Studio Acoustics – How I Refitted My Home Studio

Home Studio Acoustics – How I Refitted My Studio

by Simon Duggal

My home studio was long overdue an acoustic refit. I had a window of around two weeks in which I could get it done without affecting my workflow so I decided that it would be a good time to rip it all out and start again.

The finished refitted studio.

Step one of the refit was to remove everything from the room and rip out any existing acoustic materials.

Clearing the room

Once this was done we started with the ceiling. The ceiling already had a 2″ thick covering of Rockwool RW3 50mm 60kg3/m (you can use Roksilk RS60 as an alternative). We (me and Dave the builder) added another 2″ to make it 4″ deep. This gives the effect of making the ceiling acoustically ‘invisible’ creating the ‘acoustic illusion’ of the ceiling being much higher than it actually is.


We used string to hold the RW3 slabs in place. I re-used some RW3 I already had which is why some of it looks a bit crumbly around the edges. This doesn’t affect it’s acoustic performance in any way.

Ceiling covered with Rockwool RW3

Next, we covered it all with material. We used calico – a breathable cotton fabric readily and cheaply available from any supplier. You can use pretty much any fabric as long as you can breathe through it without it offering much resistance. Calico is good because it’s breathable and yet has a tight enough weave to hold the rockwool fibres in.

Ceiling covered with breathable calico

We builtĀ  6″ deep wooden frames for the walls to hold 4 inches of RW3 with a 2″ gap behind it. We didn’t build the frame to the full height of the walls because that would have blocked up the air vents and all the lights around the perimeter of the room.

Wooden frame for walls to hold RW3

I changed the dimensions of the room to golden ratio proportions. This meant building a new stud wall at the back of the room. We used the same principle as for the walls only this time the frame was 4″ thick rather than 6″ as we didn’t need the 2″ gap behind the RW3. Changing the dimensions of the room gave me a 5 foot space behind the new rear wall effectively making the whole of that space into a huge bass trap. I use the extra space behind the new back wall as a computer room. I bought extra long repeater cables so that I could have the monitor screens, keyboard and mouse in the main room but the (noisy) computer and external hard drives in the other.

New stud wall at rear of room
RW3 in all the framework
RW3 in all of the framework

Once all the RW3 was in, we covered it all in the same breathable calico as the ceiling. The material was stretched tight and stapled onto the frame using a staple gun and 14mm staples.

Covering the walls with calico
Covering the walls with calico
Covering the rear stud wall with calico

We had 4.6mm wooden slats pre cut at the builders yard into strips of 3″, 2″ and 1″. They had to be stained and left to dry before we could put them up.

Wooden slats cut into 3″, 2″ and 1″ strips

Once they were dry each slat was cut to the right length and fixed to the frame using panel pins. The order from right to left is:

3″ slat – 3/8″ gap – 2″ slat – 2/8″ gap – 1″ slat – 1/8″ gap.

The gaps act like a broadband bass trap allowing sound to be absorbed into the RW3 whilst the slats reflect sound back into the room to maintain a natural ambience. This pattern was repeated throughout.

Wooden slats fixed to the walls
Wooden slats fixed to the walls
Wooden slats fixed to the walls

We used some of the slats as trim to finish off around the back wall, the back door and the side door. This is purely cosmetic.

We used slats as trim for the back wall
We used slats as trim for the side door
A view of the front of the room

I placed 4″ thick broadband absorbers, 4ft x 2ft and made with the same Rockwool RW3, at the early reflection points on the left and right walls to ensure there are no issues with comb filtering at the sweet spot.

The finished room with my gear in

My studio sounds pretty amazing now. The room sounds tight and focused. Bass response is exceptional even on small nearfields. It’s easy to create detail in a mix and I have no issues with comb filtering, flutter echo or phasing. The only issue I had in the finished room was a couple of dB boost at around 200Hz to 250Hz. I used the IK Multimedia ARC system to flatten this out – making the overall response of the room pretty much as flat as a pancake.

If you’d like more detail on any aspect of how and why I refitted my studio feel free to drop me a line.

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  • ptang hunta

    fantastic post, very educational…..I will be following your guidlines for sure

  • A5pin

    Hi,

    Great post thanks!

    Just about to venture into a similar project ourselves… Can I ask how much of a budget you think would be needed for such a project? We're on a a bit of a tight budget but we're willing to do all the work ourselves, so it's just materials we need to price really.

    Thanks for any help!

    Paul

    • Hi Paul,

      It's difficult to give you a budget without knowing the size of your room and exactly what needs to be done but as a rough guide I spent around £400 on materials. I did have a load of rockwool already but if I had to purchase that aswell the materials budget probably would have been more like £600. Studiospares do a good deal on the rockwool. 8 slabs for £38..ish Here's a link: http://tinyurl.com/3x49jm6 One word of advice is don't waste money on foam based products. They do nothing except suck out a big hole in the lower mid range!

      Good luck with your build and keep us updated.

      Cheers
      Simon

      • A5pin

        Hi Simon,

        Thanks a lot for the advice, we will definitely keep you updated and post some pictures/ room dimensions up soon.

        Thanks again!

        Cheers,

        Paul