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An Introduction to Equalization - A free download from Audio Masterclass

An Introduction to Compression: Basic Compression - A free download from Audio Masterclass

Equipping Your Home Recording Studio - A free download from Audio Masterclass

Why mono is better than stereo for recording vocals and dialogue

How to set a graphic equalizer

When using a drum virtual instrument, should you record each drum to its own individual track?

The 10 rules of pan

The Making of a CD - FREE DOWNLOAD

Setting microphone preamplifier gain to achieve both adequate headroom and a good signal-to-noise ratio

Can you hear the subtle effect of the knee control of the compressor? (With audio and video demonstrations)

An investigation of the pre-delay parameter of the Lexicon 480L reverb plug-in

What should you fix before you mix?

This voice over studio looks like something out of Monty Python

Why work in a padded cell?

There is a persistent myth in recording that you can get good studio acoustics by lining a room with foam. This is just so untrue - as you will realize to your cost if you do it...

There is a persistent myth in recording that you can get good studio acoustics by lining a room with foam. This is just so untrue - as you will realize to your cost if you do it!

Firstly, for 'foam' read 'mineral wool'. The sort of foam you find in soft furnishings is expensive and not as effective as the mineral wool that is commonly used as insulation in buildings. Also, don't confuse fiberglass with mineral wool. Fiberglass is also more expensive and generally not as effective for acoustic treatment.

OK, now we've got that sorted out, what's wrong with lining the entire room with a couple of inches of mineral wool?

The answer is that it will make the room very dull and lifeless. It will be unpleasant even to be in that room, let alone record or mix in it. Mineral wool is a porous absorber and it can only absorb sound with wavelengths up to four times the thickness of the layer you apply. So a typical 50 mm layer would absorb frequencies above 1700 Hz. Below this, sound will reflect from the surface of the wall underneath as though the mineral wool wasn't there.

This overemphasis of low-mid and low frequencies reflecting back and forth in the room will give it the dull sound I mentioned. Also, if you mix in a room like this, the excessive bass produced acoustically in the room will lead you to put less bass in your mix. So your mixes will sound bass-light to anyone else!

The answer is to use a combination of porous absorption, together with diffused reflections and specific low frequency absorption. More on this in another Audio Masterclass resource...

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By David Mellor Tuesday September 19, 2006
Learn music production