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.
The CAD Audio AS32 is an option also.
- 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,
Awesome article on soundproofing a room Stu!
After being out of the game for a while now, it’s great to find someone who puts in the extra effort to help us amateurs who are looking for some great sound, without putting us in the poor house lol.
I have gone the egg shell route and while it did improve the sound considerably, it’s still not quite where I would like it to be. I will try adding some blankets for now until I can find a shield I can afford.
Do you have one that you recommend?
Thanks Bro. ~Jeremy
Hey Jeremy! Great to see you back.
Also really excited to see that the particular method is working, at least for now. As far as a recommendation? Hm. I’d probably look at the CAD Audio AS32. Not sure if you have a mic that you specifically want to shield, but that would do the trick. As far as just lining the walls, take a gander at the Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam. I may actually invest in some myself once I get my poor mic a new stand, Lol.
Question: Do you think I should provide some recommendations in the article?
Also let me know how your website is going man!
I checked out your recommendations. The shield looks like it will do the trick, but I do believe I will give the studio foam a try.
I like the idea of the shield, but the studio foam seems like a better option for me. I’ll drop back by to let you know the results. Fingers crossed!
In answer to your question: Absolutely. I really like to read about recommendations from the people who know what they’re talking about 🙂
Website is doing ok, never as good as we want, right?
See you soon Bro and thanks again ~Jeremy
Ahh nice! I agree about the foam. I really want to pick up some for my room but kind of on a tight budget right now. I think it will help a lot when I get a new mic stand. Have you heard anything about those stands that have the warning label on them? I got a desktop one and on the box it said something like “The chemicals used in these materials have been known in the state of California to cause cancer” Needless to say I sent it back to amazon. Would you be worried about that? My dad seemed to think it was just sort of a obligatory type thing. A formality if you will.
But I agree, I’m always trying to make this site the best it can be. Keep grinding my man! Talk soon..
Hey Stu! Back again 🙂
I went with the Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam per your recommendation and it’s working out great.
I only had the loot to do 3 walls for now, with some cheap eggshell still on the other, but the improvement in the sound I’m already getting is awesome. Can’t wait to finish this baby up!
I haven’t seen the warning label…but I would go with what your dad says.
Nearly everything I have ever owned has “been known to cause cancer to the state of California”!
The site is looking awesome Bro, tons of great info!
Talk to ya soon ~Jeremy
Nice man! So glad it’s helping you out. Eggshell isn’t terrible, but yeah because it’s so thin, it has a tougher time absorbing sound. Still better than nothing! Please keep me posted on your progress. I actually gave away the mic stand (lol), but I will end up picking one up again; it’s just a matter of which one is best at this point. Thanks a bunch for stopping by bro!