Anyone who’s taken on the task of building, or just setting up, a music production space, knows that the room’s effect on the sound has to be addressed, to make sure it doesn’t get in the way of accurate, effective monitoring. Room reflections—both low-frequency Standing Waves (which create pockets of irregular bass response throughout the space), and mid- and high-frequency reflections (which can cloud the sound from the monitors with phase interference)—both need to be eliminated or minimized—or at the very least, avoided—to ensure that the sound in the room can be trusted for the critical decision-making work of recording, mixing, and mastering.
But reflections—especially mid-and high-frequency reflections—are not always a bad thing. They also make up the necessary ambience of the space—the “liveness” that makes a room suitable for musical activity. As any studio designer knows, when you treat the room with absorptive materials (those familiar foam panels) you have to make sure not to overdo it, and deaden the space too much. A completely dead room is an “anechoic chamber”—a good place for testing things like speaker response—but an overly deadened studio not only won’t support the music properly, but will be so unlike normal listening spaces as to be a completely unsuitable environment for making or mixing music.
In this video tutorial from the complete course, 10 Common Studio Design Mistakes, Joe Albano explains how bass reflections can cause a problem in your room and therefore in your mixes… and explores ways to deal with them effectively:
The rest of the 10 Common Studio Design Mistakes course delves into more “Don’ts”—suggestions of things to avoid and alternative approaches and “best practices”—when it comes to the critical job of setting up the production environment.