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Can you get a quality mix in an untreated bedroom?
Old 11th June 2019
  #1
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Can you get a quality mix in an untreated bedroom?

I'm just wondering if it's possible to get a good mix in a medium sized bedroom. I've seen some of my favourite musicians recording and mixing in less than ideal rooms; however, I don't know if that's just for demos or if they're fully producing music from home their homes. Like maybe it's not the most ideal and you'd achieve a better sound in a well treated room, but is it possible to still produce high quality or somewhat high quality mixes in an untreated room? My floor is all carpeted and I have a massive bed that takes up a huge portion of the room, so it's not an echoey room by any means, but it's bad enough that I need a dynamic mic for vocals to prevent the room sound leaking in.

here are a few photos from home studios of musicians I like for example:

https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/06...0c2-650-80.jpg

https://images.equipboard.com/upload...g?v=1443930718

http://tattoo-ihier.blogspot.com/201...ah-lennox.html


I don't have the budget to get monitors and treat my room properly, so I guess I'm wondering if it's worth buying monitors and use my AKG k702 headphones as a reference, or am I better off just continuing to mix everything with only my headphones? Like would monitors in a bedroom help my mixing, or would it possibly be even more detrimental due to not having a properly treated room?
Old 11th June 2019
  #2
the answer is probably not. your favorite musicians home studios might not look like a studio but if it's properly treated, then possibly. But it really can't be determined just visually. There is a lot of measuring, math and tuning involved to properly treat a room, and then the overall construction of the room plays a big role.

However, not all is lost. there are cheap ways to someone treat a room to help improve your mix environment as well as ways to improve your micing technique. Just got to get out and do some research
Old 11th June 2019
  #3
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Listening back on as many different systems would be good.
As long as you are able to make your mixes translate well.
Old 11th June 2019
  #4
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Add some acoustic treatment you’re good to go... don’t mix with the monitors too loud that’s when the rooms imperfections come into play. Mix at conversation volume and the room shouldn’t be too much of a factor..
Old 11th June 2019
  #5
Gear Addict
Yes you can. Although it will be much harder, and if you can achieve a quality mix in an untreated bedroom, you would be able to achieve a far better mix in a treated bedroom.

A lot of mixers I know work in what I would consider terrible acoustic environments produce fantastic work. They just seem to have learned the room and know what to do in the mix. This only goes so far though and I would say even they would do better work in a better environment.

Having a treated room stops a lot of fatigue and guess work.
Old 11th June 2019
  #6
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If you are performing and micing in the room, no.
Old 11th June 2019
  #7
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If you listen on some decent headphones and your mixes sound similar to commercial offerings of the same genre, you're probably fine.
Old 11th June 2019
  #8
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by OolalavSuperfukk View Post
I'm just wondering if it's possible to get a good mix in a medium sized bedroom. I've seen some of my favourite musicians recording and mixing in less than ideal rooms; however, I don't know if that's just for demos or if they're fully producing music from home their homes. Like maybe it's not the most ideal and you'd achieve a better sound in a well treated room, but is it possible to still produce high quality or somewhat high quality mixes in an untreated room? My floor is all carpeted and I have a massive bed that takes up a huge portion of the room, so it's not an echoey room by any means, but it's bad enough that I need a dynamic mic for vocals to prevent the room sound leaking in. So I would stay away from ambient mics or overhead mics in an untreated room. Close mic the drums if you have to record live drums, stay away from overheads. You can get that effect in SP3.

