Do you have problems with your acoustics?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by MikeyG, May 30, 2005.


  1. MikeyG

    MikeyG Supporting Member

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    I've got a lot of loud amps. I have a guitar room that is about 10X10 ... My amps never sound as good there as they do at our Saturday night jams ... on Saturday we play in a room full of couches, I'm convinced they have a positive effect on the tone. For one, it doesn't seem as loud. Two, it seems to stop the sound from bouncing.

    Do I need to hang carpet remnants, or even go as far as soundproofing?? I eventually want to rig it up as a studio (amateur level). Any suggestions?

    My Ganesha is just too powerful for the room it's in.... I need to do something.
     
  2. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Sound absorbers?
     
  3. gtr777

    gtr777 Member

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    I've had good luck with the Auralex products and they make kits for certain room sizes. You can also send them a sketch of your room and they will send you their recomendation for treatment

    The key is to not make the room completely dead. You want a good mix of absorbion and reflection.

    I
     
  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    There are certain inescapable facts about a 10 x 10 room and acoustics:

    1. You have two sets of exactly parallel walls, and given the average ceiling height, you come close to a perfect cube. There is no worse environment for acoustics and fairly loud sounds. If you go into a recording studio, you will see that they avoid parallel walls and parallel ceiling and floor. This is to avoid room modes building up and reinforcing/cutting certain frequencies. These modes are greatly increased in a room like yours.

    2. A small 10 x 10 room is not only going to bounce those frequencies all over the place and sound bad doing it, it's going to reinforce the loudness. I have had as many problems in my space with a ten watt amp as a 100 watt amp. Seriously.

    3. Soundproofing isn't going to solve the acoustics inside the room; it's going to solve only what noise is transmitted to the outside.

    4. You can deaden the room, and you can reduce the problems, but you will never achieve a good amplified sound in a room that shape and size. I speak from experience, having spent at least $3500 over the years on my 11 x 14 recording booth's acoustics.

    Here's what I did to achieve a merely acceptable sound on vocal and guitar (drums? the room's just too friggin small to get a good drum sound, although I do try...):

    1. I have ASC Tube Traps installed in the corners. The auralex corner traps are a lesser alternative, since they're not real bass traps, but they are cheap.

    2. I have two sets of Auralex Maxx-Walls to tame the reflections. This is 4" thick foam.

    3. The room is carpeted with heavy padding; I also have regular thickness auralex on the ceiling (it's not enough, by the way, I should have glued up the 4" stuff there, too).

    One day at a SPARS meeting, I ran into Russ Berger, who is an internationally known acoustician and architect of many million dollar studios (his company is the Russ Berger Design Group; he's had a good many of his studio designs featured in Mix, etc). We sat together and chatted for a while about room design, and I asked if he'd do a design as small as my personal project studio. He said, "Sure, we do lots of personal studios. Tell me about your space." So I told him about my large, lovely walk out basement, with lots of light, two nine foot doorwalls, and an airy feel, with its large control room, and what I thought was a decent sized recording booth. When I was done he said, "You'll never get it to sound good. Ever. You can treat it, you can mess with it, but the basic acoustics will never be there. Got a garage?"

    I didn't want to move to the garage, and I never pursued it, but I'll give you the same advice: Don't waste too much money on that space, it will never be a good room for a guitar amp.

    If you want to reduce the problems, try a wall of bookshelves loaded with books, throw in a padded chair, put up some auralex, and try that before spending a lot, because if you do, you will be throwing your money away. I speak from experience. I wasted a lot of money.
     
  5. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Les is correct. I just want to comment on a few things he said.

    >> If you go into a recording studio, you will see that they avoid parallel walls and parallel ceiling and floor.

    Just so you know, although they look like random angles they are anything BUT random. They are carefully designed by engineers to control reflections. It's not necessarily a do-it-yourself prospect.

    >> If you want to reduce the problems, try a wall of bookshelves loaded with books, throw in a padded chair, put up some auralex, and try that before spending a lot, because if you do, you will be throwing your money away. I speak from experience. I wasted a lot of money.

    Bingo! Sometimes an ordinarily furnished room can yield terrific acoustics by accident. If you know how to listen right, you might be able to find a "sweet spot" in your house that works well without changing a thing, or changing very little. But like the man said, a cube will always be a cube. Not a great room.
     
  6. MikeyG

    MikeyG Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the replies.... short of building an addition, I'm not sure what I'll do.... but I appreciate the advice.
     
  7. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    10x10x8? Whatever the height, it's still a bad ratio. I'd suggest starting with a good book (master handbook of acoustics) and maybe some moveable panels.

    You can also rotate everything in the room 45 degrees. But you might need to add mass in the corners to keep LF from building up there.
     
  8. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>You can also rotate everything in the room 45 degrees. But you might need to add mass in the corners to keep LF from building up there.<<

    This is what I do, except I add bass trapping to the corners with the ASC products.

    It's a pretty decent semi-fix.

    Incidentally, you can make your own inexpensive bass traps with some sound insulating material, plastic garbage cans, and burlap. But then, of course, you have garbage cans in your room.

    This would not bother my son. It would bother me. ;) Hence, the ASC traps in my studio.
     
  9. Bluzsteel

    Bluzsteel Member

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    Auralex, home depot has some nice blue moving blankets for 15 a pop that I hang, if you are going to record you need to think about a differant rig , 15, 20, 50 watt works much better
     
  10. sears

    sears Member

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    You don't even need to rotate your stuff 45 degrees. Be aware of how the sound is bouncing. My amps aren't parallel to the walls but at a slight angle; neither are my microphones when tracking something other than an amp.

    Furnish your room so it's comfortable. A woman's touch will make it sound better.

    I have a 441 which has a a tight pattern. It will mitigate some lousy acoustics and responds to the tiniest tweaks in position in a small room, opening or closing a sound as needed.

    I know these are crazy ideas. But I prefer to think that you can make a good recording anywhere.
     

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