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Recording booth in the closet
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Young T
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8th December 2009
Old 8th December 2009
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Exclamation Recording booth in the closet

Whats going on folks? well check me out, im recording hip-hop vocals, just vocals NO INSTRUMENTS, in my bedroom. The room is pretty small like 10'x10'. I have 2 Auralex Roominator kits on the walls. Im using a Audio Technica Cardiod Condenser 2035 mic with sonar 8.5. As of now, the vocals are garbage. even after compressing, eqing and reverbs it still sounds like it was recorded in a arena. well, my room has a closet thats like 3'x5'. I definetly have enough Auralex to cover almost the whole closet. Would it sound better if i made the closet a recording booth for vocals? Please help and THANKS!
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8th December 2009
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Hey T,

Might help in the closet. But I have an aurelex pad that goes on my mic stand and I have a blanket hanging down behind me from a rack and you can get those real upfront vox I think ur looking for...I'm not familiar wit ur mic but if it is a LDC you need to treat both sides of the mic...hope that makes sense....cheers
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8th December 2009
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You'd be much better off treating the room to reduce its signature in your recordings. The closet is probably going to sound pretty bad no matter what you do to it, but the LAST thing you want to do is plaster all the walls and ceiling with foam and call it a day. That'll just make it boomier.

Frank
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8th December 2009
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It sounds like you are using some reverb, which might be the source of your "the voice sounds like it's in an arena" problem.

First, turn off the reverb completely and play back the vocals. Do you still hear that "arena" sound? If not, then it looks like the reverb was the culprit. Try turning down your wet/dry setting to only 20-30%. Also, there can be multiple presets on any reverb, so avoid ones called cathedral, concert, church or arena. I usually use a medium room setting and then adjust the wet/dry to taste.

If you turn off the reverb and you STILL hear the arena effect, try setting up a bookcase with different sized books and objects on the wall behind where you are recording vocals. I do this in my walk-in closet and the bookcase and objects help break up the mid to high frequency reflections enough to capture the vocals better.

Hope this helps a bit.

Matt
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9th December 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 View Post
You'd be much better off treating the room to reduce its signature in your recordings. The closet is probably going to sound pretty bad no matter what you do to it, but the LAST thing you want to do is plaster all the walls and ceiling with foam and call it a day. That'll just make it boomier.

Frank
I call BS !As an MC, I have been stuffd in plented of closets with foam, Aurelex, and blankets, and when fully covered, it is anything but BOOMY.Its usually just dead, which to me, allows for a clean recording that you can add reverb to, instead of a washed out open room(treated) recording.
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9th December 2009
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thanks for the info folks. I will try the reverb idea first. It has multiple presets and the one i chose wasnt cathedral or anything tho. is there a way i can post a picture in this thread? Maybe if i can draw out a layout of my room it would help. im thinking i could possibly be putting the mic in a bad position in my room. i had the booth in my closet before but not witn as much auralex as i have now and the sound quality was better. it jus sounded a little muffled. I seen some type of contraption called a SE Reflexion Filter. Should i consider that?
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9th December 2009
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Hay T,

It may have 'sounded' better in the closet.. but in your 10 x 10 room you have serious modal issues, giving you a boxy sound due to the resonances. Have you tried recording with the room door OPEN? This will act like a huge bass trap. (as long as you are not being disturbed or disturbing anyone... sound in - sound out...)

If you move to the closet, your standing waves will shift to a higher register.. giving you a different boxy sound. Actually worse, because it moves right into the range of the vocal and impossible to EQ out.

I have tried to help a few Rappers when I was in the Detroit area... The would give me samples of their vocals, telling me that they treated the closet and recorded them in there... oh man. You can't get that boxy sound out of the vocal. sorry. no can do.

Ask Eminem, Dre, or Ludicrous - If they use a closet ... it's a BIG one and it's treated right. -- Closet vocals are only for demos.

~John steps down from his soap box~

Ahem, sorry about that.

