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Sick of hearing about room treatment Condenser Microphones
Old 8th December 2011
  #1
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duff mcshark's Avatar
 

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Sick of hearing about room treatment

Is anyone else sick of the attitude around here that can be summed up as:

"before you even think about buying an interface or microphone or record anything, you have to treat your room."

Sure, it makes a difference but not to the extent that recording without it will render all tracks useless. I've been surprised at the results from untreated rooms to the extent that it's not very high on my list of priorities at the moment.

So please, people, don't feel like you're committing some cardinal sin by hitting record in a room that doesn't have owens corning 703 or some type of foam on the wall.
Old 8th December 2011
  #2
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jeremy.c.'s Avatar
OMG yes. That's become the mantra of the year. When you've been hanging around GS long enough you'll see stuff run in cycles that gets preached as gospel. Clearly it's important, also the Shure SM7b is a great mic, subtractive EQing is useful, external clocking is necessary for multiple converter use, Neve clones can improve your tracks, converters are an important part of the signal chain, you can mod an Apex 460 to the teeth and turn it into a great mic, etc...
I did have a run-in with a guy about this when I told someone to get new monitors first, then focus on treating the room - he told me I was deaf. Considering the best mix I ever got back came from an untreated open loft style room I think I have the proof in the pudding.
I personally need a slight bit more treatment in my room, but all in all it works, which I hear is what is actually important.
Old 8th December 2011
  #3
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
These sort of threads I really do try to avoid, but this time I will comment.

Can you record, mix and or master in a room without proper acoustics? sure. Would I? Hell no. Why would I subject myself to a room that has +-30db nulls and peaks throughout it and try to make a judgment? Considering you can treat your room for about the same cost as a good preamp I think it is kind of a no brainier.


Yes I manufacture and sell acoustics so..................................
Old 8th December 2011
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy.c. View Post
...all in all it works, which I hear is what is actually important.
So true. I wish more people around here were less worried about getting GS approval for their purchases and techniques and more concerned with trying to be original and doing the best with what they have. The whole perfectionist attitude of recording is a real creativity killer when you start quantizing drums, replacing sounds with samples, and using the exact same microphones as everyone else in the exact same roles.
Old 8th December 2011
  #5
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duff mcshark's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Kuras View Post
Can you record, mix and or master in a room without proper acoustics? sure. Would I? Hell no. Why would I subject myself to a room that has +-30db nulls and peaks throughout it and try to make a judgment? Considering you can treat your room for about the same cost as a good preamp I think it is kind of a no brainier.
When your budget for gear is so small that room treatment would cut into having enough inputs or microphones to get the job done, you don't have much choice. I would never master myself, and when I mix I listen in as many different rooms and on as many different speakers as possible.

I'd love to have the perfect room, but since I don't I have to deal with it. The point is that to those who can't afford such luxuries for a small setup, being constantly told that room treatment is the most important piece of gear ever is pretty ridiculous.
Old 8th December 2011
  #6
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jeremy.c.'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Kuras View Post
These sort of threads I really do try to avoid, but this time I will comment.

Can you record, mix and or master in a room without proper acoustics? sure. Would I? Hell no. Why would I subject myself to a room that has +-30db nulls and peaks throughout it and try to make a judgment? Considering you can treat your room for about the same cost as a good preamp I think it is kind of a no brainier.


Yes I manufacture and sell acoustics so..................................
While I think your products and business model are great, I respectfully disagree. My room absolutely needs more treatment, but not all rooms are created equal. Some need more, some less, some are hopeless no matter what you do. heh
It takes a nuanced approach, but I think the OP's sentiment that some will convince you that you can't approach greatness without A, B and C is just GS inane chatter and the focus switches from preamp of the month to converters to treatment. I have experienced this firsthand and I have solid evidence to prove otherwise.

Now, saying that assessing your room's needs for treatment and acting accordingly is responsible and good advice, but the blanket treatment of "don't upgrade your monitors until you cover your walls with 703" is just misguided parroting.

Back in the day I stupidly bought great converters before great monitors, a great preamp and room treatment... thanks gearslutz!!!
Old 8th December 2011
  #7
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_Ludovico's Avatar
 

I've had this kind of frustration too sometimes.

