Quantcast
Removing boxiness in a recording? - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Removing boxiness in a recording?
Old 22nd January 2009
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Removing boxiness in a recording?

I have a pretty small booth that does well for recording vocals, but once a vocalist does power hungry adlibs, the boxiness of how small the booth is, is starting to show on the recordings.

How are people handling, boxy recordings and removing boxiness. Is there a set of frequencies that boxiness comes from, or does it vary between the sound source you are recording.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Rob C's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Sweep an EQ on your vocal until you hear the frequency you feel is "boxy" and then dip it down a few dB.

But for the record, you are recording IN a box. haha
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Addict
 
Barry Lird's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob C ➑️
But for the record, you are recording IN a box. haha
Nice.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
lpkyer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You should sweep and cut with a large Q in between 400hz to 1.5 khz.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
DeepSpace's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A booth is great for capturing the vocal in isolation from the other performers, particularly percussion (and vice-versa) during "live" tracking where the whole ensemble plays simultaneously.

But it ain't great for sound because, being essentially a smallish box, it inevitably sounds boxy. Which is why, for high end projects, vocal overdubs (done out in the main tracking room) and a common event.

However if you can really only track vocals with the booth, I would go for additional sound treatment (carefully designed and placed traps) within the booth way before I'd reach for eq. Traps will tighten up the sound and soften the tendency to boxiness, whereas if you eq you may lose (or at least reduce) some of the boxiness, but you will lose some detail from the performance at the same time. You also introduce other artefacts which may or may not be desirable, depending on the eq etc.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
jjblair's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lpkyer ➑️
You should sweep and cut with a large Q in between 400hz to 1.5 khz.
Exactly. I was going to say 400Hz to 1kHz.

I tell you what though ... instead of EQing, if your mic has different patterns, try omni. It will eliminate the proximity effect, and some of that area. If you have hypercardioid, give that a try, too. It won't give you the extra highs of the omni, and if the room isn't totally dead, you won't pick up those unwanted reflections.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
24-96 Mastering's Avatar
Try getting the worst resonances out. Boost hight with narrow Q, sweep until you find a note that rings when it shouldn't and then notch that frequency out. Repeat until the offending boxy resonances are gone.

Another thing you can try (this works wonders sometimes) is to try and get a whole harmonic order of resonances at the same time. I.e. lessen the comb-filter effect that is making it sound boxy.
A fun tool for this is Waves X-Hum or IzotopeRX equivalent for example. Originally meant to reduce hum an its harmonics, it can be used to do the same with a base-resonance and its harmonics.
Load the plugin, boost all filters (base frequency and odd and even harmonics) with a narrow Q (30+) and sweep base frequency from bottom up until you find a spot where suddenly, it all sounds extremely ringy. Then, set all filters to 0 and pull each harmonic and see if it improves the sound.
This only works if the geometry of the recording space is pretty straight forward, but when it works, using a de-hummer to lessen comb-filtering is very, very elegant.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Recman ➑️
Is there a set of frequencies that boxiness comes from, or does it vary between the sound source you are recording.
In addition to what others said... If you always put your vocal mic at the same position in the same room with the more or less same micing distance, it should be always the same ringing frequencies as they are mainly caused by the room-geometry. How much these frequencies are stimulated by a singer depends of course on the vocal-sound and the contend of room-reverb in the signal but it should always be the same boxy frequencies caused by the room.

I like RNDigital | UNIQUEL-IZER for this, as this eq offers notch harmonic filters especially for issues like yours. But any surgical eq should do it in principle.

good luck!
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
let me know if you have any success using an eq, because your problem is in the time domain, where your reverb is mutilating your phase coherence. specifically, when the vocalist gets loud, it activates the space and the extremely short reverb that's always there suddenly becomes loud enough to cause problems. because you're dealing with a booth, and not a good one from your description, this means phase cancellation in extremis, of the nasty comb filtering variety.

no eq on the planet can cure this, you have to correct (or remove) the space itself before recording it --- because we don't record sounds, we record spaces with sounds bouncing around inside them. eq can certainly reduce the relative loudness of the spectra that are most affected, but you will also be cutting out the heart of your sound, and the resulting loss of weight and impact will be palpable. my guess is you've been playing with eq extensively and have already experienced this, but were hoping a fix existed.

ime, multiple narrow notches with eq only exacerbate the problem, which is itself countless narrow notches in your recorded sounded... the aforementioned comb filtering. there is only one truly effective fix: treat the booth, or lose it altogether.


gregory scott - 'ubk'
.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Bob Yordan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Cut away low end from instruments like synth pads, piano, guitars etc,
where it is not needed, to leave the bass & kick more room to act.

