Using Acoustic Diffusers in a Recording Studio

When mixing, there are normally a few considerations that come to mind. Your choice of monitors, the positioning of them, the plugins you use, your interface and outboard gear, and so on. But at a time when bedroom studios are more common than ever, there's a crucial aspect that's often overlooked: acoustics.

Sam Beattie

Sam Beattie

If you’ve seen a professional studio, you’ll have noticed that the walls are decorated with felt, foam, canvas or tiles that look like art installations. These are forms of acoustic treatment known as acoustic diffusers. The idea is to prevent reverberations in the room from getting to you. If you’re hearing the same sound bouncing around the room several times, it’ll sound different to how it’s supposed to. This makes mixing that little bit more challenging, and to mix accurately, you’ll want to avoid it from happening altogether! This issue is particularly common with smaller spaces, so if you are mixing at home, it’s definitely worth considering.

An anechoic room at the Dresden University of Technology

Location, Location, Location

As mentioned earlier, you’ll want to consider the position of your monitors in relation to your desired seating position. It’s worth noting that this may require some experimentation; the place you expect it to sound best might not always be right!

It’s often best to experiment with positioning a single monitor. Once you’ve found a position you’re happy with, mirror it with your second monitor, and experiment until you’ve found the best combination. In a smaller space, the size may limit your flexibility; aim to place monitors equidistant from walls and in the appropriate place to provide maximum space for you, the producer.

With the monitors in place, we can consider how to use diffusers to optimise the listening experience.

Divide and Conquer

The aim of the game is to make use of a diffuser (or multiple diffusers) to prevent sound echoing around the room and reaching your ears. Audio reflecting off the walls and other surfaces is inevitable; we’re simply going to tame it to ensure that your listening experience is as accurate as possible!

You’ve already positioned your monitors so that you get the clearest sound, but there will be natural reflection points in the room. The idea of a diffuser is to break up and weaken those reflections, preventing them from warping your perception of your mix. See the diagram below:

Acoustic Diffuser Diagram - Andertons Music Co.

As suggested in the diagram, the side reflection points are often the most prominent, so they’re a good place to start with diffusers. It’s also common to see diffusers placed at the back of the room, behind the producer, as these reflections can quite drastically alter your perception of stereo spread.

What Makes a Good Diffuser?

There are numerous ways of acoustically treating your mixing space. You may have read about the effectiveness of egg boxes taped to the walls, or a strategically-placed bookcase. While these can be effective, there are a number of professional-grade options available on the market that have been specially designed to be acoustically effective!

There are essentially two ways to approach diffusion; either use a soft surface, or a surface with a variety of angles. Soft surfaces such as foam and fabric will not only deflect sound, but they’ll go some way towards absorbing the sound itself. This is particularly useful for higher, harsher frequencies, as it dampens the overall reflectivity of the room so you hear the purest sound possible.

When we say surfaces with multiple angles, think of the egg box reference. The aim is to splinter the reflections into as many directions as possible. To do this, you’ll need a surface that can reflect in as many directions as possible. That’s why so many acoustic diffusers in professional setups resemble some sort of stylish modern art; they can be quite intricate!

Much of the acoustic treatment gear on the market will fit into one of these two categories. Take a look at some of our acoustic treatment range below for some ideas! We aim to cater for every price point and every type of studio. If you have any questions about our range, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

