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Studio Sound Treatment

Discussion in 'Acoustics (Live Room, ISO Booths)' started by Doublehelix, Sep 4, 2002.

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  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2001
    Got the SPL meter today, and will be working on it (Radio Shack analog meter 33-2050). I assume that I am going to set it on "C weighting" rather than "A weighting" based on the user's manual description...

    I am also going to "draw" a basic schematic of my room and post a picture or 2 to give you guys an idea of what we are dealing with here...

    Thanks for all the advice...
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    DH,
    I'll keep an eye on th' 'puter so I can reply asap. Anticipatorily Yours Fats! :D
     
  3. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2002
    Yeah James, "C" is the ticket. Actually, for the levels best suited for mixing (85) "B" weighting is a little better, but you have to spend about $1500 or so to find a meter that even has that (at least, I've not seen any cheaper yet)

    Soooo, "C" weighting, fast response (usually) 85 dB with peaks to about 90, meter sort of under your chin (closest to your ears that you can actually read)

    Since the electret in the RS meter is omni, I've found that it doesn't make a noticeable difference which way it's pointing, so you can hold it right in front of your face with the meter readable;

    Does your RTA have the capability of outputting a sine wave at selectable frequencies, or just pink noise? Just curious...

    Also, can you describe the important details (same as asked for studio) regarding your home stereo (placement, speaker type/size, room size, wall/ceiling/floor treatments, heavy or light furniture, etc? This will help in determining which environment is causing which problems.

    Also, you mentioned the same problems with listening on a CD Walkman - bass boost on, any tone control, what?

    Maybe when you get a chance, if you could list ALL the characteristics of EACH environment, AND the tests (in detail)you ran in each, in one post it would make it easier to hone in on things... Steve
     
  4. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2001
    OK guys, one step at a time...

    Here is a link to a web page that I just put up with a couple of pictures of the studio foam treatment. I have also posted a really basic schematic of the room layout, furniture, etc.

    http://home.insightbb.com/~helixstudios/

    Go to the "Studio Photos" page.

    This will at least give you a better idea of the studio layout. I will post another message later with the results of the latest RTA run, and the subjective results of listening at 85 dB to reference CDs. Also, I will post all of my listening environments...
     
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    DH,
    You're not going to like this. Your set up is nowhere near symmetrical. That closet to the left is a major problem. The wall to the right presents problems also. I would place the console where the bookshelf at the right is and shoot the room lengthwise. The staircase at the rear is a built in diffuser of sorts. Use it to your advantage. Where is the other 1/3 of the bass traps? You should also treat the ceiling and the walls at the side. I don't see any way around that. I am positive that you have some major bass null modes going on after seeing the picks and the diagram. Another approach would be to leave the set up as it is and continue the boundary started by the closet to the left and build a wall. This would give you an 11' X12" control room. You could use the rest of the room as a tracking room. Closet could act as an iso booth for an amp ....... Fats
     
  6. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2002
    James, is that floorplan on your site the way things are now? I thought you had relocated the mix position to the end where the bookshelf is located.

    If that layout is current, you're not gonna like what I have to say...

    First, the uneven RTA response is a given with that layout - the left side (as you're facing the speakers) is a perfect absorber, at least until you get the reflections back from the stairwell end of the room, while the right side is an untreated wall, complete with bass buildup. Also, rear reflections will be coming back 'way too soon for clarity. Looks like about 13 feet round trip from your head, off the rear wall, and back to your head - this is just over HALF the minimum for early reflections off the back wall NOT to cause serious comb filtering and confusing of the stereo image. (You need at least 22 ms, or about 25 feet, head-to-back wall-to head round trip.)

    Seeing this diagram, if it were me arranging things this is what I would do:

    1. Put the mix desk where the "bookshelf" is, to the right of the current mix desk position, same distance from walls, centered on the 11' wall.

