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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:29 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:20 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Vernon, BC
Hey folks!

I'm still new to recording, so please bear with me. I've recently moved into a new apartment and was hoping to step my game up by setting up a room to mix in. No tracking (besides DI) will be done here and the mixing is all through my desktop in the DAW. Unfortunately strata bylaws mean I can't actually go and open up any of the walls, so I'm stuck with the 11' x 9'2" (and 7'11 ceiling) I've got. I noticed that the recording manual asks for much larger control room (6m x 5m). But I won't be "hosting" anyone, when mixing it will be just me 99% of the time. However, because I'm in an apartment with another person, it has to still function for uses other than mixing. Because of that, much of the furniture (2 desks, bookshelf) has to remain in this room.

I've read through the recording guide, but I'm still at somewhat of a loss. I'm not building a studio, so I think I'd just be looking at acoustic treatment (the apartments here are actually really well soundproofed from unit to unit). So I'm not at all worried about sound going out or in of the room. Still, is it feasible to turn this room into a mixing station with the size and space constraints?

As I said before, the room is 11'L x 9'2W x 7'11H. There is a stem of the room that leads to the door into the hall. There is also a bi-fold closet door. All the walls are drywall, except the one facing the street which has a window placed off the center axis of the room. The floor is carpeted, and there are two desks (my desktop and girlfriend's desktop) as well as a bookshelf and a music nook. A baseboard heater is on the same wall as the window. For speakers, I'm using the Alesis Monitor Ones. I'm also located in Vernon, BC.

Here are the sketchup project file and pictures, which show it exactly as it is currently. The project file has all the furniture properly arranged as groups/components, if you wanted to poke around with it.

Project file Dropbox link

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Here are the factors that I think impact this room the most.
1. The furniture in this room must stay here. It can be moved or replaced by something else, but ultimately there needs to be room for 2 desktop computers and books.
2. There is no apartment above me, and the apartment below has an acoustic drum kit that I've never heard. Since it's just me and the girlfriend I have to worry about for soundproofing, I don't think it's an issue.
3. I've got a budget of $2000 set aside for this.

Here are my questions:
1. How do I arrange the room so that is suitable for mixing? I know that I can't use my current desk (the brown one) where it is currently for mixing, and the black desk isn't ideal either.
2. I read about the standard height for the monitors, but where would I be placing them?
3. What acoustic treatment is required and how do I know where to place it?
4. Can I use the bookshelf as a pseudo-diffuser?

If I missed anything important (and I'm certain I did) or if I've gotten something wrong, please let me know.

I got the chance to talk to audio engineering prof who teaches in the next town over from mine. He was recording a local band and one of the things he mentioned I should do is look up this forum. It's been a phenomenal resource thus far, so thank you for that as well as thanks in advance for advice on this.

Cheers,

Logan


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:03 pm
Posts: 519
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
After you layout your desk and speakers correctly, take some REW measurements so you have a baseline to start with.

Try having your speakers firing down the longer length of the room. Maybe you could use your girlfriends desk and leave yours where it is. You'll want to have your speakers on heavy stands and right up agains the wall (window for your left speaker) with 4" of insulation right behind the speaker. You'll also want 4" of insulation to prevent first reflections from hitting your ears. I doubt you can hang anything on the ceiling there so you might be out of luck with ceiling treatment. The same goes for getting rid of the carpet. You'll also want to put in as many bass traps in corners as you can fit... the bigger, the better. Floor to ceiling. Have your speakers up right and have the acoustic axis as close to ear height as possible.

After placing each piece of treatment, take measurements to ensure you're helping and not hindering. Also, each measurement will give you information about what your biggest problems are.

Greg

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:31 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:17 am
Posts: 11344
Location: Santiago, Chile
Hi Logan, and welcome! :)

Unfortunately, with all the restrictions you are placing on yourself, that room is not going to be very good. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that's the simple straight truth.

The ideal situation would be to pull everything out of the room, including the carpet (that's a really bad thing to have on a control room floor...), and set up as Greg explained: one very small desk facing towards the window, with the speakers set up symmetrically beyond that, on stands, tight up against the wall except for 4" of OC-703 insulation. Massive bass traps, absorption on first reflection points on the side walls and ceiling, then a REW tests to see what else might be do-able. But as I said, that's the ideal situation which won't be happening, due to your self-imposed restrictions.

The key aspects you'll need to consider when you try to set up the room area:

- Symmetry is critical: If you don't have symmetry, you don't have a usable room. Period.
- Mix position must be on room center-line, roughly one third of the way back (distance from front wall to back wall. Never at 1/4 of the distance, never at 1/2 of the distance.
- Speakers about 48" above the floor (acoustic axis height, not box height), aprox. 30% of room width away from side walls, angled so they are both aimed at a point about 12" behind your head (forget the famous "equilateral triangle" advice: no use in your case, and mythical in any case")
- Speakers on stands NOT on the desk. Stands must be very massive, heavy, rigid, solid. And as Greg said, set up your speakers VERTICALLY, not horizontally. Standing up straight, they way they were designed to be...
- As much absorption as possible across the entire rear wall, at least 6" thick, plus superchunk style bass traps in the corners.
- Treatment on all first reflection points at least 4" thick.

That's the basics, but your restrictions won't let you get there.

Quote:
4. Can I use the bookshelf as a pseudo-diffuser?
No. That's a myth. Diffusers are carefully designed to create balanced, even, effect across a broad angle. A bookshelf won't even come close. That's another myth. And your room is far too small to be able to use diffusion in any case.

Quote:
3. What acoustic treatment is required and how do I know where to place it?
Do an initial REW test with the room empty except for the speakers and DAW, start out with the above treatment, then do another REW test to see what has been accomplished, how that might need to be modified, and what else is still needed.

- Stuart -

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:20 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Vernon, BC
Thank you for the sound advice! (pun intended). I'll do what I can with it.


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