Whether you own a music studio or are simply a music lover, room acoustics play a super important role. In order to enjoy your music without any complications, it is important to acoustically treat the room where all the music is created.
In order to acoustically treat a room effectively, there are certain factors to consider. Because yes, sound is a complex matter and travels best when a room enables the perfect amount of sound reflection, diffusion, reverberation and echo.
To help you see things more clearly, our expert advisors at Fillion Électronique explain everything you should know about acoustically treating a room.
Why is acoustic treatment important?
By nature, a room is never balanced enough in terms of sound diffusion and frequencies. In order to optimize the acoustics of a room, acoustic treatment is a must! Recording an audio mix in a room where the acoustics are hazy will inevitably cause issues and the sound produced won’t be the best quality. You will end up cutting or boosting certain sound frequencies, thinking that they are too high or too low.
You will also encounter several difficulties when recording music if the reverb is too heavy. Vocals will sound unclear and off balanced. Improving the acoustics of a room is super important if you work in the music world.
To optimize the acoustics of a room, you need to wrap your head around various notions and install the right equipment, but not just in any old way! You’ll need to take into consideration many factors, such as the size of your room, and make some calculations before acoustically treating a room by yourself.
Understanding sound reflection
To know where to start with acoustic treatment, you need to understand that sound acts as a signal that bounces between objects. When sound hits a wall, a ceiling or a floor, it will bounce right back. Note that sound bounces back differently depending on the material it lands on (stone, wood, etc.).
The reflection of sound causes the same frequencies to travel at different speeds. This can blur and alter the original sound so what you hear through your ears tends not to be optimal.
Without going into too much detail, you should also understand that the highest sound frequencies do not have the same amplitude as lower frequency sounds and therefore aren’t projected in the same way. It is therefore important to try and ensure that all frequencies are clearly perceived by your ears.
Measuring the acoustics of a room
Measuring the acoustics of a room is needed in a professional setting. Note that if you only want to stop the echo issue, you won’t always need to do the measuring part.
To measure the room that you want to treat, a microphone and a measurement software will be required. The Room EQ Wizard software is a very reliable measurement tool. Once this is installed, the software will be able to tell you which frequencies are poorly absorbed or diffused, and this will indicate what changes are needed to improve your room’s acoustics.
For an accurate, reliable measurement, it’s best to leave this task to a professional audio specialist.
Soundproof panels and acoustic diffusers
To improve room acoustics, you’ll need to install soundproof panels and acoustic diffusers. The panels will be able to absorb certain frequencies and the diffusers will effectively move the sound around the room. There are also bass frequency absorbers (also known as Bass traps) that will play a similar role to soundproof panels but uniquely for low frequency sound.
Soundproof or acoustic panels are designed to absorb sound. They are usually made from foam and come in different shapes. They are used to eliminate the echo in a room. These panels cut out mid and high frequencies.
Soundproof panels are usually placed high up, on walls or on ceilings. Preferably, they are placed between speakers, somewhere close to the sound source in order to avoid reflections.
Note: Installing too many soundproof panels can have the opposite effect, muffling the room’s sound and blocking any diffusion.
Low frequency sound absorbers, otherwise known as Bass traps, act as soundproof panels uniquely for low frequencies. This type of sound absorber doesn’t work in the same way as mid and high frequency soundproof panels. Once bass frequencies meet Bass traps, they somehow disappear.
Bass traps are thicker and bigger than traditional soundproof panels so they can more effectively target and absorb the loudest frequencies emitted from subwoofers. These absorbers are placed in the corners of the room because base frequencies can be amplified and interfere with other frequencies.
The last components needed to acoustically treat a room are diffusers. Unlike soundproof panels, diffusers disperse sound waves as opposed to eliminating them. In a way though, they also get rid of feedback.
Acoustic diffusers are placed behind the sound source to avoid sound waves bouncing back and disturbing the sound heard.
Three different elements are needed to improve room acoustics. Each of these has a big role to play in order to balance out the sound frequencies in a room and get rid of anything that interferes with listening or recording.
Let Fillion Électronique’s experts take care of your acoustic treatment
Acoustic treatment is a serious business. In order to best optimize the acoustics of your room, you need to implement many elements since sound is complex and sometimes temperamental. To improve the acoustics of a room, it’s important to put in place various components (soundproof panels, Bass traps, acoustic diffusers).
These components are very costly so it is important that you really understand the acoustical problems of your room before proceeding to treat it. It’s a good idea to get a professional to come and look at your room to ensure you’re doing the right things.
At Fillion Électronique, our expert advisors regularly carry out acoustic treatment. Our understanding of how sound and its many particularities work lets us personalize our acoustic treatments to your needs and constraints.
Contact us now or come to our Montreal store! We will be happy to meet with you and help you to carry out your acoustic treatment project.