This weekend I moved my home studio from one room to another. From a nearly 200 square foot living room to a 100 square foot bedroom. It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about room acoustics and because this is a common situation for home studios, I thought I’d share my experience.
This article will help you understand and overcome the challenges of a dedicated studio in a small room. It will be most helpful to those with symmetrical rooms (no weird angles) and to those that don’t need all the usual bedroom stuff, at the very least it will be a starting point to making the best of the situation.
Corner bass trap and broadband absorbers plus foam above.
Small rooms are more likely to have acoustic problems than larger ones, primarily flutter echo, room modes and early reflections that are too short. In my room, I knew there was a very bad flutter echo problem and room modes may be a problem but were predictable. The room is symmetrical which was an advantage the old room didn’t have. The measurements are approximately 11ft long x 9ft wide x 8ft tall. There is a door and a closet on the back wall and 6 x 4 window on the front wall.
For small project studios like mine, Craigslist is a great way to promote your services. I regularly post ads for lessons and recording throughout the week. I’m not the only one in Vancouver trying to get their studio business going, there are dozens of other studios posting each month. Some ads are great, some are really bad and some are just beyond belief.
The always awesome AIR Users Blog has started a new service. They’re creating a page listing all the Pro Tools equipped studios. Listing your studio is free. Whether you have an Mbox or massive HD7 rig, if you do professional work with your Pro Tools studio, get on this list.
Info from the AIR Users Blog:
We thought it would be good to give members of the community the chance to list their Pro Tools studio for FREE, with the hope that we can connect those looking for a Pro Tools facility with those offering one, all for FREE of course.
This list includes everything from Producers with project studios to full blown multi-room facilities big enough to track an entire orchestra. You can list your particular equipment, specialisms, whatever you think will help match people up. Our aim is that over time, it will be the biggest single source of Pro Tools facilities on the web and a one stop offering for those looking for a Pro Tools facility.
Apartment buildings are not the ideal place to have a home studio, the main problem with them is the acoustics are terrible. My ‘studio’ has painted concrete walls, huge windows across one side, and is a L shape. This results in a very uneven frequency response, and ridiculous flutter echo.
For not a lot of money I made a big improvement to this situation. Rigid fiberglass is the most cost effective way to acoustically treat a room. Foam only really makes a difference with mid and high frequencies, the panels I made are effective down to about 125 Hz according to the specs of the material.