If you’ve ever been to a recording studio, or watched a performance studio recording of your favourite band or artist, you’ve probably thought to yourself ‘why do recording studios have rugs?’. And not just any old type of rug, they’re usually elegant looking Persian rugs. Well, you don’t have to wonder any more. In this post I’ll cover the main reasons recording studios use Persian rugs and why you may also want to consider using rugs in your recording environment.
Why Do Recording Studios Have Rugs?
Recording studios have rugs on the floor for several reasons. Firstly, the thick material helps to absorb sound, reduce reflections and echoes. Audio cables and wires can also be placed underneath rugs to minimise clutter and mess, whilst also reducing the risk of people tripping over them in the studio. An added bonus of using Persian style rugs in particular, is that they also look very elegant and stylish.
Rugs Absorb Sound, Reduce Echoes and Reflections
Acoustic treatment should be the priority for any recording, performing, or mixing space. Why? Because sound waves go where they want to, causing reflections, which in turn create a lot of echoes. This a nightmare for the recording process.
When a sound engineer is recording a group of musicians, a lot of microphones will be placed around the studio in different positions to capture instruments, amps, and performers from different angles. If there are any echoes present, then the microphones will also capture them.
This results in recordings being out of phase, as there is a time difference between the microphone capturing the initial sound from the singer and then the delayed reflection of the singer’s voice bouncing off the wall. Basically, you just get a mess of audio which is unfixable.
Thanks to the material of heavy rugs, they help to absorb sound, therefore preventing troublesome reflections and echoes from occurring in the first place. Persian rugs in particular can even do this more efficiently than carpets, as they have more pronounced fibres which absorb sound more effectively.
Plus, a fully carpeted studio can absorb too many high frequencies, which could suck the life out the music. A mix of hard flooring with thick rugs is a perfect balance acoustically speaking
Rugs Hide and Cover Troublesome Cables
As snug as a cable in a rug. Oh wait, that’s not the expression! Well, you get the idea. Cables are everywhere in our lives these days. Despite having a lot of wireless options such as Bluetooth, we depend on cables to transfer high quality audio at the appropriate level. We simply can’t live without them.
In a professional recording studio, there are literally hundreds of cables running throughout the building. A lot of them are tied up and hidden underneath the flooring, behind desks, mixing consoles, along skirting boards, and so on. But when a band, artist, or group of musicians come into a studio, the cables need to be in close proximity of the performers.
Cables are running to and from microphones, instruments, amplifiers, external gear, and guitar pedals. Not only do they look messy, they pose a health and safety hazard for the musicians and studio staff. You wouldn’t want to trip over a cable and hurt yourself, especially on recording day! Large Persian rugs provide the ultimate solution. The heavy-duty material means cables can sit underneath without them really being noticed.
If you want to find out about the most common cables types you need for a recording studio, be sure to read my full audio cable guide.
Rugs Provide More Friction Than Hard Flooring
A lot of recording studios are built with laminate or hard flooring. Even though this type of flooring is more prone to reflections, it’s cheaper than carpeting a large area, it’s easier to clean, and is much more durable. Hard flooring however, is slippery. Having large rugs throughout a studio allow musicians to stand comfortably without having to pay attention to their footing. It also prevents large audio equipment such as amplifiers or speakers from moving or slipping, which occurs due to the heavy vibrations they produce.
Should You Use Persian Rugs in Your Recording Studio?
So, now you know, Persian rugs aren’t just there to look beautiful. They provide practical solutions to common problems found in recording studios. High-quality Persian rugs are not that cheap though, but they’re not the only solution. You can buy more budget friendly rugs, and build your own or buy premade sound traps, panels, and diffusers, which are also found in professional recording studios.
If you really do want to create, record, and mix the best music possible, then you need to invest in acoustically treating your room. And trust me, you’ll notice a huge difference. Invest in your space and the rest will fall into place. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments down below.