The environment in which you record and listen back to your recordings can make a big difference to the quality of your finished track. For most of us, the luxury of huge ceilings and wide rooms is not an option and often a compromise is required in a home studio in order to get the best possible results.
Small rooms can have a detrimental effect on captured sound by reflecting unwanted sounds back at ver quickly. You can experience slap echo, bass build up, comb filtering and nasty early reflections that become part of the sound without you knowing about it due to the nature of how quick this echo is.
EARLY REFLECTION EXAMPLE
As it’s a common problem, luckily there are products that help you deal with this. For dealing with those short echoes we have diffusers and they come in a few different shapes and prices. Aesthetically these skyline diffusers are hard to beat, but they are expensive and if your building them yourself, very time-consuming. A great feature of these diffuser is that you set them up in such a way that they target a certain frequency range. This is great if you have some room measuring software to analyse where in the frequency spectrum your room is prone to problems. A cheaper option is foam and most hardware stores stock these type of diffuser so can be easily found. These type cannot be ‘tuned’ to diffuse different frequencies like skyline diffuser’s can but in a lot of circumstance will do the trick nicely and improve your room set up straight away.
Bass Build Up
Room construction normally results in “strong” corners, where multiple axes of studwork and wall panelling converge and support one another in each direction. This results in rigid surfaces which tend to trap low frequency sound waves, and the strength of this build up will be most severe at the wall-ceiling-wall tri-corner. Also at each wall-wall or wall-ceiling or wall-floor junction there will exist bass build up to a lesser extent. The particular tones of bass build up will be dependent on room dimensions, as the bass waves are reaching resonance between parallel surfaces. The standing wave created by this resonance will exhibit highest pressure at the corners of the room.
In signal processing, a comb filter adds a delayed version of a signal to itself, causing constructive and destructive interference. The frequency response of a comb filter consists of a series of regularly spaced notches, giving the appearance of a comb.