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Dead 70s room preparation Bass Traps
Old 5th February 2019
  #1
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Dead 70s room preparation

Hi gents,

For those that don't know, my room is a 20x30x15 monster with a big, slightly trashy sound thanks to corregated steel walls and industrial/exposed steel/concrete everywhere. Garage on steroids.

It's fairly well treated, with broadband absorbers staggered all around and office cubical partitions forming a "V" behind the drums.

I typically go for closer overheads that pickup less room (recorderman) and ribbons almost always.

I've pretty much exhausted what I can do with the drums themselves (tuning, no bottom heads, muffling, etc.), but before I start building massive gobos to build a pseudo-booth, I'm wondering, for those who "were there", is that typical super dry 70s sound the room itself (i.e. a Hedley live end/dead end style room) or was it usually a drum booth or a gobo'ed combination of both?

Also curious about a drum cloud and the benefits when you have a high ceiling like mine; all the cloud research I've read seems to be for those with typical 8' drywall ceilings.

Finally I've seen some guys build a packing blanket "tent" around their kit: literally draping it across some large boom stands (wish I could find the pic).

Just curious to know how far to go here and what you've all done as far as modifying the room sound with temporary measures.
Old 5th February 2019
  #2
You shouldn't have the common issue of overly prominent low frequency early reflections plagued by small rooms. Therefore, a cloud is less or no concern for you if the ceilings are high enough. I would start with gobos in close proximity completely surrounding the kit, but at least 4" to 6" 703 or Rockwool. You don't want to just tone down the mids and more so, the highs, which would just make things more muddy. And no, a tent is a very bad idea when considering the above; in that case, you're doing nothing for the mids, and worse, nothing for the lows. The key is wide broadband absorption, but again, you have the large room in your favor.
Old 5th February 2019
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aural Endeavors View Post
You shouldn't have the common issue of overly prominent low frequency early reflections plagued by small rooms. Therefore, a cloud is less or no concern for you if the ceilings are high enough. I would start with gobos in close proximity completely surrounding the kit, but at least 4" to 6" 703 or Rockwool. You don't want to just tone down the mids and more so, the highs, which would just make things more muddy. And no, a tent is a very bad idea when considering the above; in that case, you're doing nothing for the mids, and worse, nothing for the lows. The key is wide broadband absorption, but again, you have the large room in your favor.
Great thanks.

What height for the gobos? I would imagine at least as high as the cymbals.
Old 5th February 2019
  #4
I try to keep them higher than anything on the kit AND any mics (e.g. overheads, as they would otherwise have a line of site of reflecting room boundaries), but again, less of an issue if the boundaries are relatively far away.

Also, depending on if you are using ribbons as overheads with a figure 8 pattern, you may try bringing them down a little and slightly behind the drummer, angling them more so that they are hearing less of a closer boundary like a ceiling, and more of a boundary further away.
Old 5th February 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aural Endeavors View Post
I try to keep them higher than anything on the kit AND any mics (e.g. overheads, as they would otherwise have a line of site of reflecting room boundaries), but again, less of an issue if the boundaries are relatively far away.

Also, depending on if you are using ribbons as overheads with a figure 8 pattern, you may try bringing them down a little and slightly behind the drummer, angling them more so that they are hearing less of a closer boundary like a ceiling, and more of a boundary further away.
Ok. So ideally 7' then.

Wonder if I could get away with cubicle dividers. They seem to be some sort of insulation covered in fabric with a solid core.
Old 5th February 2019
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Ok. So ideally 7' then.

Wonder if I could get away with cubicle dividers. They seem to be some sort of insulation covered in fabric with a solid core.
You might benefit from it in your room, but it wouldn't work in my room! (15'x14.5'x9'). In my case, they would stop most slap back echo and upper mid/high frequency reflections, but do nothing for the low mids and low end, effectively creating a more dead sound, but perceptively muddier, too since there would be less highs. But, in smaller rooms like mine, the lows are much bigger problem typically.

Edit: I normally don't recommend foam, but in your case, I wonder how really thick Auralex that's 7' high would fare in your situation.
Old 6th February 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aural Endeavors View Post
You might benefit from it in your room, but it wouldn't work in my room! (15'x14.5'x9'). In my case, they would stop most slap back echo and upper mid/high frequency reflections, but do nothing for the low mids and low end, effectively creating a more dead sound, but perceptively muddier, too since there would be less highs. But, in smaller rooms like mine, the lows are much bigger problem typically.

