Jump to content
greg54

audio in home studio sounds bad

Recommended Posts

I did join John Sayers' site.   I read that I have to buy a mic and meter first to test the sound in my room.   I told a guy on that site who responded that I will get back as soon as I'm able to afford what I need, including monitors.

Seems like a lot of work to help me out, Steve.  But I really appreciate it.  Thanks!!

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Yeah, you got busted just like everyone else does - I initiated that policy just over 16 years ago, and STILL almost nobody reads it til they're yelled at :=)  - Stuart likes to do things right, and while I agree with that philosophy I will sometimes "cheat" rather than either do nothing, or wait longer than my patience thinks I should. The first thing I would probably do in your budgetary situation: if you have an android phone, google play store has some interesting free apps - check out these two - sound analyzer free by nobapp, pink noise player by dogfooder

You would actually need TWO phones (borrow your wife's), play the pink noise thru headphone jack into your monitors, use the analyzer on other phone (put it somewhere near the center of room, DO NOT CHANGE ITS POSITION OR SETTINGS OR ANYTHING til subsequent tests are done - (other than the INTENDED ONES, duh)

Caveat - this is NOT in ANY way a precision test; using this approach can ONLY be used to see CHANGES in a room, and ONLY if absolutely NOTHING ELSE is changed/moved between tests; I'm reminded of one of my favorite cartoons showing two buzzards sitting on the arms of a saguaro cactus; one looks at the other and says, "Patience my ASS, I'm gonna KILL somethin'..."

Don't wanna get your hopes up, but I have the exact sound level meter Stuart recommends AND an acoustic measurement mic (VERY small condenser, omnidirectional, flat from 20-20k - unfortunately I have NO IDEA where they're at right now, or I'd be tempted to put 'em in a medium flat rate box and loan 'em to you for a few months...

The lack of location problem is due to me trying to clean out both spare bedrooms, moving everything OUT of one INTO the other, when BOTH were already "full" - goal is to turn ONE br into an interim "sanity saver" while I try to figure out how to enlarge my old "practice room" from 12'x36' to a multi-room 24'x48' ACTUALLY SOUNDPROOF space - this will be a multi-year endeavor, so having a "sanity sanctuary", even a small one, is vital to the health of me and my entire extended family :=)

Back to the immediate problem; doing what I sketched would definitely CHANGE your room, but it sounds like even a few hundred$$ isn't a good plan at this time - I'll post it anyway, if only for discussion. Change just ONE of the dim's to 11' (the AVERAGE, if the trap is 2' deep at peak) and see what the modes do...

I did apparently "luck out" more than you on my "sanity saver" room; just measured it, dim's are 9.5'x11'x8' ceiling - I'll post its axial mode too, notice the smooth even changes in mode frequencies? this is what I talked about earlier, compare it to YOUR room's modes and you'll see why there've been several comments on room shape. Oh, added bonus - that room has a 4.5' x 2' deep closet, CENTERED in the back wall - 4" of rockwool semi-rigid across that and might not need any OTHER bass traps...

Gotta go do a couple things before SWMBO decides I'm goofin' off too much... Steve

RoomTune-SteveBR.jpg

GregRoom1.jpg

Edited by Steve Leverich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really didn't see the rules.   But I guess I wasn't looking either.

Thanks for the sketch, Steve!   Any info helps me.

I downloaded Sound Analyzer and will try that.

I really appreciate the offer to borrow the mic, but I'll end up getting my own - soon, I hope.   The good thing is that we're putting our old house up for sale in a couple of days.  HOPEFULLY it will sell in a decent amount of time.

My wife and I were talking, and we may put a shelf unit (almost floor to ceiling) on the back wall, which would bring the wall in about 2' or so.   It may not take up the entire wall, but most of it.   That would make the room closer to a 10'x12'.

And I could do bass traps in the corner and ceiling.   I think your suggestion was to put bass traps near the door on a stand.  I think that may work.  I was wondering what to do with that space.

I had no idea this little room would be such a pain.  But in the long run it will be worth it.

Thanks!

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, greg54 said:

Yes, the vocals sound harsh.    Too much reverb still.   I use an seElectronics X1S, about 8" away from the mic.   I also have a Mudguard behind the mic on a stand.   Focusrite 2i4 (2nd Gen) interface.   And I have an 8x10 rug on a hardwood floor.   House is wood paneling outside.

Thanks!

