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4th June 2006
Old 4th June 2006
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Talk about drum rooms

Gearslutz,

It's the ultimate piece of gear ..... "a great room". ( for drums )

Let's discuss ...... cost and real world results being a factor.
(I know someone wants to post pics of that upsate NY room, allaire I think)

What makes a great drum room ??? Big room ?? Small room ??? Moving baffles around in a big room ???

If given a choice might the big boys choose a small room over a big one ??

For a starting point .....
What would be the dimensions ( and ceiling height) of a GREAT GREAT small drum room be ??? Or is there no such thing as a great small drum room ..... go for 20ft ceilings.

What's it going to take to build a great one. (in the real world)

Thanks in advance !!
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I guess you mentioned several things that would make my drum room.

Make it big to get the crosstalk in the mics down.
Make it big to get out of the lowend problems.
Make it high to get that phase/combfilter problems out fo the OHs.
Make it wood for me to get a nice sound.

Use gobos to change the amount of room info/reverb.
Use room mics to get more reverb...
The usual stuff.
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4th June 2006
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My Fab Drum Room

Mine is 28' x 14' 10 " X 9' to a false baffel celing it has sixteen and a half inch thick soft red brick walls on two sides they were built in 1833 as outside walls and nobody repointed them since half their hight is underground and there is eight and a half inches of brick in the other two walls which are plastered. It has a pent roof which is fifteen feet at the apex. There is a store cupboard on one of the long walls 4' X 9" 6" in 4" dense block. It has wilton carpet on the floor and the false celing has big bass traps above it.
There are large baffels in two corners and its fab. Just the right amount of reverb
nothing to short and bathroomy just good stuff.
Regards.•:*¨¨*:•. ¸¸.•´¯`•.Mark Fairfax-Harwood, Engineer Springvale Studios
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4th June 2006
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Hmmm .... I see some pretty nice studios with smaller drum booths. Do you think they're using sdc's as opposed to ldc's for overheads ?? Maybe only one room mic?

Who's getting great results with a smaller drum room ??

I know it's the basics, I'm just trying to wrap my mind around this.

My problem is that real estate is soooooo expensive here.

What should my minimum standard be for dimensions/ ceiling height for a great room.
12x15 with a 10 ft ceiling, tricked out with hardwood floors and the right acoustics ? Can it be done or should I just "go big" ?

Thanks people !
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4th June 2006
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The best sounding drum room i ever heard was about 35 x25 feet and 11 feet tall.

the ceiling was wave shaped so it wasn;t dead parallel to the floor, and the ceiling was hard plaster but with a bit of foam pellets mixed in so it was a BIT absorbent.

the floors and walls were wood (oak).

naturally it was a slightly irregular shape with one long wall angling sharply away and the other side rear corner built as a curve... so no parallel walls.

the control room looked into the short side.

there was some tapping built in to the other long wall and rear wall with wood panels about 2 feet wide separated by about 2" gaps... behind them was fabric covered fibreglass.

but the overall effect was VERY VERY live and splashy.

way more live than most people, and DEFINITELY than most 'acoustic designers', are comfortable with.
that's what made it so great.

it was almost as live as a concert hall but not terribly big...
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4th June 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwittman
The best sounding drum room i ever heard was about 35 x25 feet and 11 feet tall.

the ceiling was wave shaped so it wasn;t dead parallel to the floor, and the ceiling was hard plaster but with a bit of foam pellets mixed in so it was a BIT absorbent.

the floors and walls were wood (oak).

naturally it was a slightly irregular shape with one long wall angling sharply away and the other side rear corner built as a curve... so no parallel walls.

the control room looked into the short side.

there was some tapping built in to the other long wall and rear wall with wood panels about 2 feet wide separated by about 2" gaps... behind them was fabric covered fibreglass.

but the overall effect was VERY VERY live and splashy.

way more live than most people, and DEFINITELY than most 'acoustic designers', are comfortable with.
that's what made it so great.

it was almost as live as a concert hall but not terribly big...
Very interesting William.
Was the ceiling one big wave, or multiple waves (I'm imagining a sine wave shape)? How deep was the wave ?What studio was it ?
I understand the concept of not having parallel walls.

