Acoustic Treatment Basics

Music Production

[this guide is a work in progress]

Picking up the fundamental gear for producing music is one of the first steps needed to get started, but an often overlooked and vital process is known as acoustic treatment. This refers to the actions and materials needed to control how sound is reflected in your room / recording space, which improves the quality of how your recordings sound. New producers may want to place blame on their equipment or programs, but often the case of poor sounding recordings is a poorly treated room.

In this guide we'll cover the core basics of acoustic treatment as well as some of the concepts of sound proofing; a separate process which refers to the steps needed to reduce pressure / sound levels, such as altering the distance between sources and receivers, using barriers to reflect or absorb sound waves, damping structures, or anti-noise sound generators.

The Basics of Acoustic Treatment

There are a handful of factors that impact the quality of sounds in rooms. Sound generally travels out from the source (a vocalist or instrument) in a spray wave, bouncing off walls and interacting with surfaces. The direct sounds fire in a straight line (primarily targeted at your microphone) while the reflected sounds bounce around the surfaces in your room and a portion of it will be picked up by your microphone as well. Improving the acoustics does not mean eliminating all reflected sound, but rather using a process of damping, diffusing, and absorbing to essentially mold the sound for better recordings. The main parts of acoustic treatment are:

Room Types


Listening Positions


Distance


Damping


Absorption


Reflection


Diffusion


Bass Traps


Isolation