Do Not Angle Your Recording Studio Walls
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Yes, you read that right. This is a very controversial topic out on the internet and I wanted to confront it head on. Everyone, and I mean pretty much everyone, wants to angle their studio walls. However, it is a myth that has been perpetuated through the ages. In this article I will give you all the science behind what angling walls really does.
1) It Will Not Fix Room Mode Issues
Splaying walls will not eliminate room modes, but it may shift them slightly and help a little with diffusion. (Everest and Pohlmann 257) Everest and Pohlmann also cite a study by Van Niewland and Weber in their book that shows that room modes in non-rectangular rooms are in fact still there, but are harder to predict.
This means that choosing a rectangular room using a room ratio that falls within the range of some of science's best acousticians: Bolt, Boner, Volkmann, Sepmeyer and Louden, will give you a room that has a more uniform distribution of modal frequencies in a room. (Everest and Pohlmann 254) This means you can predict the room modes and more easily treat them with room acoustic treatment.
2) You Will Lose A Lot Of Space In Your Room
This may be the main reason not to splay your walls. First, let's be clear you can angle walls in a control room after the initial rectangular shell is created. This can be done using smaller framing timber and creating what is known as a reflection free zone around your speakers. It is important to note that even when a studio seemingly has angled walls, the true soundproof wall behind the inner studio is still rectangular.
Now, angling walls will help with one thing and that is flutter echo. Flutter echo occurs when sound bounces between two parallel walls. It is the pinging sound you hear when you clap your hands in a room. It is also not desirable for recording studios. However, you can easily treat flutter echo in a room using acoustic panels. It is far cheaper to hang panels then to angle a wall.
If you are dead set on angling your walls then you must angle them the right amount. According to the Master Handbook of Acoustics most walls are splayed "between 1ft in 20ft and 1ft in 10ft." (Everest and Pohlmann 257) This means if you splay one wall in a room that is 20ft long you will lose 10 square feet of space. I don't know about you, but that space is really useful and expensive to build.
It's also important to note that in a control room you cannot just spaly one wall. You want symmetry in your room, so you would need to splay two walls losing even more space.
You can see that splaying walls is not really ideal for any studio and especially a home studio.
There is not really much benefit to angling your walls in a recording studio. The cons far out weight the pros. One of the biggest factors in good room acoustics are using correct room ratios to start with and having rooms with large volumes. Splaying your walls will make it so you do not know the room modes and may actually make your room sound worse, and it will decrease the volume of your room, also making it sound worse.
All problems with flutter echo and diffusion can be solved using carefully placed acoustic panels. You do not need to waste money and space angling walls.
Everest, F. A., and Ken C. Pohlmann. Master Handbook Of Acoustics. 6th ed., McGraw Hill Education, 2015. pp. 257-259.