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“Sharp tools make good work!”(Chinese Proverb, online) To have a nice recording, we must choose the nice recording studio. To have a nice recording studio, acoustic treatment is the most important progress while building the studio! Why acoustic treatment is so important? Acoustic treatment does make the actual recordings sound better, it is just as important to the mixing process. The purpose of acoustic treatment is to improve the quality of sound in the room. Acoustics Treatment of the studio is very important than the used of the equipments for record the track on. Yet there are still many people they just allocate only a tiny portion of their budget to acoustic treatments when building a recording studio or home studio. It is very important to choose the right type of room and after that we have to testing the acoustic in that room, make sure that everything like the soundproofing of the studio is good. Let say, we can listen to the tracks that recorded in the studio, if we can hear something like reverb or echo on the track, or the sound is rather flat, that is mean the treatments of the studio have wrong. External interferences, such as the outside noise of people talking or transportation noise, are due to insufficient sound isolation.
“People always think they can or able to overcome acoustics with equipments but you just can’t. Russ Berger, the president of acoustic and audiovisual consultancy firm, Russ Berger Design, told Carolin Heinz in an article for the website Electronic Musician. Beside that, there is another common mistake that people always make, according to Berger, is to confuse “sound isolation” with the acoustic performance in a room.” Sound isolation is simply the process of stopping sound entering or leaving the room. It has no bearing on how sound is absorbed and diffused in the room itself, which are the key determinants of how a recorded track sounds when listened to.
Every studio building needs to be acoustically treated as standard professional music or audio studio requirement for professional sound quality. So when building a recording studio, we have to pay much attention to this avoid any frustrations in future during recording and monitoring, without overdoing it to preserve certain amplifying qualities of the room.
A) Acoustic Treatment Overview
B) Acoustic Treatment
C) Construction Details
Acoustic Treatment is so important to the studio it is because we want to prevent standing waves. When the standing wave occurs, it will affect the frequency response of the listening rooms and the recording studio. Beside that, by using the right acoustic treatment, we can absorb or diffuse the sound in the room to avoid the flutter echoes and improve the stereo imaging while the recording and keep the sound from leaking into or out from the room. A correct way of acoustic treatment can lower the reverb time in the larger space or room and reduce the modal ringing in the small room.
There are few things and problems that we have to concern while building a studio such as absorption, diffusion, reverberation and isolation. Sound absorption can be defined as when sound that strikes the materials and it doesn’t reflected back. An open window is the good example for the absorption because the sound goes through the open window and never reflected back. The more fibrous materials have more absorption; oppositely the denser materials are less absorption. By using the absorption materials in the studio, it can minimize the reflections while the recording going and it can also prevent the standing waves and flutter echoes. But, the control room is treating to be more diffusive than absorptive with the LEDE (Live End Dead End) concept for the monitoring purpose. On the other hand, the recording studios are more likely to be acoustically “dead” and distributive. In general, low frequency sound has a very bad absorption because of their long wavelength. High frequency is very effective in absorption, essential for reducing the flutter echoes. Product like bass trap is a material for absorption, but is specifically designed in order to absorb the low frequency energy. The good bass trap is the combination of the hard, soft, thin materials. By the way, the back of the trap and the gap between the walls can make it even more effective.
Diffusor is used to reduce the reverb or echoes that will be occur in the room that has parallel walls and the flat ceiling. Through the research and books that I have read, all the professional studio designers they agree that periodic reflections caused by parallel walls are best avoided. So, diffusion is always used into absorption to tame these kinds of reflections because diffusion is handful of sound energy using multi-faceted surfaces. Diffusers are commonly made of wood, plastic, or even polystyrene. Jorge Castro (2004, online) explains: “diffusion helps in energy control and improves the sound quality in frequencies throughout the middle and high range of the spectrum, and also improves sweet-spot should be sitting to get the best stereo image (imagine that your head and the two speakers form an equilateral triangle).
Isolation is to block sound from leaking out from the room and is also to soundproof the room from the vibrations or from the external sound. The good noise control’s room can retain the sound within the listening area. Isolation is a very critical question, but the most important is still about the room treatment. Even you will feel something going wrong while you are in the quiet room if its acoustic treatments are wrong. And what can you do for the isolation if your studio is going to build nearby the highway, or beside the train track? “Only two things we can do to isolate the sound that are mass and space.” This is meaning we have to mass the airborne sound but we still need to space so that the structure borne sound cannot be transmitted. By the way, what about the noise that generated by the HVAC (Heat and Air Conditioning system? So, we have to determine all the noise problems and make everything under the control.
