Acoustic treatment

02/25/2012

 
The location we're using was just recently renovated. They had new laminate flooring put in, and on first inspection last night I encountered a couple of problems.

Firstly, the floor is resonating badly - I can literally feel the drums under my feet! There may be problems with the resonance leaking up into the mic stands and wreaking all kinds of audio havoc. That may be easily treated though - just decouple the mic stands from the floor with some kind of damping material. The other problem is not so easily treated though.

The room is fairly big and rectangular, around 20 feet by 70 feet. Already that's not a good start - there's bound to be a lot of standing waves in there once we get going with the bands. To make things worse, the concrete walls are pretty much bare and the room is devoid of any furniture. And along one of the walls, starting from the middle of the room to the end, are panels of mirrors. Basically - the room is reflecting sound like crazy. There was about three seconds of echo in there!

Even though we're going to be close-miking everything, I'm somewhat worried about all those reflections ending coming through in the vocals and drum mics. And coupled with the inherent reverberation in the room - there's a lot of potential for sonic (and mixdown) nightmare. So what can we do about it?

1. Angle the performance area by a couple of degrees, instead of parallel along the room length. This may help reduce the obvious standing wave scenarios, but perhaps not by much.

2. Apply some DIY acoustic treatment, such as those suggested in this post on Ginny's Audio Blog. Some cool ideas there, but since we're shooting in a couple of hours I won't have time to make my own gobos, screens or bass traps.

Most likely the only thing we can do now (due to lack of time and resources) is to throw some carpeting on the floor and hopefully have some reduction in the reflections - whatever we can get is much better than nothing at all.