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Room Good. Foam Good. Me Good. Apparently NOT!!!! (pic inside)
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HeatWAVS
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8th June 2006
Old 8th June 2006
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Room Good. Foam Good. Me Good. Apparently NOT!!!! (pic inside)

OK so recently I've been looking at my vocals through a frequency analyzer to try and figure out why they sound so boxy and why they never seem to sit well in the mix. The analyzer shows that between 0-1000 I've got a lot of action going on. This would make the vocal sound boxy correct? Something else I found strange is that at 32000Hz and 48000Hz I have large spikes. What in the world!!! Humans can't even hear those frequencies can they, but I wonder are they in some strange way interfering with my mix?


this is an avg analysis of a 30sec vocal I did

I have a small vocal booth (closet) with foam all around the room, and an AT 4050 I use on everything, so after weeks of thinking that either:



a. I'm an idiot
b. the AT 4050 is no good
or
c. I'm an idiot and the AT 4050 is no good

I came across an article in Sound on Sound magazine when I did a google search for vocal eqing that states:

"You don't need to do anything too fancy to record vocals, but the mic should be well away from any walls, and the area directly behind the singer should be non-reflective. This could be an area of foam tiles or it could be a duvet, but one point to watch out for is that, in rooms where a lot of damping material has been applied, you'll often find that it only absorbs effectively down to around 250-300Hz. So what actually happens is that frequencies below 300Hz are allowed to predominate, making the sound seem congested or boxy."





So do you guys (and gals) think that the room is the cause of my problems or am I just an idiot. If it's not the room is my voice really that low or are these just natural frequencies created by room ambience that are always that amped...

as usual THANKS in advance and please excuse my ignorance

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8th June 2006
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Why don't you try it again, but instead of using a vocal track, pump some pink noise into your booth and record that. See what that looks like.
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8th June 2006
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>"You don't need to do anything too fancy to record vocals, but the mic should be well away from any walls, and the area directly behind the singer should be non-reflective. This could be an area of foam tiles or it could be a duvet, but one point to watch out for is that, in rooms where a lot of damping material has been applied, you'll often find that it only absorbs effectively down to around 250-300Hz. So what actually happens is that frequencies below 300Hz are allowed to predominate, making the sound seem congested or boxy."<

So glad they told you what the problem is, but how about a solution.

Really in a voc booth it is best to use 2" rigid fiberglass spaced of the wall 2". It might be best to put a few 4" pieces in there spaced 4" if you can fit it.. Don't forget about the ceiling.

Glenn
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As far as the very high frequencies, it looks like some piece of gear is ringing.
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8th June 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djui5
Why don't you try it again, but instead of using a vocal track, pump some pink noise into your booth and record that. See what that looks like.
That really is not going to work. The frequency response in the room is going to change every inche. So even if you get a flat response in one place in the room (mic vs. where the monitor is) it will change in every place in the room. Now doing a sweep in the control room is what you are probably thinking of. The mix position and the monitors do not move.

Glenn
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8th June 2006
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The scale on your analyser is going from 0 to 50 kHz. That's not handy for sound analyzing (if your not testing the amplifier design or something like that).
You'd better measure between 20 and 20 kHz.

And: Is that your recording room ? I cannot see the perspective well on the photo but it looks quite small and it wouldn't surprise me if it sounds very boxy (for vocals a hump in the 120-400 Hz range). The pannels won't absorb enough to get rid of that in such an extreme (much too small room) situation.

Hans
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8th June 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zilver
The scale on your analyser is going from 0 to 50 kHz. That's not handy for sound analyzing (if your not testing the amplifier design or something like that).
You'd better measure between 20 and 20 kHz.

And: Is that your recording room ? I cannot see the perspective well on the photo but it looks quite small and it wouldn't surprise me if it sounds very boxy (for vocals a hump in the 120-400 Hz range). The pannels won't absorb enough to get rid of that in such an extreme (much too small room) situation.

