There is no shortage of "experts" with a wide range of opinions on the subject of sound correction. When I first started researching the science behind room treatment it was overwhelming, to save you time I tried to get the best resources and put it all in one place. Here are some of my favorites...
Acoustic Foam is USELESS
How much acoustic foam do I need?
Absolutely NONE... Acoustic foam is completely ineffective on lower / lower mid frequencies, not to mention flammable and made in China from undisclosed toxic materials. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Egg crate foam for acoustics?
Sorry folks, it simply doesn't work. At best you may absorb the highest of frequencies which is great if you are trying to capture a recording of a dog whistle or even the occasional dolphin.
Pensado's Place Guests on Acoustic Treatment
If you have any interest in Production, Mix Engineering, or Mastering watching Pensado's Place is a MUST
Bob Hodas of bobhodas.com teaches Dave and co. the secrets behind making your room sound the best it can be.
Acoustic Treatment Myths
Acoustic treatment can be a ridiculously confusing topic.
Speaking from personal experience, I wish I had gotten acoustic treatment for my studio much sooner than I did. Recording and mixing without acoustic treatment is similar to playing golf with really cheap clubs. You might be able to put together a decent round, but you’re constantly limited by the capabilities of your equipment.
Without acoustic treatment, you’re constantly limited by the capabilities of your room. READ MORE...
Acoustic Treatment vs. Digital Room Correction
Let me take a step back and explain what I mean by “digital room correction.” There are several products on the market now that can tune studio monitors to the room they are in. For example, if the room is causing a boost at 200 Hz, these products will use a digital EQ to attenuate 200 Hz. The end result is (ideally) a flat frequency response.
The way these products go about measuring the room is by using an omnidirectional measurement microphone to “listen” to the room while the system generates white or pink noise through the studio monitors. Since the generated noise has the same amount of energy (or volume) across the frequency spectrum, the system can then intelligently “hear” when certain frequencies are being either boosted or cut by the acoustics of the room.
There are three main products that come to mind that incorporate digital room correction:
- JBL LSR 4300 and 6300 series of studio monitors – These are very nice studio monitors with room correction DSP built into the speakers themselves. They ship with a measurement microphone for tuning the room.
- IK Multimedia ARC (Advanced Room Correction) System – This is a plug-in designed to be inserted on the master fader of your DAW, just before the audio is sent to the studio monitors. It ships with a measurement microphone, and it stores the room correction settings inside the plug-in itself.
- KRK ERGO (Enhanced Room Geometry Optimization) – This is a hardware box designed to go between your audio interface and studio monitors. It employs the same basic principle as the other two options above, but it simply does so in a hardware box, rather than in the speakers themselves or as a plug-in.
Quick Tip: DIY Basic Room Acoustic Measurement
- Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate
- Time: 10 minutes to read
- Requirements: See the list of gear and software below
If you are serious about your own career as a musician, DJ, or producer, or just like good sounding environment, here’s something worth learning. A room with good acoustics is essential for recording and mixing your music. If you make music in a room with great acoustics, it has the best chance of sounding good in other rooms too.
Step 1: Get the Basic Tools
In the past, a measurement setup would cost more than $1,000, but nowadays you can grab the tools to do the job for a couple hundred bucks.
Gear You Need
- Measurement microphone. I recommend a calibrated Behringer ECM8000 or Dayton Audio EMM-6 from Cross Spectrum Lab. Price is from $65-100 with different calibration data. Personally, I use Dayton Audio EMM-6.
- Small mixer with mic preamp and sound card which supports full duplex operation, or just an audio interface with integrated mic preamp. I use my audio interface MOTU Ultralight.
- Microphone stand ($30 or $40).
- Cables to connect everything together.