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Old 06-12-2012, 11:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
Groupie
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Default Recording Studio

Hey everyone! I am fairly new to this site, and I'm not very sure if what I need to know will arise from here, but I'll give it a shot! I have a pretty narrow room above my detached garage that I am willing to transform into a recording studio. What I need to know is:
- Drums
What is a basic layout in a small room for good (or great) sound recording?
What equipment do I need to use to produce the perfect sound from my drums given the space in this room?
- Recording
I have a Roland VS2400 CD Recording board. Should I consider selling this equipment (along with other unneeded sound equipment) and buy a different recording system, such as Pro Tools?
- Room
The room I have available for recording is tiny. There are three windows, carpeted walls, and double sound proof doors. Would else would I need to prevent unwanted noises during recording?

I would post pictures of this room along with details about it, but I can't seem to figure out how to do this. You can contact me by email for the pictures though if you really want to help me out! dobbymatthews@gmail.com Thanks so much for any kind of support or suggestions. Anything would help!!!
Dobalone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2012, 12:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Manchester
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1) I Dont understand what you mean by basic layout.
2) this depends what kind of recordings you want nice live sounding drums or flat tight recordings for example then you would want absorbers and deflectors
3) the advantage you have with your desk is the fact its ALL IN THE BOX.
plug straight into the desk and boom!
but you cant connect it to the pc and edit it and have all the other advantages
if you want to do that its gonna cost a lot more (Price of software/soundcard/mixing desk)
thats your choice
4) surely with the carpet walls and "double sound proof doors" it should be fairly quiet enough
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dobalone View Post
Hey everyone! I am fairly new to this site, and I'm not very sure if what I need to know will arise from here, but I'll give it a shot! I have a pretty narrow room above my detached garage that I am willing to transform into a recording studio. What I need to know is:
- Drums
What is a basic layout in a small room for good (or great) sound recording?
What equipment do I need to use to produce the perfect sound from my drums given the space in this room?
- Recording
I have a Roland VS2400 CD Recording board. Should I consider selling this equipment (along with other unneeded sound equipment) and buy a different recording system, such as Pro Tools?
- Room
The room I have available for recording is tiny. There are three windows, carpeted walls, and double sound proof doors. Would else would I need to prevent unwanted noises during recording?

I would post pictures of this room along with details about it, but I can't seem to figure out how to do this. You can contact me by email for the pictures though if you really want to help me out! dobbymatthews@gmail.com Thanks so much for any kind of support or suggestions. Anything would help!!!
I don't know if this will help, but I may be able to provide you with some general info that may help you.

- DRUMS

As far as a good room for drums is concerned, it will depend on the size of the room and how "good" it sounds. Unfortunately for you, your room is small, so the room's natural acoustics will only harm you, but sorta fortunately, your room has carpeted walls. This will give you a very dead sound when recording, which is probably preferable for you because a small room is not good for drums. Huge phase issues can occur in bare, small rooms on drums due to early reflections, even if you mike your kit well. The optimal environment would be a medium-to-large sized room with effective absorption and diffusion treatment, but that's out of the question, I'm assuming.
So, your focus should be on blocking out window sound, deadening problematic low frequencies, and brightening the room to taste, and ultimately adding any reverb/room effects after the recording process as to make it sound more natural than the room does after treatment.
I will guarantee you now, that with carpet on your walls, you will never get a good drum sound without doing it artificially and/or rigging it up, unless you're going for a dead, boxy cardboard box sound to begin with. And since it's a small room, I wouldn't recommend taking the carpet down, because that would just create more problems that you'd have to fix.

At this stage, your windows are the main thing that need treatment. They need to be covered with something that will both absorb reflections and keep out external noise. If you can't go out and buy anything, or have a limited budget, consider stacking heavy blankets in all the window bays and/or finding some way to secure them on all the windows. If you lack the blankets, you can probably find some at Goodwill, or your local equivalent thrift stores.
They only need to be stacked/secured enough so that you're ok with how much they've muted outside sound, because if you've gotten that far with blankets, then you're not going to be reflecting any frequencies from the window-panes themselves. Low frequencies will just go right through the windows, and the higher ones will be absorbed by the blankets.

Now, remember, lower frequencies won't be absorbed by either the carpet on your walls or the blankets on your windows. Lower frequencies will reflect and tend to gather in corners (and if you're near corners, your mics will pick it up, so if you have some VERY THICK, VERY DENSE, LARGE materials or objects to put in the corners, that will help. When I say thick, dense and large, I mean it. We're not talking about an army blanket here. We're talking about stacked boxes filled with dirt dense...
If you can't do much for dense absorption in the corners (commonly referred to as bass traps), then you're going to need to do a lot of post-recording EQ, and even that isn't as good as not letting all those low frequencies into the recordings in the first place, because they're just going to muddy things up and unless you're a great recording engineer, you're going to have trouble.
So try to put dense objects in the corners. If you gotta go out and shovel dirt into a bunch of boxes or whatever and stack them in the corners, do it. It will make your life easier in the long-run.

