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144dB

Hearing and feeling good bass in my home studio...

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Hey all,

 

 

 

I repositioned my speakers in my 14' x 11' home studio, and I must have hit the magic spot. I know the material that I'm listening to very well, and I'm confident I can judge the bottom end quite well from where I'm sitting. The proof will come in a few weeks when I mix and master the first project in this particular studio. This won't preclude the need to test multiple systems, walk around the room and "average" the results, check it with headphones, etc., but in all of the rooms I've had, this one seems to have the best sweet spot.

 

 

 

My head is ~38% rearward from the front wall (63 inches), and the forward edge of the speakers is approximately 30 inches from the front wall. There are 20 broadband absorbers in the room, including four 4"-thick Owens 703 panels hanging from the ceiling, nine 6"-thick panels on three walls (three on each wall), and a combination of Real Traps and 8"-thick absorbers in the wall-to-wall and wall-to-floor corners. I've had studios with even more trapping, but for whatever reason, this one has the bottom end to beat.

 

 

 

In a couple of years I'm going to move the operation to the basement (and replace my ported Event PS-8s with Unity Rocks), and I'll have much more room down there. The underlying concrete walls will be a bit of a challenge, but I plan to build some massive traps.

 

 

 

Regardless, I just wanted to share a bit of success. I've struggled for many years to get a reliable bottom end with these speakers and the various rooms I've been in, and out of luck or experimentation, I seem to have found a good compromise.

 

 

 

Cheers.

 

 

 

Todd

 

 

 

 

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The true test is how well the mixes translate over multiple systems.

 

I hardly use monitors for mixing anymore to be honest… Around 4-5 years ago, I started to mix at extremely low levels using headphones only. When I mix at extreme low levels, I get an overall well balanced mix. I use ATH-M50s mostly.

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Hey all,

 

 

 

 

My head is ~38% rearward from the front wall (63 inches), and the forward edge of the speakers is approximately 30 inches from the front wall. There are 20 broadband absorbers in the room, including four 4"-thick Owens 703 panels hanging from the ceiling, nine 6"-thick panels on three walls (three on each wall), and a combination of Real Traps and 8"-thick absorbers in the wall-to-wall and wall-to-floor corners. I've had studios with even more trapping, but for whatever reason, this one has the bottom end to beat.

 

 

Regardless, I just wanted to share a bit of success. I've struggled for many years to get a reliable bottom end with these speakers and the various rooms I've been in, and out of luck or experimentation, I seem to have found a good compromise.

 

 

 

Wow, that is a LOT of 703 in a small room! Combined with the other absorbers, surely no bass peaks or valleys could survive! I bet the bass does sound good.

 

With that much absorption, do you have any issues with the room being a bit dead in other frequency ranges?

 

I have about a dozen sheets of 2" rigid fibreglass traps in my dinky studio, and I was feeling indulgent. No moresmiley-happy

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IIRC 14 feet is about the wavelength of a 60 Hz wave so between a lot of recordings not really going down that far and all the absorption, it sounds like you're in good shape. I highly recommend running some low-frequency sine waves through your system, walking around, and seeing where they null (if indeed they do). Also, a sine sweep in the 20-300 Hz range can be most instructive as to whether you hear any frequencies jump out at you.

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I use ATH-M50s mostly.

 

 

 

I track with a pair of Audio Technical ATH-M40's. I love them... Great headphones for the money.

 

 

 

I still prefer to work with speakers for mixing, as I'm just not to the point of judging reverb, bass, and stereo imaging solely through headphones.

 

 

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Wow, that is a LOT of 703 in a small room! Combined with the other absorbers, surely no bass peaks or valleys could survive! I bet the bass does sound good.

 

 

 

With that much absorption, do you have any issues with the room being a bit dead in other frequency ranges?

 

 

 

I have about a dozen sheets of 2" rigid fibreglass traps in my dinky studio, and I was feeling indulgent. No moresmiley-happy.png' alt='16x16_smiley-happy.png.a1cb19ed0a13aa15d5339265141016d6.png' alt='smiley-happy'>.png'>

 

 

 

It's actually not as dead as you might think. I had 32 absorbers in a similar sized room in my old house, and even that still had some flutter echo. I vary the depth of the absorbers depending on the location, and some of my deepest traps have the foil facing (which acts as a great membrane absorber, and helps reflect some high frequencies). Some of my traps are also Real Traps, which are typically Owens 705 (or equivalent density rock wool), and have a very thin membrane on them.

 

 

 

When you walk into the room, you definitely notice a reduction in HF reflections, but it's not at all like a room with too much HF-absorbing foam. It doesn't feel weird or anything.

 

 

 

And the truth is, I could use more LF trapping... The bass is pretty good right now, but in my experience, there's just no such thing as too much LF absorption in a small room. My monitors could also be part of the problem. They were the best I could afford at the time (Event PS-8s), but the ported woofers are a bit loose compared to what's available now. When I can afford some high-end monitors, I'm excited about the possibilities. I'm leaning towards a sealed cabinet (Unity Audio Rocks), as I don't need the SPLs, and I want really tight bass.

 

Edited by 144dB

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Much of my rl work has been in acoustic science. Nothing as glamorous as music, things like designing quiet pavements and designing the world's largest absorptive barrier (on I30 in Dallas TX). I mention that because it gives me access to some VERY expensive professional audio tools and software which I occasionally borrow to evaluate my home studio.

 

Here's a few things I've learned as a result:

 

(1) There's absolutely nothing you can do to a small room to make it flat and yet reasonably reverberant. Maybe if you removed the back wall your bass modes would be greatly improved, but then there's that rain problem and neighbors calling the police problem. As a footnote, I always preferred mixing outdoor concerts because (except for a few slap echoes from nearby buildings, wind, rain, etc) nature gives you a clean canvas to paint your sound onto. You need more power outdoors but so what? Power is cheap now.

 

(2) There are a ton of things you CAN do to make a small room MORE neutral. These things do not include acoustic foam unless it's seriously thick and used sparsely. Something that used to be overlooked was the amazing amount of low frequency, narrow bandwidth energy that comes off your speaker stands or shelf unless you isolate the support extremely well. These resonances are absolute poison to your mixes unless you control them.

 

(3) It would take more RealTraps than would fit in a small room to make an appreciable difference. However, they don't suck up the high freqs as badly as foam does. They do have a place in the mix along with calibrated tube traps and very thick corner foam.

 

(4) The good news is (especially for me with one ear working after my accident), if you get it in the ballpark a good mastering lab can fix just about anything *acoustic* in nature.

 

Terry D.

Edited by MrKnobs

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My studio is so dead its like being in a coffin. I succeeded in sound proofing it so I wouldn't bother the neighbors with a loud band in there but all those layers of sound material made it irritatingly dead. I have added reflective materials back into the room but its still mostly non reflective.

The room is an oddball shape too. 1/3 of the room has a drop ceiling.

 

I have gotten used to its deadness. Mixing in the room is highly directional, almost like mixing outdoors. Very little reflection and there really isn't a big issue with standing waves. I had an issue in one corner which I later fixes with some traps.

 

I do use multiple sets of monitors too. I get excellent response for mixing, but part of that is because I use subs under the console down by my feet. I can feel the bass there and judge how much kick I'm getting and have my near fields at ear level to accurately judge how much bass there is to the ears. I do like being able to feel the bass because I played in bands for so many years.

 

Of course I can use the old empty beer can trick too. If you hold an empty can in front of your monitors the thing will vibrate like an sob when you have a really good mix. If something's wrong with it, you wont feel it.

 

Don't ask me why it works. I just rack it up to the can acting like a tuning fork. I discovered it doing sound for bands. When you had a band with a really good kick butt sound the can would vibrate in your hand. I found it to be the damest thing. Maybe the manufacturers purposely designed the cans that shape so they would make people drink more? Wouldn't put it past them. Of course coke cans do the same thing.

 

Next time you get a good mix happening, give it a try just for kicks. People find it a real hoot when I have them do it.

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