Sound treatment is a dark art. There is a myriad of options, a full on science and lots of experts with varying degrees of opinion. So as a home recording studio owner and artist how have we navigated the audio treatment conundrum. (with difficulty but with good results!)
I have been recording music for 35+ years now. I was the 1980s teenager with an Atari 1040, Notator (remember that?!) and a Roland SH101 synth… Music, audio and music technology has been a part of my life since then. I never really took Audio Treatment seriously.. I mean just how much does the room actually affect recordings? ummm now I hear it… a lot! I mean you see these big swanky studios with all their mega treatment and just think.. I cannot afford that, I do not understand it and where on earth do I start?
So now spin forward to 2020 – Crimson is taking off.. lots of interest, radio plays and people asking for more music… what a wonderful feeling that is… however, there is always that musical doubt.. is the music good enough? is the quality good enough? can we compete at the broadcast level? Can i do that on a shoestring muso budget? (lets face it, most everyday musicians are skint!..)
Adding audio treatment to your home studio isnt as daunting as you might think, its not that expensive and even with a budget of a few hundred pounds can make significant differences to your room, recordings, mixing and mastering.
So first of all why add treatment? When you add treatment you realise why. The room resonance when essentially silenced is quite eery. The room adds an audio dynamic that perhaps you cant quite hear but yet its clearly within your recordings. We do not have the luxury of a vocal booth but I have created the best I can in the way of Mic Screen, surround and wall treatment. When Wendy steps into her ‘booth’ the sound of her voice is no longer bouncing off walls for the Mic to pick up. Now its just Wendy, her wonderful vocals and the Mic.. That has added some interesting challenges. Examples… Bird song! Now we can hear it clearly… we have 6 cats and they often pop into the studio to see whats going on.. Cats purring is clearly audible now! First world studio problems.. who knew?!
The room is a typical shape – about 10ft wide and 15ft long with a door at one end and a long window on one wall. The first thing to do is treat the ‘back wall’ where the studio monitors go. This wall was treated with Audio absorbing foam behind the monitors themselves, bass traps up in the corners of the room and our special artwork. The artwork is actually audio rockwall with a canvas outter… bit of a hybrid and works a treat. The opposing wall has now audio foam to stop reflective sound waves, and the side walls where the monitor mirror trick showed up typical reflection points has foam. The window has a pull down recess blind with black out and is surprisingly effective. We have a large thick rug on the floor.
The net effect. The room is dead. It has no echo, resonance and is quite astonishing. Walk in from the outer hallway talking and its like your voice just dies. Very odd.
However, what is awesome about all this. Quality of the recorded vocals, is now so pure that in production the vocals are no longer recorded with its own resonance. All the FX work can be done post recording and it is a game changer for us.
For mixing, the room now has that neutral feel so the Monitors (Adam A77X and Yamaha HS8s) can faithfully reproduce the music and you are not fooled by bass or odd frequencies… its just you, the music and a dead room.
This has been achieved for less than £200. So, if youve read this far.. thank you, and get on Amazon or wherever and get some foam, bass traps and some glue for the walls!
Enjoy your music and thanks for reading…