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Does room affect sound/tone?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Eric Perry, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. Hi all,

    Sorry if this sounds like a ridiculous question, but I am SO curious....

    Does room size and/or room characteristics affect overall sound so much as that I cannot shake a specific *sound* when practicing? Regardless which bass I use or what effects I use, I always have that signature sound going on..... And I don't like it! LOL

    When out of this room, everything sounds so much different. Pretty frustrating when I'm really looking to tweak my sound in any way.

    The room I practice in is only 10x12. Is there any way such a small room is affecting certain frequency wavelengths enough to really alter my sound?

    Any input is appreciated. Thanks.
  2. I think so. I can take my amp from my bedroom, about 12x12 or so, keep the same exact settings, and it will sound sound extremely different in say my church sanctuary or my friends bedroom. I dont know any of the physics behind this or anything, so sorry if thats what you were looking for, but yeah, I definitely think the room affects the sound.
  3. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    rooms DEFINITELY can have a very big effect on the sound you get.

    Because it sound like a room you play in a lot, you can experiment with moving your speaker cabinet to different places in the room. In a corner, away from a corner, near or away from a wall, etc. Point it different ways, lift it off the floor, etc.

    You need to experiment. Every room is different. Some things you can make up for with creative eq'ing.
  4. Thanks guys...

    That's the thing, regardless of EQ'ing, effect usage, which bass I use, etc., I cannot lose that specific yuck to my sound. I know my rig sounds 100 times better than what I hear in this room based on how it sounds in the clubs and venues I play. It's just frustrating I cannot emulate that in here! Oh well. Thanks so much for stressing I'm not nuts... Well, at least not with this particular subject. :D
  5. Haha, nope your not nuts, I experienced the same thing with my old amp, but since getting my new amp I can more easily compensate for room yuckiness.

    What is the "yucky" sound your hearing (Too many highs, lows?)

    Mine used to get a rather annoying boominess to it.
  6. DMB,
    Mine is pretty much just lifeless. It's dull. Lack of punch.... Not EQ type punch, but just outright bass punch. Dead, I guess. When I try and EQ it out, it just accentuates whatever frequency, but maintains that dead sound.

    It's different than a dead string "dead". Hard to really put into words, I suppose.
  7. That is an excellent article and certainly seems to spell out the problem. Thanks SO much!
  8. No prob, I know the hell a practice room can wreak on your sound. Also, I was actually learned quite a bit from that article myself, so thank you for making me find it.
  9. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Try moving the amp around your room, put it on wierd angles, etc.
  10. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    You know, the best tone I've ever gotten out of any rig I've ever owned was at a friend's house. We went out to his garage/shop (large metal framed building, non-insulated with metal siding). This thing was pretty big, roughly 50 feet x 100 feet. Open truss ceiling with walls that were about 16 feet high from floor to the bottom of the trusses, concrete floor, lots of tools and things hanging on the walls, etc. By all accounts this room should have sounded terrible, but the tone was PERFECT (to my ears). Acoustics are a very weird thing to say the least.
  11. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Eric, I'm afraid you'll just have to buy a new house! :smug: And I though GAS for another Metro was a problem! :D
  12. HAHAHAHAHAAAA!!! GAS has cost me quite a bit already. Wouldn't THAT be over the top!!!
  13. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    Most rooms are a real problem at low (i.e., bass) frequencies. The noise from outside that makes it into the room, to start with, is usually composed of the lf components. Listen sometime when a truck drives by: out in the street it sounds like a truck, with high, mid and low f noise; inside you only hear the low. These low frequencies, being long, tend to congregate in nice square rooms like we typically use to practice in, making everything you play on the bass muddy and indistinct.

    There are several fixes: treat the room, re-EQ your sound, and live with it. I built a bass trap for my room (it also has non-parallel ceilings and other acoustic features) and the bass sounds a lot better. If you want to spend the time, you can calculate the nodes of the standing waves in your room. You'll find they tend to cluster around certain frequencies, or keys, especially since all of the upper harmonics of the original node will be reinforced/cancelled along with the fundamental. My room HATES G#. OK, that's not a key I very often play in, I can live with it. If I did, maybe I could tweak my amp so that band was less prominent.

    Note that, the louder you play, the worse the problems get. So turn it [and the guitar player] down, save your ears, and sound better.
  14. Well thankfully, this is only the room in my house where I practice. Not the whole band. I don't have much of an issue with sound in the hall where the entire band practices at.

    Thanks again for everyone's help.
  15. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    10x12 huh. I estimated a ceiling height of 8ft and ran it through a spreadsheet program I've got that models room standing waves. According to the data, you've got some problems at 380Hz, 280Hz, 225Hz. Losing all your low mids to the room could explaion some of the loss of "punch". The program only models up to 400Hz so I don't know what's happening above that, but it's reasonable to expect that the octaves of these frequencies could also be a problem.

    So yep, rooms matter :)
  16. as said before u can move ur amp around, or try putting in sound boards and stuff. is ur room carpeted? tiled? posters and stuff on the wall? all these things facgtor into the acoustics of a room. if i was a more qualified engineer i could help, srry. a good idea would be to ask some one who knows alot about recording, most engineers can go into a room and work out the acoustics pretty easily, and figure out where to places things like instruments and sound boards (well they should be able to) also, as sed before, the frequencies ur having problems with are ur lo mids. which is where alot of body and boominess comes from. you could also buy a frenquency machine and use it in ur room room by moving the speakers around to find out what frequencies are effected. theyre pretty cheap too...

  17. Petebass, as well as the rest of you, thanks so much. I appreciate all of the input. The situation, albeit annoying, is really no big deal. It just sucks to hear what I percieve as a GOOD sounding rig sound like a dog's a** in my practice room. Anyway, really no room to be moving things around in there, so I'll have to deal with the tonal abyss during practice hours. As long as the tone I like shines through while playing live I can live with it.

    Thanks again guys! :hyper: