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Treating a basically featureless drum recording room / stereo mixing room

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Treating a basically featureless drum recording room / stereo mixing room

Postby kurama3114 » Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:20 pm

Hello, I am looking for advice as to how to treat a L (18', 6") W (11', 2") H (8', 8") drum recording / stereo mixing room. One long wall has windows and a door, and the opposite wall has french doors. Other than that, it is just a rectangular room with drywall walls/ceiling, and a concrete floor. I am PLANNING on building absorptive clouds to suspend from the ceiling, and having acoustic drapes hung on both long walls. The floor will have a rug with padding. One short wall will have the mixing station (I mix with KRK Rokit 5 G4's), and the opposite wall has the drum set.

I am not sure how to treat the 2 short walls, or what kind of bass traps to use in the corners. If anyone has suggestions or changes to my current plans, please let me know. Thanks!
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Re: Treating a basically featureless drum recording room / stereo mixing room

Postby Funkyflash5 » Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:17 am

I've found that making sure no 2 opposing surfaces visible from the drum area are untreated is a good place to start, as well as using sufficient bass trapping to tame the lows. If one area of wall is untreated, try to make sure the one directly across is, or flutter echo is likely. And I am unaware of anyone who wishes they had used less bass traps.
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Re: Treating a basically featureless drum recording room / stereo mixing room

Postby kurama3114 » Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:28 am

Funkyflash5 wrote:I've found that making sure no 2 opposing surfaces visible from the drum area are untreated is a good place to start, as well as using sufficient bass trapping to tame the lows. If one area of wall is untreated, try to make sure the one directly across is, or flutter echo is likely. And I am unaware of anyone who wishes they had used less bass traps.

OK, I see. I am planning on treating all 6 surfaces, but I don't know if I should do absorption on both small walls, or diffusion on one side and absorption on the other, or something else? Also, do you recommend "super chunk" bass traps, or "tube traps" for my case?
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Re: Treating a basically featureless drum recording room / stereo mixing room

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:23 am

+1 to the above but try to aim for symmetry around the mixing position. start with mirror points, use movable panels if they are at the windows or doors. Build the biggest bass traps you can fit in.
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Re: Treating a basically featureless drum recording room / stereo mixing room

Postby blinddrew » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:25 am

And remember ceiling corners are good for bass traps, not just vertical corners.
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Re: Treating a basically featureless drum recording room / stereo mixing room

Postby John Pinchin » Sun Sep 06, 2020 2:05 pm

blinddrew wrote:And remember ceiling corners are good for bass traps, not just vertical corners.
Good tip - you can a fair amount of extra absorption without reducing the size of the room.

Might be worth running some scans to see if you have any standout issues in the room and then add traps in the corners with a few mountable aborsbers, watch for the reflection points and you can get a room pretty useable fairly quickly (and cheaply if you don't mind a bit of diy).
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Re: Treating a basically featureless drum recording room / stereo mixing room

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Sep 06, 2020 3:04 pm

kurama3114 wrote:OK, I see. I am planning on treating all 6 surfaces, but I don't know if I should do absorption on both small walls, or diffusion on one side and absorption on the other, or something else? Also, do you recommend "super chunk" bass traps, or "tube traps" for my case?

The floor can only be treated for relatively high frequencies, even which underlay is only going to achieve about 10mm so I'd just stick with a normal carpet or laminate and make sure you have ceiling clouds over the kit, at the mirror points above the mix area and anywhere else you'll be either making noise or listening to noise. Super chunks are pretty effective, easy enough to DIY and use floor space efficiently, tube traps are tuned so you need to know which frequencies, they take up floor space and are more difficult to DIY.

