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97: Why You Don’t Need A Huge Sounding Room For Your Home Studio

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Don't let yourself be held back by the lack of a great room!

  • Should my room be small or big, dead or live?
  • Can I use the spare bedroom I have available?
  • Do I need to rent a big, massive sounding space for my recordings?
  • How can I optimize my space and make it work, so that I can get the desired results and exactly the ambience I want?

These are questions we constantly hear from our listeners and the artists we're working with.

Yes, a great sounding room is a beautiful thing and probably a big part of the sound of your favorite records.  But what if you don't have access to that kind of space? Should you just give up? Or can you make it work and get the room sound otherwise?

And what if your space is too big and live? Can you control it? Can you still get an upfront, direct sounding recording? Do you need to build a vocal booth?

We thought about all of that and wanted to talk about what really matters when it comes to your home studio room. 

Let's discuss!

Book A Free Coaching Call With Benedikt:


This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.

Benedikt's voice on this episode has been recorded with the Antelope Axino Synergy Core.

Here's the room mode calculator we mentioned in the episode:

https://amcoustics.com/tools/amroc

Here's Jesco Lohan's podcast episode:

https://theselfrecordingband.com/49



Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB 97 - Why You Don't Need A Huge Sounding Room For Your Home Studio (automatic transcript, not reviewed for mistakes)

[00:00:00] Malcom: 90% of our listeners who are people that are musicians first and trying to get that good enough level of recording, where they can hand it off to a mixer and make it sound awesome. This is the way to go. 

[00:00:13] Benedikt: Yep. Totally. Hello, and welcome to the self recording band podcast. I am your host then at a time, and I'm here with my friend and cohost Malcolm Owen flood. How are you? Welcome. 

[00:00:37] Malcom: I'm great. How are you? 

[00:00:39] Benedikt: I'm great as well. It's this weird thing where we record two episodes in a row. I always say it and I never know what to say when we get to the second one, because we've talked about everything in 

[00:00:50] Malcom: Yeah. I feel like I usually try to think about that in advance and have something, but I didn't today I forgot. And 

[00:00:56] Benedikt: You are better at that, for sure. You always have a surprising story. When we started the second [00:01:00] episode at that, I was prepared to hear a story today, but now you haven't won, 

[00:01:04] Malcom: I'm sorry, man. I'm sorry. I already told you about getting soaked while working, um, that last week, so, or last episode. so I don't got one for you this time, but, uh, we do have a good topic, so that's exciting. But before we get into the topic, you should talk about your coaching. Cause I know you want. 

[00:01:20] Benedikt: Oh, yeah. Yeah, for sure. For sure. So I started coaching as I've talked about a couple of times now, and if you want to be part of that, if you want me to personally help you get your recordings to the next level, make that record, you've always wanted to make your own producer, um, really level up your skills and make exciting records that you'll be proud of for real. Then you can go to the self recording band.com/call and apply for a free one-on-one coaching session with me. Will that dive deep into your music? Discuss where you are right now, where you want to be within a reasonable amount of time. What the roadblocks are, what the [00:02:00] some pain points are, which problems you're encountering, what you need the most help with right now. And you'll walk away with a lot more clarity and a personalized roadmap of like steps to take. And we can talk about your current recordings. I can give you feedback, like all of that. Um, we do that. It's a full hour one-on-one coaching call. And after it will, you can walk away with whatever we did on that call, or we can figure out if it will be a good idea to continue working together, whatever it is, this call would be super well valuable for you. And if you want to do it, go to the self recording, bent.com/. Yeah. It's a lot of fun. I love the coaching really. I mean, it's like, I talk about it a lot here in Delhi. Sounds like a huge like sales pitch, but I honestly, I just enjoy talking to those people a lot and it's, I didn't expect it to be that much fun to be really honest. I always thought like I'm a mixer and I now also do coaching, which will be fun, but like my main thing is mixing, but I enjoy coaching so much. It's it's the coolest thing in the world. [00:03:00] It's like a multiplier, like I can make who records by can also help people make cool records. 

[00:03:04] Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. You're helping more people. 

[00:03:06] Benedikt: yeah, that's just, that's so awesome. That's just 

[00:03:09] Malcom: extremely awesome. I'm happy, man. And like I said, I'm jealous that you get to talk to all the people that listen to this podcast, because I'm always just talking at them, then it's kind of cool. that you get to actually hear back from them. There's like a real conversation happening. 

[00:03:21] Benedikt: Yep. A little spoiler without telling you what we are planning that might, that might change in the future. We are planning some things to maybe make it more of a conversation or to at least get to talk to you to you more often than just talking at you. But we'll let you know, as soon as we figured that out. So all right now, I actually have one thing that I should have mentioned at the beginning, but I have one thing that I didn't tell you when you said. That's going on. We are getting a little baby cat next weekend. 

