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Building a home studio

I decided it was time to take my music room to the next level with acoustic treatment.

The aim was to give the room a neutral frequency response by absorbing any frequencies that were being boosted as they bounced around the walls, and reducing the ambience in the room so that my mixes translated well across all sound systems.

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I contacted Luca at GIK Acoustics who was really patient with me and gave me loads of advice on how to set everything up. I sent him a few designs as we discussed the room and eventually we settled on:

Eight Tri-traps with range limiters (floor to ceiling)

Six 244 Bass traps (four wall mounted, two ceiling clouds)

One Monster Bass trap with a scatter plate

When the panels all arrived I decided to give the room a full make over so that I could sit in the ideal listening position while mixing.

I tested the height of the Tri-traps and got an old desktop I designed from the garage.

And I started stripping down and removing everything from the room.


This is how my old set up was positioned.

Luca advised that I sit 38% from the front wall while mixing, with my speakers right up against the wall to avoid SBIR issues.

Just the old ultraviolet lights and guitar hangers left to remove.

Next it was time to polyfill all the holes...

And sand them down ready for painting.

Here's the first coat of paint on the front wall...

The side walls...

And back wall.

Two coats of paint were applied to the ceiling before attempting to tackle the old windowsill.

I wanted to replace it with something that was flush with the wall so that one of the 244 panels could rest against it.

Then a second coat of paint was applied to the front, back and side walls.

Next I began constructing some speaker stands, so that the speakers would be completely isolated and decoupled from any solid surfaces.

They were filled with dry sand to stop any energy getting to the floor.

Then they were set in an equilateral triangle with the listening position. I used a mirror to find the first reflection points and tested out positions for the guitar hangers.

I marked the positions for the monster bass trap and a diffuser...

Plus the ceiling clouds and wall mounted 244 panels.

After mounting the ceiling clouds I realised there wasn't enough space to lift the headstocks of guitars over the guitar hangers, so I had to remove the mounting slats and reposition them lower down.

After touching up the holes with polyfill and paint, the side wall panels were mounted...

And the Tri-traps were positioned in the corners of the room.

I decided to make a diffuser out of some old wooden CD racks.

I started sanding down the fronts and sides of each rack...

And added a final piece of wood to complete the shape.

Then I applied a charcoal stain and varnish before placing it on the back wall with the monster bass trap.

I added some legs to the old desktop from the garage and positioned it according to the listening position.

This caused some problems: my monitor screen wouldn't fit on the desktop without partially obstructing the speakers; and there wasn't enough space to put my 19" racks side by side.

I tested positioning the 19" racks vertically and now they were too tall to fit under the desk...

So I downsized the 8U rack to another 6U (as I wasn't using all the spaces), and built a wooden unit which would cover them and act as a stand for the screen.

I added the final 2 guitar hangers, mounted the guitars and positioned the 19" racks...

As well as a lot of cable management around the back.

Then I added the monitor screen, mouse mat, keyboard...

And a futon cover that fits with the theme of the room a bit better.

And finally it was time to turn everything on and see how it all sounded...

And calibrate the speakers to the room with SoundID Reference as a final touch.

Finished! I'll probably leave the green tape there for now in case I end up needing to do any final adjustments.

Here are my room measurements. That's a really balanced response, and with room correction software added it's almost perfect. Everything is sounding crystal clear, tight and controlled, and there's a huge amount of detail in the stereo image now, which has made mixing feel really quick, easy and fun!

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