Studio / living room treatment

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Joined: Mon, 2020-Apr-06, 18:34
Location: Santiago, Chile

Studio / living room treatment


Postby groovewalker » Mon, 2020-Apr-06, 19:52

Dear friends! How's everybody? First post here. My name is Andres Walker. I'm a composer for media and music producer.

Due to personal and budget reasons, I had to leave my office/studio space and move into a new apartment where I will have my working space in the living room. It is a small place, but big comfortable enough to work. I will be living with my daughters as well (they'll stay with me half of the time) so the living room needs to work both as a working space and a place for the family.

I'm aiming for something simple: treating the most important reflection points (I was thinking at least walls L and R and ceiling). You will see on my "plans" that the desk will be in front of a picture window and the rear wall would be pretty far behind, so I'm not sure if standing panels behind the monitors would be helpful or not.

The main objective of this project is to have decent sounding living room, where I can remove that early room reverberation, occasionally self record an acoustic guitar or voice over, mix and write music. I would love to get advice on what would be the process for setting this up, refer me to good DIY panel construction tutorials, where to position them, etc. Also if there's anything that would help me to isolate a little bit the outside noise coming for the entrance door and the picture window. I'm not savvy so everyone's input will be much welcomed. Also, since this is a living room, it is important that the treatment looks aesthetic.

I already have a few things: a big 120x120 cm diffuser and 24 120x60x5 cm fiberglass boards.

I'm attaching some photos for the "plan", the diffuser I own and some references on what I am picturing.

Thank you in advance!!!
1- Rear Wall.jpg
2- Front.jpg
3- Left.jpg
4- Right.jpg
5- Diffuser front.jpg
6- Diffuser side.jpg
7- Blueprint measures.jpg
8- Ref 1.jpg
9- Ref 2.jpg
10- Ref 3.jpg

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Location: Santiago, Chile

Studio / living room treatment


Postby Soundman2020 » Wed, 2020-Apr-15, 01:31

Hi Andres, and Welcome to the forum! :thu: I'm glad you found it.

So this is the new place you mentioned to me a while back? It has some potential, but will need quite a bit of treatment to get it good. It's a long narrow room, with an almost square cross section: it's hard to make out the numbers on the diagram you posted, but it looks like the width of the room is 250 cm(?), and I'm assuming the height is around the same, so that's an issue that is going to need a bit of attention. The modes in the left-right direction are going to math the modes in the floor-ceiling direction.

The rear wall seems to also be the main entrance to your apartment: have you considered maybe putting a partition across the rear of the room, to improve isolation out to the hallway, and your neighbors? That would also also for better treatment back there, I think. Knowing how Chilean rental agreements work, I'm pretty sure that you won't be allowed to build a permanent partition there, but some screws into the walls and ceiling could hold the partition in place, then when you leave, just take out the screws, dismantle the partition, fill the screw holes, and paint. It might be an option for you. Just an idea....

OK, for your actual treatment: How much are you willing to invest here? To get that room usable, you will need:

1) Bass trapping, ideally in the corners... but in your case, the two vertical corners at the rear don't seem to be good candidates. The front corners (glass doors to balcony) would be useful to a certain extent, but not as good as the rear wall. Perhaps you could also put some up in the wall-ceiling corners? You could do panels that straddle those corners diagonally, and attach them to the walls and ceiling with hooks. Make them large! The room is going to need a lot of bass trapping.

2) Set up your speakers pretty much right up against the glass doors to the balcony, leaving just a small gap of a couple of cm between the speaker and the glass, and with each speaker about 60 cm from the side wall. Use heavy, solid stands for your speakers. One cheap and easy way is with bricks or concrete blocks (CMU). Just stack up a few to the right level, wrap some black fabric around them to hide the ugliness, and you are done. If you have bass traps in the front corners, there probably won't be much space to put more absorption on the front wall, for SBIR, but you could try.

3) Mix position: To choose the best spot for the mix position, do the "walking mic" test with REW ( [u] The "walking mic" test, using REW [/u ). That will give you a lot of useful information about the acoustic response of your room, but mostly it will help to identify the best location for your mix position.

4) Rear wall treatment: Thick absorption panels across the entire rear wall of your room. At least 15cm thick, and either "lana mineral" or "lana de fibra de vidrio". Home Center, Sodimac, Easy, etc. all have that. You need low density insulation here, for bass trapping and the rear wall. Around 20 kg/m3 for the fiberglass, or around 40 kg/m3 for the mineral wool.

5) Side wall treatment. Panels on your first refection points, definitely. Make them at least 10cm thick (15 would be better), and large: Make your panels at least 80cm x 160cm. You are going to have a lot of flutter echo in that room, so it might be a good idea to try your panels set up horizontally, as well as vertically, and see which gets the best results on REW.

6) Ceiling cloud. I would suggest that you hang a large, hard-backed ceiling cloud at the front of the room, in the area between the speakers and the mix position: Hang it at an angle.

That would improve many of the acoustic issues in that room, making it more usable, but likely it will need more treatment than that. Take measurements with REW each time you change something, so you have a record of each step of the process. That way, you can check that the treatment is doing what it is supposed to do, and see what needs doing next.

And please do post pictures and descriptions as you progress with the treatment! Other people would love to see that, and we might also notice things that you could improve, as you move along.

By the way, did you feel the earthquake today? Or rather the tremor? It wasn't very big (around 4.8 I heard), so not too noticeable. Maybe you didn't feel it. But it seems that your apartment is fairly high up, so I was wondering if there was much movement up there? If there was noticeable swaying of your building, then that's something to take into account when attaching your acoustic treatment to the walls and ceiling: do it in such a way that it can't come loose in tremors and quakes. Use chains, not wire, and use only closed-loop "eye-bolts", not open hooks. You don't want things falling on your head!

I'm looking forward to seeing how your studio progresses, and maybe one day (when things get a bit more back to normal!) I can get to take a look, in person!

- Stuart -

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