[00:03:55] Malcom: Ooh. 

[00:03:56] Benedikt: Yeah. Because like one of our cats died, which was very, very sad. [00:04:00] And um, we thought, well, this was very sad. We also thought, now we have like an open spot for a new cat again, that needs help. So we adopted a new cat that doesn't have a mother that like all the, the other cats from like his, um, what do you call it with cats and English siblings? I don't know. 

[00:04:18] Malcom: litter of cats. 

[00:04:19] Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah. And they all died except for this, this 

[00:04:22] Malcom: Oh. 

[00:04:23] Benedikt: And, but he's like healthy now. They like he's recovered and he's going to make it and we adopt him and he's coming to our house next weekend. 

[00:04:31] Malcom: Amazing new kid. And 

[00:04:33] Benedikt: Yep. 

[00:04:33] Malcom: do you know how old 

[00:04:35] Benedikt: 10 weeks 

[00:04:36] Malcom: 10 weeks Wow. I'm 

[00:04:37] Benedikt: like really, really young. Usually the, he should be with his mom still, but she's not alive, so 

[00:04:41] Malcom: yeah. 

[00:04:43] Benedikt: yeah. We'll take care of him.

[00:04:44] Malcom: got a name for the little guy. Elmo love it. That's 

[00:04:49] Benedikt: Yup. 

[00:04:50] Malcom: All right. This cat or read this podcast is now a crazy cat podcast. 

[00:04:53] Benedikt: Yeah, totally. For sure. So, yeah, that's the, that's the exciting story. 

[00:04:58] So [00:05:00] yeah, 

[00:05:00] Malcom: Are you expecting to see Elmo climbing around in the background of your video cam for these podcasts in the future? 

[00:05:06] Benedikt: I will totally bring him to the podcast when he's here. Can't wait for that. All right. So let's talk about today's topic. Like you came up with this one and I really think it's a good idea. Why don't you just tell our audience what we're talking about?

[00:05:20] Malcom: All right, hold on. I'm writing down Elmo. I want to remember the cat's name. 

[00:05:25] Benedikt: That's

[00:05:26] Malcom: All right. So, uh, yes. Yeah, this was just an idea that came up this morning. Um, and it was, I mean, I'm just gonna read it verbatim, but it's would you rather your room be too dead or too live too big or too small? Um, because I think a lot of people say. That they need to have this big epic church, like structured record, and they need to have this vast area, this big stadium, if they could get into the stadium that you lived nearest and record there, that would just be exactly what you needed. And until that can happen, we're just going to do nothing.[00:06:00] so I think people like to hold themselves back and think, you know, we just don't have the right space. And it occurred to me that like, yeah, I mean, some of my favorite studios are giant huge spaces. Um, but a lot goes into those big spaces to make them work really well, in my opinion. Whereas these little rooms, depending on how small, you know, this is all in moderation, but depending on how small, let's say big enough to have a drum kit in it, the really easy to make them dead. 'cause. I mean, you don't want to live small room because it's just a bunch of fluttery echoes you clap and you'll hear what I mean. But it's really easy to make them dead. It's really easy to throw mattresses. Or if you go back to our episode with the ESCO, let's do a little finders thing in my thing here to find what episode that was. Wow. We wrote his name down more than I thought. Uh, it was possibly episode 47, but we didn't label it around there. but yes ago is [00:07:00] just a, like an industry leader with acoustic treatment and stuffing and goes over how to, you know, really well, treat your room for a really affordable amounts. Um, but even if you didn't do that and you just have blankets and mattresses and stuff, In your little room, you can make a room pretty darn dead, pretty easy. And I think there's actually some huge advantages to that route. Especially if you are an inexperienced engineer, a K a lot of our audience, you know, most of you are musicians first and are just engineering because you have to and a small bedroom actually eliminates a bunch of potential mistakes for you. 

