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View Full Version : Help me (acuostically) plan my man cave!



cml
05-08-2016, 10:16 AM
I have a man cave, which is great (if you dont have one, convince your wife you need one). The only problem with it is that when I sit here and play ukulele, it sounds HORRIBLE, much like sitting in a tin can. It's a small rectangular room, as seen in the pictures attached.
I am not very inclined to move the ukuleles from the wall in front of the computer, because I like looking at them there.
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Since I play everyday, but never in my cave (which is actually on the second floor), I feel I need to do something about this. Now, acoustic treatment can be super-expensive so from reading up a bit, I decided to go the DIY-route.

I've used these articles as references:
http://ehomerecordingstudio.com/acoustic-treatment-101/
http://ehomerecordingstudio.com/bass-traps/

Here's my plan (and yes, my monitors extend beyond my desk ;)):
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Green means bass trap panels, blue diffusers.
On the 3D sketch: The plan is to put the panel traps between the wall and ceiling at an angle. Is this necessary?

For bass trap panels I will be using this (styrofoam), covered with black fabric and protruding 1" away from the wall (to create a space behind it). Roughly 100cm high (39"), and 25-30cm wide (10").
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For diffusers, I will be using two panels of carpet seen here.
80cm high (31"), 40cm wide (15").
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Can all you people with tons of more experience in this area help me out? I am very much a noob in these matters!

spookelele
05-08-2016, 11:08 AM
Bass trap... seems like not what you need for a uke. That's more for controlling home theater bass/subwoofer constructive interference.

Maybe a nice thick rug on the ground, and some curtain to help with the reflection. A sofa/futon will also go quite a way to absorb reflections.

If you have any connection to people that rack/stack for IT systems, they might be able to get you egg crate foam. It's used alot to ship stuff.

Otherwise.. you can get "Memory Foam" matress pads at walmart/target for not alot of money, and it should do a reasonable impersonation of acoustic foam.

There's also foam squares with puzzle piece sides that lock together. You can find it in loud colors for childrens flooring, but it also comes in a grey.

UkingViking
05-08-2016, 11:11 AM
That sure sounds like a serious project!

I never tried to build a studio in that way, so I can't give practical advice.

I do remember a few things from the basic building acoustics course in the Danish Technical University is the importance of surface hardness.
They have these great experimental rooms:
A sound-dead room with near zero reverberance, and a very reverberant room. In the first room you had to walk on a web of wires, because even the floor below was covered in huge foam spikes for absorption, as was the walls and ceiling. It was weird to hear no reverberance at all!
In the second room they had concrete walls, but also a few concrete diffusers. Pretty cool. The demonstrated the huge difference between an empty reverberant room and one with 20 students in it. Soft surfaces goes a long way.

Did you try to put some more furniture in there before shopping for this?
A couch, some shelves, or perhaps a carpet?

Brad Bordessa
05-08-2016, 11:16 AM
I doubt you'll find much of a return on this subject here, but I could be wrong. Lots of recording forums that have threads and threads and threads on rooms like yours.

I've done quite a bit of research for a little space I'm hoping to record in. Never seen foam like that used for bass traps, but if you've got it, see what it does. I'd try placing your traps around the room to see what happens before you get all crazy. A little bit will probably go a long way and you might get away with less than you thought.

https://www.soundonsound.com has a lot of great stuff if you poke around.

cml
05-08-2016, 11:31 AM
Maybe a nice thick rug on the ground, and some curtain to help with the reflection. A sofa/futon will also go quite a way to absorb reflections.

Otherwise.. you can get "Memory Foam" matress pads at walmart/target for not alot of money, and it should do a reasonable impersonation of acoustic foam.

There's also foam squares with puzzle piece sides that lock together. You can find it in loud colors for childrens flooring, but it also comes in a grey.
Thanks for your reply spook!

A rug on the floor will definetly go in here soon, but there's no way I can fit a sofa or even armchair in here ^^, there's simply not room for it.
Good tip regarding memory foam, if styrofoam doesnt work out I might try it.


Bass trap... seems like not what you need for a uke. That's more for controlling home theater bass/subwoofer constructive interference.
I dont know but they reccommend it for singing, so I think it might be good for a uke too, no?


If you have any connection to people that rack/stack for IT systems, they might be able to get you egg crate foam. It's used alot to ship stuff.
But that wouldnt look very nice though, which is also a concern ;).

cml
05-08-2016, 11:47 AM
That sure sounds like a serious project!

I never tried to build a studio in that way, so I can't give practical advice.

