Room Sound - What's Going On?

zambizzi

Platinum Member
I searched around but didn't find any solid info for my particular situation.

Some of you may have seen my thread about the drum room I built. Well, we moved to a new house and I tore down and re-built what is essentially the same room.

However, this one sounds terrible....I mean...absolutely *TERRIBLE*.

I've been putting up with it for months now but I'm finally at the point where I think I need to re-think the internal room treatments to improve it before I lose my mind. :p

The problem; bass frequencies are nearly non-existent. I'm playing very high-end drums that sound great everywhere else, so I'm positive I'm tuning them well. If I play in the house, my bass drum literally moves the air in the room. Stand in front of it and you're bound to lower your chances of having children. Take the same drum into my practice room and it sounds like a $10 cardboard box....wet....and filled with blankets.

Here's the old room:

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37523

The new one is essentially the same...but in a different garage. We tore down the old walls and built them into a small, detached garage at our new place. It's roughly the same size but is shaped a little more rectangular than the old one.

Here are the only differences:

- No carpet padding, just a layer of carpet over the cement foundation.
- Padding isn't wrapped around the bottom-half of the room like before, but rather in vertical strips (twin mattress size) scattered around the room.
- Celing in new room is styrofoam insulation over "sound board", old room had a flat, drywall celing.
- New room has no windows, old room had two (with padded covers to cut external volume)

I've moved some of the wall treatments around and added small foam blocks here-and-there but nothing seems to change. I can't help but think the floor is the biggest culprit? I know the ceiling is not ideal either...it wasn't my idea and was really all I could afford with what was left of my budget.

Also, the trusses are very old in this garage and they won't hold a lot of weight...so we did the best we could with what we had to work with.

Could the carpet padding have added to the "warmth" of the room? It seems that all of that warmth is completely gone now. It's a dead space.
 

Vipercussionist

Silver Member
Well, it's not EXACT so don't expect EXACT beck at you. Cure as many of THESE things as is poassible, and it'll most likely be better:

Here are the only differences:

- No carpet padding, just a layer of carpet over the cement foundation. (NOT ENOUGH TO GET THE EFFECT OF THE OLD ROOM)
- Padding isn't wrapped around the bottom-half of the room like before, but rather in vertical strips (twin mattress size) scattered around the room. (WRAP IT AROUND JUST LIKE BEFORE, WITH VERTICAL STRIPS TOO)
- Celing in new room is styrofoam insulation over "sound board", old room had a flat, drywall celing. (SOUNDS LIKE THIS IS A BETTER SOLUTION ANYWAY)
- New room has no windows, old room had two (with padded covers to cut external volume) (MAKE PANELS OF FOAM TO IMITATE THE WINDOW PLUGS)
That will be MORE like the original room and I'd think it would help.
.
.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
do you still have your drums in the corner like they were in the old room? corners are bass magnifiers so if you have your kit in the corner you'll hear more bass.

if it sounds too dead, maybe you have too much padding and carpet in there. for example, the drum room where i take lessons has a tremendous amount of muffling and it sounds extremely dead. it may also have to do with the composition of the walls and ceiling. i'll bet they're made of different materials than your old room.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Something is acting like a bass trap.
Although based on your description, it's rather hard to tell what it would be.
Something about the floor is sucking up all the bass frequencies.

You could try to get 4X4 or 4x8 plywood, and bring in and move it around to create more reflection inside the room without compromising the sound proofing effect you have.
Or put plywood under your kit.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Yep, drums are still in the corner, pointing at the opposite, diagonal corner. The walls are the same material (salvaged from the old room) and I even used the same glue. The only differences are the ones that I outlined in my OP.

Like I said, there's *less* padding on the inside of this room. There is none on the ceiling (just the layer of styrofoam insulation) and the floors have no padding now...just carpet over concrete.

I thought about building a riser but it's not exactly cheap and there's no guarantee it'll really help. I could build a floor for the entire room but obviously that's even more expensive.

What's *really* bizarre is; there's already more reflection in the room than I want. I hear too much echo as it is. But, low frequencies are getting gobbled up somewhere. They're just not present in the room.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Holy bass frequencies Batman. Build a riser, 75 USD should do it! 5/8 or 1" plywood and some 2x4's and screws. That should act like a subwoofer.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
The observation about corner effect is very relevant. The kit positioned in the corner will generate more bottom end but not necessarily heard when sitting on the kit. You may wish to consider exaggerating this effect by sloping the roof to 45 degrees along 1 or more walls. Your observation about reflection is interesting. This suggests the level of dampening in the room is far less than before. When the room introduces an echo to the sound, it looses definition. This makes the sound less cohesive or less tight. Soundwaves rebounding off surfaces meet somewhere in the wash and defeat each other to some degree. Imagine setting your kit up in a church hall. You'd be unlikely to hear much bottom end from the drums. I think your new room is suffering from this effect to some extent. If your old room was as dead as hell & the new one isn't, I think you know what direction to follow.
 

drumtechdad

Gold Member
Call me Captain Obvious, but the first thing to do is to try the bass drum in various locations in the room, both with yourself at the pedal and with someone else while you listen from a few feet away. Bass modes in a room depend on the physical location of the source of the bass note and the location of your ears.