[00:07:37] Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely. I think I totally agree with everything you said. And it's interesting because when we did our Q and a sessions, um, a couple of weeks ago, A lot of people had that as part of their question, they were mixing or recording in an ideal environment in a, like they were worried about their rooms. And, uh, so I think we have to address this and tell them exactly what you just told them that a [00:08:00] small room doesn't have to, or like a standard room size that would, that you would have in a, in a typical house. As it does not mean you can't make it work. It can absolutely work. And sometimes it's even better than the big one. Um, the, one of the advantages is, as you said, that you can make a small room that pretty easily, but it's very hard to control a really big room. A big room has other advantages, but. Basically with most rooms, if they're not built to be a recording studio, they're going to be pretty problematic and you want to probably get rid of the room as much as you can, and then add the size you need afterwards. So you can still find an exciting spot in the room. You can still experiment with whatever vibe and character makes you want to throw in there and weird spots. You can do that in every room. Um, but in general, especially with in the close mix, you want to get, you want to eliminate whatever room you're in, because if it's not built as a studio, it will probably not sound really good unless you're really lucky. So I think, and even then it will not work for every song and [00:09:00] every session. So I would try to, if you have a small room to just eliminate the early, early reflections, the flutter echo, all of that, I would try to get the frequency response as flat as possible. do a lot of, a lot of bass trapping, a lot of elimination of, of reflections around your clothes mix. And then a small room can totally work. There's even like, even in big studios, they have. Not only vocal, like small vocal booth and stuff like that, they can be problematic at times too. So I don't, I'm not a big fan of vocal boost often. It depends. But what I want it to say is they don't even have only those. They sometimes have drum booths, which are just. A little, like they are small recording rooms. Sometimes a drum kit just fits in there, but they are so super dead that you get a very controlled sound of a drum kit. There's obviously no big explosive room sound, but you have a very clean, very controlled recording of the drum kit, a very clear stereo pictures, stereo image, and you can then take those recordings and transform them to whatever you want. So sometimes even big studios don't [00:10:00] use the big live room, but they put the drum kit and a small, very controlled room 

[00:10:03] Malcom: Yeah. often. Yeah. I see that all the time. And you know, often those big studios are built pretty clever. So that little room shoots into the big room, you know, and you throw some roommates out there and you get busted like the best of both worlds and that's super rad. Um, obviously your dance space doesn't have that, but that K jam space. That's the key word. We're talking about like what size and vocal boots they're too small sometimes, you know? And they're like, okay, well, what do you guys mean? Like, you're just, you're saying the opposite things, 

[00:10:28] Benedikt: Yeah. 

[00:10:28] Malcom: the room you jam in, where you can fit a drum kit and a bunch of people, you know, you're all in there. Maybe it's tight, but you're, you've got your amps and your drummer in there. That's like, that's such a good size room that like, just by virtue of you being able to have abandoned there, it's a good room. That's that's going to work really well for what we're talking. 

[00:10:45] Benedikt: Yep. And I wouldn't rule out the option of like having the small room and big room combination that you just mentioned. I wouldn't rule that out completely because if you're lucky, like I am with my studio, like it's not a purpose-built studio thing, it's a commercial building that I [00:11:00] rented, but it was not built as a studio. My laugh room is very small and controlled and I, I told him I made it totally dead and controlled, but. I have a storage room next to it that I can, where I can just open the door to that room. And I have my controlled live room where the drum kit is. And then I have this big open live room next to this chamber, basically with high ceilings and like, yeah, this, this open thing next to it. And I can throw roommates out there and it sounds amazing. And I can blend the two to taste. So maybe you're lucky. Maybe you have a hallway maybe depends on your neighbors and how loud you can be in all that, but maybe where that you have a jam space with a hallway and you can get in there at times when nobody else is in the building or whatever. And you can just open the door and throw room mikes out in the hallway while having your close Mike's very controlled. So that could work even without a really great sounding live room. And. 

[00:11:48] Malcom: Definitely. Yeah. 

[00:11:49] Benedikt: a bathroom. I don't know. Kurt Ballou, for example, he's like a hero of mine, basically. He's one of my favorite engineers. He has a very cool a studio that was built by an, a studio designer and [00:12:00] all that. But his life room isn't super big. He could fit a band in there, but it's not like the super big explosive signing thing, but he just opens the door to the bathroom, throws roommates in there and it makes the whole thing sound so much bigger. And it's like, yeah, you can do tricks like that if you can. So, and people do that all. 

[00:12:16] Malcom: Whenever you can be creative and do it for sure. But a lot of like the core principles we teach on this podcast, like, you know, always captured. Like, there's just no reason not to that. These things are safeties. They they're they're safeties that ensure that even if you screw up the amp capture, we've still got this thing to fall back on. And that is like the argument to be made for the too small to dead room. Is that, Yeah, it's going to sound dead when you record it. It's not going to sound super inspired. Probably. You're not going to have a decay on your scenario that you're loving. But we have all these tools that we're able to add on to it. You know, we have samples, we have reverbs, we have, you know, crazy compressors and distortion plugins that can like bring out room. You didn't know [00:13:00] existed in your tracks, you know? Um, we're, we're able to. Add that life back in much easier than we are actually to remove it. If the tracks were the other way around and there's just like way too much room and it's there a crazy slap back or something like that, that stuff is really hard to get rid of. So we're kind of removing that and giving you this option of like, Hey, if you just go crazy on killing your room, you're going to have something usable. And it just becomes easier to engineer. All of a sudden you can hear what's what's happening pretty well. Um, you know, like you're, when you're listening to the tracks that you recorded, you're not going to ha you're you're, it's just going to be very accurate, you know? I think it's kind of like the simplest route to good recording.

