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Treating high-ceiling room in rental house

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Treating high-ceiling room in rental house

Postby doctormelodious » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:35 pm

Greetings,

In the house I am about to rent, the bonus room I will be using for my studio has high ceilings and, in its current empty state, has a pretty harsh echo. This iPhone recording doesn't entirely do it justice. It actually sounds like a multi-tap delay.

I would most appreciate any suggestions for taming this beast. The critical factor is that I'm renting, so I need to do it in a way that leaves no discernible marks. Pics below.

Thanks!
DM

Image

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Re: Treating high-ceiling room in rental house

Postby mjc » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:38 pm

Bare walls and floors are likely giving you flutter echo. It will sound quite different with furniture and stuff in there. Set up the room the way you plan to use it then fill up with soft furnishings, bookshelves, rugs and see how it sounds. It will be very different.
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Re: Treating high-ceiling room in rental house

Postby doctormelodious » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:18 pm

Hi mjc,

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I do take into consideration the fact that it will be different with all my stuff in there. I'm just looking for ideas for general purpose sound treatment that won't leave a lot of nasty souvenirs when I move out.

Perhaps some of those magical zero-gravity baffles that will just float around at ceiling level. :wink: Hey, maybe I can get a bunch of heavy-duty balloons, fill 'em with helium and wrap 'em in light fabric (something in a paisley print) and let 'em loose. Of course, I would need a canister of helium for when they started to sink. Also, every time the heat/AC came on, the air currents would cause the balloons to move, thus constantly altering the acoustics of the room.

Actually, this could be a secret hit-making formula! Please don't tell anyone, okay?

:shock:

Props,
DM
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Re: Treating high-ceiling room in rental house

Postby Gravity Jim » Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:22 pm

You can effectively fix acoustical foam (like Auralex) to a wall by shooting staples from a gun into the foam at its thinnest points (in between the peaks). I did this in my last house, and when I removed the foam and staples, it left nothing but dozens of tiny holes that could be spackled in seconds and covered with a coat of paint. Send a detailed drawing of the room, including way furniture will be in it, to the guys at Auralex and they'll use their computer to he figure out where you should put the foam (and no, they won't try to sell you a ton more than you need).
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Re: Treating high-ceiling room in rental house

Postby AnthonyS » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:02 pm

There are definitely alternatives to gluing the foam directly to the wall. You could glue the Auralex (or other foam absorbers) to peg board or thin sheets of MDF, and then hang them on the walls.This way you can take them with you wherever you go, and the damage to the walls isn't that great. Kind of like hanging pictures.

I also read in Sound on Sound magazine that they glue CD-R's to the foam and hang them that way.
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Re: Treating high-ceiling room in rental house

Postby mjc » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:37 pm

Well OK, I'd still start by filling up the room with furnishings then playing some music at various levels to see what pops out. Too much bass? Piercing highs? Reflected sounds off some surfaces? Long reverb times? Each needs a different sort of teatment, but some ideas for not leaving marks include: sheets of hardboard (masonite?) with acoustic foam glued to them. Lean these against a wall. Acoustic grade Rockwool can be wrapped in hessian or other cheap fabrics and make reasonable bass traps. Duvets hung from hooks or suspended on a frame (mic stand or lighting stand) can cut down the high end. Your room is a non-standard shape so you may need several different treatments. I recommend the Sound On Sound Forums and articles for a DIY approach to the problem. Auralex is good stuff, but maybe a little pricey for a rental place?

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Re: Treating high-ceiling room in rental house

Postby doctormelodious » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:54 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, folks. My biggest concern is the ceiling. I've done the stapling thing before -- though with cut mattress topper, not Auralex -- and it occurs to me that, since this ceiling has that popcorn texture stuff, the tiny staple holes would not be noticeable.

Again, thanks!
DM
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Re: Treating high-ceiling room in rental house

Postby doctormelodious » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:25 pm

mjc,

Will check out the Sound On Sound Forums as well.

Thanks!
DM
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Re: Treating high-ceiling room in rental house

Postby mjc » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:20 am

doctormelodious wrote:since this ceiling has that popcorn texture stuff, the tiny staple holes would not be noticeable.


If the popcorn texture is textured plasterwork, then yes. If its an applied surface such as textured paper, then the popcorn is fresh air below the surface, and won't bear any weight. You could instead screw small hooks into the ceiling. The holes won't be much bigger and are easily covered when you are moving out, but the hooks will bite into the structure of the ceiling and hold more weight. Even a duvet turns out to be quite heavy when suspended from the ceiling, so I found! Good luck.

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Re: Treating high-ceiling room in rental house

Postby doctormelodious » Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:49 pm

mjc wrote:If the popcorn texture is textured plasterwork, then yes. If its an applied surface such as textured paper, then the popcorn is fresh air below the surface, and won't bear any weight.


Good point. Will know soon enough. Moving 5/1. :D
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Re: Treating high-ceiling room in rental house

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Re: Treating high-ceiling room in rental house

Postby Prime Mover » Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:10 am

I've made bats of OC703 and hung them from eye hooks on my walls/ceilings. Yes, these leave a mark, but if it's that textured speckle stuff, you could EASILY putty/paint it over... white putty could even save you painting it.

Fact is, there's no way of securely attaching treatment to surfaces without leaving some kind of mark. It might be more conducive to find solutions that are easy to mask or clean up later, like putty or paint. You'll probably spend less time doing that then trying to figure out, and do some thing that will not leave a mark. And, you'll then have the wide world of DIY treatment solutions at your fingers, instead of having to make do with certain things.

For one, forget foam. Foam is crap, for the most part. It's okay for radio and TV studios where you're mostly concerned about treating mids and highs... human speaking voice register. TV and Radio make up a large majority of the things that require sound treatment, which is why foam is so popular, and how Auralex legitimately makes its millions. But for music recording studios, you want options that reach way lower into the bass frequencies. As someone suggested earlier, Rockwool, or fiberboard such as OC703 does a far better job of controlling lower frequencies. And because it's not specifically designed for high-profit industries, it's a lot cheaper than Auralex foam, even though it's vastly superior. The only down side is that you'll want to frame and cover it yourself, with fabric, which is a bit of a task.

Look into what you want to control. More mass = lower frequencies, but not necessarily much greater absorption of higher frequencies. If you're getting a lot of mid-range slap, then you just want to worry about coverage. 2" fiberboard or rockwool will be fine. Don't needlessly cover your walls with 4"-6" bass traps. Traps are best done in corners, anyway. Foam may even suffice. But high-frequency absorption like foam can actually make a room worse too, if you're not careful: deadening the high frequencies, while leaving the bass to run rampant.

GearSlutz also has a pretty good forum on treatment as well, if you have any questions. I always take what they say on other things with a large grain of salt, but the acoustic treatment section is pretty solid.
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