THIS is why your AUDIO sucks! (5 Steps to Acoustic Treatment)


– We are in my brand new office that is currently being
built, it’s not done yet. And one of the things we’ve come across that we find is becoming an issue when moving into any new space is that the audio is terrible,
and so today, in this video, we’re gonna be talking about how to treat a room acoustically, and we have here, our good
friend, Brenden Bytheway. – Guys, this room sounds terrible. – So bad.
– (claps) – You hear that?
– Look at this. We got blank walls, okay, we got a window. We got blank walls, we got blank walls, we got blank walls, we got blank walls, we got a flat floor, okay? Problem.
– Sounds awful. And so what we’re gonna be doing today is acoustically treating the entire room to show you step by step
everything we would do to make this room tighten up and be great for recording audio like we’re hearing right now and for mixing audio as well in post. But, before we do that,
big thanks to Storyblocks for sponsoring this video. Storyblocks is a great service
for when you’re in need of a quick video clip for B-roll or an After Effects template
or a motion background. The thing I personally love
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the beginning of this video which give your edit a
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into Storyblocks Video to up the production value of your videos and you can do so by clicking on the link in the description below, or go to storyblocks.com/parker
to learn more about Storyblocks Video. But let’s now acoustically
treat this room. We’re gonna break it down to five steps that you would do to come
into an empty room like this. This is a 10 by 12 room. 10-foot ceiling is a bit
taller ceiling than normal, but it’s pretty much a box, and a lot of you guys are
dealing with rooms like this, and I’m seeing videos of you guys where your visuals look great but your audio sounds terrible. There’s tons of reverb and
it’s annoying to listen to like what you’re hearing right now, and so we’re gonna show
you how to make that come together nice and tight and up that audio quality
of your videos as well. Brendo, quick question. I always get asked: what should people buy to sound treat a room? – Yes.
– And we’re gonna try to do it as cheap as possible. – So, yeah, as cheap as possible. In an ideal world, you
would get insulation and treat the actual walls themselves so they’d be soft walls, so
they’re treated in depth. You wanna have this gross material. Or you would get those
thick panels like you see and those have insulation and with the acoustic fabric on them. But people can’t afford
that or they don’t have time to make those things.
– So what’s our cheap option? – Our cheap option is gonna
be foam, so follow me. Tada! We got foam, we got three-inch
foam, we got bass traps, we got one-inch foam,
we got three-inch foam, we got foam, we got foam! – Here’s a one-inch foam. Compare that to two-inch foam.
– Two-inch foam. – Compare that to three-inch foam. And what’s the difference between these? Why are we going thicker? – When you pull up Amazon or whatever, you’re gonna say, well,
this is the cheapest, and it’s all foam, so I’m gonna get that. Here’s where that’s a bad idea. The thicker the foam, the deeper the frequencies that it traps. That’s why these bass traps, look at this. Super thick, super
dense, so the bass waves are a lot longer waves, and they will get trapped
in this more than this. – When you say trapped, you
mean they’re not gonna reflect? – Yes. – And reflection is what causes reverb? – Yes.
– Which causes bad audio. – So, if you get a whole
bunch of these one-inch foams, it will help treat the high frequencies, but what you’ll do is
you’ll create a box buildup, and all those frequencies that
you’re filtering out up high, it’ll start to jumble and just sound like a super boxy gross room. So you want to make it a balanced room. So a lot of people feel
like, if their room is going to be sound treated,
it has to be completely dead and any reflections are really bad, which is not the case. Kind of comes down to
preference at that point. So the room that we’re doing today, the artist does want really dead. Tano, Tanzo, Tanner Gran. So don’t feel like you
have to spend as much as we’re doing on this room. You don’t have to treat it as much. Any treatment will help and we’re gonna take
you through those steps so you can plan what works
for your budget and your room. – All right, so step one. Some guys would say bass traps is the most important thing to do first. We’re gonna start with the walls first. We’re gonna grab our three-inch foam here. Again, if you can’t afford thicker, you can go thinner, but
ideally you’re getting, I would say, at least two-inch. I wouldn’t go with the one-inch. – I wouldn’t get one-inch. – So at least two-inch, ideally
look for three-inch-thick. It’s gonna get more expensive. We’ll show you links in the description where you can buy all
the foam we’ll be using and budget out what you can afford. Okay, now before I put the foam up, first, we’re going to
be running some tests so you can hear what it’s gonna sound like before and after treating the room. – We’re gonna put a speaker
in this corner, play a song. We’ll listen to how it
sounds with music playing and then, also, we’ll do some
speech with me and Parker. So what we’re gonna be simulating is what it sounds like
from this perspective which is “back-of-room” and then, right here, which
is your “mixed positioning”. And I understand this isn’t
a perfect test by any means, but it’s just to give you an idea, so we’ll listen to five, 10 seconds. – Yeah, and the reason we’re doing this is because, when you’re mixing music, what I have found, just recently
when I left my basement, I had it acoustically
treated to some degree, and then I moved a ton of
stuff out to bring into here, and went to mix some stuff
again, and all of a sudden, things sounded really reverb-y
in what I was listening to. I’m like, whoa, this
audio sounds way bad now. And it wasn’t the audio. It was the fact that it
was reflecting in my room and so you would make changes
to the audio and mix it, depending on what you’re hearing, but if it’s not accurate, you’re mixing according to your room and not according to what the sound you’re
actually getting from the audio. So that’s why it’s absolutely
crucial to treat it. – Yeah, basically, you
can triple the investment of your speaker price
if you treat your room because what you’re
hearing out of your speaker and reflecting in your
room is going to impact your decisions on how
you finalize your music or finalize your video. – So you’d say, before
upgrading to better speakers, you would upgrade the
acoustically treated room first. – Yes, 100%.
