Echo chamber advice
unfiltered420
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#1
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
  #1
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Echo chamber advice

I have begun experimenting with using my live room and small bathroom as echo chambers. I do all analog recording to tape and all acoustic/analog instruments, so when I tried using digital reverbs, it just didn't sound right. So first I set up a speaker in the live room for mixdown, and picked up the echo from the drum overheads. This worked very well, as I was just adding to the room sound through the very same 4038's I use for drums. But it was more just room sound than echo. Then I setup a mic in my bathroom, which has a very resonant metal tub that seems to echo quite well. This sounds more like the echo you hear from old records, but the bathroom is small, so the decay is very short. So I was thinking about using a tape delay before the echo (or maybe after), a technique I read about that Dowd used. How exactly would this be set up? I only have one mixdown deck, but a few extra tracks on the multitrack. Any suggestions? Also no sel-rep on the mix deck. Any way to increase the decay in the analog domain only? I have a space echo as well, perhaps this would be better. I like to experiment myself, but I'm just looking for maybe a nudge in the right direction.
#2
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
  #2
Splendid idea

I do almost the same here in my studio. Also with 2" tape machine and console. Mostly I record the room signal with room microphones, or I send the signal later through the room.

For the later variant: I place the microphones in opposite direction of the speakers. In the Blumlein Pair, XY Stereofonie or use my Beyer MPC50 room mics left-right... (MPC50 are great mics!)

I make the delays with my Roland Space Echo or my TC 2290.

Also splendid delays: re-recording with my Analog Effect Pedals (Delays, Phaser, Tremolo, Flanger, Distortion...) You get an old fitting Sound.

R.
#3
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
  #3
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s.d.finley's Avatar
 

Well you could use a digital delay to add a half second or more, delay, to your chamber reverb sound, before it gets to your tape machine. Tap tempo and do the math to find your 1/8 note 1/2 note or whatever floats your boat on a per song basis. See, digital isnt all that bad!
unfiltered420
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#4
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
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Originally Posted by s.d.finley View Post
Well you could use a digital delay to add a half second or more, delay, to your chamber reverb sound, before it gets to your tape machine. Tap tempo and do the math to find your 1/8 note 1/2 note or whatever floats your boat on a per song basis. See, digital isnt all that bad!
Actually it is. Well, maybe not in another context, but for my music, I have this amazing raw analog sound that I have taken great pains to capture and preserve, and anything digital, while taking the sound in a different direction that may not be bad, ruins this raw sound. Even the slightest hint of a digital reverb tail even at 192/24 changes the sound drastically. Otherwise I would use reverbs all day. Think if you were to hear an old school Decca record with a digital delay, it would not sound the same. Maybe not worse, but drastically different. That's why I say "in the analog domain".

And I have found that any converter used in a mix, at least on my analog mixes, contributes to the degradation of this "rawness". After tracking and mixing down to tape, I use 2 converters to archive the stereo recording, and even this will take alot of the mojo out. But to my ears even these mixes sound so much better than most ITB mixes I have heard. I think tracking and mixing from tape is the best way to preserve this elusive "rawness" I speak of. Whn tracking to digital and then mixing to tape, it is not even close to the same. Digital seems to take away certain aspects of my sound, aspects that cannot really be quantified on paper, but something, some subtle energy is taken away, and I notice it every time.
#5
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
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s.d.finley's Avatar
 

