Considering placing audio treatment in a small room

telecast

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549
So, it's actually more of a 'nook' than a room. It's a little offshoot of my basement. Five and a half feet wide, 12 and a half feet long and 7 feet high. One side has an open staircase and on the other side of that is a mostly finished basement (drywall, furniture, area carpet over concrete floor).
Does it make sense to put some audio treatment up to see if I can convert that little space into a decent sounding recording space? Or would it be too small and too 'boxy' sounding? I'd be recording primarily electric guitar and various acoustic instruments in that space. Thanks.
 
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mixsit

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It's not clear, is that solid / walled off space? Any side 'open to other parts is an area that gets 'removed from what would otherwise contribute to that dimension's resonance mode.
I.e. if parts of if it are more open' than walled, it makes it less a box', more diverse space.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
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19,089
Let go of "ideal" and focus on "possible" and you can do some great stuff. People record in less-than-perfect situations all the time, and some of it gets released commercially.

It's pretty easy to create a decent tracking space for one person. You want it to be pretty dead, and you want some reasonable hurdles in place to keep outside sounds from finding your mics.

Owens Corning 703 is the standard material for DIY panels and gobos. Most people put it in thin wooden frames that make it easier to hang from walls or ceilings. There are gobs of tutorials for this out there.

Check out your area and try to identify a corner that's big enough to sit and play inside (acoustic) or to hold your amp. Start with trying to deaden that corner and prevent reflections that can get into your mics. Think it terms of sound control rather than sound proofing. "Soundproofing" a residential space is rarely worth the time and expense. All you really want is for the sounds you're making to find their way into your mics with minimal reflections or interference.

Once you have a corner where you can capture good sounds, you may be done. If you can record while no one else is home, and you're far enough from your HVAC unit and water heater, there's a good chance you can get all the tracks you need that way.

If you have to protect your tracking area from those kinds of sounds, then you have to take additional steps to try and keep those noises out. It might be building more gobos, or it could be as simple as shutting off the offending appliance while you're tracking. Try the simplest solution first.

NOTE: none of this applies to creating a MIXING environment. There's a ton more to consider there. But for tracking you can keep it very simple.
 

mattball826

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20,796
Really good monitors, nice quality mics, top end interface- proceed to add fair amt of room treatments.

If just a jam space with $300 budget monitors, $100 headphones, maybe $150 worth of mics, and a 2-4ch USB audio interface-
Don't spend much on room treatments.

Not a dig, it just doesn't make sense to invest in a budget room when the entire room is based on budget gear. No treatments will help in that regard. Seriously, just get an iso cab for the amp, and track away. Learn as you go, then eventually tell the wife kiss ur azz adn you ar taking over the entire basement space !! lol

For what you are planning, seriously you can mix on headphones and get something decent enough. Just listen to pre recorded music on those cans and get used to it. Over a short time you can compare your mixes to polished radio versions. Just get your mixes to translate on different audio devices. Cars, booom boxes, phones (which are the trickiest)
 

NashSG

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4,088
Post right above makes a whole lot of sense. You don't necessarily have to go all acoustic panels or anything to even help tune the sound. If a place is all concrete floor, a carpet remnant or putting up some heavy curtains can be easy fixes. A pair of yoga blocks are a good cheap way to isolate a couple of desktop monitors from the rattle of a desk.

Way it sounds, you are not going to be recording a kit or a horn section or choir anyway.

Don't get hung up on having everything if you are starting out, the idea is to get more out of less and make music.
 

telecast

Member
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549
Sorry, should have stated up front that the nook I'm considering working with is dry wall, it is isolated from other offending noise sources and it is open on one side to a larger space.
Regarding the budget gear, I'm assuming it goes the other way too, correct? In other words if you have really nice monitors, really nice mics and a really nice interface, don't you have to go for a well treated space in order to get your money's worth out of that gear?
 

Rex Anderson

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5,530
I'm a firm believer in room treatment having worked as a recording engineer for several decades. There is the LEDE/RFZ methodology and the Floyd Toole (JBL/Harman/Revel) approach. Floyd says some room reflections are desirable, but that is generally more for music listening, not monitoring while recording and mixing. Most pro studios do LEDE/RFZ.

The LEDE/RFZ approach uses more absorption, Toole's method uses more diffusion. Either way, you need to treat reflections off flat walls or you get destructive interference/comb filtering, slap echo, sproing, splash etc. Most rooms with drywall and no wall treatment of any kind sound pretty bad. Clap your hands to see what it sounds like.
 
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loudboy

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27,306
In other words if you have really nice monitors, really nice mics and a really nice interface, don't you have to go for a well treated space in order to get your money's worth out of that gear?

It helps but it's not mandatory. Do some basic stuff, but don't go nuts. Unless it's designed from the ground up for recording, it's never going to be perfect anyway.

Get your monitors away from the wall and in the proper position, and listen to a bunch of reference material, so you know what they sound like. The biggest issue will be accurate low end.

If you're close-miking a guitar amp, the room isn't really going to play into it.

Vox, the same - as long as you use packing blankets to kill some of the reflections.

Drums are a different story...
 

telecast

Member
Messages
549
Ok so question about absorption and guitar amps. The little nook I'm looking at recording in is really tight, so I'm thinking about putting the amp in a crawl space under the stairs right next to the recording nook. I can line that crawl space with 703 or roxul for some absorption. Is it a fire hazard having a tube combo amp in there? Generally how much space do I need between the back of the amp and the insulation?
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
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19,089
Ok so question about absorption and guitar amps. The little nook I'm looking at recording in is really tight, so I'm thinking about putting the amp in a crawl space under the stairs right next to the recording nook. I can line that crawl space with 703 or roxul for some absorption. Is it a fire hazard having a tube combo amp in there? Generally how much space do I need between the back of the amp and the insulation?

Can you just put a speaker cab back there instead? That'd be way easier/safer/more convenient.

 

telecast

Member
Messages
549
Yeah that's probably what I'll end up doing for one of my amps. I'm not a fan of how my champ sounds through my cab, so whenever I use that I'll just swap them out. I'll make sure I don't leave the champ on for too long! It's smaller anyway so they'll be more distance between those tubes and the insulation.
 




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