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Are hard floors almost always preferred even when going for a "dry" (dead) sound?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Are hard floors almost always preferred even when going for a "dry" (dead) sound?

Many seem to recommend deadening all the surfaces of a room except the floor, when trying to make a room dead for recording acoustic instruments like strings or guitar. This is because a carpet/rug is said to absorb only some frequencies and still reflect others.

Does this still apply even if it's meant to be somewhat dry so that the altiverb being added later can sound more realistic in a mix? Would plugin reverbs like Altiverb sound better with a rug covering 80% of the wood floor, or should the wood floor still be bare?
Old 4 weeks ago
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Come to think of it, every studio I've ever been in had hard floors.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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I see. The studio I recorded string quintet in had hard floors, but kept a rug covering almost all of the floor; that's part of the reason I'm asking
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by monsieurpooh View Post
Does this still apply even if it's meant to be somewhat dry so that the altiverb being added later can sound more realistic in a mix? Would plugin reverbs like Altiverb sound better with a rug covering 80% of the wood floor, or should the wood floor still be bare?
It depends on a number of factors including how much trapping, how low and effective the existing trapping is, etc. If, for example, more higher frequency deadening is going on relative to low frequency trapping, adding carpet could easily "choke" the sound too much. My studio currently has wall to wall carpeting, but I have a ton of low frequency trapping going on, as well as quite a bit of diffusion. Adding the carpet eliminates that last boundary of reflection in order to make better use of artificial reverb/ambience. Caveat: Ample low end trapping in this case is not trivial.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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There are more knowledgeable in this subject than me. But I think adding a carpet would only absorb the ultra high freqencies making everything sound dull. I usually like the floor to be reflective and the ceiling absorptive. I've even put pieces of wood under a snare drum when the floor was carpet.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
The nice thing is that you can temporarily place a large throw rug under the performers and mics to see how it sounds. Try it out and compare.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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The recording is already done, but I'm just wondering how much of a difference it would've made if we'd done it without the gigantic rug, and whether it's worth re-recording everything

edit: are there any online comparison videos comparing rug vs hard floor, specifically in the context of small string ensemble (4 or 5 players)?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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Do you want an always answer? No./
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monsieurpooh View Post
I see. The studio I recorded string quintet in had hard floors, but kept a rug covering almost all of the floor; that's part of the reason I'm asking
I would guess it depends on the other walls & ceiling, sometimes it can be too much "Live" sound, far easier to ADD later than to try and remove the "Room"..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by monsieurpooh View Post
The recording is already done, but I'm just wondering how much of a difference it would've made if we'd done it without the gigantic rug, and whether it's worth re-recording everything

edit: are there any online comparison videos comparing rug vs hard floor, specifically in the context of small string ensemble (4 or 5 players)?
What does the recording sound like? Is there a problem in it that could be attributed to the rug?

Just about every studio has hard floors; and often we use rugs too. Often hard walls as well which you can control with gobos etc. small and dead tends to be for booths.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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It's really hard to roll weighted mic stands around on blue shag carpet
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
JAT
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I have a small rug I can roll up over my wood floors. Gives me a bit brighter tone if needed.
Old 4 weeks ago
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When I did my buildout there were a couple of things I learned. One is that humans find the sound of a hard floor more natural in acoustic spaces (relative to the ear’s location). There were some studies done on this but I don’t remember where I found them.

Second, putting rugs on a hard floor helps to kill flutter echoes. I did some tests with another engineer using REW etc. and there was one spot in my live room with flutter echoes. He grabbed one of my rugs, threw it in that spot and voila! Flutter echoes Gone!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by monsieurpooh View Post
I see. The studio I recorded string quintet in had hard floors, but kept a rug covering almost all of the floor; that's part of the reason I'm asking
Right. Having hard floors gives you the option of covering them in part or more fully on a temporary basis. It's a worthwhile point to remember that a floor does largely function like other boundaries, the walls and ceilings, though floors vary greatly... the low frequency reflection of an old, dry, wooden floor will be very different from a concrete slab, regardless of covering, for instance. Using movable ('throw') rugs also gives you flexibility within a given setup, even allowing the studio different sonic characters in different areas of the same room. (Which is why people sometimes have used 'drum floors' in rooms with covered/carpeted floors for certain drum capture characters.)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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My recollection of the classic large studios in LA is that the control rooms were sometimes carpet (or partially carpet). The recording rooms (not drum rooms) were slightly more often carpet.
This was not shag or thick carpet, it was very sturdy “office-type” carpet. One of the considerations was the incessant cartage of musicians’ equipment in and out. The industrial carpet didn’t show scratches, skid marks and wheel marks as clearly (and sometimes permanently) as wood did.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
It's really hard to roll weighted mic stands around on blue shag carpet
Try orange.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
My recollection of the classic large studios in LA is that the control rooms were sometimes carpet (or partially carpet). The recording rooms (not drum rooms) were slightly more often carpet.
This was not shag or thick carpet, it was very sturdy “office-type” carpet. One of the considerations was the incessant cartage of musicians’ equipment in and out. The industrial carpet didn’t show scratches, skid marks and wheel marks as clearly (and sometimes permanently) as wood did.
The most utilitarian form is big rectangles of office carpet, maybe 10 or 12 feet square, with good-quality gaffa on the edges to prevent fraying. Easy to move, rolls up for stashing, tidies up a complicated setup with lots of cables and makes it safer.