Anyway, I suggest that you try anything but in the closet. Another possibility is to record near the open door of the closet with plenty of absorption in there, using the closet as a bass trap. Please let me know how it goes.

Cheers,
- John
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9th December 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Illmo View Post
I call BS !As an MC, I have been stuffd in plented of closets with foam, Aurelex, and blankets, and when fully covered, it is anything but BOOMY.Its usually just dead, which to me, allows for a clean recording that you can add reverb to, instead of a washed out open room(treated) recording.

sorry to be a buttinski but he didn't say the "CLOSET" would be boomy he said if the ROOM was plastered in aurlex the ROOM would be boomy.
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9th December 2009
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hmmm i see. so your saying to basically add auralex to the closet, open the closet door and put the mjc in front the door so i can do my vocals facing the inside of the closet? should i consider a refelxion filter still?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Young T View Post
hmmm i see. so your saying to basically add auralex to the closet, open the closet door and put the mjc in front the door so i can do my vocals facing the inside of the closet?
Yes. Try that and see how that helps. You may need to try different positions until you find a good one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Young T View Post
should i consider a refelxion filter still?
I have no idea what that is.

What you do need is serious bass traps in your room like GIK monster bass traps or RealTraps megatraps.

See what your budget can afford - or build some yourself. There are quite a few good threads here for DIY.

Good Luck!
-- John
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9th December 2009
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Thanks john! now with that being said, it seems logic to make sure i lower my bass and raise my highs when eqing right?
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Quote:
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...it seems logic to make sure i lower my bass and raise my highs when eqing right?
Oh, no no no. tutt

Let me tell you a story. Back in the days, actually before I was born (if you can believe that) they designed a filter circuit for recording and called it an 'EQUALIZER'. Named such because the recorders changed the original sound during the process of recording and they need to make it EQUAL to the original sound, hence the name "Equalizer".

Also during the 80s there were alot of guys going around the studios in Nashville shooting pink noise and putting 'equalizers' in the signal path to the monitor speakers... to correct room anomalies. THIS DID NOT WORK.

IMHO, you can always 'hear' the EQ. So unless you are using it for effect - don't. Fix your room, bro, and you won't have to worry too much about EQ... unless your mic is crappy.

Cheers,
John
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9th December 2009
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Lol john your my hero bro. i will put all this info to work this afternoon and see what happens. also, i seen something called a real trap portable recording booth. its like a 2'x2' attatchment that goes on the mic stand and is basically shaped like a corner and your mic goes right in the middle. ever heard of this?
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9th December 2009
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Reading is fundamental. I've gotten plenty of good "closet" vocal recordings over the years. I wouldn't do that now however.
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are these any good?
Young T
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9th December 2009
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Wow nice contraption! Is it effective? The one i seen was like a V around the mic and the mic was like in the corner of the V
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Studio SOS: Tom Hennessey

I thought this was a decent article for improving a poor room


Also attached is a picture of the SE Reflexion Filter... a very good idea...

I'm not a big closet guy...
Plus closets tend to get very hot and that can definitely disrupt a performance.

Also... if you use all your treatment on the closet, then whats gonna happen to your room? Yes you have to record, but you also have to hear it... and mix it....
I'm not talking about you when I say this because you seem to have a desire to treat your entire room... But I get bothered by people who treat only the booth...