Have you had very good luck in any smaller rooms ?
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5th June 2006
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smaller than THAT can be tricky... too live starts to sound bathroomy.
but you can get lucky once in a while.

the ceiling varied by about a foot to a foot and a half and it was an irregular wave.
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5th June 2006
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SK1,
You're in LA, if you check out Fourth Street Recording in Santa Monica they have a "sine wave" ceiling like William is talking about. While Fourth Street is a smallish room, there's been some pretty good drum sounds to come out of there. At any rate you'll kinda get the idea. If you do stop by tell Kathleen Wirt that Tommy Dwyer says hi!
TommyD

This link shows a small crappy picture of the tracking room, but you can kind of see the ceiling.
http://www.4thstreetrecording.com/n_tracking.htm

Last edited by tommyd; 5th June 2006 at 03:10 AM.. Reason: addition
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5th June 2006
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Cool .... great call ......

can you guys think of any more great rooms 500 square ft or less ??

This is great.

I'll be lucky to get somthing for $600k out here ..... so space will be limited.
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to me one of the best sounding rooms for recording drums still is Studio A at Avatar Studios NYC (former Power Station)

http://www.avatarstudios.net


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5th June 2006
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> What makes a great drum room ??? <

It's more a matter of "What messes up a room making it not so great?"

Seriously, a good room does not have:

* Reverb and ambience that favors only some frequencies over others.

* Such a small size that all the walls are close by and give comb filtering.

* A low ceiling with the same problems as nearby walls.

* Peaks and nulls due to poor dimensions.

* Excess modal ringing due to a lack of bass trapping.

Small room ambience is always bad ambience. And you'll never get a big sound in a small room anyway. So unless you have a big budget, the best thing to aim for is a neutral sound. You can always add ambience electronically.

If you have a million dollars to build your drum room, you can ignore everything I just wrote.

--Ethan
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5th June 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ms70
to me one of the best sounding rooms for recording drums still is Studio A at Avatar Studios NYC (former Power Station)

http://www.avatarstudios.net



Wonder WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!! ha ha ha
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5th June 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer
> What makes a great drum room ??? <

It's more a matter of "What messes up a room making it not so great?"

* Such a small size that all the walls are close by and give comb filtering.

* A low ceiling with the same problems as nearby walls.


--Ethan
OK .....

Can you tell me some standard rules to follow concerning the size and height of my room to avoid "comb filtering".
Also do you know of any good resources where I can learn more about this ??

Good info, but I need more specifics !

Thanks very much
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I think the uber big drum room is overrated. If you are in a large, even mildy ambient room, the drums really need to have absorbtive bafles around them or they lose focus quickly. My drum room is approx 500 sq feet (6720 cubic ft), I couldn't ask for much better and if I had 5 million dollars to build a room from scratch I'd figure out a way to incorporate a room this size into a larger room as an uber 'booth', but the larger room would be mainly for functionality (for larger ensembles, etc), not sound (at least for drums that is).
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5th June 2006
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'' Small room ambience is always bad ambience. And you'll never get a big sound in a small room anyway. So unless you have a big budget, the best thing to aim for is a neutral sound. You can always add ambience electronically. ''

I definitely disagree with this one. i have done drum sessions in numerous small room that sounds wounderful. Obviously, ambiance you get from a smaller room will be different than bigger rooms but not necessarely worse. I just finish tracking drums for an R&B record and we end up tracking drums in a 10x17 with an 8 ' ceiling room. We prefer the tone of the drums and the ambiance we were getting compare to when the drums were in the bigger tracking room 4 x its size with an 18 foot ceiling.
I find that when your room is too big, it actually sound smaller. Personally, i find aiming for neutral sound is the worse thing you can do for drums....i've never done any session in small dead-neutral drum booth that sound any good. Controlled reflection is a GOOD thing !!!
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6th June 2006
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> Can you tell me some standard rules to follow concerning the size and height of my room to avoid "comb filtering". Also do you know of any good resources where I can learn more about this ?? Good info, but I need more specifics ! <

There's lots of good info - and it's very specific! - on the Articles and Videos pages of my company's web site linked under my name below. Click Acoustics Info at the top of any page to get there.

--Ethan
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6th June 2006
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> i have done drum sessions in numerous small room that sounds wounderful. <

Understood, and Fletcher once objected when I said this somewhere else.

