How dead do you like your studio?

doctorfish wrote on 3/14/2002, 12:29 PM
Just built a studio to use mainly for spoken word and voice over (ESL stuff)
but it seems almost unnaturally dead. Of course, I can add reverb and such
in the computer, but I was just wondering how others approach this problem.
Do you like a completely dead room for these kinds of applications?
A little ambience?



SHTUNOT wrote on 3/14/2002, 2:35 PM
It all depends on your style I guess. I've seen rooms that were carpeted from every possible point. I 've also seen rooms that have bare walls and the only soundproofing was some pillows that were nailed to each point where a walls corner met the ceiling. In terms of voiceover or even recording vocals a dead but not toooo dead of a room is for me perfect. When I solo the recorded vocal I want a clean voice print with little room ambience to work with. Of course you would only notice any of this during the sections where someone wouldspeak briefly and pause and quickly start again. My opinion would be to have a room that is comfortable for the performer to communicate his/her message and have a bit of depth in the overall sound[very little], than one of those rooms from a scifi show with the entire wall is covered with some weird looking stuff that needs ventilation BADLY and makes the performer uncomfortable so that they rush a performance. The take is the most important part...if you have to deal with some editing in VV3/SF5 later so be it.
drbam wrote on 3/14/2002, 3:03 PM
I agree with everything that SHTUNOTÊsaid, and I would add that mic and mic pre choices (and converters) are a major factor. Some mics and mic pres sound much more "open" than others and this is apparent even in a very dead space. Most voice over/spoken word studios I've seen tend to be very dead. Some V/O engineers have told me that they prefer to avoid potential ambient artifacts that might make processing and editing more challenging later on, in other words, they wanted to have as much "control" over the vocal as possible.
kkolbo wrote on 3/14/2002, 3:31 PM
For V/O spoken, I prefer a dead room. The exception is I do like a window in front of the performer to see them and the result is a little refelction but it is so close to them that you really do not hear it.

For small music groups that are close miced I prefer an almost dead room as well.

For large music groups I like a specific room for the music and I use the room sound to my advantage. That is important because the players need to hear each other and the conductor needs to control the sound. For example I am recording a 90 piece Orch next month and I am using a chapel in Seattle with an added floor to get the sound I want. The exception to that is a church/studio I like to use in Salt Lake City. There we seperate some of the horns into the loft and put percussion under a balcony for control. The room has a nice flavor to it, but it actually comes off dry. Because of the unique position of the players, they can hear each other, see each other and the conductor, but what hits the mics has great seperation.

At home here in Orlando for small budget V/O I have been known to take five couch pillows (large) and put one on a table, make three sides and a top from the rest and put the mic in it. Then the talent speaks into the box. Down and dirty and not too bad in a pinch.

Rednroll wrote on 3/14/2002, 8:45 PM
doctorfish wrote on 3/15/2002, 8:59 AM
Thanks for the replies!

Mars ambience? Wow.
Where would one obtain that?
We're beginning to record many student works
and I actually do foresee the need to have
access to things like Mars ambience.

I do have another studio question.

Our control room is small. It's just basically 4 x 8
but one of the long side comes in a little to avoid
having all parallel walls so that we actually have one end 4 feet
long and the other about 3.

This is my question. Which way would recommend
to set the monitors? I can set them across the 4 foot
end which is the back wall so that they would point out
to the door at the 3 foot end. If not, I could place them
along the non-parallel wall adjacent to the recording room.
My concern here is that the depth behind me is practically
nothing. By the time I set the computer monitor on a table and
myself in a chair, I only have about a foot behind me before
I touch the wall. Does that seem to shallow? I'd prefer this way
because then I'd be looking directly through a window into
the recording room.

All thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.

If you haven't already guessed we're situated in a one
room basement studio in which the room has been divided
into two smaller rooms.
SonyEPM wrote on 3/15/2002, 10:04 AM
This is a really good topic-

Having built three different voice booths over the years, I learned that:

High cielings are bad- the room sounded like a water tank until we dropped the cieling to 7 feet and padded it with foam.

Solid metal music stands- bad. Wood, or the cheap folding metal stands didn't produce wierd reflections like the solid stand did.

Parallel walls- avoid

Angle the glass

Can't have enough Sonex, but egg cartons are an ok low budget alternative.

Wrap the entire room in copper screen if there's RF problems.

My favorite vo mic setup was a Neumann M147 in a cage, and a $100 sony lav. Having the Sony as a backup, or even the main mic, saved me a retake many times.