As a hobbyist singer, you might have spent many hours and many sleepless nights watching your favorite YouTube singers or cover bands’ performances. And whenever your eyes stray from the performance to observe the room, almost always, hidden underneath musical instruments and recording equipment, will be some sort of rug, more commonly, a Persian rug.
Recording studios have Persian rugs to help absorb sound, reduce echo effect, and any sound bouncing off the floor or walls in the studio. They also act as a cover-up for laid over cords and wire, ultimately preventing any trips or falls. Finally, they prevent slippage of grounded equipment.
In this article, you will learn – in detail – about each of the benefits offered by Persian rugs in home studios, stages, and professional recording rooms. The article covers the key factors which prove that Persian rugs are not there just for the aesthetic or the beautification of your studio; they play a much more important role than that.
Persian Rugs Absorb Sounds and Prevent Echoes
Music and recording studios are highly reflective. With so many different instruments and many microphones, each recording a different sound, it is natural for these rooms to be surrounded by their music’s echo effect. Often, microphones will be placed above instruments, many singers like using overhead mics for the aesthetic and old-school feel.
A Persian rug will be placed directly below the microphone on the floor, with the singer standing on the carpet. The carpet is there to reduce floor bounce or floor sound reflection, which causes comb filter coloration in the sound recorded by the mic.
Comb filtering is when – due to multiple mics being open and picking up sounds around them – two copies of your voice appear in delayed phases and signals of 50 ms. It might not look like a massive figure, but this is the reason behind the echo effect in your recordings.
The Persian rug, quite literally, carpets and cushions this excess noise-absorbing its frequency to prevent this echoed effect. Without a carpet, the music may have a reverb effect or may sound heavily like bass, blocking out any special vocals or instruments.
Any carpet is better than no carpet when it comes to recording studios. However, even thick carpets do not provide as much sound absorption as a quality Persian rug because of the surface area difference. A Persian rug has more pronounced fibers that each absorbs more sound than an ordinary carpet’s fibers in an equivalent area.
Persian Rugs Cover Wires and Make the Studio Safer
Studio wiring isn’t permanent. Artists want to retain portability and may wish to plug in equipment, mixers, and speakers whenever they see fit. As a result, the wiring often lays all across the floor. To cover up the semi-permanent above-the-floor wiring, you must opt for a thick enough ground cover.
Persian rugs are often thick and woolen compared to standard thin ones. In a recording studio, many wires and cords are lying around on the floor. Not only is this dangerous for musicians who like to move and walk around when singing, but it also just looks untidy, making a studio look disoriented and unappealing. These rugs essentially cover all cords and wiring, allowing free movement and prevent any tripping by falling on a flat surface.
Persian Rugs Lend Traction to Smooth Floors
Laminate floors and other sealed flooring have become popular. Unfortunately, there is a serious side-effect that comes in the form of potential slippage. And while this is a hazard in general, it is more pronounced in music studios. That is because instruments and music equipment such as amplifiers, speakers, or drums can be prone to slippage or movement.
This is a hindrance, especially during recordings when one has to stop or break their flow continuously to ensure sets stay in place. Persian rugs cover these smooth surfaces, and with the instruments placed on them, they are less likely to shift out of place.
What You Can Do to Improve Your Sound Quality
While Persian rugs are an easy though not the most budget-friendly way to absorb sound reflection and tighten up the bass in your home studio, there are other things you can do to improve the sound quality of your recording studio.
The first step would be to ensure you have the right equipment, and by this, we do not mean bulky audio interfaces or mixers which would cost you a fortune; we mean simple equipment that is easy to use, budget-friendly, and yet will make a drastic effect on your tracks. For instance, investing in a good microphone is essential.
You will also require software such as the Digital Audio Workstation or a DAW, which helps you to record, edit, and mix music on your computer. To hook up your microphone and equipment to your laptop, you will also need an audio interface, preferably a model with multiple XLR inputs.
Setting up a Persian rug is not the only way to soundproof your room; other factors play a crucial role in creating the right recording environment.
First, make sure that the place is quiet. It is preferable to have a room with no windows or one that is isolated so that no external sound reaches inside and no internal base spills out. Avoid a square-shaped room if possible, as it has the highest tendency to bounce off the sound because of its ‘spaciousness,’ and if a square-shaped room is what you have, you can invest in foam mattresses, acoustic panels, or bass traps to reduce the echo effect.
What You Should Not Do
Avoid Relying on Effects
your music should be as authentic and original as possible. Sometimes, it can be easy to depend on effects and filters when mixing your recordings. Avoid complicating things with excess reverb effects that will blur your notes together, making them sound indistinguishable.
Do Not Forget to Position Equipment in the Right Place
small details matter, especially at a home studio where space is limited. Try to make sure your microphone is not pointed at the loudest component of your instrument. A rule of thumb: estimate the dimension of the longest, sound-producing part of an instrument. For instance, a guitar’s body is roughly 18 or 19 inches, so as a trial distance, start with this measurement. For singers, try to stay in the center and away from the walls to avoid any reverb.
Do Not Forget to Turn Off Your Speakers
After editing or mixing, a musician can often forget to turn off their speakers before the microphone is turned on. This can lead to a blast of screeching feedback that may even kill the sound. Always remember to either switch off your speaker or press the speaker-mute button on your desk.
Avoid Working Too Long
And finally, make sure you aren’t working too long because that can lead to a shortened attention span, lack of focus and motivation. There is little enjoyment in performing if you are constantly frustrated. Try to avoid exhausting your creative flow too much and enjoy the process.
To sum up, a lot of thinking goes into setting your home studio, an unexpected but essential factor being the Persian rugs you place in the room. To reduce delayed echoing and combat comb filtering, cushioning is vital; a Persian rug not only functions as a diffuser but is also rather pretty to look at, so it will be a valuable addition to your home studio.
Check out our choice of the 4 best rugs for your recording studio here.