Ok, assuming you've gotten this far, and have your low frequencies under control, and all your highs are pretty much cut off due to the wall carpeting and the window treatment, you should now have a room that's pretty much all mid frequency and boxy. Not good, right? Right.
So now what you should do is a minimal, strategic placement of reflective material so that there's an even balance of lows, mids and highs in the room. We want to place something reflective on parts of the walls that will echo back to you in a positive way. When I say reflective, I don't mean aluminum foil. I mean something like plywood for the mid-highs, maybe a couple mirrors for the highs, and that's it.
If you can get your hands on a few strips of plywood that go most of the way up the wall, that will be good. And maybe a length of mirror or two so you can liven the place up while watching yourself rock out.
We could have used the windows for the mirrors, but you still needed to block sound from getting in, remember?

If you have the material, I would suggest placing the plywood strips equally spaced apart around the whole room, assuming you're in the middle with your kit, and for however many mirrors you have, equally distribute them. The key is to have them all distributed, and not together. You want to break up the reflections. If you don't have enough plywood and mirrors, find something equal to that. Objects you can place on the walls that have the same sort of physical quality if possible. You want to have SOME reflection in there (the roof is not enough), but not total reflection.

If you can achieve strategic reflective placement, while deadening the low end buildups in the corner, your room should be pretty good and, at the most, you'll just have too much mid frequency in your recordings, which you can use as a gauge for how much more you should brighten your room with reflection and/or try to take out via post-processing with EQ.

As for mic choice and placement, you need dynamic instrument mics for your close mics... the ones you have pointing directly at your skins. Most people mic each individual piece. If you're not doing that, you should be, and in with overhead mics, which will be a pair of directional condenser mics. I don't know what mics you have, so I'll just go with what you should be using, and you can let me know your actual situation.
Assuming you have dynamic microphones for each kit piece you care about, namely the kick (which would want a specialty dynamic kick mic), snare (standard SM57 is fine), and toms (57 is fine), and hats (57 works)... and you had a pair of directional condenser overhead mics for the whole kit, then you would be in business. Placement is easy, just have them about an inch away from the skin of each piece pointing midway between where you hit and the edge, and not pointing directly toward any other piece. Kick mic is something you experiment with for a while, usually going in the hole in the back skin, pointed toward where the beater hits. Overheads will catch all your cymbals and give you your overall stereo spread, and individual mics will be panned either according to how you see them while sitting on the throne, or how an "audience" would see them on the stage. Your preference, but definitely go with kick and snare panned straight up the middle.

Equipment?
If you have multiple microphones, it would probably be a good thing to invest in a mixer that allows you to plug in each of your microphones and output each of them individually into your computer's audio interface. (something you'll want to buy if your Roland can't do that).
Mainly, because you want to maintain separation between all these recorded pieces so you can effect them individually, which is usually a necessity. You may need to take out bass frequencies that bleed into your high hat microphone without taking the bass frequencies from the kick drum. Get it?
To achieve separation, you will need to record each piece separately.

I understand that you may only have a microphone or two that you're trying to use to record the drums, but if you go that route, you need to have a good sounding room, good sounding drums, and perfect mic placement of those two mics, assuming you want to use just two. That's a far harder thing to do in your situation, but it's not impossible.
If you only have two mics, or hell, even one, then you just need to treat your room as described, find the best sound to your ears, record, see what works, move the mic(s), try again, and settle on what sounds best.


As far as the CD recording board, it looks like it has everything you'd actually need for recording drums. It has plenty of XLR inputs, which would provide you with multiple mic inputs for each individual drum piece you wanted to record, all while keeping them separate, and I'm sure it would allow you to export those individual tracks to your computer to do any mixing you may want to do in software, if you so choose.
I have a similar thing, a Tascam, and although I don't use it anymore and prefer software, I can see that yours' has the advantage as far as XLR inputs, so that should work out for you in terms of whether you needed a mixer or not.
I'd say stick with your Roland for now, so you don't have to buy a mixer and a multichannel audio interface, and see what you can do with the room, drum, and mic setup and just go directly into the Roland. Then see if you can mix on the Roland, since you have it already, versus mixing on a software program. If you can't get what you need that way, then maybe look into getting a software program, but still recording on the Roland.

Anyway, I think that's all I have for now. If you have any questions, let me know.
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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@Freebase Dali

A ton of great advice there. Especially the bass trap corners, never really thought of that. Very good of you to write that all out
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