When I was starting out as an audio enginner about 15 years ago I didn't know much about acoustics. I understood echo, reverb, timbre of the room but didn't really understand how the room changes my perspective on any mix that I was working on.
I had to double check every mix on multiple systems. I listened to it in a car, livingroom, headphones and many friend's systems. The process was slow and painful. I think it was this way for quite a few years. But then I decided to acoustically treat a room on the budget. That meant that I'll spend a few hundred euro on insulation material that I can get a local hardware store.
I used stone wool mostly and it tourned out as effective to all the boxines and echo of the room. But the problem remained. Any mix I made I had to double check and it just never traslated good across other systems. So I was back at square one.
I learned that acoustics is a lot more than a few foam pannels in a room and that it gets expensive to do it right. I asked experts for their help and quotations on the matter. The price of setting up a decent acoustic for a room of 35m2 was about 20.000 euro. That's something I couldnt afford and even if I'd look on this as an investment for next 10-15 years it just didn't make sence synce I didn't know if I'll live in the same town for so long.
The only way left was to have multiple close monitors to cross check the mix and make adjustments.
So acoustic treatment on the budget is something that looks nice when you have clients or friends at your place but in reality it's a waste of money and time. I learned that close monitoring is kinda ok if you have at least three different monitors that you can switch between.
After about 10 years I changed my mind about that too. I only use headphones now. Especially after tactile subwoofers come along. You can mix with consistency and totaly independed of a room you are in. Once you get used to it you can do jobs for your clients anywhere you are and that is a crazy advantage over your competitors in the freelance audio game.
Author: OLLO Audio