Reverberation time will be affected by the absorption. The lower the reverberation time, it is mean there is more absorption. By adding the porous absorber is the easiest way to make the good absorption. Beside that, placing the acoustical foam on those reflective surfaces until the reverberation time is suitably reduced. On the other hand, by removing the absorbing materials will lengthens the reverberation time.
With good and correct materials in building a studio, it can help you to recording and mixing your music correctly. A good room, good acoustics can defined as we can get the sound from the speakers in the room and listen through your ears as unchanged as possible. A good studio should have a very good isolation but still as neutral as possible for you to hear the details such as stereo positioning properly. So, the music we have mixed and equalized can sound good and has the good opportunity of sounding good in other rooms as well.
Controlling the sound in a room is achieved by selective acoustic treatments. Materials are the source out for the best acoustic characteristics in terms of isolation and diffusion, but since there are many ways and different materials to do this, we try not to go overboard with specialized materials as they can break the budget. Instead to use effective construction methods with typical materials, and whatever that works fine as well as cost-effectiveness.
The most important aspect of any studio or home theater probably is the using of acoustic foam. Even the listening room, it can also make or break a project studio. It doesn’t matter how much money you will spend on the recording and monitoring equipments. If the room itself doesn’t has a good acoustic treatment, the result of the recording will never as good as it could be. Usually the room in which the customer plans to record or perform in is not specifically built with acoustics in mind. If this is the case then acoustic treatment is all the more important. Rooms have their own sound already within the room. While the sound is traveling around the room it will come into contact with different surfaces and other sound waves moving around the room. This means that the room can suffer from a lot of acoustic problems. These could include reflections, reverberation, slap echo, flutter echo, inadequate frequency response, standing waves and modal problems. When all of these frequencies started bouncing around, the sound waves can change because they are clashing into each other. This will absolutely affects the last result for the negative. That is meaning you will start to off with one sound and end up with another sound while in the recordings.
When there are two parallel walls, or two parallel ceiling and the floor, it will create standing wave. So the distance between the walls, ceiling or the floor will reinforce some of the frequencies, we can call it by boundaries. This mean the sound will makes exactly one round trip in each cycle of the speaker and the pressure fronts pile up. So, this is why people like to sing in the bathroom while taking the shower because the low frequency of the voice are greatly amplified by the standing waves and it will sounds nice.
The installing of the acoustic foam can improved the response of the room and the sound of the room can be under control. The use of the acoustic treatment is the only way that can tell you the accurate while you are doing your recording, mixing, editing, or monitoring as well as not to affected by the room you are in. Whatever you want your room to stay live or dead, good acoustic treatment is the only way to help you to tame the beast that in your room and keep everything under the control. So, you have the ability to record and monitor your stuff accurately.
“Polyflexâ„¢ ProFoamâ„¢ is fabricated from a UL94 2 lb./cu. ft. polyester urethane, which should only be used in Class B or C spaces. Since Polyflexâ„¢ is flammable, extreme care should be exercised in its use as interior finish the industry’s first patented nestable foam. It can be used in any critical listening space. It mounted in a 1′ x 1′ checkerboard pattern to provide a variable impedance surface, offering moderate passive surround sound. By the way, it will attenuate and disperses specula reflections, as well as scatters 1000Hz and above and control comb filtering arising. In the meantime, it offers a new look in acoustical foam and an attractive and flexible wall treatment for controlling first order reflections.”
The ProCornerâ„¢ is an effective way to increase low frequency absorption (minimizing low frequency room modes and speaker boundary interference distortion) by increasing acoustical foam thickness in the corner, while visually extending and seamlessly integrating with the Profoamâ„¢ wall design.
RPG® Diffuser System’s “Studio in a Box” Diffuser and Absorber:
Additional panels may be layered to any thickness offering unlimited absorption. The using of ProFoam because its absorption and diffusion properties are sufficient for the studio’s surface, as its stackable, and for a uniformed look.