here are a few photos from home studios of musicians I like for example:

https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/06...0c2-650-80.jpg

https://images.equipboard.com/upload...g?v=1443930718

http://tattoo-ihier.blogspot.com/201...ah-lennox.html


I don't have the budget to get monitors and treat my room properly, so I guess I'm wondering if it's worth buying monitors and use my AKG k702 headphones as a reference, or am I better off just continuing to mix everything with only my headphones? Like would monitors in a bedroom help my mixing, or would it possibly be even more detrimental due to not having a properly treated room?
Sure you can get a great pro mix without a treated room. Go DI on instruments and use VI guitar plugs. Do close mic vocals with a reflection shield (the EQ will get rid of room issues if there are any), use Superior Drummer 3 and mix with good headphones like the AKG K702s (great cans) you are using. Simple. The idea you have to treat your room is if you are trying to use the room to record everything and monitor in that environment. If that is the path you go, then yes you should treat your room. If you are recording live drums, you can always convert them to midi in SP3's tracker. Then you can replace if you want or mix real drums with sampled drums getting the benefit of having the ambient mics in SP3 that were recorded in professional studios. Even if you mic a guitar amp in an untreated room, you are placing the mics right up to the amp so room acoustics shouldn't affect the sound too much if at all, especially after you eq them. The problems come in if the mics aren't close up. Ambient mics won't work in an untreated room. I would argue ambient mics only truly shine in a large acoustically treated room, the kind you find in a professional studio tracking room. Small room ambient mic'ing kind of defeats the purpose of ambient mic'ing. The idea behind the ambient mics is to get the sound of the room from a distance to your instrument. That only works in a great sounding room.
Old 11th June 2019
  #9
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Yeah I already use VI guitar plugs and I use native instruments Abbey road drummer at the moment for my drums, I'm more just referring to the mixing process. Most of my work is midi or direct input with my guitar and bass. Vocals and the rare acoustic guitar are my only battles when recording but a dynamic mic works well for my vocals. I was thinking about getting some Yamaha HS8's buy wanted to see if it's worth it or if it's a waste of money in my room.
Old 11th June 2019
  #10
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Jason

Even close miced amps and vocals are affected by room modes
Old 11th June 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OolalavSuperfukk View Post
I'm just wondering if it's possible to get a good mix in a medium sized bedroom. I've seen some of my favourite musicians recording and mixing in less than ideal rooms; however, I don't know if that's just for demos or if they're fully producing music from home their homes. Like maybe it's not the most ideal and you'd achieve a better sound in a well treated room, but is it possible to still produce high quality or somewhat high quality mixes in an untreated room? My floor is all carpeted and I have a massive bed that takes up a huge portion of the room, so it's not an echoey room by any means, but it's bad enough that I need a dynamic mic for vocals to prevent the room sound leaking in.

here are a few photos from home studios of musicians I like for example:

https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/06...0c2-650-80.jpg

https://images.equipboard.com/upload...g?v=1443930718

http://tattoo-ihier.blogspot.com/201...ah-lennox.html


I don't have the budget to get monitors and treat my room properly, so I guess I'm wondering if it's worth buying monitors and use my AKG k702 headphones as a reference, or am I better off just continuing to mix everything with only my headphones? Like would monitors in a bedroom help my mixing, or would it possibly be even more detrimental due to not having a properly treated room?
A good set of headphones (which you already have) will allow you to get a very good mix, but you have to understand how those volume levels/dynamics will translate to different listening systems (home stereo, car, ipod etc.). I've done it, and a pro-engineer asked me what studio I had mixed my songs in. After I told him I mixed the songs in headphones (same ones you have) he asked me to sit with him and critique his mixes for an established (was a guest on Letterman and Leno) artist's upcoming album. It's definitely possible man, but it's nice to hear your tracks through monitors too, of course- if for anything, a different perspective.
Old 11th June 2019
  #12
Quote:
Can you get a quality mix in an untreated bedroom?
Yes, its the person mixing it that effects how the mix will sound. If you are good at mixing and your ears are trained to the deficiencies in your room, then YES, you can!!

Its the same scenario as an artist can still paint a great looking portrait with $3 brushes and really cheap paint.
Old 11th June 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Yes, its the person mixing it that effects how the mix will sound. If you are good at mixing and your ears are trained to the deficiencies in your room, then YES, you can!!

Its the same scenario as an artist can still paint a great looking portrait with $3 brushes and really cheap paint.
^ This.

