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Author Topic: Acoustics for acoustics (recording)  (Read 1218 times)
mrrinse
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« on: December 09, 2005, 06:55:09 PM »

The record in a totally dry environment vs livelier room debate…

I’ve got the choice of recording in either a pretty dead room or a small (c.3m x 3m) bedroom.

Given the small size and dimensions of the bedroom, the live sound is much better there (although there’s an audiable flutter echo if, e.g. you clap your hands). But surely it’s better to record in an acoustically dry environment and reverb to taste after? [edited: i do monitor with reverb, whichever I'm doing]

That said, I’ve heard a lot of engineers place reflective surfaces around an acoustic guitarist (e.g. wooden board underneath) to liven a deadish room, particularly to encourage early reflections.

What are people’s thoughts on this? Should I go with the dead room, and place wooden boards / mirrors to encourage early reflections?

Off topic a little: in a separate location I’m having problem with background noise – e.g. traffic (it’s in a 23rd floor central London flat). On the basis that if I can hear it, the mics probably can too (a valid assumption???), this can’t be a good thing. Apart from low cut filters, any bright ideas for minimising the mic’s picking this up when tracking acoustic guitar / vocals?

Thanks,

Dan
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2005, 07:26:10 PM »

I like to record just a little wet and flat EQ.
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2005, 05:53:03 PM »

It depends on the quality of the live reflections you are getting. If the natural reverb you are getting from the recording environment are pleasing to you, then use them. If you ever want to change the amount of that reflection, you can't because it is part of the original recording. If you record dry, at least you can experiment with the amount of room reverb you add to the mix.
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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2005, 08:09:35 PM »

If you record in the live room, try to setup a non-parallel wall reflection situation- it will help with the flutter echo.

I highly suggest recording dry as possible and add reverb in later - unless you are recording in a nice big room with oodles of natural reverb (think Don Ross' Passion Sessions).

A 3m x 3m room is not going to cut it for natural acoustics.  Put mattresses in there vertically, blankets hanging around, etc.  For my room I have this setup:


That's a shot that shows 3 of the 4 walls.  On the wall on the right, you can see my anti-flutter device which is a rug stapled to a frame and hung about 3 inches away from the wall.

Then in the corner, I have a similar rug stapled to a vertical frame that has auralex type stuff on the back of the frame.  When I'm mixing, it acts somewhat like a bass trap.  When I'm recording, I pull it out into the room and record into the dead side.


Here's the back side



And here's a recording of me and my larrivee:  I took out too much of the low end when mixing, but you get the idea:

Scott and his Larry

-Scott
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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2005, 12:37:39 AM »

Wow. Great tune, Scott.  You have a great voice!  Excellent recording.  I'd bring the guitar up a bit more in the mix, but engineer I'm not, so take my advice with a grain of salt. 

David 
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mrrinse
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2005, 12:48:15 AM »

Ditto to the abovepost  - in all sentiments.

And thanks for the detailed post.

FWIW - I have a studio and always record dry there (acoustically treated room, etc). But when I'm at home, I'm rather more limited in terms of rooms / acoustics / background noise.... I should probably just conceed that any serious recording needs to be done in the studio. Frustratingly it's about 1 1/2 hours away from where I'm living....

I was also intrigued since I've heard many engineers suggesting putting wooden boards under the guitar player to encourage early reflections (rather than reverb in the lpmger sense) to give the sound some density ... allegedly harder to add subsequently (but then I read this advice in the days before convolution reverbs...).

Cheers,

Dan
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