How to know
How do you know if a room is good for room micing? Do you want it dead silent?
1. Go to www.hometheatershack.com and sign up at their forum. They host a piece of software called REW that you can only get to download as a forum member.
2. Install REW.
3. Get a measurement mic (you can get a Behringer ECM8000 for about $40) and an SPL meter.
4. Set up a mic at various places in the room (start, say, at mix position) and run the software. Follow the instructions carefully.
The software will basically play a test tone sweep from 20hz to 20khz, and the mic will measure what frequencies it picks up. A measurement mic is a must. You can't can't can't use any old mic. Even a U87 won't do. Different tools for different jobs.
The software will create a graph that displays what frequencies are picked up by the mic and at what amplitude they are being picked up.
In a perfect world, anywhere you do this test will reveal a flat line across the graph.
Just like microphones and speakers, rooms have a frequency response. A bad room will have a frequency response that looks like a bad speaker. It will resemble the rocky mountains or the swiss alps.
Then view your graph in what (if I remember correctly) is considered "waterfall" mode. This measures not only the amplitude and frequency, but also the decay times. If you have a nice neat waterfall all the way across, you are in good shape. If you have more fjords than the entire country of Norway, you have problems.
Chances are, your room is less than good. Nearly all rooms are. But at least you'll know exactly where the room's weaknesses are.
From there, you head over to the forum at www.johnlsayers.com and poke around. John Sayers himself frequents the forum and he builds studios into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and beyond. He's a world-class guy. There are other regulars on there who are actual physical engineers and acousticians and such. There's another regular on there named Rod Gervais. He wrote the bible on building home recording studios, called something to the effect of "Home Recording Studio - Build it Like the Pros." It's a great read, and a must-have for anyone looking to engage in such a project. He posts in that forum frequently. You will not find better help anywhere in the world or in cyberspace about studio construction, soundproofing, and acoustic treatment than there.
If it sounds good to your ears, you can make it sound good in a recording.
It also highly depends what you're recording and how. For example, when micing a piano 2m away from it the room is a very important factor, when micing a guitar cab 1ft away its not going to be that important.
Just listen to the sound of the room. If you dont like it then try somewhere else :)
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