  • RX5HF
  • Primacoustic RX5-HF Nearfield Monitor Recoil Stabiliser
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/primacoustic-rx5-hf-recoil-stabiliser-each-rx5hf
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/51979-tmp8808.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 72.0000
  • 3
  • Primacoustic
  • Recording
  • Acoustic Treatment
  • Single Premium Isolation Pad for Studio Monitors
  • The Primacoustic RX5-HF Recoil Stabiliser is a flat horizontal platform for nearfield monitors, isolating the speaker from vibrating the surface below and stabilising it from its own vibrations to produce the best unaltered sound of your precious monitors. The Recoil stabiliser does this with 4 separate layers that each serve a purpose to eliminate various issues. At the base of the stabiliser is the traditional isolation foam that eliminates resonance through the desk surface. On top is a laser cut steel platform that adds weight and stability to hold the monitor rigid in place. on the front they designed a curved panel that eliminates standing waves. Finally the top has a non-slip neoprene surface that offers grip to the loudspeaker and ensures maximum signal transfer to your ears.Recoil Stabilisers are available in a number of sizes to suit your speaker size and setup. The RX5-HF is a horizontal fire stabiliser for monitors that have roughly 5 drivers. FeaturesImproves transient response and imaging Tightens up the bass for greater accuracy Eliminates resonance and phase anomalies Improves translation to other audio systemsDimensions1.9 height 7.5 Width 9.5 Depth 10.4KG Load limit
  • BLACK FRIDAY
  • 5
  • 1
  • RX7HF
  • Primacoustic RX7-HF Nearfield Monitor Recoil Stabiliser
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/primacoustic-rx7-hf-recoil-stabiliser-each-rx7hf
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/51981-tmp4744.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 99.0000
  • 0
  • Primacoustic
  • Recording
  • Acoustic Treatment
  • Single Premium Isolation Pad for Studio Monitors
  • The Primacoustic RX7-HF Recoil Stabiliser is a flat horizontal platform for nearfield monitors, isolating the speaker from vibrating the surface below and stabilising it from its own vibrations to produce the best unaltered sound of your precious monitors.The Recoil stabiliser does this with 4 separate layers that each serve a purpose to eliminate various issues. At the base of the stabiliser is the traditional isolation foam that eliminates resonance through the desk surface. On top is a laser cut steel platform that adds weight and stability to hold the monitor rigid in place. on the front they designed a curved panel that eliminates standing waves. Finally the top has a non-slip neoprene surface that offers grip to the loudspeaker and ensures maximum signal transfer to your ears.Recoil Stabilisers are available in a number of sizes to suit your speaker size and setup. The RX7-HF is a horizontal fire stabiliser for monitors that have roughly 7 drivers.FeaturesImproves transient response and imaging Tightens up the bass for greater accuracy Eliminates resonance and phase anomalies Improves translation to other audio systemsDimensions2.625 height 10.5 Width 13 Depth 20 KG Load limit
  • No Promotion
  • 0
  • 0
  • TRIPAD
  • Primacoustic Tripad Isolation for Microphone Stands
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/primacoustic-tripad-microphone-stand-isolator-%28set-of-3%29-tripad
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/52015-tmp13DD.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 19.9900
  • 0
  • Primacoustic
  • Recording
  • Acoustic Treatment
  • Easy Application Acoustic Pads to Reduce Vibration Transference
  • The Tripad is a simple set of 3 pads that attach to the feet of your mic stand to isolate the microphone from the studio floor.This simple but effective solution eliminates a problem inherent in miking up instruments. Often, distruptive resonances can travel through the studio floor, stage or drum riser, transmitted through the mic stand to the microphone itself, thus tainting the accurate capture of the instrument. The 3 pads attach to the feet of the stand thus breaking the connection and leaving the mic interference free.SpecsIsolates the microphone stand from studio floorEliminates disruptive resonance from entering the micCleans up signal for less noise when recordingImproves clarity to deliver more natural sound
  • No Promotion
  • 0
  • 0
  • UA-GLUE-CF
  • Universal Acoustics Cosmic Fluid - Liquid Adhesive - single tube
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/universal-acoustics-cosmic-fluid-liquid-adhesive-single-tube-caulking-gun-required-ua-glue-cf
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/119464-tmp8144.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 12.0000
  • 3
  • Universal Acoustics
  • Recording
  • Acoustic Treatment
  • Caulking Gun required
