Help a brother out! Any tips on room acoustic treatment?

Hey people! As always, sorry about my clumsy English.

I recently moved to a new appartment and I’m using one of the rooms as studio. I’m by no means proficient in acoustics, but the size of the space is basically a receipe for disaster: 2,8m x 2,8m x 2,6m. An almost perfect damn cube!

So far I’m treating it with 4 large rockwool panels (2 on the wall opposite to the monitors and 2 on the ceiling slightly angled), and 3’’ Sonex panels behind the speakers and on the side walls. This kind of tamed the midrange and high frequency stuff but the lows are just a freaking nightmare. 75Hz and 150Hz are mayhem (uneven, boosted, muddy, resonant) while other ranges seem to be cancelling out, so I totally depend on my good ol’ pair of DT-770 to finalize my mixes. That, as you can imagine, is quite tiring after a few hours.

I’ve been reading a lot about rockwool corner bass traps, and the Auralex LENRD foam traps. My plan, so far, was to combine both approaches: vertical rockwool wedge panels (DIY) to break the corners and Auralex in the walls-ceiling angles. I’m don’t pretend to achieve a properly treated and built studio sound, but I’m really crossing fingers for that to improve the situation a bit.

All of the above leads to this: have any of you Junglers been through a similar scenario? Any tips to tame the lows and low-end beast? Right now is just a freaking pain the the arse to mix basses and kicks, but also everything else.

Thanks in advance!


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Hey Wormwood!

I don’t have recommendations for acoustic treatment of your room, but I’ll share this with you.

I also have a room that’s not acoustically perfect, and has similar bass issues. I spend the majority of my mixing time listening on small, single-driver Auratone reissue speakers. They don’t necessarily sound fabulous, but they give very accurate information when it comes to the middle frequencies of what I’m mixing.

I used to have an excellent set of KRK monitors that I sold because the combination of the bass from the speakers and the acoustics of my room gave me deceiving information about the bass frequencies in what I was mixing.

I also mix at low volume. The problematic bass issues with the room are less of an issue when listening at lower volume, and I can listen longer without needing a break. Obviously, it also saves my hearing. I read an interview with Chris Lord Alge where he said he mixes at extremely low volume most of the time.

When I get my mix sounding good on these single-driver cube speakers, I’m rarely surprised when I check it on other systems and on headphones before finalizing it. The mix is usually 90 percent there and accurate after mixing with these speakers, and then I might tweak it a bit more after checking on a couple other systems.

I also use other commercial recordings as reference tracks and do A/B comparisons with what I’m mixing.

So, this isn’t exactly an answer to your acoustic treatment question, but it is a way that I deal with imperfect acoustics in my studio.



This might also help:

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It’s an interesting subject, and I’ve been down the same path trying to figure out what to do myself many times over the years, in different rooms, apartments, and houses… Very frustrating at times.

The room you describe is indeed very small, so one tip you probably would not like to hear is of course to mix in the biggest room in your apartment (probably the living room).

It will never ever be perfect, just uneven response at different levels and frequencies. But just like millions of photographers can edit amazing films and photos on uncalibrated monitors, I believe a lot of really good music is made in non-perfect rooms.

While many audio aficionados (usually not composers) will tell you it’s pointless to do anything unless a room is perfect, you can take the philosophy of composers like Junkie XL and not have a treated studio, since no end listener is ever going to listen to the music in a treated room. Just like pretty much no end viewer is ever going to look at images or films on a perfectly calibrated monitor.

Junkie XL video:

It’s also quite common to eliminate too much of the reflections, especially in the high end/midrange with those little foam squares all over the walls. This can result in way too much reverb on overly bright mixes.

You can find out at what frequencies the bass does not resonate, and adjust the levels there. And then look at the resonating frequencies with visual help and/or headphones. Many times you will just move the peaks to another frequency with home treatment.

Interesting to see where this leads, and sorry for not giving you a clear answer. This stuff can really affect creativity in a negative way, and can be very frustrating.

One last tip, it’s nice to mix and make music in the same place where you listen to professional music and watch movies, so you know what it should sound like right there.


A very good friend of mine finished it last week, in his home.
He uses this room to record other bands and every saturday plays with his band.

All was made with small pieces of wood.

Lo construyó todo con piezas de maderas sobrantes, eso sí, mucho curro y muchos días. Y también, la casa es suya y puede hacerle los agujeros que quiera. xDD
Puedo preguntarle si quieres cualquier duda que tengas si tienes pensado hacer algo parecido.


