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Why not "DEAD" room fro mixing and mastering?? Studio Monitors
Old 28th November 2009
  #1
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Why not "DEAD" room fro mixing and mastering??

It would seem logical to me that a Mixing/Mastering suite or control room should be completely dead. This would be perfect translation for reverb amounts, and then on IPOD headphones would sound exactly as mixed in the dead room. Please tell me why I'm wrong!?!?!?!
Thanks
Old 28th November 2009
  #2
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

You may not be totally wrong. heh

--Ethan
Old 29th November 2009
  #3
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Fred Pearson's Avatar
 

I imagine some part of it has to do with the uncomfortable feeling of actually working in a completely dead room. If you've been in an anechoic chamber, you will know the feeling and it is VERY uncomfortable.

Peace
Old 29th November 2009
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Pearson View Post
I imagine some part of it has to do with the uncomfortable feeling of actually working in a completely dead room. If you've been in an anechoic chamber, you will know the feeling and it is VERY uncomfortable.

Peace
My bedroom is dead. You have to yell for normal conversations. And if feels like when you're entering a large airplane. Different feel, but you get used to it. For recording there, you can still bring in some stuff for intentional reflection.
Old 29th November 2009
  #5
Gear Guru
Bedroom humour

Quote:
My bedroom is dead. You have to yell for normal conversations. And if feels like when you're entering a large airplane.
LOL I know the feeling ;-)


Personally I quite like a dead acoustic. It is often the only way to treat the typical small rooms we have to work in these days. I have found the use of reflected light causes an 'airy' welcoming impression. This plus the accurate sonics makes friends quite quickly.
Take a look at my 'White Room' CR here Sound Sound - Homepage

DD
Old 30th November 2009
  #6
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbakron View Post
It would seem logical to me that a Mixing/Mastering suite or control room should be completely dead. This would be perfect translation for reverb amounts, and then on IPOD headphones would sound exactly as mixed in the dead room. Please tell me why I'm wrong!?!?!?!
Thanks
This is a term that I really hate. Dead is totally misunderstood IMO. When I think of dead I think of a room that is absorbing ALL the frequencies evenly, but most rooms I see posted as "dead" are ones that are 100% absorbed on the highs but the low end is still swimming in the room. HUGE DIFFERENCE IMO! That is the room that people always explain as "strange sounding" because they can still here the low end. Great example are is a small VB covered in 2" absorption but sounds boxy.
Old 30th November 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Kuras View Post
This is a term that I really hate. Dead is totally misunderstood IMO. When I think of dead I think of a room that is absorbing ALL the frequencies evenly, but most rooms I see posted as "dead" are ones that are 100% absorbed on the highs but the low end is still swimming in the room. HUGE DIFFERENCE IMO! That is the room that people always explain as "strange sounding" because they can still here the low end. Great example are is a small VB covered in 2" absorption but sounds boxy.
So your saying a room that is completely surrrounded in Owens Corning 703 2" is not evenly absorbed!?
Old 30th November 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbakron View Post
So your saying a room that is completely surrrounded in Owens Corning 703 2" is not evenly absorbed!?
In a small room? No it would not. It would be very unbalanced with a lot less RT60 on the highs vs the lows.
Old 2nd December 2009
  #9
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That is one main problem with dead rooms. True.

I have just finished a paper on decay response in mix/master rooms.

Our auditory system's main responsibilities are to locate sounds, analyze their properties, and then recognize what they mean. For example; for locating sounds on the horizontal plane - those coming from the left or right of the head - factors such as relative sound intensity in each ear, and the difference in sound's arrival time (phase) at each ear are important cues.

Without these important spatial cues that we normally hear, (such as is heard in a normal living room or bedroom) we suffer from what is know as ear fatigue. This is because of the alien environment. We humans did not evolve in such an environment nor were we meant to work in one.

Rooms built in this manner also require as much as 10 times the amplifier power to produce the perception of immersion in the sound field while listening to music in them. The sense of immersion usually occurs from 80 to 90 decibels in a normal room on average. However, in a very dead room the amplifiers or powered monitors must be run into clipping before immersion occurs (hearing damage also occurs).

So, IMHO, if you get your decay times uniform - you will be able to get excellent results in your room - and ENJOY it too.

