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Author Topic: Budget control room - advice needed  (Read 3165 times)

Offline amwall

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Budget control room - advice needed
« on: September 19, 2010, 09:32:09 pm »
Hi all,
I was directed to this forum by a helpful poster over at the Harmony Central recording forum where I posted the following quandary!

A friend and I have recently built a recording studio on a budget. We had a good band in a few weeks ago to test out the rooms and equipment etc. The live room sounds good - a little small but I referred to room mode analyses from the Master Handbook of Acoustics when coming up with the proportions and I'm happy with it.
The problem is with the control room. Due to space considerations, the control room is 6'4" x 17'8" with the monitors facing across the narrow span. You'll also see the splayed ceiling in the attached pic!
As you may have guessed, bass response in this room is highly compromised. Any rough mixes I've done here so far have major problems in the low end.
I did some basic testing this evening with a frequency analyser and let's just say, below 300hz looks messy. While testing, I placed a couple of our home made baffles (3'x4' wooden frames filled with rockwool and covered in hessian sacking) diagonally across the 2 corners nearest the monitors and it seems to have evened out the response a little - according to both the frequency analyser and my subjective appreciation of some listening material. The listening position still appears to be in a null for some frequencies and a 'hotspot' for others.
I've also been running the room dimensions thru some online mode analysis programs and to be honest, taking the splayed ceiling into account, I don't really know where to start with treating this room.
So, I'm guessing that the room needs corner traps at a minimum. But, we're at the limit of what we can spend here for the foreseeable future. We have plenty of 1/2" plywood sheets and some structural 4x2 timber etc. available but that's about it.
I'm hoping someone here can give me some good advice on how to put the materials available to good use and also that I haven't scared you all off with my uncouth and semi-professional approach!
Maybe slatted corner traps would work, I really don't know but thanks in advance for your replies,
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Offline Thomas Jouanjean

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Re: Budget control room - advice needed
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 07:41:58 am »
Do you have basic plans and better quality pics available?
Thomas Jouanjean
Northward Acoustics - Engineering and Designs
http://www.northwardacoustics.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Northward-Acoustics/1062876633 71

Pro Audio Partners:
ATC Loudspeakers
FOCAL Professional Speakers

Offline amwall

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Re: Budget control room - advice needed
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2010, 10:23:34 am »
Thanks,
I can get plans up in the next day or 2.

edit:- I won't be in the studio for the next couple of weeks to get better photos but I'll make up the plans as accurately as possible including construction materials etc.

Offline amwall

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Re: Budget control room - advice needed
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2010, 01:43:02 pm »
Hi again Thomas,
I've attached a plan and elevation of the control room. Please excuse my schoolboy draftsmanship!
You can also find these plans and pictures of the control room in my photobucket account. Just search for user adwall and they're in the StudioPlansandPics folder.
I hope this gives you a better idea of what I'm dealing with here. The more research I do, the more I'm realising that we're probably going to have to fabricate wall and ceiling absorbers as well as corner traps.
In any event, I hope you can steer me in the right direction having looked at my drawings. Many thanks in advance for your help,
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edit:- these drawings are not to scale

Offline Ethan Winer

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Re: Budget control room - advice needed
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2010, 02:06:19 pm »
Just off-hand, one big problem I see is the speakers fire the short way across the room. That's a recipe for bad bass response, with comb filtering causing numerous peaks and deep nulls. The first thing I'd do is rotate the setup 90 degrees so the speakers fire the long way down the room. In this case I'd put the speakers at the left of the drawing facing toward the right.

--Ethan

Offline amwall

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Re: Budget control room - advice needed
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2010, 09:00:23 am »
Ethan Winer wrote on Tue, 21 September 2010 13:06

Just off-hand, one big problem I see is the speakers fire the short way across the room. That's a recipe for bad bass response, with comb filtering causing numerous peaks and deep nulls. The first thing I'd do is rotate the setup 90 degrees so the speakers fire the long way down the room. In this case I'd put the speakers at the left of the drawing facing toward the right.

--Ethan


Thanks for replying Ethan,
Yes, I've considered moving the speakers to fire from that end of the room. My concern with doing this is that I'd end up with stereo imaging problems due to the slanted ceiling - i.e. the ceiling would be much lower over the left hand speaker than over the right hand speaker.

It probably comes down to whether this would end up being a bigger issue than the comb filtering etc. being experienced at the current mix position. I'd imagine the room would still need a minimum of trapping with the speakers in the position you've suggested and we would also have to find some way to modify the ceiling shape at this end of the room?

I should add for yourself and Thomas that we're installing drapes over the glass wall this weekend. The drapes will be open during tracking sessions and closed when doing any mixing and mastering.



Offline Ethan Winer

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Re: Budget control room - advice needed
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2010, 03:59:00 pm »
Problems at mid and high frequencies such as skewed imaging are easily corrected with relatively thin absorption. But deep nulls below 100 Hz are vastly more difficult to fix. So even if your ceiling is lower on one side, that seems like a much easier problem to solve than the terrible bass response you get from listening right in front of a reflecting wall.

--Ethan

Offline amwall

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Re: Budget control room - advice needed
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2010, 10:28:43 am »
Thanks again Ethan,
For the moment, I'm gonna move the speakers to the position you've recommended. I'll cover the glass wall beside the right hand speaker (top left of the plan I posted) with heavy drapes. If you notice in the plan, the wall behind the current mix position is covered in heavy carpet. This carpet will be moved to cover the wall beside the left hand speaker (bottom left of the plan) and this will have to do for now.
At some point in the future (before the new year I hope!) we'll have to look at turning this end of the room into an RFZ and do some more measurements etc. to determine whether any trapping is needed. I'm guessing right now that corner traps behind the speakers constructed of triangles of rockwool from floor to ceiling and faced with fabric and/or 703 fibreglass board would be a good idea. We may also have to look into fabricating a new ceiling at this end of the room.
Thanks again,
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Offline Thomas Jouanjean

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Re: Budget control room - advice needed
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2010, 05:07:47 pm »
I'm afraid your room is going to be hard to treat - whichever direction you're setting your speakers in.  Sad

Trial and error is the only practical way in your case.
Thomas Jouanjean
Northward Acoustics - Engineering and Designs
http://www.northwardacoustics.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Northward-Acoustics/1062876633 71

Pro Audio Partners:
ATC Loudspeakers
FOCAL Professional Speakers

Offline amwall

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Re: Budget control room - advice needed
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2010, 01:59:16 pm »
Thanks Thomas,
Yes, I knew we'd end up regretting the size and shape of that control room when we were building it. Also, I advised my partner against that huge glass wall down one side but he decided that's what he wanted, against my advice.  Rolling Eyes

As I've said before, the live room sounds good. I've been tracking drums using the Glyn Johns mic array and I'm very happy with the sound I'm getting up in there. So, I'll do some research on what Constantin suggested in my other thread re: stereo imaging and just do all the mixing/mastering at my home studio.

Thanks again,
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Offline gullfo

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Re: Budget control room - advice needed
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2010, 12:28:56 pm »
you might also want to consider smaller clouds so you can individually adjust the height and angles and break up the ceiling surface plus leave room for lighting, vents, etc
Glenn Stanton

www.runnel.com/