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How To Treat Control Rooms

When you first take a look at the range of products we do for treating recording studios whether it is a commercial or project studio or bedroom studio it can be difficult to know where to start.  Before you can make any steps towards acoustic treatment first you need to establish the type of room you are going to be treating.  Are you treating vocal room, a recording room or a control room?  Different rooms require different approaches when it comes to acoustically treating it.  Let’s make it clear from the start here we are talking about acoustic treatment not soundproofing.  For now in this blog we will presume you have already taken steps to soundproof the room.  If you haven’t you mat want to subscribe to this blog as that is something we will discuss in the near future.

So for this blog lets talk about acoustically treating a control room.  In the next blog we’ll talk about treating another type of space.

So where to start?

Acoustically treating any space doesn’t have to be a daunting task.  By taking the right approach and taking each systematically then you will have a room sounding fantastic in no time.

When it comes to treating a control or mixing room there are three main areas that require treatment.  These are the corners around the monitoring or mixing desk, the first reflection points around the monitoring or mixing desk and the rear wall.

The first area we will look at is the treatment of the corners.  In corners low end frequencies build and standing waves occur.  This will result in a muddled low end which is confused and undefined.  By installing bass traps in the corners around the monitors these low end frequencies are brought under control and you create a more accurate environment.  So 3ft bass traps need to be installed in the two corners behind the monitors so the middle of the bass trap is located at the middle of the monitor.  Further bass trapping would be helpful at the wall/ceiling seam on the wall between the two monitors.  Installation of bass traps here will reduce the interaction between the two monitors to give you an improved stereo image.  The most popular bass trap to use for these positions are the Original Bass Traps or the Quadrant Bass Traps.  If you have very severe room modes and low end build up you may find that in addition to treating the front of the room you may also need to treat the rear.  We usually say you  can never have too much bass trapping in a room but the best thing to do is to do the installation in stages and checking to see if you feel more bass trapping is required.  If you have the space in the corners of the room and you do have severe issues you may want to consider installing bass trap corner kits.

The next area to be treated is the first reflection point.  To find the first reflection point you will need a mirror and an assistant. While sat in your listening position get your assistant to drag a mirror along the left hand wall starting from the position of the monitor. When you can see the left monitor through the mirror you have found the first reflection point for the left channel. Do the same with the right hand side. In most cases this will be same distance from the corner as the left but depends on the position of the two monitors in relation to each other. The next point to find is the one of the ceiling. Directly in front of the listening position get your assistant to drag the mirror along the ceiling until you can see the two monitors in the mirror. If you only have a small mirror you may have to do each channel separately. Once you have found these three points you have the most vital positions of your acoustic treatment.  The best products to use for the treatment of these areas are the Tegular Tiles.  The Tegular Tiles are 15” square plain faced tiles.  There are 24 tiles in a pack so by creating 4 clusters of 6 tiles you can treat the three points.  You will then have a cluster of tiles spare to place on the front wall underneath the previously installed bass traps.  This will further help with stereo imaging and improved soundstage.

The final area to consider for treatment is the rear wall.  The rear walls can give you harmful reflections and echoes and so you need to break these up with acoustic tiles.  We usually recommend 50% coverage of the rear wall however if the room is particularly live then more may be required.  You could use the tiles mentioned above or use tiles such as the F.A.T. PRO or the Wedge PRO Acoustic Tiles.  These are just a few of the huge range of acoustic tiles that can be used for the treatment of this type of room.

So hopefully this brief article has helped you to work out how much acoustic treatment you require, what products to use and where to install it.  The only thing left for you to do is decide which products to install and get them fitted.  The room will be very easy to treat and you will have it sounding fantastic in no time.  Once you have treated these areas the room will be a better environment for critical listening and accurate mixing.

Next tme we will discuss the treatment of  a vocal booth.