Constructing a recording studio poses distinct challenges in every space. At home, one might seek to mitigate reverberations from untreated walls, soundproof the area to accommodate roommates, or tackle phase issues stemming from standing waves. While acoustic treatment ensures a sonically pleasing environment, the expense can be a deterrent. This article will explore effective DIY acoustic treatment options for your home studio within three budget brackets: $0, $500, and $1,000.
1. DIY Acoustic Treatment with NO BUDGET
DIY Acoustic Treatment with No Budget Constraints Creating a more acoustically balanced room often appears financially challenging. However, even without a budget, achieving a decent sound space is feasible by reorganizing existing household items.
Optimizing Speaker Placement Adjusting speaker placement comes at no cost. Positioning speakers away from walls and aligning your desk centrally in the room, at least a foot from the walls, minimizes sound reflections. Orienting the desk parallel to the longer walls allows sound waves to circulate rather than bounce between the shorter walls.
To minimize reflections, configure the speakers and your listening position into an equilateral triangle. This setup emphasizes direct sound transmission to your ears, reducing wall-bounced sound.
For optimal desk and speaker placement guidance, resources like the excellent article from PreSonus are highly recommended.
Utilizing Household Items for Sound Absorption Utilize soft, sound-absorbing materials available at home, such as old blankets, towels, pillows, curtains, or any other fabric items. Place these materials on reflective surfaces like bare walls or windows to absorb sound. Essentially, the goal is to incorporate as much soft, absorbent material as possible across the studio space.
2. Acoustic Treatment for Under $500
For an effective room treatment under $500, crafting your own acoustic panels or diffusers is a viable option, especially if you have access to basic tools.
Estimated costs breakdown:
Wood blocks: ~$50
Fabric, 2x4s, labor: ~$250
DIY panels match store-bought ones in effectiveness, offer a personalized appearance, and ensure better value for money. Engaging in a weekend DIY project for acoustic treatment enhances the studio’s acoustics. For younger readers attempting this, seeking adult assistance is advised.
The best way of placing this panel is to use a mirror. Get another person holding up the mirror so you see yourself in it sitting on your listening position. Then he should move with his back against the wall throughout the room. If you can see the speaker in the mirror, you can mark a X and setup a panel there.
Honorable Mention: Sonarworks If investing in panels isn't feasible, Sonarworks' software offers an alternative. The software can adjust the response of headphones or speakers for accurate monitoring.
3. Acoustic Treatment for Under $1,000
With a budget of up to $1,000, achieving a well-rounded sound environment becomes more accessible. All strategies from the lower budgets apply, but they can make additional investments.
Rug: ~$100 (recommendations from stores like Ikea or vintage shops)
Output's Eco Acoustic Panels (one pack): ~$450
Output's Bass Traps (one pack): ~$450
Consider treating the floor and ceiling, akin to treating walls. Adding a rug minimizes vibrations and stray reflections, particularly in rooms with hardwood floors. Additionally, hanging a panel from the ceiling (referred to as a 'cloud') can notably enhance sound absorption.
Every investment in your room is a direct investment in your music and carrer. The speakers are just as effective as the room they are in. Your studio's room has a significant influence on the sound quality from your speakers.