In a small room I'd go for absorption over diffusion, effective diffusers take up more space than absorbers and you'll still need a fair few of the latter, I have 5 off 4'x2', 2 x 3'x2' in addition to three bass traps, 2 x 6'x1.5' super chunks and one 5'x3' (which also absorb mid and high frequencies). I'm planning to add another three 4'x2' panels and three smaller ones in my 4 x4 m room but no diffusers.
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Re: Treating a basically featureless drum recording room / stereo mixing room

Postby DanDan » Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:06 pm

IMO the acoustics best suited to Mixing are pretty much the opposite to what drums like.
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Re: Treating a basically featureless drum recording room / stereo mixing room

Postby Watchmaker » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:42 pm

DanDan wrote:IMO the acoustics best suited to Mixing are pretty much the opposite to what drums like.

This has bedeviled me for years!

I'm working through a very similar situation but my room is shaped like a cross inside of a square. I'm loosely following the live-end:dead-end approach but the practicality of that is limited. I did my mix position first focused on "mirror points" and desk reflections. I put a 14" deep bass trap all along the wall behind my desk and, when I'm mixing, I have a couple of moving blankets strung up on rope and pulleys which I lower to dampen some of the live room behind me, but that dimension of the space behind me is pretty deep (24') and I have some small diffusion on the far wall. It sounds better than any other set up I've had and is constantly improving :-)

The "live room" half of the room is significantly more challenging to my brain largely because, it seems to me, that there's far more energy bouncing around during recording than there is during mixdown which makes it all go cattywampus. Plus, as I'm sure you know, mics hear the room in ways our human ears are designed to filter out. I haven't fully digested the literature on acoustics despite a fair bit of reading and will probably consult with someone about what ambience is achievable. I don't have high hopes for a killer reverb time in my space but I don't really want it to be dead either. Right now it's a bit too much high end energy and flubby in the lows, but better than it was before I started. Acoustic treatment is an ongoing process, and I do a few pieces here and there as circumstances allow.

Let's see...building absorbers that can be set into windows is a two for one thing you can do. Build a few gobos. I'm trying to design flexible, unobtrusive things that can be configured in a variety of ways as drums aren't the only thing being recorded. Hell of a problem! :) I build my broadband absorbers using Owens Corning 703, not sure what the British equivalent is. Build a simple frame, insert fiberglass batten, cover with pretty fabric, hang n suitable location. Everything I read* suggests 25% coverage but don't quote me on that. Opinions diverge. (*not literally)

+1 for bass traps, I built a couple 4' x 2' x 8" with 1lb/sq. ft. mass loaded vinyl hung in front of the fiberglass which seem to work a treat so I'll build a few more modified for tricky locations and using the ceiling corners to preserve floor space. Ceiling cloud broad band absorber are next but all my ceiling space is sloped and I just don't feel like dealing with it atm.

fwiw...every trap, absorber and diffuser I eventually built has come from this forum. I highly recommend you search the forum (sometime googling what your looking for and include "SOS" in the search is faster). There are some killer threads where people have shared their studio builds and I'm too lazy at the moment to find the links. Some very ingenious people here.
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Re: Treating a basically featureless drum recording room / stereo mixing room

Postby kurama3114 » Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:45 am

Watchmaker wrote:
DanDan wrote:IMO the acoustics best suited to Mixing are pretty much the opposite to what drums like.

This has bedeviled me for years!

I'm working through a very similar situation but my room is shaped like a cross inside of a square. I'm loosely following the live-end:dead-end approach but the practicality of that is limited. I did my mix position first focused on "mirror points" and desk reflections. I put a 14" deep bass trap all along the wall behind my desk and, when I'm mixing, I have a couple of moving blankets strung up on rope and pulleys which I lower to dampen some of the live room behind me, but that dimension of the space behind me is pretty deep (24') and I have some small diffusion on the far wall. It sounds better than any other set up I've had and is constantly improving :-)

The "live room" half of the room is significantly more challenging to my brain largely because, it seems to me, that there's far more energy bouncing around during recording than there is during mixdown which makes it all go cattywampus. Plus, as I'm sure you know, mics hear the room in ways our human ears are designed to filter out. I haven't fully digested the literature on acoustics despite a fair bit of reading and will probably consult with someone about what ambience is achievable. I don't have high hopes for a killer reverb time in my space but I don't really want it to be dead either. Right now it's a bit too much high end energy and flubby in the lows, but better than it was before I started. Acoustic treatment is an ongoing process, and I do a few pieces here and there as circumstances allow.