[00:13:43] Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely. Totally, totally. I think so. I think so too. I want to share a story that that's why I said it's very top of mind to me. I said that to you Malcolm, before we started the episode, I had a call. So two days ago, I'm like GHESKIO is as Malcolm. Sand is, um, an [00:14:00] acoustic acoustician. Is that a word? Acoustic? Um, professional. Yeah, he, he designed studios all the time. He's really an expert in this field. He's also a rocket scientist, like a real one. So. 

[00:14:12] Malcom: literally a rocket scientist 

[00:14:14] Benedikt: Yeah, like aerospace engineering and rockets, whatever is something like something crazy like that. But anyway, he knows what he's talking about. He designed studios all the time and he happens to be a friend of mine and I'm in a mastermind group with him. So I get to talk to him every week. And two days ago, I talked to him outside of our mastermind because my wife and I are, or my family and I, we are planning a house right now that we're about to build eventually. And. We are in a very early stages. So we're not sure when and how and exactly and stuff like that. But we got our first plans from the architect and we are yeah, trying to figure out how we do things. And part of the building will be my studio and my studio will only be a control room. They won't be alive. But I, if I get to build a house from scratch, I figured I would do it right. And get like the dimensions of the room. Right. So that it works as a [00:15:00] control room. And I also want it to have the option to maybe do overdubs or record a fun project for myself. So I wanted to make it usable as a live room as well, but in one room, like just one good sounding, all purpose audio room, basically. So I had a talk with Nesco and he's going to help me plan the thing. And what I wanted to share is I thought when I had the first meeting with the architect who plans our house, I thought bigger is better because usually with acoustics, this is the case. You want a big room because the low frequencies will fit in. The wavelength of low frequencies will fit in. And usually the bigger, bigger rooms mean less problems and stuff. At least that was what I thought. turns out when I w like I Cal kept quote unquote calculated with my limited knowledge, I calculated what I would, what I considered ideal or a good starting point. And then I gave those numbers to Tesco and had me ask them to have a look at them. And. Well, my number is in a room mode calculator that you'll find. If you go to a M COOs sticks.com, I'm going to put the link in the show notes. It's [00:16:00] a cool little tool where you put the room dimensions in and it shows you the room modes, um, like overlaps of Ramones, like problematic frequency areas. And I won't get into the specifics now because it's pretty complicated and you don't need all need to know all of that, but he just put the numbers in there and we experiment. What I came up with, whereas this different other options and turns out that my plans were too big. So a smaller room, and it wasn't like a huge room. It was a room in a part of our house. So it's naturally like a normal room, but it was actually too big to be ideal. So we even decrease the size of it quite a bit and cut. Like we came up with the ideal dimensions and they were a lot smaller than I thought they would have to be. So now my room, it's still not a super small room, but. The dimensions that we came up with now, are I, and I'm gonna tell you them in, in meters right now, because that's what we do over here. So it's like five 5.8 times. Like the length is 5.8, [00:17:00] almost six meters. The width is four and a half meters. And the, the height is 3.25, three point 25 meters. So. It is a big room, but it's not like super huge. And also this is the outer shell, so there will be acoustic treatment inside of that. So it will become smaller. So the finished room will be like a little over five meters, maybe four meters wide and three meters. Hi. And that is like what a lot of champs spaces are like, this is not a super huge room. This is a pretty normal room. And turns out that this is a pretty ideal room. Like you can use that as a live room. You could use that as a control room. The frequency response is great. It's a great starting point for treatment. So this is a pretty standard room. And if I just increase the length of it by a meter or two things change drastically and it's so that, and they get worse. So it doesn't mean that bigger is better. It can be better, but it doesn't have to, it just means that even a small [00:18:00] room can, can sound really great if you're lucky. And, um, yeah, that was just the thing I wanted to share. And I'm super happy that even with a small room like that, I can get, I can build a really decent studio room. That's absolutely going to be professional and will work. Great.

[00:18:13] Malcom: Totally. Yeah. For our people that prefer to measure in feet, that's like roughly 20 by 15 by ten-ish. Just all that's super quick, but like in that area which is, you know, totally reasonable. It's bigger than the room I'm in right now. So just to give people even more hope I'm in a. Quite a bit smaller than that. And I make it work if you know, I think it sounds awesome in here. Stuff gets on the radio. It must be okay. 