That said, it could simply be that the walls in your new space are less rigid, therefore absorbing more bass energy rather than reflecting it back.

Moving sound absorbers (blankets, carpets, etc.) will have little effect, because they don't operate at bass frequencies.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Thanks guys, good info.

I have tried moving the drum around in the room, having band-mates hammer on it for me. The room just sounds weird and the drums don't sound like they do anywhere else.

It seems obvious to do the room treatments exactly like they were in the last room though, since they're not dramatically different now - I'm not sure what difference it would make.

The walls in this room are built slightly different *inside*. This would should be more resonant and warm, if anything...but it's not. The old room was built inside of the third bay of my garage and had standard walls with soundboard stuffed inside of it. This room is one layer of sound board over the studs, vertical 2x2" boards every few feet, another layer of sound board and finally, a layer of plywood over that. This allowed a "cushioned" layer of blank space between the walls, cutting the volume externally.

I still think the lack of carpet padding and the styrofoam ceiling are playing the biggest roles. I might just try a thin layer of padding beneath the carpet again...and maybe some dampening along the ceiling.

Maybe leaving the corners completely bare would allow some buildup, too.
 

Chonson

Senior Member
Have you walked around in the room to see if there are any spots where the bass is louder? You may have some standing waves that are causing bass to cancel out in spots.
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
That styrafoam ceiling may be having a bigger impact then you think. Your old room had a dry wall ceiling which reflected sound where the styrafoam is now sucking up sound. You said in your old room description you did 8" walls did you do that here?
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
That styrafoam ceiling may be having a bigger impact then you think. Your old room had a dry wall ceiling which reflected sound where the styrafoam is now sucking up sound. You said in your old room description you did 8" walls did you do that here?
I wondered about that. I'm going to get some sheets of that thin, hard white paneling and layer it over the foam. It'll be far more reflective at that point but then I could control the amount of muffling in the room at that point.

Thanks for pointing it out.

The walls are probably thicker here, honestly. Otherwise, internally, they're nearly identical.
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
I wondered about that. I'm going to get some sheets of that thin, hard white paneling and layer it over the foam. It'll be far more reflective at that point but then I could control the amount of muffling in the room at that point.

Thanks for pointing it out.

The walls are probably thicker here, honestly. Otherwise, internally, they're nearly identical.
Cost wise you might want to see how much 1/4" drywall would be.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Cost wise you might want to see how much 1/4" drywall would be.
OH! I didn't mention, there's a caveat here. The trusses are very old in this garage and won't support much weight. My father-in-law, who helped me build the room, was a roofer for most of his adult life. He said that tacking any more than what we've got on there might be heavy enough to bring the trusses down.

Guess I should have mentioned that first. That's why I mentioned that thin, laminated paneling instead.

My first choice would have been a suspended ceiling made from the same sound board and plywood that the walls were done with....or even drywall.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Maybe leaving the corners completely bare would allow some buildup, too.
I thought corners were bass traps, meaning bass gets lost there, and stuffing your corners with something that basically inverts its shape from a corner to a pyramid would be more the route to take. Of course, that's just my logic which is probably flawed
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
I thought corners were bass traps, meaning bass gets lost there, and stuffing your corners with something that basically inverts its shape from a corner to a pyramid would be more the route to take. Of course, that's just my logic which is probably flawed
Is that how it goes? If so, I've got it backwards. I have a sound engineer buddy that told me bass will build up in the corners if left untreated and cause the room to sound more bass-heavy than it should. He told me that stuffing anything in the corners will cut down the built-up and cut the bass frequencies in the room.

I don't claim to know better one way or another, that's just what I was told.

Maybe someone else can chime in and help clarify?
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
Is that how it goes? If so, I've got it backwards. I have a sound engineer buddy that told me bass will build up in the corners if left untreated and cause the room to sound more bass-heavy than it should. He told me that stuffing anything in the corners will cut down the built-up and cut the bass frequencies in the room.

I don't claim to know better one way or another, that's just what I was told.

Maybe someone else can chime in and help clarify?

Yeah that's why they make corner bass traps, not to amplify the bass but tone it down and control it more. Corners are nasty areas for bass build up and reflection.


You did mention the trusses but didn't know if you had considered a thinner drywall than 1/2 or 5/8. Man if they are that bad I seriously think about doing something to try and reinforce them a little! Just for your safety and that of your kit!
 

elpol

Senior Member
low frequencies tend to collect in corners. they are slow and don't reflect as well or as fast as higher frequencies. very difficult to deal with. parallel surfaces only exacerbate the problem because there is no diffusion occurring. (next time you're in a decent studio, notice how much room shaping and diffusers are used to 'tune' the environment).

i think konaboy nailed the primary culprit: your ceiling. those big, lazy bass frequencies just flow right thru styrofoam, hence, no reflection and no trapping of those delightfully boomy lows. putting more padding under your carpet will make it worse, not better. you need some reflection if you want those bass frequencies back.
 
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