If you want to set up your music production room or studio to sound great, you need to start thinking of acoustic treatment and its elements. You need a combination of three items: Bass Traps, Acoustic Panels, and Diffusers.
Acoustic Treatment: Elements
For starters, bass traps are the first and most important element of acoustic treatment. People commonly think of it as a specialized tool for absorbing bass frequencies. Porous bass traps are actually broadband absorbers, meaning they’re good at absorbing mid/high frequencies as well. For this reason, sometimes bass traps alone are enough to get the complete acoustic treatment. Regardless, this is not always the case. In small studios, where bass frequencies can be a particularly problematic pain, bass traps are a must.
Many people think that acoustic panels are the first option to combat problems with a studio or room acoustics. However, the truth is they are almost ineffective at absorbing the lowest bass frequencies. Their main purpose is to be a supplement tool after you place the bass traps. Think of it: acoustic panels are thinner than bass traps and offer more surface area with less material. These panels can provide greater wall coverage for less money. What they do is kill any standing waves that may exist between opposite and parallel walls. This is something that bass traps can’t really do because one primarily installs them in the corners of the room or studio.
Similarly, most people think that, for smaller rooms or home studios, the effectiveness of diffusion is greatly reduced, if not neutralized. For project studios, it’s good news because it eliminates the need for expensive diffusers. The thing here is that many people don’t use them at all, but others disagree completely and use tons. It’s really just up to you to remember to get the absorption handled first. Then, if you need to, add some diffuser.