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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:29 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 10:40 am
Posts: 83
Location: Hamilton, Canada
Hi there!

I'm in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (near Toronto). Currently, I have a control room that is very small and treated as much as physically possible. (haha) I also have a rec room at the other side of my basement that I use as a "live" room, particularly because my control room is so small. It is my hope to make my "live" room a better acoustic space where I could get away with recording acoustic guitar and vocals, as getting two people, two mic stands, two chairs and an acoustic guitar in the control room gets a little cozy.

I have attached a sketchup file showing the existing layout. You can see the one end is where the drum set is set up, and the other end serves as a family rec room space. I have some flexibility in moving things around, but not that much, as you can see. I have also laid out where the electrical outlets are and the cold air returns.

Volume isn't really an issue, as I'm not looking to soundproof it... just to make it a better space for recording, but it can get fairly loud in there with the drums.

The room itself is in a basement, meaning the floor is concrete. I have vinyl roll flooring on the floor. The walls around the perimeter of the room (minus the wall with the door and the TV stand) are exterior walls, meaning that there is concrete foundation going from the floor to about five feet. The walls are 2x4 wood studs with either painted wood paneling (on the foundation walls) or drywall (the closet, and the build-out that goes around the block support pillar that contains the built-in bookcase.)

The ceiling is drywall, and being a basement, has odd shapes and stuff to allow for duct-work, plumbing, etc. I have included the shaping of the ceiling in the sketchup. One tricky consideration is that it is a low ceiling - less than 7ft high at the best of times, down to just barely over 6ft high through a slab across the middle that contains the ductwork.

In general terms, the room is 20ft x 11.5ft.

There is a doorway, but no physical door. The closet does have a bifold door.

I have built corner traps in my control room using wedges of Roxul Safe and Sound, and broadband absorbers (4" thick using 703 equivalent semi-rigid fiberglass), so I am prepared to spend the money and have the skills to build these things. It is also within my budget to buy a rug to cover part of the floor.

There are a few obvious places for corner traps (the corners on either side of the window by the futon, and the TV stand), and I figure I'll probably have to suck it up and put one in the corner beside the drums and the book-case (though I currently have a PA wedge and a small PA amp there that I'm not sure where else I'd put...). The other vertical corners are otherwise out of the question as they either have electrical outlets (shown in the sketchup), or cold air returns.

Given the height of the room, the configuration of the ceiling, placement of windows, the door, the one large (can't really be moved) book-case, etc., trapping in the horizontal plane will be difficult at best.

I do have a reasonable amount of wall space where I can put up broadband absorbers.

So, to my questions, then....

What is my best bet for making this a usable space for recording acoustic guitar and vocals (and drums) without it sounding boxy? (drums aren't really an issue, since everything except the overheads are close-miked, and my overheads actually come off sounding reasonably okay).

How much treatment do I need in a room this size?

Could I get away with two corner traps at the far end from the drums, and maybe a portable solution like moving blankets (the 7lb ones) that could be hung in the "drum end" of the room and taken down? (or is there even much point in putting corner traps all the way down there?)

Or should I skip the moving blankets altogether and make a few (how many, how big) broadband traps placed strategically throughout the room? (where?)

Thanks!
Chris

PS. I tried to attach the sketchup file, but it is too big, so I am linking it to my google drive.
http://bit.ly/2oE9bYR


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 10:40 am
Posts: 83
Location: Hamilton, Canada
Just a quick add here....

Each of the four perimeter walls are filled with Roxul mineral wool.

Clarification: None of the walls are currently concrete foundation. The three foundation walls are covered with wood panelling attached to 2x4 framing, filled with Roxul mineral wool. (Safe'n'Sound, if I recall correctly)

I've been doing a lot of reading on the forum here and the overwhelming majority of the opinions here are favouring putting absorption on the ceiling over placing an area rug. The cloud in my control room is 4" of OC703 (similar, not the actual product) glued to a half-inch sheet of plywood, wrapped in 6mil vapour barrier, and then wrapped again in porous black cloth.

The recommendations for absorption on the ceiling in a tracking room seems to be mineral wool. Is that correct? Would I just get some plywood or mdf to make a frame, load it with mineral wool, wrap it in vapour barrier to keep it together, and then wrap in porous fabric to make it look nice? And mount it flush with the ceiling as opposed to suspending it a few inches like I did with the control room cloud?