A well-treated room, top quality equipment, etc, are always very useful to have... but they are not prerequisites of producing a "quality mix". You can achieve that using headphones providing you have sufficient skill/experience and patience, make use of suitable reference tracks, and ideally have access to other sources of monitoring for checking your results. The point being, all of that takes additional time and effort - whereas having a treated room allows you to work more quickly and confidently.

I think this is also highly dependent on the genre/material you're working with. For example: EDM lends itself more favourably to headphone mixing because the 'sense of space' involved is typically less important that when working on, say, a complex orchestral piece involving many instruments spread across a wide sound stage. Hence many EDM hits have indeed been written on laptops in bedrooms; whereas orchestral films scores still tend to be produced at places like Abbey Road

I am of course generalising. But short story: yes, it's possible to produce great mixes in an untreated room.
Old 11th June 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OolalavSuperfukk View Post
Can you get a quality mix in an untreated bedroom? [...]
Sure you can...

...The only problem is that without decent room treatment, you will NOT know when this has happened!
.
Old 11th June 2019
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRSC View Post
A good set of headphones (which you already have) will allow you to get a very good mix, but you have to understand how those volume levels/dynamics will translate to different listening systems (home stereo, car, ipod etc.). I've done it, and a pro-engineer asked me what studio I had mixed my songs in. After I told him I mixed the songs in headphones (same ones you have) he asked me to sit with him and critique his mixes for an established (was a guest on Letterman and Leno) artist's upcoming album. It's definitely possible man, but it's nice to hear your tracks through monitors too, of course- if for anything, a different perspective.
OK this is great to hear. Ive gotten so used to people bad mouthing people for mixing on headphones saying you can't get anywhere near the quality. Well maybe I'll just get some fairly small monitors as a reference and still do the majority or all my mixing through my headphones.
Old 11th June 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OolalavSuperfukk View Post
OK this is great to hear. Ive gotten so used to people bad mouthing people for mixing on headphones saying you can't get anywhere near the quality. Well maybe I'll just get some fairly small monitors as a reference and still do the majority or all my mixing through my headphones.
Just keep in mind that you will need to do mix checks on different systems and it takes a while to know for sure when your mix is solid in the headphones; also, ear fatigue is greatly lessened when monitoring mixes this way. With the AKGs you have it's a lot easier to hear the mix accurately because of the excellent flat response they have.
Old 12th June 2019
  #17
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of course you can! if you know your speakers very well and if you are not exciting the room too much, maybe with a little bit of help from some dsp to help the speaker response and later some help from the mastering engineer... - but why make it so hard on you?

get your damn room treated, at least do some very basic stuff (kill the first reflections, move your bed to the back of the room and tilt it etc.)!
Old 12th June 2019
  #18
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I might be able to do some minor treatment, but I don't have the budget for much. I realized I have access to two twin sized mattress that i could stand up in the room. Not sure how good they would be though given that they're not made for acoustic treatment, but that would cover a decent amount of the room and i could possibly fork out a little bit of money to do some extra treatment. Maybe doing the ****ty DIY room treatment and possibly adding Sonarworks to help I might be able to get a decent sound? Just thinking out loud...
Old 12th June 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OolalavSuperfukk View Post
I might be able to do some minor treatment, but I don't have the budget for much. I realized I have access to two twin sized mattress that i could stand up in the room. Not sure how good they would be though given that they're not made for acoustic treatment, but that would cover a decent amount of the room and i could possibly fork out a little bit of money to do some extra treatment. Maybe doing the ****ty DIY room treatment and possibly adding Sonarworks to help I might be able to get a decent sound? Just thinking out loud...
You can not afford acoustic treatment but can afford $250 for Sonarworks?
Old 12th June 2019
  #20
Gear Addict
Sonarworks will help to correct some of your eq curve in the room but it does nothing for decay times. Treat the room first and then consider sonarworks.

