Going to have my a dedicated music room soon for the first time

Want to talk about music hardware or software that doesn't include Reason?
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manisnotabird
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Post 27 Oct 2017

I'm going to be moving in August 2018 to a new place, where I'll have a spare bedroom all my own for my music making. Looking for advice about studio desks/monitors/acoustic treatment. Right now I'm working pretty much exclusively on headphones in a corner of the living room of an apartment, so this will be a big change. My gear is: iMac, 49 key MIDI keyboard, volca keys & beats, Microbrute, lots of guitar pedals, electric guitar, Yahama THR10 amp. I also want to purchase a small 5-watt tube amp sometime after I move, and so I want to be able to record that (I already have an SM57). Right now I have two cheap IKEA desks for my stuff. The room will also need to house a fold-out bed for guests.

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selig
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Post 27 Oct 2017

manisnotabird wrote:
27 Oct 2017
I'm going to be moving in August 2018 to a new place, where I'll have a spare bedroom all my own for my music making. Looking for advice about studio desks/monitors/acoustic treatment. Right now I'm working pretty much exclusively on headphones in a corner of the living room of an apartment, so this will be a big change. My gear is: iMac, 49 key MIDI keyboard, volca keys & beats, Microbrute, lots of guitar pedals, electric guitar, Yahama THR10 amp. I also want to purchase a small 5-watt tube amp sometime after I move, and so I want to be able to record that (I already have an SM57). Right now I have two cheap IKEA desks for my stuff. The room will also need to house a fold-out bed for guests.

Image
We are on similar paths. Right now I'm on a Bose bluetooth speaker and phones in the corner of the living room! You got me beat with your future room size though. Mine is going to be around 9.5x9 feet! Smallest room I've worked in for a long time.

I'm looking at this studio desk:
https://output.com/products/platform?gc ... JAQAvD_BwE

And I've been talking to the folks at GIK acoustics (spoke with them at the last AES show a few weeks ago) about doing the treatments for the room.
http://www.gikacoustics.com

I don't have the time or resources to build my own here in NYC, and these folks come highly recommended by a few friends.

I'm a fan of point source (coaxial) monitors for years now, and have been extremely happy with my Equator D8 and D5s.

Good luck with the fold out bed - we had to move ours into the living room because there was no way it would fit with the studio desk in such a small space!

Also consider putting as much as you can on the walls - guitar holders, mount mic stands there, lighting, etc. I'm going to be trying to keep everything I can off the floor to keep the space from feeling too small!
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manisnotabird
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Post 27 Oct 2017

I'm not even sure if it's good or bad that the room is sort of an odd shape. And where should I put the desk in a room shaped like that?

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selig
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Post 27 Oct 2017

manisnotabird wrote:
27 Oct 2017
I'm not even sure if it's good or bad that the room is sort of an odd shape. And where should I put the desk in a room shaped like that?
Disregarding any other furniture issues, I'd first try it on the angled wall if just for the fact that will give you the most symmetry from the listening position. To be more clear, I'd put it NEAR that wall, but not too close if you can get away with is.

EDIT: trying to the quick math, and looking at your drawing (which isn't square though it says 12x12), the angled wall looks to be around 4' long. This means a typical 5' or so desk won't fit exactly there, but again you don't want it to be flush against the wall if possible because you don't want your speakers to be against the wall if at all possible.

Putting a studio desk there DEFINITLY leaves no room for a typical sofa bed...
I measured our sofa bed (it's full size) and it's 6' x 3.5' as a sofa, 6' x 8' as a bed.
Things are going to be TIGHT either way for you, I'm afraid! Unless you have a smaller sofa bed and a smaller studio desk than what I'm looking at, you won't get both into that space.
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SidneyStevens
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Post 14 Jul 2018

You must have got your music room prepared till now. I am also getting my room reconstructed this month and thinking to buy a stylish furniture from this source, about which I came to know by browsing the internet a few days back. I liked the way you have structured your room. Hope so that I will get my room done with new layout and furniture soon.

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sublunar
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Post 14 Jul 2018

I don't have anything substantial to add other than to say it's an amazing feeling ain't it?!

