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noob questions
Old 25th January 2008
Gear Head

noob questions

what is the disadvantage to recording in a dead room? wouldn't a dead room convey exactly what the monitors are reproducing?

Granted, having some reflection could give insight into what things might sound like in a listening room. But, listening rooms (most are untreated) vary so wildly, that it seems like monitoring room reverb wouldn't help much.

also, how do you know when a room is sufficiently treated (assuming it's not dead, but balanced). obviously, it can never have a perfectly flat eq.

finally, why not monitor with head phones? i've heard that volume is an issue, but wouldn't all frequencies even themselves out (since they are all being listened too w/ headphones)?
Old 25th January 2008
uhhh I'm not sure what you're talking about. the things you are saying don't make sense

the disadvantage to recording in a dead room is that it sucks to have to use digital reverb on everything to make it sound natural. the best way to get great sounding reverb is having a decent room and to have the mics a foot or more back. I have found on most records that have the most beautiful natural reverb have been recorded in big room with distant miking. Then reverb can be added later if more is needed.

the monitors should be reproducing what the mics are picking up and you would want some room sound in your mics, like I mentioned above.

how dead should a room be? personally my room is a decent size, not huge but not a closet, so I just put diffusors on parallel walls and make sure that when I'm using a figure 8 or omni mic, I make sure that the room that's being picked up sounds good. mic placement makes a big difference in the tonality of the sound especially if you're allowing some room to be picked up

monitoring with headphones: it's okay if your control room/monitoring isn't great, assuming you have a two+ room studio, but having detailed monitors is really important for getting a clear image of how everything sounds. headphones are generally less detailed than monitors and often lacking in bass. You especially don't want to monitor with crappy headphones in the room when placing mics... here's why:
you are hearing the source, and the pickup of the microphone combined. you decide to mic a bass amp with an SM57. The headphones are cutting out some of the high end of the room, but not the bass. You put up the SM57 and it picks up the high end that's being muted by the headphones. In combination with the bass leaking through from the room, and the added SM57 high end grittiness in your headphones, it sounds great. Then you go into your control room and listen on your detailed monitors, and all you have is this thin high end buzz from the SM57 and no bass even though that's what you wanted to get out of a bass guitar when you recorded it.

Having a seperate control room with good monitors is the only way to really get precise with mic placement and end up hearing what you've done so that you can improve over time. There are some exceptions to this rule but just wrap your mind around these things first
Old 25th January 2008
Gear Head

my mistake. What I'm referring to is a room for monitoring, not recording. A "control room."
Old 25th January 2008
Gear Head


Are most of the room treatments referred to in these forums for recording or monitoring?

You're saying that the acoustics of a control room aren't all that important (as long as they're not terrible...)?
Old 25th January 2008
often both are treated. usually the control room is treated more extensively. that is because you want the control room to be as flat as possible, but the live room is supposed to be more "live" and you just want to minimize nasty reflections or too much bass in the corners
Old 25th January 2008
Lives for gear
gullfo's Avatar

dead rooms don't exist in most places people listen to audio... so doing your mixing in a dead room will lead to translation mistakes and fatigue (because your brain depends on some reflections to localize sound) from monitoring as well as talking to other people in the room.

headphones can be used to monitor if you are using a single room approach, and mix checks for product destined for a headphone market, but rooms still play a big role in how people listen.

the control room should have enough treatment to balance the room in terms of predominance of modes, reflections, and frequency distribution, as well as time domain artifacts so you have a clear picture of what is happening from the monitors and it represents a easily translatable mix.
Old 25th January 2008
Lives for gear
JWL's Avatar

Dead rooms aren't very pleasant to listen to in many cases. Though for many rooms they are sort of inevitable.

The important thing with a control room is to manage the bass trapping, and the reflections. Absorption is a very effective way to do both, which is why many rooms sound dead.

It's also important to distinguish between "evenly dead" and "dead but boomy." The latter is all-too-common, when people put thin foam panels or whatnot all over the walls, but don't take care of the bass needs of the room. This type of room is simply unworkable for me.

But I agree, you can make a room sound good without making it dead, and indeed for most applications this should be the goal.
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