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Author Topic: My room's acoustics are worse than I thought. Very worried...  (Read 4834 times)

Jacknan

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.

Hello, everyone   Smile

I was refered here from Brad Blackwood's forum.
A friend of mine did a quick acoustic test in my control room. Nothing fancy, just for fun. The results were much less than flattering.

I've always known it is not perfect, and I've "adjusted" to its sound. But I'm never confident in my mixes. As usual, i have problems with low freqs. The room is shaped kind of weirdly, since there are almost no parallel surfaces. It's like an assymetrical big triangle. There's fiber-glass in all the walls and ceiling, covered with 2 layers of regular fabric.

He suggested to place as many bass traps as possible. He even offered to build them himself based on the Real traps ones. The thing is that acoustic science is MUCH more complicated than that. Just by reading a few of this forum's threads, it's obvious there's a LOT more than simply installing bass traps.

I'd be worried of making matters worse by following his advice. Could it be? Or would putting bass traps in the proper places actually improve the room's sound? It would be a DIY thing, and most likely nothing more than just placing them wherever they fit.

Would this be a mistake?

Another issue I have is that my mixing position is just next to a wall, on my right side. The left side wall is placed like 3 meters away, and it is NOT parallel to the right one. And, because of size restrictions, the front wall is like 5 inches away from the speakers, so I'm basically next to the right corner of the room. Would moving my mixing position towards the center help more than installing bass traps? Or should I do both things?

I'll try drawing my room's shape and post it here, so you can have a better idea. But for now, what would you coarsely recomend me to do?

I'll hire a PRO accoustitian soon (if I can find one here), but for now, is it worth it?

Also, and I know this is trully a VERY long shot, but by any chance, would someone here know of a Mexican accoustitian whom you could refer me to? Someone you trust, whose work you respect?

Thank you all for your advice.

Fernando de Miguelez
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Tom C

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Re: My room's acoustics are worse than I thought. Very worried...
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2007, 06:25:21 pm »

Jacknan wrote on Tue, 31 July 2007 23:49

.

He suggested to place as many bass traps as possible. He even offered to build them himself based on the Real traps ones. The thing is that acoustic science is MUCH more complicated than that. Just by reading a few of this forum's threads, it's obvious there's a LOT more than simply installing bass traps.



Of course there's more, but installing bass traps (or better,
broadband absorbers) always help.
Non-rectangular rooms are not easy to predict/compute, so there
will be some guesswork and trial & error involved anyway.

I'd first choose the best possible position for your desk and
speakers and add massive amounts of broadband trapping.

Depending on your budget either DIY and have a closer look at the
information available at Ethan's site, or hire a professional.
Last time I've checked there were a couple of those guys around
here Smile.

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Greg Reierson

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Re: My room's acoustics are worse than I thought. Very worried...
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2007, 06:29:25 pm »

Jacknan wrote on Tue, 31 July 2007 16:49

 There's fiber-glass in all the walls and ceiling, covered with 2 layers of regular fabric.


This could be part of your problem. If you are absorbing high frequencies and not low the your room is a big low pass filter. You will have trouble understanding frequency balances, etc.

Bass trapping is part of the mix, but everything must be in balance.


Greg Reierson
Rare Form Mastering
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Jacknan

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Re: My room's acoustics are worse than I thought. Very worried...
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2007, 10:08:46 pm »

.

Thank you both for your help   Cool

Ok, so, based on what you wrote, then I assume putting bass traps (or broad-band absorbers), will do more good than harm at this point, correct?

So, since my room's shape is weird, and I want to shoot for a VERY GOOD soundig room, I suppose I'll need a professional doing this in the not-so-far future.
If I take this route, can anyone give me a coarse ball-park figure about his fee? I don't mean materials and carpenters, I mean the accoustitian's fee for having a look, testing, and providing the "required" changes I'd need to make the room sound better.

Would he tell me exactly what needs to be done, and then I'd hire a carpenter to follow his instructions to the letter? Or do they provide their own specialists as a team?

