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Recording space: Being lucky doesn't rule out stress
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Mike Harrison
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 03 Nov 2007
Posts: 1803
Location: Equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia, along the NJ Shore

PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 3:51 pm    Post subject: Recording space: Being lucky doesn't rule out stress Reply with quote

Before moving into my current digs seven years ago, my "booth" was a small walk-in closet that I lined with Auralex foam. Obviously far from soundproof, it worked well enough for the most part.

However, the closets in my current rented condo are not deep enough, making them unusable. The condo is in an area that is, overall, much quieter than my previous location, so I was very lucky to get a surprisingly good sound in my living room without being inside a total enclosure.

I bought two of these Clearsonic S52D acoustic panels (shown with the optional height extenders I also have) and placed them next to each other to form a partial enclosure. On the one large, empty living room wall, I suspended two four-foot sections of heavy theatrical drape using the aluminum pipes used for that purpose in hotels and exhibition halls. Two other four-foot sections of drape are suspended (doubled over) as the "door" to my faux-booth.

My Sennheiser 416, with its wonderful rear rejection, is mounted on a mic stand and boom protruding from between the two Clearsonic panels.

All of this provides a very good (excellent, I dare say) acoustical space which is nowhere near totally dead, but has just enough "liveness" which becomes apparent only if I raise my voice to a hype level or step back a bit from the mic.

All that being said, I'm lucky to have a space that sounds as good as it does. HOWEVER, there is plenty of stress that comes with playing Russian Roulette when booking live, supervised (ISDN or Source Connect) sessions because I have no way of knowing when the village landscapers will come by, or when one or more single-prop planes will ever-so-lazily take off from and land at the nearby municipal airport, or when joint military base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst will decide to do munitions testing.

But even beyond that, as refreshingly quiet as this place is 95% of the time, two other things can ruin recordings: anything heavier than a light rain on the roof of this single-story structure, and anything more than a slight breeze rustling the grove of trees about 20 yards from my windows. Naturally, the frequency range of the rain on the roof and the wind through the trees falls conveniently into the middle of the vocal range so, thus, my problem.

Lucky as I've been (I can easily wait for wind/rain to pass when doing unsupervised recordings, but I can't try to reschedule a live session at the last minute because of rain or wind), it's time for a booth. But I know I can't expect complete soundproofing, so all I want is to be sure a booth will eliminate the wind and rain noise and maybe that of the small planes. I know I'll never be able to eliminate any of the other things I've mentioned.

Without having yet done any testing, I'm fairly certain (at least, hopeful) a single-wall booth will be enough to suppress the wind and rain noise. But, while I do more research, if anyone having more acoustical experience than I cares to chime in, I'd sure appreciate any input at all.

Many thanks!
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Mike
Male Voice Over Talent
The first step, they say, is admitting it: I am an O.A.V. And proud of it.



Last edited by Mike Harrison on Thu May 25, 2017 3:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Rob Ellis
M&M


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2385
Location: Detroit

PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had my double-walled Whisper Room since 2008, and through dozens of live sessions on phone patch, Source Connect or IPDTL I have never had any kind of noise intrusion issue. People bash booths but for sound isolation mine is indispensable.
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JasonSound



Joined: 28 Sep 2016
Posts: 16
Location: Atlanta, GA

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Contrary to popular belief, the Sennheiser 416 rear rejection is not as good as a cardiod mic. The hypercardiod design makes for better side rejection, but adds an open pickup area at the rear of the mic. So it acts more like a figure 8 with a deflated rear end. If there is nothing between the back of your 416 and the offending noise source, you may want to experiment with different mics or treatments before going down the booth route.