  • A professional quality, gun grade, high bond strength, synthetic rubber/resin with quick initial grab and good gap filling properties. Safe and easy to apply from cartridge with a caulking gun.Formulated to provide the perfect solution for mounting acoustic foam materials to virtually any type of substrate/material in a professional or domestic environment.
  • No Promotion
  • 0
  • 0
  • UA-GLUE-SM
  • Universal Acoustics Space Mist Aerosol Adhesive - single can
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/universal-acoustics-space-mist-aerosol-adhesive-single-can-%28not-suitable-for-airfreight%29-ua-glue-sm
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/119465-tmpB752.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 15.6000
  • 0
  • Universal Acoustics
  • Recording
  • Acoustic Treatment
  • (not suitable for Airfreight)
  • Fast drying & easy to use high strength bond which has good ageing characteristics. Especially developed for acoustic foam materials, and used with UA Room Kits, Space Mist is a high strength aerosol adhesive with the advantage of a variable spray width button.Formulated to provide the perfect solution for mounting acoustic foam materials to virtually any type of substrate/material in a professional or domestic environment.
  • No Promotion
  • 0
  • 0
  • UA-JBT600-BUR
  • Universal Acoustics Jupiter Bass Trap-600mm Burgundy - Pack of 4
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/universal-acoustics-jupiter-bass-trap-600mm-burgundy-pack-of-4-ua-jbt600-bur
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/119468-tmp9FAD.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 222.0000
  • 0
  • Universal Acoustics
  • Recording
  • Acoustic Treatment
  • Universal Acoustics bass traps can be purchased in 300mm or 600mm lengths and in Mercury or Jupiter style. Bass traps treat problematic bass frequencies that can amplify in corners. They can be used in wall to wall and ceiling to wall corners to help control the ‘boominess’ often caused by the room mode effect.The the stylish solid fluted front profile Jupiter bass trap provides slightly higher absorption than the Mercury.Exclusively designed and manufactured to the very highest professional standard in the UK. Universal Acoustics Bass Traps are cut in a striking contemporary design from high density Fire Retardant Polyester foam. Perfect for use in Recording and Broadcast Studios, Music Rehearsal Rooms, Audio and language labs, Boardrooms, offices, Staff rooms, Gymnasiums and any open spaces that require efficient sound absorption to improve the audio integrity and intelligibility plus the performance and dynamics of the room.They are easy to install on most surfaces using non solvent based adhesive. Dimensions - 600mm Fire Retardant Polyester foam material NRC: 86% average Density: 28-32 kg/m3
  • No Promotion
  • 0
  • 0
  • UA-JBT600-CHA
  • Universal Acoustics Jupiter Bass Trap-600mm Charcoal - Pack of 4
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/universal-acoustics-jupiter-bass-trap-600mm-charcoal-pack-of-4-ua-jbt600-cha
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/119467-tmp4FAA.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 222.0000
  • 0
  • Universal Acoustics
  • Recording
  • Acoustic Treatment
  • Universal Acoustics bass traps can be purchased in 300mm or 600mm lengths and in Mercury or Jupiter style. Bass traps treat problematic bass frequencies that can amplify in corners. They can be used in wall to wall and ceiling to wall corners to help control the ‘boominess’ often caused by the room mode effect.The the stylish solid fluted front profile Jupiter bass trap provides slightly higher absorption than the Mercury.Exclusively designed and manufactured to the very highest professional standard in the UK. Universal Acoustics Bass Traps are cut in a striking contemporary design from high density Fire Retardant Polyester foam. Perfect for use in Recording and Broadcast Studios, Music Rehearsal Rooms, Audio and language labs, Boardrooms, offices, Staff rooms, Gymnasiums and any open spaces that require efficient sound absorption to improve the audio integrity and intelligibility plus the performance and dynamics of the room.They are easy to install on most surfaces using non solvent based adhesive. Dimensions - 600mm Fire Retardant Polyester foam material NRC: 86% average Density: 28-32 kg/m3
  • No Promotion
  • 0
  • 0
  • UA-JBT600-PUR
  • Universal Acoustics Jupiter Bass Trap 600mm Purple - Pack of 4
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/universal-acoustics-jupiter-bass-trap-600mm-purple-pack-of-4-ua-jbt600-pur
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/119469-tmp74E6.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 222.0000
  • 0
  • Universal Acoustics
  • Recording
  • Acoustic Treatment
