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22nd May, 2024

Acoustics Explained: How to Optimise Your Studio Space

A studio space needs to be set up to enhance your creativity, facilitate your workflow and be conducive to making music. So, acoustics is one of the key considerations to take into account when you’re putting together a studio space.

Whether you’re a professional musician, an audio engineer, a music producer or a DJ, having a strong understanding of how acoustics works and how your studio space can be optimised for better sound is important. 

Understanding Why Optimising Acoustics is Important

The primary goal of your studio space is to create an environment in which you can produce a specific sound. To do that, you need to be enabled to control and predict the soundwaves you are creating. Without optimised acoustics, this is incredibly difficult. Between the unwanted reflections, reverberations and resonances, your sound can be muddied and distorted, affecting the intended end audio experience.

The worse the acoustics are, the more difficult, unprofessional and unappealing your music or mix will be. Optimising the acoustics of your studio space helps ensure that the sounds you produce capture your intent and reflect your creative potential.

Fortunately, the process of improving acoustics in any given space isn’t as difficult as you may imagine. Here’s our simple, step by step guide to get you started.

How to Optimise Your Studio Space

1. Assess the Acoustics

Before you jump into changing up the space or purchasing new equipment, take a moment to take stock of your current studio’s set up. Consider the state of the space’s acoustics as is. This will allow you to identify current issues such as echoes or standing waves. Simply clap your hands to listen to the impact the space has on the sound or, if you have one, use a specialised tool such as a frequency analyser.

2. Place Furniture Strategically

Now it’s time to start working with what you have. Rearranging your pre-existing furniture can have a big impact on acoustics. Use sofas and bookshelves and other soft furnishings to diffuse sound waves, absorb unwanted reflections and provide a buffer to undesired reverberations and echoes around the space. 

3. Use Acoustic Panels

Unless your studio is custom designed and built, you’ll likely need to invest in some extra gear to fully optimise for acoustics. Fortunately, acoustic panels are affordable and effective. These panels can be integrated around your walls, and even your roof, to help absorb sound and control reflections. There’s all manner of shapes and sizes when it comes to these panels, so you can find one that’s not just suited to your specific acoustic issues but suited to your stylistic preferences as well. 

4. Consider Bass Traps

A common acoustics-issues in studio spaces are corners. These pesky areas of the room tend to accumulate low frequencies and can cause issues such as standing waves or bass buildup. A bass trap is the answer here. These absorptive devices can be strategically placed in your studio space to optimise the acoustics even in and around corners.

5. Balance the Sound with Diffusers

Diffusers can be used to great effect by scattering the sound waves round the room and achieving a more balanced acoustic environment. Instead of the sound becoming overly concentrated in specific areas–such as corners, see above–the diffuser promotes a more even distribution of frequencies and prevents over concentration. 

6. Carpet and Rugs

A lot of attention is given to walls in a studio space, but the floor is also an important consideration. Hard surfaces, such as tiles or even timber, can increase reflections and echoes of sound. If you can, cover these hard floor surfaces with carpet or at least a rug to help dampen the sound and, in particular, control high-frequency reflections in your studio.

7. Ceiling Clouds

In many ways, ceiling clouds work similarly to wall panels; only these handly installations are custom designed to address issues with vertical sound reflections. Suspended from the ceiling, these panels absorb the sound reflections and allow the acoustics in the room to be more balanced and subjected to less reverberation. 

8. Monitor Placement

Even relatively small details like how and where you place your studio monitor can be a contributing factor to acoustics optimisation. Position your speakers in strategic points that balance out the sound production and take into consideration the listening position in relation to these speakers. For example, placing a monitor facing a corner is obviously going to cause distortions to the sound. Many monitors offer guidelines for optimal positioning.

9. Continually Experiment and Fine Tune

Every space is different so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to optimising a studio for acoustics. Once you’re set up, take the time to experiment within your studio and determine the effectiveness of your set-up. You can then make the necessary subtle adjustments to achieve the balanced and optimal acoustics you need. This is an important step because the sooner you are able to fine tune your acoustics, the sooner you’ll be able to make professional-grade music. If you don’t invest the time and energy up front, you may find that a lot of your hard work creating and producing music is undermined by sub-par acoustics.

Looking for the right studio gear? DJ City is here!

Optimising your studio space for the ultimate acoustics is critical for achieving professional-sounding recordings and mixes.

DJ City is one of the largest and most reputable stockists of not just DJ equipment but studio gear in Australia

So if you’re looking for the right audio panels to suit your space or just want to talk us through your studio needs so we can walk you through our equipment-related options, make sure to check out our online store and get in touch with our team today.

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