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Cheapest "room treatment" of all: mixing outdoors?
Old 19th May 2006
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Question Cheapest "room treatment" of all: mixing outdoors?

So I've realized that my room is bad and that it's time to start treating it with bass traps, etc. But I have this other idea based on what someone once told me β€” that mixing outside, without any room at all, would theoretically tell me exactly what a speaker sounds like. Again, I think this person meant in theory, but what about in practice?

I live in the woods, and it would not be much trouble to run an extension cord off my UPS, out the window, and into the forest. My neighbors are far enough away, and there's not much racket around me. I'd just take my recorder and monitors outside, set them on a table, and do final mixes that way.

Granted, I'd want to wait for nice weather, but other than that, what do you think? Too cheap even to try?
Old 19th May 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
pingu's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Id do it.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Guru
 
tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years


It might be pleasant.

Remember, though, that you still have surfaces (like the ground). But, You'll be better off than in a small room.

I don't know what you will do when it rains, or when it's freezing outside.





-tINY

Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #4
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thenewyear's Avatar
Thumbs up

me too.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
thenewyear's Avatar
Take pictures & post them up on GS so we can see what it sounds like out there!
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
I had same idea in past, and I'm going to try it too! But what about bird's singing and wind blowing?
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #7
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Cojo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Mix outside! It's a great idea!

No room would probably sound better, and please...

...post pictures and a sample of the mix!

/Cojo
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Midlandmorgan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Besides the elements, the only problem I could see is throwing people out of the control room? How do you throiw them out, when they arleady are outside?

Old 19th May 2006
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
weedmaker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeak
I live in the woods, and it would not be much trouble to run an extension cord off my UPS, out the window, and into the forest. My neighbors are far enough away, and there's not much racket around me. I'd just take my recorder and monitors outside, set them on a table, and do final mixes that way.

Granted, I'd want to wait for nice weather, but other than that, what do you think? Too cheap even to try?
Errr, any cuddly, furry wild life around your place?

Like 8ft grizzlies, wolfs, killer bees, poisonous snakes... Now that would be great intro to "Mixing in the real world." video; sound engineer running for his life chased by mad bear, climbing up the tree with his beloved Neve EQ under armpit, yelling:" HEEELP, My APIs are down there, HEELP please, someome take care of them"!

Instant best-seller....

heh heh heh



P.S.
Seriously, it could be done, but I guess that new enviroment "learning curve" would be big. We are used to listening music in enclosed spaces - consumers as well!

Worth the experiment though, would like to hear final result! thumbsup
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Muse experimented with this on their last album.. aparently everything ended up sounding quite thin and they didn't use it..

I think the biggest problem will be wind.. especialy if you've got condensers.. followed closely by ambient noises.. both of which I'd imagine will make it near inposible to get a song length take without something getting on there.. perhaps doing to or 3 takes and comping together for one noiseless take?..

Good luck to you!
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Hey, guys. Thanks for the encouragement. This could be a fun experiment.

To clarifty, I would only *mix* outside. I would not do any tracking or other recording. There would not be any mics involved, meaning ambient sounds would not be a factor (except they might be distracting).

Wind is something I had not considered. Thanks for the heads up on that. I live above 9,000 feet (2,750 meters), and it can be very windy here. The other elements are an issue too. It snows in winter and the monsoons dump rain in summer, so I'd have to schedule my sessions carefully.

Another idea is to set up on my covered deck. I could aim the monitors away from the cabin, but this would still introduce some surfaces (cabin wall and roof over deck). If I set up farther out in the woods, I suppose I could use a tarp on poles to cover the working area.

As for having to kick people out of the "control room" heh I am recording and mixing only my own stuff. I do not have clients. This is just a low-budget home studio.

And as for wildlife, yes, there are bears, mountain lions, elk, and deer around here. But I used to live in the mountains of Alaska and am well versed in animal-speak. The beasts know when I'm not to be disturbed.

