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Question about an angle of recording in a small vocal booth. Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 18th March 2011
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Dizzy's Avatar

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Question about an angle of recording in a small vocal booth.

Booth is 6x8x8 (building is in progress). Basically what I planned on doing was mounting the mic at the far end of the booth so that I'd be standing along with the longer direction with the rectangle. Well, I also planned on putting a window to the right of where I'd be standing/recording - apparently this is a no no though as the window is going to cause frequency to bounce into the mic. So I've heard that if you're going to have a window you should record towards it. Will this be a problem of any sort, tonal wise? Recording at the end side of the booth but sideways instead of the planned direction of facing with the long side?
Old 18th March 2011
Registered User

Starting with a few more fundamental issues...

6x8x8! This is a modal nightmare! The ONLY way it could be worse would be to make it 8x8x8.

And the mic at the far end? In a LF axial length pressure maximum and a width axial pressure minimum, thereby leveraging the room's problems to the maximum?

Being a smart aleck, I sure hope they are positioned comfortably to be seen, as it seems more thought has gone into sight lines than into the sonics in this modal factory funhouse.

With all due respect, I would forgo this design entirely and instead use GOBOs as necessary in the larger space. And if you orient and position everything property, you can minimize modal issues, specular reflections and you will have no problem with sight lines.
Old 18th March 2011
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Dizzy's Avatar

Thread Starter
Even though every inch of it will be foamed & bass trapp'd? I've heard of a few guys on here getting good results with a similar sized vocal booth.

The idea behind this is to dedicate a portion of this room for my vocal recording. It's also used as my bedroom & my living room & my PC workstation. The room is about 30ft. long and 16ft. wide. One of the 30ft. wall sides is basically an entire window so it's not very treatable.

And from your statement, I'm going to assume that the center of a booth is the hot spot for positioning?
Old 18th March 2011
Registered User

Look, I am sorry if I sound rude, but your statements prove that you are doing this because some amorphous "others" have them and that you have not spent any time becoming aware of room acoustics.

Exactly the opposite of what your priorities should be!

First, MOST of what many folks do acoustically is absolutely wrong! But in that respect you are in good(sic) company, if that is really where you want to be...

Secondly, spend a few moments reading up on modal behavior.

As you have just jumped from placing the mic at the far end of a space to placing it in the center - and I have NEVER in any form suggested that! You have moved from one 'wrong' assumption to the other extreme of 'wrongness'! Hence why I suggest that you REALLY need to take a few minutes and read about modal behavior and distribution. Interpreting my comments in this fashion without stopping to become aware of basic modal behavior sounds like how you came to the conclusion that a vocal booth is the optimal path based on what "some others have done" rather than upon basic acoustical principles and a clear identification of acoustical problems and valid productive solutions to those defined problems.

Again, while I am bashing assumptions based upon "what others have done" which also reflects (hey, there's an acoustics term - which may be the the closest the subject has come to entering the process heh) absolutely no understanding of modal behaviors, I am ALSO begging you to stop and spend maybe a day reading up on modal behavior.

Rather than manufacturing bigger problems then you already have, you might think in terms of how you can effectively identify and mitigate real problems without simply creating larger ones.

Making a vocal booth is not going to somehow make the space more multi-dimensional - as you are providing for no real isolation from either space!

A bunch of specular and modal treatment is going to accomplish little to nothing in terms of isolation. It not like you are suddenly going to be able to host a fussball tournament while you are tracking vocals while someone sleeps in the room - but you will have less space to do all three with less flexibility than what a set of several movable GOBOs would afford without creating additional modal nightmares.

So, I hope that you will not misinterpret my sarcasm as being directed against you and your goals; but rather against the lack of a clear vision that results in one manufacturing more problems than you do solutions that can interfere with your way to achieving a worthwhile goal.
Old 18th March 2011
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Dizzy's Avatar

Thread Starter
I didn't exactly see others making a vocal booth then immediately wanted to make one for myself. I've wanted to make one, and knowing my size options I did a bit of searching around and found that others in my position have come out with great results doing what I'm planning on doing (DanDan for one). I'll do some more research on modal behavior this weekend, then.

