Studio Treatment for a Split Room

Not sure if this is the right section, I haven’t been on here since it was and now here I am a little confused about that, but that’s another topic haha.
Anyways, I will be moving in with my girlfriend in February, into her family house, and I am trying to make plans for my future studio in the separate “shop” building on the property.
The building as is, is about 30 feet X 20 feet, divided into a 20x20 section that is used as like a shop/multipurpose room (mostly just to store old junk) and a 10x20 section which is the hangout/office area.

My plan is to divide the 20x20 space into 2 (roughly) 10x20 spaces similar in size to the office area.
The issue is she doesn’t want to give up the giant space (that is currently used for nothing, mostly just out of “what if” “just in case” stubborness) and would prefer to not do something permanent.
My ideal solution I have mocked up on google sketchup and will include those pictures at the bottom. (apparently only 1 picture per post allowed so the other 2 will be posted separately)
It would be a partial wall (about 3/4 or 4/5 of a wall)

A heavy curtain or blanket could be hung from the 4-5 foot gap in the wall, but I think this could be a good compromise, and would definitely be better than a giant 20x20 room with a bunch of clutter in it, and somehow trying to do some amount of room treatment.

The other, less permanent options I am considering would be moving room dividers like you would see in like a church or a school or something, or just using a heavy theater/stage curtain (or two with a small air gap between) to stop reflections, and act as some sort of room treatment.

The modular walls would be something of this sort:

They already have "acoustic fabric) lined on both sides, and would help stop reflections alone, but also it wouldn’t be difficult to mount studio foam on these modular walls, so I would still be able to do this. They also come with options for door panels and window panels, so there are plenty of options. And these would be only semi-permanent, so if need be we could remove some, or all of the panels and, I guess lean them against a wall or whatever. (they are 4 foot sections so there would be no more than 5 panels for a 20 foot wall).

I’m starting to lean towards the modular wall since it would allow me to have a full wall, and would also make my girlie happy since it would allow her to open the room more if she wanted.
However, a stage curtain (or even two) would be much cheaper and easier, and if heavy enough could provide ample protection from reflections.

So basically, I just want some opinions from anyone who has experience with room treatment, what would be some benefits/drawbacks of these options, or even if something like a stage curtain would work at all.

And of course open to any suggestions as well. The google sketchup mockup is pretty exact, so you have an idea of exactly the space I’m working with, just imagine the middle half-wall not being there.

Thanks in advance to anybody who can provide me some insight on my specific situation :slight_smile:

Here’s the topdown view of the shop area:

1 Like

Here’s a more side view.
As you can see there are two interior windows that I have to work with/around, in terms of reflections and whatnot, although it will allow me to have separation between the music room, and the control room/office.

Here’s the view from the other side, you can see my attempt at acoustic paneling around the windows.
I would also like some insight on how to handle the panels on this wall in particular. Is something like this pretty much good? Or is there a better way it could be laid out?

I’m so glad you found us! Welcome back! I’ll look through this and try to answer tomorrow. It’s getting late here, but I’m sure others will answer also :slight_smile:
Just wanted to welcome you while I had a second!

Welcome brother. @holster has led us into a new day. He used to be a cop, but certain events transpired on Christmas Eve 1988 which caused him to get into audio. He was doing police work in New York, and he went to visit his wife in L.A. at her office Christmas party. The building was sealed by highly skilled Germans, one black hacker, and an Asian who’s just sort of there. Holster had gotten some information on his flight that the best way to relieve stress from air travel is to take off your shoes and socks and make fists with your toes. While these Germans were taking everyone hostage, holster managed to slip away, but did not have enough time to put his shoes back on. Luckily he was able to grab his gun, and he made his way up several floors scoping out the situation and making many failed attempts to get the attention of law enforcement.

Luckily, @BigAlRocks was a good cop that gave holster the moral support to carry on through these trying times via radio, and even saved hoslter’s life after a vengeful German appeared after everything had calmed down. Big Al’s wife was pregnant at the time with their first kid, and Al had been Twinkie binging prior to the tower being seized.