The biggest selling point to me when I moved was the finished basement with the odd room off to the side that happens to be PERFECT for a music room. It's all set up now and it's a great feeling every time I walk into it.

During the move I discovered the desk that I had managed to end up with as my studio desk has an asset tag on it from the Mallinckrodt Chemical Works (I'm from Saint Louis MO btw). This means that myself and my music is all surely radioactive now. Sweet!

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manisnotabird
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Post 29 Aug 2018

Almost time! Anyone got recommendations for studio monitors and acoustic treatment?

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selig
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Post 29 Aug 2018

manisnotabird wrote:Almost time! Anyone got recommendations for studio monitors and acoustic treatment?
Studio monitors is anyone’s guess - ask five engineers and you’ll get five different opinions.

Best you can do is narrow it down with some suggestions, but you’ll need to make the final decision on your own. For the most part, you’ll get what you pay for, assuming full range systems. For a second set (which is recommended if possible) it’s almost the opposite where sometimes the cheaper the model the more useful they’ll be.

I guess what I’m saying is I don’t believe there’s a “one-size-fits-all” monitor that will work for every situation.

As for room treatments, you can either build your own (plenty of online material to work from), or use a ready made solution. I just installed GIK panels and love them but there are plenty of options. If possible, try to do something more than foam on walls!
:)


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manisnotabird
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Post 18 Sep 2018

selig wrote:
29 Aug 2018

As for room treatments, you can either build your own (plenty of online material to work from), or use a ready made solution. I just installed GIK panels and love them but there are plenty of options. If possible, try to do something more than foam on walls!
:)
Trying to do research about room treatment on the internet, but finding it all very unclear. There's a ton of stuff, but I am having trouble finding actionable advice: what should I buy on a modest budget, where in my room should I put it? I'm not really interested in DIY'ing it.

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selig
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Post 18 Sep 2018

manisnotabird wrote:
18 Sep 2018
Trying to do research about room treatment on the internet, but finding it all very unclear. There's a ton of stuff, but I am having trouble finding actionable advice: what should I buy on a modest budget, where in my room should I put it? I'm not really interested in DIY'ing it.
I've recently installed GIK products, after talking to many friends and doing the research. I was in the same boat, didn't want to DIY but had modest budget (I can justify some of the cost for tax purposes).

Luckily, the folks at GIK (or any acoustic treatment company) will typically be happy to give some basic advice and suggestions. I wanted to do more treatments but busted my budget, and the adviser was good at decided which panels I could skip and add later and which panels I should get first.

I've done a lot of acoustic study and been lucky to work in many studios and ask some high end designers many questions over the years. Still, I was glad to get some feedback from someone else to help make final decision, as there are many factors that are specific for each room and budget.

I have a terrible room, basically a cube (worst case), and while the panels didn't solve all my problems they DID do an amazing job of cutting the room decay down evenly at all frequencies. Some panels will only absorb high frequencies (especially all foam based products), and are like putting a low pass filter on your room - the highs will be under control, but the lows will be left untouched. This results in not only an un-even response, but doesn't address the most common issue, which is problems with judging low end.

I basically covered my ceiling with 6 2'x4' panels (hung 6" below the ceiling), two panels behind me, two in front, and two free standing panels on either side. I also added some corner traps in the back two corners, and will eventually add more corner traps in the front. It wasn't cheep, but the good thing is you can carry the panels to a new space if you move, or move them around if you're not happy with the placement.

I also use FuzzMeasure and a test mic to check placement of my sub and confirm how things are improved with the panels. It's pretty helpful to be able to move a sub and compare before/after with frequency plots and waterfall graphs, since you can't really move the sub as you're listening!