I think it comes from the fact that some people are ready to lay down thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars on gear and are not ready to keep a few bucks for room treatment, which is also something important in the whole scheme of things.

It IS important, but of course you don't need your room to be flat from 0 to a quadrillion hertz. Like Glenn Kuras said, it can be done for a relatively low price. (compared to other stuff in this domain So no need for 12 000$ worth of Realtraps.

It is also a fact that you will not fully benefit from your monitors if your room is full of peaks and nulls.

It's just an aspect of having a recording studio that some people forget a bit to easily...you CAN achieve great results, but it will take much longer....
Old 8th December 2011
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by duff mcshark View Post
When your budget for gear is so small that room treatment would cut into having enough inputs or microphones to get the job done, you don't have much choice. I would never master myself, and when I mix I listen in as many different rooms and on as many different speakers as possible.

I'd love to have the perfect room, but since I don't I have to deal with it. The point is that to those who can't afford such luxuries for a small setup, being constantly told that room treatment is the most important piece of gear ever is pretty ridiculous.
You and I are closer then you would think from your other statement..

this:
Quote:
So true. I wish more people around here were less worried about getting GS approval for their purchases and techniques and more concerned with trying to be original and doing the best with what they have.

But I still contend that the expense is not "out of this world" and not out of reach of most people. If you are fine going back and forth to different systems trying to remember what to fix and it works for you then that is all that matters.

Quote:
Back in the day I stupidly bought great converters before great monitors, a great preamp and room treatment... thanks gearslutz!!!
I would never call you or anyone else stupid for any purchase they did to upgrade, but I have done this long enough to know what makes the biggest difference. Experience!!!!!!!!!!!! Bet you thought I was going to say acoustics didn't you?

The fact of the matter is it all counts, but (for me) having a good foundation (acoustics) is way up there in the "to do" list.

And just to point out, just being set up right in the room can cost you nothing and make a HUGE impact on the accuracy of what you are hearing.

One of our dealers in Europe did a video with testing a room before and after treatment. He also recorded music with and without (starting around 3:15 in the video) so you can hear the difference.
GIK Acoustics. Treated and untreated listening room video.
Old 8th December 2011
  #9
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spiderman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by duff mcshark View Post
So true. I wish more people around here were less worried about getting GS approval for their purchases and techniques and more concerned with trying to be original and doing the best with what they have. The whole perfectionist attitude of recording is a real creativity killer when you start quantizing drums, replacing sounds with samples, and using the exact same microphones as everyone else in the exact same roles.
In case you are confused, GearSlutz is primarily an hang for engineers, editors, and... GearSlutz. If you're a songwriter or composer who is more concerned with "trying to be original" perhaps this is the wrong forum for you. Try HomeRecording.com or HarmonyCentral.com b/c it seems you're just out of your element.
Old 8th December 2011
  #10
Gear maniac
 
duff mcshark's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
In case you are confused, GearSlutz is primarily an hang for engineers, editors, and... GearSlutz. If you're a songwriter or composer who is more concerned with "trying to be original" perhaps this is the wrong forum for you. Try HomeRecording.com or HarmonyCentral.com b/c it seems you're just out of your element.
I'm not talking about songwriting or composing, I'm talking about the way people record. If GS is all about only recording and mixing the way everyone else is doing it then perhaps I am out of my element. By being original I mean actually having your own ideas as to how to a recording should sound. For me that means not quantizing everything, not using sampled drums, not close mic-ing everything, not compressing the hell out of everything, etc.
Old 8th December 2011
  #11
It isn't crazily expensive to take care of the biggest room mode issues you have. You can DIY traps for a quite reasonable price. And it really does make a big difference. Most people have never actually measured how bad their room is. I did and I continued to measure it as I added traps, and it's vastly flatter than it was, and since the bottom of a song is hugely important, you need to hear what it sounds like.

