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Revamping my live room: live and roomy, or tight and dry Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 16th August 2007
  #1
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BradM's Avatar
Revamping my live room: live and roomy, or tight and dry

I'm in the process of renovating my studio. Primarily I'm working on converting one of my bigger rooms into a control room. But while I'm tearing everything apart, I'm starting to think about tweaking the sound of my live room a bit. I've had some discussions with Glenn from GIK Acoustics about how I should approach the room, but it would be great to get some other people's thoughts as well.

The live room is currently about 18x21 with slightly sloping ceilings that average about 11 feet. There is a mix of absorptive and diffusive/reflective acoustic treatment in the room currently, but the room seems to have a bit of a midrange honk in the 500-700Hz range that is building up across my tracks in an unpleasant way. I should add that the ceiling is covered with acoustic ceiling tile for better or worse. I inherited the room that way--I would never put that crap up. I put a coat of paint on the ceiling tile this past weekend in an attempt to restore some high frequency response.

My question is this:

For a room of this size and volume that is primarily used to record rock music, would it be functionally better to have a well controlled, tight sounding room with signficant treatment, or would it be more constructive to have a mostly untreated, boomy, live room?

Ideally I'd love my room to have a nice live ambience to it, but maybe it's just not possible given the volume of the room. Am I better off making it slightly drier and more dead than I would prefer, but with a flatter, more pleasing tonality? Anyone have an strategies or tips for getting rid of midrange honk in a room without destroying the ambience?

thanks,
Brad
Old 17th August 2007
  #2
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Its not too expensive to hire someone to come over to take a look at your room and give you some suggestions. I recently had Wes Lachot (www.weslachot.com) take a look at my place and I learned a ton about the space (and that my control room couldnt be more flawed... ugh). In my case I've decided to just have him design me a brand new control room.

In the long run it will save you money to do it right once, rather then keep going back trying to fix your room.

I could have saved a lot of money not doing the last 10 'acoustic renovations' I've done in the last 5 years and just had someone that knew what they were doing give me some advice.
Old 17th August 2007
  #3
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BradM's Avatar
That's a really good point. I think Bob Hodas is actually in my area too. How much did Wes charge you?

Brad
Old 17th August 2007
  #4
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BLueROom's Avatar
 

that decision all comes down to how much you want to spend ...I'm sure you know


* Brad, I'd like to check out your site but your sig link doesn't work
Old 17th August 2007
  #5
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BradM's Avatar
Well I don't really want to spend money right now on consultation. So let's say for the purpose of this thread that getting someone to look at the room is off the table.

Which do you think would be more useful as a tracking room of the size I mentioned?

1. Tight and dry, but well-balanced tonally?
2. Live and roomy, but acoustically "quirky"?

Brad

p.s. I know my website is down. I need to get new hosting. I have a myspace site although it needs updating too. Hmm...maybe that's what I'll do tonight.
Old 17th August 2007
  #6
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BradM's Avatar
Feel free to email or PM me about my studio by the way.

Brad
Old 17th August 2007
  #7
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IMO...

Live and roomy. You can always do things later to baffle it down....or whatever. But at least you'll have the big room thing when you want it.

D.
Old 17th August 2007
  #8
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norman_nomad's Avatar
posting from my phone here .... I'm a fan of live and quirky.. I like the idea of movable baffles to manipulate room sound. hardwood or laminate floors might be enough to make you happy...with your royers on overheads a little brightness from the source might be appreciated.
Old 17th August 2007
  #9
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BradM's Avatar
Dude, you've been in my room. You know what it's like. But it can always be better.

Brad
Old 17th August 2007
  #10
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kurt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by desol View Post
IMO...

Live and roomy. You can always do things later to baffle it down....or whatever. But at least you'll have the big room thing when you want it.

