Hobby Studio Updated: New Headphones Day.

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tekbowtekbow Frets: 1288
edited July 2021 in Studio & Recording
Having just moved house, I've commandeered the larger of the 2 spare bedrooms which affords me more space than I had in our old apartment. We essentially had no furniture.

To that end I've bought a small studio desk from Thomann, and a standard steel frame table to act as work bench, with some plastic storage drawers underneath in addition to the steel shelving and guitar rack I already own. A futon will go in the corner to the left of the window so that it can occasionally be used as a 2nd guest room and so that I have a sofa.

The room is about 3.5m x 3m although feels bigger.

Now I'm in the process of unpacking everything.

I turned to the idea of bigger monitors thinking HS7's or LP6's to move up from my iloud Micros, so searched threads here for ideas and the topic of room treatment comes up over and over... Now I've no idea where to start. Do I NEED to treat the room?

Would I be better off with a set of decent headphones for mixing if I don't Want to go down what seems a rabbit hole of positioning/placement of pads and bass traps?

I want some AD/DA expansion to accommodate more dedicated inputs too, so maybe I should go with that and headphones?

Ultimately I want to improve my mixing, EQing a bit up from what I managed in my old apartment.

Really not sure what my options are. Pics of the new room vs old room below

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Comments

  • Jonathanthomas83Jonathanthomas83 Frets: 3136
    edited June 2021
    Yes, you'll need to treat the room if you want to use those monitors to their fullest capabilities. You'll likely get more bass than you need and plenty of reflections that wont be conducive to mixing well, without that treatment.

    Alternative is a great pair of headphones and something to give them good signal, which you may already have. I get by with my HD650's and RME interface.

    I have monitors but barely turn them on because my room and its acoustics are awful.

    Let's be honest, we'd all prefer to spend money on cool stuff and not some rockwool!
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 1288
    edited June 2021

    Let's be honest, we'd all prefer to spend money on cool stuff and not some rockwool!
    Truer words have never been spoken.

    Running through an ID44 so audio quality is decent. Wondering about Stereo imaging though. Is that even a thing with Headphones and can the Ilouds be improved on with a pair of LP-6s or HS7's?

    I could prob stretch to headphones and monitors at those prices.
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 1789
    You could try sealed box type speakers. Not so much room influence but you will need to learn the character of them as they will probably give good mids and not much else. This ok for mixing as you always want to listen to the mix on other systems anyway. Mixing on headphones is great if you are the only one who will end up listening to it. 
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • Jonathanthomas83Jonathanthomas83 Frets: 3136
    edited June 2021
    tekbow said:

    Running through an ID44 so audio quality is decent. Wondering about Stereo imaging though. Is that even a thing with Headphones and can the Ilouds be improved on with a pair of LP-6s or HS7's?

    I could prob stretch to headphones and monitors at those prices.
    How do you mean, "stereo imaging"? Do you play in stereo or mono? Headphones will be fine with both :-)

    You won't have a bad sound with the monitors, you'll just find it hard to mix because you'll likely over/under compensate somewhere along the lines.

    IMO, the iLouds are good, I've heard good things...I genuinely think the best upgrade you can make is headphones or room acoustics. But as we say, it's boring as hell - the benefits are huge though.

    Also...

    You can get software that allows you to flatten the EQ curve of your headphones nowadays which helps with creating a mix that will be acceptable across a number of various systems. Stuff like Acustica's Sienna models various acoustic spaces and puts you in those to mix, basically. Quite cool, but expensive. Apparently, that's the best out there at the moment, but there are cheaper alternatives for £30ish on Plugin Boutique (https://www.pluginboutique.com/product/3-Studio-Tools/72-Utility/7277-Realphones-Lite-Pack).

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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 8123
    tekbow said:


    Wondering about Stereo imaging though. 
    If you’re mixing on headphones, Put waves “abbey road studio” on your mix buss…just don’t forget to turn it off when you bounce your final mix!!!!
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  • spark240spark240 Frets: 1790
    If your diy skill is just above basic you can easily make some sound absorbing panels, it made a big difference in my room.

    2x2 timber, 50mm rock wool, hessian fabric.

    I made mine 1200 x 600 .


    Mac Mini i7, 2.3Ghz.
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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 2456
    tekbow said:
     Do I NEED to treat the room?