Cheers,
- John
Old 2nd December 2009
  #10
Gear Guru
Grateful Dead

Duck, here come the puns.....
I seem at odds with many on the issue of Deadness. I quite like being outdoors, no reflections. I find anechoic rooms are odd for a minute or so, then I forget about them.
I used to Mix on headphones, because I find most studio acoustics confusing. I don't particularly like wearing headphones but I get really accurate results, quickly.
I currently work in the deadest room I have experienced. The results are deadly accurate:-) It's like cans without the discomfort. This accuracy in delivering mixes which translate instantly is a great freedom. I would liken it to throwing darts at a board, with every single one scoring.
I will discuss this elsewhere, John, Ethan, Glenn, Andre etc. we need to get a private room.....;-)
For this thread I wanted to put the balance in. For me, in a small mix room, dead works extremely well.
The original question is very rich. Should we mix, as I do, with nothing in the way, or should we mix in a simulated average living room, (albeit with a balanced decay spectrum).
That's the original question repeated I think.
You have my answer. But let me add, it's all about balance. One aspect alone does not describe the whole. The brain is the largest part of the hearing process.
I have made many records over many years. I can aurally compute without conscious thought. While listening in Cans or Dead, I can very easily judge the right amount of Reverb and such, which tranlsates as 'the same' in an average acoustic that exists only in my head. An average of large rooms, headphones, cars, radio, TV, Mono, and so on. It's a learned skill. Note that the same brain finds it difficult to mix in a live environment. There is a bloom of room information clouding the issue. How do you judge how much short room ambience to add to drums when you are already listening in a short room? Do you guess at twice as much?
One last point. Again it's a mix, a combination of factors, a balance. I don't listen flat. I broadly subscribe to an old and seemingly forgotten curve which would be about +3 around 100Hz falling gracefully to -3dB at 10K
Mixing is all about balance. :-)
DD
Old 2nd December 2009
  #11
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

The "conventional wisdom" is that totally dead rooms are terrible, and I used to subscribe to that. These days I think it's more a matter of unbalanced deadness, as was already mentioned where using thin foam absorbs only higher frequencies.

Earlier this year I tried to organize a loudspeaker test in an anechoic chamber, but that fell through because not enough people offered to loan me speakers to measure. If that test had happened, one of the things I had planned was for all attending to hear music played in the anechoic chamber. I still would like to try that!

I'm not convinced that a totally dead room needs that much more power to get a usable volume level. Let's say a speaker is putting out 90 dB SPL for a given music track. If you put that speaker in a live room, how much louder could the reflections make the sound? 6 dB maybe? My living room is not totally dead, but it's got an awful lot of treatment. Using only Mackie 624 speakers and one killer subwoofer, I can play music at live-concert levels with no noticeable distortion.

--Ethan
Old 2nd December 2009
  #12
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Quote:
I will discuss this elsewhere, John, Ethan, Glenn, Andre etc. we need to get a private room.....;-)
I think we are all pretty much on the same page. thumbsup
Old 2nd December 2009
  #13
Gear Guru
Speakers in a Dead Room

Hi Ethan, hope you had a good vacation.
This is a bit of a random set of points but I hope interesting.
I listened to quite a number of speakers some time ago. They were all in the same room. The room was very dead, extensive treatment. The was a lack of warmth in the room due to modal destruction in the 80Hz territory. I was shopping to replace my decades old monitors, Celestion Ditton 66's. 18Hz -40kHz, three way, dome mid. Auxiliary Bass Radiator. Very sweet but glue in the drivers was ageing.

I tried these-
Genelec 1030AM
Meyer HD1
K and H 300 D
PMC IB1s
ADAM S3A

Apart from the lack of warmth which I was well used to , and used to working around, they all sounded far too bright.
Interestingly, apart from the Gennies, they all sounded far more similar to each other than different.
Clearly the room was by far the biggest influence at this quality level, and maybe I don't like treble.
I treated the room more aggressively, bought the ADAM's because I could achieve a sound quite similar to the Celestions using the onboard Eq (Bass up, Treble down)
I am very happy with it now, although I really miss the PMC's bass, best I have ever heard. I should have kept them and biamped them to make it work.

Conclusion- a small treated room with a flat response speaker, does not sound good to me, nor does it translate to the outside world well.
B and K used to recommend a listening curve broadly speaking +3 around 100Hz,
-3 around 10KHz and falling.
I found that curve some time after I had tuned by ear, and strangely....

Now, it sounds beautiful in there. Visitors are stunned. I still find it a bit harsh due to the mode thing, concrete room, but work around it.
The translation is uncannily good. I am used to listening to mixes in three different environments before signing off, as a norm. I no longer do this.

DD
Old 2nd December 2009
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
The "conventional wisdom" is that totally dead rooms are terrible, and I used to subscribe to that.
Putting together from several posts, listen in a natural hemi-anechoic space, AKA the outdoors. The low end will require signiricantly more power for the same response. It will be beyond the capabilites of small speakers at higher spls. Teh high end clarity will be excellent.

A rough analogy to "good" anechoic like listening are "non-environment" rooms.

Enjoy!

Andre
Old 2nd December 2009
  #15
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I would really would like to know how many users in this forum have been in an anechoic room ? and listening to music in it ?

I can assure you that it is a terrible unpleasant and unnatural work to be and to listen to music. We need reflections. They have information about the location of the sources, their sonic characteristics etc...

We just don't need BAD reflections!

I want to quote a sentence from someone most of you know,one of the guru of acoustics, Trevor Cox. On one of the lessons he told us (students) something like this... anyone can kill a room with absorption but making it to sound good and still have a live but pleasant and accurate sound, that is the hard part.

IMO, I'm completely against placing too much absorption in a room. I know this is what some users think it is the correct thing to do but critical listening does not mean we are free of reflections.
Old 2nd December 2009
  #16
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Quote:
Conclusion- a small treated room with a flat response speaker, does not sound good to me, nor does it translate to the outside world well.
B and K used to recommend a listening curve broadly speaking +3 around 100Hz,
-3 around 10KHz and falling.
This is something I have concluded myself as well
Old 2nd December 2009
  #17
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
I want to quote a sentence from someone most of you know,one of the guru of acoustics, Trevor Cox. On one of the lessons he told us (students) something like this... anyone can kill a room with absorption but making it to sound good and still have a live but pleasant and accurate sound, that is the hard part.
Yea well he needs to add to that
"On the budget of the customer. Not your own open check fantasy plan". lol lol lol heh
Old 2nd December 2009
  #18
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrebrito View Post
We just don't need BAD reflections!
I agree totally. I was mostly thinking out loud, wishing I'd had the chance to hear music in a true anechoic chamber. Someone I know from a hi-fi type forum said he once heard music in an anechoic chamber and it sounded great. So go figure.

--Ethan
Old 2nd December 2009
  #19
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
It will be beyond the capabilites of small speakers at higher spls.
That's why I mentioned my killer SVS subwoofer. Twin 12's and about 500 watts in a box the size of a short refrigerator. It goes crazy loud, down to 18 Hz. I could tune it to go down to 16 Hz, but why? heh

--Ethan
Old 2nd December 2009
  #20
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Why would 'nt the same principles apply to a large room? It seems the benefits from an evenly absorbed room would be the same in a large room.
Thanks a lot you guys, this really helps me out.
Old 2nd December 2009
  #21
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Define large room

For me a large room is a church ...

And large room acoustics are NOT the same as small room acoustics

Also lots of large rooms dont require much absorption or placed homogeneously in the room
Old 2nd December 2009
  #22
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TinderArts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCrowbar View Post
My bedroom is dead.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrebrito View Post
Define large room

For me a large room is a church ...

And large room acoustics are NOT the same as small room acoustics

Also lots of large rooms dont require much absorption or placed homogeneously in the room

I have a 18' x 24' 12' High ceiling. Im trying to decide if I want to use as strictly tracking with as much reverb as possible, or turn into a mixing/mastering swuite with tons of treatment for a very dead sound. Still use it for recording, just get reverb on tracks later.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #24
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Hello!

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrebrito View Post
I would really would like to know how many users in this forum have been in an anechoic room ? and listening to music in it ?
Funny that you had such a negative experience. Have listened to mid size electrostats in anechoic chamber. Not bad at all. Quite the contrary! Brought along the fabulous "real" recordings on the chesky test disks; moving sources around stereo mics, LEDR and so forth. Never heard such a convincing 3D field before! Also felt like I heard every nuance of weakness in the source (amp&cd-player). The electrostats really shone when the rearside of the dipole just disappeared. Perhaps they're the ideal anechoic speakers? No Xover or multidriver interference issues. Did you listen to a good setup or is it perhaps possible that you heard issues with the playback system clearly? Many systems doesn't sound especially nice without a room to make it all gel (read: bass boost, haas wash out, reverb slosh).

It IS weird to be in such a room, but I had a very fun time and would love to do it again. In fact, wouldn't mind having it available as a reference for occasional "headset with speakers" checking if it had been possible!