[00:18:38] Benedikt: Yeah, Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So. There's hope. And, uh, and, and also, as you said in your outline, as you said before, and this early in this episode is treating a small room and getting rid of the room entirely is easier than doing that in a really big room. And that's ultimately what you want. And then there is the thing where you like the room doesn't [00:19:00] sound the same at every spot in the room. So even by. By just moving things around in your room, even if the room is not ideal, just moving the, the, the drum kit to a different spot in the room, moving to empty a different spot, picking the right spot to put, to set up your vocal mic makes such a huge difference. And in every room there will be some spot. That sounds okay. So even if you have a really problematic. Spot where you're recording right now. Maybe if you go to the other side of the room or just back a few feet, maybe all your problems are gone. So just walking around the room, experimenting with positions can make such a big difference that in every room there is some spot that is usable. I think. So there is hope. Definitely. 

[00:19:41] Malcom: I agree. Yeah. It's so easy to get caught up in this and be like, oh, I mean, I mean, tuning the room from mixing is just different than tune in a room to be really dead and easy to record it, you know? So, so I think people sometimes go down the wrong thing. They start building these diffusers, which are just totally unnecessary in your jam space where you're [00:20:00] going to be blasting demos out, like just not what you need. So we're trying to kind of give you. Just like a, here's a magic bullet for something that's going to work. Just kill that room. Just kill it, make it dead. 

[00:20:12] Benedikt: Yup. Yup. Exactly. Agreed 

[00:20:16] Malcom: I highly doubt you'll regret overdoing it. And you can always take some stuff down. 

[00:20:21] Benedikt: Yes. Yes, absolutely. Well, I mean, that's almost everything you can say about this, about this topic. Um, it's just make it work, get rid of it. Don't try. I think the one thing I really want to, what I want to say is that I. Maybe just, don't try to make a small room sound like a bombastic life room that you want to have on your recordings, because that likely won't work. I don't say that you shouldn't capture a room sound in a small room and you can experiment with whatever you want. But if your reference is like a really big roomy, cool sounding drum sound, and you want to have that, and you think you can get that in your small [00:21:00] jam space, no matter what you do, this will probably not sound like the room you hearing on your favorite recording. So, because I say that because sometimes people will send me recordings where they set up like four pairs of room mikes in a very problematic, very small room. And I instantly mute all four of those pairs and just throw a room sample on because this will not give me the results that they want. And, but, but somehow people think sometimes. You can, I dunno, maybe manipulate rooms in a way that they sound like this big room and there's tricks and all that, but it just usually doesn't work so long story short. If you have a small room like that, use your channels on your interface. For other things, don't use them on all sorts of different sorts of roommates. Try to get rid of the room. More than anything. Um, try to make the close smack sound as good as possible. Try to get the stereo image to be as good as possible. Get a really good clean sounding recording of the kit. And we were talking about drums most of the time here, [00:22:00] because that's the instrument where the room is the most important probably. Um, but the same is true for all the other instruments makes the direct recording, the close mic recording as good as possible. Try to keep the room out of the equation, make sure the phase relationships, the stereo image, all of that is right. Make sure the impact is right. The frequency response, the transients, all of that immediate stuff. Make sure that that is right. And only if you have channels left very about the room an only. Allow the room to be in the close mix. If it, if it really adds something really cool. If you really sure about that, because most of the time, a room that is audible in your recordings and the close max is a problem. It's very rare that it really adds something cool in a standard room. And even if it's cool there's chances are, you can add something cooler. In the mix. Um, so, so I would really worry about getting the close mix, right? And only if you have channels left experiment with everything else. And I'm saying that, although I love room mikes. So if you have channels left, by all means like experiment, throw up. We are mikes in [00:23:00] weird spots and capture as much of the room as you want, but only after the close mics have been taken care of. And if that means you have to eliminate the room entirely do it. It's totally 

[00:23:08] Malcom: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. I I've got like three things I wrote down while you were saying that, because I'm just so onboard. Yeah. but you and I, we both love room mikes, but. Professionals doing this as a career. So we're really good at them. We have the luxury of spaces where there's a room sound to be had, you know, like we're not creating something out of nothing. We're capturing something that we're lucky enough to have available. If you're in your dead jam space. It's not available, so it's okay. We're going to find another way around it, but don't, don't waste a channel on it. Totally love that. What we're doing is the 80 20 principles, which we've talked about, I think a hundred times probably, and the close mix and phase relationship and making those sound good. What is possible? You know, the things that are actually possible to do in your space. That is way more important than the other 20%, or did I get that wrong? I don't know. It doesn't matter. You know, that's what you [00:24:00] need to focus on. The other stuff is just not really relevant. So don't worry about it, hand it off to a pro. That's going to bring that other percentage in, you know, like a real mixer that's going to like hire Benny or I we're going to make it sound bombastic it'll happen. Um, and then the last thing, if you don't know, if your room can give you that sound. Higher Benny for some coaching, just give him a call and, and he'll be able to walk you through that. You know, like that's like a perfect scenario of like, I need somebody I need, one-on-one help to figure out the sound in my head done. 

