studio acoustics

May 5, 2023, 10:34 AM · Is anyone here familiar with acoustics enough to help me. I have a studio in my basement where I left the concrete floor bare. I have drywall ceilings and walls which I would ordinarily associate with resonance. I also have a thin rug that is about 12x8 or so in this 20 foot room. It just doesn't seem like I'm getting as much reverb(?) as I'd like. I'm wondering what I can add that will help. I would prefer not to add flooring though. In another house I had wood squares on the floor and it was just fine.

Replies (4)

May 6, 2023, 2:23 AM · Herman - do you want reverb? I'd have thought a drier acoustic would be more suitable for study and practice. Your description of the room suggests that there is too much echo, and that you would would benefit from a larger rug, maybe a small bookshelf and a few other practical pieces of furniture, and perhaps a couple of inspiring pictures on the wall.
Edited: May 6, 2023, 4:35 PM · Herman,
So much depends on what kind of studio you are creating; teaching, practice, ensemble playing, recording?

There are chapters related to this subject in any number of books. One that came to hand quickly this morning was "The Science of Musical Sound," by John R. Pierce, published in 1992 by Scientific American Books. It includes chapters on Architectural Acoustics and Sound Reproduction.

EDIT (half a day later): There are also many websites that understand these problem better than do those who play music (like most of us here): this is one site I just found:

Last year, my son finished building a complete recording studio (with acoustically isolated and controllable/tunable performance/recording space) on his property; new building entirely devoted to this function for his "hobby business," "Black Range Recording". I questioned him with reference to your request and he told me that the company GIK Acoustics had been very helpful to him.

He has been musical since he was 5 years old:
After high school 40 years ago, he spent a year attending recording engineering school in Los Angeles (following the advice of a family friend, recording engineering "tonemaster" Stan Ricker).

May 6, 2023, 2:26 PM · The concrete flooring should not dampen the sound substantially.

To increase the reverb, get rid of the rug, and other sound absorbing items in the room, such as curtains, pillows, sofas, etc.

The drywall may be absorbing quite a bit of the sound. It is probably not practical to install hardwood walling.

You could opt for some old plate reverb units if you really want more reverb. You could also consider using a digital solution and add reverb with speakers.

Edited: May 7, 2023, 11:53 AM · I wonder how tall your ceiling is. The fact is that hard surfaces (including drywall, and especially concrete) are very reflective, and since the walls and floor/ceiling of your space are likely parallel, your problem isn't really that you don't get enough reverb, it's that you have weird reverb--standing waves bouncing back and forth between these parallel surfaces--and they function like a distorted EQ to alter the tone and clarity of your sound.

Richard (above) has some good suggestions--furniture to break up the flat surfaces, and I use absorbent rugs on the floor and walls. Unless you have a high-ceiling space with surfaces that are not parallel, you shouldn't expect to get a very good reverb in your space. Instead you should ideally seek to mute the standing waves so that you get a nice resonance to which you add reverb digitally.

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