I've never much cared for the spank off linoleum or hardwood on a slab anyway. Wood over joists can sound amazing, but you hardly ever see that except in old industrial buildings and churches.
Old 4 weeks ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
It's really hard to roll weighted mic stands around on blue shag carpet
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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Before carrying out installation work, it is necessary to conduct an analysis and identify what causes the appearance of noise. It is also important to understand what effect you plan to achieve. For example, if noise from neighbors from below is interfering, then it is necessary to mount sound insulation on the floor. And if you are a music lover and want to listen to music at any time of the day, then you need to carry out comprehensive soundproofing in the room.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrakeFrst View Post
Before carrying out installation work, it is necessary to conduct an analysis and identify what causes the appearance of noise. It is also important to understand what effect you plan to achieve. For example, if noise from neighbors from below is interfering, then it is necessary to mount sound insulation on the floor. And if you are a music lover and want to listen to music at any time of the day, then you need to carry out comprehensive soundproofing in the room.
I was initially going to say, "good answer to a different question." But that wouldn't be accurate.

And of course we want to keep the sound from the neighbors out. But until now, the thread has been about acoustic treatment and sound reflections, not soundproofing.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
It's really hard to roll weighted mic stands around on blue shag carpet
as I found out when I tried to record inside my van
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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I love wood for playing live. You can feel the vibrations in your feet playing live on a wooden stage which helps to maintain the rhythm. Given the fact sounds travels faster through solids then it does through the air you can feel the sound before you hear it and keep from being fooled by reflected sounds.

Micing instruments on a wooden floor is a whole different thing. Wood floors or risers conduct sound through the wood, up mic stands and into mics. Even with mics placed on rugs and insulated mic holders you can get a certain amount of thump to pass directly into some mics depending on the specific conditions. I've even read where people will fill a wooden drum riser with sand to kill the direct transference of sound through the mic stands recording drums.

Its usually bass tones that get through. You probably wouldn't get much above 700Hz to generate enough vibration to get that far at normal recording levels. How much that bleed works against you is questionable too. Years ago I had a studio in a house with wood floors. It was mostly a problem with the drum mics. Drusm sound great with a certain amount of reflection but the direct bleed through the mic stands can compound the phase issues you have with sound traveling through the air. My current studio has a cement slab covered by carpet so its not an issue any more. I put up paneling on walls in the drum area to get some reflection that way.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
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I have always heard that it was better to have the floor hard and the ceiling treated and indeed that's what most studios I have seen will do. No doubt the various items that have wheels play a part, but beyond that, you have to ask why not the vice-versa?

One thing that occurs to me is that you can put 4" thick panels on your ceiling and walls with no problem, but you can't walk on them. The best you can do on the floor is a carpet which you probably would say was inadequate if someone was to hang it on your wall.


Ethan Winer quoted this exchange on his FAQ page:

I bolded the statement from Lee Liebner that was something that I felt was something that really distinguishes the floor from all other potentially reflective surfaces.

Quote:
SIDEBAR: HARD FLOOR, SOFT CEILING

The following is from an exchange that took place in the rec.audio.pro newsgroup in May, 2003:

Bill Ruys asked: Why it is recommended to have bare (un-carpeted) floors in the studio? One web site I visited mentioned that a bare floor was a prerequisite for the room design with diffusors and absorbers on the ceiling, but didn't say why. I'm trying to understand the principal, rather than following blindly.

Paul Stamler: Carpet typically absorbs high frequencies and some midrange, but does nothing for bass and lower midrange. Using carpet as an acoustic treatment, in most rooms, results in a room that is dull and boomy. Most of the time you need a thicker absorber such as 4-inch or, better, 6-inch fiberglass, or acoustic tile, and you can't walk around on either of those. Hence the general recommendation that you avoid carpet on the floor and use broadband absorbers elsewhere.

Lee Liebner: the human ear is accustomed to determining spatial references from reflections off of side walls and floor, and a low ceiling would only confuse the brain with more early reflections it doesn't need. Everywhere you go, the floor is always the same distance away from you, so it's a reference that your brain can always relate to.

John Noll: Reasons for having wood floors: they look good, equipment can be rolled easily, spills can be cleaned up easily, provide a bright sound if needed, sound can be deadened with area rugs.

Ethan Winer: In a studio room, versus a control room, a reflective floor is a great way to get a nice sense of ambience when recording acoustic instruments. Notice I said reflective, not wood, since linoleum and other materials are less expensive than wood yet sound the same. When you record an acoustic guitar or clarinet or whatever, slight reflections off the floor give the illusion of "being right there in the room" on the recording. It's more difficult to use a ceiling for ambience - especially in a typical home studio with low ceilings - because the mikes are too close to the ceiling when miking from above. And that proximity creates comb filtering which can yield a hollow sound. So with a hard floor surface you can get ambience, and with full absorption on the ceiling you can put the mike above the instrument, very close to the ceiling, without getting comb filtering.

Dave Wallingford: I've always preferred wood floors for a few reasons: 1) It's easier to move stuff around, 2) You can always get area rugs if you need them, And the main reason: 3) Pianos sound like crap on carpet.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
I have tiled floors here. Rugs are used to dampen floor reflections. Some are Turkish, one I bought in Istanbul. I keep greasy drums off that one.
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