After finally getting police and later FBI attention, their valiant attempts at being macho put more lives in danger, leading holster to almost single-handedly take on these people and save the company’s money as well as his wife’s life. However, he got the crap beat out of him and a perfectly good tank top was ruined. He also got glass stuck in his foot when the Germans shot glass around him and he needed to make a hasty escape.

After retiring from the force following four unnecessary similar incidents, holster got into guitars and audio and formed this site after Recording Review shut down. That should bring you up to speed.

P.S. he’s the caretaker here. He’s always been the caretaker here.

Good to know
Glad the community is still here though.

Another even cheaper solution I’m considering, is similar to the curtain solution, but would use a carpet draped over a beam or something so that it’s doubled with the air gap in between (with the carpet side facing out on both sides).

how dead set are you on having two rooms? I personally would much rather have one large room than two small rooms. Large rooms are a lot easier to manage acoustically.

If the half wall isn’t there, then reverse them. Move the drums into the smaller rectangle room and use the bigger one as your mixing room.

If you’re insisting on using the smaller rectangle as your mixing room, shoot your monitors down the long wall. You only ever want your back against the shallower wall if there is no possible way to go long ways.

Here’s a picture of mine, and I can tell you first hand that its a FUCKING disastrous nightmare for the acoustics.

Even with a bunch of high end traps, I’m still struggling with translation problems. Believe me. You do NOT want to use that smaller room for mixing.

See the problem with this, is the fact that it’s already being used as somewhat of a shop area, and I would prefer to have part of it stay a shop area (I.e. tools like table saws, drill presses, bench grinders, might keep my dirtbike in there cause of the double doors etc.).
Basically would just be a lot of stuff I would have to work around, and more wall area means more studio foam.

That being said, after getting a quote from the modular wall site, the prices for the stuff I was looking for was ranging from 2500 to 3200 depending on which system I went with, plus an additional 600$ in shipping costs.
I then got the idea of making my own modular wall system, and just using 4 panels that have two 4X8 1/4 inch drywall panels sandwiching a frame of 2x4’s.
I already added up the costs, drew some mockups etc., and I could make an entire system of 4 walls for a little over 150$ which is pocket change compared to the modular wall system (which requires self installation anyhow).

Anyways I drew it up on sketchup as well so you can get some visual reference of what I believe to be the final decision here:

Here’s the other side of the wall you can see how it’s just a 2x4 rail along the top that keeps it from tipping over.
On the studio side, the rail is segmented to allow the walls to be inserted and removed with ease (may need to make them shorter than 2 feet depending on the attack angle needed to slip them into the rails)

Also the layout of the office room is just how it is to show what it looks like in reference to how it looks now.
I would be moving my own desk in and would Ideally have my desk in the center of one of the 10 foot wall sections, with the monitors facing down the long way.
I also don’t have a giant board like you. I have a 12 channel and would be doing most mixing on the DAW, so the majority of the space would be occupied by my desk/computer in the mixing room.

Im coming from a 10x12 or so room which is my bedroom, my band room, and my mixing room, so pretty much anything I do here will be a step up (and yes I have a drumset in my bedroom)
And my goal here is not to have some super professional studio, it’s mostly to have a band room, but having my computer in a separate room is a plus, and I would like to have it at least moderately studio treated.

I didn’t fully populate the room with models, but things that would be in there would be bass+ amp, couple guitar+ amps, PA system, dual keyboards potentially with an amp/powered PA speaker.
Part of the deal is that the current rectangular room must stay close to how it is now. Half of the file cabinets would be gone, and also the desk in the back corner would be gone (again this was just simulated “junk” that exists in the real room, for reference when showing this to my Girlfriends dad), and possibly the couch gone too, I can’t remember if he said he would be keeping that or not. But most of it is just old junk that needed to go years ago. Aside from me moving my desk and computer in there, he wants to keep that room as the hangout spot where every smokes etc. like it is currently, so drums in this room are a no go.
There’s also a skylight in both rooms. Technically there are 4 skylights, one above each room with the office having 2(on on each roof side) but the furthest room with the double doors, for whatever reason he covered the ceiling in drywall on that portion so you can’t see there is one from the inside, but it’s on the outside.
Not sure how skylights effect acoustics. Are they a potential nightmare?

