Advice for new room

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Advice for new room

Post by Wurlitzer »

Hi

I currently work in an untreated room that sounds horrible (basically the right hand side of the proposed one here). I'm about to knock a wall through to give myself more space, and would like to use the opportunity to give some more attention to the acoustics.

It's mostly for rehearsing, jamming etc, and I have no pretensions to pro level recording, but I do need to record and mix from time to time, mostly recording one voice or instrument at a time. I'm also a pianist/keyboardist and have a grand piano that I would like to record.

If you were setting up a room with these dimensions and wanted to put a PC-based station and monitors somewhere, where would you do it? And where would you be looking at consequent acoustic treatment? Any ideas gratefully received. Obviously the little boxy bit at the right is weird, but I can't block it off because it's a thoroughfare to outside and a source of natural light.

Thanks!

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Edited to fix image - JP
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Folderol »

No image :(
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Wurlitzer »

I don't seem to be able to make it work. Have uploaded the image to a couple of free hosting sites and included the link, but it won't load ????

EDIT: Thanks mods for sorting it out.
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by James Perrett »

Hopefully fixed - this site needs the actual image address. The previous link was to a page containing the image which would have worked if it was posted as a plain link.
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Sam Spoons »

Others with more expertise will no doubt be along shortly but I'd put the computer workstation/monitor in the bay at the left with the speakers either side of the bay as it's the place which gets you closest to a symmetrical layout. Then I'd treat the mirror points on the walls and ceiling with broad band absorbers, big, floor to ceiling bass traps in the corners alongside, the bottom right corner and anywhere else you can fit them and probably a few more panels on the walls and ceiling elsewhere around the room. The piano may benefit from a hard floor underneath but you'll almost certainly need some broad band absorbers on the walls and ceiling where sound might be reflected back into the mics.

The little boxy bit shouldn't do any harm to the acoustics as the walls are all off square.
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Is all the space available for music or is it also doubling up as a lounge/bedroom?
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by James Perrett »

My thoughts pretty much agree with Sam's.
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by RichardT »

Mine too.

My knowledge of acoustics is limited to what I’ve learned with my own studio and some reading around the subject, so take this with a pinch of salt - but something you could look at is a ‘live end dead end’ set up, which I’ve used quite successfully. This means treating the monitor end with a lot of broadband trapping, and leaving the other end less treated, perhaps with the treatment including some diffusion.

Of course, the fact that you want to record instruments means that the end away from the monitors must also be designed around that. People often say that a more reverberant space with a reflective floor is better for recording, and that fits in with an LEDE kind of setup.

I can say from experience is that playing a grand piano in a medium size wooden-floored space without treatment can result in a ‘clangy’ sound when you come to record it. So you will definitely need some kind of treatment for the recording space even if it’s less than around the monitors.
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Wurlitzer »

blinddrew wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 8:29 pm Is all the space available for music or is it also doubling up as a lounge/bedroom?

All music.
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Drew Stephenson »

I concur with the above. Dead end to the left, desk at the bay end down the centre line. Live (ish) end to the right with broadband absorption as required to tame the piano.
Unless you want the desk to be looking into the room? Which is possible but you will probably need to experiment with position a fair bit.
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Martin Walker »

James Perrett wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 11:15 pm My thoughts pretty much agree with Sam's.

As do mine - always strive for a symmetrical layout, and aim the loudspeakers down the longer dimension of the room.

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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Folderol »

Actually looks like very promising dimensions too. None are the same, or even multiples of each other. You won't be surprised that my first thought was also to have the desk in the bay.
I'm quite jealous :lol:
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Wurlitzer »

blinddrew wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 11:34 amUnless you want the desk to be looking into the room? Which is possible but you will probably need to experiment with position a fair bit.

Actually that would be helpful; it's how I work now so that I can play a keyboard (facing others) and also operate recording equipment. I was thinking in terms of separating these two functions and thus positions, but it would be useful not to have to.

How would I best go about that?
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Hmmm. There are almost certainly better people than me to advise on this, but fortunately it's something you can experiment with.
The basics about bass trapping in corners and broadband absorbers at mirror points still stand. I'd probably put the desk facing into the room so that the speakers were at about a quarter of the total end to end room length. You can then bring it to and from the window a bit at a time and see what works best by either using mobile absorbers (if you're planning on making any) or duvets over mic-stands.
What you will definitely need to do is something about the reflections coming back from the window, and that means you're going to lose a lot of natural light. It might be worth thinking about making a portable absorber here so that you can move it out of the way when you don't need it.
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Funkyflash5 »

I'd be more inclined to set up your "mix position" facing the window, and have some basic recording control from a keyboard station facing the room, since I'd imagine you'd be using headphones to monitor when tracking while playing, but then your acoustics for mix monitoring could be optimized. I know that there are some tablet or phone based apps that allow for controlling certain daws remotely, and in a more basic manner I take my basic wireless keyboard with me to the piano across the room when tracking myself where I've got the tracks armed, and all I do is hit spacebar to start/stop transport.
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by RichardT »

Funkyflash5 wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 8:01 pm I'd be more inclined to set up your "mix position" facing the window, and have some basic recording control from a keyboard station facing the room, since I'd imagine you'd be using headphones to monitor when tracking while playing, but then your acoustics for mix monitoring could be optimized. I know that there are some tablet or phone based apps that allow for controlling certain daws remotely, and in a more basic manner I take my basic wireless keyboard with me to the piano across the room when tracking myself where I've got the tracks armed, and all I do is hit spacebar to start/stop transport.

Yes, I agree. Don’t compromise the monitoring. It’s not too difficult to manage recording with the desk behind you, as Funkyflash says.
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Sam Spoons »

Same here, plenty of options for remote transport control. And I prefer not to have the distraction of a screen when playing. You'll also lose a fair bit of usable space if you set the rig up facing into the room. That said it's not that difficult to experiment.
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Wurlitzer »

Thanks all.

So I'm looking at monitors either side of the bay window, maybe a little way into the room, with mixing station facing towards the window forming an equilateral triangle with them. As I do everything in the box and "mixing station" basically consists of monitor, keyboard and mouse, I could even have that on a desk with wheels that could be moved out of the way when I want the space more open for playing in. And a separate monitor (cloning the display) mounted with my keyboard that will be wherever is most convenient for playing, rather than mixing, so I can perform basic recording functions from there. Piano most likely towards the right hand end, with less treatment around.

What if I wanted to work with my back to one of the long sides of the room (as I do now) instead? If I were somewhere around the middle of the length, would the imperfect symmetry make a big difference, and could it be mitigated by adjustments to or treatment of the room? Revised plans mean I may be getting rid of the little boxy bit on the right if that helps, and replacing it with a flat wall with bi-fold doors.
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Re: Advice for new room

Post by Sam Spoons »

Received wisdom is that it's always better to fire the monitors down the long dimension so placing them against a long wall will almost certainly compromise you mix environment. As, quite likely, will putting a flat wall where the odd shaped box is currently (though probably less of an impact). An iPad or other tablet will work as a controller for a DAW or as a remote monitor so there is no really good reason to compromise to allow more convenience when recording/playing.
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