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  #16  
Old 05-30-2020, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Rille View Post
If you're using Phosphor bronze strings, try 80/20 bronze for deep and clarity, is my suggestion. I'm using the D'addario XT 80/20 right now and are happy with that.

Peace
I ordered a few sets of 80/20 today, thanks. There was a thread in the general discussion about 80/20 and rosewood guitars also.
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  #17  
Old 05-30-2020, 08:36 PM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default Again Barry, Treat Your Space Right!

Aloha Barry, EDITED

Doug Young was very kind in nicely pointing out that your room acoustics Zuck! Your recording was noisy & heavy w/proximity effect overload & unevenness. A distinct lack of balance. The two recordings do sound completely different. El's recording wasn't that great sounding to me (maybe it's the Soundcloud compression), but you're right, clarity was an issue on yours. And the level's weren't where they needed to be (see Doug's Demo's below).

El McMeen's signal chain, engineering, editing & mastering, etc. are pro level. His studio space is treated. Big differences in your recordings being able to get close to "there." Room Treatment can get you closer.

You & I have discussed the 'need for room treatment' topic for years and the need to control early reflections & separate the frequencies when using mic's for live recordings. Yet, here we are again, with yet another less than optimal sounding recording caused primarily by, you guessed it, your untreated space.

We all want you to succeed, Barry & have provided lots of answers to your questions in this area for a long time. So why not make some DIY Room Treatment & lose the mid-range mud? You have all the information you need on how to do it portably. Help yourself, Bah! Listening to earlier recordings, you play very soulfully & well. Why allow the room to compromise your recorded sound. Make some broadband absorbers. And, make your room less noisy. Pull the plug on the fridge, buy iZotope Elements, etc. to control the noise.

As has been pointed out, you'll lose most mic placement options without proper treatment. You're stuck with close miking patterns. As it is, try placing the mic's even closer than 10". Perhaps use an X-Y Stereo mic placement to "clarify" your recordings in a space with uncontrolled acoustics. Try placing the X-Y'ed mic's in a holder 8-10" straight out from the soundhole & even with the top plane of your guitar or pointed at the neck/body joint. You should achieve a clearer more direct sound w/o proximity effect, if a bit less wide stereo imaging.

Good Luck, Barry.
alohachris

PS: Here are some "how-to" links that may help from the master of recorded clarity, Doug Young:

https://acousticguitar.com/home-reco...oustic-guitar/

http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/WSSDemo.php

PPS: After you "get treated," you should audition other interfaces than the Scarlett series. IMO, they tend to contribute to a more mid-rangey & less open sound. Perhaps Apogee, RME or UA interfaces. Better onboard mic preamps improve every mic recording. Entry level Scarlett Series? Annnnnh! -alohachris-

Last edited by alohachris; 05-31-2020 at 04:09 PM.
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  #18  
Old 05-30-2020, 09:24 PM
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Actually that's already quite close mic'ing in my opinion. I doubt El McMeen miked that close. I said his mikes were perhaps closer due to the greater warmth in his recording and perhaps some mike proximity effect. However various other factors are in play. Maybe copy the mike positioning in this video and see how it sounds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J3HorVBIqk
Thanks Rick. Its a little hard to really tell what's going on with the mics, it looks like soundhole and fretboard, but back quite a bit than what I use.
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  #19  
Old 05-31-2020, 07:48 AM
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I hate to pile on but this is a basic laundry list of things to consider for clarity in recording and is while exaggerated for effect, none the less basically true

#1 the room ( and controlling unwanted reflections)

#2 the player and his skill and technique, and how that relates to the room they are playing in.

#3 for finger style solo guitar the clarity and detail of the guitar, and the room the guitar is playing in.

#4 the mic, its self noise, frequency response, and the room it is recording in
4.1. the placement and how that relates to the room

#5 the Pre Amp, its self noise, signal to noise, and the room sound it will pre-amplify, along with source sound .

# the Amp, its self noise, signal to noise, and the room sound it will amplify along with the source

#6 the A/D converter and the room sound it will convert to digital along with the source sound

#7 The digital editing and mixing of the source signal along with the room sound in the converted 1's and 0's ...

#8 the D/A converter and the combined mixed source and room sound it will convert to back to analog

#9 The monitor speakers and the how they will react to not only the recorded source and room sound, but now doubling up the room sound they are playing back into.
9.1 Headphones can help eliminate room reflections from the mixing situation ,,,but will not eliminate the problems created by recording unwanted room reflections in the first place.

Having been in residential home construction I will use this analogy :::: The room in recording is like the foundation in construction,,,,, if it is square, plumb, and level everything following will be relatively easy to control ... If it isn't everything following will be relatively hard and a continuous struggle of corrective measures which takes even more professional skill to not yield amateurish results.


