Shop Talk: Sonic Treatments

I’ve been working on a full-length album as of late and I’m doing everything I can to not only make the songs great, but also to make the sound as professional as possible. I usually do ‘okay’ as far as sound quality. My songs sound great on headphones, but generally fall a little short when played on big systems. One thing I’d like to do is add some treatment to the room I record in.

When I mix using my monitors, the sound comes out of the speakers and bounces off all the walls in my room. This makes it nearly impossible to hear the direct signal coming out of the speakers. This problem can contribute to ‘muddy’ mixes especially in the low-mid range of the frequency spectrum.

There’s a company called Primeacoustic that sells a kit for rooms about the size of mine. It includes wall-mountable panels that are designed to minimize sound wave reflection off the walls, and solve problems associated with excessive bass. All this provides for a more pristine listening environment that allows me to make better decisions when mixing, which allows the mix to sound better across a wide variety of sound systems.

There is an example of this Primeacoustic kit at work in a room about the size of mine. Apart from a small issue (the window on the left is a little too close to the back wall and may keep me from mounting the back left bass trap), the kit could work for me.

I’ve reached out to the engineers at Primeacoustic and given them the floor plan of my room (above) and asked if they could help me design a custom solution, or to see if there’s a workaround for mounting the bass trap despite the window being in the way. Ideally, the panels will end up looking something like this:

The kit runs about $750 but I think it’s time I invest in a decent sounding room. In addition, I’ve been brushing up on production techniques such as better use of EQ and compression. I’m buying new strings for my bass (that haven’t been replaced in over a decade).

I like to think I’m good at the song-making and am working to be even better. It’s only fair to the songs that the recording quality is the best it can be.