Acoustics 101: 4 Inexpensive Techniques to Optimise Your Room’s Acoustics

The beauty of home recording is that you can often bring your setup wherever you go. The biggest challenge however, is getting your space to sound right for the job.
If you’re looking to get your home studio sounding its best, you’re going to need much more than good gear. As the saying goes, your monitors will only sound as good as your room.
But don’t fret! Just because your room doesn’t sound great doesn’t mean you have to do anything drastic like move house or rent an expensive studio space and live off 2 minute noodles. We’ve gone the extra mile to write an article dedicated to helping you, the common bedroom musician – optimise your studio room’s acoustics with little to no cost involved.

A user controlling digital audio workstation. Narrow depth of field

Watch the windows

Avoid windows like the plague. Glass is a highly reflective surface that can produce a ‘slapping’ effect, which can drastically affect the accuracy of your room. If your windows are currently in front or behind your listening position, try rearranging your room’s listening setup so that the windows face the sides. If there is simply no way around this, consider investing in some really thick and heavy curtains and drape them over to kill the reflections.

Music production and recording studio: workstation keyboard midi controller and monitors.

Careful with corners

Owning a small studio can prove difficult as you may be forced into corners. Where possible, you should have the speakers tucked out of the room’s corners to avoid things like phasing, resonance build-up and fluttering. There is no rule that you need to invest in hundreds of dollars of bass traps for your corners (but it does help). That said, you could get really creative with some cheap mattresses, blankets, bean bags – whatever you have lying around, really! Experiment with what sounds good.

texture of microfiber insulation for noise in music studio or acoustic halls or houses professional studio insulation material noise isolation noise isolating protective absorber wall

Remove perfections

Refrain from being overly perfect when measuring and setting up your speakers to your room’s dimensions. This means avoid having your monitors setup dead centre along any of the room’s dimensions. For example, if both your speakers are sitting exactly halfway between the side walls, knock the setup slightly off-centre so they are no longer perfectly symmetrical. By doing this, you’ll even out bumps and dips in your frequency response, tightening your low-end and optimising your room sound.

University student mixing audio in a studio of a radio

Makeshift room treatment

This technique assumes that you are on a strict budget that won’t allow for expensive foam and traps. If however you have a budget to spend on proper acoustic treatment, we recommend you head that route instead.
Strategic placement of furniture in your room can make a huge difference to the way your recordings can sound. Curtains, sofas, pillows can all contribute to effective sound absorption if done right.

Photo of a beautiful brunette in a recording studio playing an acoustic guitar and singing into a large diaphragm microphone.

For example, let’s say you have a drummer tucked back into the corner of a room. As we’ve already mentioned with corners, they are problematic areas when it comes to accurate recording. Unfortunately, due to the sheer size of some drum-kits you might not be left with much choice.
What you could do to absorb some of those reflections in this instance is to try placing a mattress against the wall with some blankets for added absorption. So get creative! It might not look great, but you’ll be surprised with the results.

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