I hope I don't sound too green here, it's just that I've never dealt with this before   Embarassed

And since this seems to be very specialized knowledge, I better start saving for a true pro!!

Oh, and one more thing. I'll search for accoustic engineers in Mexico, but since I doubt we have many here, I'd probably need foreign help. Maybe trying to find someone who could actually fly down here and do the job. It would be a nice little get-away  Smile  How long does it take to do a thorugh test of the room, and to do whatever procedures are necessary? (I mean the theoretical part, of course). Are we talking hours, days, weeks? If the accoustitian gave me a detailed "things to do" instruction set based on his tests, then I'd hire local construction people here to finish the job. Would this be reasonable, or even doable?

Thank you for your help.
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crna59

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Re: My room's acoustics are worse than I thought. Very worried...
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2007, 01:36:29 am »

Well you could either go one or more ways.

1. You could call Bob Hodas and he could come out and shoot your room and tell you want's wrong and make some suggestions for about $2500...

OR

2. You could call Ethan Winer and he could provide a layout of your room and tell you where you would need  diffusion/reflection/absorption. I don't think he charges for consulting, but his Real Traps are very effective.

OR

3. You could have a designer come out and design your studio from the ground up. This could cost anywhere from $10 to $50 a sq./ft. just for the design, which would include structure/electrical/HVAC and such.

Regards,
Bruce
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jimmyjazz

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Re: My room's acoustics are worse than I thought. Very worried...
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2007, 09:12:25 am »

I would love to help, but I'm afraid a trip to Mexico -- even from Texas -- just isn't in the near future for me.  

I would caution that "___ always works" is rarely a universal truth in any engineering endeavour, perhaps moreso in something as tricky as acoustics.  Adding broadband bass absorbers (RealTraps, etc.) will almost surely help smooth out a lumpy low frequency response, but with that type of device, you also get great high frequency absorption.  What if the room is already "too dead" at those frequencies?  You'll just make it worse.

You might be better served with Helmholz resonators or other devices which target specific frequencies.

Furthermore, the room you described IS a nightmare, on many levels.  I understand that sometimes you have to "live with what you've got", but in your case, simple solutions over the internet are likely to be worth exactly what you paid for them.
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Greg Reierson

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Re: My room's acoustics are worse than I thought. Very worried...
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2007, 02:36:33 pm »

Jacknan wrote on Tue, 31 July 2007 21:08

.

Thank you both for your help   Cool

Ok, so, based on what you wrote, then I assume putting bass traps (or broad-band absorbers), will do more good than harm at this point, correct?


You probably do need bass traps. You just don't need as much mid and high frequency absorptions as you have.


GR
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Jacknan

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.

Thank you all for your thoughts.

This is my room's plan, so you can have a better look.
Does it really look THAT bad?

Based on what you see, where would you put bass traps and diffusors?

Keep in mind that all the walls have 2 layers of semi-thin fiber glass, coverd by fabric.

index.php/fa/5836/0/


I have been working here for the past couple of years. I am sort of used to the sound, and I've adjusted to it. I wish I could re-do it from the ground up, but that would be not possible now.
The worst thing is that I payed a fortune to the local "studio designer". As it will be obvious to you, he cheated on me. I trusted him, and since back then I knew nothing about this, I just did what he suggested. He said that the less parallel walls there were, the better. He just did everything, took my money, and took off.
When it was time to make the acoustic tests, he suddenly became unavailable, and I have never been able to contact him again.

Nice, uh? Now I'm left with this mess. I suppose the best I can do for now is to fix it as much as I can, and I'll be happy to at least improve the situation slightly.
And THIS is precisely where I'd relly appreciate your help.

thank you SOOOO much.

Fernando
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jimmyjazz

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There is no "ideal" room.  Most designs represent a tradeoff of different compromises.

A good, experienced acoustic designer will have the knowledge and instincts to properly balance competing influences, which most certainly include things like cost and workflow in addition to the acoustic issues we all gravitate towards.