Even in the predelay for a chamber return?
unfiltered420
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#6
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
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Originally Posted by s.d.finley View Post
Even in the predelay for a chamber return?
I have not used it for that, but have converted the echo just to test it out, and it fuked up the mix. I'll try the digital predelay, but I have a space echo and tape machine, and I know both will sound better.
#7
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
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andychamp's Avatar
The Space Echo will give you plenty of options. Tape speed will influence the signal's frequency content, how hard you hit the tape will change the dynamics of the send to chamber.
EQs on both send & return are very helpful, as is a compressor on return.
Chambers have an unbeatable realism about them, go for it!
unfiltered420
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#8
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
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Originally Posted by andychamp View Post
The Space Echo will give you plenty of options. Tape speed will influence the signal's frequency content, how hard you hit the tape will change the dynamics of the send to chamber.
EQs on both send & return are very helpful, as is a compressor on return.
Chambers have an unbeatable realism about them, go for it!
so just run aux to space echo, to speaker, then mic in mono, probably omni small cap? stereo miking doesn't make too much sense, since the echo speaker is mono, right? It would be the same as dual mono as far as I can surmise.
#9
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
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andychamp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
so just run aux to space echo, to speaker, then mic in mono, probably omni small cap? stereo miking doesn't make too much sense, since the echo speaker is mono, right? It would be the same as dual mono as far as I can surmise.
The speaker may only be mono, but the room can be whatever you choose: stereo, 5.1 surround, mono...depending on how many mics you put up.

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unfiltered420
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#10
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
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Originally Posted by andychamp View Post
The speaker may only be mono, but the room can be whatever you choose: stereo, 5.1 surround, mono...depending on how many mics you put up.

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Yes, but what I'm saying is that it wouldn't really enhance the sound anymore. Meaning there is not really an solid image to capture, since the source is mono. Unless maybe you used a widely spaced pair to pick up different parts of the room. But mono seems easier to manipulate the sound.
#11
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
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If you listen to The Band's 2nd album from 1969, they used a bathrooom/shower for reverb in a couple of places. It actually sounds pretty bad.

A real echo chamber has a reverb time of 3+ seconds. Your bathroom is probably going to be like .8-1.4 at best.
#12
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
  #12
I've tried the bathroom echo chamber thing as well as stair well, and hallway. All ended up sounding really bad due to the short reverbs and I quickly abandoned the idea.
unfiltered420
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#13
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
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Originally Posted by Rob Coates View Post
I've tried the bathroom echo chamber thing as well as stair well, and hallway. All ended up sounding really bad due to the short reverbs and I quickly abandoned the idea.
See this doesn't make sense to me. I don't think its the short reverbs that made it sound bad, it's the spaces themselves. Room mics usually have very little reverb times depending on the room, and still sound fine. I am not going specifically for the echo chamber sound, just an ambience in addition to room sound. I think I can extend the decay with tape delays as well. Even with the short decay, it still sounds better than that ugly digital tail that I always hear on reverbs and digital synths.
#14
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
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Mike O's Avatar
 

Three words: Marshall Tape Eliminator. Usually somewhat hard to find analog delay (for the pre delay).

Last edited by Mike O; 11th November 2012 at 10:46 PM.. Reason: Can't count!
#15
11th November 2012
Old 11th November 2012
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
...Digital seems to take away certain aspects of my sound, aspects that cannot really be quantified on paper, but something, some subtle energy is taken away, and I notice it every time.
It kills the life-force is what I think you are trying to say. I work all analogue and also won't let anything go through a digital source. I'm also in the same boat re experimenting with a reverb chamber. I only have a small bathroom and it's not that reverbey, so I didn't achieve much. I messed around with a space echo, not so much for the pre-delay, but to include a bit of the spring sound. It helped but not enough to beat my EMT.
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#16
12th November 2012
Old 12th November 2012
  #16
Sounds like it will work great for your style and aesthetic. The Space Echo should work great as a pre-delay.

Traditionally the mics in echo chambers are not placed for stereo image, but rather for different decay times, I.E. the first mic 4ft from the speaker, the 2nd mic 4ft farther away, etc... Obviously being that your chamber is a bathroom, you won't have much of an opportunity to get long and short decay times, so 1 mic should be fine.

