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Making the most of a small room

Discussion in 'Drums' started by Chris Perra, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    I was mucking around today playing along with a track from the Antelope Zen demo stems from Sweetwater.

    I liked the room they originally recorded in and the original drummer was amazing.

    My room is 15 by 30 but has a low ceiling about 6 ft 3 I've made my room dead as the original surfaces are Cinderblocks and concrete. As a result it can sound boxy.

    I was playing around with my Ocean Way room sim to open it up. I wanted to try and get a typical sound that you would get from tracks recorded that have a room sound in them a bit. Not too much like full on verb for the tracks but a little here and there.

    Here's a link to a folder with 4 waves that show 4 different sounds.

    One is just the raw drums no Room Sim

    One has a drum room patch at a medium distance

    One has the same medium patch with a pre delay turned up a bit so you hear the stick attack a bit better but then you can really hear the room right after.

    One is the same room but at a farther distance.
    These drums aren't mixed.

    My playing is hilarious,.. ignore it..

    Any suggestions in regards to trying to get a more open sound given the parameters I have?

    I'd like to avoid the typical way many threads gravitate to buy a million dollars worth of gear, put it in a million dollar room as for people recording drums in a small room are there because they don't have an awesome room otherwise they would haha..

  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I absolutely agree.
    If I was tracking drums I would try and fill the ceiling up with as much treatment as possible to make your ceiling disappear. Then, I suspect you've already done the obvious other ways to deal with your room to follow, but just saying.

    Being said... , some expensive things do make a difference. I'd start off with a great ADC and one really top end pre. That will at least give you the signal. If you have heard my Lavry AD10 vs FF800 A/B, I do believe a better converter to what you have will indeed produce a much more open sound. If you can't hear the difference in my AB though, then you most likely will never get the bug to upgrade there. Conversion and stellar pre's are what I know I need. Everything else can be emulated ITB, good enough.

    Hope that helps.
  3. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    I'd have to hear an example of your A/B

    To know of I can hear a difference.
    Do you have an example?
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

  5. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    That's tough test to look at. There's big differences there. In volume, in the material and it sounds like to me mic placement as well.

    From that test I like the Lavry better, sounds wider and more even. The difference in voice vs room between the 2 makes me think there's a different mic placement going on. It could just be the differences in material as well.
  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I work with a very small room because I don't have any choice.. 11x10'
    I get away with it with close mics and 1 room simulator (altiverb)
    I still use a ribbon mic as room mic.. but it's more like a mono mic that is warm and not HF agressive..
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Very true, but it was really easy for me to make the decision that a FF800 was not where I was heading, especially when it comes to acoustic reproduction.
    Both are using the same mic and the placement is close enough to hear there is a serious improvement in the imaging. Better conversion and its analog circuitry is what better conversion does for you. But, keep in mind, I was also using the pre's in both ADC here. FF800 pres are tin and small sounding in comparison the the Lavry. So this also hs to be taken into concideration here.

    Better pre's, such as the Millennia m-2b is a massive step up in imaging even more. So I ended up buying one of those in time as well. I have since sold most of my (so called expensive pre's) because great conversion and a few stellar pre's are all I need now. Everything else is a waste of money.
    I record these choirs every year. I sold 2 FF800 after I did this and since then, have put most of my interest in Pro Audio towards pre's and conversion.
  8. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    Is anybody finding that link not working? I can't log into mediafire weird.. it must be down.
  9. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    Here's the mp3's if the mediafire link doesn't work. Not diggin the phases from mp3.

    With Room Sim plain

    Clean, just the natural drums

    The room sim with pre delay

    The same room sim but set to a farther distance

    Attached Files:

  10. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    How do you think you'd go here?:eek:

    Attached Files:

    Chris Perra likes this.
  11. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    Worlds first Hip Hop Studio haha
  12. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I love the sign on the outside that reads "private booths"....
    how many would you fit in there???

    Its like a phone booth :ROFLMAO:
    Chris Perra likes this.
  13. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    About 15 years ago, our local rehearsal studio had rooms that were around 8 x 8 feet...
    the carpet on the walls for soundproofing was about a foot thick, and it had a dingy aircon that was never cleaned....that putrid dusty smell you get.
    Imagine, 2 x marshall amps with A cabs, An Ampeg bass amp with 8 x 10 cab like a fridge, a 24 track desk, a 9 piece drum kit, 4 mic stands and a bass player that had the worst smelling feet I have ever smelt in my entire life....even with shoes on.
    You'd speed it up just to get through the sets...everything at 130 BPM+ like a thrash metal band just to get outside to gasp some fresh air...all the while its 38 degrees celcius (100 degrees fahrenheit) outside.
    And to top it off it was about $45 bucks an hour.....

    Talk about suffering for your art :rolleyes:
    kmetal, audiokid and Chris Perra like this.
  14. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    That would make an interesting thread....
    'The worst rooms you have ever rehearsed / tracked / played in...'
    I'm sure there would be a few good stories to tell :D
  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Sample recording sounds okay. I hear that boxyness in the snare. I'd add some high end either with eq or mic placement/selection. Maybe a nice cut around 2-400hz.

    Given the jazzy nature of the tune, your not that far off with the drum sound. I would say move the over heads up higher but that's limited by your room. Perhaps a 'kit mic' 6-8 off the kit facing the snare and kick would give you some of that small roomy vibe.

    Also since it's such a dead room, you may be able to keep the snare and toms less muffled as long as the kit sounds good and is in tune with new heads. This can 'open up' the sound and decay of the drums, while keeping the room dead your not getting the nasty reflections which would interfere with a nice kit. You can let the drums natural overtones give you some space and decay.

    I'd also take some of the lows/mud out of the cymbals via hpf and mud cut, preferably in the way in.

    That's not a 57 on the snare is it?
  16. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    It's a 57 on the snare top and bottom if I went condenser on bottom it would open up as well.

    Everything is unmixed I could clean up and focus stuff with eq . Yeah the cymbal height thing is tough I'll try moving it up a bit might be more open in the sense of proximity effect.
    kmetal likes this.
  17. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Indeed. I was at a facility that had a French drain (drainage ditch) that flowed thru everybody's rooms on the back wall. This ditch had a broken pump, and doubled as a urinal for a lot of bands to lazy to walk to the relatively gross bathrooms. To make it worse, the facility got flooded every spring, covering the entire place with inches of water, including flooding the urinal drain. I literally bleached and power washed my equipment in my truck bed when I moved it out.

    I've got plenty more... Drug manufacturing, prostitution, stolen property storage. Now that I think of it, I've only ever had one spot that was cleAn and nice, albeit with questionable air conditioning. The things people use these spaces for.

    In fact the low quality of the general publics standards has completely re formed my business plan as a sound engineer.
    Sean G likes this.
  18. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    You know that scene in The Blues Brothers where they are playing behind chicken wire?....
    I played a gig just like that...
    but it wasn't a country & western gig, oh no...
    it was for one of the biggest outlaw motorcycle clubs in Oz...playing all the standards, Doors, Steppenwolf, Cream, Stones....
    We had to lock in and ride that bus all the way to town....if we wanted to get out with our gear...
    -And our lives :eek:

    -We must have done something right though, we had a regular monthly gig there for the next 2 years.o_O
    kmetal likes this.
  19. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    Tried the UAD Dream Verb on this version. It's really interesting how a simple room sim can make the tone of the drums seem lighter tuned a hair higher or mic placement a bit farther away and more open.

    Dream Verb version

    Ocean Way room sim

    Attached Files:

  20. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I think I like the Dream Verb version better....sounds more crisp and 'fresh' for want of a better word.

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