[00:24:33] Benedikt: Yup, totally, exactly. I can for sure. Help you with that. And if I can't help you, I have people like ESCO that I can just ask. And then you have like, world-class experts in the field. It doesn't get any better than that. And like, I can give you their advice, so we'll figure something out. So for sure. One thing I wanted to add is maybe we should, I wanted to add something more because like, 

[00:24:53] Malcom: I've got one more after this too. We're 

[00:24:55] Benedikt: Oh, Okay. 

[00:24:55] Malcom: going. 

[00:24:56] Benedikt: ahead. Finish yours. Sorry. Finish yours first. 

[00:24:58] Malcom: You sure. Okay. All right. No, no, [00:25:00] no. I went through my three and I got another one as soon as you started talking. So this is my fourth. 

[00:25:03] Benedikt: Okay. Yeah, go ahead. Still 

[00:25:04] Malcom: Okay. So I've got one little hack that seems to never fail me on the room sound in a small room. And it is sticking in my. On the opposite side of the door to your jam space. Um, if you have a ribbon mic, it seems to really work. But if it's like just, just any mic, um, stick it, close the door and have it on the other side, uh, experiment with pointing out the door or away from it. It seems to work really well. Normally that's like six to 12 feet away. Uh, and, and the door just cuts out a ton of high end, which is really high end, which is really useful. And I've had really good luck with that. I keep suggesting it to people and it keeps with. 

[00:25:42] Benedikt: Agreed. Agreed. Totally. The tricky thing is though with things like that, I agree wholeheartedly. The only thing is if you are mixing yourself, which you can do, I mean, we've talked about that plenty in situations where you can and shouldn't do it, but if you mix yourself for whatever reason, [00:26:00] things like the. Can cause you problems or at least confuse you because this technique with the mic behind the door is super useful. If you know how to make it work in a mixed how to use it, how to put it in the mix. If you're not sure about that, you ask yourself, what do I do with this weird dull thing? I'm like, that's true. Because I had that a couple of times with people where they, they followed advice like that, which is great advice. But then they don't know what to do with that. It just sounds so different than all the other mix. And how does it blend in how to treat it? How do I manipulate it to make it work? What does it add to my mix? So these are questions that can come up. If you use a technique like that, and then you try to mix it yourself. So there's two ways around that you can either hire a mixer and they will know what to do with it, or you'll have to figure it out and experiment the bunch and maybe ask people, because this is stuff that you don't learn in a tutorial anywhere. This is. Usually at least this, this, this, uh, except for like some very specific techniques where that a lot of people use, but this is stuff that you have to get an experience and a feeling for it. You have to [00:27:00] try. And, and, um, every, every room sounds different. Every room makes sounds different, and that only comes with experience. So don't worry. It's normal that you don't know what to do with such a mic once you've recorded it. 

[00:27:12] Malcom: Yes. I agree. There you go. 

[00:27:15] Benedikt: Now, one thing I wanted to ask is also about, uh, answer, um, add, not ask, sorry. And this is also about mixing because most people who sent us questions for the Q and a, they were not necessarily talking about the recording side of things. They were talking about mixing in less than ideal environments in rooms. And I think that some of the stuff we covered today is relevant there too. So I think. If you don't have an ideal space to mix in a smaller well-treated room will be better than like a big sort of like open space in your house. So you want to, as the same principle applies, you want to eliminate first, like early reflections. You want to eliminate fluttering. You want to make the room [00:28:00] really dead? The only thing that that's the reason why I want to add this year, the only thing you need to be careful with in both recording and mixing rooms, but with mixing rooms, especially is that the frequency response of your room will like what the frequency response will look like. It looks like we'll change. How you hear a person. What comes out of your speakers. So if you add a lot of treatment to make the room dad and follow advice, but all your treatment is very thin and you only treating high-end and mid range, and you're not treating the low end. You're going to have a dead, but very doll sounding room. And you. You might be tempted to add a bunch of top, enter your mixes because your room is so dull and, or you might take out a lot of low end because your room is so there's so much rumble and low and build up in your room that you thin out your low end of the mixes. And you end up with weak sounding low end and your mixes because of that as a result. So. It's true that a dead sounding small room is better than an uncontrolled big [00:29:00] room to mix in, but you gotta be careful too. If you treat it to treat it in a way that you cover as much of the whole frequency spectrum as possible, which means based trapping and a lot of things that are not as easy as simple to do long story short, that is better than life smallest, probably better than too big. Um, in your situation, if you can make it dead, a small live room is the worst case. So. If small than dead, but make sure to, to make it so that you also absorb low-frequency CS, which means. No cheap than foam, but like thick absorbers, stuff like that. And when in doubt, just mix on headphones. That's what I ultimately wanted to say that, or at least have a good pair of headphones to compare your mixes to if you're in a situation like that. And people were wondering if mixing and mastering on headphones can be done or it can be not, cannot be done. We've answered that in the Q and a, but I think having a good pair of headphones, maybe with some calibration even is almost a must in a situation like that. 

