adam brown wrote:
The only tools in my hands I was ever good with were drum sticks, sadly. Gave that one up in '98.
If you're locked in on the cookie cutter thing, sorry, but you are not going to understand what I explain, most likely ever.
No, not "locked on the cookie cutter thing" at all. And I'm pretty sure I understand you. I also believe I understand what you DON'T understand, which is a knowledge of materials and their properties. If you're really not intro doing a little rudimentary cutting and glueing of wood, perhaps you can enlist the help of a friend who's "handy". These projects realy aren't difficult.
Hey look at Steve Via's place. It's way bigger than mine by far, but he has put together a space in a different way that works. Fabric mounted on panels. A loft on the side with book cases, and books. Wish I had a loft. I do have a staircase, and a hall, which some ruddy idiot put carpet on.
Materials are key, as is design. In Vai's place the fabric on the panels isn't particulary important, it really doesn't DO anything. It's what's hiding BEHIND the fabric (most likely 4 or more inches of rock wool and/or possibly some wooden diffuser arrays or maybe Helmholtz resonators) that's important. And yes,.I've seen articles about his place.
You can be pretty sure he had some professional input into the acoustical side of that homey setting, or has done a fair bit of study himself. Probably both.
You think just 1 item in a room guys.
No, I'm not. I'm actually thinking a whole lot of items in a room, none of which really do any good because the materials are ineffective for the purpose and the dimensions are wrong.
The thing is, a couple or three properly built diffusers about 4 feet square or so in the right places (they look like abstract wood sculptures) and a hald a dozen frames like Vai's that are filled with the proper thickness (generally at least 4"., sometimes more) of rock wool or high density acoustical fibereglass (for absorption) will do more for you than a whole warehouse full of Hobby7 Lobby bric-a-brack.
Somebody else suggested a couple of bookshelves - this is a good idea, as you can actually get some pretty decent diffusion using bookshelves, provided you don't stack the books in them evenly by size and randomize the arrangement properly. It helps to had read a bit about designing diffusion panels to get a basic understanding. The idea is to get a whole lot of little reflections in different directions functioning at different frequencies which, on a bookshelf, means big books mixed in with little books of different sizes, some stacked on their sides, some in a normal vertical position.. It's not as good as a couple real dioffusers and takes more space, but it can work and you can read the books, too!
Large, overstuffed furniture can sometimes provide useful absorption but it's REALLY NOT space efficient, especially in a smaller room.
Those like i said are examples. There are some 2-3-4ft square. A 4"×6"×10" anything all by itself? You must think im retarded.
Not at all.
However I do think that your knowledge of acoustics is somewhat limited.
My room is about 13ft×15ft ish, with standard 8.5ft ceiling probably, sounds nice in there as is to my ear, but in the right spot i can hear a slight distortion to sound waves. Just guessing on dimensions. I haven't been able to measure yet. I don't have the keys till January. How about a dozen, or 2 dozen, or 3 dozen select items on the wall?
Of course these are hollow. They are vessels, no matter what each is made of, most, which can hold other select materials, like 703, or whatever.
If the items on the wall are selected because they're designed to affect the acoustics in the room in the ways that are needed , sure. The odds of stuff from Hobby Lobby or a similar place doing that are roughly the same as you winning the grand prize in the state lottery, especially if you haven't studied up on the acoustic properties of different materials and how the geometry of the objects constructed of those materials affects sound. Most of the stuff from a place like HL is made of materials that are fairly transparent to sound at many frequencies. Many of the things they have also exhibit resonances which will affect sound. Resonance can be a very useful tool in sound control is understood and applied correctly for the space that is being tuned. Stuff from HL (or Sears, or whatever) is not designed with acoustic properties in mind. You need stuff that is.
Of course I can get books to read.
I strongly advise doing so. You should read them to get a general handle on the principles and problems involved. It's much less important to get into the details of the math involved unless you want to get into it professionally. However getting an understanding of the basics is key. It's like a big 3D game of pool - you have to know the angles, what happens when the little balls (or air) hit different types of surfaces, etc. A very rough analogy, hopefully it conveys the idea. When you hit the mathematical parts skim over them but read the parts that explain what's being done.
Get the RIGHT books. There are some books out there that aren't good - some mix a certain amount of good info with a fair percentage of hogwash and often a novice can get incorrect ideas because they lack trhe experience to tell the difference. I'd especially avoid books written by people who make their living selling acoustical products to non-professionals and books with the word "Expert" in the title. However Auralex gives away a small manual that explains some of the basics and they're honest enough so that anybody can recognize trhe slant and unabashewd pitches for theire products. It's no substitute for the real texts on the subject though.
In any case, I'm not so much into conformity in its entirety. I want to be versatile, very versatile, and able to be rapidly responsive to needed change. Perhaps I should get a few big rugs, a couple 7ft book shelves and call it a day.
That would be way easier probably.
Sure, versatility is good and you don;'t need to be a "conformist" as long as you're aware of the basic principles governing what you're doing.
Book shelves are definitely a better idea than Hobby Lobby kitsch. Knowing how to place the books for good acoustic results is important to how well they'll do for you.
I've been doing "guerilla acoustics" for a long time. It can be done with reasonable results - I've designed horn loaded PA subs by eye which is something people say can't be done but mine worked great. But the thing is you have to know about what you're doing pretty well to be able to "wing it" like that, and it's always better to do it the right way if you can, given the circumstances.
My current "little home studio"* has no formal acoustic treatment at all and sounds quite good, but I specifically selected the place I moved into for acoustical properties and got lucky on availability.
* - I'm only being slightly facetious - it's about 3 rooms in a flat over a bakery. One bedroom (which bears an odd resemblance to the shape of many control rooms due to a large bay window, only smaller is the control room with the console and 24 track, a smaller room adjoining it functions as a vocal booth and sometime electronics shop, plus storage, and the former living room is the live room. The only thing in the place that might be considered "real" treatment is a large office panel made of acoustical fiberglass that sits behind the drummer, mostly covering a widow. However the place has great natural acoustics - 12 foot ceilings and fancy Victorian trim in the ceiling corners that rounds out what would noremally be a hard corner and has ridged mouldings that provide a small measure of diffusion.
I don't think I'd want to track drums in a room with a lower ceiling without some sort of overhead treatment.