I am not surprised you are getting too much reverb, you will need to cover one of those walls as I outlined previously and then use the acoustic treatment as well to get rid of that. You said before, the vocals sounded boomy, now you say they sounded harsh? 

I would expect in that room with that equipment, the vocals would not be boomy, would pick up a fair few room reflections and consequently be thinner and harsher than normal. Your mic has 3 settings to control bass roll off, generally the way you are using the mic, you would select the 80hz bass rolloff, not run it flat, make sure the pad switch is also not engaged.

The mic picks up what is behind you which is why I say you desperately need to cover that wall at the back, you can then stand with your mic facing that covered wall while you sing into it, this will make a big difference in your mic capturing room reverb. I have always found in every different place I record vocals, it is what is behind you when you sing into the microphone that makes the biggest difference in taming the sound from reverb and harsh treble frequencies from walls.

The reflexion filter or mudguard as you call it, I am having a rethink over the use of those. I am also trying to get good vocals in a poor room at the moment. You have to test different possibilities. My tests have concluded that the "mic thing" reflexion filter I was using was 100% responsible for the horrid boomy sound I was getting from my microphone, all of these filters around the mic impart some sonic signature on the microphone when you sing, they are good for talking, not so much for singing. Your situation may be similar.

You have 2 options, cover the wall behind you or move closer to the mic. Given you have a dedicated recording space, I would cover the wall, if you cannot find a way to do that then you will need to move closer to the mic and lose the mudguard, see what it's like without that. You could go to 4 inches, put a sock over the mic and also use the popshield. If the mic has a foam cover use that. The closer you get to the mic, the less room reverb will be captured, but the more sensitive the mic becomes to the changing dynamics of your voice (the more spiky the waveform will be). If you move closer to the mic, you can use the bass rolloff to defeat the proximity effect where your voice becomes boomy moving closer to the mic.

Get that back wall covered!!!! Then a  lot of your problems are going to go away for anything you record in that space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tezza:   I agree that I need to get the back wall covered.  In a post I just did, I mentioned that I may get some kind of shelving on most of the wall that would bring it out about 2'.

I took down all the acoustic panels I had put up and am trying to figure out exactly what I want to do.

Yeah, I could try recording without the reflection filter and see how it sounds - as well as getting closer to the mic.  I used to sing pretty close to the mic, then I read I should be back further.   But I guess all situations are different and whatever works.

Thanks for the info!

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greg, I agree with Tezza too, many variables to consider here - keep in mind though, unless the proposed shelf unit has a SOLID front (as in, enclosed by doors) it will NOT make a noticeable change in room modes, which are definitely NOT helping any boominess - maybe if you have a bunch of "bric-a-brac" items on those shelves it would add some diffusion, but that's (arguably) not much help in small rooms (less than about 20' paths)

Anyway, best of luck on a quick sale of your old house, hopefully that'll let you fill some of the gaps in your kit - besides the acoustic help, I'd probably be looking at either bigger speakers, a sub, or both - the sound level meter is a MUST for me; the human ear has no vu meter, it adapts to however loud things are, then accepts that as "normal", so it's real easy to screw up your hearing unless you let something that IS measurable help you. I keep mine on the mix desk set on "C" weighting, and when peaks vary away from 85 dB I change the main volume to compensate - this, along with a good balance between mains and sub, and mixes are a lot more uniform and "transportable"... Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, greg54 said:

Tezza:   I agree that I need to get the back wall covered.  In a post I just did, I mentioned that I may get some kind of shelving on most of the wall that would bring it out about 2'.

 

Mattress(s) and a curtain with lots of pleats in front of them. Pin the mattress(s) to the wall, then hang a curtain rail from the ceiling and put the curtain up to hide the mattress's, that's what I would be doing. I don't think shelving will make any difference sound wise, it's still a hard reflective surface. Small square room with all hard reflective walls, one of them has to go just to get you started with improving the sound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Tezza said:

Mattress(s) and a curtain with lots of pleats in front of them. Pin the mattress(s) to the wall, then hang a curtain rail from the ceiling and put the curtain up to hide the mattress's, that's what I would be doing. I don't think shelving will make any difference sound wise, it's still a hard reflective surface. Small square room with all hard reflective walls, one of them has to go just to get you started with improving the sound.

funny you should mention that - I was gonna suggest (til I got sidetracked) making some curtains for that sliding door from old sleeping bags, covered with cloth of choice - that alone is about 36 sq ft of "mirror" that's gotta go, plus it's smack in the middle of a first reflection point... Steve

Edited by Steve Leverich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At least I got one thing right.   I put thick curtains with lots of pleats on the sliding door when we moved in.

