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How should I acoustically treat my attic room?

polokolo

New Member
Hello, I'm about to get top quality monitors but first I want to ensure that my room is treated acoustically so that I can get the best out of the mixing experience My room is quite atypical since I live in an attic with a slanted ceiling on one side with a window in the middle, and a flat wall on the other side. I dont know where to put my Desk and how to treat the room the best way possible. I do not have any pictures since I'm not at home but I found some similar rooms on google. I will post the picture in here for you guys to have a better idea. Thank you for helping me out, appreciate it!


Compared to the picture, my room has only 1 window which is basically in the middle of the 2 windows on the picture. Also, the sloped ceilings have a smaller angle (more inclined ) on this picture the angle has almost 70 to 75 degrees where min is approx. 45-50 degrees sloped. Remember in front of the bed on the picture is a straight wall (like in my room as well). Right now a have my desk more or less at the place of the closet which makes me mix under the sloped ceiling basically.

Hope that I gave enough info for a good answer, thank you very much.
 

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Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
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Bear in mind that acoustic perfection is unlikely in a bedroom, because you also have to live in it.

The first thing is that ideally you want both sides to be symmetrical, whether you face the window (where your bed is) or the opposite wall.

Experience says you will get all kinds of answers here from people referring you to BS on YouTube about killing reflections from the sides, as well as a bunch of people recommending specific acoustic products, and (worst of all) people advising you to buy unspecified "room treatment." Or you'll get references to EQ correction and measurement products. And recommendations for websites. And bass trapping.

My suggestion is that you start by listening for what the problems are in your room before doing a single thing. You may get lucky and not need to do anything!
 

Scoremixer

Active Member
I'll leave the acoustic recommendations to others, because as Nick says, it's a pretty big unknown without actually being there and hearing it.

I would wholeheartedly suggest spending bigly on some really nice headphones though. No point in going super high end on speakers in a room that will always be acoustically compromised.
 

GtrString

Senior Member
Biggest issue is probably bass build up, so some chunky bass traps in the corners will usually help a lot, and then a mix cloud over your sweet spot mixing position.

Maybe some first reflection panels, and maybe some diffusion (furniture) - sofas and book shelves are your friend in the back and sides of the room.

You would probably still need to mix on your headphones, though, so don”t throw a lot of money into an unfixable room. Spend it instead on headphones.
 

Saxer

Senior Member
Is the window in the middle of the room? Is the room empty? Hard walls (stone)? Carpet on the floor?
Are there any short echos (slap echo) if you clap? I a room like this could happen between the naked side walls.
Speakers should if possible be placed symmetrically to the room. So better don't place both speakers at a side wall. Probably either have the window in front or in your back from the listening position. And don't place speakers too close to a wall.
Basses are not really predictable. If you don't have any professional room treatment it works basically always like that: you start working and find the problems. Then you try to solve them. As a start: remove the obvious problems first (like parallel naked walls and resonances) by moving your speakers around and listen. Damping basses needs mass. Often a sofa at the right place or book shelfs at the walls helps a lot.
 
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polokolo

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Is the window in the middle of the room? Is the room empty? Hard walls (stone)? Carpet on the floor?
Are there any short echos (slap echo) if you clap? I a room like this could happen between the naked side walls.
Speakers should if possible be placed symmetrically to the room. So better don't place both speakers at a side wall. Probably either have the window in front or in your back from the listening position. And don't place speakers too close to a wall.
Basses are not really predictable. If you don't have any professional room treatment it works basically always like that: you start working and find the problems. Then you try to solve them. As a start: remove the obvious problems first (like parallel naked walls and resonances) by moving your speakers around and listen. Damping basses needs mass. Often a sofa at the right place or book shelfs at the walls helps a lot.
Thank you. I plan on putting my desk under the window with the flat wall on my back. I think that it is the only option because of the symetric position. Or i could put it on the flat wall with the window at my back and the downward sloping ceiling
 
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polokolo

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Thank you. I plan on putting my desk under the window with the flat wall on my back. I think that it is the only option because of the symetric position. Or i could put it on the flat wall with the window at my back and the downward sloping ceiling
and yes the windo wis exactly in the middle of the room. The room is not empty since i live in there so i have several closets, one dressing, my tv etc. I'll do some picture later and send them in here.
 
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polokolo

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This is the room! Thank you
 

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polokolo

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Bear in mind that acoustic perfection is unlikely in a bedroom, because you also have to live in it.

The first thing is that ideally you want both sides to be symmetrical, whether you face the window (where your bed is) or the opposite wall.

Experience says you will get all kinds of answers here from people referring you to BS on YouTube about killing reflections from the sides, as well as a bunch of people recommending specific acoustic products, and (worst of all) people advising you to buy unspecified "room treatment." Or you'll get references to EQ correction and measurement products. And recommendations for websites. And bass trapping.

