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Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

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Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby dave_f » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:50 pm

I need to record some simple percussion instruments - some bongos, a couple of shakers, nothing too fancy - in a home environment. The rooms in the apartment have dreadful acoustics, everything is boomy and there's echoes and reverberations bouncing around all over the place. In addition to this, there is occasional street and traffic noise which bleeds in through the windows.

My task is to get as clear a recording as possible. I am not allowed to mess up the apartment in any way - no duvets on walls etc. I need to find a mic which captures as much of the instruments, and as little of everything else as humanly possible. Please suggests some microphones (and techniques, if you can think of any) which you think would be suitable for this task. (Budget is not a huge concern, but given the circumstances I'm fairly sure I will not need a hugely expensive mic).

thanks!
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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:03 pm

Your phraseology suggests that this is an assignment/homework question.

If it is - and my apologies if it isn't - then a read of THIS may be beneficial.

What do you think? What has your own research shown? We're happy to work with you, but not do it for you!

If it isn't homework it's simple: find somewhere else to do the recording.
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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby dave_f » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:33 pm

thanks for the reply not homework, i'm afraid.. i'm primarily a graphic designer and bass player, not a recording engineer, which is why i'm asking for advice here. the bass is going in to Logic direct, so it's not a problem - but capturing the percussion is. there is unfortunately nowhere else i can record, so that is not an option.
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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby zenguitar » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:22 am

In all honesty is there no way you can rig up a temporary duvet or 3? And if you really can't (which I doubt because you can drape or zip tie them to a mic boom stand) is there absolutely no way you can find somewhere more suitable to record, especially as budget isn't a huge concern so even a donation for renting a suitable space for a few hours isn't out of the question?

I'm sorry Dave, but it looks like you are eliminating all the sensible, practical, and affordable options before you even start and then looking for a technical solution to a non-problem.

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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby dave_f » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:51 am

Thanks for your reply. Well, the initial idea was that i record a live bass and percussion jam and film it at the same time - hence the 'no alterations to the room' rule.. but it's sounding like it's not going to be possible to capture any kind of useable sound this way without a bit of compromise.
So what's the absolute minimum duvet drapeage I can get away with? Let's say I can get a boom stand up in front of the bongos with a duvet draped on it, do you think I can get away with just one duvet and not much else? The bongos will most likely be played on a big sofa or on big cushions, so the back will not be so much of an issue. This way I may still be able to shoot video footage from a different angle at the same time without the duvet getting in the way of the shot.
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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby Dave B » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:40 am

Would it not be easier to hire a rehearsal room to do it in? You'll get a better sound and quite a few places have 'show room' type places which are posher than a typical room.
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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby Skerrick » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:42 am

man - who is implying these apartment related restrictions on you if you dont mind me asking? your missus or your mum? it sounds like you wouldnt have the problem if you were allowed to hang doonas up in your apartment..
honestly man if it was MY apartment, id tell my spouse/parent that their hindrance of my desire to make music was unbecoming and uncouth and just do it anyway. in fact, ive done that many times before hahah
and yeah the way you phrased it sounds like you wrote out a homework task and wanted help haha (im not saying thats whats happened, its just funny, when i was reading it i thought the exact same thing as old mate!)
eff the haters man, just make the music
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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby Richard Graham » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:15 am

Try recording them in the bog... if you haven't already.
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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby BJG145 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:42 am

dave_f wrote:The rooms in the apartment have dreadful acoustics, everything is boomy and there's echoes and reverberations bouncing around all over the place...the initial idea was that I record a live bass and percussion jam and film it.

Are you going to be filming all round the apartment, or just a fixed angle...? In which case you could still treat the rest of the room. If you need to treat a wall that's in the line of sight, maybe you could just hang a drape over it or something...?

If you DI the bass, can they use headphones or in-ear monitors...?
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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:41 am

dave_f wrote:I am not allowed to mess up the apartment in any way - no duvets on walls etc. I need to find a mic which captures as much of the instruments, and as little of everything else as humanly possible.

The only way to deal with bad acoustics is to sort out the bad acoustics! That's it. Full stop.

You can minimise how much of the bad acoustic you capture by placing the microphone as close as possible to the source, so that the direct sound is significantly louder than the room sound... but some room sound will always remain. You will also have the potential problem that close miking impacts on the captured sonic character of the source.

In otherwords, the result will always be a compromise. Whether or not the compromise is acceptable is something only you can decide.

However, if the room acoustics are poor, it's not that difficult to make significant improvemetns by the TEMPORARY installation of acoustic absorbers. Duvets are a very cheap, convenient and simple resource, and it's very easy to hand them TEMPORARILY from large mic stands, close-drying frames, or even a few bits of timber nailed together and propped against a wall.

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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby Exalted Wombat » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:15 pm

dave_f wrote:Well, the initial idea was that i record a live bass and percussion jam and film it at the same time - hence the 'no alterations to the room' rule.. but it's sounding like it's not going to be possible to capture any kind of useable sound this way without a bit of compromise.
Why won't people ask the WHOLE question at the outset? :-)

It sounds like, if you use this room, you're going to be turd-polishing. Is this what anyone really wants? Don't try to rescue a bad recording - go somewhere where you can make a good one. Or track it first, film them miming to playback. This is how every other pop video is made.
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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby JPHogg » Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:40 pm

Why not video a take with the room as is and then put up your duvets etc and overdub. Thast way yhou can have the best of both worlds. OIr even better just overdub somewhere else more suitable.

Another option would be to disguise the acoustic treatment. Make up panels and then cover with material in keeping with the decor of the room.
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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby Skerrick » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:30 pm

if the room is really that bad, and you end up going ahead with the recording, youre gonna end up regretting it and having to do another take elsewhere anyway. you should just find a suitable environment, especially if theres no deadline involved, why rush it?
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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby Stuarto » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:28 am

To answer your original question, I use a Neumann KMS 105 vocal mic (cost about 400 pounds) to record percussion in a less than perfect room, as it has extremely good off-angle rejection characteristics and therefore removes as much of the room sound as possible. I get a very dry, clean, detailed, albeit lifeless recording, which I can then liven up a bit with reverb etc. Obviously the mic has to be pointing right at the instrument for this to work properly.

If you don't want to spend that much money, Rode do some similar condenser/capacitor mics designed for live vocal use that you may want to check out.
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Re: Recording in untreated boomy nasty room

Postby KuRu » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:08 pm

isnt there a VST for bad acoustics? yeh i think theres one called fix le mix vst only joking, yeh rent a ghood quality rehearsal space and save yourself heaps of messing about
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