And you're right, I quickly jumped assumptions without major thought - I just figured if it's terribly wrong to mount a mic in the end of a booth, then the only other place left is the center of the booth.

If these directions (arrows) are wrong, then I'm not sure where else to mount.

Can you also school me on what GOBOs are? I assume each letter represents a word, however, I can't uncrack it.

I'm also not taking any of your sarcasm an instruction as any bit of assholeness, by the way. No worries.

I've got a loudass PC by the way.
Old 18th March 2011
Registered User

A GOBO is typically a movable freestanding 4" thick absorptive panel made of simple 3/4" x 4" wood and semi-rigid fibrous material such as 3#/ft^3 density OC703 or an equivalent such as Knauf Ecose.

It might also feature one side being absorptive and the other side being diffusive for maximal utility.

They are essentially broadband absorptive panels mounted vertically with the addition of a pair of legs.

These can be moved to intercept specular reflections as necessary, and positioned such that they will not unintentionally introduce any additional reflective anomalies of their own.

They also allow you to take full advantage of the larger room and its more flexible modal distribution and thus position the vocalist where they can best avail themselves within the total acoustic field. I would say - avoid modal peaks or nulls, but hey, you have the choice to avoid or avail yourself o any perceived benefit either might offer as well as to 'avoid' the extremes. YOU are the one who, hopefully, makes decisions based upon what your goal might be, rather than the space dictating what you get.

They afford you the opportunity to identify and address real issues. Specular reflections do NOT necessarily come from the front. And remember, you also can take advantage of the polar response (and rejection) capabilities of the mic. Instead of being limited to a predefined solution to a problem that may or may not exist (and for may of which the commercial panels are simply TOO small to be effective, you can use the GOBOs to effectively moderate the environment of not only a vocalist, but of ANY instrument in order to maximize the quality of the recording while minimizing any specular reflections of just about any nature. One exception they will not address is that of a ceiling reflection, but this can be easily addressed with a suspended cloud made in almost the exact same manner as the GOBO, but obviously not requiring legs for the frame!

If you require isolation for your, might I suggest that it is much easier to construct a ventilated space for your PC, or to merely place it is a closet with sufficient air space and utilize a few extension USB, FW, and monitor cables.

Oh, and to add a few additional thoughts...
A simple GOBO or tool is not going to magically solve your problem. You would do well to map out the behavior of your room. Using water fall measurements or sine waves, identify the modal distribution in your room. THIS, and not some abstract position you read in some thread is going to tell you what is happening in your room and provide you with ideas as to the best response position and hence the best position to place a vocalist or an instrument. Additionally, you can easily measure the real specular reflections and their intensity that might required mitigation with the GOBOs. Again, NO abstract "guide to recording" or some magical "toy" is going to optimize your recording! What will optimize it is understanding and good judgment and matching needs with conditions and conditions to needs and applying the proper treatment as dictated by the conditions, not because it has some brand name associated with it or because Bono or some Bozo (excuse the redundancy...) posed next to one in a magazine
Old 18th March 2011
I wonder why you want a booth when you can have a nice sounding room, where you can track and mix properly!
Old 18th March 2011
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Dizzy's Avatar

Thread Starter
Mainly because one of my whole side 30ft. walls is basically all window - so I wouldn't know how to work around that? I actually don't know how to prepare for a proper somewhat professional opened up mixing/tracking room, all I know is booth.
Old 18th March 2011
Registered User

Then I would seriously suggest putting a little more focus and effort into learning about the mechanics of the field you claim to want to pursue instead of trying to find a solution in a box you buy from a store.

Simply copying what you have seen some other person do is not necessarily the best answer - and why did someone else do it?? At what point do people start doing things because they took a few weeks and spent sometime familiarizing themselves with the basics - and then, though discussion identified their specific issues that THEY face in their own rooms, and then acted to address this real issues - instead of copying someone else whose situation may have been completely different?

It is not that difficult to learn - and I would suggest that far too many spend more energy and time avoiding learning the basics then it would take to simply learn them.

