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Summary

Room Acoustics Wrap-Up

While this room obviously cannot compete with professional studio acoustics, the acoustics of the Newport Acoustics Studio space have been dramatically improved by adding broad-band wall absorption, corner bass absorption and, finally, diffusion. While subjectively, the room acoustics do "sound" much more under control, acoustically it remains a small space -- it will never sound as large as a 15x30-ft studio. However, measurements using RPlusD ETF software and calibrated microphone have provided evidence to support the subjective belief that:
  • Improving the room acoustics is the most important first step in the recording process
  • Even extensive acoustic treatment is a small fraction of total studio construction cost
  • There will always be room for improvement
Here are a few additional observations:
  • Treating at least 20% of a room's flat surfaces really is necessary
  • Broad-band absorption does dampen the overly-live reflections and flutter echo from bare walls
  • Corner bass absorption is quite effective when it covers substantial surface area
  • Diffusion does improve room flatness above 300 Hz but the added reflections, even if diffuse, are important
  • These results prove both subjectively, and through measurements, that acoustic treatment is quite effective
  • The total DIY cost is only a small fraction of over-all studio cost so should not be dismissed
  • The final acoustic "feel" is dramatically improved and, therefore, worth the design and construction effort
  • Extensive use of wood, glue, 'varnish' and fabrics do add initial odors which can take time to 'out-gas'
  • Be sure to always provide plenty of fresh air ventilation (at least while not recording)

These room measurement plots validate the perceived acoustical improvement of the Newport Studio.

Before Room Treatment
After Room Treatment