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There is a lot of discussion about the importance of the right space and acoustics when building a studio and a lot of science to argue the benefits of acoustic treatments and solutions to create the perfect space. But even the best installations still require a human touch to make it work with the equipment you put in it. 

Very few can afford/justify to contract a special vendor to custom install acoustically treated walls, floors and ceilings but that's OK in our view, because without disrespecting the acoustic specialists out there, the principles of studio acoustics are relatively simple.

In a nutshell, you want what you hear in a studio to be what everyone else will hear wherever they listen to your music whether that be on headphones, a desktop computer, a TV or on a club sound system. Acoustically the mid/high-range frequencies will bounce off hard surfaces and the low-end will be more sensitive to the room size and cause peaks and troughs in response. Sound being absorbed too much so it is dull is a common problem in home studios whereas echo effects in large garage and non-acoustically treated office-type spaces.

In reality, most of us will be setting up or own space, and that is no problem, you will be able to achieve a satisfactory result wherever you house your studio as long as you keep the above in mind and follow our basic advice below. The great news is that there are some incredible materials and both physical and software technologies to help you before, during and after sound production.

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The Right Space

The modern digital studio can generally fit around a desk space these days since the equipment has become much more focused around the computer setup and can be operated on monitors or headphones. If your setup is within a room that has a noter function it will not be easy to treat is acoustically and therefore you will probably find yourself relying on headphones more than the monitors.


If you can stretch to a dedicated room it is definitely more ideal, since then, you can treat the room acoustically and can use monitors to much better effect.

The key things to consider about the space are as follows:

  • Environment

    • The area needs to be positive so you can concentrate and feel creative. There is nothing wrong with basing your studio in your favourite room in your house or being portable so you can got your favourite place.

  • ​Ventilated

    • Well ventilated and temperature controlled, either by Air conditioning or a powerful fan and windows that can open from time to time.​​ Typical music gear is now high intensity heat producing but over just a few hours a few bits of kit can really start to build heat up. Think of a typical studio as 6 or 7 servers all running at the same time, non-stop and in a very confined space since all your gear will be situated together.

  • Ergonomic​​​s

    • You need to be able to fit in a proper studio desk or similar and/or stands. ​You need to access your keyboard easily and at a good height. You need space for a good office chair so you can sit straight and look directly at your screen and it needs to be height adjustable so you can have your elbows slightly higher than your table so when using your mouse and computer keyboard, this way there is less chance of developing a repetitive use injury.

  • Sound Projection Space​

    • If you want to use monitors, no sound can be treated if the sound can't leave the speakers and spread out. If the sound is going to reflect straight off a wall you are going to limit its sonic abilities and it will be a mess. Monitors like space so an absolute minimum distance from the monitors to a wall, in our opinion, is 3 metres.​


Some people confuse soundproofing with acoustics. Just to be clear: Soundproofing is about stopping sound getting out of your room and also to stop sound getting in. Acoustics is how sound in your room interacts with the structure and fabric of the room.


Sound-separation is something completely different, mainly if you are recording a live setup or using a vocal area. This is an old issue since studios sole function used to be to house several instrumentalists at the same time, so this is well documented and simply a matter of making sure one instrument doesn't spill into another.

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Room Treatment 

The key principle for acoustic treatment is that you are trying to get a ‘true’ sound. You really want what you hear from your monitors to be what other people will hear when they consume your music in their own environment.


Of course the big risk with a room is that it changes the sound and you end up producing something that will completely change when it leaves your room. You will position your equipment where feels most ergonomic in your room., so after that, its time to treat the surfaces.

The simple principle is that sound will bounce off walls, floors and ceilings so at least 50% of them need softer coverings for sound absorption in order to stop it bouncing around like crazy. Corners are the worst thing for sound since sound waves bounce between them repeatedly and that can really distorted bass and give a muddy sound, so in your final mix you might find you have less low end than you thought because it was coming from your set up.

So the first thing to do is get at least 50% of your surfaces covered and then increase from there until you feel the sound is not bouncing around. So in relation to the key areas:


  • Floors

    • We generally find that a covering on floors is 100% essential and we would recommend either carpet, carpet tiles or large rugs. The immediate area around your desk is usually OK because of the desk reflecting the sound, but other than that a good covering is key. Remember many office carpet tiles are specifically designed to absorb sound and they are our main choice.