FIGURE 1: Gypsum board
Gypsum board is a typical material used for layering walls, holding insulation fibers, providing a certain amount of damping and as wall surface. It is also used for floors, doors and ceilings treatment.
FIGURE 2: Plywood
Plywood to separate gypsum and studs and adhere with soundproofing mat. Chip wood (recording room floor) is an ordinary chip wood for flooring.
FIGURE 3: Sound Blocker Membrane
Sound Blocker Membrane have excellent sound insulating qualities and it can be used as a sole sound barrier layer, or as part of a multilayer composite with other materials such as sound absorbing foam and carpet. It acts, as a thin, dense sound barrier layer in walls, ceilings or floors and it’s most effective when used as one component of a multi-layered construction scheme. It extremely effective at improving the sound and insulation properties of lightweight plasterboard partitions, floors and almost anything else.
2-3 layers used on wooden floors can reduce airborne noise transfer dramatically. Spray adhesive is ideal for sticking these mats to walls, floors, and.
FIGURE 4: Mineral Woll
Acoustic mineral woll is use for the reduction of airborne noise between flooring joist, suspended ceiling and in partition walls, it is a good sound absorbing infill. It consists mainly of silicon-oxide together with a number of other metallic oxides. By using the acoustic mineral woll, it will has more efficient for the purpose of soundproofing than a lightweight thermal insulation, chemically and mom-flammable insert. By the way, this will not adversely affected by any substance. To be ensures there is no water penetration in any direction; it may come into contact with a random of fibres. It does not sustain vermin and will not encourage the growth of fungi, bacteria or moulds. Beside that, it will not react with metal wall ties and wired plastic, masonry or brickwork. While using in a standard stud wall, it can increase the sound insulation performance by up to 150%. It normally will provide a reduction in the reverberant noise level up to 200% when fitted under the roof constructions. Besides, it will provides a reduction in air bone noise levels by up to 100% when it fitted in-between the ceiling or the floor joists.
FIGURE 5: Resilient Bar
Resilient Bar is a thin metal channel, which is designed to substantially improve the sound insulation of the plasterboard ceilings and walls. It can easily isolate the plasterboard from the studworks, and it will contact directly to dissipate sound, which is normally being transfer through the frame. Because of the improvements in both impact and the airbone noise, so the sound will normally act well in excess of 300%.
On walls the bars should be mounted at right angles to the frame with the narrow mounting flange at the bottom and the wider flange at the top. This allows the plasterboard to draw itself away from the studwork. For ceilings the flanges should be pointing in alternating directions. Mount the bars parallel at a max of 600mm centers. The bars should be screwed to all of the battens with 36mm drywall screws. Bars should be joined by overlapping them by a few centimeters directly over a batten with the corrugated webs nested together and both base flanges screwed through to the batten beneath.
FIGURE 6: Gasket
Gaskets/ Cushioning, self-adhesive EPDM / Neoprene blend expanded foam rubber sealing strip. This is ideal for exposed sealing, damping and cushioning. It age resistant and chemically neutral against the most commonly used lacquers and Plastics and resistant to most caustic chemicals, resistant against ozone, moisture and UV radiation. This is good for isolating and ‘decoupling’ battens attached to walls and ceilings
When a room is soundproofed, builders create sound barriers using specialized materials that easily absorb sound or redirect it toward proper areas. This keeps sound generated in the room from exiting, or gives normal walls acoustical properties so that sound bounces off instead of being absorbed into the wall itself. In soundproofed areas, outside noises are also absorbed, keeping the room quiet, which is ideal for recording studios and similar establishments. Acoustical caulk is a product used in the creation of these rooms. It primary function is to achieve and maintain the specific STC (Sound Transmission Class) value of the system designed to remains permanently flexible and adheres firmly to wood or metal studs, concrete, gypsum board, AudioSealâ„¢ Sound Barrier, and most other types of building substrates. It unique formulation is non-drying, non-hardening, non-staining, and non-migrating and can be used for unexposed applications at perimeter joints, floor and ceiling runners (either wood or metal), cutouts in gypsum board, veneer plaster systems, and other areas where a sound rated assembly is required. By the way, it can also be applied or buttered around all electrical boxes and outlets, air returns, heating and air conditioning ducts, and other utility equipment penetrating wall surfaces for increased acoustical performance.
