Updated: Apr 1, 2020
I’ve worked in rooms that were acoustically treated by world-renowned acousticians, I’ve also mixed with terrible headphones and laptop speakers. I’m writing this because all of the material you find on the subject will tell you that you can’t mix properly unless you have a room that’s built for it. I’m here to tell you...that’s not necessarily true. But if you want to, I’ve got some great tips to treat your home studio.
The Ideal Control Room
Dimensions for a recording studio control room should be 17 1/2 feet wide x 10-foot-tall x 23-foot long
Use the proper materials when building or adding onto your walls such as; Auralex Sheetblok, resilient channels and rock wool
Treat the inside of the room with acoustic clouds, bass traps, diffusers and absorption. It's important to research what each one of these tools are used for.
Why do you want to treat your room?
Most people think acoustic treatment and soundproofing are the same. THEY ARE NOT. If you spend a few hundred bucks on a room treatment kit, chances are it’s some thin sheets of foam that will absorb some mid-high frequency and will hopefully make your room sound a bit better by controlling some reflections but will do very little for soundproofing. Are you trying to improve the accuracy of sound in your room or are you trying to soundproof your room?
Here's some of my thoughts behind the importance of treating your room. People have made millions of dollars and toured the world on private jets because of tracks they made using FL Studio in the upstairs bedroom of their parents house. My friend Phil mixed a song that has 2.5 Billion (with a B) hits on YouTube using headphones and it sounds great! The point of spending all this money on acoustic treatment is to accurately hear the music. Giving you the ability to mix quickly and efficiently without having to bounce back and forth between your car and the control room (even though everyone still does that anyway). So no, you absolutely don’t need to treat your room to mix your own music. But it sure does help if you can!
In my situation, I wanted to acoustically treated and soundproof my room.. After years of trial and error, I’ve found a combination of materials to both soundproof and treat my home studio. The basic treatment of a home studio control room is absorption behind your monitors, diffusion in front of your monitors, bass traps to control the low frequency buildup in the corners of the room, rock wool to control the low frequencies. Packing blankets do a great job to control the mid-high frequencies and help soundproof the room. Sound absorption pads for the floors that you can cover with carpet or a rug and a great pair of studio monitors. Sweetwater has a great article on it here. And here are a few links to some recommended products...
Primacoustic London 16 Pack - This is a great kit to start with. The price is high but it is a great quality pack that helps with all of the aspects listed above.
All of this applies mainly to your mixing space (control room) and would change for a tracking room and especially change for a vocal booth.