It appears that your designer was obsessed with the elimination of parallel surfaces.  For some reason, many a layperson and some folks with a legitimate education in acoustics seem to think that non-parallel walls avoid low frequency modal issues.  Well, they don't.  They just make it more difficult to predict specific modes.  (This is not a justification for avoiding non-parallel walls, by the way.  Designing by "ease of analysis" is rarely a good technique.)

The first thing I'd try if I were you would be to move your right loudspeaker to the other side of your TV monitor, and try to balance your mix position in terms of left-right symmetry.  In other words, mix facing that corner, and put the window to the tracking room on your left.  Make sure you have plenty of absorption on the back wall behind your head, too.
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mike chafee

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[quote title=jimmyjazz wrote on Wed, 01 August 2007 21:54]There is no "ideal" room.  Most designs represent a tradeoff of different compromises.

A good, experienced acoustic designer will have the knowledge and instincts to properly balance competing influences, which most certainly include things like cost and workflow in addition to the acoustic issues we all gravitate towards.

It appears that your designer was obsessed with the elimination of parallel surfaces.  For some reason, many a layperson and some folks with a legitimate education in acoustics seem to think that non-parallel walls avoid low frequency modal issues.  Well, they don't.  They just make it more difficult to predict specific modes.  (This is not a justification for avoiding non-parallel walls, by the way.  Designing by "ease of analysis" is rarely a good technique.)

The first thing I'd try if I were you would be to move your right loudspeaker to the other side of your TV monitor, and try to balance your mix position in terms of left-right symmetry.  In other words, mix facing that corner, and put the window to the tracking room on your left.  Make sure you have plenty of absorption on the back wall behind your head, too.[/quot  

Great advice.

Where in Mexico are you?

I will be traveling there in September to dial in a private home theater, and, if you are interested, would love to see what I can do.

There is no substiture for being in the room.

My references are extensive.

Mike Chafee
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Ethan Winer

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jimmyjazz wrote on Wed, 01 August 2007 21:54

Designing by "ease of analysis" is rarely a good technique.)


I'm glad you said that Jimmy because it drives me nuts when people use that as an excuse for making something less than optimal.

--Ethan

Jacknan

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Mike Chafee wrote on Wed, 01 August 2007 20:54

Where in Mexico are you?

I will be traveling there in September to dial in a private home theater, and, if you are interested, would love to see what I can do.


I live in Mexico City. Is that where you are travelling?

Thank you all for your suggestions.


JimmyJazz wrote on Wed, 01 August 2007 20:54

The first thing I'd try if I were you would be to move your right loudspeaker to the other side of your TV monitor, and try to balance your mix position in terms of left-right symmetry. In other words, mix facing that corner, and put the window to the tracking room on your left. Make sure you have plenty of absorption on the back wall behind your head, too.


Ok. I'll consider that. I just need to see if I can move the whole setup there, since it's a custom built working table. But your suggestion makes total sense.

As another possibility, would it be also ok to just move the whole thing like 1.5 meters to my left? I would cover the recording room's window with the computer screens, but I don't care, as long as it improves things.

Here I uploaded a couple of photos, so you can have a better idea of my situation:






index.php/fa/5848/0/


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Jacknan

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Re: My room's acoustics are worse than I thought. Very worried...
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2007, 01:56:09 pm »

And here is another angle:

index.php/fa/5849/0/
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Steve Hudson

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Re: My room's acoustics are worse than I thought. Very worried...
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2007, 02:13:27 pm »

The lack of any room symmetry is problematic. You may do well to move your monitoring/workspace area to the corner where the TV is hanging, and move your speakers a bit further off the walls.
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Jacknan

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Re: My room's acoustics are worse than I thought. Very worried...
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2007, 03:35:16 pm »

Steve Hudson wrote on Fri, 03 August 2007 13:13

The lack of any room symmetry is problematic. You may do well to move your monitoring/workspace area to the corner where the TV is hanging, and move your speakers a bit further off the walls.


Hi. Why is lack of symmetry problematic? I thought it was the best way to avoid freq. canceling, and reflection problems. Aparently the guy that did my studio thought so too, and, evidently, he was very wrong...
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