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I am curious of anyone has any alternative ideas to standard/typical sound proofing. Currently I do not feel like constructing anything elaborate and I really can't do to much were I live. Noise isn't to much of a problem.. Mostly just soundproofing to remove echos from recording. You think a thick sheet maybe of fleece or something dense could act as a breakaway if I strung it up somewhere about 1-2 inches away from the wall. Do you think it would function to do this purpose?

  • You might want to consider egg boxes but you would need a lot to cover all the walls. – badjohn Apr 12 '17 at 22:01
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    @badjohn Egg boxes don't do much to absorb and instead act more as diffusers. Whether they improve the sound, make it worse, or make hardly any difference will be a matter of the exact construction and shape, room size and shape, and so many other parameters it really comes down to a shot in the dark. It could be a lot of work putting them up only to find things got worse for it. – Todd Wilcox Apr 13 '17 at 0:01
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    I've found egg boxes to be mostly useless. Not dense enough and the indents aren't deep enough to noticeable diffusion. If you paint them they look cool though. – Alphonso Balvenie Apr 13 '17 at 2:03
  • @ToddWilcox Good points. I only suggested it since I got the impression that Soldier's priorities were cheap ahead of effective. I wonder how expensive the spiky foam used in studios is. Another possibly cheap but not necessarily effective idea might be heat insulation foam. No guarantees here, just suggesting possibly cheap solutions. – badjohn Apr 13 '17 at 7:47
  • @badjohn I have one of the auralex kits and it did cost money but less than a decent guitar. One upside to products designed for treatment is they will definitely have an effect and maybe more importantly they will be more fire retardant and produce less toxic smoke in the event of a fire. Some diy found object acoustic treatment will mostly just turn the space into a death trap in the event of a fire. Personally, good sound isn't worth my life. – Todd Wilcox Apr 13 '17 at 11:38
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Just FYI, you're looking for sound treatment and not sound proofing. Sound proofing stops transmission in and out of the room while treatment is controlling the reflections inside.

Most material will work to simply tame reflections and deaden the room. As Alphonso said, the denser the material you get the more absorption you'll get and yeah a thin bed sheet might not help much. So the question is: how dead do you want it?

Also, you may want to look into selectively treating certain parts of the room if you are using this room for monitoring/mixing. For instance it's common to use bass traps in the corners to fix problems especially in smaller rooms. Check out "Foamily" sound treatment foam on Amazon for some cheaper options than Auralex.

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  • Another problem with using random items for acoustic treatment is you have no control or even knowledge of how they will affect different frequencies. So some treatment might merely create a narrow range of reflected frequencies that sounds worse than broadband reflection. – Todd Wilcox Apr 12 '17 at 23:59
  • I want it honestly as dead as possible. I am in a small room as is. I assume I will probably have to treat a fair portion of the room. I want to be excessively dry as possible to start as I am doing vocals and would prefer an uncolored input so I can build presence for vocal via effects post later. – 1911 Soldier Apr 13 '17 at 13:00
  • Thick blankets work very well. Fiberglass insulation doesn't work at all. If you want to use sheets you will want multiple layers, essentially building your own blanket. – SDsolar Apr 13 '17 at 18:57
  • An odd thing to try is installing a decent overhead fan that is on the larger size for the room. Running one at low speed seems to neutralize harsh enharmonics without interfering with tone quality. – Francis Phillips Jan 23 at 18:28
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Sheets will not be heavy weight enough. You are trying to stop pulses through air, so the denser the material the more effective it will be. It is the mass of the fabric you are looking for, not the thickness.

Heavy weight velvet curtain material such as you find in theaters can make a difference for high end reflections. Heavy satin can also work.

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  • Ok. I will consider this. Something easy to hang might be a good solution. – 1911 Soldier Apr 13 '17 at 12:52
  • Thick blankets. – SDsolar Apr 13 '17 at 18:58
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    blankets generally aren't dense enough. Since blankets are for temperature insulation, they have low density and high air space (the way things like styrofoam works). This does not stop sound waves very well. – Alphonso Balvenie Apr 13 '17 at 19:21
  • What about fleece blankets? Fleece blankets are heavy. Like the think fleece maybe. – 1911 Soldier Apr 14 '17 at 12:16
  • lightweight fabric and fluffy stuff like fleece will reduce high frequency "slap" reflections, but do not help with early reflection nor create any diffusion. High density treatments in reflection nodes are what you need for absorption and diffusion. A quick search found this article with good info. Is for stereo system setup, but same principles:arqen.com/acoustics-101/reflection-free-zone – Alphonso Balvenie Apr 14 '17 at 18:41
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  1. This is a good site: http://johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/index.php and John's recording manual is available free.
  2. You can buy little enclosures (miniature screens on a stand) that sit to the front and sides of the microphone. They create a little 'studio' 600mmx600mmx600mm so you don't need to treat the whole room.
  3. If you put sound treatment on one spot on a wall you can get away without using it in the corresponding place on the opposite wall. If you follow this principle you can save money by 'staggering' your foam panels.
  4. Get some foam traps for the (four?) corners where walls meet the ceiling.
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I recommend buying a mattress topper for cheap - the ones with the bumps like acoustic foam as they're cheap and work well.

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Many good suggestions already given, let me add one point I didn't see made yet: Absorbing lower frequencies requires more mass than higher frequencies.

In practice this means that if, for example, you hang light or medium-weight draping on the walls, the higher frequencies will be absorbed and won't bounce around so much, but the lower frequencies will continue to boom around.

This means that to have a good sounding room over the whole spectrum, one must use heavy absorbing objects. Think heavy stuffed chairs, sofas, heavy curtains -- which is what you often see in well designed concert halls, theaters, etc.

To get an idea of how important this is, and how much difference it makes, compare the sound of an orchestra or a film score when the hall is empty with when the hall is full of people. Even though the people only cover one small portion or the entire area of all the surfaces of the hall, the mass of all those bodies absorbs a lot of the sound that would be otherwise bouncing around, especially the lower frequencies, which are the hardest to stop.

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