My suggestion is that you start by listening for what the problems are in your room before doing a single thing. You may get lucky and not need to do anything!
This is my room manages to get some pictures.
 

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polokolo

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Biggest issue is probably bass build up, so some chunky bass traps in the corners will usually help a lot, and then a mix cloud over your sweet spot mixing position.

Maybe some first reflection panels, and maybe some diffusion (furniture) - sofas and book shelves are your friend in the back and sides of the room.

You would probably still need to mix on your headphones, though, so don”t throw a lot of money into an unfixable room. Spend it instead on headphones.
This is my room.
 

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wst3

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Nick's advice is good, except that you need to be able to identify the problems, and if you are just starting out that may be a problem. Or maybe not? I'm not sure about your experience.

There are four "tools" at your disposal:

1) Room geometry - this is where I start, even for an existing space. And if you'll excuse my arrogance, I believe it is where every project should start!

  • Small rooms are not (despite repeated reports to the contrary) statistically reverberant. Treating them with solutions that are intended to treat reverberant spaces does not work.
  • What does work? Start with symmetry from left to right. Next experiment with loudspeaker (and ear) placement. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with what you can accomplish with these tricks.
2a) Absorption - turning unwanted sound energy into heat. Yes, that's what it is. There are numerous products that claim to provide aborption - foam, rock wool, even tuned membranes.
  • I think panels made from rock wool look nice, but some folks like foam. Rock wool panels are typically a little more efficient, but it depends a lot on how they are made.
  • One important caveat - too much absorption is just as bad as too little.
  • Another important caveat - absorption needs to compliment the room, for example, if the room is bass heavy then you need more low frequency abso
  • Last caveat - tuned absorption is a wonderful tool, but it is really difficult to do well! Start with broadband absorption!!
2b) Absortion (again) - managing reflections. In my limited experience it is very difficult to adequately control reflections with absorption. It can be done, but there are better ways. AND, it almost always results it a room that is too dead.

3) Diffusion - the idea is to break up the reflections and scatter them around the room so they are not distinct. It is remarkably effective in a space that is designed to take advantage of diffusion from the start. You really need about 12 feet from the ears to the rear wall to make diffusion effective.

4) Reflection - not sure why so many folks skip over this, it can be a really effective tool, especially in smaller spaces. The idea is simply to lengthen the path that sound travels to manage the arrival times of different reflections.

None of this helps with isolation or "sound proofing". That's a separate topic, and one you are unlikely to be able to control without a lot of money.

None of this addresses ergonomics, or lighting, or power, or half a dozen other things you need to think about. Again my experience only, but dealing with these topics first constrains some of your acoustical treatment choices. That's not always bad!

No one can offer you specific advice without detailed drawings, or being there. Years (decades?) ago I worked remotely on a couple of rooms. I won't do that anymore, it worked, but it took a lot of time, and there was more than a little frustration on both sides.

And while I can't (won't?) offer specific advice, and I shy away from product recommendations I will suggest one solution. ASC makes these bass traps that double as monitor stands. They are brilliant. They are expensive, but I think more than worth the cost in most rooms. They are definitely worth at least a look.

You may have noticed that I haven't talked about measurements, or room correction. Measurements are wonderful, if you know what they mean. If you don't then you will probably be better off without.

Room correction, on the other hand, borders on snake oil! Not because it doesn't work, but because it does not work the way the vendors suggest. You can not fix physical problems with filters, no matter how narrow you make them, or how many you have. It is the wrong cure, and if you start down that path you will be disappointed.

What it can do is mask specific problems in a specific spot in the room (usually your listening spot). Move a little as a few inches away and the problems could get worse. It is a reasonable alternative to mixing in headphones I suppose, I don't care for it. It has been a while since I've tried any of the products, but last time around they all left sigificant artifacts that - to me - were worse than the problems they were solving.

There are studio designers out there who can give you a great design, even remotely, but they are not cheap, and I'm not sure I'd spend that kind of money on a temporary space. If you are building a more permenant space then by all means consult with one.

Be careful! While it is important to treat the space, and spending a reasonable sum on that solution is worthwhile you want to be careful not to spend unnecessarily.
 
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rgames

Collapsing the Wavefunction
Taming bass resonances is the only really good use of time I've found in the rabbit hole of acoustic treatment for music studios. I imagine there are lots of tutorials on how to do that.

"Different" is science.

"Better" is religion.

rgames
 

jcrosby

Senior Member
Hello, I'm about to get top quality monitors but first I want to ensure that my room is treated acoustically so that I can get the best out of the mixing experience My room is quite atypical since I live in an attic with a slanted ceiling on one side with a window in the middle, and a flat wall on the other side. I dont know where to put my Desk and how to treat the room the best way possible. I do not have any pictures since I'm not at home but I found some similar rooms on google. I will post the picture in here for you guys to have a better idea. Thank you for helping me out, appreciate it!