Before we remodeled this house, there were shelves with doors on that wall - which I had taken out.   They're still in the garage.  I can either put them back in or get something better.  Either way . . .

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With all the information given, I admit I was a little overwhelmed.   But after reading everything, it seems to me that all it's saying is, I need to cover my room with acoustic panels.   I just didn't do it correctly.

And I need to do something with my back wall.    But I have to know what panels to put where.   If that's it, then it's not so bad.  

Thanks!

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, greg54 said:

At least I got one thing right.   I put thick curtains with lots of pleats on the sliding door when we moved in.

Before we remodeled this house, there were shelves with doors on that wall - which I had taken out.   They're still in the garage.  I can either put them back in or get something better.  Either way . . .

Thanks!

If you can fill the shelves up with books (preferably paperbacks), it'll make a huge difference. It'll also change the measurements of your room so the length doesn't match the width.

 A shelf full of books is like having 6 inches of fibreboard over the wall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, msmcleod said:

If you can fill the shelves up with books (preferably paperbacks), it'll make a huge difference. It'll also change the measurements of your room so the length doesn't match the width.

 A shelf full of books is like having 6 inches of fibreboard over the wall.

Also, don't order the books by size. Put an assortment of different-sized books on each shelf.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Kev said:

Also, don't order the books by size.

I turn a bunch of books backwards. Pages out. Deters snoopy guests and invites judgement that makes me smile.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can build rockwool panels pretty cheaply. The covering material is a lot of the expense. Maybe have your wife help in choosing fabric and color? Can't hurt to have her buy into the process. As a stopgap, people have hung blankets on stands forever.... 

To help with parallel walls I have a couple of office cubical dividers set at angles around my recording area. They were free but I bet you could find one or two for hardly any money.

Please look at this as a long term proposition. Try to enjoy the process! Treating your room correctly will stop you from rebuying foam etc. You may find that some of your audio gear is fine  after treating the room.

Good luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have books   :)

The closet in my room is full of boxes and musical stuff.   I can put all of that in the shelves in the room.  

I also have about a half dozen thick moving blankets that are about 6' or 7'.    So I can cover things up on that wall. one way or another.   The modular wall shelves we have in the garage have both doors and open shelves.   But it's only 4.6' wide.   I'm looking into adding modular shelves to fill in the rest of the space.

Thanks for everyone's input.   I really appreciate it!

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is my room treatment in a nutshell- 20 guitars, 4 amps. PA speakers, racks full of effects, =Clutter- the secret weapon. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Clutter- the secret weapon" - Tell your clients it's "Large Scale Diffusion" - you'd explain the complex math behind it, but it's a trade secret :=)) ...Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clutter.   Well, I don't have 20 guitars or a ton of amps, but I can get plenty of  other stuff to clutter my room if that's all it takes  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to do clients and kept things tidy. Now I just keep spreading out and buying more gear !. My wife say's I better get it now before I retire and will have no money. 

I liked your idea of the bookshelf on that end wall. Put a couch or loveseat in there and throw rugs .  I would still use your acoustic panels you bought if anything just to make it look official :) 

One day I'll tidy my studio and re build a little bit. I plan on using some wood.... I like the sound of wood. 

Studio "B" is our TV room and it has  a wood ( 1" Fir)  floor and  a wood (2" spruce)  ceiling which happens to be the floor of the upstairs studio A.    

It's a 12x12 room but has Clutter being 2 stuffed chairs and a loveseat.   There are a lot of framed pictures on the wall ( diffusers?) and curtains on the windows. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/26/2019 at 12:09 AM, Steve Leverich said:

funny you should mention that - I was gonna suggest (til I got sidetracked) making some curtains for that sliding door from old sleeping bags, covered with cloth of choice - that alone is about 36 sq ft of "mirror" that's gotta go, plus it's smack in the middle of a first reflection point... Steve

I've used a 13 tog duvets in the past, which are a lot thicker than sleeping bags. The last time I bought a king size one (90 inches x 86 inches), it was only £12 (~$15) from Asda (UK equivalent of Walmart).

I've actually stapled two of them to the ceiling in my studio.... it makes it look like a padded cell, but it does reduce a lot of high frequency reflections.

The great thing about them is they're easy and cheap to replace, especially if you're making a curtain out of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...