That being said, an isolated space would give you more confidence in live sessions. In lieu of treating a large room, a portable booth is a viable solution. My 4x6 single wall Whisper Room does that for me. It is not the be-all end-all solution but with the proper interior treatment, it is a very good option. Personally, I would have loved a larger room with thicker walls, but size and weight restrictions in my current studio made that impossible.
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Jason Shablik
jasonsound.com
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ballenberg
Lucky 700


Joined: 10 Nov 2004
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Location: United States

PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, Jason, how have you treated your booth...and would you have done anything differently?
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VoxVirtus



Joined: 16 May 2017
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 9:24 pm    Post subject: How much Whisper Room tweaking? Reply with quote

Rob Ellis wrote:
I have had my double-walled Whisper Room since 2008, and through dozens of live sessions on phone patch, Source Connect or IPDTL I have never had any kind of noise intrusion issue. People bash booths but for sound isolation mine is indispensable.


Isolation aside, since 2008 have you been pretty much good-to-go with your Whisper Room's acoustics, or has that required ever more tweaking?
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Mike Harrison
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 03 Nov 2007
Posts: 1803
Location: Equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia, along the NJ Shore

PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JasonSound wrote:
Contrary to popular belief, the Sennheiser 416 rear rejection is not as good as a cardioid mic. The hypercardioid design makes for better side rejection, but adds an open pickup area at the rear of the mic. So it acts more like a figure 8 with a deflated rear end. If there is nothing between the back of your 416 and the offending noise source, you may want to experiment with different mics or treatments before going down the booth route.

Thanks, Jason. I realize the difference in rear rejection between the 416 and a cardioid mic. In my setup, however, the two Clearsonic panels come together behind the 416, so the rear rejection really is fine for my needs. I should've clarified my mentioning the 416's rear rejection by saying that it helps reduce any slapback of my voice off of any untreated flat surface in the room. My problem is that the sounds that do get picked up (planes, wind, rain, etc.) do so because they are simply loud enough to be heard quite clearly in the entire room and be picked up as ambience.

I'm now the owner of a Neumann TLM103, as well, and I'll be testing that today. But, as I said above, that won't help reduce the sound of elements that are just too loud to be rejected.

Now I'm just trying to decide whether I'll need a double-walled Whisper Room or if a single-walled unit will suffice.
Thanks again!
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Mike
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The first step, they say, is admitting it: I am an O.A.V. And proud of it.

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Rob Ellis
M&M


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2385
Location: Detroit

PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Isolation aside, since 2008 have you been pretty much good-to-go with your Whisper Room's acoustics, or has that required ever more tweaking?


As far as dealing with acoustics and reflections, no, I had to spend several hundred dollars and plenty of teeth gnashing and hair pulling to get the acoustics right.

But for isolation, the Whispy Room has been pretty solid since I bought it.
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VoxVirtus



Joined: 16 May 2017
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 1:36 pm    Post subject: Trapped in the basstrap Reply with quote

Rob Ellis wrote:
Quote:
Isolation aside, since 2008 have you been pretty much good-to-go with your Whisper Room's acoustics, or has that required ever more tweaking?


As far as dealing with acoustics and reflections, no, I had to spend several hundred dollars and plenty of teeth gnashing and hair pulling to get the acoustics right.

But for isolation, the Whispy Room has been pretty solid since I bought it.


Thanks for letting me know! Has the endless tuning been spurred mostly by what each new Mic exhibits in solitary confinement, or has it just been that tricky to get it tuned regardless? My experience isn't in a booth, but rather my small SUV. I have $$$ of basstrapping foam packed in there, and it's still incredibly hard to dry it up and reduce the reverb. Then again, I'm on the CAD e100s which may just be too muddy for my voice. Funny how the technical torture keeps one coming back for more... time spent eating foam than recording Shocked
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JasonSound



Joined: 28 Sep 2016
Posts: 16
Location: Atlanta, GA

PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I realize the difference in rear rejection between the 416 and a cardioid mic. In my setup, however, the two Clearsonic panels come together behind the 416, so the rear rejection really is fine for my needs. I should've clarified my mentioning the 416's rear rejection by saying that it helps reduce any slapback of my voice off of any untreated flat surface in the room. My problem is that the sounds that do get picked up (planes, wind, rain, etc.) do so because they are simply loud enough to be heard quite clearly in the entire room and be picked up as ambience.


Got it. For some reason, I thought you had the panel split on either side of the mic.

