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More room sound needed

Discussion in 'Room Acoustics / Isolation / Treatment' started by snyderman, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. snyderman

    snyderman Active Member

    I spent last summer working on a basement studio (installing a new ceiling of layers of think drywall on hat channel, making bass traps, and other treatment.) The space is now a quiet place to practice and record but it is too dead for my liking. As a cellist, I love playing and recording in concert halls :) I realize that it is a very small space (24'x17' w 7' ceilings - the short ceiling probably the worst for room sound?) but I would like to add some 'room sound' back if possible.

    I built a 4'x4' diffuser, totally unscientifically, random depths, but it seems to have added a bit of life to the space. I am thinking of making more of these and maybe having the back wall mostly covered by diffuser. I realize that there is a way to test the room and design diffusion tuned to the space but that is beyond my ability. Does anyone with more experience think that more of my randomly designed boxes would yield more liveliness to the sound of the room?

    back wall.png

    front wall.png

    side wall.png

    side wall 2.png
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    something appeared to be failing with your images. It is now resolved . I had to reload your images to fix this.
    Please feel welcome to edit your thread and add the names of the sections as you had them before. .
  3. pcrecord

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

    Usually diffusion makes audio scattered in different directions instead of being absorbed or reflected directly.
    It's the best choice for someone wanting to keep pingpong delay or a ringing room Under control without dampening the room or affect the frequency response too much
  4. snyderman

    snyderman Active Member

    Thanks pcrecord,
    From the research I've done, it seems like some complicated analysis can go into the design of a diffuser. I made mine with no room analysis, just making random channel depths. I think the one I made has made a difference in the room sound and thought I'd make more but was wondering if I'm going about it in the best way or if I should be following some design plans...
  5. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    The first thing that caught my eye was the floor rug.

    If you want to liven up the room a little, roll up the rug...will definitely liven the room up a little IMO.
    Brien Holcombe likes this.
  6. snyderman

    snyderman Active Member

    Absolutely! It brightens the sound but I'm wondering if I can use diffusion to make the room, mostly the ceiling height, seem bigger. Taking up the rug makes the room brighter but not that much larger sounding...if that makes any sense
  7. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I get what you mean...I'm no acoustics expert but I haven't heard of how you could achieve this.

    If you are recording into a DAW you may be able to achieve a larger room sound using impulse responses.
  8. pcrecord

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

    I doubt there is anything you can do to make your room sound like a bigger room. Unless we change the laws of physics ;)
    Most of us (with small rooms) are trying to reduce our room sound and add an artificial one at mix time.
    When I want a closer to reality reverb, I use Altiverb which uses room modeling but any reverb can do the job if set properly.
    What I often do is use a mic up close to the instrument and a room mic. This room mic can point away from the instrument and it will grab more of the room.
    If the room mic isn't reverbee enough, I'll add reverb on it and rarely on the close mic. Then blend the two. This can also be done with two room mics

    In any case, if your natural room reverb isn't compatible with the added reverb you can have phasing issues that will affect the frequency response of the combined signals.
    This is why so many of us who can't afford or access a big room will work with a room with less reverb to be able to add some later. It makes the room dull to play in but better to record.

    In the end, If the natural reverb of your room sounds good, don't do anything to it that can jeoperdise it. If not perfect, better keep it good than make it bad ...
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    well, you could always introduce live/reflective materials back into the room - hardwood, vinyl flooring... doesn't even have to be permanent.

    But in your situation, with "imperfect" treatment methods in place, you may be better off using a good digital reverb to add "liveness" to your tracks...

    What is your main mic for recording?
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    A few months ago I was asked to help the wife of a friend who was forced to be housebound during her recovery from a medical condition. She was a professional violinist, and was used to practicing for her concerts in a room in her local church, simply for the reason that she believed that the reverberant acoustic there assisted in her learning new works. Unfortunately, none of the rooms in her house had anything like the same sort of acoustic, with the consequence that she felt her practice was not achieving as much as it should.

    On my visit, I took along an M88 dynamic microphone, a pre-amp, a Lexicon effects box, a small power amp and a pair of speakers, and set them up in her living room. I positioned the mic as though she was playing the violin through a PA, but ignored the dry sound and had the wet sound coming out of the speakers in stereo. It didn't take long to find a reverb (small hall) that she found a completely acceptable replacement for playing in the church room. The only problem was the microphone on a fixed stand, and the sound varied significantly as she moved around when playing.

