#1
Alright, so I've been working on writing and recording some of my own work lately. I'm equipped with an acoustic guitar, my voice, my Macbook Pro, and Garageband. I haven't been able to scrounge up a microphone, so I've got the built-in mic on my computer to pick up the sound.

Needless to say, I've gotten some mixed results sound-wise with everything. Garageband has a lot of power built into it (compared a couple programs I've messed with in the past), so I've managed to massage some of the worse sound files into palatable parts by way of effects. I'm aware of the limits of my current "set-up" (if you want to call it that... lol), so as I'm buying electric guitars and bringing friends in to record with me, I'm looking around to upgrade and get a dedicated room to record in once I finally move into my next place.

My question is, what methods have you guys used to get good-quality recordings on a budget? Tips on sound-proofing and mixing are greatly appreciated as well!
#2
Can you define the price range you're looking at? "Budget" doesn't really help.

It's going to be very hard to sound proof a room on a low budget.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#3
Quote by MatrixClaw
Can you define the price range you're looking at? "Budget" doesn't really help.

It's going to be very hard to sound proof a room on a low budget.


Well, I'm one of those guys who's happy to go cheap with DIY stuff like soundproofing. If I can build it with recycled materials, it's even better.

But, probably nothing more than a $500-700 investment or less initially as I piecemeal a capable set-up together.
#4
I have the computer, and the software is taken care of...

But I would need to know if I can set-up a basic studio space for $700 or less. I'm looking to record electric and acoustic guitars, vocals, and possibly some electronic drums (the acoustic stuff will come later when I've got the space and cash).

I'm not highly experienced with recording hardware, but I can learn on the fly and I'm looking for a bargain on this front, if possible.
#6
Quote by CarsonStevens
...am I reading this correctly in that you're willing to soundproof a room, but not buy a microphone? Or do you plan to get a mic as part of building this "studio"?


As crazy as my price point sounds, I'm trying to assemble a work-space for as low a price as possible. Admittedly, I'm willing to flex my total up to $900-100.

Okay, I'll try my best explain what I'm looking for (so I don't appear to be a massive cheapskate... lol)
I'm a college student on a pretty tight budget, so I'm trying to look for a way to set up a workable studio area at my place. I'm not highly experienced with recording hardware, so I'm not exactly sure what the minimum, bare-bones requirements would be to have a recording station that could handle guitars (6 string and bass), vocals (I WILL be buying a nice microphone as part of the investment), and, possibly down the road, drums.

I'm looking to set up a space where I can get good quality guitar and vocal sound on the cheap. I'd like to be able to mix as well, once I learn more about it.

Any resources or suggestions you can point out?
Or even better, a "grocery list" of sorts for setting up a very basic studio?
#7
Quote by b_80_h
I'm not exactly sure what the minimum, bare-bones requirements would be to have a recording station that could handle guitars (6 string and bass), vocals (I WILL be buying a nice microphone as part of the investment), and, possibly down the road, drums.

I'm looking to set up a space where I can get good quality guitar and vocal sound on the cheap. I'd like to be able to mix as well, once I learn more about it.

Any resources or suggestions you can point out?
Or even better, a "grocery list" of sorts for setting up a very basic studio?


That's good. My suggestion was going to be to skip the soundproofing and get a mic.

Come to think of it, I'm still leaning in that direction. The other guys can help you better with that, but my uneducated opinion is that you should get an audio interface, which will handle your bass/electric guitar/vocal needs (with a mic), and might even work for the electric drums, if you get the right one. Then, you can roll from there. I record in an apartment... soundproofing hasn't been an issue for me yet.
#8
First of all, sound proofing and acoustic treatment are not the same thing. What I assume you want to do it acoustically treat your room, since sound proofing is impossible on your budget.

Most DIY methods for treating a room, that actually make a difference, aren't cheap. Egg cartons mounted all over the walls will break up reflection points, but they won't absorb frequencies to make your room have a more flat frequency response and get rid of lowend buildup. Same goes with the foam stuff from Auralex, etc.

What you want is rigid fiberglass panels and bass traps on your walls (Owens Corning 703, 705, and its equivalents). Unless you can find a local retailer, these materials are pretty expensive when you factor in the cost of shipping to your home.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#9
Soundproofing is expensive. Sure, you can DIY, but it's still expensive.

The reason is that sound-proofing is all about how the room is built, and constructing walls, floors and ceilings and decoupling them all from the existing structure is a lot of time, a lot of skill, and a lot of materials.

Sound treatment is much more affordable, especially if you DIY. It is about what you put into the room after it is built.

You cannot soundproof a room from the inside.

Sound treatment basically does two things:
-reduces reverb time and echoes (ever move into or out of a residence and notice that an empty room sounds a lot more "live" than a full one? That kind of thing....)
-evens out the frequency response of the room. Just like flat frequency response is important for speakers, it is equally important for rooms. A room with a huge dip in one place and a huge peak in another will be a living hell to try to mix in.

In a perfect world, you will do both to your room. If you had to pick one over the other, go with the sound treatment and skip the soundproofing.

I did my own DIY treatment for about $200 using a product very similar to Owens Corning 703, some 1x3" furring strips, some vapour barrier I had left over from another project, and some fabric I got on a wicked sale at a local retailer.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#11
No.