– Great tip. All right, test it out. (slow pop music) – What are you hearing? – There’s no focus, it’s
completely out of control. The bass is really floppy. There’s a lot of clogginess and
gross, just things going on. It doesn’t represent the music, how the artist intended it to be made. – Vocal test. Check, one, two, three, four. This is how my audio sounds with the mic about three feet away. – This is how my audio sounds with the mic about one arm reach. – Mine is half an arm reach away. – Mine is one arm reach away. – My arms are bigger. – They are.
– (chuckles) Okay, so now what we’re gonna do is just listen how long it
takes for the reverb to decay and this isn’t any scientific test. It’s just a ballpark, okay? Here we go (claps). One more time (claps). Okay.
– 20 seconds. – About 23, pretty close. – A long time.
– He’s got the arms and I’ve got the brains. So there’s a number of ways
that you can mount foam. You can mount it with
prayers and good vibes or you can mount it with
glue and 3M stickies. The 3M stickies are the
most expensive option, but in the long run, they’re the cheapest, and the reason I say that is: if you pull the foam off of
your wall and it has glue, it will ruin your wall and
it will ruin your foam. So, not only will you
have to replace the wall, you’ll have to replace your foam. So 12 feet.
– We’re gonna try and make this symmetrical
and actually look good. That’s the center of the room. – You wanna know a life hack?
– What? – Put tinfoil right in there. – Why? (chuckles) What are you talking about? So we just did some
measurements of the desk and the desk, plus where
the speakers are gonna be to the tweeter point–
– To the tweeter point is 44 inches right here. Center would be tada. One thing that I’ll do is
lay out across the roam to give an idea of both
cosmetic and practical, how it would work to lay out. So join us as we peel apart foam. #TheMostSatisfyingVideoYou’veEverSeen (foam peels) Right? What I told Tanner originally was to do two on top of
each other like this. I think these should go ceiling. – One question with the window. What do you recommend for that? Just a thick curtain?
– Yes. Curtains do wonders, so in my studio, it’s actually a live room, and then it has a ton of curtains in it, and so, when I record live,
then I draw the curtains. It treats it super well. – Yeah, so we’re not gonna do that today, but just know we’re gonna
be putting a curtain up here later: a nice, thick curtain. – Would it look good to do these here? Or should we put the two-inch here and then put these
three-inches over on this wall? – For filming reasons, because we’re gonna be filming this way, probably put it on that end.
– You got it. That’s a great tip. Whatever we’re saying right here, it’s all really good practice and it’s all really good to do, but don’t feel like– – This is the only way to do it. – Exactly, especially
for a project studio, you don’t have to get
down to the nitty-gritty. – Keep this in mind: we’re
gonna be having these here, so spacing-wise, between that. – Yeah, so this is why
I like to lay it out, so you can visualize like:
well, this won’t work, you don’t have to mark everything. In this scenario, like I said, we’re gonna do more of a dead room, so we’re gonna go
actually floor-to-ceiling on these bass traps, but
if you can’t afford that or it doesn’t make sense to, get some in the bottom,
get some in the middle, and get some at the very top. So one thing that I do
with my bass traps at home, and you don’t have to do this, I actually don’t have them
tacked to the wall in any way. I just stack them that way.