OK, so I'll give it a try, though it will be a while. I'm just getting my studio up and running after moving here. Then I need to record some new stuff. Then it will be time for mixing. I will take pics and make some clips.

P.S. The engineer who gave me this idea also said that if I decide to stay indoors, it might help to open the windows. My small bedroom studio has two large windows that I don't know how I'm going to treat. Maybe opening them would be sort of like being halfway outside? Hmm, yet another experiment awaits.

Someone else once told me that sound is different at really high elevation, so I might be in for a challenge no matter what. Might have to rent a studio in the flatlands to do my mixing.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #12
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nathanvacha's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by username
Muse experimented with this on their last album.. aparently everything ended up sounding quite thin and they didn't use it..

I think the biggest problem will be wind.. especialy if you've got condensers.. followed closely by ambient noises.. both of which I'd imagine will make it near inposible to get a song length take without something getting on there.. perhaps doing to or 3 takes and comping together for one noiseless take?..

Good luck to you!

I think the question was just about mixing though. I've done recordings outside before, for effect, and you can get good takes if you're in the right environment. I wouldn't want to try tracking a whole band ouside though.
I don't think I'd want to mix ouside either, but just as an issue of comfort and what I'm used to... If you feel comfortable trying it out, then do it.
Old 19th May 2006
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Lightbulb

> mixing outside, without any room at all, would theoretically tell me exactly what a speaker sounds like. <

Yeah, in theory maybe. I envision the ideal "outdoor" environment like this:

The walls and ceiling are made of cardboard. Or maybe use a tent made from stiff reflective material. This will give some sense of room ambience at mid and high frequencies while letting all the bass pass through instead of being reflected. Then, keeping with the "outdoors tradition," cut holes in the cardboard at the first reflection points on the side walls and ceiling instead of using absorption as is typical.

If you do this you owe me $100 consulting fee. heh

--Ethan
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
You got it, Ethan. If it works, $100 will be a bargain!
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
Joe Cole's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I posted this exact question a few months ago on Craig Anderton's forum.

The answers that I got focused on the fact that it would be like mixing in an anechoic chamber.

The downside of this, it seems, would be that while we try to achieve the least amount of coloration in our control rooms they still have to resemble the typical listening environment of a regular listener, more or less.

The reflections (although controlled) in our control rooms make our decisions in mixing translate better to the real world.

I would love to try it though. thumbsup
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Joe, good point. Thanks. Makes me wonder if maybe my bad room is not as bad as I think. After all, mechanics listen to music in garages, contruction workers listen on boom boxes on top of truck hoods, and millions of poeple listen in their cars. I mixed my last project in the bedroom studio of my previous house, and I checked and rechecked all mixes while driving around in my car. It took 10 or 15 tries, but I think I finally got it.

But as for real "real world" listening, I wonder what percentage of people now listen almost exclusively on headphones and ear buds. I wonder if this iPod generation will someday make mixing rooms obsolete. Maybe we should all just toss our monitors now and mix only on headphones.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Nut
 
dach's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
This is an outstanding idea! I can mix and tan at the same time...
I have been upset living at the coast with only a studio tan.

Chair, Monitor & Keyboard extenders + monitor stands... screw the outboard!

I WILL try this!
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #18
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Berolzheimer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think the deck idea is great. especially if you face the cabin walls and they are logs or some other uneven surface, you'll get some nice diffusion off the front wall & support for the low end, but then it will all disappear nicely out the back & sides. you'll probably need a little dffusion on the ceiling too.
Old 19th May 2006 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
open your windows

i open my two windows in my room which the speakers are in front of and the bass dies down in the corners depending on how wide they are open. of course i like having other speakers like boombox and my computer speakers to check on too.
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Berolzheimer
I think the deck idea is great. especially if you face the cabin walls and they are logs or some other uneven surface, you'll get some nice diffusion off the front wall & support for the low end, but then it will all disappear nicely out the back & sides. you'll probably need a little dffusion on the ceiling too.
Here is the deck area I'm thinking about: photo here

As you can see, there is a door there, so that's what would be behind the speakers. To get away from the door, I would have to move out from under the roof. I suppose I could also set up along the end of the deck, but then there would be the imbalance of the cabin on one side and not on the other. Or I could cover the door with something.
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Guru
 
tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years


Or you could leave the door open...





