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Author Topic: Can A Small Room Sound Good?  (Read 2323 times)

Ian Visible

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Can A Small Room Sound Good?
« on: September 17, 2007, 08:19:35 am »

If one is limited to a small, rectangular room, 20'x10'x8', to record in, what's the best route to take to make it sound good (or reasonable) for live, natural sounding recordings?

I've tended to record close-mic'd and cheat with fake reverb up to now but I'd like to try to be more natural.

I'm thinking butt loads of fibreglass on the 8' ceiling to "remove" it will help but can't get my head round whether the walls should be reflective or absorb...er...tive.

I'm shooting for the good/cheap trade-off, doesn't have to be quick as I've plenty of time and patience, so...most effective place(s) to start?

Cheers!

Ethan Winer

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Re: Can A Small Room Sound Good?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2007, 01:20:01 pm »

Ian Visible wrote on Mon, 17 September 2007 08:19

If one is limited to a small, rectangular room, 20'x10'x8', to record in, what's the best route to take to make it sound good (or reasonable) for live, natural sounding recordings?


As much bass trapping as you can possibly manage, plus some diffusion on the 10' walls.

Quote:

I've tended to record close-mic'd and cheat with fake reverb up to now but I'd like to try to be more natural.


Understand that small-room ambience is mostly bad sounding ambience. So there's nothing you can do acoustically to make a room that size sound like Studio A at Avatar. But with enough bass trapping you can at least get accuracy, and with diffusion you can retain some liveness without having all that liveness be colored and boxy sounding.

--Ethan

Ian Visible

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Re: Can A Small Room Sound Good?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2007, 04:30:19 pm »

Cool - as long as it's not a completely hopeless endeavour; I know I'm not going to get anything amazing but as long as I can get a bit of 'liveliness' in there without too much of, as you say, the coloured boxiness.

Cheers!

brett

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Re: Can A Small Room Sound Good?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2007, 08:52:55 pm »

One of the main issues with that room is 10'/20', is a perfect half. There may be a huge null in there, especially in the middle. For tracking this may actually help with vox, and other instruments that don't have a lot of low end but you will need to deal with echoes and ringing by doing what ethan recomended above. A nice symentrical placement of panels in the corners around the room and on the walls will tame those. If doing drums, I suggest being closer to one end with proper bass trapping and an overheaed cloud. 8" thick fiberglass with a 4-8 inch air gap above. Also, if micing cabinets like guitar or bass, move them around and find the right spot to suit the track. Use the room modes and nulls like eq. A live floor with a carpet border of a foot or two around the room to keep it live but limit reflecting to the walls.  
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franman

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Re: Can A Small Room Sound Good?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2007, 08:38:44 pm »

I have to agree with Ethan that really small room 'ambience' is typically bad ambience.... we would go with lots of trapping and some helmholtz slats just to keep some high freq reflected energy in the room.. If the ceiling is trapped, then the floor can be hard, otherwise carpet it up!!.. We do many small dead Iso booths but also use the "medium" approach for smaller rooms so they are not totally dead:

Helmholtz Slats, Trapped ceiling, Hard floor and some glass in the window... As long as the corners and ceiling are well trapped it works out fine.

With awkward proportions in a recording room, you have the luxury (most of the time) to move the source and mics around until it sounds good.... not often so lucky in a listening room... speaker positions forced by symmetry and other equipment concerns... keep moving things around until  it sounds good!! Use your ears!
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