How to set up rock band rehearsal space??

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Clyngedal, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. Clyngedal

    Clyngedal Senior Member

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    Hi guys! I hope I put this in the right sub-forum...

    I need some help with the layout of my band's rehearsal room, in other words, where to place what!

    I don't know the measurements of the room, and I'm terrible eye-judging lengths, but I'll throw a guess at something like 5x8 meters, so a pretty big rectangular open room.
    But the walls are all concrete, so the acoustic properties of the room are quiet terrible for a loud rock band...(Lots of natural reverb or whatever you'd call it)
    Also, we have a pitched roof, going from something like 1,80m at one of the 5m walls, to probably as high as 4-5m at the opposite wall.

    the t.akustik Noppenschaum 1030 Set - Thomann UK Cyberstore
    Is this the kind of stuff we should cover the room in?



    Now, on to placement of gear..

    Here's the list equipment

    *Drumkit
    *Bass amp with 4x12" cab
    *2x12" guitar combo
    *Guitar amp head with 2x12" cab
    *4 passive speakers
    *3 active wedge monitors

    + mixer&power amplifer for the passive speakers.

    We have 2 main outputs on our mixer - left/right. These go through the power amplifer and on to the passive speakers which are daisy-chained in pairs. Meaning left and right outputs will be 2 speakers each.
    The 3 active monitors are daisy-chained and get their signal from the monitor output of the mixer. (Each monitor has separate EQ and level controls)

    We only use the PA for vocals - mainly just one microphone, sometimes 2.

    How would you guys lay this out? (Of course, the goal here is make it so that all members can hear each other as good as possible)

    We could really need some help with this:thumb:
     
  2. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    That absorption foam will be a waste of time and money. It only attenuates a very limited frequency bandwidth. In a concrete room the absorption coefficient is really really bad, most of the energy stays in the room (which coincidentally makes a concrete room excellent for soundproofing). But acoustic treatment and soundproofing are two completely different things. Fibreglass insulation will do a much better job at taming reflections. I would use rigid fibreglass insulation panels, wrapped in a coarsely woven cloth and mounted to and covering the majority of the wallspace. The most cost effective being a product like Roxul rigid fibreglass. The thicker the better. Use 1" or if budget allows 2" thick panels wrapped in burlap. Burlap is super cheap, wrap the panels yourself and you'll save a lot of money compared to similar commercially available products. These panels will tame a broad spectrum of frequencies. The very low frequencies however will need a different kind of treatment. All depends on your budget. But start with the rigid panels first.
    For a band set-up I usually start with everyone in a circle all facing each other. This is best for when you are jamming, writing, recording or learning new material. You have a connection with everyone else. Eye contact and communication is crucial.
    Once you have your material worked out and you are rehearsing for a live performance, then switch your band set-up so that you are laid out just like you will be on stage, facing out to your imaginary audience, with all of the amps and monitors placed where they will be on stage.
     
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  3. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    I should add that your pitched roof is the best thing about that room. Anything that's asymmetrical in a room is a good thing. I would favour the side of the room with the higher ceiling.
     
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  4. Clyngedal

    Clyngedal Senior Member

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    Thanks for a very informative reply!
    Unfortunately, I don't think we can afford the rigid fiberglass panels :(

    I think our best bet would be to get some heavy carpets and hang them a few centimeters out from the wall. I did read about this somewhere; the idea is that the sound is weakened as it goes through the carpet, reflects of the concrete, and is weakened further as it goes back through the carpet. :thumb:
     
  5. 2themax

    2themax Senior Member

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    Freddy,

    Saw this post and since it's not too old, hoped to get some input from a pro - as I've mentioned before I'm in the formative stages of a band with one of my former bandmates. I was pretty spoiled before having a marina clubroom to use for practice space. Until we get things going I'm using our family room and the acoustics are pretty poor - lot's of windows with a large sliding glass door, sheetrock walls with an 8' flat ceiling. This weekend we were amped way down (VOX AD30 was the largest guitar amp and the drum machine was through a Fender FM25r). I have an older Yamaha MX-66 style PA with matching wedge floor monitors and the overall sound was really harsh and muddy. I was thinking of putting chairs with towels draped over in front of the amps to baffle the output without muffling it.

    It was only two guitars and vocals without the bass player, there were a couple of high points (and a few downright awful ones... :shock:). We were set up with the monitors in front of us.

    This is a simple diagram of the room set up (it's approx. 12' x 25' with the angled wall section). With my wife being stellar about this I really don't want to get into furniture rearranging as this is the family room first. I would sure appreciate any suggestions you might have to make the room more practice friendly.

    Practice room.jpg

    I would like to get it sorted out for the short term, as we do have a bass player and last week a sax player has expressed interest.
     
  6. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Yeah, your situation is totally typical. Practicing in a house is almost always challenging. If it has a lot of hard, reflective surfaces (ie. drywall, glass) and you can't deaden the room with acoustic treatment then the only option is to try to manage your volume way down low....but even then.... 8 foot drywall ceilings are hard to deal with, the full wavelength of 125hz (and related wavelength divisions) rears it's ugly head.
    Years ago when I was having band rehearsal at my friend's basement an interesting thing happened. His basement's ceiling was just open joists, then he closed it up with drywall...boy did the room sound change for the worse.

    Now when I rehearse with my band we try to do it outside of one of our homes. Yes we have to lug our gear there and tear it down but it only takes 15 minutes or so. The rehearsal experience is so much more fulfilling when it doesn't hurt your ears and brain! So finding a good room is always the first consideration when planning rehearsal. You might try asking at your local community centre, church etc. for space to rehearse in. I'm lucky because I can rehearse at my place of work after hours. I'm a sound designer at a theatre complex...one of our theatres is a lovely old Vaudeville era theatre. Sometimes we can rehearse right on stage if nothing is going on. But other times we rehearse in the lounge/bar area in the basement of the theatre. It doesn't sound as good as the stage, but still way better than a smaller residential drywalled room.
    Here's a video clip of our last rehearsal in this theatre...the recording is straight off of the camera mic. You can hear how seperate and distinct everything sounds. Yet even in this room the drummer manages his volume by playing with these weird sticks...they look like a bundle of rods and they produce a much quieter and softer sound from the kit.
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAePOPUlvro"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAePOPUlvro[/ame]
     
  7. 2themax

    2themax Senior Member

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    Thanks Freddy...

    I'm on my communities BOD and we are in the process of building a new community center. Guess who is going to volunteer to sponsor local jam nights?
    On my way in to work today I had a thought that might help in the short term - using the small amps on chairs, amps facing the chair backs with towel dampers draped over the chair backs with a few inches of dead air space between the amps and damper cloth. Also may move the PA to an upright position where the sound doesn't aim at the ceiling.

    I'm very interested in setting up a dead box cab where I could mic an amp at volume into the board. It seems like a good way to take small practices to a headphone mix.

    Appreciate the input...

    Update, thought I'd share some pix of our new center - this has been 5 years in development, we broke ground in December of 2012. It's getting close, hope to have it open by June.

    Winter Weather caused delays completing the grading and foundation, finally starting the building in March.
    Community Center Construction4.jpg

    View from the beach
    Community Center Construction2.jpg

    Cool rock knee wall
    Community Center Construction1.jpg

    I can see some shows going on in here :applause:
    Community Center Construction3.jpg
     

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