    2. Since the CLOSET doesn't appear to be expendable, I would find a PAIR of TALL diffusors (or book cases with books) and place them "catty corner" in the corner made by the right hand wall of the closet, so that they are 45 degrees to the wall. On the non-closet side, place the other unit symmetrically, just as if there were a closet on that wall also. This is not ideal, but at least it would make things symmetrical.

    3. Put the keyboard station to the right of the mix desk, where the couch is now.

    4. Put the couch against the wall by the stairwell, since it looks too long to fit across the room where the closet is.

    5. Move the desk to where the keyboard station now is. this will help balance the room on that side. Remember there will now be a 45 degree "diffusor" toward the mix area from the desk - see # 2 - remember, the goal here is symmetry - if you draw a horizontal line down the center of the long way of the room, there should be equal or similar entities across from each other down the length of that line.

    6. Just in case you're not already there, here's the "I hate you Steve" part - Put just the bass traps in the corners (after taking down all your painstakingly placed other foam) and do the CD/SPL/RTA testing. Add sparingly until you get CD's/mixes to translate. Quit.

    I know you didn't want to hear all that (I wouldn't either) but I know of no way to get a non-symmetrical space to sound right, period. That "Near Black Hole" area to the left of your current mix position will NEVER be fixable. (Unless you have a jackhammer, and wouldn't miss that wall on the right...)

    If by some chance it was I who was responsible for the need for symmetry not being stressed enough, I am deeply sorry - I thought I had made it plain.

    Don't hate me 'cause I'm right (arguable, as always), hate me 'cause it's YOU that's doing all the work instead o me...Empathetically, Steve
     
  7. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2001
    Well guys...thanks for your help, but after reading your posts, I have decided to quit recording and go to work at McDonald's..."Would you like to 'Super Size' that meal?" :)

    I realize that your advice is right, and I actually did have the desk on the short wall for a while, and moved it back...

    The part that really bothers me is the part where Steve said:

    You are right, that was the "I hate you Steve part"!!! :)

    Thanks guys for the advice...I should be posting back in a week or so...
     
  8. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2002
    James, Fats and I have been almost totally on the same page here, I doubt that he realized what was going on before you posted the pix and plan either.

    LEDE rooms are kind of older vogue, but still work. What I saw in your pix wasn't LEDE yet, although it could get there EXCEPT for that big black hole on the left...

    From what I saw of the walls (where the pennant is hanging) you don't have enough absorption far enough back on the 11 foot wall to catch early reflections from the speakers off the side wall, even if there WAS a corresponding wall on the other side. I think that may be where most of the exaggerated brightness is coming from. The lack of bass is probably because the rest of the room, including the ell where the vocal booth is, is acting as a large trap for everything from bottom to top frequencies.

    The only other way I could think of that might help your setup without moving nearly everything, is if you were to build an extension of the short wall of the closet; looking at the drawing on your site, it would need to go from the bottom right corner of the closet, across the room toward the keyboard station, to a point at least 3-4 feet behind your head when seated at the mix position. this would restore some symmetry, and allow you to finish checking out responses.

    I would use this second approach only if you're tired, desperate, and can't stand the thought of moving all that foam - oh, wait, that's what you basically just said - OK, sleep on this for a day or two, re-read and re-draw things as I suggested, and re-evaluate - consider that without a symmetrical soundfield, you will either need to buy a copy of Don Quixote (read the "tilting at windmills" part) or give up.

    Sooo, the least you need to do is build a 5 or 6 foot long wall (my second choice - yeah, I know, it ain't me having to do this) or redo things the long way as I suggested (best bet)

    If it'll help you keep from getting too discouraged, my own studio is in piles in the middle of a floor I don't even want to keep, with about $8k left to spend just on gear, not counting building a real space, before it can even bleat pathetically - what little writing I've been able to do is with a workstation and cans, with guitars going either thru built-in acoustic pickups or thru an RP-2000 or Bass Pod Pro. Sometimes I look at my mics and try to remember what they're for... Steve
     
  9. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2001
    I have resigned myself to moving back to the short wall in the room, it is not as convenient as I would like it, I prefer the ergonomics the way it is now, but as you guys have pointed out on numerous occasions, ergonomics and acoustics have nothing to do with each other, in fact, they are more often than not mutually exclusice.

