Having an echo when you play and record music can be frustrating, and there’s no real way around it.
You need to get rid of it. Luckily, there are some important and easy ways in which you can reduce the echo that’s being produced in your home studio.
What are some things that can cause echoes in your studio?
Structures such as high ceilings and any surfaces that reflect sounds, such as stone, tiles, and class, can cause echoes to be produced in your music studio.
Although you can’t always break down walls and change the structure of your music studio, you can find ways to combat echoes so that only music and the sounds you want to get produced in your studio.
Here are some important tips.
Fill The Space With Carpets
One of the easiest ways to combat echoes is to create padding on the floors.
This absorbs the sound that can bounce off hardwood or tiles. The thicker the carpet, the better!
The best option is to use wall-to-wall carpeting as this will ensure that your floors are completely covered, although it’s obviously more expensive than buying rugs.
Be Smart About Furniture
You might think to fill the space with more furniture, such as tables and chairs, will help to block out echoes, but these are usually made of metal or wood that won’t really do much to achieve your goal.
In fact, such materials can actually cause the sound to reflect on them more. You should bring softer pieces into your home studios, such as in the form of large cushions and beanbags.
Cover The Windows
Glass can be a nightmare in a studio because it reflects sound, so you want to cover up your windows as much as possible.
Use heavy curtains and even draperies that run all the way to the floor as these will help to reduce and muffle sounds.
If you have metal blinds in your studio, replace them with fabric blinds to prevent the sound from bouncing off hard surfaces.
Make Use Of Blankets
Thick, soft blankets can work well to absorb sound and you can use them in a variety of creative ways, such as by draping them over the furniture when recording or using them as throws.
You could even put them on the wall in the form of tapestries. Some musicians actually use blankets when they record themselves singing.
They’ll cover themselves and their microphones in blankets so that the mic only records their voice and doesn’t allow echoes or other interferences into the recordings.
How To Deal With High Ceilings
Your high ceilings might look lovely in your home studio, but they make it even easier for the sound you produce to travel around and echo.
When figuring out how to reduce echo in a room, high ceilings are difficult to work around, so you should make sure that the other surfaces in your home studio aren’t creating echoes.
So for instance, your floors could be cork instead of wood. This can counteract the problem of high ceilings.
Hang Acoustic Foam
Acoustic foam is a great solution to absorb sound before it can become an echo.
It can be hung on walls to absorb any sounds that would usually bounce off them because it’s porous material.
How acoustic foam works is that it’s made of polyurethane materials such as polyester. These contain small cells in them that are seen across the surface.
Now, when the music hits the acoustic foam, it will become trapped in those cells.
The sound waves have to move and bounce around a lot before they can extricate themselves from those cells and by that time they will have lost a large amount of energy.
You can buy acoustic foam online or at a hardware store, and these foam panels can be placed on walls and even ceilings. They tend to be one or two inches thick.
You can get different quantities of panels in a pack – some come in a pack of six or 12, for example, which is great if you want to cover up lots of surfaces in your studio.
Bring Plants Into The Room
If you have big potted plants that can thrive indoors, bring them into your studio.
It might sound strange, but these can help to create a buffer against sound waves, reducing echo. Think of them as soft furniture we were talking about earlier, but prettier.
To maximize the effect of the plants, make sure they’re big with large leaves to better absorb the sound waves.
Use Sound-Dampening Floor Underlays
These are basically put underneath your flooring to better absorb sound, but they do require a lot more work than simply throwing down some rugs or putting blankets on the wall.
However, you can place them underneath your carpets.
How Shotgun Microphones Work To Reduce Echo
The type of equipment you use in your recording studio can also help when you’re working on how to reduce echo in a room.
A good example is the shotgun microphone.
A shotgun microphone is basically a long microphone that has been designed to look like the barrel of a shotgun.
It gets placed in front of the person who’s singing or playing an instrument so that it will pick up sounds directly from them.
By doing this, it also means that it won’t pick up sounds from the side or back, so you won’t have to worry about noise interference and echoes being produced around you.
Why Echoes Are Bad In Music Recording
The thing about echoes is that they can decrease the quality of your sound.
An echo can be defined as a reflection of sound and it arrives at the listener with a delay. This disrupts the sound you’re recording, so you want to eliminate echoes as much as possible.
In addition, it’s always a good idea to invest in some good room acoustics.
You can have the best recording equipment in your studio but if you have poor acoustics, then nothing will be able to make up for that.
Musicians speak of a studio that’s “live” or “dead.” These are important terms that apply to the acoustics of the room.
If a room is “live” it is filled with hard surfaces that reflect the sound too much. A “dead” room, on the other hand, is one that absorbs too much sound.
This is a conundrum you might face. How do you prevent echoes in your studio without creating a room that absorbs all the sounds you produce?
The important thing is to focus on having some reflective and absorptive surfaces in the room by adopting some of the tips in this article, such as using carpets and tapestries.
You could also use foam panels on the walls.
But don’t go too crazy as that can dull the sound you produce in your studio.
When it comes to covering your walls, the average home studio will need to have about 30 to 40 percent of its surface covered, but to get a more precise calculation based on your specific studio, multiply the room’s length by its height.
Then divide that number by three.
Focus on avoiding symmetry as this is an important tip when tuning the acoustics of a room.
Two walls facing each other is problematic because the sounds will bounce off them, so pad one of the walls to break the pattern.
You should also try to work around the room if it’s length and height are exactly the same. Try to design your room a bit asymmetrically so that the sound will be able to move around in a different way.
What room will create the most reflection and distortion of sound waves?
Small rooms that are shaped like a cube will create the most distortion, while larger and asymmetrical rooms will have more resonant frequencies.
This means that you’ll have less distortion, as wikiHow reports.
Should I use headphones?
If your room is still giving you trouble after you’ve applied acoustic treatments to it, it could be a good idea to use headphones when recording music.
This will help you see what sound you’re producing without external noise getting in the way. It can also help you spot if your acoustics are off.
If you want to produce music in your studio, you’ll have to make sure you manage the echoes properly.
This entails the use of products and materials to absorb sound. As outlined in this article, there are many ways in which you can absorb sound to prevent echoes.
However, it’s important to strike the right balance between a “live” and “dead” room so that you get good sound quality.