With the availability to purchase high-quality digital recording equipment, our childhood dreams of having full-featured recording studios in our homes are within grasp. However, many amatuer enthusiasts typically have this question:
"How can I create an optimal recording/mixing environment in my house/apartment if I don't have a dedicated room that I can install sound dampeners and/or diffusers?"
Short Answer: "Get yourself some economic temporary and reuseable sound foam."
So, first of all, Why Do Acoustics Kinda Suck in Our Homes?
One of the most common reasons why home recordings don't sound professional or polished is that acoustic properties of the typical residential room are not typically conducive to good sound. Walls are typically flat and parallel. When this is the case, sound waves bounce back and forth quite a bit, overlapping on themselves many times per milisecond. When segments of soundwaves overlap on themselves, some frequencies get over-emphasized and others get cancelled out. This phenomenon can be better explained in an analogy of waves on the still surface of a pool of water:
Think about the last time you approached a perfectly calm pool of water. If you threw a rock into the middle of that body of water and stuck around to watch the outcome, you would see the waves eminating from where the rock landed travelling to the ends of the pool. The waves would probably look perfect and round. You would stand there admiring how perfect these waves looked until they bounced off the walls of the pool. When the waves bounce back they would start to collide with other waves that are still on their way. After the waves interfere with each other, they become choppy because some parts of each wave got cancelled out while other parts of each wave complimented each other creating even bigger peaks.
Like with a pool of water, the acoustics of a recording room can get choppy and the result is that some elements of a frequency can get over emphasized while others get cancelled out. It would explain that strange phenomenon you might have noticed when listening to music or your own instrument in a small room. The more you turn the volume up, the more some frequencies resonate loudly while others seem to disappear.
This interferes with your ability to record accurate sounds from your instruments or voice, and also hinders your ability to get an accurate mix in post-production. Headphones are also notoriously innaccurate monitors in terms of sound frequencies.
OK so now that we understand the problem that needs to be solved, let's look at the solution. To combat sound waves that bounce back and interfere with each other, most recording studios will use texturized foam pads to absorb the extra sound, or diffusers to make the sound bounce around the room irregularly for a lower probability of sound wave interference. In my experience, sound foam works better for smaller rooms. But if you don't want to permanently dedicate a whole room to recording in your house or apartment, try temporary sound foam.
What Is Temporary Sound Foam?
Here at Sewell we manufacture all kinds of interesting materials including sound dampening foam pads and Airstick Microsuction Tape, and recently we realized that the union of these two materials would make for a great temporary recording application.
Airstick Microsuction is a tape that has a permanent adhesive on one side and millions of microscopic air pockets that act like an army of suction cups on the other. When affixed to a product, Airstick can give anything a non-permanent sticky surface that leaves behind zero residue, and it works well on sound foam. When the suction cup side of the tape gets a little dirty you can make it as good as new by simply taking a wet rag and wiping it clean, letting it air-dry afterword.
How to Use Temporary Sound FoamProduct used in this guide: