New Music Room - carpet or not?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by NaH, Feb 12, 2021.

  1. NaH

    NaH Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2010
    Getting a "new" music room (working on a new house). It is currently carpeted but has nice hardwood floor underneath. Generally we hate carpet (dirt et al) and would rip it all up. Occasionally we'll lay down a throw rug.

    The carpet in that room is decent looking (the rest of the place, not so much). For the best sound, do I:

    a) leave the carpet
    b) go down to the hardwood
    c) go down to the hardwood and add throw rugs
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2021
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  2. Wood and Wire

    Wood and Wire

    Jul 15, 2017
    Are you making acoustic recordings, or are mostly going direct - or are you mostly mixing down?

    If you're recording acoustically (drums, acoustic guitar, vocals) go hardwood, with throw rugs, gobos, and baffles to adjust the acoustics as required.

    If you're mostly going direct, go with whatever you like.

    If you're mostly mixing, go with carpet (and further room treatment).
  3. NaH

    NaH Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2010
    For playback, keyboards going through reference monitors + sub. Bass going through bass amp.
    For recording - mostly direct and some mix down. I do own an acoustic guitar, but never play it. I do see recording some vocals, but could use a treated closet for that.
    JeezyMcNuggles and DJ Bebop like this.
  4. JeezyMcNuggles


    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Either carpet, or cover wood with pads or carpet (like it already is). Otherwise sound will be terrible in there. You also want to line the walls with sound blankets. Or any comforters and blankets for that matter.
    DJ Bebop and OogieWaWa like this.
  5. Wood and Wire

    Wood and Wire

    Jul 15, 2017
    In that case, I'd go carpet, and sufficient treatment to keep room ambience / reflection under control (not dead, but not negatively influencing how you mix).

    Be prepared to potentially go down a rabbit hole (depending on the degree to which this is a casual hobby, Vs aiming for professional results) regarding more involved acoustic treatmen, bass traps, and a lot of moving things around in the room, to find the most neutral placement of monitors to listening position.

    There are a bunch of threads regarding studio builds, so I'm sure you'll be able to mine useful information from them, and avoid the usual pitfalls of wasted time, effort, and money.
  6. Go with carpet and I'll add that the best $700.00 I spent on ANYTHING in my room was a set of 8 panels, 12 scatter blocks and a pair of bass traps.
    OldDog52, triode6L6a and fourstr00 like this.
  7. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Tricky question.
    Acoustics, noise suppression advantage for fabric, carpet.
    Style, not so much.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  8. Lit311


    Jul 6, 2016
    I'm pro hardword in all situations when feasible. Carpet gets gross and is a pain to replace. If you have the means to put down/refinish some hardwood... do it and just "rug up."
  9. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    S-Bigbottom, Lit311, MCF and 2 others like this.
  10. Phaidrus


    Oct 25, 2009
    DJ Bebop, MCF and Oddly like this.
  11. MynameisMe

    MynameisMe Be kind. Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2018
    Jax, Florida
  12. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    I think gear is generally rough in carpet especially if you are setting up gear you gig with. Gig scuz, mud, salt will become part of your house.

    I like a practice room with hard floors and rugs. Best of both worlds.

    I used to practice in a friend’s carpeted basement, and we had to take our shoes off to practice. Never liked that.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  13. burgerdj


    Dec 4, 2006
    Will you or other musicians drink a few beers in the music room? If so, I’d recommend rugs over carpet ;)
  14. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    Ditto on Hardwoods with rugs (In my case a cheap carpet remnant). I've got hardwood floors that I protect with an old carpet remnant (no carpet pad). if the carpet gets trashed I have no problem tossing out. I prefer a deader room so acoustically the carpet helps. I also hate the thought of dragging anything across a hardwood floor and scratching it. Compared to vacuuming, sweeping sucks. I've found if I buy enough gear.... I have less to vacuum. :)
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  15. FDR Jones

    FDR Jones Inactive

    Apr 7, 2018
    This is uninformed advice. Don’t listen to this guy.

    Ditch the carpet, put a rug down, have some non-reflective furniture, and call it day. Putting comforters all over the walls is a ridiculous idea.
    MVE, DJ Bebop and Bitterdale like this.
  16. JeezyMcNuggles


    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    It catches cymbals
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  17. fourstr00


    Mar 21, 2002
    Chicago Area
    I’m a fan of an old rug over carpet. Comfy for feet, better damping, and no skin off my back if it’s gross. Since our space has drums, amps, and piano, there’s very little gear scuzz coming in from outside.

    Honestly, the next major improvement will be moving to can lights instead of the buzz-inducing fluorescents.

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2021
  18. SunByrne

    SunByrne opinionated intellectual Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    Pearland, TX
    Carpet will sound better.

    Hardwood plus rug(s) will probably look better (depending on your taste in rugs), and sound almost as good.
    dkelley likes this.
  19. For a wood floor to be anything other than terrible sounding, you would have to be in a HUGE room that was designed specifically with recording acoustics in mind (very complex, all walls and ceiling need to be angled in various ways related to each other, and room dimensions really matter, and AGAIN it must be HUGE)... if you were going to get any benefit from wood floor.

    Otherwise use carpet. And since nearly all of us have poor rooms for audio use, pretty much ALWAYS use carpet. Thick carpet, preferably, with underlay.

    You know the sound of a gymnasium? That is a HUGE room without any carpeting (or furniture, of course, so it's an extreme example).

    Now if you can think of an example of a large room that doesn't have a lot of furniture in it but has carpeted floor, that'll show the difference. Nope, I can't think of an example either. But trust me here, it matters.

    I can tell ya that for recording, if you want GOOD sounding natural room sound (mild warmth from the wood), you won't get it in a normal house sized room. It'll just be a nasty plate echo. There is roughly 8 feet between floor and ceiling normally. sometimes less, sometimes more. It would have to be several times that to have any useful effect, and the ceiling woudl need to have multiple curved baffles on it to sound good and have a nice even reverb.

    When I was in university, I recorded in an orchestral room at the CBC studios in Canada. As soon as you walked through the (extremely thick, sound proof) doorway into that room and talked out loud, your voice sounded like it had dropped an entire octave. THAT is great recording acoustics.

    We can't get useful acoustics in our homes, so it's pretty much always best to dampen it as much as possible. THICK (REAL) bass traps (not just foam) in the corners, and lots of thin traps along ceiling and walls.
    Roland GR 88 and Wasnex like this.
  20. Mo cowbell

    Mo cowbell Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2017
    My stereo is in our living room with wood’s a nightmare.
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