Have you ever spoken in a room, and your voice speaks right back at you? Here’s the deal. It’s aggravating. It distorts conversations, and any recording you are doing. Echoes are also the main reason why some audio records sound hollowed, and distasteful.
Most home studio owners have a problem with the echo in their studios. It shows in most of the videos on YouTube. But there are solutions to all these sound problems. Some of them are easy to pull off, and can be done quick and easy. Others might need a professional.
So, how do you reduce the echo in a room? To minimize echoes in any room, all you need to do is to add absorbing material on your floor, walls, and ceiling. Minimize the number of hard surfaces in the room as much as you can. This can be done by bringing in more furniture, hanging more curtains and wall tapestry, or using industrial sound dampeners like acoustic foam or fabric panels.
Hard surfaces like tiling, high ceilings, and hard walls will reflect your voice back into the room. Soft absorbent surfaces will absorb the voice and reduce any echoes in the room.
For many people, reducing the amount of echo you can hear in a room is an important part of the interior design process. For those who record videos and audios at home, it is not just a thing you have to think about; it is something you have to take care of. It’s not a simple ‘snap your fingers’ solution though, you have to find multiple solutions to the multiple causes of echo in your room.
What causes Echo in a room?
Hard surfaces are the main cause of echoes in any room. Hardwood or tiled floors, concrete or glass walls create a great environment for echoes.
Besides, the design of your room can also cause all the disturbing echoes. High ceilings and larger, hollower, emptier spaces are the perfect recipes to a large amount of distorting echoes in your video recording.
Quick fixes to cancel the echo in your room
Carpets, Rugs and Rough floors.
If your room has hard floors, covering the floor with a soft rug will solve the echo coming from the floor. Any rug will do. If the carpet covers a substantial area of the floor or the whole floor, your echo problem is half solved.
Hardwood floors are the worst culprits in producing echoes. Besides using a rug on such floors, redesigning the floor area of the room will help you solve the issue. To reduce the echo, you need to minimize the floor’s ‘evenness’ and hardness.’ This means using floor materials that can bounce the voice in different directions.
Curtains, Tapestry, and more Wall hangings
Hanging curtains is the easiest way to cut off the echo from the walls. Curtains, especially the heavier ones have amazing sound dampening abilities. The curtains shouldn’t cover the windows alone. When thinking about echo, the windows are not much of a problem; the walls are.
You should hang curtains all around the room, if possible. Hang them on the walls. Hang them on any vertical surface that is likely to reflect your voice.
Any kind of wall tapestry will also help to reduce the echo. You can also source for art pieces, both to liven up space and to absorb some of the sound.
Haul in your cushions and blankets.
This is a short terms measure to reduce the echo in a room. If you cannot afford to have couches or the room is a little small, you can always bring in your cushions, and blankets into the room.
The cushions and blankets work the same way that curtains and sofas would. They absorb all the noise. Besides, cushions can also help improve the acoustic quality of any recording you make in such a room.
You can use the blankets as a soundproofing material. In some recording studios, blankets are used as a sound shield around the person recording the voice. They work great at that. You can also hang the blankets on the surrounding walls, just as you would with curtains. They will help to absorb any bouncing voice.
Bring in more furniture into the room
Having more furniture in the recording room minimizes the surfaces on which sound can bounce off. You can bring in a couch, for maximum effect. Besides couches, tall bookshelves also work great. However, make sure that the shelf actually has books, because you need the paper to act as a sound.
Long-term solutions to echo problems
Curtains, blankets, tapestry, carpets, and cushions work just fine to reduce the echo in your room, but they don’t work so long. They are just quick fixes that you can carry out on your own.
However, the echo is a real problem. It needs real, custom-made, long-term solutions
What should you use for this?
Acoustic foam and fabric panels
You should get acoustic foam and panels made of fabric if your echo problem persists past the quick fixes.
You can apply acoustic foam straight onto any hard surfaces using adhesive spray. It comes in multiple colors to suit whatever design you have in mind. Once sprayed onto a wall surface, the foam sticks onto the wall and make the surface ‘ a little rough’ and more sound absorbent. This ensures that no sound bounces off the whole back into the room.
Music recording studios use acoustic foam ingeniously to minimize the echo in the recording rooms. In home studios, it is important to spray the foam on all the surfaces that are likely to produce an echo. This includes the ceiling.
Fabric panels work on the same principle with acoustic foam. The main intention is to minimize the amount of sound that bounces off the surface. The panels are made of porous fabric materials, that are laid on a wooden back.
The fabric side of the panels is placed to face into the room, towards the source of the sound. Normally, the panels are pinned twelve inches from each other to maximize their voice dampening effect.
You don’t have to layer the whole room with fabric panels to reduce the echo. A professional will easily identify the points in the room where a larger amount of sound bounces off. Installing the fabric panels on such points solves much of the problem.
Will the Acoustic panels distort the design of your room?
No, they won’t. The panels come in different decorative colors. You can even have them tailor-made to suit the color plan of your room. Besides, you can also order them with pictures or artwork designs on the fabric. If done well, they can blend into the room plan, and help your room look better.
Where can I get acoustic foam or fabric panels?
Should you choose to go the industrial way, you can always purchase the echo cancellation products online. For fabric panels, you need to provide specifics on the panel thickness, the surface patterns and the count dimensions of the fabric surface.
If you good carpentry skills, you can also build your own panels. This will save you a lot of money. Alternatively, you can always find a carpenter around you who understands how the panels are constructed to do the job for you.