It's VERY easy to, say, have the low end of a kick drum right in the middle of a 20dB null and have no idea that everyone else listening to the song thinks it's a kick drum solo. And given that most folks only have one set of monitors that can reproduce down there in the first octave, you may not notice the problem on your other playback systems that you use as a sanity check.
Old 8th December 2011
  #12
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Thread Starter
I fully appreciate and understand the importance of room treatment, so please don't think I'm knocking the whole concept. Having a perfect sounding room or two would without a doubt make recording and mixing easier. The point of my rant is that good recordings can and have been made without it; because of that it gets old to keep reading post after post about how unless your room is treated you shouldn't even think of setting up a microphone. Like Jeremy said earlier, it's mostly just someone parroting something they read. I don't think people should go without it forever and I certainly hope to do it in the not too distant future; but if it's not in your budget don't let that discourage you from recording.
Old 8th December 2011
  #13
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BillSimpkins's Avatar
Either way, one should at least figure out the shortcomings of their room, so they know what they are dealing with.

The people that push good room acoustics are usually the people that have suffered through bad rooms before and are trying to save you time and money. Sure, you can skip getting your room to sound good to try and save money, but the fact is you are not saving money. It will cost you in time and clients. It's going to take longer to record and mix (running back and forth to your car or another room, longer to identify problems), and your products may not sound as good, costing you clients. If you are just recording for yourself, it will make the project take longer and make the whole experience more difficult.

That said, there are many ways to get your room sorted out without spending a lot. Positioning, moving furniture, using recycled material, building stuff with scrap wood etc...

I mixed in a top notch studio for a long time never questioning the acoustics in the control room, because obviously a lot of money was put into it. Turned out, the room is totally off at the desk and mixes there come out way bottom heavy. After that I vowed never to mix in a room that I didn't evaluate critically and that wasn't under control.
Old 9th December 2011
  #14
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I would be more concerned with earning a living, studying techniques that make night and day differences rather then obsessing on the finer points of room acoustics.

Your end user will not be in a perfect environment, more focus is now placed on headphones and car stereo's etc. Testing separate mediums is becoming more and more important.

I have a fully treated studio room, I also have a mainly untreated home room which I use for my band.

Can I do good recordings and mixes with both? Yes

Will I loose sleep over the possible 5% (This is for my room only) that I could achieve with a better acoustically balanced room? No..

If I had poor acoustics in a room would I treat it? Yes

Am I more concerned with my skill? Yes

Does having crap equipment and instruments factor more into play than makeshift acoustic treatment? Always

Does a live room need acoustic treatment? Potentially, but it can cause more harm than good, some people have popular records made in a bathroom..

Remember, some live mixes sound fantastic.. You can't hide behind room acoustics then.

Honest opinion, just sit there record, mix and learn.. If for whatever reason your setup makes life more difficult for you then good... Once you have the cash to splash it will be all the easier.
Old 9th December 2011
  #15
I don't think that any suggestion that you improve your room or monitoring situation ever implies that you should do it instead of learning how to play or compose or mix.
Old 9th December 2011
  #16
Gear nut
 
dano69's Avatar
 

I tried to read the OP's post, but it had a 26dB boost around 250 Hz. Dude! Don't even think about typing until you get some room treatment.
Old 9th December 2011
  #17
Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by duff mcshark View Post
Is anyone else sick of the attitude around here that can be summed up as:

"before you even think about buying an interface or microphone or record anything, you have to treat your room."

Sure, it makes a difference but not to the extent that recording without it will render all tracks useless. I've been surprised at the results from untreated rooms to the extent that it's not very high on my list of priorities at the moment.

So please, people, don't feel like you're committing some cardinal sin by hitting record in a room that doesn't have owens corning 703 or some type of foam on the wall.
.

OK, you know what - fine!

Screw it!

Don't listen to us.

Just go ahead, and buy everything you want.

Don't worry about your room.

You can come back here later and complain it doesn't sound right.

We'll be here waiting.

...

...

.
Old 9th December 2011
  #18
Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by dano69 View Post
I tried to read the OP's post, but it had a 26dB boost around 250 Hz. Dude! Don't even think about typing until you get some room treatment.
.



Brilliant.

In fact, don't even READ........don't even THINK without room treatment!



In all seriousness.

Room

Treatment

Is

Im

Por

Tant.

Don't


sleep

on

it.

or

you'll

be

very

sorry

and

end

up

wasting

a

lot

of

time.


promise.


Stop making excuses.

Treat your frikkin' room..

