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I'm moving my studio from a room that has carpet to a larger room with tiles. I've researched online and there does not seem to be any flooring that is favored, so I wanted to get some opinions for my particular case.

I predominantly record acoustic instruments, such as acoustic guitar, cello, and voice. I utilize a focusrite audio interface and record vocals and some instruments with a condenser mic, and typically record instruments with 2 cardoid shotgun mics.

Am I going to have a loss in quality or change of sound by going from a carpet floor to a tile floor? Would adding a large rug near where I place the mics help in any way? Is there a time when tile floor may be favorable for a recording studio?

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Tile floors were popular in the early days of studio recordings in America. The tile will obviously make the room more live and reverberant than carpet. Having a rug to utilize to deaden up the space as you desire is a great idea.

The basic concept is to listen to the room and the instrument in the room and adjust as you desire. Starting with a live space (tile) and deadening the room from there is a great practice. Killing reflections is much easier than creating reflections most of the time.

  • So it would definitely be a better idea to keep the tile floor and possibly add a rug, rather than put carpet in the room, no? – MrTheBard Apr 30 '14 at 14:13
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    probably a better idea, yea. – user7731 Apr 30 '14 at 14:42
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Yes, you will certainly have a change of sound in the new room and this may or may not be a bad thing.

Whether or not adding a carpet/rug is a good idea will depend on several factors, the most prominent being the acoustic properties of the ceiling. If you have a flat and particularly reflective ceiling, some form of carpet/rug would almost definitely be a good idea. If however the ceiling allows more diffuse reflections, the tiles will help retain a longer (but well balanced) reverberation characteristic.

In your case, I would recommend listening to the room without treatment and then experimenting with placing a rug in various locations.

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You might find that the natural resonant frequency of the new room is more pronounced and this could be annoying. It will tend to occur below about 200 Hz and can give a booming effect. Resonance and reverberation go hand in hand but to get bad effects you need reflections off all sides of the room. This causes a sustained resonance that can be a real pain. Sound doesn't differentiate between walls, floors and ceilings so if the walls are fairly neutral on reflections you may be ok.

You've got to try it and see.

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