If you're way into keeping things analog, you might look into building a real echo chamber. You need less space than you might think. All you really need is a space that is very well sealed from the outside, has shellacked walls and preferably has some sort of a "turn" or "L" type shape to it.
cdd
#17
12th November 2012
Old 12th November 2012
  #17
cdd
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"when I tried using digital reverbs, it just didn't sound right."
Try using a high end hardware reverb
Mixing and Mastering
read "editing" section
#18
12th November 2012
Old 12th November 2012
  #18
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cenafria's Avatar
 

Here we use both the live room and the kitchen/stairwell as echo chambers. We've used different types of speakers to send sound into them. Right now we have dynaudio active speakers strategically placed in both rooms. Using two speakers can be nice but, to my ears, it is more important to have stereo mics in the chamber than a stereo send. Using some kind of predelay makes all the difference. Turns the sound from a "realistic sort of ambience" to "beautiful echo chamber". If you can use a tape machine with variable speed settings while controlling the feedback from the auxiliary send on the tape predelay's return channel, you will get what, to my ears, is the best sound. I've also used echoplexes, copicats and space echoes to good effect. A memoryman pedal has also given me good results on occasion. Digital delays can also be used. In the live room we use a pair of 617SET on a Jecklin disk to pick up the reverberation. At the top of the stairs, we use a pair of m130s in Blumlein. It can be very effective to eq the send to the chamber. We usually use high and low pass filters. Settings depend on the mix and the sounds being sent to the chamber.

Most bands prefer the sound of the "kitchen chamber" to the 140 or the bx20. For some time now it is the first reverberation effect I put up while mixing.

I usually record room mics while tracking. The echo chamber with the predelay gives a reverberation effect, the room mics tend to give realism and power. Very different, to my ears.
unfiltered420
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#19
12th November 2012
Old 12th November 2012
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdd View Post
"when I tried using digital reverbs, it just didn't sound right."
Try using a high end hardware reverb
Mixing and Mastering
read "editing" section
I've used a 480 and bricasti, not here though. What I heard was pretty realistic (at least the bricasti), but digital sounding nonetheless. Not knocking them, just the tiniest hint of a digital tail in my music is just not acceptable. If I were to record into logic or pro tools, yes, digital verbs would work, but with all analog mixes, it throws something off. While they may end up digital anyway, I want all analog mixes because I am looking to master to vinyl as well, and besides the sound, I want to say that I made this record without a single converter used. Arbitrary, perhaps, but it is something that I would like to do.

I think the reason that the verbs aren't sounding right is that my mixes have an "analog ambiance" or tape ambiance and the main instrument on most songs is the minimoog model D, which is probably the most analog sounding instrument out there. In fact once I played the minimoog for a friend, and then played some very analog sounding mellotron samples for him, and he said they were cool, but they just sounded really digital. And this is a guy who uses digital multieffects for his guitar rig, and he was right, the contrast did make the samples sound very sterile, even though the plug in is very organic sounding by itself.
#20
12th November 2012
Old 12th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
Yes, but what I'm saying is that it wouldn't really enhance the sound anymore. Meaning there is not really an solid image to capture, since the source is mono. Unless maybe you used a widely spaced pair to pick up different parts of the room. But mono seems easier to manipulate the sound.
You can record the room back in in stereo if it's a nicer room with pleasant reverb. Like on a reverb unit with a mono input and stereo out.
#21
12th November 2012
Old 12th November 2012
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Coates View Post
I've tried the bathroom echo chamber thing as well as stair well, and hallway. All ended up sounding really bad due to the short reverbs and I quickly abandoned the idea.
I was fortunate in the past to have a huge open space next to my studio for reverb, but IME even a small space can be quite useful

believe it or not, this dinky little room is the Abbey Road Chamber:


methinks the key is diffusion. Above, you see those columns.

