You are here

It's the room stupid!

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

It's the room stupid!

Postby hooty2 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:11 am

Ok, it’s not of kennedy proportions but a few more dots joined up in my mind, by virtue of joining up in my practice and education.

The thought was prompted by a number of forum responses that embedded the notion of the value of attending to room treatment, if that was not part of the OP.

I just listened on the radio (for a while) to nine Lessons & Carols from Cambridge Cathedral & reflected on my own work in learning to understand mic placement in Cathedrals and other rooms I have recorded in.
(Combining that experience with mic choice is only recently starting to kick in.)

Due to a leaking roof above my modest home studio room, I got the chance to pull everything out and rethink the acoustic treatment that I had applied somewhat ad-hoc and more in hope than science.
I had a list of likely nodes affecting my room courtesy of Hugh many months ago.

I had already installed x5 huge rolls of insulation (still in wrappers) behind the breeze block towers that held the Neumann monitors aloft. X2 monitor screens are at one end of a slim table that just gives enough room to swing a mouse and hold a keyboard, with a third monitor well under the right speaker but close enough for me to make out the details of RME totalmix.

I thought the audio sounded nice and there was a stereo image, wasn’t there?

I recalled the Studio SOS articles I had read and the number of forum answers mentioning (imploring) room treatment and mirror points, and, I decided to respond to a mail shot from HOFA, and ordered x4 diffusor panels. (once again eating into my savings for another mic I ‘really needed’).

Wow!

I wondered what effect I was going to hear, would my music become heavenly & sprinkled with fairy dust and making good of my amateur plugin chains?

The result was without fanfare but essentially stunning. The stereo image was just simply there, solid with fore and aft depth too, I had been wasting the money spent on my Neumanns up to this point.

I was reminded of a pair of Ruark HiFi speakers I auditioned many moons ago. The holographic (can I say that?) presence of lee Perry in the room with me was actually disconcerting. The Ruarks seemed to be redundant as the ethereal dub circulated the room and Lee did his thing before me.

Ok…a bit of a long story, but really it’s just to say seasons greetings and thanks to all those who keep directing people like me towards what really matters…
&
Encouragement to others to take a punt on some hardware that is relatively inexpensive and could just be the thing you need.
Happy new year
hooty2
Regular
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:00 am

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:29 am

hooty2 wrote:I had been wasting the money spent on my Neumanns up to this point.

A point I make often but which frequently falls on deaf ears! ;-)

Diffusers aren't normally my first port of call in treating a room's acoustic woes, but they can be helpful in some situations including, it seems, yours!

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 21764
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:35 pm

:clap: :thumbup:

Nice one hooty!

Now you. Yes, you at the back there who thinks it's just instruments, mics and monitors that are important... Perhaps it's time to stop making excuses and to do something about "the room"!

:)

Joyeux Noel!
User avatar
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5565
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:44 pm

Having a great Christmas playing in my newly refurbed and treated room :bouncy:
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7054
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby ManFromGlass » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:15 pm

Devils advocate here - :protest: :ugeek:
If somehow reviewers could make room treatment materials sexier then that might change the conversation over pints!
It's all well and good to have great articles explaining the importance, the theories and the snake oil but when's the last time you read a review about, say, 1" rock wool that made you drool the same way new monitors or expensive mics do?

and don't worry I wouldn't dream of mentioning the sex appeal of the SOS duvet . . . . . . .
User avatar
ManFromGlass
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1470
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:00 am
Location: In the woods in Canada
 

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby CS70 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:57 am

Maybe there’s a mrket there.. uber-expensive rockwool slabs with some famous brand on the covering plastic? :-)
User avatar
CS70
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2852
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby toader » Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:49 am

I always struggled with translation until I started treating rooms. Eventually any years down the road, I built out a room for mastering to take the room further than I could with treatment alone... In my earlier years, I just never really understood or realized the importance of all of it... I could have saved myself a decade or two of frustration if I'd just worked on my monitoring/room first before everything else. Hindsight 20/20... so true.

I think absorption at first reflection points was probably the biggest "noticeable" improvement... and it's relatively easy/cheap to do. Anyway - good luck to everyone out there. I know there are tons of very creative talented people out there! Don't doubt yourself - often, it's just what you're hearing that may cause you to make the wrong decisions - if you can trust your ear, you can be a lot more creative in mixing/mastering/production... and things can be a lot more fun! With a great room and monitoring system, you may find you're actually really good at production!
User avatar
toader
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:05 am
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA
https://www.noiseradiationstudios.com

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby job » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:28 am

ManFromGlass wrote:If somehow reviewers could make room treatment materials sexier then that might change the conversation over pints!

Mine are gonna be sexy! I have red and olive green covering! Oh yeah baby! :bouncy:

...or is that garish, i'm not sure!
job
Regular
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:12 pm
 

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:43 am

ManFromGlass wrote:It's all well and good to have great articles explaining the importance, the theories and the snake oil but when's the last time you read a review about, say, 1" rock wool that made you drool the same way new monitors or expensive mics do?

