If you decided which acoustic products to use in your home studio, it’s time to place them in the room. Although this may seem easy, in reality it’s more difficult than you think, because there are many factors to be taken into consideration when you treat a room.
How to place the acoustic foam in the control room
Usually, the control room is used to monitor the recordings and mix the songs. If your home studio allows you to have a control room and a booth, this means you really need to insulate to control room as better as you can. When you start insulating the control room, the first place to start is the area behind the monitors (speakers). The actual control area (the computer, the monitors) is the most important, because this is the area where the early reflections will be coming from. The early reflections are the reflected speaker sounds that come from the wall behind. So, the reflection will be perceived by your ear by the same time you will perceive the sounds coming from the speakers, causing cancellation and filtering effect. If you don’t have a glass window behind the speakers (like in the picture above), you can place the first acoustic panel right between the monitors, in the center. If you can’t use that area, you can use two panels and place them as seen in the picture above, behind every monitor.
Next, we need to handle that bass reflection. The best way to place the bass trapping panels is the upper corners of the room, because the low frequencies tend to congregate there. This will not waste floor space, and that’s also important if you’re using a tight space. If you have enough bass panels, use them for every corner of the room.
The next places to add the acoustic foam are the sidewalls. You don’t want to place them to low or too high, because they must be placed at the ear level, one or two feet above the floor (that kind of placement will give you the best results). Remember to allow some space between the panels, 4-5 inches will do just fine. This will give you a nice design, but it will also increase the amount of absorption of the sidewall. Although it’s not used that often in home studio projects, the diffusion panels are also pretty important if you plan to treat a room properly. Usually, they are placed on the back wall, behind the mix position. Again, you don’t want to place them too high or too low. 2 feet above the floor is recommended. If you’re using a small room, you can use normal acoustic foam instead of the diffusers.
How to place the acoustic foam in the recording booth
The recording booth is used to capture vocals. In order to have a proper recording, you need to capture dry vocals, without any type of reverberation and echoes. You can add those later at levels that fits your project, in the mixing session. In home recording studios, the recording booth is usually small and it’s pretty difficult to have a proper acoustic treatment for it. The best treatment for recording booth is over 50% acoustic foam coverage in order to remove all the sound reflections. Remember that a small room produces more bass, so you will be needing some sort of bass trapping. But placing corner traps in small rooms can be a real issue. That’s why I really think it’s tricky to treat a small recording booth, because it needs a lot of mass and insulation it its walls and door.
For one-room home studio, the recording booth can very well be placed in the control room. This means you need to cut as much ambient noise (computer fans, recording equipment, surrounding) as you can. You can use a standard microphone isolation panel and place it between the mic and the recording equipment, in the back of the room, as far away from the recording equipment as possible.
Check the best acoustic foam products.