Where To Place Acoustic Panels Making Your Room Sound Incredible

Where To Place Acoustic Panels In Your Studio

Look:

If you are ever thinking about getting serious in music production or even just want to record a few demos for your band.

One of the most important things besides a microphone, computer and studio monitors is to acoustically treat your room.

So, you have acoustic panels and the method to stick them to the wall.

But:

Now you're asking yourself:

Where the heck do I put these things?

Fear not:

After a ton of research and trial and error I have found the best possible starting positions to get the most out of your acoustic treatment…

…And after reading this you will know exactly where to place acoustic panels no matter what room you are in.

What are you waiting for?

Let’s get started!

Look:

If you are ever thinking about getting serious in music production or even just want to record a few demos for your band.

One of the most important things besides a microphone, computer and studio monitors is to acoustically treat your room.

So, you have acoustic panels and the method to stick them to the wall.

But:

Now you're asking yourself:

Where the heck do I put these things?

Fear not:

Where To Place Acoustic Panels In Your Studio

After a ton of research and trial and error I have found the best possible starting positions to get the most out of your acoustic treatment…

…And after reading this you will know exactly where to place acoustic panels no matter what room you are in.

What are you waiting for?

Let’s get started!

More...

First Reflections

First reflections are basically the first points where the sound hits the wall after leaving your speakers.

These can be treated easily with a mirror and an assistant.

Short Guide:

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    To start: ​Sit in your chair at your computer as normal.​​​
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    ​Second: ​Ha​​​ve your assistant run the mirror across the side walls at eye level until you can see the cone of your studio monitor. ​​​​​​​​
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    ​Next: ​Place a piece of tape or mark it with a pencil and place an acoustic panel here.​​​​​​​
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    ​Finally: ​Do this on both sides, making sure the reflection spots are covered well.​​​ ​​​​
First Reflection Points In Your Studio

​​​​In Depth Guide:

Step 1:

Sit in your usual chair at your computer facing the computer screen as you normally would if you were mixing a song.

Sitting At Your Computer Desk

Step 2:

​This is where you will need an assistant as it is very hard to do this on your own.

Have your ​assistant run a mirror across the walls to your left and right at eye level until you can see the cone of your studio monitor in the middle of its reflection.

Mirror With Speaker Cone In The Reflection

Step 3:

Mark this position either by sticking some tape to the wall or marking it with a pencil.​​​​ ​

Marking Where To Put The Acoustic Panels

Step 4:

​Place your acoustic panels around this area making sure to cover the reflection points well on both walls.

​You can do this with as many or as little panels as you like.

My ​recommendation is to use at least two.

Covering The Marked Area With Acoustic Foam Panels

Mix Area

The mix area is the wall behind your computer and studio monitors.

This wall is just as important as your first reflections because the sound will be coming out of your speakers, instantly hitting the wall and bouncing back to your ears.

Because of this, the reflections will be hitting your ears at almost the same time as the sound coming straight from your monitors.

This will cause cancellations and problems when trying to mix a track.

Short Guide:

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    ​First: ​​To start, place your first panel directly in between your two studio monitors.​​​
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    ​Secondly: ​​Put another one or two panels above it depending on the size of your panels and the height of your room.
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    ​Finally: ​​Put at least one panel either side of every middle panel you have.
The Mix Area Behind you Computer Screen And Studio Monitors

​​​​In Depth Guide:

Step 1:

​​Place your first panel directly in between your two studio monitors, behind your computer monitor.

As shown in the picture:

Postition Of The First Acoustic Panel In The Mix Area Behind Your Speakers

Step 2:

​Place another one or two panels above the first panel depending on the size of your panels and the height of your room.

Two Acoustic Panels Covering The Middle Of The Mix Area

Step 3:

​Put at least one panel either side of every middle panel you have.

If one panel either side is not enough you can use more acoustic foam until you are satisfied with the coverage.

Acoustic Panels Covering The Mix Area

This should give you enough coverage unless you have an extremely large wall.

And if you do have a large wall:

I would recommend covering as much of ​it as you can to get the best results.

Full Coverage Of The Mix Area Using Acoustic Foam

Side Walls

The next place to put your panels is the walls each side of you.

An Image Showing Where To Put You Acoustic Panels On Your Side Walls

These are pretty easy to do and it all depends on what kind of panels you have.

The main thing you need to bear in mind is to place them evenly (but not too far) apart and to have them at roughly ear level.

How you place them in terms of design or pattern is up to you and what's best for your room as all rooms are different.

My current setup and one I recommend is simply just vertical lines consisting of 2 or 3 panels for each line evenly spread across each wall.

Foam Panels On The Side Wall Of The Studio

As I said:

The main things you need to focus on is getting them ear level and have them not too far apart from each other, you don’t want to have too much bare wall.

Once you have finished your room and you still notice some room ring or flutter echo you might want to put some more panels up high on the walls as this can be problematic as well.


Back Wall

The back wall can be a tricky one.

It all depends on how long your room is, if you have the luxury of having more than about 10 feet from your speakers to your back wall, it might be best to go with diffusion instead.

On the other hand, if you don’t have that much room, it would be best to go with more acoustic foam.

How you do this is up to you, what is best for your room and how much acoustic foam you have left.

I like to make a pattern on the back wall as I usually don't have many panels left at this point.

But if you have more you could probably fill most of the wall.