Room mode or natural resonant frequency, which is related to the length, width and height of the room, is one of the most important properties in the studio design and it determines its natural resonances. Let say the rectangular room has 3 sets of primary modes, which are length, width and height. So, if you have got a irregular room shape or irregular angled walls, then you have to average the dimensions and get the rough idea of the mode frequency. The larger room it has the better acoustically than the smaller room because larger room because the modes are spaced more closely.
Dry Walls is a Simple single stud design sufficient for wall because the dry walls are doubled, one on the existing outer wall and one as inner wall. We make the double walls to minimize structural linking. Studs spacing are 24″, on center instead of the usual 16″ spacing, this yields a slight increase in TL (transmission lost). The walls are angled but room shape symmetrical to provide even dispersion and
prevent flutter echo. Diameter approx 5″ to 6″
Total estimated wall area : Total wall perimeter x Average Ceiling height
239.5 ft * 12.125 ft = 2903.9
2903.9 * 2 = 5807.9sq ft.
Ceiling angled upwards at 12 degrees from the front to the middle of both rooms and then back down at 12 degrees.10 ft ( 3.05m) min height for optimal drum sound recording. The diameter approx 10″.
Total estimated ceiling area: 289 + 305.15 + 238 + 295.87 = 1128.02 sq ft.
Diameter of floor is approx 10″
Total estimated floor area: 280.7 + 296 + 231 + 287 = 1094.7 sq ft.
Acoustic Timber Door¼ŒSTC 30-35 each leaf. It has a same construction as walls using timber and narrower studs. The dense yet lightweight mineral fiber for more STC and it including gaskets to seal sound, hinges, knobs
Total : 6 doors with dimensions of approx 6.5′ x 2.7′ x 3″
Acoustic Window – Double Glazed
The space between glass panels sealed. Use two different thicknesses of glass to prevent resonant frequencies and sealed enclosure up to STC 47. The distance between the panesis about 150mm.
Total: 2 double glazed acoustic window with 6′ x 2.5′ panes
The use of sound lock can reduce -3 dB. As sound insulation by air volume and air sealed by door gaskets.
Air-conditioner Duct Damping
About the noise-reducing enclosure of air-conditioning by using plywood baffle and installed into the opening of the air-con duct with simple plywood baffle held together with strong and moisture resistant adhesive. The plywood “maze” slows down the airflow or the air-con, thus reducing noise. The absorbent foam lined/covered on plywood baffle to absorb airflow noise as well as noise from generator. It’s 4 ft in length.
Example of a self-made duct baffle
Overall, are acoustics really that important? Even though the quality of the instruments, speakers, recording gear and amps are expensive, but without the good acoustic treatments, all the recording will be bad and it will take you even more time to get your track done.
We can noticed that why professional recording studio they spent so much time and money in order to get a good acoustics design but why there is still a lot of people they don’t take this seriously and record in their house without doing any acoustic treatment? For an example, MIDI (Musical Instrument Interface), there is countless plug-ins, synthesizers, samples and loops available in the market, and all these elements have become the major elements of music production and major arrangement of popular music nowadays. So with this new popular culture, many people can produce their music or track in the house just only using their computer. Another example such as disk jockey, they have an expensive DJ’s sets so they gain more flexibility of their creating and producing music with only a laptop computer as such a convenience rise of a fact, they can make satisfaction, high quality music in a more efficient and cost-effective way by using samples, plug-ins, they can perform unlimited variation of sound, instrument, techniques that without any acoustic treatment needed.
But is it possible if a rap artist or vocalist they want to record a good quality track without any good environment? The answer is no. Let say if the rap artist or vocalist they record their song in their house by using a very expensive microphone and gear but without any acoustic treatment, in the result of the recording will be too much room noise on the track such as the ceiling fan in your room, outside traffic and etc, all of these will produce the low frequency rumble. So it will take you a lot of time and it is very hard for you to do the mixing. Equipment is useless if sound is recorded badly. This is why professional recording studio they will spend so much money on the acoustic treatment. Beside to give you the good environment to recording your music and track, and it also because you can get the good quality on your final production.
we still need to pay a lot of attention to the space in which we use them. The acoustic treatment of recording studio is very tricky because of the construction materials used and the size of the studio.
Restate original argument (are acoustics important)
State your findings
Compare expensive and cheap home solutions
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