    Moving the furniture around is not that big of a deal...a few hours. I have a dedicated 20 amp filtered circuit (4-outlet) behind the mixing desk now, that means 4 extension cords to the new location...yuck! Plus, the removing and regluing of all the foam...I learned a lot from the first application, so it will look lots better the second time around!

    On top of all this, I have been wanting to build a new mixing desk anyway, maybe this is the time to do that while I am at it...lots to do...so little money/time...
     
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    With what your talking about the time involved, you could build a wall across that open stretch from the closet corner to what is currently your rear wall. Install a door, vola! a control room! Added benifit? An isolated tracking room. You will have to diffuse the beans out of the rear wall but that's the only drawback. A few 2 X 4's and some sheetrock or chipboard and your set...Fats
     
  11. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2002
    James, I think you're making the only practical decision you can under the circumstances. Did you follow the part about placement of diffusors/bookshelves in front of and across from the closet? I wasn't sure how clear I made that part. If you want, let me know what formats you can deal with for drawings and I'll try to get you a clearer picture.

    I definitely know the feeling on your comment, "lots to do...so little money/time..." One of my favorites goes,"Life is the $*^t that happens to you while you're busy making plans". Same idea...

    BTW, I'm still waiting on info about your home stereo - one other possibility that occurred to me is that maybe the lack of a sub is causing you to overcompensate really low bass, which shows up on phones or large speakers. The pre-treatment room may have boosted these freqs enough to keep you from overdoing them. Sometimes two wrongs come closer to making a right, than one right and one wrong can do... Steve
     
  12. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2002
    Fats, I was apparently in the middle of my post when you added yours - The only reason I didn't mention that idea (other than the partial wall), is that (for me, anyway) my current room is 11-1/2 by 21, and I've worked in a bedroom that's about 10 by 11 - the larger of the two is marginal for me, especially with more than two people in the room. The smaller room didn't work ergonomically at all, but wasn't too bad acoustically (bookshelves floor to ceiling across the rear) If the open vocal thing is working, I'd be really hesitant to suggest to James that he chop up the area that much.

    James, don't listen to him - he's EVIL - EVIL, I tell ya...:=)

    Seriously, that IS another option, but before I built a wall I'd hang a curtain there, and see how many times you had to brush against it or push it aside while you're working.

    I personally (as do most people) prefer a larger volume room, the sound just isn't so pinched.

    Still, except for modes at 140 and 280, an 11x12x8 room doesn't look too bad on the spreadsheet -

    More later, just had a thought I need to check out... Steve

    OK, I'm back - James, you said in a previous post, "They are sitting on monitor pedestals 44" high. " This, when referring to your 2020's -

    Now, will you take a tape measure to your room and measure the distance from floor to center of woofer, and likewise the ceiling? I'll bet you're within about 2" or less of dead center top-to-bottom. If so, try raising or lowering (whichever is easier, probably raising) your speakers by about 8-10 inches and listening again. (use some encyclopedias, or something equally solid)

    I'm thinking that at least part of your bass-shyness is that your woofers are in a bass node vertically. This would also make the response off at all other harmonics of the height of the room, some hot, some cold.

    Check it out, I hope I'm right... Steve
     
  13. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2001
    Fats...building the wall is such a permanent solution, that I would reall rather not do that unless I was left w/o any other choice, although you are right in that it would be nice for other reasons. I am concerned about the distance behind my head that Knightfly mentioned, but like you said, diffusion would probably help there...

    Whoa! Getting philosophical now!!! :) I think I understand your comments about the bookcases in the corners, "kitty cornered" by the closet, and then a matching angle on the long wall...

    Fats...your suggestion about putting in a wall is not a bad idea to consider for someday, but I still think the desk in the other orientation will be better suffice...for either situation (wall or no wall).

    I talked to my wife about the move already tonight, and she says she'll help me with some of the furniture after the kids go to bed if she's not too tired...

