Adventures In Audio

Q: What carpet do you recommend for a studio floor?

by David Mellor

Leaving aside questions of colour and pattern, what type of carpet works best in a recording studio environment?

A question from an Audio Masterclass website visitor:

What carpet do you recommend for a studio floor?

This is actually more complex than it seems at first. There are at least two questions here - one is what carpet is recommended for the recording area, the other is what carpet is recommended for the control room?

Audio Masterclass Video Courses

Learn FAST With Audio Masterclass Video Courses

With more than 900 courses on all topics audio, including almost every DAW on the market, these courses are your fast track to audio mastery.
Get a library pass for all 900+ courses for just $25.

Conventionally the answer has been for a long time that no carpet is recommended - just bare wood or laminate flooring.

One reason for this is that carpet quickly wears out or becomes 'tired' looking, particularly in the control room under the engineer's chair, and in areas where equipment is loaded or stored. These areas should not be carpeted, for purely practical reasons.

The other areas can be carpeted if you wish. But there is a 'but'. Carpet is a great absorber of high and high-mid frequencies. Compared to other forms of absorption it's quite cheap too.

The Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course


Ready to take your recording to the next level? Full online course leading to your Audio Masterclass certificate on successful completion.

But carpet has little or no effect on low frequency sounds - it's too thin. So a room that is carpeted will have a lot of absorption at high and high-mid frequencies, a little at mid frequencies and none at low frequencies, unless other measures are taken.

This room will sound very dull because of the imbalance towards low frequencies in the reverberation of the room.

There are two solutions to this. One is to reduce the area covered by carpet and use a thinner carpet. The room will be more lively, but there will be a better balance of frequencies. The other is to provide low-frequency absorption, which can be done using proprietary modules, or by constructing panel or membrane absorbers.

You can actually make a low-frequency absorber out of carpet. Hang the carpet on the wall supported by a wooden batten spacing the carpet 50 mm or more away from the wall. Now fix similar battens all around the edges of the carpet, and nail the carpet down. Such an absorber will still have more high and mid absorption than low, but it's better than just carpet alone, and it can be balanced out with other acoustic treatment methods elsewhere in the room.

Monday May 24, 2010

Like, follow, and comment on this article at Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram or the social network of your choice.

David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

More from Adventures In Audio...

An interesting microphone setup for violinist Nigel Kennedy

Are you compressing too much? Here's how to tell...

If setting the gain correctly is so important, why don't mic preamplifiers have meters?

The Internet goes analogue!

How to choose an audio interface

Audio left-right test. Does it matter?

Electric guitar - compress before the amp, or after?

What is comb filtering? What does it sound like?

NEW: Audio crossfades come to Final Cut Pro X 10.4.9!

What is the difference between EQ and filters? *With Audio*

What difference will a preamp make to your recording?

Watch our video on linear phase filters and frequency response with the FabFilter Pro Q 2

Read our post on linear phase filters and frequency response with the Fabfilter Pro Q 2

Harmonic distortion with the Soundtoys Decapitator

What's the best height for studio monitors? Answer - Not too low!

What is the Red Book standard? Do I need to use it? Why?

Will floating point change the way we record?

Mixing: What is the 'Pedalboard Exception'?

The difference between mic level and line level

The problem with parallel compression that you didn't know you had. What it sounds like and how to fix it.

Compressing a snare drum to even out the level

What does parallel compression on vocals sound like?

How to automate tracks that have parallel compression

Why mono is better than stereo for recording vocals and dialogue