    On my return visit, I brought my DPA4099V microphone, which attaches to the fiddle body, and that was an instant winner. Unfortunately, I could not leave the DPA with her (I use it frequently), but she was prepared to spend the not insignificant money to buy one. She is still happily playing at home until her recovery is sufficiently advanced that she can return to the draughty church room. Maybe she never will return there, but I do need my Lexicon and amplifiers back.
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I have the DPA4099G . Really like it. You've given me a new way to use it! Thanks for sharing that Bos, great story too.

    Can he not kill (treat) the ceiling height with mass amount of absorption "in his ceiling". Then repeat Bos's approach to emulate a high ceiling with the effect processor.
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Bos, have you ever tried blending this approach into a recording? I suppose its similar to using a staircases or block bathroom. Very clever approach indeed.
  13. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Yes, I have tried it, usually with poor results. There seems to be a big difference in exactly how the ear listens to live sound versus recorded sound, and, although artificial reverb can work reasonably well for live applications, picking up "second-hand" reverb via a microphone does not come over well in a recording.

    The one exception to this that I remember is when I had a group in who wanted to put down a 1950's tribute track. In that case, some vocal slap-back echo from a Lexicon played through a loudspeaker in the same acoustic space as the singer had exactly the right low-fi character to it, where adding the Lexicon output directly to the track sounded clinical and didn't fit with the vintage nature of the pastiche.
    The DPA4099 is a great little microphone. I bought mine with the violin mount (hence 4099V), but have since acquired the guitar mount (makes a 4099G). I keep an eye out for other mounts coming up second-hand that might be useful in the studio. About the only gripe I have is the connector into the impedance converter is very flimsy considering that its main usage is going to be on stage rather than in the more controlled operations of a studio.
  14. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Diffusion aside from being complicated to predict, and requiring a big area to be effective, isn't about making things sound 'big' it's about making things sound 'smooth'.

    There's a fair amount of hard reflective drywall in the space already, so adding more shellac'd panels to the wall probably wouldn't change the perceived liveness of the room a whole lot. Drywall is fairly reflective itself, so it would take a few coats of shellac to exceed the amount of reflections you already have on a wood surface. I know Avatar/the power station, ended up with 7 coats. Applied one by one until the room sounded right to their ears.

    If I'm not mistaken it's the early reflections that classical musicians are used to feeling, rather than the overall ambience of the hall, in general , right?

    Technically much of the recfletios in that room would be considered early, but perhaps a couple of baffles made of plywood that you could move a few feet around you could help simulate some of the interaction with reflections your used to? I belive Donny alluded to this.

    Another way would be to put some mics in the adjacent room, just outside the door with the door partially open. Face the mics At The Wall, a couple inches away. When you introduce those mics to the headphone/monitor mix you'll get the sense of a larger more reverberant area. You vary the reverb tail by mic placement and how much or little the door is open. Moving the mics further away, and closing door more Increase the reverb trail. Ideally the adjacent room is an unfinished part of the basement, w the bare concrete floor.

    The mic(s) don't have to be expensive or condensers, simple sm57(s) will work well.

    This can also be done with a PA speaker in the adjacent room to bring more sound energy than the Chello would naturally.

    Either method is in essence making the other room an echo or reverb chamber. Many people don't know but the reverb / echo that the power station / avatar are famous for, doesn't come from the main room. The large main room is pretty dead, especially until you get higher up in the room and the board spacing tightens, and eventually very live at the peak 'coffin' area. The live spacious sound actually came for the most part from a jbl parked on the ground level of the 3 story stairwell, and the microphones above capturing the ambience.

    The other thing you could do is have someone come in and plaster the walls, since plaster is much harder than drywall on the surface.

    I've included a pics, one picture of an entry hall I built at a studio. It was initially going to be a lounge/cafe until one of the engineers mic'd it up, and the kit suddenly sounded HUUUUUGGGEEEEE!!! The other is an echo chamber adjacent to the main room I re built. The last pic is the lounge turned chamber w a mic in it.

    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Here's one more of the other hall w mics.

    pcrecord likes this.
  16. Brien Holcombe

    Brien Holcombe Well-Known Member

    I agree with whoever said it is a psychological effect...well if someone said it. if they didnt...let me be the first.

    If you are anywhere near the board boxes you made then you are most likely experiencing the sound as it simply moves at a different angle due to the slanted board facings.

    Diffusion is difficult to implement and anything you are experiencing right now is simply your desire.

    I will not say do not do it...I will say this.
    If you do it and it actually improves your sound then you are a genius....lol

    And there ain't nuthin wrong with that.

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