With all that being said... I find the reflexion filter, with the mic facing into a corner... and the corner decently treated will help your sound dramatically... then you can use as much space as you like.. want a smaller recording space, move closer to the corner... a bigger space? move further from the corner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Illmo View Post
I call BS !As an MC, I have been stuffd in plented of closets with foam, Aurelex, and blankets, and when fully covered, it is anything but BOOMY.Its usually just dead, which to me, allows for a clean recording that you can add reverb to, instead of a washed out open room(treated) recording.
for me this effect tends to sound unnatural... When you record something to be played back for your listeners... you want 1 thing... for them to feel like you are talking or rapping or singing right there in their home, or car or where ever. I don't have many conversations and I've never been to one concert in a dead room.... no churches.. no clubs... not one of them is dead.... A natural sound like the kind achieved from intelligent treatment. I personally like the sound of certain woods in my space... a small rug for the artist to stand on so there are no loud foot tapping noises, layed on a hardwood floor
There is a serious science to room treatment that involves a little more than auralexing the crap out of it to make it dead
Many people have made absorbers and diffusers using a wood frame... If you are handy and creative you can create an entire room of treatment materials for less than the cost of 1 roominator kit.
If you don't have the time to do all that an auralex kit works though
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Recording booth in the closet-41689-extra_l.jpg  
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Oh of course i will still have auralex up in the room aswell. im really considering the reflexion filter tho. another thing is my monitors. i just bought a pair of rokkit 5's and when im playing my track it sounds perfect! but as soon as i export it and drop it to another source like my ipod or cd player it sounds like its in a arena! i dont get it.
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Not a big fan of the Rokkit's either... but have you tried regularly checking your mixes on different monitors while mixing... like switch to headphones.. then switch to your Ipod earbuds... then some cheap computer speakers then back to your Rokkits... Check in stereo and in mono
I know people who set vocal levels using a really cheap crappy speaker
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JUST WANTED TO SAY THANKS FOR THE HELP GUYS!!! All this info is really helping me out i appreciate it alot!
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10th December 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R3altruth View Post
That article sure flies in the face of most opinions around here, mine
included. A few bits of foam and some clothes. Too bad they didn't
measure the room before and after.

Paul P
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R3altruth View Post
Also attached is a picture of the SE Reflexion Filter... a very good idea...
What about the reflections on the other side of the mic? Do they make a filter for that as well?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmrstudio View Post
What about the reflections on the other side of the mic? Do they make a filter for that as well?
What do you mean? the side where you'd be standing? the top?
My only problem with the Reflexion filter is not with the actual filter but with the fact that some people think it takes away the need for room treatment and that is COMPLETELY FALSE
You will still wanna treat your room... even with the filter
I think of it like this... your average room is crap, acoustically... parallel walls, windows... surfaces that absorb high frequencies... The filter just compliments room treatment very well... I know people that even use it in a treated professional booth in a few big name (See platinum, grammy) studios
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R3altruth View Post
What do you mean? the side where you'd be standing? the top?
I'm talking about the front of the mic. If your room is treated, why would you even need this device? If your room isn't treated, the front of the mic will still pick up the flaws of the room.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmrstudio View Post
I'm talking about the front of the mic. If your room is treated, why would you even need this device? If your room isn't treated, the front of the mic will still pick up the flaws of the room.
Yea... it will still pick that up... what this does is absorb and diffuse any sound coming from the front (from the performer) so that you're not getting an insane amount of reflections back at the mic... however it acts as a filter that doesn't completely remove all the sound so that it doesn't color the sound... So ambient room noise is reduced.. I know you said you record in a bedroom. There is only so much you can do acoustically with a shared Recording/living space

Also, because your mic is in the control room... if you face the rear of the filter faces your computer (Or HVAC vents), it will filter out a good deal of unwanted noise... It is even a decent idea to face the back to a window. So for the control room recorder it is ideal. No amount of room treatment can help if you've got Noise from vents or a PC, or from cars outside

In the large studio setting I saw it, it was in a larger booth. People like Khaliq Glover (Grammy winning engineer) like to "Cut the room" as in not have way too much room in a booth. They prefer the intimacies of a smaller booth. So it would be ideal for a situation like that also. Jermaine Dupri has one in Southside studios (You can even see it on a couple episodes of his VLOG, "Living the Live") and I felt like he was using it because his large booth also has a piano and drum sets and such in it... and it cuts down on the ambient unwanted noise from things like that

I like that it just "cuts down" and doesn't completely remove ambient noises and reflections, as that would be unnatural
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