Hans
Yes that is my recording room where I record my vocals, but I don't really have a choice as it is the only place that I can really work in due to neighbors and such.
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8th June 2006
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Does the booth have a door ?

If so, would it be possible to leave it open and use the absorption in your vocal booth to get the volume down enough to not disturb the neighbours ( singing while facing the backwall, standing not too far in the booth, say at the doorsteps) ?
Used that way it could transform from a boxy booth to a super de luxe "SE electronics reflexion filter".
That should sound quite good, especially if you damp it even more.

Just a suggestion, maybe it's not feasible.

Good luck, Hans
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I would be interested to see if the high end spikes go away with a different mic. as far as the low end stuff...have you tried using the low cut on the mic?
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hey heatWAVS, I just noticed you are in gainesville. If you want, I can come over and help you track this down.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stellar
I would be interested to see if the high end spikes go away with a different mic.

They won't, they're well above the bandwith that the AD converter captures (assuming you record 44.1/48 kHz).
They're probably digital noise.

Hans
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stellar
hey heatWAVS, I just noticed you are in gainesville. If you want, I can come over and help you track this down.

That rules!!!! I'm gonna try out the reflection filter technique over the next couple of days and see how that suits me... as well as using the low cut on my 4050 duhhhhh... I can't believe I didn't think of that. lol But if all else fails I would love to get in touch with you.

Are you a home engineer or do you work at Skylab?
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Quote:
the mic should be well away from any walls
Exactly how close is that mic to the walls? It looks pretty close in the pic. Also, all absorbtion, no diffusion looks like a recipe for boxy to me.
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No I just record at home. I've never been over to skylab but I hear they have a neve console over there, and the rooms on their website look sweet.
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very hard to tell from that pic. have you tried facing the other way?
The room looks like a very small box, may be why you're getting that boxy sound.
can you get a better picture, or dimensions, or something. That looks like the vocal area less than 3'X3'
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8th June 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XSergeantD
very hard to tell from that pic. have you tried facing the other way?

Did you see the reply's 7 and 8 ?

Would you think that would be a good solution ?

Hans
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More air around the mic is needed. And all that foam is gonna stsuck out anything over 1K to 2K. It is good at absorbing highs, but not mids and for sure not lows. The 4050 is a pretty midzy mic, and I've heard people say it's boxy, but in this case I'm pretty sure you're experiencing the old "foamy closet" effect.
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good point. I like the 4050 on figure 8 better than cardoid for vocals.
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9th June 2006
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Can you display the frequency on a log scale? That is much more useful. I expect a lot of stuff in the 200 to 350 Hz region. A big room is good, or if you find specific frequencies that are really pronounced, you may end up needing a damped resonator approach to tame those frequencies.

The 'other' (not so good) approach is to close mic (really close), so you get absolutely no room, then apply enough artificial reverb to make it sound more real - or maybe bigger than real so it really hides the room sound. It's not ideal but it can work in a pinch - provided that the room doesn't resonate in the song you are recording.

Do you have a computer monitor running anywhere near your gear? Anything over 20 kHz is likely noise from switching power supplies, computer monitors, or stuff like that - provided that you are recording to 96k. At 48k (or 44.1) you should see nothing about 22 or 24 kHz.

-Dale
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Take one step back away from the mic.

See if this helps.

Could also sound boxy because you are essentially cutting vocals from inside a box.

Try this highly scientific test:

Hold your hand directly in front of your face and sing. Now slowly move your hand further away from your mouth while continuing to sing.

Does this resemble the effect your are getting in your vocal tracking?
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9th June 2006
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If you had actually created an anechoic chamber, the idea might work.

Unfortunately, the foam isn't killing all of the room sound. And the room sound isn't a good room sound. So you're left with some of a bad room sound.


So really, room not good, foam maybe not so good, you probably fine, microphone, almost probably definitely fine.

What does the mic sound like without the pantyhose? How close to you sing to the mic?
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