Although it’s nice to hear things like this so we can save time and money, I actually think Junkie XL misses the whole point of acoustic treatment in that video. If you take his philosophy to the extreme, in a way he’s saying we should mix on a pair of iphone earbuds because that’s what the majority of listeners will hear your music on. His large lively room may well give him good results with no damping, but this won’t be the case for most bedroom producers, so I would take Junkie’s advice with a pinch of salt.

I don’t think you have to spend a fortune to get good results from a smaller space, although a small cube will definitely be a challenge.

I think this article is awesome and might help you achieve a relative balance, although as Flumen suggested, if you have a bigger room, that would definitely be preferable.


I’ve never tried the loudspeaker version of this kind of software plugin, but I swear by the headphone version of Sonar Works’ Reference 4 which has a preset for my exact headphone model (the DT770 80ohm). If the speaker version of that is as good, then it might well be all you need.

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Thank you all guys for all your feedback and insights. Many useful advices here.

@promosapien: Definitely mixing at rather low volumes is a damage control measure, and always try do the car test and everything. Totally agree that A/B check is also an important step, and not only in my situation.

@LindsjoMusic and @criskcracker: I’m downloading the trial version of Reference right now. “A small cube will definitely be a challenge” is all over every acoustic treatment forum, manual and tutorial on the web, which is quite discouraging but again, if I tame just a bit the exagereted low-end response I have right now, consider me a happy camper.

@Flumen: Thanks mate! It’s not that a simple move to move the computer, monitors, stands and interface to the living room daily, but it’s worth giving it a try and see what response I get there. My goal is, though, to achieve a fairly decent listening space I’m minimally comfortable with as this room is where I do 100% of my working activities.

@Manriquedelara: Mint! Loved those DIY wooden diffusors. My room size is super small so I wouldn’t think of recording bands or anything like that in here. I would be interested, though, if you could ask him if he somehow took care of the angles and the corners in the room.

Thanks everyone!


By the way, @criskcracker: I also have DT 770 80 OHM. LOVED THEM! How does reference works? You add it as an insert in a post-fader slot of the Master Output?

Thanks again my friend! :slight_smile:

They are great headphones. I also use them for my location sound recording work aswell. Ultra comfy and great isolation.
I actually have Reference v3 which does work in the way you suggested. It’s a bit of a pain, because you have to remember it has to be the very last plugin in the chain, and to bypass it when exporting the mix. The results are great though. As I understand it though, Sonarworks have addressed this issue in v4 by making the plugin able to integrate with your computer OS, outside of your DAW, so I don’t think you’ll have the same problems with it. this video might explain it better than me:

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Estuve hablando con él mientras le ayudaba, y me comentaba que, básicamente, lo estaba poniendo casi que al azar.
Pero puedo ser más incisivo con mis preguntas si te interesa, él lleva años grabando, tocando, trabajando en su tiempo libre en esto, así que algo, supongo, debe saber sobre el tema. :joy:

El jueves quedé con él para grabar unas tomas para un vídeo que le estoy montando, le pregunto, tomo nota y te comento sobre cualquier cosa.

Un abrazo!

Yes, I know what you mean. :slight_smile:

I meant you could make the living room where you work all the time. I understand that might not be practically possible (or allowed by other members of the house), but it would certainly make things a lot easier mixing-wise, as a very small room will probably not be possible to turn into a problem free zone.

Yes, you could always take things to the extreme (also the other way, which means you can’t make anything at all unless you have a perfectly treated room…)

I think his philosophy is very valid if you have a decent sized room, but yes, in a tiny room, everything gets difficult.

But also remember that, unless you record live instruments, the room doesn’t impact the sound, only your decisions! If you know enough about the limitations and use the right tools (reference mixes, visual metering, headphones, speaker simulations, etc.), a perfectly professional mix CAN be achieved anywhere.


I think you can choose between two routes.

  1. Keep it simple. Use your monitors in your untreated room to produce in a relaxing way and fine tune with headphones, to minimize the ears stress.

  2. Enjoy the madness of room treatment. In this case I’d avoid the foam and would only focus on broadband bass traps; place them everywhere you can in the room. Then calibrate the tonal balance with Sonarwork Reference and you should be set.

Consider adding a Subpac for monitoring the low frequencies through vibrations to get rid of room issues.