    <sigh> I was so excited there for a while thinking that I was making progress, and I guess I was, just *slowly*! :) I should have drawn out the room for you guys earlier, that would have saved us all alot of headaches...

    Anyway, I really appreciate you guys sticking with me on this for so long...you guys really rock!
     
  14. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2002
    James, back up a notch - you were posting the same time I was, see whatcha think... Steve
     
  15. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Yeah I know it's a small space but it is the only way I see of getting some true symmetry. You would need to diffuse and absorb the beans out of it but as I said, I don't see anything else that can work, unless you can demolish that closet. I would be careful about knocking out walls in the basement however. Just be sure they are not load bearing...."Evil" Fats
     
  16. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2002
    Hey, Fats, just kidding about the whole "EVIL" thang, kinda bit me in the ass, 'cause now I gotta find a personal descriptor, and I can't spel Die-Uh-Ball-Ickul... (Not that James'd defend either one of us right now...)

    Sooo, didja look at the purty pitchers and see what I meant about the vertical node? Sure looks like 44" pedestals and 8" woofs get pretty close to the center of an 8' dimension... DiaBolical (dB fer short...)
     
  17. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2002
    James, a little light reading while you rest up for moving day...

    http://www.customaudio.freeserve.co.uk/techfrmset.htm

    Sure, these guys are wanting to sell you stuff, but there is an excellent basic education here, specifically the first few pages as relates to your situation... Steve
     
  18. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2001
    OK...yeah I was posting at the same time you were Steve, and never would've seen that post if you hadn't warned me...well...maybe I should have said "told me", or "alerted me"...nah..."warned me" works just fine!!! hehe :)

    OK, the speaker pedestals...I'm not sure where the hell I got the 44" height pedestal figure (???) :D I think I am really being forced to concentrate on mixes now, and listen critically to all that is happening, so this room acoustic issue has ultimately been a good thing. I think it is easy to get into a rut and keep doing the same thing over and over and you end up in this endless pattern of "sameness". I have really been inspired to do some of my most creative work on this project...adding guitar and keyboard parts...I added a whole bridge to one song, vocals and all! (We will need to re-record the vocals to match the voice of their lead vocalist, but the song just rocks!!!) They have given me complete free reign over this project...engineering and production (someone else will master).

    I was having some computer problems earlier, but those seem to have been resolved, and I just got a couple of new mics (Rode NT5's - matched pair)...all is great in Helix land! I'd rather be working on music right now than rooms, but I understand the need, and can see the benefit. This is something I have been putting off for a very long time. Things are really on a roll right now muscially, and I am anxious to take advantage of the high tide while it is here! Hopefully we'll get the room resolved this week, and I can get back to focussing on the music!

    Thanks again guys!

    (I'll post another drawing of the new plan for the room later today to get your opinions.)
     
  19. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2001
    Steve, that was a *great* link by the way...I added it to my favorites and browsed it for a long time. I plan on taking some more time later for some more light reading! Lots of great info! Thanks!
     
  20. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2002
    James, no prob on the link, I had forgotten (a) how germaine it was to your project, and (2) where I had filed it (doh!)

    Been looking (spelled D-R-O-O-L-I-N-G) at those Rode matched pairs myself - got a pair of Oktavas (not the matched pair) but want something a little better for O-heads/AcGtr, etc, can't beat the price, really good reviews, etc...

    On the speakers, unfortunately (what's new) down is the direction they may need to go. You are still awfully close to dead center vertically. If we were closer, you could just send me the pedestals and I'd cut and re-weld them, no biggie. (They ARE steel, right?) If you raise the speakers, they would have to go a LOT higher, and then most likely be aimed DOWN so that the baffle board just above the woof is perpendicular to a line from that point to your ears. Slanting nearfields is kind of a two-edged sword - having them high and slanted down can improve on early reflections off the mixer/desk surface, but figuring out ways of mounting them without having to use a cleat in front (bad for diffraction, you want nothing sticking out further than the baffle) can be fun.

