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What's a GOOD environment?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by cathode_ray, May 29, 2007.

  1. cathode_ray

    cathode_ray Active Member

    What constitutes a good sounding vocal environment? I see a lot of talk of hardwood floor, big rooms, etc. Is a vocal booth just a way to avoid a bad space? Is a dead environment really the most flttering to the singer?

    I realize "dead" with artificle reverb is easy but what's the thought on natural environment. Bruce Sweiden has some interesting things to say 'bout early reflections...
  2. Seedlings

    Seedlings Active Member

    Forgive me if this is not where you were going with your question :oops: but...

    Short-attention span answer:

    In a "good sounding" room, all frequencies will decay in the amount of time.


    Short-essay answer:
    You might want to ask this one in the Acoustics and Design forum, or do a search there. Often the RT60 number for a room is one way they measure a "good" or "bad" sounding room. RT60 has to do with the amount of time it takes a signal to decrease by 60dB - I think. (Someone might rail me for this statement speedy fast.)

    From what I understand, the proper number depends on the dimensions of your room, among other things. The smaller your room, the more difficult it is to get low frequencies to decay in the same amount of time as the mid and upper frequencies... which leads to the need for absorption. Bass absorbtion. You can easily pile up some blankets and carpet up around your room and you'll think it sounds "dead." Actually all you have done is decrease the ambient mid and high frequencies while doing nothing to the bass frequencies. It's like turning the treble down on the ambiance. Yuck. Try to fix that in your DAW :( . When you get into the Acoustics and Design forum, it won't take long to absorb enough info to help you out.

  3. cathode_ray

    cathode_ray Active Member

    My question is really vocal specific - how do others do this?
    I have a good room(so-so) about 16 X 30, lots of cushy furniture, a couple of bass traps behind the monitors(B&W602) couple of membrane absorbers in back corners. Lots of diffusers. Using test tones I smoothed the room a great deal(boy what an eye-opener). Mixes seem consistant/easier now.
    My real issue is subjective; live or dead environment. I really like natural ambience, I use very little processing on mixes(if possible... LoL). I want the end result to sound as if it's "in the room with you", not in the Grand canyon...
  4. Seedlings

    Seedlings Active Member

    Wow, C_R, I way mis-calculated what you were asking based on how many posts you've made :oops: . My bad. It sounds like you have done a great job on your room (all you can do?). If you like what you hear, you're done. What do you want to hear? I know I want to hear a $250,000+ live room ambient sound! Alas, I hear a $1000+ live room sound. So, my opinion is alternate absorption and reflection in a small(ish) room like yours. Which is exactly what you've done. Maybe putting your walls on angles to lessen standing waves would help a little. I've heard some guys like to treat the ceiling with absorption and leave the hardwood floors untreated for the spatial reference your ears need. I think this works nice for acoustic guitars. Check Ethan's post in this thread. Close-mic'ing most everything will lessen the effects of your room... but it sounds like you'd like your room to BE your effect. Best of luck!


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