Can a studio room be too dead?

Just moved and have to set up my studio again. I’m planning on the corners have floor to ceiling bass traps and thought as this time its not a large space I would cover all the walls floor to ceiling with waffle sound absorbing material ( I admit for aesthetic purposes) however then I wondered if a room can have too much sound absorbing material?

I think it’ll sound really unnatural if you absorb everything. Maybe use diffusors instead of absorbtion?

Agreed, but bass traps are very important and can make quite a difference.

Aloha J,

As a rule of thumb I always try to capture some room sound
but I have been places where the room just does not sound very good.

If that is the case, IMHO it’s better to go for a completely dead sound
and create the room(s) electronically.

Reason being if you end up recording some strange resonances/frequencies
in your tracks, you may never completely get them out.

So ask yourself.
Does your new room sound good,
or bad or somewhere in-between?



Exactly! +1

Check out: ‘how to build a small budget recording studio from scratch 4th edition (I have the 3rd edition, kind of confusing, but helped me get my coefficients worked out.

There are two side to acoustics; containment and control of sound waves.

It’s worth doing the research before spending the money. There are some basic rules regarding acoustics and if you disregard them, you can create a problem as well solve one.

I used a basic layout from John Sayers that did the trick for me, was fun to build and works great. My room is 14’ x 12’ , took 15 bails of rock wool, have recorded, guitars amp’d, live drums, horns, violins, voice and mix all in the same room. The room has a STC of about 70db.

Small rooms work different than bigger rooms. Small rooms need absorption. Diffusion, polys etc work great but a bigger room is needed.

Reality: A friend of mine did extremely well in the jingle business. I visited his studio a few years back and it was an odd room, like it didn’t matter to him, the DAW was set to the side of the room, the room was maybe 20 x 30’?, he told me that he and an engineer thought it sounded a little bassey, so he put up a couple polys, kind of willy-nilly and that was it, done. I told him about my great new found knowledge of acoustics that I used to build out my room, and he laughed (bastard) and said “all it really takes is TALENT!”(Bastard) :astonished: :stuck_out_tongue:



Thanks everyone for chiming in. Good information here.thanks for the links John check them tonight. Cheers! :slight_smile:

It depends! Are you mixing, mastering or recording?

For mixing / mastering, a room can never be dead enough IMHO. Direct sound only is the goal…
For recording certain acoustic instruments in, some room sound is good (especially drums). But it has to be a “nice” sounding room otherwise it can be counter productive.

Either way, I’d suggest as much bass trapping as you can practically fit into the room, wherever there’s a right angle between reflective surfaces, ie along tops of walls where they meet the ceiling, the vertical corners of room (where walls meet adjacent walls ) and where walls meet the floor (this one’s not so practical, as it eats into your floor space).

more info here:

You ever been in a proper anechoic chamber?

My dayjob took me on a visit to the design centre of one of the major brand electronics manufacturers just outside Tokyo several years back. As part of the facility tour they took us on, I went into their big speaker measurement anechoic chamber, and they closed the doors.

It was just plain weird.

Like being deep in a still forrest after a massive snowfall with your head stuffed in a big bag of feathers. Except without all the echo you’d get with that.

Last place I’d want to mix in.

I’ve been into one or two pretty decent control rooms, and they vibe I got from the acoustics was just very natural and open sounding.

I’d agree that in small rooms you cant have too much bass trapping, lower mids up are easier to deal with but probably shouldn’t be over killed.

You don’t want it dead. You do want to be able to control your sound, however. Make a couple gobo’s or baffles and use them when the sound coming into your DAW seems to be to roomy

Thanks very much everyone! Very helpful links and info. The room will be used for recording/tracking and mixing.

Dead due to a lack of business, that’s a different story! :wink:

Unless it’s ‘Greatfull’ :unamused:

Here I have broad band absorbers flanking the mix position, 4" absorption cloud overhead, absorber behind the desk for SBI and a huge broad band/bass trap absorber across the back wall with a big fluffy couch for extra absorption of the bass in the rear of the room. The room is more dead than live. The sweet spot in mix position is relatively small and I found I had to mix effects and reverbs a little hotter as a result of the room being more dead than live. I’ve been and mixed in totally dead rooms and really live rooms too. I could mix in all of them, but you have to know the room and how it translates to the outside world.

If I was to calculate it, my room would be 70% absorption 30% reflective surface. Add the equipment racks to that for another 5% reflection. I was going to do slot wall over top of the flanking broad-band absorbers but never got around to doing it. The room is really dead compared to all the other rooms I have mixed in but one, but having mixed in it for years, translation is fine.

That is the key. Once you change things up, you have to start all over re-training your brain and ears.

predicatable acoustics are for sissies.

Yeah, better mixing inside a hollow 12 foot concrete cube… :laughing:

Yeah, like the tail of a Godzilla statue!

You’re not coming down with another flu are you…