This is a guest post by Joe Gilder from Home Studio Corner. Many of you will already know Joe – if not, I strongly recommend you check him out – his site and twitter feed are crammed full of useful real-life advice to make your recordings and mixes sound better.
There are HUNDREDS of acoustical issues going on in your studio. And it may not make sense for you to invest in completely treating your space acoustically.
But if there was ONE thing I would do if I were to do it all over again, I’d address one key issue:
Flutter echo is that weird sound you hear when you clap your hands in a bare room. If there are any parallel walls (and there almost always are), you’ll hear the sound waves bouncing back and forth, making this “fluttering” sound.
[Ian says – I always think the flutter echo from a clap makes a “zoing” noise, but maybe that’s just me…! Matt from Recording Hacks sent me a great example of how it sounds – to take a listen, click here.]
It doesn’t take much to realize that this can adversely affect the way your recordings/mixes sound in your studio. Musical instruments contain LOTS of frequencies. If you don’t address flutter echo in your room, ALL of those frequencies will be bouncing ALL OVER THE PLACE.
The best way to handle this is to add some absorption to your walls. A simple $100 box of studio foam will do the trick. (You can even use thick packing blankets if you want.)
Simply place the foam on your walls. Ideally on the walls behind the speakers, on the walls directly to the left and right of the speakers, and on the ceiling above the mix position.
This task ALONE will make HUGE improvements to how your mixes will sound.
[I’d like to second Joe’s advice, and add that if you sit more than a few feet away from your monitors, the best place for the foam is actually half-way between you and them.
To find the exact best place, get a friend to hold a mirror against the walls. When you can see the monitors in the mirror sitting at your normal position, the foam should go where the mirror is is.]
If you found this post useful and would like to know more affordable, effective acoustic treatment techniques, Joe has just announced a great 3-part video series called Understanding Your Room. He’s also posted a great introduction to the whole subject of acoustic treatment here.
If you’ve tried any of his HD video tutorials like Understanding EQ or Understanding Compression you’ll already know the quality of his advice – to find out more about Understanding Your Room, click here.