Exclusive Interview with a Real Home Recording Expert

interview

I’ve got a cool treat for you today.

You may have heard of Graham Cochrane over at TheRecordingRevolution.com. His website is a pool of wisdom for audio enthusiasts, complete with tutorials, articles and video series about home recording.

Graham recently moved into a new place and had to move his home studio with him. He used the opportunity and recorded the whole process. He took a separate bedroom and converted it into his personal home recording studio.

Below is a shortened version of the audio interview I did with him, where we go over the most important aspects of setting up your studio and how to make your room sound good even if you don’t have any acoustic treatment.

Acoustic Treatment in the Home Recording Studio

Note: You can also download the full audio interview along with the transcription right here.

Question: Do you have any tricks or best way to get a room sounding better with — even without acoustic treatment?

Graham: Oh, yeah. That’s really half of getting your room to sound right and the fact — the idea is that your room is a part of your sound whether you like it or not.  So when stuff is coming out of your speakers, it’s not just hitting your ear, so you’re not just hearing the direct signal, but it’s also bouncing off your walls and ceilings and everything, your furniture, your Arnold Schwarzenegger posters, whatever you’ve got on your walls, it’s bouncing off of it and then hitting your ears and merging with what you were hearing from your speakers. It’s a mess, right? So the room is part of your sound, so part of that is, if you can put your speakers and basically your desk, wherever you’re mixing, if you can put that in the optimal spot, that will change how your speakers interact with the room. So I find that a lot of people put their speakers in their desk in the corner.

Because it’s practical, right?

I mean it’s you know if you’re in a dorm room or bedroom you know you don’t typically have a lot of space, so you have your bed in one corner maybe and a desk in another corner. And that’s well and good if you just need a place for your computer, but unfortunately, if you’re doing sound, then where your speakers are in your room really make a huge difference. So I tell people and I show this in the video, I tell people: make sure you put your speakers in against the center of a wall, so that you have the same amount of space to the right of you hitting a wall as to the left of you. You’ll get more balanced reflections off these sides. It makes a huge difference.

Question: Once you start doing that, and you’ve kind of optimized your positioning of the speakers and such, if you have a small budget, what’s the first thing one should buy?

Graham: I mean if you absolutely have zero budget like maybe you can just spend $30 or something, you ask — one thing you can do is get a phone like Mopad thing Auralex makes and a bunch of companies make them where you can put your speakers on them. It’s a great little thing to do. It can soak up a lot of the vibrations in your speakers. So you know some of those foam panels that just go right under your speakers on them you know it’s actually doing something. That’s really, really cheap. But when it comes to actual treatment, I tell people two things. One, it’s all about your budget and the size of your room. Everyone has a different size — budget and size room, so you may not a ton of treatment.

But the place that people need to hit I think more than anything is, if you’re sitting — if you imagine you’re sitting right in front of your desk and you’re mixing, directly to the left and right of you.

Whatever wall or hard spaces to the left and right of you. It can be called the angle of first reflection where your speakers are first hitting the side walls and bouncing right back into your face. That really can mess up what you think you’re hearing and I tell people to put panels there. A couple of panels on each side there will really minimize a lot of that — that stuff that’s creating a mess for your image and what you hear and all sorts of stuff.

Question: Do you have any recommendation or advice on how to treat bass frequencies?

Graham: Definitely. ‘Cause bass is a problem, right? Everyone either has too much or too little of it. You know you mix and you take it out to the car and you go, “Oh, my gosh, where did the bass go?”

They’re just a hard frequencies in general. The best thing that I tell people to do and what I do in my room itself is, I move my speakers away from the wall a bit. So, yes, I’m up against a certain wall, but I’m not literally against the wall. So I’ve got one foot, two feet maybe between the back of my speakers and the nearest wall. That way I’m not using the wall to amplify the bass frequencies more than I need to.

Download the rest of the interview right here, available both in mp3 and transcribed PDF right here for more tips on how to treat your room.

We discuss:

  • Problematic window placement in bedrooms.
  • When you don’t need to treat your ceiling.
  • Where to put your bass traps for optimal absorption.

Check out ReThink Your Room here below:

ReThink Your Room