D.
How in the earth can room of that size ever have "the big room thing when you want it?
Deaden the beast & make it playable without risking your hearing.
Old 17th August 2007
  #11
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
The live room is currently about 18x21 with slightly sloping ceilings that average about 11 feet ... would it be functionally better to have a well controlled, tight sounding room with signficant treatment, or would it be more constructive to have a mostly untreated, boomy, live room?
A room that size needs to be tight and clear. Once you get rid of all the room tone, recording is easy. In order to get "good" room tone you'd need a room substantially larger.

--Ethan
Old 17th August 2007
  #12
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BradM's Avatar
Okay this is what I need to hear. If there is no chance in hell that a room that size can have decent ambience then maybe a bunch of treatment is my only option.

Ethan--in your opinion how many 4" thick 2x4 foot absorbers would be required to make such a room "tight and clear". I have a bunch of traps on hand to work with.

I'll try to post some MP3's of various drum overhead and room mics I've recorded over the last year something this weekend. Then at least everyone could hear where I am right now.

thanks,
Brad
Old 17th August 2007
  #13
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I'm bored of "tight dry acoustically treated" sound. I like things that sound like the room they were recorded in.
Old 18th August 2007
  #14
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BradM's Avatar
Care to elaborate on that thought?

Brad
Old 18th August 2007
  #15
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Drumsound's Avatar
My live room is close to that size. I've got a really simple 4'x8' 'diffuser' made of 1'x4' that are on dowels so I can turn them in the frame. There is Auralex behind them. On one section of the ceiling I have a 4'x8' cloud with pink rolled insulation on the inside with a colored fabric stretched on the front. The other side/end of the room is pretty un-treated, though there some angles in the walls and ceiling. If I want the room super dry I can hang packing blankets on mic stands and get a very Sound Factory/Sunset Sound thing, Or I can leave it as is and get a nice splashy room thing happening. Personally I'd rather have that than an always dead/controlled sound that if I start looking of ambience I need to go to a box of some sorts. I can't think of the last time I used reverb on drums, I just push up the room mics and/or the parallel drum buss comp.

My $.02
Old 18th August 2007
  #16
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BradM's Avatar
Do you have any pics of your room that show the diffusor thing you are describing?

Brad
Old 19th August 2007
  #17
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Ethan--in your opinion how many 4" thick 2x4 foot absorbers would be required to make such a room "tight and clear".
It depends on the surfaces in the room, carpet or reflective floor, etc. In a room that size I'd think 20 panels total, 2x4 feet, would be pretty good.

--Ethan
Old 19th August 2007
  #18
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bobx's Avatar
i just revamped my live room as well. it's a little smaller than that size (17x14) and i went with a tight/dry sound. i did choose to go with wood floors so it isn't completely dead. i put 4" 703 bass traps in each corner i could possibly fit into and a few ceiling clouds.

i just finished up last week and i've only recorded drums once. so far i'm liking it a lot better than my old extremely "dead" room, i feel like everything is much more focused and yet still very open. there's really not much of a natural reverb, but the use of room mics adds a lot of body to the drums. i do have a few problems with some parallel walls which i hope to treat soon with some diffusors. i will try to post some sound clips soon.
Old 19th August 2007
  #19
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Do you have any pics of your room that show the diffusor thing you are describing?

Brad
There's a picture on my home page and if you pm or email me I can send some bigger shots I might have.
Old 19th August 2007
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GodDamn View Post
I'm bored of "tight dry acoustically treated" sound. I like things that sound like the room they were recorded in.
Same here.

Brad, if you at all like the sound of my drum sample set is my sig, all of those drums were recorded in a 15 x 22 ft room in an old house with 10ft ceilings. Really old and thick hardwood floors. Absolutely no acoustic treatment.

You'll never get the "big" room sound from your room, but you can certainly get a nice tight and lively sound from it.

