Acoustic treatments for home studios.
While limiting exterior noise like traffic, people, and planes is ideal, setting up a room for better sound doesn’t mean soundproofing it — a process that requires building another room within a room. It’s about optimizing the sound within your room. This process, called sound treatment, requires finding the most troublesome parts of your recording space and covering them with something that absorbs sound waves.
If you have a particularly large and reflective flat surface, like a concrete wall or linoleum floor, consider covering it with some kind of acoustic treatment. Hard corners can distort lower frequencies. Bass traps are large foam units that fit in corners and prevent low-end echoes and distortions.
You don’t have to cover every surface with soundproofing foam, though. Plenty of common household items can help dampen sound — the less empty a room is the more sound it can soak up. Carpets, blankets, and pillows all help to reduce echoes. Shelves full of books will produce less echo than a flat wall, and curtains can cut down on the vibrations coming from windows.
If you’re recording sounds coming out of mounted guitar amps or other speakers, the sound is going to consistently hit particular points on a wall. Finding those points might seem hard, but veteran audio producers find those points of reflection with what’s known as the “mirror trick.”
“If you’re looking at your speakers, have a friend get a mirror and hold it on the wall,” says Berry. “At your eye level, move the mirror along the wall until you see the speaker. That’s what’s called the “first reflection point,” meaning when the sound comes out of the speaker it’s going to hit that part of that wall right after it hits your ear and causes an echo.” You want to hear the sound originating from the speaker, not the reflection, so that first reflection point is where you want to place an absorptive panel to soak up the sound jumping off the wall.