    What you need for speaker height is to be as far away from nodes as possible. IF you take the 90.5" distance from floor to ceiling and divide it by 2, 3, 4, 5, and possibly 6, and place the woofers as far away from any of those heights as possible, you should have no nodal problems vertically. This means, for example, that 45.25" is an absolute NO-NO, and they should be at least 8" AWAY from that dimension if possible. If your pedestals are steel, I would check around a couple of welding/metal fab shops to see what they would charge to shorten them. Measure your setup to see if you could get away with lowering the center of the woof to about 37" - that should get them away from ANY detrimental nodes.

    BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING DRASTIC LIKE CUTTING YOUR PEDESTALS, I would get everything else in place and experiment with other ways of lowering the speakers, such as HUGE stacks of books, something as solid as possible so the speakers can't rock due to woofer movement (causes phasing between woof and tweet) and find a height that works well. THEN, and only then, would I have the pedestals modified to that height...

    Keep in mind this universally accepted and very useful trick during all this - ANY surface that is within 10-11 feet of your head that you could place a mirror flat against and see either speaker in the mirror when your head is in mix position, needs to be absorbed or diffused. This includes floors AND ceilings, as well as console surfaces, sides of CRT's, ANYTHING.

    As far as the multi-purpose thing, I would suggest separate areas within the room as much as possible. Since your wife needs access to desk/bookshelves and the kids need access to the Game Center/couch, and YOU need symmetry with diffusion at the rear, from what I can see here's a tentative plan -

    Put her two bookcases against the stairwell, rotating her desk if necessary - that way, she could just swivel around in her chair to reach anything on at least one shelf - even the farthest one would be closer to her than it is now. This has the added benefit of giving you some diffusion on that wall. It has another added benefit of allowing her to gaze lovingly at your back while you craft yet another reason for Chris Lord Alge to slit his wrists in envy... :=)

    Put the couch and game center in the area at the foot of the stairs, AWAY from your recording stuff. Your mix area should be gently (but firmly) off limits unless your kids are old enough to be using it. (At which point I would recommend you move while they're at school, and leave no forwarding address) (Just kidding)

    Rotate your mix desk, speakers, and rack 90 degrees clockwise, making SURE that the speakers are NOT at horizontal points that are evenly divided by 3, along the end wall. (Since that wall is 132", having the speakers within about 8" of a point 44" from each side wall would be REALLY BAD. Place them either 36" from side walls or 52", but NOT in between those distances. Height requirements still same as above.

    Move the keyboard station to the right side of the mix desk, where you can just rotate in your chair and play a key part. If you have some smaller speakers you may want a stereo pair over the keys for reference, in case you do real-time panning for effect while you play a part, or??

    Having only your comments and the pix, that would be my recommendation. It should keep everything handy for your wife, the kids out of your studio area, the acoustics taken into consideration, and a reasonably ergonomic composition area for you.

    James, did I understand you to say that EACH outlet in a 4-plex is on a SEPARATE breaker? Is each circuit on the same PHASE of your panel? I run ALL the electronics in my studio off ONE 20 amp circuit thru a large (1400 VA) UPS (winters here are quite breezy, to understate it)and have never had more than about 10 amp draw with everything on (real amps, not labels added up)sooo, unless I'm missing something you should only have to extend ONE outlet if you have power strips behind your gear...

    In my studio (when it actually WAS one) I had kind of a "jet cockpit" approach which worked well for "one man banding" - I could sit in the chair and just rotate to play electronic drumkit, use mixer, play keys, or grab a guitar and have a floor box (RP-10, RP-2000) right under foot. Naturally, the mix desk took priority - I'm designing a new, more ergonomic, and larger (4 x 8)desk that will house 4 19" flat panel displays, 3 nearfields (all equidistant from my head on curved bridge), and two 20" slope front, tilt-out racks under the sides(custom built by me) - talk about hair-tearing decisions...

    Gotta go for now, I hope some of my ramblings can be helpful instead of just causing you more work... Steve
     
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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