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choosing rooms ( dead or live)

Discussion in 'Recording' started by sammyg, May 29, 2005.

  1. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    Hey All,

    im guessing that not every vocal recording on the planet was done in a completely dead room ( with reverb added later ), so, was wondering, what are the reasons for people choosing either a dead room or a more live sounding room for a particular vocal track? what makes people choose one over the other? Or, do most people take "the safer way out" and record vocals most of the time in a dead room and add reverb later?


  2. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    hmmm, no one?... no one at all?!!

    Either I asked something stupid or difficult!
  3. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    Most pros will tell you to steer clear of dead rooms. I've heard just throwing up a bunch of treatment will give you a dead room but won't give you a great sound. I've seen all kinds of recording situations though, and if you don't have the right type of alive room I would probably say go with a dead one and add your livelyness later. I've heard and seen guys record in the foyer of huge houses, living rooms, studios with 20' ceilings, bedrooms. In fact I just watched a dvd about the recording process of Dave Matthews new cd and none of the rooms had acoustic treatment, the vocal rooms look like a regular bedroom and a lot of stuff was actually recorded right on the control room.
  4. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    its not a stupid question more a simple question.

    a good reverb chamber, is extreamly expencive bolth to build tune and maintain. not to mention that in rock pop and almost any modern music benifits from the dry room and post reverb seinario.
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Dead rooms can sound crappy because there's no overtones or resonance or because of the nulls and peaks found in small areas. Most pro producers record vocals in larger live rooms when possible, unless they want the immediacy and "in your face" sound, a dry vocal imparts. It's common to place the singer(s) in a larger live room and then gobo them off to tune how much of the room is picked up.

    Very often vocal booths are built with improper dimensions, which creates very bad comb filtering anomalies ... and there are proper ratios to use when building even small booths ... check Everest and "Sepmeyer ratios". One ideal dimension for a small booth is, 5'X6'X9'.
  6. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    So Kurt would you say most vocal booths are built too small. I have an all in one recording room thats about 10x11x8 and was considering a small vocal booth around 3x4x8 should I forget about doing that?
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Man, I wouldn't want to have to be in a booth that small for very long ...

    Like I said, you need to look up "Sepmeyer Ratios". Here's a few links but there are a lot more there. The top link is to the google search for "Sepmeyer Ratios"






    The Everest book also has some other ratios developed by other acousticians but the Sepmeyer ratios are probably the most widely accepted.
  8. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    cool, thanks for the responses all,

    Kurt, I'll check out those links, thanks,

    I wish there were some vids or DVD's available of recordings im familiar with, that way I can see what was actualy done, would be great. Even a vid or dvd which had different vocal recording techniques would be cool, one that actualy shows the whole process from start to end. hmmm, might check the net later.


  9. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    There are all kinds of these things out there - not for the purpose you describe, though...but most documentaries about music and singers show LOTS of action photos ot footage of the vocal tracking...Examples include "Standing in the Shadows of MoTown," "Let It Be," "Patsy Cline Story," etc...for that matter, "Spinal Tap."

    And I think you will see that in just about 100% of them, great vocal tracks came from rooms starting at about 20x14x10...
  10. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    I've got a room that's 13 X 14 with 8 foot ceilings and wood floors that's just peachy for tracking vocals.

    For vocals I'll deaden the room just a bit with a medium sized rug on the floor and a few blankets thrown over the seating that's in the room and it's perfect. Just the right amount of ambient reflections to allow the vocals to breath.

    Vocals love wood floors.
  11. o2x

    o2x Active Member

    Don't forget that you can alter the properties of a good room by velcro-ing accoustic tiles to the walls and adding/removing bass traps etc.

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