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Hi,

I've been wanting to get a better understanding of my room where I record, mix, and master my recordings, and I was hoping to use REW (https://www.roomeqwizard.com/) to do so, but I don't have any practical knowledge on how to go about it. Sure, I've read a bunch of articles and watched YouTube videos, but none have really given me any solid practical advice on how to treat my room to improve issues illustrated by REW measurements. Has anybody here done that? I kind of get how I can measure my room using REW, but what I am really missing is how to go about fixing any issues pointed out by REW. For example, if REW points out I have a spike at 80Hz, what do I do about that? If anyone here has direct experience using REW and how to use it to improve room acoustics, please chime in. Otherwise, this might turn out to be another documented learning experience. (Assuming I ever get to it. I've had all of the "stuff" to do it for months, but it keeps getting blown-off for higher priority tasks.)

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Pat -

Room EQ is a great program that will give you a lot of information about what's wrong, but you'll need to go to a web site that specialized in acoustic treatments in order to find out what to do. Most of the procedures that you'll be guided through involve installing acoustic absorbers (because that's what they sell) in places where they'll do the most good in smoothing out the room's response.

The short course in acoustics is this: Irregularities in frequency response (assuming your speakers are reasonable) are caused by reflections off the walls, floor, or ceiling bouncing back to your ears in phase (if you have a peak) or out of phase (if you have a null) with the direct sound from the speakers. The trick is to locate the places where the sound is bouncing off in the direction of your listening position and put something on the wall there to absorb it.

A good place to start looking for solutions and how to implement them is Acoustics First. Another is Auralex.

Last edited by Mike Rivers; 07/05/20 09:25 PM.
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I haven't used REW. Can it find flutter echoes or will they just show up as frequency anomalies?

Something I've done for various reasons is walk around a room and clap my hands. It will sound different in different parts of most rooms. That won't cost you anything and you may learn some valuable things.

I had a flutter echo that I on\ly found when a friend inadvertantly stepped into a particular spot while talking. I asked him to walk back and forth in that area while speaking, it was a pretty precise location that caused the blurring sound. I hung a quilt along what seemed to be the "line" that the echo followed and it went away.

Do you read Tape Op? There are quite a few vendors advertising sound treatment, many of them offer free consultation services as a means to sell you an appropriate package for your room.
There are probably DIY room treatment blogs online as well. worth a look anyway.

As always, Mike Rivers advice and links above will be useful.


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Thanks, Mike and Kuru. I was hoping it could be more prescriptive on where to add treatment based on the REW results, but it looks like it will be a measure, experiment where to treat, measure again, repeat as necessary deal. I'm hoping to get to this sooner than later. When I do, I'll report my results here. I'm also hoping to make my own treatment panels. Shipping large items from the mainland to here is prohibitively expensive.

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Rooms are all different and your furniture can make a big difference, as can your curtains, etc.

This blog prov\des a straightforward explanation of how to build some basic acoustic treatment panels.
http://subreel.com/make-acoustic-panels/

This one dscusses bass traps.
https://www.acousticfields.com/how-to-make-your-own-bass-traps/

And here we have diffusers. You may need all three to get what you want.
https://flypaper.soundfly.com/produce/how-to-build-an-acoustic-diffuser/

As well as walking around the room and clapping your hands, you might try setting up recording mics in your chosen locations, turning them way up and recording the sound as you move around the room and clap.
You could announce where you are clapping from for future reference.

I am lazy AND in a space where external noise cannot be controlled so I've opted for more or less dead recording spaces and/or improving my signal to noise ratio by finding ways to work closer to the microphones.
My Shure Beta 87a actually sounds pretty good with a foam windscreen over the end and singing right up into it. Sometimes it pays to try something you "shouldn't" try!
I've also spent some time getting sounds I like by going direct. That has been very helpful, I've got bass guitar and acoustic guitar very close to what I like and direct, which eliminates noise/room problems.
Percussion is all electronic - mostly Korg Wavedrium Global, or close mic'ed inside my hillbilly mic booth (which is probably a relief to my neighbors as well!!!).

I also listen on 3 different sets of headphones and as soon as I get another CD burner have a pretty OK home stereo to listen on.
It is a never ending battle against truth and justice!!! Cheers, Kuru


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REQ is great. But, as noted already, knowing what to do with it is another story entirely. The standard reference work on acoustics is F. Alton Everest's "Master Handbook of Acoustics". It is excellent. It will save you much random forum reading from people who are repeating parts of this book third or fourth hand without context. One of the big challenges in acoustic measurement is knowing what measurement to take, from where and what it does and doesn't mean. This is a very big topic. Putting up a mic and getting a graph is easy. But reading it to know that the dip is caused by reflections off your desk vs. a room null takes some knowledge of the underlying physics and having a think about what the graphs mean.

