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Thread: Room Acoustics

  1. #1
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    Default Room Acoustics

    Playing inside a room is optimal. That being said, not all rooms are equally optimal. I think the idea behind playing inside is to make the most of reflected sound. Oh, I know that recording studios and concert halls seem to be all about sound dampening. They have lots of egg crate baffles or other sound absorbing elements to create as acoustically "dead" a space as possible. I've never quite understood that, especially in the case of the concert hall.

    My choice for playing is a fairly "live" room. I like hard surfaces that bounce the sound back. Not so much as to be echoey, but enough to sound open and alive. If I clap my hands, and hear a 2nd clap, that's too much. But, if my one clap lingers just a bit before it's gone, that's just right. If I clap, and hear an immediate cut off of sound, then silence, that's too "dead" for me.

    Off course, playing outside can be improved by a bandshell, or similar backstop that offers reflected sound. But, it's never as good as well balanced, live, room.
    "The sole cause of all human misery is the inability of people
    to sit quietly in their rooms." - Blaise Pascal, 1670

  2. #2
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    Actually, concert halls are not acoustically dead spaces. Direct & reflected sound is carefully considered in the design of the side & ceiling panels.

    Big factor is sound absorption of the audience - major difference when playing in a large empty room vs. same room filled with people.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Rooms intended for un amplified music or speach usually have a longer reverberation time of a little more than 1 second, so you can better hear stuff. For amplified music I believe they aim for closer to 0,5-0,8 second. Just remembering from introductionary university course, I am a structural, not a sound engineer.

    When playing at home, I also prefer to play in a slightly bigger, more reverberant room than the basement I use when my wife is in the living room. Makes it easier to hear myself. And if recording myself, while I know you can add reverb in post - I am not good enough to do it well, so I prefer to record the sound the way I like it.
    Last edited by UkingViking; 05-13-2021 at 08:16 AM.
    Playing:
    Anuenue AMM tenor - Magic Fluke Koa Tenor - Cocobolo concert - Kamaka Tiki concert - Cort concert - Ohana LN soprano.

  4. #4
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    Studios are usually tuned instead of dampened. Absorption panels suck up frequencies that would otherwise build up and become exaggerated. A byproduct of the balance is a less lively room, but that's not the goal in my understanding. This is why there are "drum rooms" in studios specifically to create an ambience that complements the drums. It's often better when you can capture some room sound with the source. The Sound City documentary talks a lot about the drum room and is a fun watch.

    FWIW, I like playing outside and would never let the space dictate my enjoyment of the music I'm playing.

    Interesting:

    Last edited by Brad Bordessa; 05-13-2021 at 09:23 AM.
    Brad Bordessa

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  5. #5
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    When I Play at home, I sit by a wall with 3-4 ukuleles hanging on it. I think they sort of reflect and/or amplify the sound and, to me, it sounds pretty good.
    wall (2).jpg
    Just Play

    Sopranos: 1st uke, Lanikai soprano LU-11 - Aquilas | 30's Martin style 0 - Martins
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by UkerDanno View Post
    When I Play at home, I sit by a wall with 3-4 ukuleles hanging on it. I think they sort of reflect and/or amplify the sound and, to me, it sounds pretty good.
    wall (2).jpg
    It's interesting when I do that, the hanging tenors often softly ring in sympathy to the strum I am playing. Single notes don't happen unless I put my uke right near the hanging uke.

    It was quite annoying when trying to tune my uke at our club meetings. All of those other ukes would influence my Snark tuner and throw off the readings. Even though Snark specifically says in its ads that since it worked off of vibrations in the neck it wasn't affected by other nearby instruments.

    If you have a tiled bathroom, go inside and play with the door closed. One of the reasons we sound so good singing in the shower.

    Often when doing the post for a commercial I was involved with, they would "sweeten" the audio with a touch of reverb and/or chorus to make the voice(s) sound a little more full or give a singer a bit more presence.
    Last edited by Kenn2018; 05-13-2021 at 10:28 AM.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don't begin to know until you begin to try to do.

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  7. #7
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    One of the thrills of live, unamplified performance is listening to a room and using what you hear to inform your performance. Some spaces are more conducive than others to certain musics.
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by UkerDanno View Post
    When I Play at home, I sit by a wall with 3-4 ukuleles hanging on it. I think they sort of reflect and/or amplify the sound and, to me, it sounds pretty good.
    wall (2).jpg
    This effect annoys me immensely in my basement. The ukes on the wall resonates with the one I play. And the walls themselves have a thin shell on them that mives a bit with the sound, makes the overall sound a bit boxy.
    Playing:
    Anuenue AMM tenor - Magic Fluke Koa Tenor - Cocobolo concert - Kamaka Tiki concert - Cort concert - Ohana LN soprano.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by UkerDanno View Post
    When I Play at home, I sit by a wall with 3-4 ukuleles hanging on it. I think they sort of reflect and/or amplify the sound and, to me, it sounds pretty good.
    wall (2).jpg

    Upon coming to the end of @VegasGeorge's first post, I reflexively clapped right here in my early-hours living room, to note the effect. The ukulele in my lap reverberated, and I laughed.

    By the time I came to your post, I'm all, "Yes, I can see how this would be."

    (No deep conclusions, just me amusing myself over here....)

    ~ S.

  10. #10
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    I don't notice this too much on ukulele. When I play in public I usually play into a microphone or plug into a sound system. I've come to prefer using a mic over the last few years.
    There is one room in my home where I notice a slight difference when practicing.
    I worked for years as a trumpeter and a dead room was a challenge. I tended to work harder just to hear myself as opposed to a live room.

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