Dip the drums a bit where the low end of the lead vocal is.

best wishes

Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Moderator
 
Trev@Circle's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Yordan ➑️
Cut away low end from instruments like synth pads, piano, guitars etc,
where it is not needed, to leave the bass & kick more room to act.

Dip the drums a bit where the low end of the lead vocal is.

best wishes

This answers the question how?

+1 for UBKs response. If you are getting boxiness on the way in stop recording in a box. Get the talent out into your biggest room. If the big room isn't great stand them with their back in a corner. Place some rockwool panels behind them and hang a duvet. Use a reflexion filter maybe.if you have a bad room you want to do whatever you can to stop reflections getting back into the mic.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Bob Yordan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rimskidog ➑️
This answers the question how?
Removing boxiness in a recording.

Removing boxiness from your room or listening is another kind of question, IMHO.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Moderator
 
Trev@Circle's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Yordan ➑️
Removing boxiness in a recording.

Removing boxiness from your room or listening is another kind of question, IMHO.
you need to go and read all that's been said above.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
DeepSpace's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rimskidog ➑️
you need to go and read all that's been said above.
Actually, even reading the original post (all four lines of it, that is) would suffice.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
This thread turns out to get funny :-)

Well english isn't my native language so I hope I also understood the first four lines correct, ha! Based on this lines I pretty much doubt that Recmans booth is untreated! Why? Because he would already have a lot of trouble with resonances even if a singer sings at a quiter level, as the content of room-resonaces doesn't change in relation to the dry sound. But why are there more resonances if a singer sing louder in relation? I assume that the singer just moves a bit more far from the mic when screaming to not overload the tracking-chain. If so the room sound becomes louder in relation to the dry sound and therefor boxyness as well, make sense? But perhaps Recman can clarify if his booth is untreated or not :-)

Treatment especially in small rooms is important, I think everyone knows that. But I don't buy that you can treat a small booth to sound like a million dollar tracking room and therefor get rid of cutting boomy resonances.

Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
DeepSpace's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas G ➑️
But I don't buy that you can treat a small booth to sound like a million dollar tracking room and therefor get rid of cutting boomy resonances.
I don't think anyone was selling that, Andreas. But more treatment is nevertheless likely to offer a more satisfactory solution than more eq
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
With enough bass traps you can kill all the boxy boomy room tone in a small booth. And this is a much better solution than EQ afterward. Even better, record with headphones in the control room if possible. More here:

Do I really need a vocal booth?

--Ethan
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkSky ➑️
I don't think anyone was selling that, Andreas. But more treatment is nevertheless likely to offer a more satisfactory solution than more eq
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
24-96 Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k ➑️
let me know if you have any success using an eq, because your problem is in the time domain, where your reverb is mutilating your phase coherence. specifically, when the vocalist gets loud, it activates the space and the extremely short reverb that's always there suddenly becomes loud enough to cause problems. because you're dealing with a booth, and not a good one from your description, this means phase cancellation in extremis, of the nasty comb filtering variety.

no eq on the planet can cure this, you have to correct (or remove) the space itself before recording it --- because we don't record sounds, we record spaces with sounds bouncing around inside them. eq can certainly reduce the relative loudness of the spectra that are most affected, but you will also be cutting out the heart of your sound, and the resulting loss of weight and impact will be palpable. my guess is you've been playing with eq extensively and have already experienced this, but were hoping a fix existed.

ime, multiple narrow notches with eq only exacerbate the problem, which is itself countless narrow notches in your recorded sounded... the aforementioned comb filtering. there is only one truly effective fix: treat the booth, or lose it altogether.


gregory scott - 'ubk'
.
+1

I do want to add though that, on existing recordings, notching resonances _can_ help ... of course it can't fix the cause, it can only make the effect more bearable. But that sometimes can make a take usable that otherwise would have been thrown away. Finding a good compromise on how much to pull resonance is always a pain though.

And of course, best thing to do for the future is to get rid of the booth. Take the biggest recording space you can get your hands on and get good acoustic treatment so you don't need a booth.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Bob Yordan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkSky ➑️
Actually, even reading the original post (all four lines of it, that is) would suffice.
Oops , sorry working and writing on a forum at the same time is perhaps not a great combination for me.

Must be getting senil. heh
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 57 views: 30841
Avatar for phase90
phase90 29th June 2007
replies: 56 views: 6428
Avatar for mart
mart 22nd December 2019
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump