Acoustic treatment is the process of improving the acoustics or acoustic properties of a space for the purposes of maintaining a good atmosphere of sound.
Acoustic treatment makes a great difference when it is applied to a space in the right manner and it does so by keeping wanted sounds in and unwanted sounds out.
Spaces with no Acoustic Treatment
Spaces without acoustic treatment will have an altered frequency response
which means that any mixing decisions will be greatly affected by the reverberations,
including low frequency build ups in corners, standing waves, room modes and other issues;
which will ultimately lead to bad mixes.
What this will then mean is that you will have no idea what your song will sounds like when it is played in other places,
because you’d making false mixing judgement due to the false sound you’re getting in the space.
furthermore, the recording you do will have the sonic properties of your untreated environment.
therefore if you want your recordings to be free of any untreated room “colour”,
you have to spend a good amount time investigating your room and then apply the necessary treatment to make it an optimal place to record and mix in.
So what do you do to maintain a neutral sound balance in your room?
Step1: Know your outcome
the very first step in successfully treating your room for acoustics is figuring out what outcome you hope to achieve.
thinking you can get rid of all reverberations in the room is a misconception,
and thinking you need your entire room insulated with acoustic treatment material from floor to ceiling is also another a misconception.
because you need to remember that the size of the room will obviously dictate
how much acoustic material you’ll use, plus your finances will also determine how much acoustic material you’ll acquire.
most new and fairly new producers simply don’t have the money for them to spend large amounts on acoustic material.
so the particular outcome that you need to have is simply trying your best to restore a neutral sound balance in your room.
applying this technique will simply require you to interfere with the path of sound in order for you to control the sound energy.
controlling the energy first before you start to worry about the quality is an affordable way of carrying out acoustic treatment.
after we deal with the sound energy we can then drive our focus on controlling the quality,
typically in small studios the most common problem you’ll face is bass frequencies ,
therefore you should try to control the low frequencies as much as possible.
Step 2: Absorption & diffusion
to strike the right balance, the main two things you have to consider are absorption and diffusion.
for high frequencies you typically need materials that have absorptive properties such as foam and mineral wool.
these materials are able to properly absorb and soak the sound energy, turning it into heat through the process of friction.
therefore absorption can be a good choice for reducing flutter echoes and for taming particularly bright sounds.
absorption is also the best option for “ringy rooms”.
for low frequencies you can use “bass trapping”,
it is also a kind of sound absorption,
specifically designed to take care of very low frequencies.
if you want to make an effective bass trap you have to combine soft, hard, thick and thin materials including air.
let’s now get into diffusion…
basically the goal of diffusion is to scatter sound engine using surfaces.
,diffusers are made of wood, plastic or polystyrene
they will help in improving middle and high range frequencies in a room,
they’ll also provides the space between two speakers that you’ll typically be stationed at,
this is often times referred to as the sweet spot.
Step 3: preparation
if you’re new to room treatment then I’d recommend you read enough on acoustics for you to have the right knowledge.
if you have access to an acoustics expert then you’re even better off.
at this stage is where you start to collect the right material that you need for your room treatment.
for absorption materials you can always use acoustic panels.
they are basically absorbing devices that work for a broad range of frequencies.
naturally bass traps will take care of all your low frequencies while acoustic panels will take care of the rest of the frequencies.
every room is different but usually the most problematic areas are the first reflection points,
which are on the walls to the immediate right and immediate left of the listening position.
acoustic panels are made of rectangular frames
that you can hang on your walls.
after dealing with absorption you can then go ahead and place your order for diffusers.
diffusers will help you eliminate sound reflections without getting rid of all of them.
there are different diffuser types that’s why you need an expert to help you assess your particular room I’m order for you to figure out what style of diffusers that you’ll need.
diffusers are the best to handle late reflections at points that are further back from the main listening position.
it is a very key element in the process of acoustic treatment.
the basics of acoustic treatment are as simple as controlling the reflections and stopping important frequencies from cancelling each other.
so after you figure out the sound treatment equipment you need.
you can go ahead and order it.
once it arrives you have to start putting it up where its supposed go.
you have to make sure that your materials go in the right place to maintain both the visual and sound aesthetics.
after you finish putting up your soundproof material ,
it’s time for you to play some music and assess if your sound treatment has made the impact you intended for it to make.
this is why you have to try some recording in the room.
once you established that you’re room is properly optimised,
then your job is done.
I went into depth discussing acoustic treatment, deliberately.
I did it because I wanted you to properly understand the goal behind it and why it is necessary.
Acoustic treatment will make a significant difference when it is done the right way.