Quote:

Now I'm just trying to decide whether I'll need a double-walled Whisper Room or if a single-walled unit will suffice.


If you can handle the extra cost and weight, double wall would be the way to go. My second floor setup didn't allow for a heavier booth. So I couldn't even entertain the thought. Single wall may not cut out all sharp, really loud, or low end sounds, but can be pretty effective for mostly "quiet" everyday noises.

Quote:
So, Jason, how have you treated your booth...and would you have done anything differently?


I built panels for the side walls that are angled in the closer you get to the front window. Like this: |\_/| with the underscore being the window, the straight lines being the walls, and the hashes are the panels (fabric covered wood frames with 2" OC703 insulation ceiling to 1' above the floor). I also floated a panel overhead for the first 4/5th of the room with 2" of Owen Corning 703 and 2" air space. The back corners have 1' wide corner traps the full height of the booth. About 18 sq/ft of Aurelex foam on the remaining walls leaving some reflective surfaces. And a foam LENRD behind the mic stand... mostly as an experiment. Not sure it makes a difference.

I am relatively pleased with this treatment. It helps the two problem areas in these booths, 1) short reflections/boxy feel and 2 ) bass buildup. Future adjustments might be beefing up the back corner traps with more insulation. And isolating the booth from the rest of the studio floor. Right now, the whole structure sits on the wood floor where a slight air gap might help.
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Jason Shablik
jasonsound.com
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Rob Ellis
M&M


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2385
Location: Detroit

PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

I'm now the owner of a Neumann TLM103, as well, and I'll be testing that today. But, as I said above, that won't help reduce the sound of elements that are just too loud to be rejected.


I recently added a 103 back into the locker...at times I prefer it to my U87ai.
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Rob Ellis
M&M


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2385
Location: Detroit

PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Thanks for letting me know! Has the endless tuning been spurred mostly by what each new Mic exhibits in solitary confinement, or has it just been that tricky to get it tuned regardless? My experience isn't in a booth, but rather my small SUV


Can't help much with soundtreating an SUV, but for a booth my advice is skip the foam, and go straight to OC 703/705 or Rockwool acoustic panels.
ATS Acoustics is a great source for this kind of thing.
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Mike Harrison
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 03 Nov 2007
Posts: 1803
Location: Equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia, along the NJ Shore

PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When the time comes, I'd like to order my Whisper Room without any Auralex foam; first because I have plenty of it (including four Lenrd Bass Traps) from my previous location; and second because I'd like to have a bit of a nostalgic look by alternating some of these (the #58780 shown on the lower-right) with the foam squares.
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Mike
Male Voice Over Talent
The first step, they say, is admitting it: I am an O.A.V. And proud of it.

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Mike Harrison
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 03 Nov 2007
Posts: 1803
Location: Equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia, along the NJ Shore

PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those who have a Whisper Room -- or any other brand of isolation booth; even if you built it yourself -- please share with me the inside dimensions, and whether you are just as comfortable standing as you are sitting. Of course, you are more than welcome to share any other details about your booth, but the inside dimensions are most important to me right now.

Many thanks!
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Mike
Male Voice Over Talent
The first step, they say, is admitting it: I am an O.A.V. And proud of it.

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Lee Gordon
A Zillion


Joined: 25 Jul 2008
Posts: 6471
Location: West Hartford, CT

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The inner dimensions of my home built booth are 39" x 42" and I'm sure I'd be more comfortable sitting, but there is no room for both a chair and me to occupy the space at the tame time, so I stand.
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NorthEndVoice
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Joined: 24 Jul 2005
Posts: 148
Location: Virginia/North Carolina/Florida

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
please share with me the inside dimensions, and whether you are just as comfortable standing as you are sitting.


Standing in a smaller space to work (i.e. Whisper Room where the height is less than 7ft) could also be an issue due to the low frequency issues. Even in a room that's been "treated". You're closer to the ceiling. If you've installed a cloud, you're really close. I recall George W covering this somewhere if I'm not mistaken.
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