Acoustic treatment can be a ridiculously confusing topic.

If you’re just starting out with recording, acoustic treatment might be the last thing on your mind. After all, you’re trying to figure out microphones, interfaces, EQ, compression, etc.

Speaking from personal experience, I wish I had gotten acoustic treatment for my studio much sooner than I did. Recording and mixing without acoustic treatment is similar to playing golf with really cheap clubs. You might be able to put together a decent round, but you’re constantly limited by the capabilities of your equipment.

Without acoustic treatment, you’re constantly limited by the capabilities of your room. (More on this below.)

I talked about the need for acoustic treatment on Day 4 of 31 Days to Better Recordings. If you haven’t read that article, do so. It’s important that you know why you need acoustic treatment.

2 Acoustic Treatment Myths

Yesterday I emailed my newsletter subscribers about acoustic treatment. I simply asked them if they had any treatment. I got a TON of replies, and among the responses I noticed a few things that bothered me.

It reminded me of all the myths out there that surround acoustic treatment. Here are a few of the responses I got.

Being new to the whole recording stuff, I’ve not attempted mic recording yet. I have seen alot of topics on this subject, so must be a key element of good recordings.

And this one:

Since all my stuff is written via sample and soft synth the only accommodations I need to make is for vocals and for that I throw the kid in the closet and do the best with what comes out…:)

These two responses represent one of the misconceptions I see in a lot of new home studio owners. They are under the impression that acoustic treatment only helps the recording process.

While acoustic treatment DOES make the actual recordings sound better, it is just as important (if not MORE important) to the mixing process.

The sound is coming out of your speakers, then bouncing around your room. Your room is then altering the sound, oftentimes dramatically.

Takeaway point: Acoustic treatment helps you get better mixes.

Here’s another response I got:

The only acoustic treatment, i will ever need, as long as I’m a home-recordler, and dont have somebody to build a studio professionally from scratch… is the IK MULTIMEDIA ARC…Believe me, when i compare my monitors with the ARC on, to my Audio-Technica ATH-M50, I hear pretty much exactly the same sound.

I am a musician, not a robo-engineer, so if the ARC gets me 95% (or more) there, i prefer to not spend thousands of euro, and huge stress to get on the technical-scientific side of things, and do room treatments.

I wrote an article on this a few months back. (See Acoustic Treatment vs Digital Room Correction.)

The problem here is that IK’s Arc software creates an EQ curve to compensate for the room. Unfortunately, most acoustical issues can’t be completely fixed with EQ. (Your room could be causing a 45 dB dip at certain frequencies. An EQ can’t fix that.)

While this technology is FANTASTIC, and it can be found in studio monitors as well, there’s really no replacement for acoustic treatment. I recommend digital room correction as an add-on to your acoustically-treated room…not a replacement.

Acoustic treatment can address issues in both the frequency domain AND the time domain.

Still a bit confused?

That’s understandable. That’s why I’m launching a brand new training course this week. It’ll be something I’ve never done before, and it will give you all the ammo you need to tackle your room’s acoustical issues.

I’ll be telling my newsletter subscribers about it first. (One of the perks of being a subscriber.) If you want to be the first to know about it, sign up here.

[Photo by SAN_DRINO]