Whatever you do is going better than no acoustic treatment on your wall as sound will just be reflecting off it nine ways to Sunday.

An Image Showing Where To Put Acoustic Panels On The Back Wall Of Your Studio

Extras

If I was to place all my acoustic panels in the same way as the picture above…

…And I also made all of them 3 panels high.

I would need a total of 48 acoustic panels.

This would give me good coverage throughout my room.

Of course your amount will probably be different as a result of every room shape and size is different…

…As well as obstacles in the way can obstruct your layout.

Therefore:

Depending on where your studio is and whether it was built purposely for a recording studio or not.

Changes the difficulty of things you must work around.

What I mean by this is…

…If you built the recording studio yourself you won't have to worry about windows or low ceilings etc.

As you would have adjusted for this when building it.

But if you are using your bedroom as a studio you are more likely to have them sort of obstacles.

But Don’t Panic!

I will tell you how you can acoustically treat them easily to help your room sound as good as possible.


Windows

Windows can be a big problem with reflections and sound.

The best thing to do would be to get rid of them altogether.

But 95% of people making a home studio can’t do this, so the only other option is to work around it.

The Easy Option:

If you don't mind never looking out of the window you can cover them up using some Thick acoustic foam.

Window Covered Up By Acoustic Foam

The Just As Easy Option:

But if you want to still have a view and some light when you're not recording or mixing you can use some thick curtains or drapes.

They won't be as effective but they will still stop some sound traveling through.

Anything is better than nothing, right?


Ceiling

A great place to put some absorption is right above your mix space on the ceiling.

As this is another early reflection point for sound to hit and bounce back to your ears.

You don’t need much:

Acoustic panel placement On The Ceiling

Four to six panels should do the job nicely.

Just make sure you cover a nice portion of the mix area above you.


Door

A door can be a tricky place to put acoustic panels as you will be opening and closing it often and this can hinder that.

If you don't mind sticking the panels to the door you can do that.

But:

I would rather not stick them to the door.

Instead hook the panels with string so you can take them down when you want to open the door.

This is fast and simple to do:

Short Guide:

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    ​First: ​​Fix a hook to the top of the door.​​​
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    ​Second: ​​Poke a hole in the top of your acoustic panel and tie some string to it.
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    ​​Third: ​​Make a loop in the top of the string so you can place it on and off the hook.
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    ​Fourth: ​​Make another hole in the bottom and tie another piece of string to it. ​​​​
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    Fifth: ​​​​​​ Put a hole in the top of another acoustic panel and tie the string to that.

​​​​In Depth Guide:

Step 1:

​Screw in a hook to the middle top of the door.

An image showing you where to place the hook on the door

Step 2:

​​​Poke a hole in the top of your acoustic panel using a knife, ​scissors or something sharp and tie some string to it, making sure to knot it well.

scissors
Making a Hole In The Acoustic Panel And Tieing A Knot

Step 3:

​​​On the other end on the string make a loop so you can place it on and off the hook.

Making a loop At The Top So The Acoustic Panel Can Be Hooked To The Door

Step 4:

Make another hole in the bottom of the acoustic the same as the first and tie another piece of string to it. 

Making a loop on The Bottom of the acoustic panel

Step 4:

​Make a hole at the top of another acoustic panel and tie the string to that.

​Just the same as before.

Once you have done that you can tie as many panels as you want in concession…

…While trying to cover the door as much as possible.

Acoustic panels covering the door

Quick Tip:

If you use two hooks spaced apart the acoustic foam will be more stable and easier to keep straight.

Also, using two pieces of string near the corners on each piece of foam will help the structure as a whole become stronger, easier to deal with and store away.

Acoustic panels covering the door with two hooks

Floor

It’s a good idea to have carpet on the floor.

But at the very least:

If you have a wooden or a reflective floor throw down a rug as this will help with some of the reflective surface.


Corners

Bass frequencies love to stay in the corners of the room and can totally mess up the low end in your mixes.

The way to fix this is to use bass traps.

Foam Bass Traps And Rigid Bass Traps

Bass traps are designed to go in the corners of your room.

Typically, you want to start off in the top corners giving you space down below for furniture if you have a small studio.

If you can:

Cover the whole corner for a better overall performance.

Another good thing to do is:

To turn your bass traps horizontally and place them above your mix space in the middle of your speakers.

And anywhere else around your room where bass is a problem.

If you’re having trouble with bass traps.

Have a read of my post: Do I Need Bass Traps.

Do I Need Bass Traps

Final Tips

You should now have the knowledge to successfully acoustically treat your room…

…And you know exactly where to place your acoustic panels.

You are able to treat all your early reflections and every wall in your room.

You will also see a big improvement with the echo and reverb within your room and your mixes will thank you for it.

You may be asking yourself:

“Why don’t I just put acoustic panels all around my room?”

Well that may sound good in theory.

But it will actually dull the natural acoustics of your room and leave your audio sounding bland and lifeless.

A good rule of thumb is to cover about 50% of your room.

If you have a small studio you can get away with 30-40% coverage, but if you have the money definitely go for the full 50%, you won’t regret it.

Ok so what's next?

Whats next

What’s the point of having all of the acoustic panels if you don't have the rest of the equipment to go with them?

Check out my guide "Home Studio Recording Equipment" to know E​xactly what gear you need for your studio and see if you're missing anything!

Home Studio Recording Equipment

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