How to Acoustically Tune a Room

While there are plenty of people who enjoy creating and playing music, not everyone can afford the luxury of a recording studio. In fact, a lot of musicians and mixers conduct a significant portion of their work in their own homes. A typical bedroom or living room may provide an acceptable acoustic sound quality, but there are ways to improve acoustics in any given room. The most effective way to acoustically tune a room is to optimize the room's shape and size but that's not exactly practical in most situations so here are some other ways to improve the acoustic quality of your room.


  1. Image titled Acoustically Tune a Room Step 1
    Check your room for reflections. Reflections are necessary for sound to be heard. When you make a noise, the sound reflects off a nearby wall and hits your eardrum. In reality, a room with poor reflections will result in poor acoustic sound quality, so fixing the problem of reflections will drastically improve acoustic quality in your room.
    • Clap your hands. If you hear a fluttery echo, then you definitely have an issue with reflections.
  2. Image titled Acoustically Tune a Room Step 2
    Remove hard surfaces. Reflections are caused by bouncing sound waves, and sound waves bounce off of hard surfaces. Avoid surfaces made of wood, concrete, glass, or leather. Soft materials, like cloth, will dissipate sounds and reduce reflections.
  3. Image titled Acoustically Tune a Room Step 3
    Add furniture and décor. Filling your room with large objects will force the sound waves to bounce in many different directions, effectively reducing reflections. Consider furniture pieces like bookshelves and couches, as well as décor like heavy rugs and window curtains.
  4. Image titled Acoustically Tune a Room Step 4
    Install foam panels. Not only are foam panels great for dissipating sound waves, they are very light and portable. Mount them on the walls and ceiling when your room requires acoustic tuning and remove them when you're done.
  5. Image titled Acoustically Tune a Room Step 5
    Check your room for reverberations. Depending on the size of your room, sound waves of a specific frequency will cancel themselves out. This means you won't be able to hear those sounds no matter what you do, even if people outside of your room hear them just fine.
    • Measure your room. Reverberations can be difficult to detect, so room measurement is the easiest way to go about it. If either the width or the length of your room are less than 13 feet (4 meters), then you probably have an issue with acoustic tuning reverberations.
  6. Image titled Acoustically Tune a Room Step 6
    Install dampening baffles. The corners of a room tend to amplify the effects of low frequency reverberation, so place dampening baffles in the corners of your room for effective tuning.
  7. Image titled Acoustically Tune a Room Step 7
    Install a resonator. Resonators are effective at reducing reverberations because they capture and trap specific sound frequencies. However, because resonators are only effective at trapping specific frequencies, you'll need to do some tuning every time your room composition changes.
  8. Image titled Acoustically Tune a Room Step 8
    Install absorbers. There are companies devoted to acoustic tuning that create products specifically designed to improve acoustics in any room. Absorbers are engineered to improve acoustics as much as possible while remaining easy to use and install, so they are perfect for effective tuning.
  9. Image titled Acoustically Tune a Room Step 9
    Enlarge your room. For the acoustic tuner who has the available resources, stretching the length of the walls and enlarging the available space will lessen the effects of both reflections and reverberations.


  • The smaller your room, the less noticeable low frequency reverberations become. Conversely, in larger rooms, low frequency reverberations become bigger problems.
  • Don't just cover your room in foam dampeners. It will reduce the amount of reflections and fluttery echoes, but it won't do anything for low frequency reverberations. The hand clap test will not reveal these flaws.
  • Make the room layout as asymmetrical as possible, that includes speaker placement and listening position, furniture placement, etc.

Things You'll Need

  • Furniture
  • Heavy rugs
  • Curtains
  • Foam panels
  • Measuring tape
  • Dampening baffles
  • Resonator
  • Absorbers

Article Info

Categories: Music Listening and Appreciation | Music Techniques