.
Old 9th December 2011
  #19
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by duff mcshark View Post
Is anyone else sick of the attitude around here that can be summed up as:

"before you even think about buying an interface or microphone or record anything, you have to treat your room."

Sure, it makes a difference but not to the extent that recording without it will render all tracks useless. I've been surprised at the results from untreated rooms to the extent that it's not very high on my list of priorities at the moment.

So please, people, don't feel like you're committing some cardinal sin by hitting record in a room that doesn't have owens corning 703 or some type of foam on the wall.
This you?:

crazed new religion: ROOM doesn't matter
Old 9th December 2011
  #20
Gear maniac
 
duff mcshark's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
No that's not me. If you took the time to read the rest of the thread you wouldn't need to ask that.
Old 9th December 2011
  #21
There's a difference between treating a recording space, and treating a monitoring environment. One might not be needed, one definitely is. Whenever anyone says "treat your room" they mean monitor environment, not recording space.
Old 9th December 2011
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
There's a difference between treating a recording space, and treating a monitoring environment. One might not be needed, one definitely is. Whenever anyone says "treat your room" they mean monitor environment, not recording space.
...and you cannot know you are recording the right sounds without monitoring while you record. And since most people asking about room treatment are probably not in a large commercial studio and have to record and monitor in the same room...
Old 9th December 2011
  #23
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Strange Leaf's Avatar
 

I'm sick of this room treatment mantra too. Great tracks can be recorded in totally untreated rooms, some with very lively acoustics. That's called natural reverb.
Old 9th December 2011
  #24
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Strange Leaf's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Whenever anyone says "treat your room" they mean monitor environment, not recording space.
So why does the mantra pop up in microphone and preamp selection threads?
Old 9th December 2011
  #25
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by duff mcshark View Post
No that's not me. If you took the time to read the rest of the thread you wouldn't need to ask that.
Well, I am not taking the time to read the rest of the thread - that's why I asked.
Old 9th December 2011
  #26
Here for the gear
 

It's important to treat live rooms too. Mine has a disgusting flutter echo that luckily hasn't ruined any recordings so far.
Old 9th December 2011
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TyeT View Post
It's important to treat live rooms too. Mine has a disgusting flutter echo that luckily hasn't ruined any recordings so far.
You see, you have a problem therefore you should fix it.. If you don't have an issue don't sweat it.. Just make good music.

I think people get way to hung up on semantics looking for something that will essentially fix themselves..

If you can't make a good song with an untreated room then it is most likely you as a person and not the room...

I'm not saying at all you don't need to treat your room for a live or monitoring environment to get the best possible sound.. I'm just saying from a lot of what I hear, there is more than just a shabby room in play.
Old 9th December 2011
  #28
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Greg B's Avatar
There's not necessarily a right or wrong way to treat a tracking room, just like tuning drums is a matter of artistic opinion. But how would you know you like how your tracks sound if you don't have an accurate monitoring environment?

I think the "treat your room" mantra exists because there are so many people conducting mic shootouts, preamp shootouts, and even giving opinions on the fine differences between high-end converters, when their monitoring environment would keep them from making accurate judgements on any of those things.
Old 9th December 2011
  #29
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The phrase "close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades" Is incredibly true when it comes to music and recording/mixing. If someone is at the point where there isn't the money or time to make a room sound decent it might make more sense to completely focus on writing and composing and go rent a space from someone who does have the time/money to make the room adequate instead of buying any gear other than the minimum of what you need to demo stuff at home. You don't win any extra points for going it alone.

You don't have to do it all by yourself, but if you decide to do it all yourself, then you have to do it all well. At the end of the day nobody says "well this mix is good enough considering he did it all by himself". Either it's good enough or it's not. You can spend a lot of time and money in this biz fighting a loosing battle and ultimately have little choice but to surrender. One way or another you might as well give yourself a fighting chance.
Old 9th December 2011
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheebs Goat View Post
...and you cannot know you are recording the right sounds without monitoring while you record. And since most people asking about room treatment are probably not in a large commercial studio and have to record and monitor in the same room...
...then you should probably treat your room! I'd rather have a dead monitoring environment and live room, than an untreated room that I can't tell what I'm doing in!
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