First, very few carpets meet fire-code when laid in any other orientation other than horizontal.

Second, proper broadband absorption is spaced away from the wall by about four inches.

Third, different materials have different acoustic properties. Carpet is not an equivalent material to rigid fiberglass.

http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1599&hilit=carpet

"Carpet absorbs only the higher frequencies and does nothing for the low mids and lows. Rooms covered with carpet always sound dead and boomy at the same time. You need broadband absorption that works down to low frequencies, and you don't want to cover all the walls either. The best sounding rooms have a mix of reflection and absorption. "

http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=436
CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#12
Quote by axemanchris
No.

First, very few carpets meet fire-code when laid in any other orientation other than horizontal.

Second, proper broadband absorption is spaced away from the wall by about four inches.

Third, different materials have different acoustic properties. Carpet is not an equivalent material to rigid fiberglass.

http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1599&hilit=carpet

"Carpet absorbs only the higher frequencies and does nothing for the low mids and lows. Rooms covered with carpet always sound dead and boomy at the same time. You need broadband absorption that works down to low frequencies, and you don't want to cover all the walls either. The best sounding rooms have a mix of reflection and absorption. "

http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=436
CT


Thanks for all the information! It gives me a little bit more of an idea of the kind of physical set-up I'll need. Would something like a garage with a self-built recording "box" work well for proper soundproofing? Or would it be more effective to just add materials to an existing room?

Though, I have to admit I would have totally done the walls in shag carpet if it worked. lol

How important is soundproofing if I plan on using digital interfaces to pick up my guitars? I'm curious if getting specific hardware could limit the amount of overall sound-proofing required.
Last edited by b_80_h at Nov 29, 2011,
#13
Quote by b_80_h
Thanks for all the information! It gives me a little bit more of an idea of the kind of physical set-up I'll need. Would something like a garage with a self-built recording "box" work well for proper soundproofing? Or would it be more effective to just add materials to an existing room?


You cannot add materials to a room and expect it to be soundproof. Soundproof is in the construction, while acoustic treatment is what you do to the inside of the room.

In short, here is the skinny on soundproofing. You know that trick with the two tin cans attached to a string that proves that sound will travel through a solid material? Well, consider this... You've got a room in your house - say, in your basement. You've added 2 feet thick panels to the wall of a heavy dense material. The floor is concrete. You have a double-thick steel door to get in. Soundproof, right? Not even close. What about the sound that travels up to the ceiling causing the ceiling material to vibrate, causing the joists that make up the ceiling to vibrate? Those joists connect to the entire width of the house! Fail #1. Concrete floor is dense, yes, but it will carry vibrations - in fact, even better than air! So, sound travels along your concrete floor, underneath your padded walls, and to the rest of the foundation. Fail #2. Now, consider that if air can get out, then sound can get out. Of course, if air can't get out... then air can't get in. It's all fun and games until the drummer asphyxiates.

To sound-proof, you basically need to build a room within a room, where the inner room makes no physical contact with the outside room. The word for having no physical contact is "decoupling." (akin to cutting the string between the two cans) It's easy to build four walls that are decoupled from the outer four walls. It's more difficult to effectively decouple the floor and ceilings between the inner rooms and outer rooms. And then you have to get air into and out of the room without sound following it.

This is why soundproofing is expensive.

Quote by b_80_h

How important is soundproofing if I plan on using digital interfaces to pick up my guitars? I'm curious if getting specific hardware could limit the amount of overall sound-proofing required.


Soundproofing is entirely independent of the gear in the room. I guess the question is "how important is soundproofing?" Only you can answer that. If you live 20 feet from a pair of commuter rail tracks so that you have a train ripping by your studio every twenty minutes, and you have clients in every hour of every day who would rather not hear, "sorry, guys... have to try that take again", then soundproofing is critical. If you live in a quiet residential neighbourhood where you have neighbours that b!tch and moan about every damned noise that comes from peoples lawnmowers, cats, leaf blowers, etc., then soundproofing is probably critical.

I haven't bothered with soundproofing. I don't have the room. I could do without spending the money. There's not a lot of outside noise getting in, and I'm not very loud very often, so my neighbours haven't expressed any concern over noise getting out.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#15
^ Hehe... I had a feeling you might be.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#16
Quote by CarsonStevens
Sorry, I was just kidding. As soon as I heard "furring strips" my mind immediately went off and envisioned leopard-print shag rug all over the walls.

Furry Walls... Great, now I'm thinking of that Russell Brand movie...


Okay, that makes a bit more sense. So, since I'm looking for acoustic treatment, not soundproofing (as my landlord might not appreciate me knocking down half the place just to record some guitars), what would be the most cost-effective way to do it? To start out, this probably isn't going to be a very big space, rather just enough room to fit a couple guys in with some guitars and some computer hardware.
#17
My control room sounds just like your description. It's 8' x 9.5'. Couple of chairs, an amp, keyboard, desk and you're pretty much shakin' hands whether you want to or not.

Here is a thread at another forum that provided ME with some instructions on how to build some DIY broadband absorbers:

http://johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=17090

And then some photos of my own project, showing the panels in various states of construction. I've captioned many of the photos with explanations of what you're seeing.

https://picasaweb.google.com/105151472351939734946/StudioEvolution?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMqj8aqgrZKZDQ&feat=directlink

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.