I think you've done a good job with the walls and ceiling... do you have any plans for the floors?
Old 19th August 2007
  #21
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i don't know if this is possible with your room/budget, but the live room at my school has absorption panels on rollers, that can be pulled out to deaden the space or rolled behind the other parts of the wall to gain a more lively sound
Old 20th August 2007
  #22
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
It depends on the surfaces in the room, carpet or reflective floor, etc. In a room that size I'd think 20 panels total, 2x4 feet, would be pretty good.

--Ethan
Ethan,
I would tend to agree with you on this, but I have worked with Brad and he really wants some of the room sound in the mix. 20 panels might just be the right number, but I think he should start with fewer panels and put in proper diffusion throughout the room. I am assuming that the bass traps are not in the 20 number you said.
Brad also you may want to get some panels that are 6" by 4 ' and space them apart 6" along one of the further walls. This will help break up the sound but also help absorb.

Glenn
Old 20th August 2007
  #23
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
There's a picture on my home page and if you pm or email me I can send some bigger shots I might have.
Hi Tony,

I saw the pics on your website. It doesn't look like there is much treatment in your room at all, although you don't have many parallel surfaces. Do you have any clips of room mics or drum overheads you could send me or post here?

thanks,
Brad
Old 20th August 2007
  #24
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by norman_nomad View Post
Same here.

Brad, if you at all like the sound of my drum sample set is my sig, all of those drums were recorded in a 15 x 22 ft room in an old house with 10ft ceilings. Really old and thick hardwood floors. Absolutely no acoustic treatment.

You'll never get the "big" room sound from your room, but you can certainly get a nice tight and lively sound from it.

I think you've done a good job with the walls and ceiling... do you have any plans for the floors?
Those samples sound really good! Especially the toms...very natural. I think the sense of space in the samples is probably about what I'm going for. I was telling Glenn that I really dig the sound of the clip of studio B at Electrical Audio. Granted my ceilings aren't THAT high...but I can dream...

Electrical Audio - Studio B - Live Room

To address what Ethan and Glenn said... I think 20 panels would totally suck the life out of the room. Out of curiosity how many people reading this thread actually have 20 panels in their "live" rooms? Of all the pictures I ever see I notice very few. with any significant amount of treatment in their rooms.

I want my room to have character...just not bad sounding character. My current theory is that because of all the acoustic tiles on the ceiling, all the high end energy is being sucked out of the room. Therefore when I had traps to even out the mids and low end ringing, I just end up removing even more high end. So my thought is to maybe hang absorbers but with something hard and reflective covering the front face so that the high end is not absorbed further. Any thoughts on this?

Brad
Old 20th August 2007
  #25
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Those samples sound really good! Especially the toms...very natural. I think the sense of space in the samples is probably about what I'm going for. I was telling Glenn that I really dig the sound of the clip of studio B at Electrical Audio. Granted my ceilings aren't THAT high...but I can dream...

Electrical Audio - Studio B - Live Room

To address what Ethan and Glenn said... I think 20 panels would totally suck the life out of the room. Out of curiosity how many people reading this thread actually have 20 panels in their "live" rooms? Of all the pictures I ever see I notice very few. with any significant amount of treatment in their rooms.

I want my room to have character...just not bad sounding character. My current theory is that because of all the acoustic tiles on the ceiling, all the high end energy is being sucked out of the room. Therefore when I had traps to even out the mids and low end ringing, I just end up removing even more high end. So my thought is to maybe hang absorbers but with something hard and reflective covering the front face so that the high end is not absorbed further. Any thoughts on this?

Brad
Yea you can use a membrane on front of the panels which would help a lot. Not that it acts like a membrane, but we put a cavity in the back of our new D1 diffusors just for that reason. You can fill them with fiberglass or mineral wool to absorb a bit of the low end. To bad you live so far away. I would love to bring over a sh$t load of them and see what kind of sound we would get. I bet it would be what you are going for.

