Thread: Recording in smaller spaces

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  1. #1
    President of local Trekkie club. Ambidextrous Onanist
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    Default Recording in smaller spaces

    This is really more academic than application. I'm not addressing a specific problem at the moment. And it may be geared more towards recording guitar cabs as opposed to vocals at the moment. But comments on all of the things are welcomed (will no doubt impact me at some point).

    My impression is that a space wouldn't ever be too big for recording a guitar cab. My assumption is that you could always use portable walls and things like that to "shrink" the size of the space if you needed.But when the space is small, like 5 by 10ft or 15 by 20ft, what are the challenges I would expect to run into?
    Can they be mitigated to any degree?
    If so, is there a point where steps to mitigate issues would start to cause other problems?
    What are the inherent things I lose out on when you don't have a big space.
    It also seems like the style of music you were recording would play a role as well. Heavy distortion would generally be less affected by the room, but a deep bluesy kind of thing would benefit from the natural room reflections?

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  2. #2
    Garden variety weasel...has ripped flesh. Studied for urine test
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    You shouldn't have too many problems recording guitar amps in a small room if you're mic'ing close and the room isn't absolutely horrific acoustically. I'd recommend keeping the amp away from the walls and elevating it off the floor.
  3. #3
    Little River Band on The Run Internet Meme
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    Yeah. Get a non resonating stand or stool an get it half a meter (gaah - two feet) off the floor.
  4. #4
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    That's about it.

    And if you are somehow hearing shitty flutter echo in the mic, hang up a packing blanket.
  5. #5
    Frustrated Chick Rock singer...now doing jazz standards poorly! Drummer with a girlfriend...has home!
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    ^^This.
    In small rooms, I pretty much default to the amp getting a blanket. Make a tent with the mic inside. Amps with separate heads make this easy and you can still get at the controls.
  6. #6
    President of local Trekkie club. Ambidextrous Onanist
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    Dang... I thought there's be way more problems.

    This is the space I've been doing guitar in ... best I could get a picture of it anyway. I'm meeting with a guy on Sunday to discuss doing a 6-8 song demo. We did a quick vocal and acoustic guitar in there and it worked out pretty well. It separates the space/noise from the rest of the house pretty well. For being what it is, where it is...it's serving my need so far.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    Those rough-hewn wood boards on the walls are probably a more forgiving acoustic material than sheetrock/plaster, too.
  8. #8
    President of local Trekkie club. Ambidextrous Onanist
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    That was the hope. I needed the Sheetrock to help keep noise out, but didn't want to line the room in mattress toppers. Haha.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    Oh, is there sheetrock behind them?

    There used to be a live venue in Davis, CA, called The Palms that was in an old single-wall barn - basically 1" of ancient lumber between the audience and the great wide open. It sounded really special in there. Unfortunately they had to move several years ago. The new location is in the old Winters Opera House, which if memory serves is brick construction. Cool in its own way, but I played a show there in like 2001 and I still remember the headache I had afterwards.
  10. #10
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    For some reason I think about Blackbird.
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  11. #11
    President of local Trekkie club. Ambidextrous Onanist
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    Yeah... if I had it to do over, I'd figure out how to do just the old wood. I'd leave out the interior sheetrock. But when I started in on it, it was going to be sheetrock only ... then a spring wind storm provided me with a lot of scrap wood.

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    Generally, the most problematic part in small rooms is the low end. Whereas the high end/high mid is relatively easy to cope with using blankets, mattresses and the like, this often leads to excessive damping of those frequencies - resulting in a tubby, dead sound. The bass can be dealt with somewhat using traps and resonators, but very few people take the time and effort.


    otek
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    And money. Broad band traps aren't bad, but tuned bass traps run into time and money.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    Generally, the most problematic part in small rooms is the low end. Whereas the high end/high mid is relatively easy to cope with using blankets, mattresses and the like, this often leads to excessive damping of those frequencies - resulting in a tubby, dead sound. The bass can be dealt with somewhat using traps and resonators, but very few people take the time and effort.


    otek
    Alternately, if you're a complete moron (like I am), you'll run 300 watts of guitar amps into 3 4x12's and have them all running at once in an iso booth...and then you'll have issues with things like SHIT FALLING OFF THE WALLS.

    We were quite literally disassembling some of the diffusers because of the SPL we were pushing.

    And in all honesty, I'm sure the room was really coming into play because it was smaller. I'd rather baffle off part of a bigger room to knock down some slap or tail and not worry about how the rigs are making the room pulsate and swell and compress and do all manner of weird shit.

    This is why, in 100% honesty, I'm all amp sim in my current home studio. If a client wants to track with amps, we gotta do it off site. I really don't feel like--for 90+% of the kinds of guitar sounds I am asked to record--that I can do that justice in a smaller space without having to make so many sacrifices as to make the situation impractical, uncomfortable, or just simply unworkable.

    And as I've said a bunch of times recently...the overall quality of the current generation of amp sims is really shockingly good. If you know how to run the gear...they're not going to ruin your record.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    Dang... I thought there's be way more problems.

    This is the space I've been doing guitar in ... best I could get a picture of it anyway. I'm meeting with a guy on Sunday to discuss doing a 6-8 song demo. We did a quick vocal and acoustic guitar in there and it worked out pretty well. It separates the space/noise from the rest of the house pretty well. For being what it is, where it is...it's serving my need so far.
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    Ah man, those monkeys are gonna fuck it up!

    I have nothing else constructive add :-(
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    Is one of them covering its nose? Take a shower.
  17. #17
    Famous Celebuskank Former African Dictator
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    Is one of them covering its nose? Take a shower.
    Why...yes! Yes indeed!
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  18. #18
    Frustrated Chick Rock singer...now doing jazz standards poorly! Never made a record...music forum mod!
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    I just mixed a record with all the guitar done in the guitarist's bedroom with an Axe-FX, and I gotta admit, it doesn't suck as my previous experience with amp sims would lead me to expect. I reamped a few tracks through my Dual Rec, but most of it worked.

    That being said, if you want a unique sound, you're probably still going to have to do it the old fashioned way.

    Reno, you might want to give GIK acoustics a call.

    As otek said, the higher frequency slapback will be an issue which is easily dealt with, but deadening that will exacerbate the low and low mid range behavior which will really cause you headaches and impart an indelible small room sound to your tracks.

    Every room is its own puzzle, but GIK is quite generous with advice, and their products are well made, look good and are pretty affordable.

    I have a little dungeon which I have all but turned into an anechoic chamber. I can get good sounds in there, but there are some places where you really don't want to put a mic.
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    I always preferred recording guitar amps surrounded by absorption with an entirely artificial ambience created. The guitarist was in the control room with the monitors cranked hearing exactly what the guitar was going to sound like on the record. We found a Nady wireless sounded better than a long guitar cord.
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  20. #20
    Little River Band on The Run Internet Meme
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    Default Re: Recording in smaller spaces

    I used to have the amp head in the Womb and a long speaker cable. Sounded way better than a long guitar cable.

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