Topic: Where do you guys record?

I’ve just started posting a few acoustic songs on youtube using a mobile, I’ve also just started experimenting using the Audacity software to get some sounds down. 

I’m hardly going to convert my spare room into Abbey Road Studios but what’s the best environment to record?  I’ve always assumed recording studious have soft walls and ceilings to stop sound bouncing around but a lot of “amateur† videos I see people are in bathrooms, washrooms where I'd guess sound would bounce around quite a bit?  I know a busker will always sound better in a subway but I assumed for recording purposes echo’s are a bad thing?

I guess I’m asking bathroom or bedroom?

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Re: Where do you guys record?

Hi crevs it might get a little tight in my bathroom and I think the reason most people record in a bathroom is the natural reverb sound of being in a small enclosure without anything to absorb the sound like furniture or rugs because they absorb sound its like a empty hall or warehouse there is nothing to absorb the sound and it bounces back,I record in my living room with headphones and I can control the sound going in if I want reverb (delay) or echo (repeat) I can add it later but sometimes I add it at the beginning depending on the song.Reverb and echo are similar in a subway with only concrete walls and flooring there's nothing to absorb the sound but its the same as an empty club when you first do a sound check your volume levels are set but when people jam into the club they absorb sound and the levels are adjusted I guess it all comes down to if you like the sound in a bathroom record there smile

"Growing old is not for sissies"

Re: Where do you guys record?

Hi crevs
Recording in the bathroom maybe a little uncomfortable and dangerous with all that water flying around…. smile
I record in a spare bedroom and impart all I need in the way FX (reverb echo etc) with the software I use.
I think all the budding amateur needs for recording is a quiet environment..

Re: Where do you guys record?

hi crevs,

for a live sound, a subway or bathroom are great, for the reverb. but when you do a "proper" recording, you will want to control the sound and the effects, eg; you may want echo on the guitar but the vocals may sound better flat [no fx's] so you would do a multi-layered recording, with all tracks flat. then add the fxs later, even down to distortion on the guitar, so you can control echo/reverb etc and the levels; vocals up, drums lower down in the mix.

myself, i do my recordings in the front room, it's jam packed with furniture and the floor is carpeted so the sound is dead, which is ideal for recording. i know bands that have gone to the extremes of nailing egg boxes to the walls to get the dead sound. different strokes...

yechid dda


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Re: Where do you guys record?

I understand that the difference between reverb and delay is the decay time but when should you use which ?

In terms of vocals I tend to use delay with a little reverb (sometimes). In terms of acoustic guitar I sometimes use a little reverb to push it back in the mix.

I know that it all depends but what delay times do you use and what combinations of delay and reverb ?


Re: Where do you guys record?

milkshead there really is no set time its just a matter of personal taste there are many songs that use delay for effect in the vocals and some reverb it comes down to what sounds good to your ear smile

"Growing old is not for sissies"

7 (edited by Stonebridge 2009-07-18 16:30:11)

Re: Where do you guys record?

Delay is a single echo. In other words, it is a copy of, for example, the vocal which is heard slightly later than the original live sound. In the simplest case you can control the delay time - what fraction of a second the delayed sound comes after the original, and the delay volume - how loud the delayed sound is compared to the original. Delay is really an effect.
Reverb is more complex. It consists of multiple echos or delays applied to the sound. It is meant to simulate how the listener would hear the sound in a room or hall, for example. In this case the listener would hear the original sound first, and then the sound after it has bounced off the walls and ceilings a number of times.
The idea of reverb is that it places the sound in a "room" or "environment" when you use it.
The bathroom is a real environment with multiple echoes and so gives you a reverb.
In my recordings I place echo on instruments on their individual tracks depending on what sounds good. Vocals alway need a little echo/delay. Solo instruments too. Pianos in particular and guitars when picked need careful treatment. Too much echo can muddy the sound.
I only place reverb on the final mix. This places the whole performance in a "room" and gives it life.
The reason I don't usually place reverb on individual tracks is that it can make them sound like they were recorded in different "rooms".
That's just my technique. I'm sure others have different techniques.
If you have an acoustically dead environment and the facilities to add these effects later then I would say do it.
If you have to record in the bedroom, add the reverb, if you have it, later.
If you have to record in the bathroom, you are stuck with the reverb for ever and can never remove it.
Hope this helps.
I forgot to add this.
Delay time is important if you apply the delay to a rhythmic track.
As an example, if you have a snare drum that is being hit on every beat and the song is going at 120 beats per minute, then your snare is hit twice every second. If you put delay or echo on that, you do not want the delayed sound of each snare hit to run into the sound of the next hit. For this reason you would never use a delay time of more that half a second. (500ms). In fact you would possibly use one of a quarter second (250ms) so that the delayed sound also falls at a regular point in the rhythm. In this case exactly half way between the two snare hits.