  • Walls

    •  Normally, at least 50% of the wall surfaces needs to be covered but in fact, it usually turns out to be more like 75%+. Using acoustic tiles is a great idea since they are great sound absorbers and stop reflection happening.

  • Corners​

    • As explained above, these can be bad for the low end but it certainly won't be true of an entire corner, floor to ceiling for example. You can apply some logic like, where are your speakers facing? Then imagine the sound fanning out from there and hitting the corners there and 50cam higher and lower for the first 3 metres of distance and 50cm more for every metre further away than that.​

  • Ceiling​

    • Contrary to many published articles on the subject we don't find that ceilings are much of a problem unless it is a huge room.​ But if there are problems it is more likely to be the corner where the wall meets the ceiling. In this instance an acoustic tile on the wall or ceiling next to the corner, or a specifically designed corner acoustic absorber can be installed directly in the corner.


If you are going with the foam-type acoustic tiles then there are a couple of quick pointers for installation: 


  1. Make sure you are buying acoustic foam tiles and not just a foam copy

  2. Use an acoustic adhesive rather than a standard adhesive

  3. Put the adhesive close to the corners of the tile, in the centre and in thin zig zags all over since good adhesion improves performance

  4. Use the adhesive like a caulk in the corners of the rooms and around sockets etc as it helps give even more protection

  5. If you want to do a  Rolls-Royce installation, stopping sound leaving the room as well then install batons on the wall and across the corners diagonally, fill the cavity with insulation foam and then cover with sheet rock, then install the tiles with adhesive.

One thing to consider however, is that the better insulated the install, the more heat that will potentially stay in the room and thus, the greater requirement for air conditioning.

Acoustic  Solutions

Room Calibration, Monitoring & Adjusting Your Final Output


There are a number of solutions available today to help you make sure what you are actually producing is what others will hear when the music leaves the room and is played on any device. This is important because the sound can be 'coloured' by the type of playback device. We all have our favourite speakers or headphones but it is important  in the studio that what we output will sound the same on all playback devices before its individual colouration.


To achieve this we highly recommend installing a room calibration solution so that you can setup your room correctly,  monitor your music live and of course, your final output.

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These systems generally have the same approach but the way they are used can vary and of course, they all produce varying results. You can spend just a couple €hundred or several €thousand depending on the features you want, for example, at the top end you can buy the Trinnov DMon system which integrates with EUCON and therefore plugs straight into ProTools, whereas at the lower end, most systems work as DAW plug-ins.

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Room Calibration


Getting this sorted once you have your room set up is a great idea. If you can have your system set up and do the calibration before your acoustic tiles are installed that is more preferable, but if you an aesthetic you absolutely have to have, then performing the setup when the room is ready is fine too.


It's actually a good discipline to have if you work with a portable setup, since you can perform this calibration in the different locations you use.

Quite simply the setup involves using a reference microphone in different positions so that the software can analyse how audio is behaving, compared to the perfect signal it has as a basis. You can buy a reference microphone to use independently from the software but you can also buy a package of 'Microphone and Software' and we really believe that's way to go.



Once you have performed a room calibration it's time to get back to producing music. During the production process you can constantly refer to your Digital Monitoring/Processing Software and make EQ adjustments for any fluctuations that occur, since your room calibration won't catch every occurrence of sonic expression. As we mentioned above, the higher end systems will do this for you and feed changes into your DAW for you.


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Adjusting The Final Output


After all your great work getting your room calibrated and monitoring during the production process you still need to perform final checks on your music before you lock off that master. This is where this type of referencing software comes into its own in a way that we cannot possibly achieve without a painstaking process. Even then, we are no longer impartial so a little magic at this stage is welcome.

The mix check stage is a simple as opening the plugin on the master track and checking how it translates;ates when you select other simulated environments such as bluetooth headphones, in-car, portable speaker, club and more.



Acoustics are important, your room configuration, ergonomics and aesthetics are important, but the bottom line is that your music output is the most important thing to consider. So setting the room up right and calibrating it well is absolutely the way to go. Continuing your new sonic discipline by adding Digital Referencing into your playbook at the mastering stage ensures you are achieving the best result you can. 

Acoustic Monitoring & Treatment Solutions

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