[00:29:57] Malcom: I agree. 

[00:29:58] Benedikt: So you can get used to your speakers. You [00:30:00] can get used to your room, it can all be done, but until you're at that point where you can confidently mix in that an ideal in the less than ideal environment, you should have a pair of headphones to compare and reference. So, yeah.

[00:30:13] Malcom: Yeah. So, um, I went and looked it up it's episode 49 with Tesco Johann, Johann, from acoustic insider Lohan. 

[00:30:21] Benedikt: Lohan Lohan. Yes. 

[00:30:22] Malcom: God, I really thought I've spelled Lohan, but I thought I had to say it differently. I'm sorry. Yes, go you rock, but I can't say your name. Yes. Go Lohan from acoustic insider.com. Yeah. I can't think of that guy enough. Like my, my whole studio is based on hearing him talk and it worked just fantastically. Our episode again, episode 49 is a must. Listen, I think. Please listen to it before you start filling your rooms full of stuff, because it'll just make it so much more effective and potentially stop you from wasting a bunch of money. I just saw somebody on one of the marketplace, things groups I'm on Facebook selling like a hundred different [00:31:00] panels of that lake cheap little foam, like the, you know, spike foam. You see all over the place that stuff's terrible. You don't want to buy it. I mean, it's, it does something, but not really what you want to do at all. And I, I have some it's, it's where I can fit it in, in my vocal booth, but it's only because it's the only thing that fits here. Um, and you know, like, so people spend so much money on that stuff and it's actually making their room sound worse. So that's just what we're trying to avoid. I think people don't realize that you can do harm. Um, so listen to that episode, it will save your acoustic. 

[00:31:32] Benedikt: Yeah. So last thing I want to add, um, I keep thinking about new things, but, um, I have to say this one. What I do. This is a quick little test. You can do what I do do with, um, artists that I, that I'm coaching is. And most people that I'm working with work in less than ideal environments, they work out of their apartments or houses and they work in whatever office room they have left, or a guest bedroom or their own bedroom. And most of those rooms are really [00:32:00] problematic and a lot of people don't have any treatment in those rooms. And, um, so we try, we always try to figure out a way to optimize their monitoring situation. Sometimes this means headphones only sometimes this means we can actually do something and improve the situation, but what we always do, and I'm always like fascinated how well it works. Um, we do. I always ask them to just use a sign, wave generator, some test tone generator inside the door, and just do a very slow sign sweep through the entire spectrum from 20 Hertz to 20 kilohertz, and just listen to their speakers in their listening, such a spot, and just listen to all those different frequencies and make notes of things. They noticed that. When a certain frequency you get, it's like when they perceive a certain frequency, much quieter or louder than the other frequency is like, make a note of that. Keep continuing with the S with the sweep, make another note when something unusual comes up and usually people have like a couple of frequencies that are really loud or ringing resonant or sounding weird. And a couple of frequencies who [00:33:00] are, that are really quiet. So these are like the, the most obvious problem areas, because it should be relatively consistent throughout the spectrum. If there's other things in wealth, like oh, hearing and stuff, but it, there should be any really crazy ringing, super loud frequencies or others that disappear completely basically. And if that's the case, just make a note of that. And then they show me those results. And I take a look at the dimensions of the room, look at the results, maybe do some math. And then I come up with suggestions on how to treat their room or set up their speakers, speakers, or whatever. And sometimes just putting one really thick panel of good absorption material behind their speakers. And then maybe. A pair of bass traps or something, but sometimes even just one thick absorptive thing behind their speakers and maybe the left and right of them to get rid of the early reflections is enough. And they do that in one afternoon. They go to home Depot, whatever, buy, uh, some stuff built those panels. They are not expensive. They're easy to make and they put them up and then they do this test again. And every single [00:34:00] time, the most problematic things. Maybe gone or at least dramatically improved. So they did the same test. Again, make notes again. And the biggest problem spots are already solved after this exercise. This doesn't mean you have now professionally treated your room, but I'm saying that it's very easy, even in the small, less than idea room to improve your situation. And give you better, like more confidence while you're mixing, you still need your headphones probably to check, but it's a better environment than you have before. And it can be done in a small, less than ideal room. And yeah, that's at least a great starting point. And I see this with every single person I'm working with. Yeah, I just wanted to add that.

