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What if you CAN'T treat your room?
Old 23rd January 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
What if you CAN'T treat your room?

I read and understand why acoustic treatment is the way to go, but I simply cannot treat my room. It's a bedroom, and I'm renting, so it's not an option.

I have JBL 4328 speakers (with the room analyzer EQ you all hate so much). However, when I use the built in EQ, the bass I hear is much more clear -- not as muddy. So I can actually hear the lows distinctly now, which improves my mix a lot.

The biggest problem I have now is there is a peak at around 2.9k, giving harshness to vocals especially when they hit higher notes. Listening to that Duffy song "Mercy" is almost painful sometimes when she hits certain notes. Very harsh. Also listening to Coldplay's Viva La Vida, when he sings the line about "be my mirror, my sword, and shield," the word "shield" is VERY harsh. Esses and eeee sounds are the worst.

I know it's not the speakers since they didn't sound that way in the store.

And I listen at low to moderately low levels. I do not blast the volume.

So, my question is: is using something like the Samson D1500 RTA and D2500 EQ combination to remove some of the harshness better than nothing? I don't mind if it means there's a very small sweet spot, since it's just me here.

The room is 20' x 12', and my speakers are facing the shorter width, up against the wall exactly in the middle. It's perfectly rectangular room, and the ceilings are 8'. The monitors are only 2 feet 3 inches apart (with an LCD in between them), and I'm sitting at the triangle point. Maybe too close, huh?

My audio interface for my Mac 8 Core is a Focusrite Saffire.

I've read the posts and links you made to articles about why treating a room is better, but in my specific situation it's just not possible.

Thank you in advance for your answers!
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
i too have an untreated room and have th jbl lsr4328 ,
but dont like the rmc sees to kill the kick and bass , im aware
that all its doing is filtering some lows out ..

anyway.. what im getting at is, i like the sound of my untreated room.

i know doing some treatment is good ..

ALL music after they are masterd and sold to the public ,
are listened to in untreated rooms

so shouldnt we be mixing our music in untreated studios?/???
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
dft3670's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Head down to the local Home Depot and grab about 20 rolls of insulation. Stack them floor to ceiling in each corner. Make them more attractive by throwing a thin fabric over them so your room doesn't look like the Home Depot and you have yourself a nice set of temp corner traps with no damage to the room.


so shouldnt we be mixing our music in untreated studios?/???

This should be interesting ......
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dft3670 ➑️
Head down to the local Home Depot and grab about 20 rolls of insulation. Stack them floor to ceiling in each corner. Make them more attractive by throwing a thin fabric over them so your room doesn't look like the Home Depot and you have yourself a nice set of temp corner traps with no damage to the room.


so shouldnt we be mixing our music in untreated studios?/???

This should be interesting ......
I like this idea for you or why not get most of your treatments on stands? Also most panels you buy (like ours) hang like a picture frame on a single point. No big holes and or glue on the walls.

Glenn
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Head
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Kuras ➑️
I like this idea for you or why not get most of your treatments on stands? Also most panels you buy (like ours) hang like a picture frame on a single point. No big holes and or glue on the walls.

Glenn

Thanks for your input, but again, putting up any kind of room treatment is not an option.

I was hoping I could get an answer my original question :(
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FaveDave ➑️
Thanks for your input, but again, putting up any kind of room treatment is not an option.

I was hoping I could get an answer my original question :(
Why is not a option? You can't even hang a picture in the room? How about moving? Why not stands? I think you just want to skip treatment as to save money. Hate to break the news to you, but everything matters.

Ok needless to say EQing is not the way to go for all kinds of reasons. Below is a post by Frank who works with me.

Quote:
You can't fix a time domain problem in the frequency domain.

EQ'ing monitors flat might improve things somewhat but attenuating the room modes works far better.

Think of it this way:

Suppose you're not hearing 90Hz correctly / loud enough because your room dimensions give you a 90Hz reflection that nulls out your 90Hz speaker output right about where your ears are at.

Without any EQ in the monitoring chain, you boost the upper bass going to the MIX until it sounds "right" and then when you listen to your mixes on other systems they sound muddy. Crap!

WITH EQ in the monitoring chain, you try a few 1/3 octave sliders and you find that boosting at around 90Hz seems to help a bit (determined by ear or with a real time analyzer). This is an improvement over no EQ in the monitoring chain because at least you're not EQing your MIX, you're EQing what you're listening to.