Edit: I normally don't recommend foam, but in your case, I wonder how really thick Auralex that's 7' high would fare in your situation.
I didn't even know they made them that large.
Old 6th February 2019
  #8
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Drumsound's Avatar
Even if the room is tall, a cloud might be beneficial. My ceiling goes from 12-14 feel kind of like this /\/\ only with less rake. I have a cloud that a buddy and I made from 1x4" with cloth and rolled insulation inside. It really helped focus the close mics. The room is still pretty live on the other side of the room.
Old 6th February 2019
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Even if the room is tall, a cloud might be beneficial. My ceiling goes from 12-14 feel kind of like this /\/\ only with less rake. I have a cloud that a buddy and I made from 1x4" with cloth and rolled insulation inside. It really helped focus the close mics. The room is still pretty live on the other side of the room.
Cool. So just fabric sewed up with insulation?

I have heavy-gauge chicken wire over the entire unit at roughly 12'. Actually the ceilings might be closer to 18'. I've never measured past the chicken wire.

I honestly have no idea if the chicken wire impacts the sound at all. It could resonate at the right frequency I would imagine. Certainly makes it easy to anchor a cloud to it: maybe sandwich some rockwool between two "Producer's Choice" packing blankets with grommets. Might not even need the rockwool as I think the Producer's choice have insulation in them.
Old 6th February 2019
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Cool. So just fabric sewed up with insulation?

I have heavy-gauge chicken wire over the entire unit at roughly 12'. Actually the ceilings might be closer to 18'. I've never measured past the chicken wire.

I honestly have no idea if the chicken wire impacts the sound at all. It could resonate at the right frequency I would imagine. Certainly makes it easy to anchor a cloud to it: maybe sandwich some rockwool between two "Producer's Choice" packing blankets with grommets. Might not even need the rockwool as I think the Producer's choice have insulation in them.
We built a rectangular frame from 1"x4" boards that is 4'x8'. We stapled fabric on the inside and rolled insulation into that. There are hooks on the corners and in the ceiling with chains (maybe 4 feet) that I can vary how far down it hangs. I haven't changed the distance off the ceiling in YEARS.
Old 6th February 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
We built a rectangular frame from 1"x4" boards that is 4'x8'. We stapled fabric on the inside and rolled insulation into that. There are hooks on the corners and in the ceiling with chains (maybe 4 feet) that I can vary how far down it hangs. I haven't changed the distance off the ceiling in YEARS.
Cool.

Have you ever done anything to deal with the floor, i.e. a treated riser?
Old 7th February 2019
  #12
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Cool.

Have you ever done anything to deal with the floor, i.e. a treated riser?
I have a box of Auralex Platfoam that I set when I first opened the room. I just set them on the floor and used a couple of 4x8' pieces of plywood. I liked it at the time, and took it down for some reason and then liked playing on the floor. I just have a rug under the drums now. I should get some plywood and try it again. Maybe I'll do it and do an A/B.
Old 7th February 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I have a box of Auralex Platfoam that I set when I first opened the room. I just set them on the floor and used a couple of 4x8' pieces of plywood. I liked it at the time, and took it down for some reason and then liked playing on the floor. I just have a rug under the drums now. I should get some plywood and try it again. Maybe I'll do it and do an A/B.
Yeah @ joeq mentioned a piece of plywood under his snare to brighten up the snares in the overheads.

I just use a rug, but the floor is concrete with anti-fatigue mats covering the entire area (and rugs on top of course).
Old 7th February 2019
  #14
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Yeah @ joeq mentioned a piece of plywood under his snare to brighten up the snares in the overheads.

I just use a rug, but the floor is concrete with anti-fatigue mats covering the entire area (and rugs on top of course).
I still had a run under the drums. The Platfoam is to decouple the drums from the structure. I believe the Billie Jean snare has a clipboard under the snare.

My buddy Chris Garges has a pretty big and reflective live room. He told me that he bought a bunch of rugs to 'tune' the room a bit and that he can really change the character of the reverb depending on how much of the wood floor is exposed. I've been tempted to try that as well.
Old 18th February 2019
  #15
At the original Air Studios (Oxford St, London) they had a drum riser in the main tracking room. The drum sound was superb.
If going for a dead sound in a bigger room, we usually put shoulder height padded screens in front of the kit, from hi-hat to floor tom.
Then we construct a tent with heavy material. Take any sturdy poles, three, one at the back behind the drum seat and two either side of the hi-hat and floor tom, then drape your heavy fabric across the three points, making a false fabric roof over the kit.
Old 19th February 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
At the original Air Studios (Oxford St, London) they had a drum riser in the main tracking room. The drum sound was superb.
If going for a dead sound in a bigger room, we usually put shoulder height padded screens in front of the kit, from hi-hat to floor tom.
Then we construct a tent with heavy material. Take any sturdy poles, three, one at the back behind the drum seat and two either side of the hi-hat and floor tom, then drape your heavy fabric across the three points, making a false fabric roof over the kit.
Ah ok.

So like this?

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