[00:34:37] Malcom: It's one of those things you invest in, in it now. And it pays dividends eternally after that. So like, it it'll just be so worth it. Um, you'll, you'll definitely regret not having done it sooner. I feel that. way every time I add more, I'm gonna say, Yeah, you know, I should have done that a year ago. Why not? Um, that was dumb, but yeah. So, yeah, get on it. You'll be glad you did. 

[00:34:58] Benedikt: All right. That's [00:35:00] it. As always send us, like, if you have any followup questions to that, because that's one of those episodes where like every situation is so different, that you might have questions that are only relevant for your situation or your room or your speakers or whatever, if that's the case, or if you try, if you're in the process of building something or I don't know, just send us a message or just book a call with me as I said, but you can always just send us a message you can post in the Facebook community. If you go to the self recording band.com/community. You can email us@podcastatthesurfrecordingband.com. And, um, whenever there is a pattern or like when multiple people are having the same issue, we try to create something for you or react to that, or do another episode, or maybe like, just answer your question in the Q and a or something like that. Just let us know about your situation. Maybe if you have overcome a situation like that, let us know as well, like share your success stories with us. If what we taught you today helped you share that with us, or if you came up with a cool solution. Also please share, like, we are really interested in that and we really view this whole thing as a two [00:36:00] way sort of street. And we really want to want to interact with you and hear your stories because we can all benefit from that. And I'm sure there are clever people out there who have found really cool, clever ways to solve a problem in their room. And I'd love to know 

[00:36:14] Malcom: Totally. Yeah. I mean, actually, that's really why, where our advice comes from in this case is I've had bands I've worked with that have gone and, you know, moved their selves into these giant spaces to record their song and send it to me. And then people that have just, you know, build up their jam space with stuff to make it dead. And, and I've got this here, those results or like, uh, my, my buddy Brent built a little home studio to record, uh, Brett, sorry, Yeah, build a little home studio, record his drums there, and we got to experiment and I got offer advice and he implemented it. You know, he actually took action, which is something we always talked about as being important and hearing the difference from song to song, you know, continually sending me new songs with new tweaks and I give him advice every time it. just gets better and better. So this advice of like, Hey, if you're. 90% of our [00:37:00] listeners who are people that are musicians first and trying to get that good enough level of recording, where they can hand it off to a mixer and make it sound awesome. This is the way to go. 

[00:37:10] Benedikt: Yep. Totally. All right. Thank you for listening. We can't wait to hear from you and See you next week.

[00:37:16] Malcom: Yeah. Okay. Hold on. It's episode 97 and I just did the quick math. We are like a few days away from Christmas. So this is actually our like Merry Christmas episode as 

[00:37:24] Benedikt: Oh really? Oh, we can't leave without saying Merry Christmas to y'all absolutely happy holidays.

[00:37:29] Malcom: Yes. Happy holidays. I hope it is fantastic for all of you. And I hope, uh, 20, 22 is going to be. Killer 

[00:37:36] Benedikt: Yes. Yes. 

[00:37:38] Malcom: I feel like I have to say in a good way after these last few years. 

[00:37:42] Benedikt: no more surprises, please. Like just let it be good. Uh, yeah. Yeah. Thank you. 

[00:37:49] Malcom: Yeah. But thank you for another year of listening to us, Jabra. 

[00:37:52] Benedikt: Yeah, we really appreciate you. Uh, like it doesn't matter if you're listening on, on podcasts app or watching on YouTube, or if you're a member of our [00:38:00] community or not on the Facebook community or wherever you are interacting with us, we really appreciate you. And, uh, yeah, we want to thank you for another year and we'll see you in 2022 at the latest

[00:38:12] Malcom: Yeah, no, we'll, we'll have one for, uh, the following week, the 29th, where right before new year's Eve. So you'll get this whole spiel about a happy new year. Again,

[00:38:21] Benedikt: Yeah.

[00:38:21] Malcom: get excited.

[00:38:23] Benedikt: Right. All right. Happy holidays. See you next week.

[00:38:27] Malcom: Okay. Take care. Bye.


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