It is a very worthwhile journey. I documented part of my journey on a different forum. You can find that here. My comments start at post #20, and continue (with graphs) onto the next page. It may give you some insight.

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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
REQ is great. But, as noted already, knowing what to do with it is another story entirely. The standard reference work on acoustics is F. Alton Everest's "Master Handbook of Acoustics". It is excellent. It will save you much random forum reading from people who are repeating parts of this book third or fourth hand without context. One of the big challenges in acoustic measurement is knowing what measurement to take, from where and what it does and doesn't mean. This is a very big topic. Putting up a mic and getting a graph is easy. But reading it to know that the dip is caused by reflections off your desk vs. a room null takes some knowledge of the underlying physics and having a think about what the graphs mean.

It is a very worthwhile journey. I documented part of my journey on a different forum. You can find that here. My comments start at post #20, and continue (with graphs) onto the next page. It may give you some insight.

Thanks for the link Nathanael, I bookmarked it for future reference and read all 3 pages.
I have opportunities in my space, for now I go with the absorption of heavy quilts hung from makeshift stands. Bang for the buck cannot be beat, cosmetics leave much to be desired.
Good to know somebody else used Mackie 824s, I picked up a pair of the USA ones at a pawn shop 12 years ago and they've been fine. Sure, I'd love better. Maybe when I win the lottery...


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I used those Mackie 824's (original model) for 15 years, and they still soldier on as the main speakers for the living room entertainment system! They were definitely all I could afford, and I mostly listened to them through a MOTU 896. I don't recall exactly what I said in that thread, but the truth is that the fancy Genelec DSP speakers don't measure very differently from the Mackies. Those Mackies are some of the finest small speakers designed. Way more capable than the price tag implied. I ended up with several times their cost in acoustic treatment. I knew that there was no point in spending on great monitors without dealing with the acoustics first. The Genelecs are better and you would hear it right away, it isn't subtle. But the frequency response is pretty close to identical.

You cry a little (or a lot) when spending on acoustic treatment, Starbird mic stands, a proper professional studio working desk, etc. But afterwards, you only think, "Why didn't I do this sooner?". The manufacturers all want us to believe that a new gear thing that makes or processes sound is the key to happiness, good music, and success. And so it can be hard to spend "good instrument' or "nice outboard gear" money on something that just sits in the corner or hangs on the wall. But what a difference it makes.

Even better is to know what the space is actually doing. What are the frequencies that I can't hear correctly because of room modes, etc. Like in the thread - I know that there is a desk bounce, and that it causes a problem. The DSP handles part of it, but I also use Aurotones (small speakers) that give a different view into that range.

This room was build from the stud walls up. I did the double drywall, alternating layers, insulation, etc. I have modest soundproofing. But it is still residential construction. I don't have metal studs, double walls, membrane films between drywall layers, full sealing around every seam, etc. I would love to do that room, but that really takes a stand-alone space to do correctly. But I still ended up with a very high-quality listening and working environment that is fully capable of finished work. At every stage of the journey so far, I've done what I can with what I have, dreamed about more, but lived long periods of time between "step functions".

As CNC and other technologies have permeated manufacturing, the quality of even entry and mid-grade gear has gone way up over the last 10 years. With some knowledge and advice, it is possible to get really good results without spending a ton of money. As I keep saying, it is a great time to be a music creator.

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Thanks again, Nathanael! There is considerable debate online regarding the Mackies but I tend to discount opinions since nobody seems to mention the enviroment they are using them in or the volume they've set for listening. I've an old set fo JBL P40 3 way stereo speakers ($30 at Starvation Army) that I listen to in my kitchen as reference and I know I would like to have 3 way monitors in the studio too. Someday...

I also record in my studio space, it is where everything happens. It will never be a "signature" room with a glorious spacious sound.
It CAN be a creative space where my music takes on new forms.

The process is certainly evolutionary, I will be watching and learning from what Pat does for his space.
My next wants are a solid door to the outside with no windows and some substantial panels that I can put up in the windows to reduce/eliminate sound leakage. One of those needs to be removable or at least part of it should fold back, ventilation.

I've made solid progress on many fronts, I am glad I have some skills and tools and can get important things done like dressing the cables in my rack and cobbling up a "mic booth" with a mic "isolation box."
Doing things on the cheap makes it easy to re-commit as problems and solutions are learned and addressed. If/when I do more attractive, permanent versions of my improvised solutions I'll have a much better idea how to proceed.