Re: Where do you guys record?

Many thanks for your replies guys esp your very comprehensive reply Stonebridge.

It seems to me that most of recording is about compromises. For me I am  finding that I can use the reverb to place instruments forward and behind each other to give the recording more depth. Again for me this seems more important than getting them to have the same "acoustic" ie being in the same room. what is your opinion ?

I am intrigued with regard to the delay time and the number of beats per minute issue. I have heard this before but i dont quite get it. Is there anywhere that explain this on the net ?

9 (edited by Stonebridge 2009-07-27 08:23:38)

Re: Where do you guys record?

What you do depends a lot on what equipment/fx you have available, what recording equipment you use, and what instruments you are recording. I could only answer for my own setup. There is nothing "wrong" with putting reverb on individual instruments.
My comment about different "rooms" was just my own preference for when building up a recording on a multitracker.
If you have no effects then recording a track the bathroom is a way to get reverb if you are using a mic to record acoustic instruments or voice. Once recorded, the reverb is always there and can never be removed. Moving the mike nearer or further from the source will reduce/increase the amount of reverb recorded. In this case, the reverb is put on each track. It's not really practical to try to put reverb on the whole final mix in the bathroom.
If you have sufficient effects (reverb and delay/echo) and the recording equipment to do it, I always recommend these FX are placed on afterwards and the sound is recorded initially "dry". (Or as dry as possible within the room you have).
As to what effect to use on what... I agree with the other guys really. Listen to what you think sounds right.
There are some general guidelines. I always say that it's probably better to use a little less than too much. It's very easy to get carried away and overdo the effect. You don't want your recording to be swimming in reverb and echo.
The voice always sounds better with some echo or delay added (in addition to the reverb).
In general, instruments like flutes and violins when playing a melody will benefit from some echo or delay.
As I said in my other post, you need to be careful when putting echo/delay (and in some cases reverb) on rhythmical instruments or tracks.
This is because the delayed sound interacts with the original.
I personally never put echo/delay on a bass guitar, for example, and usually only a little reverb if it seems to need it. The reverb or echo from a bass track can easily swamp the whole mix if you are not careful.
I had a look on the web for sites to explain the delay time and beats per second issue. They all go on about mathematical equations and generally make it even more complicated.
What it boils down to is that the listener will hear a beat, say a snare, twice a second, shall we say. (This is 120 beats per minute, 2 beats per second)
If you put a delay/echo on that, the listener will also hear the echo just after the original sound. How long after depends on the delay time. You need to make sure that the delay time is such that the echo comes before the next beat.
In my example, the echo must come in less than half a second. Most delay/echo units have an adjustment to do this. Just turn it down untill you hear the echo clearly coming in before the next beat. Exactly where the echo happens is up to you. What sounds right.
Reverb is different. The reverb time is a measure of how the reverb sound "decays". In a large hall or cave the reverb lasts a long time before it slowly dies away. In a smaller room the reverb dies away more quickly. Reverb is made up of multiple echoes.
Of course, in a bathroom (not usually very large) the reverb dies down more slowly because the smooth walls create multiple echoes.
Increasing the decay time on a reverb, puts the sound in a larger space.
Increasing the "amount" of reverb (compared to the volume of the original sound) places the sound further back in the mix. It's like moving the mike away from the instrument you are recording and picking up less of the original instrument, and more of the sound from the environment.
I'll stop here because this is starting to sound like a tutorial!
I hope it has been of some help. Remember, use your ears to judge the final sound. But don't overdo the effects!

Re: Where do you guys record?

Many thanks for your excellent and informative reply Stonebridge. This should keep me busy for a while (perhaps until retirement ?).