– Interesting. – [Brenden] Because I really
don’t care about the cosmetics. Since we’re gonna be filming, it does help to tidy them up and I guess, now, we’re
doing the bass traps first. – Yeah, don’t worry about it. – Whoa, whoa! So what we’re gonna do, I didn’t know when the plans were sent over that the door was in the corner, so we’re actually going
to adhere the two, right? We could get two there. Yeah, we’ll get two up on that corner. You guys, it is night and day already. – Much different.
– And nothing is even hung. So you might be thinking: this can’t make that
much big of a difference. – Well, let’s see.
– Oh, well, here we go. (slow pop music) – Perfect! Here’s what we’re hearing. Bass is a lot tighter, the
music is a lot more defined, and I can hear a lot
more of what’s going on. Clarity is coming out. K, quick vocal test! – Check, one, two, three, four. This is the audio you’re
hearing from my voice with the microphone about
two or three feet away. You know, it’s interesting,
as I’m hearing myself talk, I feel like I’m having to talk louder because, before, talking semi-quietly, it sounded so much louder. Check, one, two, three, four. This is how my audio sounds with the mic about three feet away. – Well, and what’s funny
about an untreated room is you have to keep yelling over yourself ’cause it just keeps building up. So yeah, the more you treat a room, the actually quieter that
you can start talking. – That is nice. – Perfect, moving on to the walls. So five feet is there and,
if these are six feet, then that leaves us
four feet on each side. So, if we put a foot
panel, foot panel, foot, then that would look
and sound really great. So we’ll start with our middle one. – Let me grab you a ladder. – So we’re gonna get a ladder and we’re gonna start at the top, so while Parker’s grabbing the ladder, let me show you the trick
with these 3M things. Okay, so look at this. So this is hard Velcro, right? So what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna stick them together first. Now, since this piece
is so light and small, I’m only gonna use one. So you peel off here,
really push on that thing. You want that thing on there, okay? We’re going to peel this off, we’re gonna push it on
here as tight as we can. We’re gonna just really tap that in. So, again, we’re really
gonna push this on. Make sure it’s super nice and tight. K, so Parker wants to start with just two. Great, he’s an economical man, I love it. So we’re gonna make sure that’s lined up, we make sure we like it, and we’re gonna peel
off these little things. All right, so we’re really gonna
massage this into the wall. Don’t be afraid to push on the foam. It will take its shape back. So, now, we’re going to get,
yep, Parker knows what’s up. We’re going to put this here. Look at that, one done! So, now, we’ve got our wall stuff up, we’ve got our bass traps, we
have these three-inch-thick and was it three feet long? – Three feet long. – Three-feet-long, three-inch-thick. We’ve got one over there, we’ve
got these here, those there. bass traps up in that corner with the door ’cause we can’t
really fill it out there, and then we threw some of these
two-inch-thick 1×1’s here. And then, of course, right
here, we’re doing what we can. All right and then we
have this big window. So this is our music test
with nothing on the ceilings, no rug, no furniture, ready? (slow pop music) To me, it sounds a lot
tighter, it’s a lot cleaner. Again, the same kind of things. It’s just getting more and more defined and it sounds like music
rather than a big wash. – Get us some vocal tests.
– Vocal tests! – This is my voice talking
about two or three feet away. Test, one, two, three. Definitely tightened up quite a bit. Check, one, two, three, four, this is– Check, one, two, three, four, this is– Vocals are feeling and
sounding a lot better to me. We’re still hearing a
little bit of (claps). Right up here, you hear that– – Let me–
– Yeah, yeah, please. (claps) – You hear that go– (claps) – It’s kinda springy and tinging-sounding. So what we’re gonna do is
we’re getting a lot of stuff in this corner, these blank
spots up there a little bit. But the biggest thing that we’re getting is these bouncing right here, and so we’re going to stick
some treatment up in there. – So this is going on our
ceiling, these are 2×4’s, these are giant guys. They’re not as pretty. That’s why we’re putting
them on the ceiling. But we’re gonna put one right here, up in between those
lights, and we’re gonna cut a third in half and put
them either side of this. – There and there, yep. So the thing about the ceiling ones is you’re gonna need a
lot more of the stickies because gravity is fighting against you. – Let’s scoot this way a little bit. – Um. I would ask that you don’t
do that, please, thank you. – (laughs) – No care for my stuff, look at this. Now we’re crushing Mic Mogami. – Ugh!
