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How to Tune Your Room

Indie Recording Studio – How to Tune Your Room

One of the greatest moments in the life of every musician is recording a new album. Although we all know that the best results can be achieved in a professional recording studio most musicians today have their own home studios used to record demos, capture new ideas or even recording complete albums.

If you are one of those working in their own home studios we have collected some tips on how to tune your room. Implementing some of them will cost more, others will cost less, but each of them will get you closer to a great room.

Choose your recording room wisely

Of course, it would be ideal to build your recording room from scratch but we have to do the work with the one you already have. It would be great if you have the option to change the room you want to record in. For example, a larger rectangular room will give you a better sound than a small rectangular room.

If you have two or more rooms to choose from it would be great if you could set them up and record in each one. After that sit back for a while and just listen to your recordings. Your ears will tell you which room is the best one.

If you can afford it, you can buy some measurement devices and room analyzers. But it would be much better to invest that money in some other equipment.

Take care of your monitor placement

The most common mistake usually seen in home recording studios is the placement of the monitors. With the following adjustments you will improve the stereo image of your room and here is what you can do.

  • Avoid placing the speakers next to the wall or in the corner.
  • Set up your monitors to face the length of the room, not the width. This will eliminate rear-wall reflections.
  • Your tweeters should point to your ears directly. Pointing them up or down can lead to new issues.
  • Make fine adjustments in the speakers’ position. Move them closer and further until you find a position with the best stereo image.

Acoustic Treatment 

Diffusers "break up" the sound in the room

After you have selected the best room and positioned the monitors the best way possible, the response can be better with some acoustic treatment. This means you will need to install foam kits with bass traps, diffusers, and absorbers. When we speak about acoustic foams we can really say that money is directly connected with the quality. If your budget doesn’t allow such investments you can try using Rockwool instead. After all, anything you can do to improve the audio flaws in your room is definitely better than doing nothing.

Make sure to pay attention to the following when you try to fix the acoustics of your room.

  • The most budget-friendly way to address diffusion issues is to place a bookshelf on the rear-wall behind your listening position.
  • If your room is small you will most probably have issues with low-end bass. In order to prevent this, the first thing you should do is to install bass-traps in the corners.  
  • Try to create a zone without reflections. This will allow you to hear the sound coming from the speaker, and not a combination of the main sound and its reflections. Treat the places above your listening position and the sides with diffusion or absorption or both.

Place your studio furniture with care

Taking care of the furniture in your studio can be seen as an acoustic treatment as well. For example, a sofa placed in the right spot or a bookshelf like we have mentioned earlier can address absorption and diffusion issues.

Absorber pads are the cheapest upgrade

Absorber pads are the cheapest upgrade to your recording studio. They are used to separate the surface and the speakers. Without the absorbers, you can expect your speakers to vibrate together with the stands or your desk.

Get some free-standing speaker stands

Free-standing speaker stands will fix the resonance and other types of issues. However, you don’t have to buy the most expensive ones. A cheaper version will do the job and there are also hollow ones that can be filled with sand to damp the vibrations which may cause resonance issues.

Don’t try to save on your home recording studio equipment

Your home recording studio gear is the only thing you shouldn’t try to save money on. Whether we are speaking about microphones, pre-amps, monitors and so on, we strongly advise getting the best ones based on your budget. No room for savings here!

At the end – Tune Your Room

All these improvements will get you a bit closer to the sound you want. However, you should know that it will take some time while you learn how to grasp all the benefits of these improvements. So now it’s up to you which tips you will implement first.

How to Tune Your Room
Guest post author, James Longman writes regularly for AudioReputation. After all this time in the music industry, his passion for audio equipment is the same as the first day. If you ask him to name one thing he truly enjoys his answer will always be – reviewing audio devices.