BUT - now you have some new problems. Boosting the 90Hz in the monitors not only turns up the direct sound but also causes a stronger 90Hz reflection off the back wall and you still get the same null in your listening position. It's a bit better because you've brought up the overall volume and forced the near field (where you hear mostly direct sound) a bit farther back toward the wall. But you still haven't eliminated that room mode, you're still not hearing the 90Hz accurately, you've limited the headroom on your monitor system, you've boosted other frequencies near 90Hz which have different room mode effects, and the slight benefit you get is lost if you move your head even a foot.

The problem isn't the frequency response of your monitor system (it's probably pretty good already), so changing that isn't a good solution. The problem is the reflections in your room causing standing waves that either cancel or reinforce at various frequencies depending on where you're standing in the room. And those are distance dependant meaning TIME DEPENDANT so your choices are to move the walls and get the time alignment more pleasing (usually not an option) or dampen the walls to reduce the amount of reflected sound.
Old 23rd January 2009
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Weasel9992's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FaveDave ➑️
I have JBL 4328 speakers (with the room analyzer EQ you all hate so much). However, when I use the built in EQ, the bass I hear is much more clear -- not as muddy. So I can actually hear the lows distinctly now, which improves my mix a lot.
I have the 4328's too...they're my main pair. I've had them for a couple of years and mixed a bunch of records on them. I know them very, very well, and they don't sound a bit harsh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FaveDave ➑️
The biggest problem I have now is there is a peak at around 2.9k, giving harshness to vocals especially when they hit higher notes. Listening to that Duffy song "Mercy" is almost painful sometimes when she hits certain notes. Very harsh. Also listening to Coldplay's Viva La Vida, when he sings the line about "be my mirror, my sword, and shield," the word "shield" is VERY harsh. Esses and eeee sounds are the worst.

I know it's not the speakers since they didn't sound that way in the store.

And I listen at low to moderately low levels. I do not blast the volume.
You're right. It's probably not the speakers. You are likely experiencing comb filtering at your listening position, which is nothing more than the interaction of various frequencies arriving at your ears after the direct sound from the speakers. This is directly related to the lack of treatment around your listening position.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FaveDave ➑️
So, my question is: is using something like the Samson D1500 RTA and D2500 EQ combination to remove some of the harshness better than nothing? I don't mind if it means there's a very small sweet spot, since it's just me here.
Better than nothing? Maybe, but just barely and what you'll trade to make that tiny gain will probably not be worthwhile. Whatever reduction you make at, say 1.5Khz (especially on low end filters) will have a substantial effect on the frequencies above and below it. Basically you're trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer. Whatever changes you *do* make will make other problems worse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FaveDave ➑️
The room is 20' x 12', and my speakers are facing the shorter width, up against the wall exactly in the middle. It's perfectly rectangular room, and the ceilings are 8'. The monitors are only 2 feet 3 inches apart (with an LCD in between them), and I'm sitting at the triangle point. Maybe too close, huh?
2'3" is pretty narrow...I'd start at 3' minimum in most rooms, and 4' is really more average. Mine are a bit less than 5' apart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FaveDave ➑️
I've read the posts and links you made to articles about why treating a room is better, but in my specific situation it's just not possible.
I hear you, but if that's the case you have to understand that there absolutely *will* be unresolvable sonic issues. That doesn't mean you can's use the room, but it does mean that the particular problem you're having may not be fixable otherwise, and that working in the room will probably be an exercise in compromise to one degree or another.

Try moving things around; maybe try putting a soft chair or a blanket at your reflection points and over your head. Are you using a console? 3Khz is a common console bounce. These are better solutions than EQ would be.

Frank
Old 23rd January 2009
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by FaveDave ➑️
I simply cannot treat my room.
Then I guess you'll never be able to mix well. heh

Seriously, room treatment is about as important as loudspeakers, especially in a room the size of a bedroom. To answer your original question, EQ doesn't work, no matter what the vendors promise. Here's the proof:

Audyssey Report

As Glenn said, panels can hang on the wall like a picture, and corner bass traps can go on stands. Where there's a will, there's a way.

--Ethan
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Perhaps mixing with reference headphones?
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Deleted 56021e5
Guest
You can make movable acoustical panels an use mechanic fixing in the walls
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Weasel9992's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Shadow ➑️
Perhaps mixing with reference headphones?
In a really, reeeaaally bad room that can be an option, but it's got to be pretty extreme. Usually mixing on headphones is only a better option when the room is extremely small and nothing can be done to change the shape or size.

Frank
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 ➑️
In a really, reeeaaally bad room that can be an option, but it's got to be pretty extreme. Usually mixing on headphones is only a better option when the room is extremely small and nothing can be done to change the shape or size.

