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Thread: Want to build a dedicated echo chamber (sort of)

  1. #1
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    Want to build a dedicated echo chamber (sort of)

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    OK, if I am off on a tangent with my construction idea, please let me know.

    Here goes...

    So last summer I went to the summer NAMM in Nashville and afterwards went to the Tracking Room. Well they have a really nice studio!!! I walked into the main room and saw that they have about five smaller rooms off of the main room. So I go into the first room which was very tall and lined with rock. There was some impressive sounds to be heard in there bleeding into that first room through the open door and bouncing around. Depending on where you stood you could find low frequency nulls or buildups, and some incredible sounding reverb! There was a sweet spot just inside the door and of course there was a microphone there to record all that reverb goodness.

    So now I'm working on my studio and am nearing completion of the control room, and am considering what to do with my tracking room. It is a lot smaller than what I would like, but it is what I got. It is approximately 10'x12' with a slanted shed roof/ceiling. I am planning to put a drum set in the room, and use overheads and a couple of close mics for recording. The room is too small for room mics.

    Unless... I use a small closet that is attached to the room and open it up to a space below the floor joists and build an echo chamber like area below the tracking room floor. This would not exactly be a true echo chamber, but rather a fancy place to put a room mic to try and get some of that one-of-a-kind mojo like they did at Motown, or hopefully some Bonham like drum sounds. My thoughts are to build a small room below the floor joists open to the tracking rood to catch some reverb to be used as a room mic. Open the closet door and expose the room below the floor joists to incoming sounds from the tracking room. You could experiment with gobo in front of the closet door, and varying the location in the room below the floor joists, etc.

    So in my preliminary study of echo chambers I found the recommendation of using Sabine Golden ratio of 2:3:5. Other recommendations include a trapezoid shape, rounding off the corners, plastering the walls and painting with high gloss paint to increase reflectivity.

    I need to do something with the space below the floor joists regardless of the "echo chamber space" idea. I was planning on filling the space full of sand like what is recommended in Rod Gervais's book. However, after visiting another studio, this idea has popped into my head and I want a second opinion on whether this might actually work and be really cool or is it just a kooky idea?

    Ryan Earnhardt (of Creative Sound Labs) does all kinds of interesting things with his room to get different drum sounds. (See his youtube channel if you already haven't)

    So what do you think? Go for it and see if I can get some unique sounds or just fill it in with sand and proceed.

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    You are going to get sound (mostly the bass) leaking into that space through the tracking room floor and joists. Unless you have a good acoustic design engineer figure out the proper dimensions (and if it even was feasible), you are just shooting blind.
    How deep is the space you are looking at? Since you say 'fill with sand', is it already open to the outside, and I assume is just a crawl space? Filling with sand will create a lot of weight against the foundation, and if there is moisture leakage, the sand will absorb it and keep it in there (not good!)
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbphotos View Post
    You are going to get sound (mostly the bass) leaking into that space through the tracking room floor and joists. Unless you have a good acoustic design engineer figure out the proper dimensions (and if it even was feasible), you are just shooting blind.
    How deep is the space you are looking at? Since you say 'fill with sand', is it already open to the outside, and I assume is just a crawl space? Filling with sand will create a lot of weight against the foundation, and if there is moisture leakage, the sand will absorb it and keep it in there (not good!)
    This would be a totally enclosed masonry chamber below the floor joists with an opening into the tracking room. There is only dirt there now. Planning to use the Golden ratio of 2:3:5 as stated in the post. So I am thinking 4' deep by 6' wide by 10' long roughly. Drainage isn't a problem now, don't foresee it being a problem.

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    Maybe what you do is buy a concrete cylinder, record, take the two track, put the speaker that plays on one end and a mic in the other. Then, record it in the "echo" chamber. Bring that into the mix, blend the "dry" and the "wet" to get the sound you want for the mix.

    That is how I use a plugin reverb or delay but I would think it would work for this. Just get a laptop and a simple interface and it should work.
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    I would think your design would be pretty expensive to do, and the results would not be guaranteed to be any good at all. I'd use the money to make a bigger tracking room - 10'x12' with a drum kit in it is not going to sound good without a lot of acoustic treatment. You say you are almost finished with your control room - what are it's dimensions? Is it too late to change your design?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbphotos View Post
    I would think your design would be pretty expensive to do, and the results would not be guaranteed to be any good at all. I'd use the money to make a bigger tracking room - 10'x12' with a drum kit in it is not going to sound good without a lot of acoustic treatment. You say you are almost finished with your control room - what are it's dimensions? Is it too late to change your design?
    This is being retrofitted into an existing space in the house and cannot be enlarged unfortunately. My house was built about 1925. I just have to go with what I got and am trying to make the most of it. I do have a set of electronic drums that I'm planning on putting in the control room for triggering midi sounds in my computer (Steven Slate, ezdrummer)

    Maybe a long twisting pipe in this space might be something to consider.

    I am anticipating using a lot of acoustic treatment. I plan to make bass traps for each corner, putting absorption in the ceiling with a type of cloud, and building lean fractal diffusers as described on arqen.com. I already have several large 4" thick gobos made that I can move around.

    Thanks for your reply!

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    I would rely on reverb and delay plug-ins and save the money and expense.
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
    My Bandcamp site: http://mikebirchmusic.bandcamp.com

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    Yeah...it may sound real cool building an echo chamber, but the reality will be much different...and especially when you consider way to adjust the decay time and the flavor. So you may end up with something that is not very useable for a variety of situations.
    I mean...knock yourself out...it might be fun just messing around with it and seeing what you end up with...but a couple of decent plugs will most likely beat out anything you build with their wider usefulness.

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    If your intent is to make a good reverb chamber that's better than typical software or hardware, you'll need to make a large room with good dimensions. If you just want to mess around and don't mind resonances and other artifacts, then joeq's suggestion makes sense. Understand that a good reverb chamber is very flat, and does not have different reverb times at some frequencies compared to others. It's not trivial (or blind luck) making a good live chamber!

    If you want to read up on room ratios and dimensions, see my ModeCalc article: RealTraps - ModeCalc


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    Last edited by natelivliv; 03-03-2019 at 12:45.

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