-tINY

Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Berolzheimer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeak
Here is the deck area I'm thinking about: photo here

As you can see, there is a door there, so that's what would be behind the speakers. To get away from the door, I would have to move out from under the roof. I suppose I could also set up along the end of the deck, but then there would be the imbalance of the cabin on one side and not on the other. Or I could cover the door with something.
Could you face the door, leaving just enough space to get through between your gear & the wall, with a speaker on either side of the door? & then maybe a blanket or something over the door to minimize bounce from it.

Looks lovely, I'd like to mix there. whereabouts are you?
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Ah, of course! Leave the door open. Easy enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Berolzheimer
Could you face the door, leaving just enough space to get through between your gear & the wall, with a speaker on either side of the door? & then maybe a blanket or something over the door to minimize bounce from it.

Looks lovely, I'd like to mix there. whereabouts are you?
Yes, I could leave walking space behind the gear, but there's another door I could use, so that would not be necessary. I'm in the southern Rockies of New Mexico.
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Theo Desktop's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think an environment with no walls sounds good in theory, but I don't how practical it would be to mix outside. Ambient noise and wind would certainly seem to affect what one would hear frequency wise.

I think the whole benefit of a studio environment is that it is a controlled environment and I would think this would be preferred whether tracking or mixing.

Cheers,
Theo
Old 20th May 2006 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Berolzheimer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeak
Ah, of course! Leave the door open. Easy enough.



Yes, I could leave walking space behind the gear, but there's another door I could use, so that would not be necessary. I'm in the southern Rockies of New Mexico.
Leaving the door open might not be ideal, you'll probably end up hearing some reverberation from inside that room. plus you probably want to have that surface there to support the low end.
Old 21st May 2006 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
hmm... actualy.. if you've got abit of space.. it might be cheap to do something along these lines...

build a big wooden frame (for your "mix room").. cover the frame with fluffy fiberglass (warmth, cutting down ambient noise) chuck a big tarpolen over it (water proofing) and then cover the inside with something along the lines of tent material... won't how that would go.. certainly cheaper than building a nice room
Old 21st May 2006 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Hey, username. Yes, I have the space for this. Actually, my long-term plan is to have a separate structure anyway. You can buy a really nice, small prefab recreational cabin for about $15,000 with plumbing, electrical, and everything (metal roof, cedar siding, etc). You place an order, and a few months later the cabin is delivered to your driveway. I could treat this room any way I wanted to. Right now I'm making do with a corner of a bedroom. So as far as separate structures go, I'm thinking I'd rather wait till I can go all the way and have a permanent one. These prefab things arrive on wheels too, so if I ever wanted to move my studio, just put the wheels back on, hitch it up, and off I go!
Old 22nd May 2006 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Berolzheimer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeak
Hey, username. Yes, I have the space for this. Actually, my long-term plan is to have a separate structure anyway. You can buy a really nice, small prefab recreational cabin for about $15,000 with plumbing, electrical, and everything (metal roof, cedar siding, etc). You place an order, and a few months later the cabin is delivered to your driveway. I could treat this room any way I wanted to. Right now I'm making do with a corner of a bedroom. So as far as separate structures go, I'm thinking I'd rather wait till I can go all the way and have a permanent one. These prefab things arrive on wheels too, so if I ever wanted to move my studio, just put the wheels back on, hitch it up, and off I go!
Shouldn't this be posted in the remote forum?
I can just see it now- Log Cabin Remote, hook that thing to the back of your truck & go record some shows!
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