In response to yesterday’s blog post, Chris wrote:

The one issue I had spasms with today’s email is where you say below that:

” * more absorption (it doesn’t have to be fancy foam; blankets can work great)”

While I agree with the general principal you are trying to get across (I’m not trying to knock that) but after having studied acoustics to a fairly major degree I think that putting up “blankets” are possibly about as misleading as telling someone to apply egg crates to their walls?

From my understanding and study of it, applying something like blankets will at best effect the top end slightly?

Here’s where I come down on the issue.

Chris is absolutely right, blankets are in no way the best-case scenario, but they’re MUCH better than nothing.

People just starting out with recording oftentimes don’t give a moments thought to the ROOM they’re recording in. Everybody needs a starting point, and for a lot of people blankets are a GREAT way to begin.

Bass traps are VERY important. Broadband absorption is really important, too.

But even MORE important is the shape of the room, specifically its dimensions. If the room is too small or has bad dimensions, all the proper treatment in the world will still leave the room with plenty of issues.

HOWEVER…

This discussion can be paralyzing for a lot of people. They think to themselves, “Well, using blankets isn’t the best thing, so maybe I should hold off on recording anything until my room is properly treated.”

NO!

I’ve recorded lead vocals in a spare bedroom at a friends house, only using one blanket and NO acoustic treatment. The result? Killer-sounding vocals.

My buddy Graham did the same thing with drums in his dining room.

Don’t bow at the altar of acoustic treatment. There is more to recording than bass traps and foam wedges.

But if you do want a better understanding of HOW your room affects the sound of your recordings (and your mixes), then you should grab a copy of Understanding Your Room.

Blankets are a start, but there’s a LOT more to consider.

www.UnderstandingYourRoom.com

P.S. If you’re just starting out with recording, don’t buy this. I’d rather you focus on YOUR skills first, THEN you can focus on the room. When you’re ready, this course will be here waiting for you.

  • Matt Howard

    Recently i have discovered that more Important than treating your ENTIRE ROOM is to find the spot in your room that sounds best for certain things, i have a place i record acoustics now, a place for glock. a few places for vocals depending on the song, you don’t need to spend a ton of money as long as you take some time to listen. the only crucial place that might need a bit of treatment is your listening environment…

  • eastjeff

    is there a way to take reverb out of a bad vocal recording?. the recording came in bad and it was a late night so we decided to re record it the next day but that led to next week, then next month and so on, and now i cant even find the guy, the song is great if only i could fix his vocals…(note there is no plugin reverb on the track just the untreated room all the other tracks came in fine just the last one)
    we had been there so long every one was dosing off

    • CameronN

       SPL makes a plugin called de-verb, but it probably isn’t worth it for that one song. Just learn from your mistake and move on.

      • CameronN

         Actually, now that I think about it, an expander might work.

  • I concur…don’t wait until you have the perfect room treatment…don’t let the lack of not having it right now stop you from recording. A few years ago I bought some moving blankets to use for sound deadening (they’re really thick). To this day I still use them rather than acoustic squares on the walls when recording with a mic.

    I’ve never had the rightly-treated-for-recording room. I’ve also never received a complaint from listener or music pro regarding the quality of my recordings.

    It’s what you with what you have that matters.

  • Andrew

    Totally agree Joe! People would say I don’t have a fine acoustic room setup (Lowered ceiling to control the reverb time, Bass Traps, Foam wedges, etc) so I should stop recording because I DON’T HAVE THE BEST GEAR TO MAKE A KILLER RECORD…WRONG!

    Stop getting hung up on the gear and work with what you got (I don’t care if you have to close mic everything in your recording session cause you have a cubical of a room). Just record and move on, for eventually you’ll start to say less of this:

    I DON’T HAVE THE BEST GEAR TO MAKE A KILLER RECORD

    And more of this:

    I DON’T NEED THE BEST GEAR TO MAKE A KILLER RECORD

    Now that’s music to my ears. =)

  • Christopher w

    Blankets and the such are fine in my view.

    Yesterday for example I suddenly realized that I was missing a piece of dialogue (luckily my own voice) for a project. I looked in the Recording studios I have access to. Darn, they are all full and recording. Did I just sulk and give up? no way… I went into my bedroom grabbed all my bed stuff and created my own little den.

    The mattress was in a triangle shape and the duvet was draped over it. I grabbed my recording gear, set it going and got the piece recorded. When listening back to it dry it sounds a little “stuffy” but what you can’t hear is all the traffic or dogs barking outside. And when I mixed it in with everything else in the project it sounded pretty much similar to when I recorded the other dialogue parts in a “proper recording studio”

    Of course I’m not saying its the greatest, but it can help a lot more than using nothing.

  • If you want to get a good idea what frequencies a blanket will absorb cover yourself with it. Then have a friend play the instrument you want to record while you’re under the blanket. If you can hear a frequency while under the blanket than it’s not helping you with those frequencies.

    This will at least give you a better idea to that you’re doing to the sound when you hang that blanket in your room.

  • James Connor

    I remember a while back when you were talking about that person who thought you were just making articles these days to plug your products. When I saw that link at the bottom of this one I was about to think the same when I realised “No, it’s just that Joe has a product for every freaking topic!”

    Good point with the room, I’ve been “slumming it” with blankets for the past year or so and I’ve done alright with it but I’m going to make a few rockwool absorbers this year, for looks if anything, although I’m sure the sound will be a mighty plus too!