Greetings mate and Welcome aboard. Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…
I’ve done a lot of microphone comparison reviews, but never had an article on Acoustic Sound Treatment!
It’s a dilemma that comes up a lot, and today I want to cover some techniques that you can use to get that optimal sound out of whatever mic you may have!
Before we get started though, grab a snack, sit back, and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!!!
What I will bring you in this article
- Some video examples
- Final Word
Employing Acoustic Sound Treatment isn’t as difficult as I initially thought.
When I first started building my home studio, I was overwhelmed and intimidated a lot of the time.
“Sampling from vinyl!? How am I ever going to figure that out?!”
“Sound treatment?! That must cost thousands!”
LOL. (Well I’m exaggerating but you get the idea) 🙂
Giving your microphone the best possible environment also intimidated me a little.
I was convinced that I’d have to spend thousands of dollars to get it done.
Ever seen those ridiculous-looking studios with a million knobs on this seemingly never-ending mixer?
Complete with soundproof glass and the whole 9 yards, these things are unnecessary when starting out.
Ensuring that your little beast (the mic) records the most optimal sound comes down to only a few things:
- Good mic placement
- Optimal distance from the mic/technique. This is very mic dependent and can vary wildly.
- Proper gain settings. This should be tweaked until you get that nice happy medium.
- Good XLR cables. What is XLR?
- Basic components
- Proper wall treatment & closed-off space
Setting up your booth
In setting up your booth, you want to deaden the sound as much as possible.
As we all know, condenser microphones are hypersensitive by design. They pick up EVERYTHING!!
This is a common complaint from people in reviews. A condenser is meant to be placed in a proper setting to get the most out of what it has to offer.
Good mic placement
A lot of mics will sound optimal when they are placed in a specific way.
It takes a bit of experimenting to find that sweet spot.
If you’re having trouble with sound quality, it may just be a small adjustment of where you are standing in relation to the microphone.
Every mic is different. Try to stand farther away, then closer, and somewhere in between.
What happens if you are offset just a little from the front of the mic? All of these are different ways of seeing how the mic performs best.
You’ll know immediately when you get a good take and go “That’s it right there.”
Then you can tweak further and enhance the sound via EQ, Reverb, and whatever else you deem necessary.
Good XLR cables
This is a forgotten concept that many people gloss over.
Low-quality XLR cables will have a profound effect on your sound!
As the old saying goes “You get what you pay for.” This is evident when it comes to choosing a cable.
If you want to know exactly why a good cable is mandatory, check out this article, An XLR cable is just a cable, right?
Some basic things that the majority of people are aware of involve some accessories that will help deliver an optimal sound as well.
A pop filter.
This not only minimizes plosives (the popping P’s and S’s) but also keeps the diaphragm inside of your mic from getting damaged over time.
Being sensitive to spit, germs, and other undesirables, it will break down faster if a pop filter isn’t used.
In the simplest terms, a shock mount shields your microphone from other equipment that may cause interference.
They partially isolate the mic from vibrations that might otherwise be transmitted through the mic stand, causing unwanted sounds to be added to the output signal.
It also prevents vibration traveling up the mic stand from getting to the diaphragm of the mic.
Just know that not all mics necessarily need one, but it’s nice to have anyway.
Proper wall treatment & enclosed space
This is a big deal and could be one of the main reasons why you’re getting those unwanted extraneous sounds in the background.
Condensers are known for picking up a lot of ambient noise, white noise, toilets flushing, cars passing outside of your window, and the guy in the next apt. taking a massive dump, etc.
It’s important to try and work in an enclosed space if possible.
Some say closets are good, others claim that they make your recording sound as if it was recorded … in a closet haha.
The fact of the matter is that you don’t want sound echoing and bouncing off the walls.
Some good remedies and techniques for this are the following:
- Bass traps are the most important component. Ideally, you need 4 for each corner, but 2 also work in a pinch.
- Line the walls with some Acoustic Studio Foam.
- Line the walls with old comforters
- Invest in an acoustic isolation shield
A good example, check the Monoprice Pro Audio Desktop Adjustable Acoustic Microphone Isolation Shield.
- Use Egg crate foam. While not the best option, it will do in a pinch. Just be aware that the material is a little thinner than actual studio foam, and won’t absorb the sound quite as well.
- Record away from windows, fans, computers, and the crapper. 😀
- If all else fails, you can actually record under a blanket! It sounds crazy but works. Check out this hilarious demo 🙂
Also, check out this DIY booth!
I hope you’ve gotten some valuable information out of this article on Acoustic Sound Treatment!
If you have further questions, need some recommendations, or think I left something out, let me know! Leave a comment below or contact me! I look forward to hearing from you…
All the best and God bless,