Frank
As I'm fairly new to this, I've yet to understand why, exactly. I know the consensus among AE's is that mixing with headphones is bad, I just don't know why. If you feel inclined to enlighten me, please do!
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Robert Randolph's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Just buy some bass traps and set them against the walls. It works great for me... No nails, no hanging, no damage to the house at all.

I cant hang panels either due to the construction of my house (the outer and inner wall are the exact same). So I did some work and got it working quite well as you can see.



Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Randolph ➑️
Just buy some bass traps and set them against the walls. It works great for me... No nails, no hanging, no damage to the house at all.

I cant hang panels either due to the construction of my house (the outer and inner wall are the exact same). So I did some work and got it working quite well as you can see.



NICE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Robert Randolph's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Kuras ➑️
NICE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you

Lots of help from the GIK folks I've tuned it a little more since I screen capped that graph last week, and I have it to +/-3.5db at the 2 main listening points in the room from 25hz-21hz. There's a few spots in the room that measure even better than that

Only took me about 3 weeks of measuring, moving, testing, listening, measuring, moving, testing, listening etc... etc.. I've spent at least 100 hours just getting this small room sounding good. It's been worth every second!!

And just to reiterate, there's not a single nail, screw or hook in the wall. No excuse to not treat you room :D

btw, if anyone has lighting suggestions for someone who can't hang stuff, that'd be really excellent
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Weasel9992's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Shadow ➑️
As I'm fairly new to this, I've yet to understand why, exactly. I know the consensus among AE's is that mixing with headphones is bad, I just don't know why. If you feel inclined to enlighten me, please do!
I surely can. There are several reasons, but the best two are as follows:

1.) By placing a low-frequency driver so close to the ear, you're distorting the amount you're actually hearing...it's the proximity effect in reverse, essentially. This is especially true with closed-back headphones, though the better they are the less of a problem it is.

2.) You're getting a very exaggerated sense of the stereo field by having what amounts to two monitors on either side of your head with no room information to create the right perspective. Ergo, stereo field placement becomes an issue; you can't trust that things are where the headphones say they are. Open-back headphones do a better job at this, but at the expense of delivering less-than-accurate low end information in some cases.

Make sense?

Frank
Old 27th January 2009
  #17
70% Coffee, 30% Beer
 
Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FaveDave ➑️
I know it's not the speakers since they didn't sound that way in the store.
Oh my!
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I can't treat my room either. My studio is actually in my appartment's livingroom, because it's a big room, and i really can't change this. Well yes i can, i still got the kitchen, or the bathroom! Haha heh

But i've read the following reply in a similar thread which gave me hope:

Quote:
Originally Posted by edham ➑️
What I am about to say is heretical - especially from a guy who is starting an acoustics company ......

but I have mixed records in ad hoc rooms with little or no treatment and have not had a problem getting good mixes that made the client smile on mastering day.

Treatment IS important and can both improve your work AND save your sanitity - but I have found that if I sit close enough to the monitors and keep them away from the walls I end up with decent mixes.

So my caveat is that if your room isn't big enough keep your monitors off the walls than treatment is that much more important.

Adams are all about the mids and I have not found them to be room dependant.

Seriously though - Get the A7's.
Then spend $200 on OC 705. Leave it naked for a few days. Your wife or girlfreind will be horrified at the asthetics of your room and then you can ask her to stop at the fabric store for you.

Then try and wrap the 705 in fabric and do it BADLY. Show her your work as if your proud of it. She will again be horrified and before you know it she'll have your panels perfectly wrapped.

When she's done - take her to a nice dinner for about $100.
Adam A7's
$200 705
Free fabric
$100 for dinner.

Priceless
But i can install curtains to isolate the room from the rest. but there will still be a closet, a high one next to a smaller one, in front the studio. I can't move them by the way. An interesting thread btw!
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Weasel9992's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Adams are all about the mids and I have not found them to be room dependent.

Every single speaker ever made becomes room dependent when it's put in a room. It's a function of physics and nothing else. The speaker is an emitter, and nothing more. Your choice of speaker makes a difference subjectively certainly and to some degree objectively (6" speakers vs. 15" speakers), but no one speaker makes the room any less of an issue.

All that said, people have learned to mix in tough rooms. It happens...mostly at reasonable volumes and with lots of checks on other systems.

Frank
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 ➑️
I surely can. There are several reasons, but the best two are as follows:

1.) By placing a low-frequency driver so close to the ear, you're distorting the amount you're actually hearing...it's the proximity effect in reverse, essentially. This is especially true with closed-back headphones, though the better they are the less of a problem it is.

