Show 179 – Recording in enclosed spaces and more

This week we talk about recording in enclosed spaces, comparing a studio live room to a vocal booth, outdoors and a small bathroom. Randy Coppinger joins us for the fun.

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The weird mic Randy was using on this show, sounds great!

24 thoughts on “Show 179 – Recording in enclosed spaces and more

  1. that altec mic sounded pretty interesting but didn’t exactly amaze me on Randy’s voice. However I’m guessing it’d be great for getting those big airy instrument sounds. It’s definitely weird enough for me to want one.

  2. Hey Guys!

    I’m new hear, but have been really enjoying the shows.

    I recently received a orchestral session that was recorded at the Sydney Opera House. The session consists of a full orchestra and 300 person choir, over 46 tracks. Now, I’ve never done a orchestra mix before, but I am excited to start, if I only knew where.
    I’ve done some research so I have a diagram of a proper orchestra set up for my panning but the bummer is all the tracks are not labeled (of course)
    So any help with where to start and any tips on doing this mix would be great.
    Thanks for the weekly shows. You guys ROCK!
    – Signed,
    Classically Confused in San Diego.

  3. Hey guys…great show again…along the lines of submitting material to the HRS guys, I dont think its a good idea…BUT…one thing I think we could all benefit from on the site…is a section where a shortened version of the sound clip examples from each show could organized. By the way… Jon’s last example with the Bass DI was pretty gnarly!! Put that one in for sure… just an idea…

    Shows have been great lately…keep up the good work!

  4. Holy Shit!!
    Just bought the Mini Mac Server and its awesome!!!!! Boot up time is like less than a second compared to my 14 year old frankensteinPC at 3 minutes, thanks for the advise a few shows back. Now for the shows topic I deal with small spaces all the time when I’m recording. Since I made my setup mobile, I can go anywhere, anytime to the client and get work done as an alternative to a traditional studio, and I have ran into a lot of the problems that you have mentioned. Now back off topic, I recently discovered an app in the app store called Audio Studio Manager. It basically lets you stream line paper work dealing with how much time you spent on a project (included with a time clock) reminders and notes for sessions, client data project’s, and inventory. For a small recording guy like me its the perfect tool. There is a free version and the full version is $4.99 I think? I’ll post theirlinklink at the end of this, thanks again!!

    P.S. Its really hard to go look in thew app store and be temped to buy Logic or PreSonus Studio One 2 Professional with a simple click of the mouse. Mo’ money Mo’ cheeseburgers I guess. Ride the cow…

  5. in Ref. to Ep. 177. DAW talk,
    I was at Best Buy and lucked out because the music instrument part of the store was being moved and everything was 50 to 60% off. So, I picked up an Avid 4×4 Mbox PT10 W/ iLock for 330 bucks Brand New (this was an impulse buy)… Anyway, after re-learning PT (my last version was PT8) I will say PT10 is snappier and a great improvement. BUT, with that said, I also invested in Presonus Studio One Pro. I REALLY like Studio One ALOT..(Melodyne Integration 🙂 ) Its so fast and easy to use, graphics arent as good, but, everything else is AMAZING. I just cant see staying with PT considering its not 64 bit it feels clunky compared to PSOne and for every 2 clicks in PT I can do with 1 in PSOne… PSOne is 64 bit supports AU, VST ect

    Side Note, I will continue, as everybody should, to learn and stay informed on PT.. I feel like they are moving out of the home market and concentrating on the Big Boy market so if you want to work, you should know PT..

    Not trying to sway minds just wanted to get this knowledge out there.. thanks guys yall rock.

  6. I’m glad you guys did a segment about this because I record in small spaces all the time. I’ve recorded in movie theaters, lazer tag arenas, basements, attics, closets, and everything else under the sun. Not to mention I went with the suggestion of getting the Mini Mac Server for recording and so far I’m liking it. There is a few more things for me to get before its record ready like new software plugins ect.. ect.. but its neat so thanks for the suggestion. Since I dove into the App store there is this app called audio studio manager that lets you do estimates, inventory gear log, a time clock that lets you use your dollar an hr rate and adds it up when your done with a session, I think you should check it out. There is a free version and the full version for $4.99, and…. I don’t like the fact that Logic and PreSonus Studio One 2 Professional are in the app store tempting me to just click and buy at any given moment. None the less ride sally ride.

  7. Been having trouble accessing your website so this is a little late but I would encourage Jon, Ryan and everyone else to check out the SonicTalk podcast #277:

    There is an excellent, extensive interview with Darren Price of Underworld talking about how the organized and ran the Olympic Opening Ceremonies including some tech stuff on equipment/software used, logistics, etc. it is truly fascinating and any music/recording enthusiast should enjoy it.