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrebrito View Post
I want to quote a sentence from someone most of you know,one of the guru of acoustics, Trevor Cox. On one of the lessons he told us (students) something like this... anyone can kill a room with absorption but making it to sound good and still have a live but pleasant and accurate sound, that is the hard part.

IMO, I'm completely against placing too much absorption in a room. I know this is what some users think it is the correct thing to do but critical listening does not mean we are free of reflections.
Totally agree!

My room is extensively trapped. There's also a bit reflective surfaces, window in the front and lots of diffusion. Started out trapping the bejesus out of the room. It was sounding like a big headset, people used to make that exact comment! Without the usual bad sideeffects of a room. Very effective for getting work done. Going from an untreated room to a dead space removes a lot of those infamous veils. Have since added bits of reflections and quite a lot of 2D diffusion. It kept the precision of the dead room while giving a bit of euphonic envelopment. Engineers comment that it's not as dead as it looks with all the traps. The sound is more open and inviting, with the equally cliché word "airy" being a pretty good description. It's more fun to listen to, it's just as easy to get work done. Or more, as it IS more fun to listen to.. :D But I think a totally dead room is not a bad starting point either. IMHO, YMMV, etc.


Best regards,

Andreas Nordenstam
Old 3rd December 2009
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrebrito View Post
Trevor Cox: "... anyone can kill a room with absorption but making it to sound good and still have a live but pleasant and accurate sound, that is the hard part."
That's what I was talking about.

This thread can become very subjective... Let me suggest that somewhere, someone - not me - Do a test:

2 rooms - one anechoic, the other one up to today's mastering standards with rfz, diffusion & balanced decay.

20 excellent mix engineers - 10 for each room.

Timed mixes (same song) - no communication between engineers.

Then all the mixes voted on by over 100 (as many as possible) listeners on their home systems. The winner(s) will be the ones that translate best to the real world.

This could be a fantastic learning experience for all involved.

One more thing.. the test room need to be standard size, ie; approx 2000 - 3000 cu ft.
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrebrito View Post
"For me a large room is a church ..."
What do you all think?
Old 3rd December 2009
  #26
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Just the thoughts of an anechoic chamber make me dizzy lol

I did listen to more common hifi stereo and some monitors in it.

My statement about a church being a large room was not superficial. Large and small room acoustics are quite different acoustically in terms of approach and parameters being studied. Check any book on acoustics for this matter.

Maybe some large tracking rooms can be included in large room acoustics
Old 4th December 2009
  #27
Gear Guru
Subjective

Hearing is subjective. The brain has a huge role to play in the process.
Many people have an adverse reaction to small dead rooms, it may be a phobia.
Some of us that actively listen in such small dead spaces, with a result in mind, i.e. the mix translating to the outside world, find the tool extremely effective.
Further more we like and enjoy what we hear in there. Andreas and I are not the only ones who find this. See below reference to survey.
John, I don't think your test would be easy to do or evaluate, but I very much believe in tests, other than simplistic frequency or modal ones.
How about this.
Ethan has a room, treated with lots of diffusion. It has very spectacular graphs and I think we can agree, it is the live thing done very very well. I have a very dead room, horrible graphs, RT or other decays inconsistent or too low to measure, but a survey of 6 recording engineers has scored it very highly. (That was part of the design process)
Ethan has a DPA 4061, maybe can borrow another? I have two.
We could make very similar binaural recordings of playback of one song, Bird on a Wire by Jennifer perhaps?
Then without the bias of lighting, assumptions, ownership, and all the other psycho traps, we can all listen on headphones and 'be there'.
DD
Old 6th December 2009
  #28
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tmrstudio's Avatar
 

When one refers to a dead room, what RT60 are we talking about?
Old 6th December 2009
  #29
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RT60 does not apply to such rooms. and here, i think, DEAD is a subjective term heh

-John
Old 6th December 2009
  #30
Gear Guru
Decay times

0.5S is a 'standard' decay time for a domestic living room. This was established some time ago by survey. There is a minimum size room necessary for RT60 to be mathematically correct, however we use the term all the time in small rooms, but don't trust them at all! Measurements, particularly RT in low octave bands, can be very flaky.
There are others, EDT and so on.
I tend to use simply the word Decay since all the specific terms are invalid due to the prominence of modes (small rooms cannot support enough low modes to have an even spread)
Very roughly I would guess 'Dead' would be in the below 200mS territory. This would tend to increase towards LF. So let's suggest 50-100mS at 4K, rising smoothly to 300mS at 100Hz would be a nice little room. Google the EBU control room specs if you want something more serious.
DD
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