Decorating for acoustics

December 12, 2006 at 04:47 AM · After making some major renovations in my home, the acoustics in my "music room" improved dramatically. The room already had ceilings that start at 10 feet then rise to 25 feet with odd angles at the top of the cieling. I added hard wood floors, minimized furnishings - a secretary table for holding music plus instrument, a stand, and 2 chairs.

What type of decorating techniques have you used to improve the acoustics and practicality in your music or practice room?

Replies (16)

December 12, 2006 at 05:11 AM · Greetings,

I threw out the dead cat in the corner,

Cheers,

buri

December 12, 2006 at 06:53 AM · Hey,

Dead cats are great mid-band absorbers.

December 12, 2006 at 09:24 AM · Was the dead cat left over from making your own strings?

December 12, 2006 at 04:54 PM · In used to hang quilts on the walls with carpet padding underneath. It worked well.

December 12, 2006 at 08:50 PM · Greetings,

get real David, that was the sheep in the other corner,

Cheers,

Buri

December 12, 2006 at 09:26 PM · hahaha oh you crack me up

December 13, 2006 at 03:55 AM · My cats Tommy and Hacker took offence to the "getting rid of the dead cats in the corner" statement. :) They like to come and sit on the chair and listen to me play, and grandpa's dog liked to sit next to the stand under my feet and do the same. The animals thought that they were contributing to the acousitics and ambiance of the rooom. It was actually the only time that the cats and dogs co-existed in peace. LOL

December 13, 2006 at 03:54 AM · Greetings,

since they can read I suggest you get them onto stuff like Frankl`s `Pet@s search for meaning.` or `A day in the life of Ivegotaa terribleitch.`

by Soldmynitzin. That should calm them down,

Cheers,

Buri

December 13, 2006 at 04:26 AM · Hacker has now taken over the computer Googling :)

December 13, 2006 at 07:09 AM · No decoration. As bare a room as possible, with only the long curtains damping the sound. Works pretty well. If I want more absorption, I can draw the curtains.

December 13, 2006 at 10:10 AM · Well, if we're gonna' start being SERIOUS, what you basically want is a very live room. Lots of padding & absorption is only good for recording, end even then a live room is better if it's well-tuned.

The more reflections, the more alive the instrument will sound, making playing more pleasant, and making it easier to sense the true sound of the instrument.

The trick is to make the room as diffuse as possible, to minimize nodes & dips due to comb-filtering. the easiest way to do that is basically as Mendy described in her first post- lots of angles. Avoid parallel walls, parallel floor-to-ceiling, etc. Curved surfaces are even better. Moveable curved wall-treatments, called "polys," can be made by stretching 1/4" plywood over strong "bulkheads." (kind of like building a rowboat, only sideways. You then mount these to the wall. (You'll have to go to an acoustics website for more details, no room here, but be careful because many websites on the subject are incredibly wrong)

You can also just fill the room up with lots of stuff, as long as that stuff is of a hard, non-absorptive material. Hanging stuff from the ceiling helps a lot. (even dead cats, once they are nice & stiff)

You can also buy commercially-made products, if you really enjoy wasting money.

As for ceiling height & room size in general: Larger rooms are always better, all else being equal, ,but you can make a smallish room sound quite acceptable if you plan it out carefully.

December 13, 2006 at 10:34 AM · A good middle ground is to leave your dead cat or sheep in the room, but shave all the fur off.

Another variable is your own hair style. Einstein was an amateur violinist who experimented with hair styles until he found a solution for his practice room, which was too live.

December 13, 2006 at 10:51 AM · True, he spent quite some time experimenting with changeable acoustics,

-but then he finally realized that it was all relative.

December 13, 2006 at 12:08 PM · Yeh, I make my relatives leave the room when I'm practicing to.

Neil

December 13, 2006 at 08:56 PM · Greeetings,

I thought it was a voluntary stampede,

Cheers,

Buri

December 13, 2006 at 09:39 PM · You say "potatoe"

and I say, "RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!"

Neil

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