Rehearsal Space

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Rehearsal Space

Postby Emoto » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:54 am

Hi guys,

I didn't see a thread on this, so I opened one. What kind of spaces do you guys use for electrified band rehearsals? Are you using space in your home, or renting rehearsal space? Have you made any changes to the space to make it better for practice?

I am in the process of setting up a space in my house. It is in the lower level of a split-level house, so is kind of half underground. The walls and ceiling are finished, but the floor is bare concrete. I've put down an area rug that covers most of the floor, to make it more comfortable on the feet and the ears. Have a PA set up, and may drag in some old recording gear that I have, although the Zoom H2 will probably suffice for random practice recordings.

The one thing that has always been a little tricky in the past in other places has been getting uncluttered enough sound so that everything is heard clearly. I am looking at different solutions for this, in the form of sound deadening materials. Are you guys using anything for this, and if so, does it work? So far, I have yet to find anyone who thinks that "egg-crate" or other foam is worth a damn. Opinions?

As I poke around and talk to people, I am finding that some folks are building "traps" with things like acoustic ceiling tiles, and putting them around their rooms in wall/ceiling corners and wall corners. Some swear that these really work well. Armstrong 3155 seems to be the favorite for the do-it-yourself crowd. Here is a commercial site with some ready-made examples, but the pics are interesting from an installation standpoint: http://www.realtraps.com/products.htm#RFZ Anyone here done anything like that?

Any other thoughts or tricks to make the rehearsal space work well?
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Postby Jon S. » Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:16 am

A picture's worth a thousand words.

If you're planning on doing CD-level recording, that's a different story, but for plain old fashion practicing, I'm just fine with my wall-to-wall carpeting, furniture, and assorted other stuff in the space to break up the surfaces with area and texture. I have no need whatsoever to spend a penny more on fancy foam products.

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Postby Tennessee Jedi » Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:49 am

The one thing that has always been a little tricky in the past in other places has been getting uncluttered enough sound so that everything is heard clearly.

Yeah this is always an issue for me.
From a players standpoint and a recording standpoint.
I have to have my amp at a certain level.Vocal moniters sometime help if you got the room.
The H2 ....
In one place I jam (which is a bank barn room with a concrete floor and huge) I place it ( H4 )in the back far away.I mic anything I really want to hear on playback, like keys.I play loud so I try to place the unit on the other side of the room.Works good for practice tapes.I would prefer to mic everything but thats a pain.
I also jam with some guys in a real small space and I dont think any amount of foam panels would help.
When I hear playbacks it always sounds better than when we played it,if that makes any sense.
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Postby Emoto » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:09 am

Tennessee Jedi wrote:
The one thing that has always been a little tricky in the past in other places has been getting uncluttered enough sound so that everything is heard clearly.

Yeah this is always an issue for me.
From a players standpoint and a recording standpoint.
I have to have my amp at a certain level.Vocal moniters sometime help if you got the room.
The H2 ....
In one place I jam (which is a bank barn room with a concrete floor and huge) I place it ( H4 )in the back far away.I mic anything I really want to hear on playback, like keys.I play loud so I try to place the unit on the other side of the room.Works good for practice tapes.I would prefer to mic everything but thats a pain.
I also jam with some guys in a real small space and I dont think any amount of foam panels would help.
When I hear playbacks it always sounds better than when we played it,if that makes any sense.


You're right; I think some spaces are so cramped that they will never sound very good.

I do know what you mean about the recordings being better than the sound in the room sometimes.

My goal would be to get the room sounding good. I can't spend a ton of money to do it, but if my research and what someone I know well told me is to be believed (an engineer who did sound professionally for a few years for national acts and has really great ears) I may be able to significantly improve the sound in my practice room for not a whole lot.

I figure, the better the sound is in the practice room, the better the chance of something good happening musically.
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Postby Tennessee Jedi » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:20 am

I like to get all amps facing the same way.
Could help a little.
If its possible I like to set up as if it was a gig.
Instead of facing the crowd though I try to set it up where the singers/guitars are facing the band and looking at their amps and drums.We have a lot of room though.
My buddy does the sound in the small room and has that down good.
I feel like those foam sound proofing things can work but maybe not as well in a "home situation".
A concrete floor is a concrete floor.
Crappy windows are crappy windows.
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Postby tigerstrat » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:49 am

If you didn't start this thread, I was just about to. Rehearsal (prac) space recently became a consideration for me after a personnel change involving the prac host...