I treated my room for $1000 and did a pretty solid job of it doing it DIY. I do this full time. I’m sure for $250 you can make some panels and mount them around the place in key areas. It
Old 12th June 2019
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
Jason

Even close miced amps and vocals are affected by room modes
True, but I think the affect is minimal. The sound is going straight to the mic for the guitar amp assuming you are recording at a relatively low volume. The reflections won't be noticeable, at least they don't seem bad to me. I am getting ready to treat my room, I've had the room kit for months but am finally getting ready to put it up. I do recommend anyone who records live instruments/vocals have a treated room, just that I think you can still get a good/great recording without it, as long as you close mic everything and use a reflection shield for your vocals. If the reflections were noticeable, I would've treated my room a long time ago. I don't record live drums, although I am going to very soon. That is the main reason I am going to treat my room finally, no way I can get a good drum recording without a treated room. Just won't happen. Drums are the instrument where you can't hide a bad room environment. The reflections would be horrible. Especially with the ambient/overhead mics.
Old 12th June 2019
  #22
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Acoustic is linear. So playing/recording at lower volume won't affect your room problems.

You don't only record your instrument but your room. I'd even say that room is the first signal you record since your room is between your instrument and your mic.

Instrument -> room -> mic -> A/D -> DAW.*

So treat your room first!


* And the room is even more into the recording chain if you have reflections.
Old 12th June 2019
  #23
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Northward's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by OolalavSuperfukk View Post
I'm just wondering if it's possible to get a good mix in a medium sized bedroom. I've seen some of my favourite musicians recording and mixing in less than ideal rooms; however, I don't know if that's just for demos or if they're fully producing music from home their homes. Like maybe it's not the most ideal and you'd achieve a better sound in a well treated room, but is it possible to still produce high quality or somewhat high quality mixes in an untreated room? My floor is all carpeted and I have a massive bed that takes up a huge portion of the room, so it's not an echoey room by any means, but it's bad enough that I need a dynamic mic for vocals to prevent the room sound leaking in.

here are a few photos from home studios of musicians I like for example:

https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/06...0c2-650-80.jpg

https://images.equipboard.com/upload...g?v=1443930718

http://tattoo-ihier.blogspot.com/201...ah-lennox.html


I don't have the budget to get monitors and treat my room properly, so I guess I'm wondering if it's worth buying monitors and use my AKG k702 headphones as a reference, or am I better off just continuing to mix everything with only my headphones? Like would monitors in a bedroom help my mixing, or would it possibly be even more detrimental due to not having a properly treated room?
There is a massive difference between a writing space / project studio and a mix / recording studio.

The first can be "anything that works", and you can try and track in it something decent, especially close mic'ed instruments and generally speaking low SPL instruments. As soon as you move in the territory of instruments with heavy LF/LMF content and higher SPLs, it's very unlikely to cut it.

The second should allow you to hear things precisely, make quick but accurate decisions that will translate well. These spaces can cost a small fortune.

I doubt albums were mixed, at least not fully, in the spaces you linked to.

The story is usually that there is a pre-mix or rough mix made in these spaces by the artist (he or she will go as far as possible within their project studio environment) but eventually it is brought to a pro space for some serious mix tweaking and revisions, and to Pro Mastering.

These bedroom like spaces simply can't tell you what's wrong with your mix. The finer informations are buried by the room issues. Headphones can be of great help especially to check LF content and work on editing and comping, but mixing on them usually does not translate well at all. You need to interact with speakers. If your mix sounds good on both speakers and headphones, in your car etc you're probably getting somewhere. But eventually you'll hit a glass ceiling and start chasing your tail.