Hopefully that helps - if you have specific questions I'm happy to answer. And I also have a video in the works showing the new room, but need to find the time to get it finished and uploaded!
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manisnotabird
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Post 19 Sep 2018

Does this seem like a sensible list of things to buy (plus 3M command Poster Strips)?
shopping list.jpeg
Put the bass traps in the room corner, and the foam panels behind the monitors and a few other spots around where I'll be sitting, including the ceiling?
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motuscott
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Post 19 Sep 2018

At what coordinates will you be positioning the lava lamp?
Gearheads want to know.
Sometimes a cigar is just a synth that's on fire

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selig
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Post 19 Sep 2018

manisnotabird wrote:
19 Sep 2018
Does this seem like a sensible list of things to buy (plus 3M command Poster Strips)?

shopping list.jpeg

Put the bass traps in the room corner, and the foam panels behind the monitors and a few other spots around where I'll be sitting, including the ceiling?
Again, I don't suggest using foam panels. In fact, the company selling the panels you linked above goes even further:

ATS Acoustics Foam Acoustic Tiles
We strongly advise against foam acoustic panels, however, if you insist...
https://mixmasteredacoustics.com/ats-we ... 8QQAvD_BwE

But they are, of course, willing to sell them to you if you insist… ;)

All you need to so is look at the absorption coefficients to see how quickly they fall off under 500-1000 Hz or so, which is roughly half the audio spectrum. In other words, they are a low pass filter on your room, removing mostly the higher frequencies and leaving the lows.

If you put ANYTHING up in your room you should strive for it to be as close to "broadband" absorption as possible. Darkening the room is not a solution, and will only make mixing more difficult in my experience.

Here's the response for Auralux, arguably one of the better foam producers (and this is one of their better products). Still, you get only 50% of the absorption from 350 Hz and below. At 100 Hz and below you get ONE TENTH the absorption. There are two more full octaves below that they don't even account for! ;)
Image

Don't even bother with 1" foam - here's their comparison of 1" to 2":
Image

The same company (MixMasteredAcoustics) sells much better 2" and 4" panels with over twice the absorption in the 100 Hz range, and the same absorption above.
https://mixmasteredacoustics.com/acoust ... els-2-inch

The GIK panels match or beat this performance at a much cheeper price point ($65/panel for box of three 2' x 4' x4" panels, vs $99 on sale for the same size!).
Or get their 2" panels for only a little more than foam:
https://www.gikacoustics.com/product/gi ... tic-panel/

Of course, the foam is always going to be cheeper, but won't do as much or last as long or look as good. Especially for broadband and bass trap applications.
:)
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manisnotabird
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Post 19 Sep 2018

Before you said "more than just" foam which isn't the same as "don't buy any foam", so that confused me. The GIK panels you linked to don't seem to fare much better on low-frequency absorbation based on this from their website:
panel.jpeg
Are the bass traps from Amazon worth it or not?
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selig
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Post 19 Sep 2018

manisnotabird wrote:
19 Sep 2018
Before you said "more than just" foam which isn't the same as "don't buy any foam", so that confused me. The GIK panels you linked to don't seem to fare much better on low-frequency absorbation based on this from their website:

panel.jpeg

Are the bass traps from Amazon worth it or not?
If you look closely, the GIK panels are TWICE as absorptive at 100 Hz. And at 125 Hz (just a little higher) they are FOUR TIMES as absorptive. That's a lot, just saying.

I don't see data for the bass traps - all I know is in all my research any foam product was on average half as effective at all frequencies, but even less so for frequencies below 100 (which these charts don't even being to show).

The cheapest and most effective corner traps I found are called "super chunks", a DIY solution where you take rock wool or rigid fiberglas cut into triangles, and stack it solid in every corner. Ideally you also treat floor and ceiling boundaries/corners too, if you have the space to do so.

Any commercial product approaching this level of trapping will have similar good results. As you can imagine, the density here makes all the difference, especially as compared to any foam product.

My previous comments about foam panels is they act like low pass filters, and absorb high frequencies while all but ignoring low frequencies (which are typically a bigger problem). And yes, I suggest you do something better than foam if at all possible - heavy curtains would be about as effective (and probably look better).
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manisnotabird
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Post 19 Sep 2018

So if I want to buy commercial products for a budget of <$300, what should I buy?

