Originally Posted by Kiwi
John E - if you are recording rap vocals then 'dead' is not a bad thing. Look, this is about bare bones budget choices. I've already agreed that proper room treatment is nice.
Reflexion filters and Ethans untuned broadband panels are not that far removed from squabs of foam (aka mattresses). Foam is often misrepresented by certain individuals who have certain products to sell. But ultimately, there are various materials that provide absorption, and they all tend to trap more highs than lows. To trap bass its about depth of absorbant, strategic placement, as well as other solutions such as Helmotz resonators etc etc. Gets expensive very quickly if you want to do it right.
Ethan is a strange dude and I don't agree with everything he believes in. On the bell-curve of normality, he choses to position himself at one particular end. Somebody has to balance out the audiophools selling magic cables and stuff, and Ethan does a good job of exposing the quackery. But basically he chooses to defend crappy low end products, and uses the same arguments to try to prove that high end gear is not necessary. There is a point where - if you choose to monitor everything through cheap gear as Ethan does - that you really can't tell the good stuff from the bad stuff, and I guess everything does all sound equally bad.
Ethan has a product to sell - never forget that. AFAIK it's a good product, but as a consumer you need to make your own informed choices.
For rap, you pretty much need a very dead space. Things are very different if you want to record jazz or folk or country or rock, with real instruments etc.
I'd say we pretty much agree about Ethan. IMO he's a great authority on acoustics. I recommend him because on that subject he pretty much agrees with me (
) and because he has a lot of good material on the subject of room treatment available on his site. I'm also a fan of the Auralex site (and some of their products)
Concerning Ethan's other ideas, well, it's like asking a cardiologist about brain surgery. He's certainly entitled to his opinion, but I wouldn't want to stake my life on it. (Sorry, Ethan!)
It actually isn't that difficult to construct your own helmholtz resonators - there are plans available on the net. You can make a simple one out of perf board and 2/4s with some rock wool inside (or acoustical fiberglass).
What works a lot better than mattresses is acoustical office divider panels which, although quite expensive new, can often be picked up dirt cheap at industrial surplus dealers or bankruptcy auctions. You need to make sure that you get the acoustical ones that are filled with acoustical fiberglass (you can tell them because they're a little soft when you push on them), not the cheaper ones that are hard to the touch. Sometimes if you're lucky you can even find them in dumpsters when an office building is being remodeled.