Mind that it can be a creativity/time killer being too focused on room treatment, especially without being an acoustics engineer. It can really be absorbing :smiley:

In any case, knowing how your system sounds with commercial releases is mandatory to replicate the result with your tracks (aka, use reference tracks, even if it’s boring).


Sure, I know. I just wanted to get across (clumsily, I know) that the idea ‘No-one is going to listen to your music in a perfectly treated room, so there’s no need to mix in one.’ is missing the whole point of acoustic treatment.

That is a really good point, and it’s always going to benefit you to train your ears to your listening environment that’s for sure, with or without acoustic treatment. It’s just that a bit of acoustic treatment can make those decisions so much easier to make, and less of a gamble. I think a little money spent on the listening room is worth it when it can save you lots of time in mixing.

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Quick update: just for the sake of experimenting I placed horizontally a fairly thick matress against the wall behind the speakers and it HUGELY improved the situation, mostly in terms of resonances and long decays. The thing is that it reduces the already little space I have and looks like crap, hahaha, but it’s a temporary mitigator of my grief.


Glad you’re getting somewhere Wormwood. I found this video for making simpler panels than wedge shape frame panels, which would be cheaper, quicker, and not much less effective I should think. Seems pretty straight-forward, but if you can find some 4" thick rockwool, I’m wondering if you could maybe even do away with the tin frame and just cover the bare slabs in cloth and fix them to the wall. I guess that would make them less durable for the next time you move apartments though. Hmm, they’re also quite weighty. Around 7kg per slab using 100kg/m3… Might start to crush under its own weight over time. Ho-hum. Could be quite good fun no matter which route you take as anything you do will only be an improvement. I’m wondering if you’ll need the Auralex? They’re really pricey, and I’m not sure 30cm of foam would be worth the money. I suggest starting with the DIY traps and assess the situation and just add what you reckon is necessary.

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Great! Another £300 added to my next shopping trip! :smile:


Well, it’s only a palliative but it really helped controlling some of the annoying low-end reflections I was having. Plus, I can take naps in the studio! :rofl:

Huge thanks, man! You’re absolutely right. I’ll hold up the corner foam traps until I see how the DIY approach with rockwool turns out. I pretty much doubt the Auralex absorbers would do a significant change below 120Hz anyway.

My bricolaje skills are null but a colleague suggested me to pile up 4’’ thick rockwool cut in triangles held against the walls with wooden frames and stapled fabric. I have a few bob-the-builder pals who can hopefully lend me a hand one of these weekends. I’ll take some pics of the process and share them here.

Thanks again for taking the time to help out! :slight_smile: Besides, I watch his “Texts from musicians” series from time to time! Hahaha!

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I saw a video of a guy who did that. It ended up looking quite good, and it seemed pretty simple, but he used sooo much rockwool! (also, don’t be a dick like that guy. Protect yourself when cutting that stuff, it’s nasty. Get a face mask and cut it outside if you can)

Good luck man, I hope you get some great results. Please do share the pictures, i’d love to see them.

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The truth is that with your room dimensions there is not much you can do in terms of standard acoustic treatment. Most commercial bass traps don’t go very low. LENRD’s are useless for your problem since they go barely down to 100Hz. I had a similar problem some time ago and had good experiences with GIK Bass traps (TriTrap). But you need all 4 corners floor to ceiling. If you are able to build your own I would recommend to build your own soffits. I got a few made up for my studio. 50cm x 50cm x 1200cm. You can put two on top of each other. Put them in each corner. A simple 4x2 pine frame, the cheap fluffy glass wool or rock wool and cover it with a nice breathable fabric. I used furniture upholster fabric.If you put them in ea corner floor to ceiling you will see a big improvement down to 60Hz but not 100%. It’s probably the cheapest and most effective solution and you can take them with you if you move again. The only other solution would be to purchase smaller monitors which don’t go below 80Hz. As soon as you have monitors which trigger your room resonances at around 70Hz they will trigger the next octave as well (140Hz etc.).

As to Junkie XL’s advise: it’s not a very good advise. His room (from what I could see) looks huge. The bigger the room the less likely you’ll have issues with low frequencies. Also: he doesn’t mix his music in his own studio. At least for film. His soundtracks will be mixed in professional studios which (wait for it) have top acoustic design.


Hey Crisk! I also saw that video and that’s pretty much the plan. It’s reasonably affordable and not that complicated to mount. Hope I can go for it this weekend or the next one. Needless to say, I’ll keep you guys posted. :slight_smile:

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