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manisnotabird
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Post 31 Oct 2018

What it looks like so far:
IMG_1465.jpg
IMG_1464.jpg
IMG_1463.jpg
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selig
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Post 01 Nov 2018

That’s a tough one - looks like a very live room. The book shelf and chair and small rug may help a bit.

Your listening position should ideally be as symmetrical as possible, with the longer wall running along your left/right (speakers tend to sound better aimed across the longest dimension of a room).

Your current setup puts one speaker almost in a corner, which means it will probably have more low end (maybe more boomy sounding) than the others.

You may get better results moving things around a bit. I’m not 100% sure from the pictures alone, but one thing to consider is to put the desk/speakers where the chair is, on the angled wall, so that you have more symmetry around the listening position AND you have the speakers firing into the most space. And if you could move the book shelf so it’s behind the listening position, it could act as a “diffuser” of sorts, which would be helpful in softening the first reflection from the back of the room.

Without seeing more details I probably can’t help more. But one thing to consider with any treatments is to get “hanging” treatments so they can be moved to try different locations. I would not glue anything to walls as some manufacturers suggest, unless you’re VERY certain of everything!

For whatever budget you have I would find a set of simple panels. IF you can, put one or two on the ceiling above your listening position (if not, get some carpet for the floor - best to have at least one opposite surface treated). Also common is to put panels left/right of the listening position - imagine mirrors on the walls and put panels where you would “see” the speakers from the listening position. Also consider free standing panels for the left/right position (I have these), as they are also versatile for recording vocals or putting between yourself and amps etc.

A quick search revealed this package from Sweetwater for $249.
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... on-8-black

The key to look for is fiberglass and not “foam” if at all possible. These are only 1.5” thick, so will mostly deal with higher frequencies - but will make your room less ringey/bouncy sounding, which is a great start. Later you can add some bass traps etc.

There are many other brands to consider, I just gave the first example I came across that had good reviews and was in your price range. As always, ask around here, research online, read reviews, watch videos to see how easy each product is to work with, etc.

And keep asking questions here! (If you can post a rough floor plan with dimensions it would be helpful - some companies even offer consulting for free with a purchase).




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manisnotabird
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Post 02 Nov 2018

Very approximate:
Screen Shot 2018-11-02 at 11.35.37 AM.png
The computer desk and monitors are centered between the two walls.
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selig
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Post 02 Nov 2018

Screen Shot 2018-11-02 at 1.01.28 PM.png
This is what I was talking about with the aim of a more symmetrical layout. There are plenty of other options if this doesn't work out.
As for sound panels, this is where I'd start, maybe a ceiling panel above the mix position and slightly forward. Other options are free standing panels to the left and right of the mix position (not shown).
Screen Shot 2018-11-02 at 1.05.10 PM.png
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manisnotabird
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Post 02 Nov 2018

The problem with your proposed solution is you've put the bookcases in front of the closet doors (I should've depicted them in my little mock-up).
IMG_1486.jpg
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selig
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Post 02 Nov 2018

manisnotabird wrote:The problem with your proposed solution is you've put the bookcases in front of the closet doors (I should've depicted them in my little mock-up).
Doh! Can the bookcases be separated into two (one on each wall beside the corner mix position)?

If not, can they be moved enough to put the desk in the corner position or is that idea totally off the table?



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manisnotabird
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Post 02 Nov 2018

The bookcases are two Ikea Billys. My understanding is that bookcases—as a makeshift diffuser—were supposed to go on the wall opposite one's monitors, which is part of why I settled on the arrangement I did.


Last edited by manisnotabird on 02 Nov 2018, edited 1 time in total.

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selig
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Post 02 Nov 2018

manisnotabird wrote:The bookcases are two Ikea Billys. My understanding is that bookcases—as a makeshift diffuser—were supposed to go on the wall opposite one's monitors, which is part of why I settled on the arrangement I did.

Image

Image
Yup, which is why I wanted to put them where the closet doors are located… ;(


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MarkTarlton
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Post 02 Nov 2018

room.png
one thing you could try is to make a fake wall with acoustic panels or acoustic blankets so you can have a little air pocket by the door which could also double as a vocal booth or isolation area :)
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