...directly coinciding with my current home project to weather seal my semi-rundown garage before the NW rains set in for the next 9 months as a dry place to store gear, tools, etc... so I am expanding my project from "fixed-up garage/shed" to full-blown "finished studio".

So it was going to be just a new garage door and seal, and replace the side door. Now, It'll be insulated and drywalled, and whatever acoustic improvements I can make, and I'm starting the big clean-out preparation, pretty much today.

Actual egg crates are totally useless. :lol: I remember trying to do a place like that as a young kid; lot of work for almost no effect. Well-designed traps do make a big difference. And as far as noise issues, heavily insulated walls, and ways to cover and insulate windows and doors are key.
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Postby Capt Rosebuddy » Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:23 am

Are we talking about soundproofing or just getting a good sounding room? I would have to whole heartily agree w/ Mr. TStrat that egg crates suck. Growing up as a drummer makingnoise was a big problem at my parents house. My dad and built a small riser filled it with foam and then hung ceiling tiles on all surfaces of a walk in closet that I was using to practice in. We covered the ceiling tiles with egg crate and it did very little in terms of reducing the noise that leaked out into the rest of the house. To this day if any of my immediate family hears "Good Times Bad Times" they always think of me.

Anyway I have come the believe that it's really impossible to realistically soundproof a space without spending a fortune. In terms of getting a room up to snuff acoustically I would suggest
some acoustic foam panels on the walls and ceiling and a wall to wall carpet to deaden the sound. Again from a former drummer's perspective it sucks to have to play the volume tug of war
in a room that has a tendency to echo the sound it just makes it louder and louder and sounds awful. In my last band we got around this by miking the drums for practice exactly the way
we did out at a gig. It served two effects; one was that it helped beef up the tone of the crappy kit I was playing by running the signal thru the EQ, and two leveled out the volume of the rest of the band. It really worked great but like everything else cost was an issue because we had to buy extra mikes and a snake.
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Postby Emoto » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:29 am

I'm not terribly concerned about sound-proofing. My concern is more about how things sound inside the room to the people playing.
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Postby strumminsix » Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:20 pm

Emoto wrote:I'm not terribly concerned about sound-proofing. My concern is more about how things sound inside the room to the people playing.


I dont' think I understand your posts, dude.

If you cannot get people to sound good in a basement when no soundproofing is required you are likely gonna have a helluva time on stage.

My point also hinges on your point of not recording but "My goal would be to get the room sounding good."

I've rehearsed all lined up like stage, facing each other in a circle, stacked up, around furniture, etc and getting a decent room mix is not a problem.

Now for recording yes, huge basement problems. IMO you only have 3 choices:
- use preamp/modellers
- isolation rooms/boxes
- amp shields to deflect sound
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Postby tigerstrat » Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:31 pm

I'm more concerned with not becoming a nuisance to my neighboring houses.

One decision I'm slightly unsure of is whether to do a drop ceiling from the roof beams and lay insulation over that, or to go up and insulate & drywall the roof peak.
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Postby Emoto » Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:59 pm

strumminsix wrote:
Emoto wrote:I'm not terribly concerned about sound-proofing. My concern is more about how things sound inside the room to the people playing.


I dont' think I understand your posts, dude.

If you cannot get people to sound good in a basement when no soundproofing is required you are likely gonna have a helluva time on stage.

My point also hinges on your point of not recording but "My goal would be to get the room sounding good."

I've rehearsed all lined up like stage, facing each other in a circle, stacked up, around furniture, etc and getting a decent room mix is not a problem.

Now for recording yes, huge basement problems. IMO you only have 3 choices:
- use preamp/modellers
- isolation rooms/boxes
- amp shields to deflect sound


Ok, let me re-state and try to be more clear. First, a little definition of terms...

Soundproofing is defined as preventing sound from leaving a room. Soundproofing is something you might do if you are loud enough to annoy your neighbors. For example, if you live in an apartment building you would need to soundproof your room so that the neighbors wouldn't complain about the sound that leaks out of your apartment into theirs when you play loud music.

Soundproofing may or may not have an effect on the quality of sound within a room, but that is not its purpose. Soundproofing's purpose is to prevent sound from escaping a room.

I am not interested in soundproofing. I don't think my neighbors will be bothered.

What am I interested in? Well...

Each room has a sort of sonic signature. Different parts of the frequency spectrum are absorbed or reflected to different degrees. These variations in absorption and reflection affect the quality of any sound made in the room.