I do remember a few things from the basic building acoustics course in the Danish Technical University is the importance of surface hardness.
They have these great experimental rooms:
A sound-dead room with near zero reverberance, and a very reverberant room. In the first room you had to walk on a web of wires, because even the floor below was covered in huge foam spikes for absorption, as was the walls and ceiling. It was weird to hear no reverberance at all!
In the second room they had concrete walls, but also a few concrete diffusers. Pretty cool. The demonstrated the huge difference between an empty reverberant room and one with 20 students in it. Soft surfaces goes a long way.

Did you try to put some more furniture in there before shopping for this?
A couch, some shelves, or perhaps a carpet?
Thanks for your input mate! It's definetely not a serious project, its for fun and just so I can play the uke in here at all...

No, I didnt try furniture because it simply will not fit ;). A rug will be going in here though, as well as a curtain for the open doorway, that will add some fabric to the room.
Btw, the cost so far is less than 25$ so not a whole lot!

cml
05-08-2016, 11:48 AM
I doubt you'll find much of a return on this subject here, but I could be wrong. Lots of recording forums that have threads and threads and threads on rooms like yours.

I've done quite a bit of research for a little space I'm hoping to record in. Never seen foam like that used for bass traps, but if you've got it, see what it does. I'd try placing your traps around the room to see what happens before you get all crazy. A little bit will probably go a long way and you might get away with less than you thought.

https://www.soundonsound.com has a lot of great stuff if you poke around.
Thanks Hippie, adding step by step sounds like a great plan!

konut
05-08-2016, 01:48 PM
In a room with all hard surfaces the sound waves bounce back and forth causing those frequencies that correspond to the dimensions of the room,resonant frequencies, to "hang", or linger, longer than they should. The worst aspect of this is in the corners where the distances reduce, causing the higher frequencies to ring. At a minimum you could buy a sheet of Owens Corning 702 insulation, the thicker the better, and cut triangles to fit in the corners. Get some thin cloth , in the color of your choice, and wrap the triangles using safety pins to bind the corners of the cloth in back of the triangles. Next screw picture hanging hooks into position to run rubber bands from the hooks to the safety pins, suspending the triangles 1-2 inches from the ceiling and walls. As the cloth and insulation weigh next to nothing, the hooks bear no real weight. This will go a long way to reduce the ringing.

cml
05-11-2016, 06:52 AM
Thanks Konut!

Actually, I tried with my styrofoam idea (2.5" thick), and guess what? It worked great and the difference is MASSIVE! Acoustically it's a completely new room. I didnt have to do much either, just the corners as pointed out by konut to be the most important area.

Looks pretty good too, here's the results (bit distorted and blurry because of the pano, but you get the idea):
https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7487/26885412981_4ed0a03ca0.jpg

Total cost of styrofoam + fabric was 15$, and if you dont have double sided tape which I had lying around add another 10$ for a good quality one.
I wouldn't say that 25$ is alot for acoustic treatment of a room, and anyone can do it! :)

I've also added a small carpet that wasnt necessary for the improvement, but it makes it cosier ;).

Griffis
05-11-2016, 08:31 AM
There are so many ways you can go. I have actually gone the long-way around from the pretty high-tech, high-end audiophile route back to caveman-level stuff. I have nicer, more modern things...digital multitrackers, effects and modeling units, various software, but the last couple of recording projects I've been in on have been done with cruddy old mics onto--literally--30+ year old cassette 4 tracks.

More recently, I've devolved even more, doing acoustic recording (solo and in conjunction with a friend) onto old handheld Walkman-style tape recorders and even an old micro-cassette recorder.

No real reason behind it aside from it being easier and less fussy. I just got tired of dealing with tons of cords, cables, pedals, mic placement, levels, noise reduction, baffling, soundproofing, etc. I like being able to hit one button, grab a uke and go to town.

As far as room noise and sound quality, the bulk of the music I listen to is on 70-80 year old old 78 rpms (or crackly digital transfers of them) and beat up old 45s from 40-50 years ago, so the results I get are fine by me and fit right in with my lo-fi mindset.

konut
05-11-2016, 01:15 PM
cml, glad it worked for you!

cml
06-20-2016, 08:39 AM
It's been a little more than a month since last time, but I've now finished redoing my man cave :D. I think it turned out quite well, perfect for playing both ukulele and computer games in and also being out of the way when so required by my wife ;). It looks a lot spiffier now than it did before this experiment.
https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7420/27519991380_6e701ae1e1.jpg