And with all due respect, for those who claim to be too busy to learn or who have no desire...that's fine. Good luck. But don't throw quarters up onto the stage and expect others to dance and do for others that which they are not prepared to do for themselves.

The bottom line is that it is not difficult to both learn some of the basics - have you read the stickies and tutorials on the Realtraps and GIK sites? And it is NOT difficult to take basic measurements with free software to determine the specific issues in your room that require being addressed. This will do more to help you address your concerns than simply doing something because someone else did it.

And with such information, you would know exactly what needed treating inside the booth, just as your room would need treating, and the specific factors particular to your particular space that determine the position of the vocalist and mic! In other words - the answer to your question which is based upon the modal distribution and specular reflections present in the booth - just as they are in the room that you thought you were escaping by employing a still smaller booth.
Old 18th March 2011
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Dizzy's Avatar

Thread Starter
I forgot to mention in my last post that I was going to suck up all of the information you posted for me tomorrow, SAC, I was getting ready to leave and take my lady out so I didn't have time to process your post up just yet. I appreciate your time an advice, I'll look over your words tomorrow kind sir - might hit ya with a PM later too if ya don't mind.
Old 18th March 2011
Registered User

Take a look at the basic tutorials here and on the RealTraps and GIK websites - check out the sticky thread.

With some basic ideas it is not hard to discover much more about your environment - enough to better evaluate and make choices - which will give you much more power to influence what happens in your environment.

Its not difficult - although parts may seem a but confusing.

But I would encourage you to do a little more research ad to ask more questions along the way for as much clarification as you need - and to then optimize your environment as much as possible - and to also be able to recognize limitations to the degree they exist.

As far as acoustics, I would highly recommend Sound System Engineering by Davis and Patronis - at least Chapters 6 (Loudspeaker Directivity) to Chapter 9 (Small Room Acoustics), and THEN, after you have the basic concepts down, then read Everest's Master Handbook of Acoustics. But do not simply run to read books on treatments, as without the basic understanding of where and why they are useful, book that acts as a catalog of potential treatments are not of much use. Witness all the post here that begin with "I now have X number of absorbers. Where do I put them?" or, I have put them everywhere, now tell me how my room sounds..."

Oh, and a PM and also contact by Yahoo Messenger/Skype is always possible.
Enjoy a wonderful evening!
Old 20th March 2011
Gear Guru
DanDan's Avatar

Hi Dizzy, y'all.
Just a few random points.
My 'booth' was an existing room in a domestic house.
At 7.5x8x8 feet, obviously I didn't chose the size!
To be honest I had to treat this quickly for an incoming important voiceover job. To be even more honest I didn't do a great job on it. I should have spent some more time predicting the modes and triggering them with sinewaves.
I would have ended up with a quite different treatment. i.e. a much larger amount of overhead trapping.
Despite all that, before treatment it was absolutely unusable, now it can deliver Pro results. Bear in mind that I am an incredibly talented recording engineer though....heh

Note it has thick carpet. a 4'x4' cloud 4" thick with a similar airgap. Two 24" SuperChunks. Two walls are plasterboard. Door. No window.

Windows are very HF reflective and are a right pain anywhere near a vocal. However some singers like to see their companions.
You are right, the window is best behind the normal directional microphone.
Even with this little help, distance is your friend. Stay as far away from any reflective surface as possible. Yet another reason to have the singer/mic in the centre of a room, and a bigger room!

More tips from my brilliant recording engineer side:-
A figure of 8 side null can be much deeper than the back of a cardioid.
This can be used to strongly reject something at the side, e.g. a window.
A seated position at the room centre, can put the singer and mic in all three primary nulls.

Old 20th March 2011
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Starlight's Avatar
Dizzy, one popular method for recording a vocal in an acoustically poor room is to drape a duvet over a boom mike stand, with the boom high and horizontal, such that the top is about 300mm (12 inches) higher than the singer. Stand this in a corner of the room, have the singer stand with their back to the duvet, facing into the room, and use a .
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