Now I’m confused. Are you asking for advice on the layout?

Or are you asking for advice on type and placement of sound treatment?

If the later, given what you have said about the room, placement and treatment is a moot question. If you’re committed to the wall dimensions, buy as many high quality bass traps as you can afford and place them wherever they will fit.

Placement is completely irrelevant for my room because of the limited size, and yours is going to end up being pretty close to mine in size. 4 traps along the big wall, and 4 in the corners, vs 7 on the ceilings, and 2 in the corners, or absorption on the middle wall vs traps in the corners…none of it will matter where you place it in a room that small. And remember, traps traps traps. Get functional legitimate traps, not just foam. Simply cram it wherever it will fit.

I guess originally I was looking for solutions for the half wall. And also opinions on using carpet/blanket/heavy curtains as a divider, but slowly found from people who used carpet on the walls and whatnot that carpet, while it stops certain reflections, it leaves out the majority of frequencies and only seems to effect the high end which ends up ruining the balance of the room
At this point I’m worries about the room treatment, and placement

On the topic of bass traps, what are some you could recommend? Hopefully some that don’t break the bank but still perform as they should. Same goes for normal panelling. There’s a lot of options on Amazon, and it can be difficult to weed through the crap when you have no experience with what is crap or not

In no way shape or form will the placement of your treatment have any impact whatsoever. You either have adequate trapping or you do not.

Yes. Traps are not absorption. So important not to confuse them. It does not matter where you put traps. Your ONLY goal is to stuff as many in the space as you can possibly afford.

Again, IT DOES NOT MATTER where you place them, as the placement will have NO effect whatsoever on your sound.

Once you have traps, all 3 are a complete non factor for the acoustics.

That’s why you need traps.

GIK if you’re on a budget, RealTraps if you’re independently wealthy. I use 9" thick GIK monsters on the walls and RealTraps Corner Mondo’s in the corners.

Others can chime in with suggestions. Your rooms are too small for diffusors.


Nooooooo. Don’t screw around with that foam stuff. Well built traps provide substantial absorption.

Not only does that junk look hideously unprofessional and dated, it doesn’t work worth a shit. Go go google, and type in “Recording Studio Control Room”. Then click on ‘Images’. You will NEVER see that shit used in well designed studios. Specifically for the two reasons I just stated.

Good to know
Looking at the GIK website now, I see various styles of panels
There are basic acoustic panels then there are the diffusor/absorber

Are there any major differences between the types?

In the GIK line, The tri-traps and soffits are ideal for corners. The soffits is obviously their flagship corner unit, but its pricey and clunky. I don’t have any because I went with Real Traps for my corners. But I don’t doubt the GIK stuff is great, based on what I do have from them.

I ended with a bunch of monsters. (Those are the grey ones in the picture). But the 224’s are quite good. 5 of mine have range limiters. The range limiter option is nice (that allows some of the higher frequencies to continue to bounce around while the low frequencies are absorbed as much as possible).

My suggestions is to think of this in terms of ~controlling~ the frequencies. Not deadening them. Not killing them. The fabric of the 244’s/monsters is thick and absorbent. They dampen and absorb just like the foam, but they do it much better because the material is better suited.

The other thing GIK would tell you if you were to speak with them on the phone is that the physical design of the trap is substantial. Just throwing insulation from home depot in a wooden rectangle and slapping it on the wall isn’t making a trap.

…are the windows already installed? If not, I’d consider using a fixed window.

Yes the windows are already there, and aren’t going anywhere, but there are no other exterior windows in the room (the control room/office has a window on either side of the door, and also a window on the wall behind the couch)

That’s not true. The placement of bass traps have a pretty significant effect on how effective they are. Move them away from a wall and they are far more effective than they are if you put them against a wall, for example.