/should be removed before recording, like acoustic guitars, perhaps metal lamps, etc.

So that's my wild rant
In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.

Last edited by Guybrush; 04-27-2021 at 12:03 PM.
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