In that case Fletcher pointed out some Led Zep song or other that had really cool sounding drums recorded in a small room. While a small room can give a nice effect, I'm not sure most people want that small boxy sound on everything they record. You can avoid a lot of the problems with small rooms with absorption and diffusion. But to my ears, anyway, all untreated small rooms sound pretty much like crap. Except for the occasional special effect.

> Personally, i find aiming for neutral sound is the worse thing you can do for drums... <

And that's why recording is as much an art as it is a science. There's no way anyone can really dispute either of our methods because taste is a factor too.

--Ethan
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6th June 2006
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Thanks so far.

I can't believe all these looks and just a few posts ????? (most by me)

Talk about your rooms people !!

Post some pics .... post some samples .......

Don't let me down slutz !!!!

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4457 CU ft With 348 CU ft of bass traps.

Just measured it. Two of the three bass traps are above the sonically porous celing. one in a corner down below. It is just about perfect not to many quick reflections and L shaped slightly by the hard cupboard built at the far end but nine foot 6 long and 4 ft wide in a room 14' 10 wide and 28' long. We have recorded drums at Chappel Studios in Linconshire and they have a great room. Well Mr Wesley used to preach there a couple of centurys ago. It was built for him.
No mate! his second name wern't Dooley. I know that cos in a room like that
Mr Dooley is God. "Position the big baffels at will skipper". "Aye Aye matey shiver me rockwools". "Man the AEA's and keep an eye peeled there may be Mesursmitts up there". "Correction Sir! angels cherubs and seraphim Sir".
"Quick man, to the control room" "Action Stations!". "Brrrrrrrrrrrrr Bu-da bu-da bu-da!". "Drum War is Hell chaps!". "Break out the STC hydrophone pre amp and man the OP-6 on the snare matey". "What 1940 and no phantom power. Don't they know there's a War on!".
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer
> i have done drum sessions in numerous small room that sounds wounderful. <

Understood, and Fletcher once objected when I said this somewhere else.

In that case Fletcher pointed out some Led Zep song or other that had really cool sounding drums recorded in a small room. While a small room can give a nice effect, I'm not sure most people want that small boxy sound on everything they record. You can avoid a lot of the problems with small rooms with absorption and diffusion. But to my ears, anyway, all untreated small rooms sound pretty much like crap. Except for the occasional special effect.


--Ethan
So Ethan, not to get off subject but when you say "small" how big are you talking about here?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
So Ethan, not to get off subject but when you say "small" how big are you talking about here?
I second this ....
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7th June 2006
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Michael,

> when you say "small" how big are you talking about here? <

I dunno, maybe 16 by 10 feet and smaller. This seems to be a common size for rooms you'll find in most homes.

There are two issues. One is the size and shape which affects room modes, and in turn creates peaks and nulls and ringing. The other issue is simple proximity to walls and the ceiling. Even if a room is bigger, like a large open basement, if a reflective ceiling is only a few feet above the drum overhead mikes you'll get "early" reflections and comb filtering. And that's a big cause of a boxy small room sound.

--Ethan
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I have a weird 20X25X18 room that sounds huge. 18 feet ceilings with an almost square room, I dunno. I have real traps gobo traps behind the kit and 16 ASC tube traps in front and around the kit. Sounds real good.
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I recently read in Future Music (US version) David Gilmour saying all the drums on Pink Floyd's The Division Bell were recorded in the corner of a small 11' x 14' tracking room on his boat, the Astoria. The room has a low ceiling and is decorated with some antique furniture. The room was also used for tracks on A Momentary Lapse of Reason as "we were getting a better drum sound than we did in the big Olympic rooms." (London's Olympic Studios) To further quote Glimour; "Sometimes things don't work the way the rule book says."

This gave me inspiration to finally try and do something with my 8.5' X 11' room. I plan on building some bass traps/broadband panels (insulation on the way!) and a "cloud" above the kit so I can experiment with overhead mics. I will post pics later this month when everything's done.

JP

EDIT: Just realized we're in the high end forum... At least the Glimour quotes are relevant...
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7th June 2006
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My fave for drums are common industrial buildings, one or two units large.
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22nd December 2007
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Should this be moved to the new studio/acoustics forum?

Just wondering...
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I don't mind a small room for drums, as long as it's got 2 features:
- it's pretty dead sounding, but well-balanced.
- it's got a door leading to a maybe bigger, definitely more live area, where I can put some room mics.

Small & live sucks, IMO.
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