I can get away with 4" of absorption in the area over the drums, up until the lowered section of the ceiling that contains the duct-work. (Already barely over 6" high). Would adding absorption on the other side of the ceiling (the other side of the ductwork, over the futon and the TV stand) be of much purpose if I intend to record vocals and acoustic guitar on the "drum" side of the room?

Thanks!
Chris


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:02 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 10:40 am
Posts: 83
Location: Hamilton, Canada
Update....

I have purchased the material to build four absorbers for the cloud (trying to shape them around the light fixture, the book case, and the one section of the ceiling by the entranceway that is slightly lower than the rest of the ceiling.). Each absorber will be framed with sections of 5/8" MDF cut to length with 3" thickness, screwed together into a square frame. I'll add extra bracing every 18-24" as required. I'll fill them with a single layer of Roxul Safe and Sound (3"), cover them with breathable fabric, and suspend them about 2" from the ceiling. Seems a simple enough design. Hopefully I am making good choices for the purposes of acoustics.

I made a recording. I used one mic (a 3U Audio Warbler MKIV in cardiod position... no rolloff, no pad) to avoid possible phase issues. I wasn't so much worried about the performance (which will become apparent with the various little flubs in the recording... haha) as I was with capturing the sound of what I was working with. On the recording you will hear the following:

0:00-0:22 - acoustic guitar only miked from 3ft
0:23-0:42 - acoustic guitar only miked from 2ft
0:47-1:18 - acoustic guitar and vocal miked from 3ft
1:19-1:58 - acoustic guitar and vocal miked from 2ft

**the file is 2MB, so the forum won't allow me to attach it. I can be listened to here on my Google Drive.


Obviously, the one miked from 2ft sounds better, and might even be usable if i miked it from one foot or less, but my goal is to identify the weaknesses in my space, so these recordings do that - especially the ones done at 3ft.

Clearly my room has some areas that need to be improved, but quite honestly, isn't as awful as I was expecting it to be. Currently, my drum overheads sound reasonably okay, but in the beginning, I set my control room up in there and couldn't mix a thing to save my soul. The room sounded so different from one spot to the next that it was wildly unpredictable except, no matter where you were, pretty much, it was just bad. Haha. Which is why I have never recorded anything other than drums (by necessity) in there.

I'll then re-record the samples once I get the cloud(s) installed and compare the new results to the ones posted today.

I do plan on building bass traps, but don't want to waste my time or money. If I put them at the far end of the room (not really any good corners at the close end), will they really make a significant difference to the recordings I make at the close end of the room? They would be about 15' from where I would set up an instrument or a vocalist to record them.

Note: I recorded these takes with me in front of the drum kit (with the drums to my immediate right) facing the entrance doorway into the room. The mic was about about 2.5 ft into the room in front of the doorway to avoid any reflections coming directly from behind the mic. (although in cardiod, shouldn't be much of an issue anyways....)

There is a wall that I'm thinking might be a prime candidate for a first reflection panel. With the given setup, it would be about 2.5 ft away beside the mic, though the mic is ahead of most of the wall enough that there really isn't much of a reflection point.

Thanks!
Chris


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 8:12 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 10:40 am
Posts: 83
Location: Hamilton, Canada
Update:

Here is an updated recording. It follows the exact same format as the one previous, only it shows the results of some sound treatment I have added. The improvement is really very, very significant.... but I'm not "there" yet.

What I have added are:
- 1 cloud (2ft x 6ft)
- 1 cloud (3ft x 6ft)
- 1 cloud (3ft x 3ft)
**all are 3" thick Roxul Safe and Sound set in a light wood and MDF frame, wrapped in breathable fabric, and suspended about 4" from the ceiling.

I took down my four 1ft x1ft panels from a Primacoustic London kit (1.5" semi-rigid fiberglass, wrapped in burlap) and moved them to a large reflective wall area. I also had an extra 1ft x 2ft panel from my control room (3" thick semi-rigid fiberglass glued to a thin MDF sheet and wrapped in fabric) that I also mounted flush to the wall. You can see these in the one photo.

I have three remaining Primacoustic panels (1ft x 3ft), currently behind the drum kit (one directly behind, and the other two on either side, as shown in the photos).

I have room for bass traps, but only at the far end of the room, which is still about 15' away from the front of the drum kit (20' from the wall). Would this make a measurable difference?

I can make some more panels, too, of course. I was thinking, maybe putting all three Primacoustic panels behind the drums, and making two more 3" thick Roxul Safe and Sound panels that I would mount flush to the wall on either side of the drum kit, where the other two Primacoustic panels are now.

Any other recommendations?

Thanks!
Chris


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