Now with all that beating a dead horse over

Besides all the valuable mic placement suggestions and noise reduction software etc.

There is at least one other thing to consider, non-clarity or (mud) in the recording not only clouds the detail but also robs the depth form the recording and moves towards a thinner sound.

Mud can occur in any part of the frequency range, but is often most noticeable in unwanted buildup in the lower frequency range

Mud in the lower mid to low frequencies is particularly egregious in causing this lack of depth/clarity and is best first addressed with bass or at least broad band absorption panels .But is something that can be partially addressed also by surgical subtractive EQ from a multi band EQ with Q adjustments for specific problem frequencies along with a basic high pass filter.
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Last edited by KevWind; 05-31-2020 at 08:19 AM.
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  #20  
Old 05-31-2020, 08:07 AM
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There’s a lot of expertise and good advice here already, but I do think that at least some of this search has to be attributed to player ability, and that focusing on creating more clarity in one’s playing (as opposed to recording) will have the biggest impact here. I have heard Doug, for example, recording into his Zoom in his laundry room and it sounded pretty **** good - all in the fingers.

So for me I would advocate working on creating that tone and clarity in the playing, and a lot of this (at least for me) comes from doing more listening of other players who achieve this and watching carefully what they do with both hands etc. Once you can hear it better you have a shot at playing it better (then recording it better..)

My 2c..
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  #21  
Old 05-31-2020, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by alohachris View Post
Aloha Barry, EDITED

Doug Young was very kind in nicely pointing out that your room acoustics Zuck! Your recording was noisy & heavy w/proximity effect overload & unevenness. A distinct lack of balance. The two recordings do sound completely different. El's recording wasn't that great sounding to me (maybe it's the Soundcloud), but you're right, clarity was an issue on yours. And the level's weren't where they needed to be (see Doug's Demo's below).

El McMeen's signal chain, engineering, editing & mastering, etc. are pro level. His studio space is treated. Big differences in your recordings being able to get close to "there." Room Treatment can get you closer.

You & I have discussed the 'need for room treatment' topic for years and the need to control early reflections & separate the frequencies when using mic's for live recordings. Yet, here we are again, with yet another less than optimal sounding recording caused primarily by, you guessed it, your untreated space.

We all want you to succeed, Barry & have provided lots of answers to your questions in this area for a long time. So why not make some DIY Room Treatment & lose the mid-range mud? You have all the information you need on how to do it portably. Help yourself, Bah! Listening to earlier recordings, you play very soulfully & well. Why allow the room to compromise your recorded sound. Make some broadband absorbers. And, make your room less noisy. Pull the plug on the fridge, buy iZotope Elements, etc. to control the noise.

As has been pointed out, you'll lose most mic placement options without proper treatment. You're stuck with close miking patterns. As it is, try placing the mic's even closer than 10". Perhaps use an X-Y Stereo mic placement to "clarify" your recordings in a space with uncontrolled acoustics. Try placing the X-Y'ed mic's in a holder 8-10" straight out from the soundhole & even with the top plane of your guitar or pointed at the neck/body joint. You should achieve a clearer more direct sound w/o proximity effect, if a bit less wide stereo imaging.

Good Luck, Barry.
alohachris

PS: Here are some "how-to" links that may help from the master of recorded clarity, Doug Young:

https://acousticguitar.com/home-reco...oustic-guitar/

http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/WSSDemo.php

PPS: After you "get treated," you should audition other interfaces than the Scarlett series. IMO, they tend to contribute to a more mid-rangey & less open sound. Perhaps Apogee, RME or UA interfaces. Better onboard mic preamps improve every mic recording. Entry level Scarlett Series? Annnnnh! -alohachris-
Thanks!

I may try creating fold-away panels at some point for the room treatment. For now I can either record in my super quiet untreated garage (while the weather is good) or in my living room. I can make some sort of partial "cubicle" using chairs and a heavy blanket or two.

Lots of great ideas, thanks again.
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  #22  
Old 05-31-2020, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Wrighty View Post
There’s a lot of expertise and good advice here already, but I do think that at least some of this search has to be attributed to player ability, and that focusing on creating more clarity in one’s playing (as opposed to recording) will have the biggest impact here. I have heard Doug, for example, recording into his Zoom in his laundry room and it sounded pretty **** good - all in the fingers.

So for me I would advocate working on creating that tone and clarity in the playing, and a lot of this (at least for me) comes from doing more listening of other players who achieve this and watching carefully what they do with both hands etc. Once you can hear it better you have a shot at playing it better (then recording it better..)

My 2c..
Thanks Wrighty, good points.
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  #23  
Old 05-31-2020, 10:04 AM
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Hi Barry

Fold away panels are ok, depending on the the design and size.