Let's see...building absorbers that can be set into windows is a two for one thing you can do. Build a few gobos. I'm trying to design flexible, unobtrusive things that can be configured in a variety of ways as drums aren't the only thing being recorded. Hell of a problem! :) I build my broadband absorbers using Owens Corning 703, not sure what the British equivalent is. Build a simple frame, insert fiberglass batten, cover with pretty fabric, hang n suitable location. Everything I read* suggests 25% coverage but don't quote me on that. Opinions diverge. (*not literally)

+1 for bass traps, I built a couple 4' x 2' x 8" with 1lb/sq. ft. mass loaded vinyl hung in front of the fiberglass which seem to work a treat so I'll build a few more modified for tricky locations and using the ceiling corners to preserve floor space. Ceiling cloud broad band absorber are next but all my ceiling space is sloped and I just don't feel like dealing with it atm.

fwiw...every trap, absorber and diffuser I eventually built has come from this forum. I highly recommend you search the forum (sometime googling what your looking for and include "SOS" in the search is faster). There are some killer threads where people have shared their studio builds and I'm too lazy at the moment to find the links. Some very ingenious people here.

Thank you for your input! I think I will build some diffusers and absorbers, and create mounts on each wall so I can switch the position if I want. Like you said, I'll probably have the diffusers by the drums for a more live sound, and maybe change the position when I am mixing.
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Re: Treating a basically featureless drum recording room / stereo mixing room

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:15 am

DanDan wrote:IMO the acoustics best suited to Mixing are pretty much the opposite to what drums like.

That's true if the room is large enough but they are probably not going to sound great in an untreated living room type space like the one OP is working with.
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Re: Treating a basically featureless drum recording room / stereo mixing room

Postby CS70 » Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:32 am

kurama3114 wrote:Hello, I am looking for advice as to how to treat a L (18', 6") W (11', 2") H (8', 8") drum recording / stereo mixing room. One long wall has windows and a door, and the opposite wall has french doors. Other than that, it is just a rectangular room with drywall walls/ceiling, and a concrete floor. I am PLANNING on building absorptive clouds to suspend from the ceiling, and having acoustic drapes hung on both long walls. The floor will have a rug with padding. One short wall will have the mixing station (I mix with KRK Rokit 5 G4's), and the opposite wall has the drum set.

I am not sure how to treat the 2 short walls, or what kind of bass traps to use in the corners. If anyone has suggestions or changes to my current plans, please let me know. Thanks!

Something slightly different than you may think of is the actual position of the kit in the room.. especially the snare. Move it around until you like the sound. Once you fix the snare, and you decide the kit layout, you find the rotation angle where best to put the rest.. it's tempting to start with the sound of the kick but I think the best information come from the toms, especially the smaller ones have more high freqs to judge.

An acoustic kick imho doesn't really need much bass trapping.. but it never harms, and if the toms go very "boing" it can be definitely a good thing!

In general terms you want a degree of reflections, but is important to get the resulting filtering sounds right. Flutter echoes are bad, so a ceiling cloud, possibly move-able, is definitely the way to go. I would actually do that first. A couple broadband absorbers on the sides of the kit and on the wall behind the drummer can help controlling reflections in a medium size room, the only way imho to find the placement is empirically, positioning, recording and listening. Same with carpet under the kit, it reduces vertical bouncing echoes (plus the kit doesn't move around :)).

The advantage of a fixed installation is that you can take your time to find a good position (even for the room mic) and then mark it down and then setup is very easy.
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