Small room with a small budget!!

Hi there!

I'm currently at uni with a small budget. My main focus is to produce EDM, and to DJ a little bit. I have already managed to invest in:

- Good headphones
- M-Audio Bx5 D2 Monitors
- Foam pads for speakers to go on to (Bass was going through my desk previously!)
- Midi Keyboard
- Decent Computer
- a DAW

But I have a couple of questions to help me continue my small studio.

Firstly, I've done a lot of research into room acoustics, and it turns out I have almost one of the worst possible rooms - built in desk at a bad angle, wooden floors etc. What can I do to improve my room acoustics cheaply? I see products on amazon for cheap prices for acoustic foam and bass traps however I really do not trust the low prices, even though the reviews are good.

The second question is similar - Is it worth investing the 200 pound or so into acoustic treatment if it only does a half arsed job, so to speak?

Note, I am not asking for help to treat my room, hence why I haven't provided any photos. I'm trying to figure out what is worth investing in at this stage, and I need to be pushed into the right direction.

Alternatively, I understand I could mix on my headphones primarily.

Thank you!


Unfortunately there's not much you can do to fix a bad room on a small budget. The majority of the hard work in treatment is in the bass area, and treating bass is hard. You either need LOTS of thick bass traps or very specialized devices such as pressure traps or limp membrane absorbers. The latter are very difficult to understand and make.

The most you could probably do on a low budget is buy some broadband absorbers and put them on walls the left and right of you, and above you on the ceiling, which tames first reflections. Taming first reflections generally helps clear up the sound stage so you can make accurate panning and stereo field decisions.

Doing EDM however is heavily reliant on good kick and bass though, so that might be an issue for you. What I would suggest, to TRY and help the bass issue is to download a demo of Sonarworks 4. You'll need to buy a measurement mic. The ECM8000 is like $30. Usually you only want to use EQ correction software for 5db or less problem areas, but in your case it may still be the best option for you on a budget.

The software will have you take mic measurements from 30 points around your mixing position the will try and correct the EQ problems there. Once you do that, make a couple of mixes with the Sonarworks plugin on, then play them in different locations and see how it sounds. Check the car, the phone, laptop, blue tooth speaker, headphones, home stereo, whatever. See if your mixes are sounding good on those. If you're happy with the results then buy the software.

I have only broadband absorbers in the places I mentioned to you before, with a thick area rug under my desk (my whole place is tile), and sonarworks, and my mixes are coming out great.