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Acoustics - If you had a bad room to start with...

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by eugewong, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. eugewong

    eugewong Member

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    Jan 6, 2002
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    Round Here we stay up very very very very late
    Hi all,

    Just moved into a new place, and set up all my recording gear. Simple DAW set-up, nothing overly fancy.

    So the apartment is layed out in such a way that the most logical and logistical area for my DAW is to be on a little mezzanine/loft kind of area.

    It's a great workspace, but acoustically, it's terrible. Half of the back is a big square (bass trap?) the other half is open and leads into the living room and the rest of the house.

    Was listening to some Fourplay and Dream Theater to kind of listen to what the new room sounds like and I can't say I like it very much. There's a weird bass thing happening above the kick, but under the beater frequency-wise. Same spot as 1 of the notes on the bass guitar, I'm guessing somewhere around the low G or A.

    When this frequency is played, I can feel my entire body and head resonate. The whole area just fills up with it and takes over the entire song. Quite cool, but not good.

    It's a rental apartment, so I'm probably not going to drop lots of cash into building walls and renovating. I'm not sure how effective acoustic treatment will be, seeing that half the area is opens out to the rest of the house.

    What do you suggest I can do?

    Right now I'm considering dropping the cash on the most expensive pair of headphones I can find. Alternatively, I was thinking of possibly having some sort of a graphic EQ between the main outs and my monitors, but that somehow feels like an illogical solution.

    For the record, I mainly do sound design and and trying to get jingles and producing/arranging gigs. I likely won't be mixing any full-length albums anytime soon, but I'd still like to have a decent "room" that I can do work in.

    Any advice is definitely appreciated.

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    I had a lot of problems in my recording booth due to a glass block wall and fairly low ceiling that i just couldn't fix, even with a bunch of ASC Tube Trap products.

    However, when Auralex came out with the Max-Wall product, I figured I'd try it out, and bought two sets, which I set up around the walls of the room. It immediately helped. I also glued some Auralex to the ceiling, which solved a weird standing wave problem I was having.

    So I now have ASC tube traps in the corners and in front of the glass block; and Auralex nearly everywhere else. The floor is carpeted. The room is fairly dead, but not horribly so.

    The room works on some things: acoustic instruments, vocals, and electric guitars. It sounds lousy on drums, in my opinion, so I go elsewhere to record those.

    Bottom line: the Auralex Max-Wall stuff is pretty inexpensive, and works fairly well.
     
  3. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Hi Eugene -

    Sound like what's called "standing waves," which to my lack-of-an-engineering-degree self-educated understanding are wavelengths caught between two parallel walls that have nowhere to go, so they just bounce around till they decay. Your workspace as you described it sounds like a perfect trap.

    Les' suggestion is good, because short of rebuilding the walls you will need acoustic treatment to get rid of them.

    Before you drop a lot of money, maybe re-think your work location in that apartment, though that space you described may need a big fabric curtain to close it off acoustically. Try large, thick fabric wall hangings, bookshelves (with books in 'em) and the like. Bass traps seem like they might be a good idea no matter what else you do.
     
  4. covert

    covert Member

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    Pretty much all rooms, except those purpose designed, suck at the outset. Take a look at Ethan Winer's pages and products.
     
  5. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    Bass traps will be a start. You need to add mass as foam tiles are useless at absorbing low frequencies. The Auralex walls will be useful at reducing reflections and raising the resonant frequency of the room (by making the space smaller), making the LF easier to treat. Start by putting stuff in the corners, effectively bringing the corners out into the room. That's were the LF tends to build up.
     
  6. eugewong

    eugewong Member

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    You know..

    Covert makes an excellent point.

    I've been whining alot lately about how the room stinks and not wanting to do anything to it, but unless it's been designed with the acoustics in mind, all rooms pretty much suck.

    I'm going to take all the advice here and try to treat the room the best I can. There's a local studio that's got a whole bunch of rockwool and frames that i can buy off them. Will probably do that, get a (bunch of) thick fabric to try and curtain out the opening.

    Thanks guys, you've been of great help.

    Anyone has any pictures of the treatment that they've done to regular housing spaces? Would love to get some ideas.
     
  7. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    Just don't make it too dead (I hated the Westlake rooms of the '70's) btw making it dead doesn't make it soundproof, of course.

    I like the filled bookshelves and drapes idea plus nice armchair for tea and crumpets, please.

    Let us know how you get on.

    Best, Pete.
     
  8. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    I gotcher crumpets right heah, buddy! ;)
     

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