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Thread: NEED HELP with acoustics!!! Tryin to record drums...

  1. #1
    BobbyBalow Guest

    Question NEED HELP with acoustics!!! Tryin to record drums...

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    The room that I will be recording in is 15ft by 30 feet. I have a cement wall along the 30 foot side and across from that is wood paneling. What would be the best way to set up the drums to record? The celing is made of those cardboard like tiles. The floor is carpeted. Any ideas? Would draping sheets on the walls help? or putting up some egg carton foam? HELP!!!

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    mrface2112 is offline Why 2K?
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    the room is a large portion of the sound you'll get when recording drums. to get good results you need to get the room sounding as good as possible, and that takes money. so i'm assuming that you don't want to or can't afford to properly address the acoustics in the room, so i'm going to offer a cheap-ass solution that may or may not make much of a difference.

    simply put, if you can't make the room sound good to impart positive sound to the tracks, you need to take it as much out of the picture as possible.

    there's nothing good about having a cement and wooden wall directly parallel from each other. the sound will just bounce back and forth. to avoid this, your cheapest solution would be to hang comforters or packing blankets on both the cement and wood walls.

    egg cartons, sheets, and foam won't make much of a difference. you need mass. comforters and packing blankets are relatively heavy (and dense), and will give you the best results for cheap.

    keep in mind i've never said "good" results.

    hanging blankets on the walls will only go so far to making the room sound "less crappy"--it'll never sound "good" and you'll be forced to live with close-micing everything. but it'll be better than it was. for info on how to properly treat a room, visit the studio building forum.


    cheers,
    wade

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    Fletcher's Avatar
    Fletcher is offline Force of Nature
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    First you have to have a problem before you can fix the problem... so, how do you determine if you have a problem? Walking around the room clapping your hands and "hooting" like an idiot has usually worked for me pretty well... maybe it'll work for you too.

    What you're listening for is a bunch of evil shit... the biggest one is 'flutter echos' [you'll hear them when you clap as the transient from the sound will bounce around the room and sound like a series of discrete repeats instead of a 'small room' reverb sound]. If you have those you're going to have to try to breakup the surface on at least one and probably two of the walls. My favorite way to break up parallel walls is with "stuff". Book cases full of books, "quadratic diffusors" if you happen to have some lying around, couches, coffee tables [if you're sitting on the couch, you absolutely must have someplace to put your beer... right?]... whatever ya got as long as it's not flat/parallel to any of the other walls. Be creative!!

    I hate low ceilings with a passion usually reserved for Jehovah's Witnesses and pedophiles but you didn't mention how high the actual ceiling was only that your room had a "drop ceiling" [which you can leave in if you'd like... or you might try removing the tiles over the drum kit... or leaving the tiles over the kit and removing some from around the outside perimeter of where you have placed the kit in the room... experiment a little... ya never know what you might find].

    The next question [actually, the first question... but I just thought of it so it's going to be the next question] is "what kind of music ya doin'?" and/or "what kinda sound you goin' fer?" If you're doing something like 70's style soul music then you want a kinda 'dead' sound from the room [but not necessarily small and boxy, so you'll have to be very careful on how you 'dampen' the reverb time of the room and manage what few 'reflections' that will remain to define the sound of the room]... if you're going for a "Led Zeppelin" thing then you're screwed because Bonham's dead and that's the only way to get that sound... but there are always things you can do with a room to get something that approximates something useful... don't be afraid to experiment.

    Best of luck with it.
    Last edited by Fletcher; 03-16-2006 at 17:40.
    Fletcher

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    mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
    We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid

  4. #4
    BobbyBalow Guest
    I'm recording a metal band. Probably need a dead sound. And the celing is like 9 feet high . Probably the worst acoustics you could imagine. So I should put a lot of crap along the walls eh? And hang a few comforters?

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    Synkrotron's Avatar
    Synkrotron is offline Dedicated Member
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    I read Ethan's article about acoustics and I remember something being said about room proportions. You say yours is 15' x 30'... is that exact? Aparently, if the proportions of your room , erm... how do I put this... are divisible by the same number then is can give you slight porblems at certain frequencies. 15 is half of 30 and this can create stronger resonance at a certain frequency.

    Actually, I should just point you to his article cos I'll just tie myself in knots trying to explain this. Jump the the section called "ROOM SIZES AND SHAPES" and he'll tell you all about room modes and stuff.

    http://www.ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html

    andy

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    mrface2112 is offline Why 2K?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyBalow
    I'm recording a metal band. Probably need a dead sound. And the celing is like 9 feet high . Probably the worst acoustics you could imagine. So I should put a lot of crap along the walls eh? And hang a few comforters?
    the ceiling at 9ft is certainly better than one at 7 or 8ft.

    first, read the stuff at ethan's website--the link posted above. it'll go a LONG way to help you understand what's going on and what's needed.

    but in short, yes, unless you want to spend a lot of money fixing and tuning the room, your best solution is going to be diffusion like fletcher mentioned. put a lot of random stuff along the walls--bookcases, sofas, boxes, you name it. anything that'll break up the parallel of the walls (and therefore the standing waves). the comforters/blankets i mentioned will help with the high end and that nasty hollow ringing i bet your room has.

    especially if you're recording a metal band--i bet the drummer's gonna pound the snot out of his cymbals. anything you can do to help keep that in check will help.

    but again, don't really expect it to sound "good". expect it to sound "better than it was".


    cheers,
    wade

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    Fletcher's Avatar
    Fletcher is offline Force of Nature
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyBalow
    I'm recording a metal band. Probably need a dead sound. And the celing is like 9 feet high . Probably the worst acoustics you could imagine. So I should put a lot of crap along the walls eh? And hang a few comforters?
    I'm going to my friend's birthday party tonight... he's the soundman for a band and the party is going to be during soundcheck... should I wear blue jeans and sneakers or black jeans and boots? How about a sweat shirt? Should I wear my "Thursday" hoodie or the "Mighty, Mighty Bosstones" Hoodie?... the Rock-It Cargo T-shirt or the Bob Dylan ;local crew' shirt?"

    Much like you can't make these aesthetic decisions for me... no one can really make the aesthetic decisions for you for which you're asking. You're going to have to experiment a bit and try to figure out what is going to work best for your application.

    I don't know if you consider them 'metal' or what... but I worked on a "King's X" record [the latest one to come out... I have no idea of the name of it, they never sent me a copy] where I did some engineering and worked as the drum tech for a couple of songs.

    I tuned the kit with a fairly 'ringy' jazz tuning in a rather small [probably 1/2 the size of what you're talking about... 9' ceiling] and it worked great. The room was pretty "live" but one end had a bunch of traps and was pretty "dead" but the place where the drums were was pretty live. IIRC we put up something soft on the walls next to the kit to reduce the 'splatter' [combfiltered reflections that are endemic with the walls too close]... but other than that the room was pretty "live".

    Best of luck with all you do.
    Fletcher

    R/E/P Professional Recording Engineer and Producer forums - serious hobbyists welcome

    SoundPure.com

    mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
    We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid

  8. #8
    BobbyBalow Guest
    Thanks everyone for all of your help! I really needed it! I couldn't figure out what to do with the room to make it sound better...

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