Little by litte, step by step, slowly I turned...


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Consider knocking out the window and putting in glass block. It has the same STC as a concrete wall. Lets in light, but no prying eyes can see inside, and it is probably more soundproof than the wall it is mounted in. I did that. Inexpensive. Effective.

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Thanks for the discussion. I've looked over the pages Nathanael referenced. It all looks pretty intense. I'm afraid I am going to be severely limited in what I can do with my room. As I mentioned in previous posts, my "studio" is in the main part of the house and is on one side of a foyer/living roiom/hallway/kitchen open area with just about every vertical surface a window. My initial goal with REW is to simply see how much of an issue I have, and if it is significant, what, if anything I can do about it. Hopefully, by posting here, I will have some accountability to actually get going on doing the measurements, which I have been procrastinating on for months.

So much to learn, so little time.

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If you get the $100 Behringer measurement mic, put it as close as you can to where your head is when you sit and work, the program will do most of the work for you. Almost all rooms need bass traps. The corners are the best place to do that. Then, one would typically treat first reflection points, and after that some extra panels on the walls to control reverberation and provide some broadband absorption. I used GIK acoustics, but this type of panels can be made using materials available at a home center. You may need to order rockwool or or the Owens-Corning 703 rigid fiberglass, but I've done that before. You order it at the contractor desk and a week later a big box is ready for pickup.

The good news is that despite me being an overachiever in this area, you can definitely make an improvement without spending thousands of dollars.

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Pat, I went back to the "Show Your Studio thread and took a look at the photo you posted.
It is a multi-purpose space, I totally get that. To a certain extent, mine is too.

The first thing I noticed about yours that could make a big difference is putting some sound absorbing panels up on the wall behind your desk/speakers.
That is the closest wall to your ears, room reflections will hit it and they will not be in phase with your speakers when they reach your ears. You might not hear the reflections but you will hear the results.

I've attached a photo of my desk. Since I am on a low budget, especially with so many cancelled gigs, I hung a heavy quilt there, from a photo backdrop stand. I found both items at Goodwill, very inexpensive.
I've made usable stands for hanging things like heavy quilts from a pair of mic stands with a curtain rod (also common and cheap at thrift stores) seated in mic holders. Orange hand clamps keep the quilt in place.

That one thing made a favorable difference in the sound I hear from the speakers. Eventually I'd like to make some panels that look nice and put those up. I could be wrong but I think sound absorbers work better if they are a little ways off the wall, a frame could do that. Then the sound is diminished by absorption by going through the absorbing material twice. The walls are lightly textured so the sound is diffused on the rebound, maybe not much but in my mind it may well make a difference.

It may not be possible to eliminate all the problems but it certainly is possible to reduce them and that can only improve things.

Besides the measurement mic (something I don't have yet), another thing that has helped me is to become familar with a great sounding recording or two. Listen to the music with headphones and in a variety of playback systems. Once you have a sense of how it should sound, play it in your studio and listen carefully. Especially take note if it is fatiguing to hear it. Why is that?

You can make a big difference without spending too much money or time, this isn't an all or nothing deal. If it was, we would both need to build our own studios!!! Cheers, Kuru

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I tried making some measurements with REW last week, but I couldn't get the waterfall to work. I need to do more reading to figure out what I'm doing wrong. I'm also looking into what I can do regarding treatments. As I mentioned, aesthetics are important because they will be in plain view as you enter the house. Of course, price is equally important. Conflicting requirements, I'm afraid. Unfortunately, shipping sound treatments to Maui will likely be prohibitively expensive. Stay tuned.

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For what it's worth, I tried fooling with the waterfall plot in REW a while back and had a fair amount of trouble with it as well. You have to mess with the axis scales to get a meaningful display on screen, and then I still didn't find what I wanted. It was a couple of years ago, so maybe they've made it easier to use or interpret in a newer version of the program.

There are ugly absorbers and there are ones that won't look too out of place in a room used for other things. The good thing about them is that they're all light foam, so while the package may be large, it won't be very heavy.

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Waterfall is interesting to look at (and useful). But you can know what you need to make changes with the RT-60 and frequency response. Unless you are going to invest in membrane traps or other frequency targeted tools, broadband and bass traps are pretty much where most of the easy gains are. All untreated rooms have too much bass resonance. Start with corner bass traps, then first reflection points (if you can), and then generalized broadband traps where you can put them. It all helps. That's the good news. If you can only do a little, it will help. If you can do more, it will help more.

I don't know what is cosmetically acceptable, but corner traps can also be ceiling mounted. Sites like GIK Acoustics are very helpful for ideas, whether you buy or build the traps.


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