– All right, all right. K, one egg crate is up. This is (chews) acoustic ASMR. (chews) Looky, here is the chew (chews). So yeah, okay, so let’s point
this mic at the ceiling, how we had them, now let’s
take a listen to that clap. Parker, clap for us. – (claps) Much tighter. (claps) Up there is where you’re
hearing it? (claps) – Mm-hmm, but it’s way less. So we could get one
guy here, one guy here, so we’ll go one here and one there. Maybe let’s get one above the door just to match this guy over here and then I think we’re set. (slow pop music) So yeah, just like every other test, it just has got tighter, more defined. This room could be a lot more perfect. It’s almost a perfect
box which is terrible. But we did the best we could, and it already sounds that much better. – Check, one, two, three, four. This is my audio with the
mic about two feet away. Check, one, two, three, four, this is– Check, one, two, three, four, this is– Test, one, two, three. I love it, that is night and day. Last step: now we’re just
gonna throw down carpet, thicken the ground a little bit. So, if you guys have hardwood, like cement or wood or something, that’s gonna be super reflective, so you’ll definitely need a carpet. This is already carpet,
but it’s a very thin commercial-grade carpet. – Again, the biggest thing that we’re looking for here is mass, so if there’s mass in a room, that’s going to absorb
sound in some fashion. So, if you have a thick rug, it’ll absorb the sound in some way, so it’s not just cosmetics. So, for being a studio, yep, so this guy is about an
inch, inch and a half. It’s really fuzzy and nice, got on Amazon. (claps)
– I like it. – See that? So we don’t have our
mics in here right now ’cause we needed to bring in
the rug, but that really helps. – It did.
– Like it’s shocking how much that helps (claps). – Desk is in. – Here’s what we’re wanting to do. We want to create a triangle. So we’ve got the Yamaha
HS8 sub on this desk and we’ve got some, I
believe these are Auralex monitor pad, stand, isolation thingies. So what we’re gonna do is try and create a equilateral triangle between speaker distance on the tweeters and also facing the head, so basically, what that means is we wanna measure here to
here, which looks like we’re at 40 inches and then here, which would put our head, if
the person were to scoot in, with that, measure up to 40 pretty much. So job well done. So yeah, essentially, what that does is that helps you get a very
equal image on your speakers, so you wanna have them
shooting a little bit right behind your ear. Gauge the look, make sure they’re even, which these look like they are. In a normal scenario,
if we had a longer room, what we’d wanna do is pull
the desk back from the wall to give these speakers a
little bit of room to breathe. But, because we don’t
have a super deep room, this is gonna have to do. – So that’s pretty much the
basics of sound treating a room. All in all, I did the math, we have about $700 to $800
worth of acoustic foam. More than half of that is the fact that we lined the entire top-to-bottom ten-feet ceilings with the bass traps, so that was about $400,
$500, just the bass traps. So, not including all the bass traps, extensive bass traps, you’re looking at maybe $300 or $400 worth of acoustic foam. We’ll compare right now. Cut to a shout at the beginning. Be great for recording audio
like we’re hearing right now and for mixing audio as well in post. – And now what you’re hearing with it acoustically treated, so that’s gonna make it so that Tanner, who’s gonna be using this desk, he’s gonna be recording a lot of vocals and so, now, he’s gonna be able
to have a lot cleaner vocal so that he can be mixing a
much better-sounding vocal that doesn’t already have
reverb built into it. These are important things, guys, to be able to get clean audio and to be able to edit clean audio and, Brendo, any last thoughts? – Take it more serious. – I would absolutely agree. I’m shocked by how many
successful YouTubers are out there or successful artists,
successful filmmakers, that don’t take the time
to acoustically treat. I mean, if you’re on set somewhere and you’re run-and-gun, obviously,
you can only do so much, but if you have the ability,
if it’s your own studio, your own office, take 10 minutes and take $300, $400, to
acoustically treat your room. And we’ve given you a lot of
awesome tips today to do that. Well, that’s it, guys. To check out more about audio, it’s half of the viewing
experience, people, check out that audio guide: a filmmaker’s guide to audio. Brendo teaches a whole course
on this stuff for filmmakers. Check out Brendo’s course. It’ll be a link in the description to check out more about becoming a pro at capturing and editing audio. Also, make sure to check
out Full-time Filmmaker to learn more filmmaking
tips and tricks like this. And don’t forget to
subscribe to my channel and to Brendo’s channel at That Audio Guy, and if you have any further
questions, please let me know. ♪ I’m in love ♪ ♪ That’s where there’s
something you’d be thinking of ♪ ♪ My inside, I’ll be the one you– ♪ – Great.