You need to suppress your geeky tendencies and liberate your inner interior designer! :lol:

There are plenty of acoustic panels and diffusers that can enhance a room due to the huge variety of designs and colours available.

And if you DIY then there's a huge range of suitable fabrics available to cover the rockwool and blend in tastefully.
User avatar
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5565
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby blinddrew » Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:51 am

I suspect that a lot of people are in a similar boat to me, where the room is multi-purpose and space is limited by other furniture and amount of stuff in the room.
It's headphones for me for the foreseeable future.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5094
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:45 pm

If you can persuade the domestic powers that be that a home cinema is a good idea you're probably home and searching for a towel.......
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7054
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby ManFromGlass » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:42 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:If you can persuade the domestic powers that be that a home cinema is a good idea you're probably home and searching for a towel.......
"You're going to run wires where?" "You can't put a big speaker there, it can go under the couch" :lol: :lol: :(

I guess the speakers in the tv will have to do!
User avatar
ManFromGlass
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1470
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:00 am
Location: In the woods in Canada
 

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby ReedySteadyGo » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:56 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:I guess the speakers in the tv will have to do!

Noooo! That's a compromise too far. :x

Maybe only 5.1 at a push :(
ReedySteadyGo
Regular
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:15 pm
Location: The Cotswolds, UK

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby hooty2 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:16 am

As the OP, with initial reference to implicit /explicit advice, I will try absorption in place of the diffusion and compare.
Give it a few weeks and I may be saying"........milk with that Mr Perry?"
hooty2
Regular
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:00 am

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby Tim Gillett » Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:40 am

On room problems I just happened to be reading the owner's manual for the B &W Dm2a speakers (1973) for a customer who is seeking help to restore a pair.
In the specifications B & W provide various plots of speaker response including one test in an anechoic chamber, and the other test "on a 5 metre tower in the open". The effect of the anechoic chamber on the low frequencies is clearly visible on the chart.
The owner's manual also devotes a section to "the listening room". Impressive manual and impressive attention to detail.
Tim Gillett
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1585
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:08 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:In the specifications B & W provide various plots of speaker response including one test in an anechoic chamber, and the other test "on a 5 metre tower in the open". The effect of the anechoic chamber on the low frequencies is clearly visible on the chart.

I remember getting a fascinating guided tour of the ATC loudspeaker factory some years back, and they had a tall tower like this for test purposes.


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 12737
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:44 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:If you can persuade the domestic powers that be that a home cinema is a good idea you're probably home and searching for a towel.......
"You're going to run wires where?" "You can't put a big speaker there, it can go under the couch" :lol: :lol: :(

I guess the speakers in the tv will have to do!

And, I suppose, if you were successful you'd find her half way through watching Notting Hill for the 47th time just when you had a great song idea...........
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7054
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:25 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:On room problems I just happened to be reading the owner's manual for the B &W Dm2a speakers (1973) for a customer who is seeking help to restore a pair.
...
The owner's manual also devotes a section to "the listening room". Impressive manual and impressive attention to detail.

Off topic but I can't resist this. I bought a pair of B&W DM2a speakers back in 1973 at the tender age of 22 for £128 which was a lot of money back then (I'd just been given £2k as compensation for a bad accident). They're still in our living room performing as well as ever they did after 44 years. Fabulous, if rather large, speakers and as it turned out a wise investment. I agree about the manuals (one for each speaker) and their detailed response plots too. The plots were for the actual speakers, not general plots for the type. I still have them both.

CC
User avatar
ConcertinaChap
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5994
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 12:00 am
Location: Bradford on Avon
Making music: Eagle Alley, recording music: Mr Punch's Studio
Disclaimer: I don't claim to know anything at all.

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby ManFromGlass » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:02 pm

I totally agree that a well treated room is the holy grail.
I do have a question for those who have been mixing for many years. I am not a great mixer but can still do a good mix in a pinch. I have found that even in an untreated room with low quality monitors and headphones I can still do a good mix that I would not be embarrassed about. I'm assuming that after years of mixing there are common sense approaches to specific instruments and the way to combine them that I fall back on and this seems to work.
I am curious if others have found that in a pinch in less than ideal circumstances that they can produce a good mix in spite of not being in an optimum room. In which case I would think that a well treated room early on in ones mixing career is a great tool but not so necessary as one gets more mixes under ones belt. Or I could be delusional and people are being too polite to mention that the cowbell is not supposed to drown out the lead vocal!
User avatar
ManFromGlass
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1470
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:00 am
Location: In the woods in Canada
 

Re: It's the room stupid!

Postby hooty2 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:10 pm

A quick nod to concertina chaps off topic post:
In the same vein of company integrity and completeness:
Many years ago, B&W replaced the tweeter on my (much maligned) CDM7 hifi speakers free of charge....saying "no no no..this shouldn't happen"...the metallic flux had frozen or something (can't remember details), and this was after many years ownership....
hooty2
Regular
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:00 am

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Aural Reject, jimjazzdad