At this point, spending a couple of days tweaking the mix in a pro room will make a massive difference to the final results.
Old 12th June 2019
  #24
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Can you link some tracks of your these producers?
Old 12th June 2019
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jason kalman View Post
True, but I think the affect is minimal. The sound is going straight to the mic for the guitar amp assuming you are recording at a relatively low volume. The reflections won't be noticeable, at least they don't seem bad to me. I am getting ready to treat my room, I've had the room kit for months but am finally getting ready to put it up. I do recommend anyone who records live instruments/vocals have a treated room, just that I think you can still get a good/great recording without it, as long as you close mic everything and use a reflection shield for your vocals. If the reflections were noticeable, I would've treated my room a long time ago. I don't record live drums, although I am going to very soon. That is the main reason I am going to treat my room finally, no way I can get a good drum recording without a treated room. Just won't happen. Drums are the instrument where you can't hide a bad room environment. The reflections would be horrible. Especially with the ambient/overhead mics.
JayPee gave a great reply. I did not write about reflections but modes. Voices are omnidirectional below 500 Hz so your reflection filter does not work anyway on modal frequencies.

Congratulations on your treatment instalation.
Old 12th June 2019
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
You can not afford acoustic treatment but can afford $250 for Sonarworks?
Yeah, its really too bad that room treatment doesn't have a flashing-light display or a fancy GUI:

If it did, it would be a lot easier to sell!

Selling electronics is like selling ice cream.

Selling room treatment is kinda like trying to sell liver and onions:
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Can you get a quality mix in an untreated bedroom?-liveronions.png  
Old 16th June 2019
  #27
Gear Addict
A friend of mine did an interesting experiment the other day. He measured his room with REW and a mic.

Then he ran sonarworks and measured it again with Sonarworks correction on.

It had zero effect on the room modes. For example, there was a huge peak at 60hz, after Sonarworks had "fixed" the room, the peak was actually louder. All it did was add more low end to the room. But with that low end boost came a boost in the room modes.

As someone who used Sonarworks last year and found it relatively useless it wasn't surprising to see.

So don't get Sonarworks it's useless, treat your room with DIY panels. Get some cheap wood and rockwool and build your own. You can always build tall ones and just stand them against the walls.
Old 17th June 2019
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theillusionist View Post
A friend of mine did an interesting experiment the other day. He measured his room with REW and a mic.

Then he ran sonarworks and measured it again with Sonarworks correction on.

It had zero effect on the room modes. For example, there was a huge peak at 60hz, after Sonarworks had "fixed" the room, the peak was actually louder. All it did was add more low end to the room. But with that low end boost came a boost in the room modes.

As someone who used Sonarworks last year and found it relatively useless it wasn't surprising to see.

So don't get Sonarworks it's useless, treat your room with DIY panels. Get some cheap wood and rockwool and build your own. You can always build tall ones and just stand them against the walls.
well, this only proves that your friend had unrealistic expectation regarding the use/effect of dsp:

although i'm a huge fan of using dsp to tweak minor issues regarding the fr for specific listening positions (or to get vastly different speaker designs to sound a bit closer) and to align subs, there are a series of issues which need to be addressed on the level of the acoustic design/room treatment, before any dsp and cannot get solved with any amount of dsp!
Old 17th June 2019
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
well, this only proves that your friend had unrealistic expectation regarding the use/effect of dsp:

although i'm a huge fan of using dsp to tweak minor issues regarding the fr for specific listening positions (or to get vastly different speaker designs to sound a bit closer) and to align subs, there are a series of issues which need to be addressed on the level of the acoustic design/room treatment, before any dsp and cannot get solved with any amount of dsp!
My friend is an audio engineer and acoustician. This was in a treated room. The client didn’t have a fortune to treat it full on so it was treated as best as possible for their budget, then they planned to use sonarworks. The acoustician ran the test to see what difference it made and the results were appalling.
Old 17th June 2019
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theillusionist View Post
My friend is an audio engineer and acoustician. This was in a treated room. The client didn’t have a fortune to treat it full on so it was treated as best as possible for their budget, then they planned to use sonarworks. The acoustician ran the test to see what difference it made and the results were appalling.
higher qualifications (obviously) did not prevent him from wrong expectations - one cannot fix room modes with dsp!

what does help in this situation is to load the room (using powerful subs) and shoot for better fr at a specific position; rather crude but doable...
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