    Would I be better off with a set of decent headphones for mixing if I don't Want to go down what seems a rabbit hole of positioning/placement of pads and bass traps?
    If you want to use monitors and achieve mixes that translate (i.e. playback well across other systems) then, yes.  You do need to treat the room.  Correction software is getting better but it still won't compensate for a poor room without treatment.

    Being realistic, you are never going to achieve anything remotely equalling 'flat' in a room of this size.  What you can do is make significant improvements with a few hundred pounds worth of materials and some very basic DIY skills (if I can do it, and still have all of my fingers attached, then anyone can).

    Whether you treat the room or not you still need a decent set of headphones if, for no other reason, to check the bottom end.
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 8123
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  • russpmrusspm Frets: 356
    poopot said:
    Just like Wigan girls  ;)
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  • paulmapp8306paulmapp8306 Frets: 730
    edited June 2021
    rather depends how serious you  want to mix.....

    If its for your own enjoyment, and maybe some demo material for a bands promo stuff, you can get by without room treatment AND still use monitors.  The trick there is to spend tome and get to know the speaker and the room - reference any mix'd material on as many other systems and spaces as you can.  You will get to know where you are over or under mixing  from that, and will compensate.   A decent (not top tier but decent) pair of headphones helps to confirm low end and phases issues.

    I do just that in a slightly smaller room (being 1.8m x 4.8m), and I have a sub as well - not for mixing, as I turn it off for that but for playback/enjoyment etc - and then check the mix on headphones (both HD650s and a pair of AKG 702s).  I do use quality speakers (Neumann KH120s and KH750 sub) that has had room calibration.  That has fixed most phase issues, but it wont get rid of the 110hz low freq hole from wave reflections (and a less prominent one at 220hz, which is the same wave problem) .  I know its there, and I mix accordingly, then check on the headphones for the low end on the phones, then I reference it on my downstairs Hifi, in the car and on my phone (using normal phone headphones).  I dont need to do too much usually after checking the 3 systems as "knowing" how my room/speakers translates and the headphone check normally gets decent enough results. 

    Having said that - and level above that will need some treatment - and treatment is better than no treatment even for the use Ive outlined.   i would have corner traps IF I could, but my room is crammed to the ceiling on all the walls I can use.

    Ill end where I started, it totally depends what you want from your mixing, what its for, what level your after.   Im nowhere near Octatonic league for instance, so what he uses (equipment, space, treatment) while being great, just isnt achievable for me, and nor do I need it to be.





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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 1288
    edited June 2021

    How do you mean, "stereo imaging"? Do you play in stereo or mono? Headphones will be fine with both :-)

    I play dual amps panned L and R with a TC Mimiq at the end of the board feeding the amps, plus the Line out of the amps feeding stereo FX In a GT Core (kill dry).

    Those all get IR'd up in the DAW.

    Would like to have a better idea of where stuff is sitting, because it sounds good on the Monitors but way too wide through ear buds etc.

    TBH, headphones seem a more interesting buy than rockwool

    That being said, @Musicwolf ,@poopot ;;; and @spark240 ;;; , I could prob manage some DIY to that level.

    Would curtains on the window directly behind me help any?

    @paulmapp8306 really just for my own enjoyment, the odd soundcloud track ,and the odd YT demo. I hear a lot of mixed That sound good to me produced from more basic equipment than I have in terms of monitors and room treatment. Would just like to polish things a but more.
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  • spark240spark240 Frets: 1790
    @tekbow - yes the curtains would help mildly...anything to minimise reflection of the hard surface will be a benefit I reckon.

    FWIW I mix most of my stuff on cans ...I have HS7 monitors and I like them but I dont rely on them solely for mixing.


    Mac Mini i7, 2.3Ghz.
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  • tekbow said:

    How do you mean, "stereo imaging"? Do you play in stereo or mono? Headphones will be fine with both :-)

    I play dual amps panned L and R with a TC Mimiq at the end of the board feeding the amps, plus the Line out of the amps feeding stereo FX In a GT Core (kill dry).

    Those all get IR'd up in the DAW.

    Would like to have a better idea of where stuff is sitting, because it sounds good on the Monitors but way too wide through ear buds etc.

    TBH, headphones seem a more interesting buy than rockwool

    That being said, @Musicwolf ,@poopot ;;; and @spark240 ;;; , I could prob manage some DIY to that level.

    Would curtains on the window directly behind me help any?

