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Treating Your Room

Bass Traps

Here in the studio we have the benefit of recording in great sounding, well treated rooms. But for those of you trying it a home there are a few simple tricks you can use to get your recording space sounding so much better. Now every session and instrument is different and requires a different room and approach, but you can generalise and optimise your space for most situations. So firstly the floor....

Most acoustic instruments benefit from having a reflective floor. Ever seen a professional studio built with carpet in the live room? Wall and roof reflections, in some cases, need to be tamed, but the floor needs to be live. Rarely will you get a sonic build up from a reflective floor. Why? Because sound travels in a room horizontally more than it does vertically. Think about it, when you strum a guitar or sing aloud, you don't project down to the floor or up to roof but out horizontally. So build up occurs mostly from walls reflecting back to you. Not up and down.

So it's good to have a live floor, it adds life to your recordings, that means great quality high frequency content. So if you don't have a hardwood or concrete floor and don't have the time or budget to build one then there is a simple solution. Get down to your hardware store and buy a few sheets of MDF and record on these. I guarantee you tor acoustic guitars will start to live and will record much better with these down. You can stack them in the corner when you're finished ready for the next session.

In the studio we use both polished concrete and hardwood....

Speaking of acoustic guitars, most contemporary styles of acoustic guitar recording will befit from a small tight room. The early relections add size and volume to the guitar which is what you want. Classical and other forms, sometimes solo acoustic, may benefit from a larger more reverberant space, but thats another matter. So for most home recordists, they are dealing with plaster board walls which are horrible and you need to be careful in a small, poorly treated space of bass build up which will make things sound boomy. You do want those tight reflections but not the bass build up otherwise things get out of hand. I came up with something for that....

Well I'm not sure if I can lay claim to it, I'm sure its been done before but I haven't found it anywhere so ill claim it for now.

Pallets filled with dense foam or Rock-wool and lined with Hessian. They have a double effect to them. Firstly the dense padding and gaps between the beams allow the bass frequencies to go through the pallet and be absorbed by the foam inside. So that solves your bass boom. Also the beams of wood also add a nice reflection to higher frequencies giving life and warmth to your room which is exactly what you want. They are very inexpensive, you can probably pick them up for free and are very easy to put together.

Simply give them a sand to smooth them out and make them look a little respectable. Line the front with hessian and staple it down with a staple gun. Fill it with foam or rock-wool and cover the back with more hessian. Done. Six or so in a small space will totally transform your space and with the MDF on the floor you will have a most respectable space to use. Give it a try....

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