It's pretty easy to pad an area (like an untreated garage) using moving blankets and building a smaller recording area with them. I'm a photographer, so I'd just throw up 3 C-stands with extension rods and clamp the blankets onto them.

But that's expensive (C-stand with extension costs $120 & up).

Unless you are going to build and treat a professional suite, you gotta kill the room reflections.

I once listened to an interview and recording of a jazz group which the recordist met in an empty 800 seat auditorium and they had to record on the open stage.

He pulled the main auditorium stage curtains shut and then turned the group around to face the curtains (audience side), and used equipment cases, props and anything he could find backstage and built a 6' high wall behind them which he covered with moving blankets. He didn't blanket the floor. And close-microphone placement (not so close as to invoke proximity effects) did the trick. The recording was amazing.

I've since seen a lot of temporary video groups who carry these blanket and drape them to treat highly reflective and confined spaces where they need to record interviews.

Your garage may seem quiet to you, but if it's untreated, I'm suspecting it's more reflective than your brain is telling you.


Just sowing ideas…have fun experimenting!!



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  #24  
Old 05-31-2020, 12:57 PM
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Hey Barry, I took another quick look at these tracks this morning. You've already heard almost all the advice there is :-) But I have a few more comments, anyway.

First of all, what you're doing is exactly what I try to do - pick a segment of a recording I like and try to duplicate it or at least look at it close enough to learn a bit about what's going on. I just did this last night with a recording by Eric Skye that I heard and liked. A bit of detective work...

Listening to these 2 tracks, I think it's very clear that the number 1 issue is room acoustics - it's not "noise", its the reflections and so on of an untreated space. Your recording sounds distant, which is what happens when the room is too lively. The noise level is good tho.

Beyond that, tho, El's track is mastered, and in fact has too much clearly evident compression for my taste, so that's one issue in comparing commercial recordings. I could add some mastering steps to yours, but the amount of room sound on yours tells me it wouldn't help.

There's also the guitar and playing aspects. El has a lot of nice guitars that work well for him. Hard to know what this was recorded with, maybe his Franklin? A good responsive guitar can sound bigger.

What I usually find is that the playing aspect is the hardest. We all have our own touch, phrasing and so on. Your playing sounds fine on this - good job - but it's really interesting to compare the waveform of your recording and El's. Take a look (El's on top):

Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 11.15.03 AM.jpg

If you just showed these waveforms to someone, they wouldn't guess it was the same song. You can see that El's track is louder overall - bigger, fatter waveform, but more interesting is how his attacks and note bodies are quite different. This isn't unusual, I see it all the time when I do this kind of exercise. Just look at the first note, and how different your attack is from El's. Toward the middle, notice how fat his is compared to yours. He seems to be "blooming" on his notes, while yours is not. Could be the guitar, could be his technique, dynamics, phrasing, could be the guitar, your nails, mic placement, the room, on and on. Some of this could be due to El having added compression, but probably not all of it. This sort of thing is often the biggest mystery to me when I try this, but often it comes down to how I'm playing, and if I focus on my attack, sustain, etc, sometimes I can get a bit closer.

But the overarching thing here is room sound. Kev posted a great list of all the considerations, but you have to prioritize, and keep peeling away layers, and the first layer in this case is really simple - you need some room treatment, or to find a better sounding room. That will get you 90% of the way there, and none of the other options, whether it's different strings, or mics, or whatever will matter until that part is handled.
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  #25  
Old 05-31-2020, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
Hey Barry, I took another quick look at these tracks this morning. You've already heard almost all the advice there is :-) But I have a few more comments, anyway.

First of all, what you're doing is exactly what I try to do - pick a segment of a recording I like and try to duplicate it or at least look at it close enough to learn a bit about what's going on. I just did this last night with a recording by Eric Skye that I heard and liked. A bit of detective work...

Listening to these 2 tracks, I think it's very clear that the number 1 issue is room acoustics - it's not "noise", its the reflections and so on of an untreated space. Your recording sounds distant, which is what happens when the room is too lively. The noise level is good tho.

Beyond that, tho, El's track is mastered, and in fact has too much clearly evident compression for my taste, so that's one issue in comparing commercial recordings. I could add some mastering steps to yours, but the amount of room sound on yours tells me it wouldn't help.

There's also the guitar and playing aspects. El has a lot of nice guitars that work well for him. Hard to know what this was recorded with, maybe his Franklin? A good responsive guitar can sound bigger.

