It might take time and lots of experience, but some day you’ll recognize what sort of interference your studio is creating with monitoring. Early reflections, standing waves, phase cancellation, and flutter echo are all some of the potential enemies of the untreated room. You might not perceive them directly, but listen back to a mix made in such a room to understand what went wrong. Your decisions are informed by the sound coming to your ears, the most important element in the studio. Without an acoustically tuned room, the sounds are just lying to you.
Many people think they need to completely deaden the sound in the room for the optimal listening environment. A dead room is just as bad as a really live one, and there is a happy medium. Finding and reaching that medium could cost thousands of dollars. Or it could be a little easier.
This guide from Sweetwater discusses the different ways to treat a room, and gives you some options for different products to that end. Here’s what they have to say about bass traps:
Low-frequency sound waves are so long (and powerful) that they are the toughest to control. This is true whether you’re attempting to block their transmission to a neighboring space or absorb them to clean up the low-frequency response within a room. What’s more, low frequencies tend to collect in corners and cause problems, such as boosting the apparent amount of bass in the room. Therefore, corner bass trapping is vital to smoothing out any room’s sound.
This is by far one of the most succinct guides out there on acoustic treatment. Most articles go into great depth on the subject, perhaps to convince you that treatment is what your room needs. It’s not the sexiest improvement you can make, but it’s one of the best investments for the life of a studio.
How much soundproofing do you need? You can get an expert to come out and take some measurements, if you want. Some companies even have online calculators to help you figure out the best treatment. The best answer is that you need some, but not too much. 40 percent coverage should be good, maybe less, and you can never over treat bass.