    Next, a while back you guys talked about collaborative software and online collaboration. I can’t remember if Ohm Force was mentioned. They have a really unique collaborative DAW. Check it out:


    Dear Jon & Ryan…. 
    I want to thank you for addressing my question from last weeks show and giving me insight to my errors. I think this is a perfect example of the power this show posses… I followed every bit of detail you guys gave (I must have rewound that part of last weeks show a hundred times) and I’m happy to report that not only did it fix my drum sound but the whole mix in general. Even though I had to start over, I was excited becouse I finally felt I had what Jon pointed out I was missing 
    “A plan!” every tutorial I have watched I for some reason remember so many times hearing to get the levels as hot as you can with out clipping…. So I treated “all” tracks as such. I followed the advice of the the all mighty ones @ THRS, cranked up the overall master volume on my mixer and that way when signals were recorded at modest levels they are still effective and carry weight. I also bought the book “Reaper power” the comprehensive guide. And it states when rehearsing, one should aim for levels of about -10db to -6db. But notice the key word here….  “rehearsing!” so Jon & Ryan. Is that a statement you would both agree on? And what levels changes (if any) should I use when ready to track? I now know the importance of headroom a lot better. So hats off to you fine gents, and here is a 100$ gift donation coming to you. In a perfect world Id wish you two could make a living making this show…. Can you two or anyone out there name a podcast show anywhere close to as detailed, informative, entertaining, and my favorite thanks to Ryan, filled with great humor…. 
    And I quote (it’s the industry’s version of a reach around!) hahaha!!!! Ryan, you should start using that “who” sample more of the long scream of the word YEA!!! I would have lost my shit laughing so hard…. Any way, enough of the penis stroking… You guys are great, and I’m glad y’all got to read a post from me. Ride and choke the chicken….
               Nathan “dogy style” Rice
    PS: to any one of my fellow THRS mates looking to have something to read on the subject of REAPER I HIGHLY recommend this book. “Reaper Power” a comprehensive guide. 

  9. oops, i put this in the wrong week


    I don’t know if this is the correct place to leave a comment that you read out on the show; stumbled on it recently, the show that is, what a goldmine. I drive a bus part time at night in Australia and it really breaks up listening to albums and the insights are fantastic, feel like i know you guys now, as probably do most passengers on the bus, though I probably have a greater affinity for you than they.

    I was wondering if you might be able to talk about or give some advice on balanced and unbalanced connections in outboard / non digital gear. I get very confused especially when it comes to modifying leads, switching the pins / ground etc. I don’t have the capability to modify them myself and I don’t mind buying them but I find that sometimes staff at pro audio shops don’t have a good grasp on the topic either and sometimes if they do know what they’re talking about they start talking about the process in quantum physics terms and my mind fails to grasp what they say.

    It sounds like Ryan is very well versed in these occult practices as you’ve stated that you make up all your own leads.

    Naturally there are many applications and variations but are there any hard and fast rules: I’ve certainly learned 1 – you can’t send a balanced signal from your output bus and have it enter the sound card as an unbalanced signal – it makes a nasty little noise, not hum or hiss but a warning sound noise – like the symptoms you receive when you eat a dicey curry and your stomach starts to emit piercing pain. Warning!!! evacuate etc.

    Are quarter inch TRS cables balanced – do they run @ the same level as XLRs, ie +4? And if you have a trs, (2 rings) on one end of a cable and an xlr on the other is that effectively like having 2 xlrs but just with a different head on one end?

    Why is it that with certain mixer and compressor manuals state you need to wire the pins differently or connect the shied differently for certain applications: do different cable manufactures wire them differently – it never seems to make mention of it on the packet?

    Also, a friend gave me an old POD, I have it leaving my mixer as a send on an unused fx bus and the manual says ideally bring it back in as a balanced stereo return and not on two separate input channels panned hard left and right. This got me worried as I have an old vox effects unit that I use on an aux send so I can access it via different instruments and I have it returning on two input channels, (via xlr) and have it panned hard left and right. The vox unit is quite noisy but when i tried bringing it back in on a stereo channel with trs cables it was just the same but I needed to use more gain to get the same level as when it came back in on the XLRs and to 2 independent channels – there was no change in the tonal characteristic or noise floor.

    And when leaving a channel via insert can you piggy back an external eq and compressor into the chain or can you only have one device per channel insert?

    if you don’t think you can answer this on the show do u reckon you could point me in the direction of a website where it is well explained.

    I go now – keep up the great work…and bring back the theory guy – that was a superb show.


  10. GSAA

    This is another one of the invaluable shows for me. Im not sure if this makes sense or if i am making shit up again,but one of the things i picked up on was the differences in ‘capsule compression’. (i just made that one up but the neologist in me thinks its some where in the ball park) I think that usually shows up as clipping but is it possible to “over drive” a mic capsule with out actually clipping the signal. If so is this the same kinda thing that goes on with cheaper mics? I heard it once or twice in the live room and didn’t hear it at all in the out side example. I think the other two examples basically washed it out by keeping it over driven.