2.) You're getting a very exaggerated sense of the stereo field by having what amounts to two monitors on either side of your head with no room information to create the right perspective. Ergo, stereo field placement becomes an issue; you can't trust that things are where the headphones say they are. Open-back headphones do a better job at this, but at the expense of delivering less-than-accurate low end information in some cases.

Make sense?

Frank
Perfect sense, thanks!

Especially for panning: what might sound too extremely panned in your headphones can sound perfectly acceptable on speakers (I learned that from Beatles and Doors albums, which were mixed purely L/C/R).

For the time being, I'm switching continually between Sennheiser headphones and Philips "monitors", and next to that I switch between drivers all the time. A mix has to sound right with every set-up before I consider it finished. As I do this in an untreated room, it's the only way.

Once my treated room's finished, I'll get some bona fide reference monitors (still haven't decided on which ones though) but since I'm used to it by now, I'll probably continue to check different sources when mixing.
Old 18th November 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
@ Frank... why can't u fix a frequency thing in the time domain?

With FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) U can go from time domain to freqency domain and vice-versa.


Oh and why are the U.K. people responsible for the death of M. Jackson? Did i miss something??
Old 18th November 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Weasel9992's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylemon ➑️
@ Frank... why can't u fix a frequency thing in the time domain?

With FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) U can go from time domain to freqency domain and vice-versa.
By definition, EQ works on the frequency domain. While there is *some* effect in the time domain, it is not a viable fix. Ultimately it'll cause more problems than it will solve.

Frank

P.S.: I don't get the MJ thing either.

Frank
Old 18th November 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Go Cans

Dave
In answer to the original question. The equipment you have is almost certainly of a very much higher fidelity than the Samson units. You may gain control but you may lose everything else. Is the JBL Eq capable of a HF notch? Or can you just turn down the tweeters? Position is a very powerful tool. You are firing sideways, which is generally regarded as not the best. Can you move things around? How are the speakers mounted? MoPads or Recoil Stabilisers could be a subtle helper. Those temporary traps, made of Attic insulation rolls wrapped in fabric, work really well, as would thick panel traps simply standing in corners or on stands. Why would you spend money on something of low quality which most of us here doubt, when there are unquestionable treatments that are clearly possible?
There is a predominant view that headphones are not great for mixing.
Based on considerable experience I entirely disagree. There are headphones available which have an unhyped natural response. Mixes done on them translate very well. They are always an open design, and in my experience mostly made by Sennheiser. IMHO the absolute consistency of response, and lack of room effects by far outweighs the single drawback, i.e. the stereo thing. Even that is easily overcome. Use reference mixes exactly as one does with speakers. The brain is incredibly powerful at assimilating the 'norm'. It is then quite easy to judge stereo position, width, and so on.
This is a bit of a hobby horse for me. I have used the same Cans for years. Mine are now constructed from a stock of spare parts. When tracking, I have everyone is in the same cans. I turn the speakers off and the talkback mic on. All on the same page, total communication. Peace Love and Understanding.
The ultimate compliment that I could pay to any treated room/speaker system would be that it is as good as headphones!

DD
Old 20th January 2010 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Nut
 
galaga's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thought I'd resurrect this thread since I just got a pair of 4328s. They sound good right out of the box. My room is treated to average or slightly above standards. But I wanted to play the room calibration software and feature just for the sake of curiosity. I find that it removes a large chunk of 108hz from the left and 55hz from the right. Even more curious is the fact that moving the speakers or the mic (even to stupid positions, like placing the mic outside the control room in the hallway) never changes the settings from this, even after restoring factory settings. And the eq settings in the software don't change anything either. (Yes......the software is recognizing the speakers, ethernet and terminators correct and mic attached to left speaker). I also tried doing it all from the front panel of the speakers

I don't need the RMC feature and I like the monitors. But I can't help but wonder why nothing changes. Where is my mistake at?
Old 20th January 2010 | Show parent
  #25
SAC
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Is this correct?:

As you refer in several spots to "speakers" plural...

You are driving both speakers and you are measuring comb filtering?

tutt

Try driving one speaker at at time and repeating the measurement.

You may still get some comb filtering, but it will be due to the superposition (combination) of the direct speaker signal and the reflections from the various room boundaries. With 2 speakers driven, you WILL get comb filtering due to the two direct signals combining, as well as the combination with the boundary reflections! The problem is that you have too many variables to isolate the speaker - room interactions.
πŸ“ Reply

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