Compared to the picture, my room has only 1 window which is basically in the middle of the 2 windows on the picture. Also, the sloped ceilings have a smaller angle (more inclined ) on this picture the angle has almost 70 to 75 degrees where min is approx. 45-50 degrees sloped. Remember in front of the bed on the picture is a straight wall (like in my room as well). Right now a have my desk more or less at the place of the closet which makes me mix under the sloped ceiling basically.

Hope that I gave enough info for a good answer, thank you very much.
EDIT: Missed the post with your actual pictures initially... At least it looks like you have some width to work with... the conventional wisdom of an A-frame (if I'm interpreting the pics right) is to set your desk up horizontally. I.e. one ceiling angle on your left, one on your right...

ALSO I'd suggest reading below as our rooms are even more similar than I thought initially, right down to a skylight in the ceiling. I really understand what generally happens in a space shaped like this... And please don't take the stuff that sounds negative to heart. I can think of several massively successful drum and bass artists with serious full time production careers that work in a room shaped like yours...

Personally I'd focus on some kind of treatment over the speakers. Great speakers will never sound nearly as great as they should in a difficult room. Add the atypical nature of yours in and they're always going to be a compromised version of what they should sound like. I've said this before... I'd take mediocre speakers in a great sounding room over great sounding speakers in a bad sounding room any day... Acoustics have come a long way and you can make your room plenty workable on speakers...

.......................................................

I also have an atypical room. I actually have similar multi-angle walls like in your photo, however they're shorter and slope up to a 'sideways A-Frame.... They're also on both ends of my room.

The 1st thing to understand about a room with a non-conventional box shape is the acoustic math falls apart somewhat. While the modes in terms of normal room dimensions will exist, the extra angles alter how those modes might amplify or lessen the modal issues. And you'll almost certainly experience additional modal issues that relate to the extra angle in some way...

The short version is that when I re-did my sidewalls and ceiling I reached out to several acoustics companies and asked each one about my how my ceiling affects my room. They all had the same answer, that the extra angles make it too difficult to predict. There were some general things I could do that would have an impact, but to what extent they couldn't say...

The longer version is I can tell from years of working in this room, (treated, untreated, and poorly treated; and at different areas of my room, including hunched toward one of those walls similar to the one in your pic)... The wall where your bed is essentially acts like the knee of a compressor, in that all of my low end issues were massively amplified by the extra angle. The slant essentially forces a whole bunch of extra reflected energy right back at you no matter where you sit. (True of any room, but there are two angles of reflection, and they merge into one big ball of rear wall/front wall bounce).

If your speakers are on the opposing wall and face the angle, sound is directly reflected back at you. If you work inside the angle anything omnidirectional is also reflected directly back at you. Again, true of any room, but the additional angle, (at least in my experience) creates additional room gain, especially in the lower end of the spectrum. It's basically like both reflections compound together into an even bigger reflection.

CASE STUDY (I.e. my room...)

I have 5 feet between my actual front wall and a DIY false front wall I face. My false front wall is 4-6 inches of 705 (Equivalent to 8-12 inches of 703 more or less), my corner traps are 12 inch thick DIY traps made of a mix of 703 and 705. Short version... My front wall is waaay more treatment than would be placed in 9.9 out of 10 home studio. The extra space also adds plenty of room for low energy to additionally lose energy before getting bouncing back, then getting re-absorbed.

I also have a crawl space at the front and rear walls with the door removed that essentially works like an additional cavity for low end to lose energy... There's a passive absorber over where the door was; super deep stuff under 50 can escape into there and lose a little more energy... It gets absorbed a small amount on the way in, and re-absorbed a small amount when it bounces back out.

My rear wall is, no shit, 18-24 inches of 703 and 705. My sidewalls and ceiling are paneled with 4 inch traps, the ones flanking my speakers having a hardboard membrane on them to extend the range of absorption. (I also have various panels with B.A.D. on them to prevent the room from feeling like a murder room :P ) The actual ceiling is tiled with 4 inch traps literally end to end between the false front and rear walls. Basically you could say I have about as extreme of an example as possible of what can theoretically be achieved with passive absorption.

Where am I going with all of this? I still have a 3-6dB low end boost below 90 Hz... The extra angle amplifies low end. My mids are more or less handled, but the low end is always going to have a lift. Sitting under the hutch (where my friends/clients sit...) it might as well be like having a sub woofer strapped to your head... Even with the ridiculous rear wall treatment...

That said... All rooms are flawed, especially any home studio. If you enjoy working on speakers part of the time and your mixes tend to translate well already then I'd personally at least think about doing treatment in favor the speakers. Perhaps working toward new speakers at a later date...
 
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