When amplified music is played in a room, particularly at the volumes necessary to compete with drums and make amps work properly, the sonic signature of a room can degrade the clarity of sound.

Yes, one can point the amps this way or that, tune out some of the mud with eq, etc., but starting off with a neutral room is even better.

It is this sonic signature of the room that I am trying to affect and improve. Yes, carpets or rugs and soft furniture help. But, they only go so far. I want to take it to the next level by adding some good traps.

Given the intense level of scrutiny that even the tiniest aspect of the Dead's gear gets here, I had imagined that this area had also be explored. Maybe not, though. At any rate, I am going to build four 2'x 4' traps and put them in my practice room and see what they do. I have heard very good things about this approach from someone whose ears I trust.
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Postby strumminsix » Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:39 pm

Ahhh, okay, thank you! Now I get what you are saying.

Looking for a neutral eutopia where sounds are exactly deadened by the walls but not reflected either and consistency throughout the room.

Wow. Never sought that out before.

Guess I just got used to playing in less than ideal jam spots but they've always been free so never worried about it.

From what little I know on this topic here are my thoughts:
- beware of standing waves. face amps at an angle to the wall
- some spots will need deadeners (egg crate foam) and others something less severe like maybe a wool army blanket
- using floor monitors when rehearsing is both good practice for the stage as well as waves and angles and volume and relation to mics

all i can offer besides a wish of luck!
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Postby Emoto » Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:04 pm

strumminsix wrote:Ahhh, okay, thank you! Now I get what you are saying.

Looking for a neutral eutopia where sounds are exactly deadened by the walls but not reflected either and consistency throughout the room.

Wow. Never sought that out before.

Guess I just got used to playing in less than ideal jam spots but they've always been free so never worried about it.

From what little I know on this topic here are my thoughts:
- beware of standing waves. face amps at an angle to the wall
- some spots will need deadeners (egg crate foam) and others something less severe like maybe a wool army blanket
- using floor monitors when rehearsing is both good practice for the stage as well as waves and angles and volume and relation to mics

all i can offer besides a wish of luck!


Thanks! This wasn't anything I really thought about until recently either. But, for months now, I've been hearing about what a great difference it made in my friend's practice room.

He was playing with some guys and they were doing things with complex vocal harmonies including some Crosby, Stills, and Nash stuff (and doing it well), and he couldn't believe how much better the traps or baffles made it, so I decided to give it a try.
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Postby Jon S. » Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:53 pm

Sometimes you have to say something twice to be heard: wall-to-wall carpeting, furniture, and assorted other stuff in the space can do a fine job of breaking up the sound surfaces (floors, walls) with area and texture. You may have no need whatsoever to spend a penny more on fancy foam products the same as me but you won't know until you try. Then again, I understand some folks just love buying and installing new "stuff" whenever they have a chance. If that's you, by all means, don't move a chair, add a rug, or hang a sheet, buy hundreds of dollars worth of foam and have fun attaching it.
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Postby Emoto » Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:14 pm

Jon S. wrote: Sometimes you have to say something twice to be heard: wall-to-wall carpeting, furniture, and assorted other stuff in the space can do a fine job of breaking up the sound surfaces (floors, walls) with area and texture.


Indeed:

Emoto wrote:Yes, carpets or rugs and soft furniture help.


:lol:

Jon S. wrote:You may have no need whatsoever to spend a penny more on fancy foam products the same as me but you won't know until you try. Then again, I understand some folks just love buying and installing new "stuff" whenever they have a chance. If that's you, by all means, don't move a chair, add a rug, or hang a sheet, buy hundreds of dollars worth of foam and have fun attaching it.


You make a fair point.

I did mention the rug that I put down. I didn't mention the (soft cloth) furniture I have in the room. Nor, did I mention that the room sound isn't very good right now even with just an electric guitar and voice.

I did mention that I haven't found anyone who thinks the (expensive) foam is worth anything. True, I didn't explicitly say that I wouldn't be buying any, but I kind of figured that saying it wasn't worth a damn strongly implied that.

What I did say was that a specific Armstrong tile supposedly did a really good job, and that people I respected made traps with it and they worked well.

Unless you knew me, you wouldn't know, but I am pretty frugal. I work hard for my money and don't have a ton of it to throw around. That is one of the reasons that I started this thread - so maybe I could learn from people who have already been down this road...
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