I use the kitchen as a chamber - which has all hard surfaces but with tons of cabinets and appliances sticking out everywhere and a slanted ceiling. I open up all the cabinet doors and leave them at crazy angles for what I call "Maximum Diffusion Mode" . Don't know if it changes things that much but it makes me happy to think it does.
#22
12th November 2012
Old 12th November 2012
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
Does anyone know if a round room would be better or worse for a chamber?
#23
13th November 2012
Old 13th November 2012
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Arthurelletson's Avatar
 

Have you tried sending to through your live room first and then into the smaller room?

That might give a longer tail
unfiltered420
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#24
13th November 2012
Old 13th November 2012
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Originally Posted by Arthurelletson View Post
Have you tried sending to through your live room first and then into the smaller room?

That might give a longer tail
I was just thinking about that, sending to live room, then predelay or vice versa, then the bathroom. I got some sperimentin' to do.
#25
13th November 2012
Old 13th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
Does anyone know if a round room would be better or worse for a chamber?
I believe a perfectly circular room would be the worst, as you have an infinite number of parallel surfaces. Trapezoidal is ideal, but probably a number of old chambers were rectangular. The important part is the shellac'd surfaces.
#26
13th November 2012
Old 13th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
believe it or not, this dinky little room is the Abbey Road Chamber:


methinks the key is diffusion. Above, you see those columns.
Yup, and highly reflective too. Most of the chambers I've poked my head into were about the same size as the Abbey Road picture, rather odd shaped (as in not parallel), and painted with a very shiny hard lacquer paint. Tile might work too. Those columns are a great idea!
#27
13th November 2012
Old 13th November 2012
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juniorhifikit View Post
Yup, and highly reflective too. Most of the chambers I've poked my head into were about the same size as the Abbey Road picture, rather odd shaped (as in not parallel), and painted with a very shiny hard lacquer paint. Tile might work too. Those columns are a great idea!
you can almost SEE the disappointment on the guy's face. He was probably expecting something more like the Batcave
#28
13th November 2012
Old 13th November 2012
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Drumsound's Avatar
 

to the OP. Predelay the send, that how it was often done in the past. I believe that even EMT suggested 17ms predelay for the 140s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
Does anyone know if a round room would be better or worse for a chamber?
The round rooms I've been in sound really weird. So my guess is they would not work well as a chamber.
#29
13th November 2012
Old 13th November 2012
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
I have begun experimenting with using my live room and small bathroom as echo chambers. I do all analog recording to tape and all acoustic/analog instruments, so when I tried using digital reverbs, it just didn't sound right. So first I set up a speaker in the live room for mixdown, and picked up the echo from the drum overheads. This worked very well, as I was just adding to the room sound through the very same 4038's I use for drums. But it was more just room sound than echo. Then I setup a mic in my bathroom, which has a very resonant metal tub that seems to echo quite well. This sounds more like the echo you hear from old records, but the bathroom is small, so the decay is very short. So I was thinking about using a tape delay before the echo (or maybe after), a technique I read about that Dowd used. How exactly would this be set up? I only have one mixdown deck, but a few extra tracks on the multitrack. Any suggestions? Also no sel-rep on the mix deck. Any way to increase the decay in the analog domain only? I have a space echo as well, perhaps this would be better. I like to experiment myself, but I'm just looking for maybe a nudge in the right direction.
You could try the Joe Meek method, he used an average sized bathroom for reverb but increased the tail size by playing the pre recorded tracks back fast from tape into the bathroom for recording the echo then slowing them back down to normal speed to give the effect of a larger room(not always back to normal speed actually, being Joe). Haven't tried this so could say how different it would be.
I also remember reading some producer (Joel Hamilton?) uses digital reverbs but puts them into a spring reverb to de-digitize the sound.
#30
14th November 2012
Old 14th November 2012
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schumanji View Post
You could try the Joe Meek method, he used an average sized bathroom for reverb but increased the tail size by playing the pre recorded tracks back fast from tape into the bathroom for recording the echo then slowing them back down to normal speed to give the effect of a larger room
and then kill your landlady
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