  11. Hey guys, just a quick clarification about iso cabinets. First, if you tune the port, the only frequencies that will come out it are the lower frequencies that are generally below what the guitar can reach and they aren’t that lad. It is more about air pressure differences. But the point is, you can stuff the port with acoustistuf and not very much is going to get out. That isn’t expensive at all. Secondly, you don’t necessarily put the cab in the room you’re recording in. You can put it in the control room but the volume is so reduced you won’t hear it in the other room. Now as to re-amping instead, the iso track isn’t necessarily a throw away and at the least is used for a rhythm track and then overdub other parts. But if you design the cabinet for the speaker and use a good speaker, it works very well.

    Okay, I’m confused for my second comment. When I listened to the tracks, it was the vocal booth that had the widest frequency response and had more bottom. It was the live room and even the outdoor track (but not as much) that immediately sounded rather thin and over compressed. All the bottom end was squashed out and they had a narrow, almost tinny sound at times, even the distorted track. Maybe they ended up in a different order in the podcast, but on my system, and on both sets of my monitors and my main stereo/home theater system, all of which include tuned subs, it was the third track that had the fullest, best sound with the most bottom. It did sound somewhat compressed, but no where near as much as the other two. Is it possible the third track is actually the live room? Either way, that is what they sounded like at my place.

  12. Hello My Most Eagerly Anticipated Podcast of the Week( or Meapowk)
    Love your work etc etc
    Would it be possible to put the audio files from Ryan.s sound test (re Show 179) up for download. The reason being that when I listen to the pod either through my laptop or in headphones its hard to hear all the subtle detail. I dont even think its stereo so its hard to know what is going on sonically. Maybe you already do this. If so ignore
    Steve from Ireland

  13. I was really happy when I came to the same conclusion as you guys with the recording in that bathroom. Before you commented on it I was absolutely clear in my mind that the clean guitar sounded really nice but the distorted guitar sounded all messed up.
    Ryan i’m glad you have mastered your tool, but how are you going with your DAW?.
    Also, I think that chicken will have to watch out as i’m favouring the cricket at this point as the new mascot. GSAA. Paul.

  14. Guys,

    That show was an eyeopener for me. I do a lot of online collab/sidemen stuff I usually listen to my tracks in isolation to check for things as I think it is what my clients/friends will listen to.

    I record in a room that is roughly 20×20 feet with a 13 foot ceiling.

    My philosophy so far was heavy damping. micscreen plus moving blankets on top of the micscreen. I record using a diy ribbon mic, so I thought I would have to get around the Figure 8 problem.

    Yesterday, I recorded without anything just placing the mic. It actually sounds so much better. Thank you.

    Regarding your site problem I think most people will never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down…

    Keep it up guys,

    PS: and yes, you’ve been rickrolled there, but I guess in this case it even makes sense. 😉

  15. ok… after Jon explained about rickrolling, I may also contribute something useful.

    To get a better idea of your room sound It is always a good idea to make some acoustic measurements in your room.

    Measurement mics are quiet cheaply to obtain around 50 USD. Even if you don’t want to buy one chances are that a friend has one lying around (I don’t even know where mine is).

    There is a free tool called Room EQ wizard that will do the trick. Check in multiple places in your recording space. Good starting point are corners, listening position as well as well as the centre of the room. Doing a full spectrum frequency sweep through your monitors you can determine which frequencies are emphasised by your room. You can do a reverberation profile of your room… aaaand there is a ton of other things you can do. In a nutshell: Knowing your room acousticwise is always a good idea.

    Also a nice thing to check if your room treatment did what it is supposed to do.

    keep it up,

  16. Pingback: Mic #8 Answer « Randy Coppinger

  17. Wow! Ok I just had to say that I thought the microphone Randy was using sounded really good on his voice! Great demonstration when he moved the blanket over his head to deaden the sound. I couldn’t help but to imagine myself recording such a demonstration, alone, and my wife walking in on me with a blanket over my head talking to myself.

    And omg. I might have to do a voice over recording of the written text on that microphone brochure. Old time radio guy for sure. Yea, that’s the kind of shit I would do for fun. Is that sad? Maybe.


  18. Dome shaped studio:

    What are your thoughts on building a studio in a dome shaped house. A while back I found cheap manufactured dome housing made of fiberglass and was curious about what the implications of building a studio inside would be. I know square shaped rooms have issues and we try to avoid bouncing soundwaves by adding room treatment, but what if one (or all) of the walls are spherical? Thoughts?

    Also, here’s the link to the dome houses:

    They are just about cheaper than buying a trailer, And they are fireproof and bulletproof. I kind of want to put one in my backyard one day.

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