    @paulmapp8306 really just for my own enjoyment, the odd soundcloud track ,and the odd YT demo. I hear a lot of mixed That sound good to me produced from more basic equipment than I have in terms of monitors and room treatment. Would just like to polish things a but more.

    So, if you're monitoring through the DAW, then you have full control over the stereo field and you can manage the placement of each within the stereo field. Sorry, I'm misunderstanding and I apologise for that, but you don't need to hard pan each of them if you're going through the DAW, you have more granular control than that - but you likely already know that and I'm misunderstanding your need.

    I've gone through this pain a number of times and would gladly help you with anything you need to know, so please feel free to ask any questions you like and I'll try my best to help. I'm passionate about this sort of stuff, so it's no bother :-)
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 1288
    I think I've formed a partial plan to go forward. Positioning of treatment, homemade or otherwise is still a bit of a mystery. I note many don't try to cover entire walls?

    Any views on the black corrugated foam panels (Donner?) that can be had for reasonable money on Amazon?
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  • Not worth the money, IMO, mate. Will do next to nothing toward helping the issue, unfortunately. I know that's not what you want to hear though, sorry! :-(

    Regarding positioning. Your listening position is key. So I sit by my desk when I play guitar, so the theory goes that if you get your mrs to hold a mirror on the wall to your left and position so that you can mark on the wall where you begin to see the reflection of the left monitor (you'll have to stay in position whilst she moves it around - it'll be somewhere in the middle of you and the monitor, I guess) - that's where the left one should go. Same for the right hand side. And theoretically the same should be done on the ceiling too.

    You room has 12 corners not 4...where the walls meet, where the ceiling meets the walls and where the walls meet the floor...each of those corners will trap certain frequencies, usually bass. So the more bass treatment you have in each corner the better. However, most get by with treatment behind the monitors and in the corners to your left and right (in front and behind).

    Then what's left is treatment on the wall behind you to stop reflections bouncing back toward your head.

    It's a lot to take in...simplest approach is a nice set of headphones to start off with then build up to learn about what it is you want to achieve with room acoustic treatment.
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  • spark240spark240 Frets: 1790
    tekbow said:
    I think I've formed a partial plan to go forward. Positioning of treatment, homemade or otherwise is still a bit of a mystery. I note many don't try to cover entire walls?

    Any views on the black corrugated foam panels (Donner?) that can be had for reasonable money on Amazon?
    They do very little other than take up some high frequency in my experience….you don’t need all walls covered, a few placed panels will make much more of difference…there’s ususalg some crop up on eBay or market place regularly 


    Mac Mini i7, 2.3Ghz.
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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 2456

    As per the last couple of posts - do not waste your money on foam products from ebay. 

    The way that absorbers work is that they convert the Kinetic Energy of the moving air molecules into Thermal Energy (the absorbers heat up by minute amounts).  To do this you need dense mineral wool (Rockwool RW3 is 60kgm-3) and it is most effective at a position where the air is moving fastest, that means ¼ wavelength away from a wall.  Wavelength is inversely proportional to frequency (lowest notes have the longest wavelength) so, in order to tame the bass, you need very thick absorbers / spaced far from the wall.

    A frequency of 250Hz would have a wavelength of 2.28m which means that ¼ wavelength is 570mm (2 foot).  A typical DIY absorber might be 100mm Rockwool spaced 100mm from the wall (200mm total).  That’s still too skinny to really tame the low end, hence the need to check on headphones, but it still improves things considerably.  A couple of inches of foam is going to do bugger all.  In fact, because it will kill the high frequencies without toughing the lows / mids, it will probably make the room sound ‘boxy’.

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  • @Musicwolf is there much difference between RW3 and RW5? and why do you opt for RW3 over RW5 which I've read traps more frequencies? Many thanks for your time, and sorry to hijack!
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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 2456
    @Musicwolf is there much difference between RW3 and RW5? and why do you opt for RW3 over RW5 which I've read traps more frequencies? Many thanks for your time, and sorry to hijack!

    RW5 (100kgm-3) is probably of benefit in a sound 'proofing' application.  Readers – please note that sound proofing and acoustic treatment are different things, even if some of the materials are the same.  Acoustic panels will not do anything to prevent sound from escaping from the room.  For absorbers there is very little difference in the behaviour as you need the wave to penetrate the panel in order to be absorbed.

    Mineral wool is effectively sold by weight, so it’s really a matter of value for money.  RW3 is stiff enough to be self-supporting when used in panels.

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