  • Universal Acoustics bass traps can be purchased in 300mm or 600mm lengths and in Mercury or Jupiter style. Bass traps treat problematic bass frequencies that can amplify in corners. They can be used in wall to wall and ceiling to wall corners to help control the ‘boominess’ often caused by the room mode effect.The the stylish solid fluted front profile Jupiter bass trap provides slightly higher absorption than the Mercury.Exclusively designed and manufactured to the very highest professional standard in the UK. Universal Acoustics Bass Traps are cut in a striking contemporary design from high density Fire Retardant Polyester foam. Perfect for use in Recording and Broadcast Studios, Music Rehearsal Rooms, Audio and language labs, Boardrooms, offices, Staff rooms, Gymnasiums and any open spaces that require efficient sound absorption to improve the audio integrity and intelligibility plus the performance and dynamics of the room.They are easy to install on most surfaces using non solvent based adhesive. Dimensions - 600mm Fire Retardant Polyester foam material NRC: 86% average Density: 28-32 kg/m3
  • No Promotion
  • 0
  • 0
  • UA-JW-600BUR
  • Universal Acoustics Jupiter Wedge 600-50mm Burgundy - Pack of 10
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/universal-acoustics-jupiter-wedge-600-50mm-burgundy-pack-of-10-ua-jw-600bur
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/119477-tmp3E00.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 330.0000
  • 0
  • Universal Acoustics
  • Recording
  • Acoustic Treatment
  • The Jupiter flat tile is a highly functional tile and provides a premium solution for room treatment. It has unmatched absorption properties due to optimum thickness throughout the whole tile. If you are looking for superior absorption of mid and high frequencies then you cannot choose a better tile than the Jupiter flat.Universal Acoustics absorption tiles exclusively designed and manufactured to the very highest professional standard in the UK.Cut in striking contemporary designs from high density Fire Retardant Polyester foam. Perfect for use in Recording and Broadcast Studios, Music Rehearsal Rooms, Audio and language labs, Boardrooms, offices, Staff rooms, Gymnasiums and any open spaces that require efficient sound absorption to improve the audio integrity and intelligibility plus the performance and dynamics of the room.Universal Acoustics absorption tiles are easy to install on most surfaces using either Cosmic Fluid liquid adhesive or Space Mist adjustable nozzle spray adhesive. These can be glued directly to wall surfaces or ceilings or if preferred can be glued on to conveniently sized panels which may be hung or suspended as required. With this method they can be easily moved around or to a different location.SpecificationsDimensions - 600mm x 600mm x 50mm Fire Retardant Polyester foam material NRC: 86% average Density: 28-32 kg/m3
  • No Promotion
  • 0
  • 0
  • UA-JW-600CHA
  • Universal Acoustics Jupiter Wedge 600-50mm Charcoal - Pack of 10
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/universal-acoustics-jupiter-wedge-600-50mm-charcoal-pack-of-10-ua-jw-600cha
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/119478-tmpA6C0.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 330.0000
  • 0
  • Universal Acoustics
  • Recording
  • Acoustic Treatment
  • The Jupiter flat tile is a highly functional tile and provides a premium solution for room treatment. It has unmatched absorption properties due to optimum thickness throughout the whole tile. If you are looking for superior absorption of mid and high frequencies then you cannot choose a better tile than the Jupiter flat.Universal Acoustics absorption tiles exclusively designed and manufactured to the very highest professional standard in the UK.Cut in striking contemporary designs from high density Fire Retardant Polyester foam. Perfect for use in Recording and Broadcast Studios, Music Rehearsal Rooms, Audio and language labs, Boardrooms, offices, Staff rooms, Gymnasiums and any open spaces that require efficient sound absorption to improve the audio integrity and intelligibility plus the performance and dynamics of the room.Universal Acoustics absorption tiles are easy to install on most surfaces using either Cosmic Fluid liquid adhesive or Space Mist adjustable nozzle spray adhesive. These can be glued directly to wall surfaces or ceilings or if preferred can be glued on to conveniently sized panels which may be hung or suspended as required. With this method they can be easily moved around or to a different location.SpecificationsDimensions - 600mm x 600mm x 50mm Fire Retardant Polyester foam material NRC: 86% average Density: 28-32 kg/m3
  • No Promotion
  • 0
  • 0

 

Sam Beattie
Sam Beattie
Sam is one of our content writers, as well as being our resident southpaw. When he's not busy being left-handed, he spends his time composing for music libraries and playing in a post-rock band. Sam plays a Mexican Telecaster and a Vigier Excalibur, and is never more than 5 feet away from his Electro-Harmonix POG.

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