Glenn
Old 20th August 2007
  #26
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
Hi Tony,

I saw the pics on your website. It doesn't look like there is much treatment in your room at all, although you don't have many parallel surfaces. Do you have any clips of room mics or drum overheads you could send me or post here?

thanks,
Brad
I have some here done with the TOMB group buy ribbon and I can make a CD of the Pearlman tests i did too. Those are just one mic recordings to listen to new mics, and on the Pearlman play with pres a bit too.
Old 20th August 2007
  #27
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I worked in a studio once that had a bunch of gobos made with 4'x8' sheets of plywood on one side and 703 on the other. They were all in pairs connected with door hinges and placed up against the walls. For a live sound you could keep them plywood side out and kept them open at an angle to break up the parallel walls. The 703 on the other side took care of some of the mud in the room and the angled plywood made it super live.

I'm doing a terrible job describing it, but it was really effective and affordable.
Old 20th August 2007
  #28
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Scott@RealTraps's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
To address what Ethan and Glenn said... I think 20 panels would totally suck the life out of the room. Out of curiosity how many people reading this thread actually have 20 panels in their "live" rooms? Of all the pictures I ever see I notice very few. with any significant amount of treatment in their rooms.
That certainly wouldn't happen with our panels. With a limp membrane across the face of the panels, you get a controlled amount of high and mid frequency reflection across the face of the traps, so you DON'T suck all the life out of the room, even with a large number of panels.

In that case, I agree with Ethan that 20 bass trap panels in that room would help a lot. And perhaps you will want to add some diffusors as well.


Quote:
I want my room to have character...just not bad sounding character.
Well, that's the $20,000 issue, isn't it. ;-) You are not likely to get the kind of character that you can achieve in a room like the Studio B live room at Electrical. from the room you describe.

We're talking about so much more space and more surface for sound to bounce around and develop what can actually be considered "reverb". You're simply not going to get that kind of decay time in a room the size of yours, and certainly not with enough density to offer you a nice reverberant quality.

And I think I can take a pretty good guess that we're also talking about entirely different construction materials. Brick and concrete walls in and of themselves have completely different sonic qualities from wood and drywall construction.

At a certain point, you kinda have to look at what you have (room shape, size, construction materials, etc., and figure out what's the best way to get the best out of that particular room, rather than trying to make the room into something it isn't. From there you may need to just go to a good reverb box to add the ambiance.

I'd really need to have more information about what you have in that room now, and what materials are used (pics?), but I really suspect that your best bet is going to be to go more in the direction of tight and dry, as long as you can do it without absorbing too much high and mid frequencies out (which is certainly do-able!).

Ethan's got 42 traps in his home theater room, and it's literally one of the nicest sounding rooms I've ever been in -- and I've played in literally hundreds of rooms the world over in the course of my career as a professional musician. I don't like "overly dead" or lifeless rooms either, but I would be happy to play/record my drums (or other instruments) in that room, and equally I'd be happy to mix in that room.

I've also got my drums completely sounded with MiniTraps, and I love the sound in there. Everything is clear, full and punchy, and I get to hear ALL of the wonderful subtleties from my gorgeous Istanbul cymbals -- nothing gets washed out.
Old 20th August 2007
  #29
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
I am pretty sure Ethan was talking about thinner panels along with bass traps. but thanks for letting us know about real traps. heh

Glenn
Old 20th August 2007
  #30
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Scott@RealTraps's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by myfipie View Post
I am pretty sure Ethan was talking about thinner panels along with bass traps.
I haven't got an effing CLUE where you got THAT idea, Glenn . . . especially since Ethan's post was a direct reply to the following question from Brad:

Quote:
Ethan--in your opinion how many 4" thick 2x4 foot absorbers would be required to make such a room "tight and clear".
Sounds like both were talking about bass traps to me.

Quote:
but thanks for letting us know about real traps.
My pleasure, Glenn. heh

Sometimes if someone hasn't had experience with the best, they don't have any way of knowing how good it really CAN be. heh

Anyhoo . . . just thought it were time for me to join y'all post wh*res. ;-) heh (j/k)
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