What I usually find is that the playing aspect is the hardest. We all have our own touch, phrasing and so on. Your playing sounds fine on this - good job - but it's really interesting to compare the waveform of your recording and El's. Take a look (El's on top):

Attachment 38591

If you just showed these waveforms to someone, they wouldn't guess it was the same song. You can see that El's track is louder overall - bigger, fatter waveform, but more interesting is how his attacks and note bodies are quite different. This isn't unusual, I see it all the time when I do this kind of exercise. Just look at the first note, and how different your attack is from El's. Toward the middle, notice how fat his is compared to yours. He seems to be "blooming" on his notes, while yours is not. Could be the guitar, could be his technique, dynamics, phrasing, could be the guitar, your nails, mic placement, the room, on and on. Some of this could be due to El having added compression, but probably not all of it. This sort of thing is often the biggest mystery to me when I try this, but often it comes down to how I'm playing, and if I focus on my attack, sustain, etc, sometimes I can get a bit closer.

But the overarching thing here is room sound. Kev posted a great list of all the considerations, but you have to prioritize, and keep peeling away layers, and the first layer in this case is really simple - you need some room treatment, or to find a better sounding room. That will get you 90% of the way there, and none of the other options, whether it's different strings, or mics, or whatever will matter until that part is handled.
Thanks Doug. I was just thinking earlier "can I get just one note to sound the same",

I'm going to keep working on this and see what I can come up with. Thanks for taking the extra time to review this.
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  #26  
Old 05-31-2020, 04:58 PM
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Moving blankets seem to be fairly inexpensive. I suppose like everything else, there are moving blankets and then there are MOVING BLANKETS. What should I be looking at? If I wanted to make a three panel "cubicle" should I plan on using two blankets per panel?
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  #27  
Old 05-31-2020, 05:00 PM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default Great Advice Here Guys!

Aloha Barry,

Wow, some great advice here from people who really know.

Man, DOUG, that was some great amazing sleuthing comparing the two graphs of Barry & El recordings & discerning the reasons for the sonic differences. Fantastic! Yeah, it does suggest differences in the guitars, mastering, playing & attack plus the compression - I didn't like the obvious compression either of El's track. But it's the ROOM!

Sorry Barry, but I have a somewhat lengthy list here for making DIY broadband absorbers that will definitely improve your recordings. You've probably have read me harping about this in the past at AGF. PM me if you have questions.

Suggestions for making DIY Room Treatment.

Movers Blankets - Per lgguitar's suggestion - Go to some moving companies & ask if they have some used blankets they'd just give you. They're large & pretty dense. They go through a lot of them. Wash them. I used to hammer in grommets along one edge & hung TWO layers, 4" apart around where I track. I also covered windows, doors & hard surfaces with them. You can order them new from Uline or U-Haul, but ask for free - it always worked for me. They're just a start & don't work in controlling most frequencies.

https://www.uline.com/Product/Detail...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

Fran's 4"x2'x4' Owens-Corning OC 703 Rigid Fiberglass Broadband Absorbers - See the video! Just make 4 of these to start & you'll hear a huge difference in terms of frequency separation. Save a ton of money over manufactured & more versatile. You don't need to make frames for these.

http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2009/...-on-the-cheap/

They are free-standing or can be linked to stand up together with hard-wire. Put two absorbers in front of the mic's & two behind you where you track. Big difference in room control, right away. Here's Fran showing the difference just two can make:

http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2011/...adband-panels/

You'll probably want to make more panels as needed once you see how easy it is to DIY. First, I made nine absorbers for my tracking area, creating a room-within-a-room feel. Two in front, two in back, two on each side & one hanging above where I track. Move 'em wherever you like per room requirements. BTW, I like to record on wooden floors. A 1/4"x4'x4' foldable plywood sheet can be added under a tracking area. Sounds better than carpeting or concrete to me.

I can add more room to the sound by leaving more space between the absorbers. Very versatile, you can use them for a vocal booth as well. They are portable & easily stored. And relatively very cheap.

Barry, everything you need to make these panels is at Walmart. The OC 703 is available from acoustic material suppliers & is used by all pro studio's. Buy the 2" thick ones (much cheaper than the 4") & double them up with Locktite 200-300 contact cement. Use gloves! Use attractive cloth material (on sale at Walmart- I used white burlap) to cover them using contact cement & a hot glue gun for the corners. Make them outside if you can. Again, use gloves! Watch Fran's video.

After making the first nine panels, I kept going & made a total of 22 absorbers, many of which I used for the room as corner bass traps & around & above my desk.

What's great is, even though I had to move a few times, I could use the panels to control ANY room in which I recorded. I don't record or play anymore, but now I loan the absorbers I made over 10 years ago out to other players who want to get into home recording in terrible rooms. They always work - even for jazz horn sections!

Better Interface - Upgrade from the Scarlett when you can. Better mic preamps on Apogee, RME or UA or better will open up that mid-range.

I can't wait to hear you play your really nice music through a very clear recording you make in your treated, controlled room. It'll open up a much bigger world of mic placement experiments, miking patterns & even mic's you currently cannot use in your untreated space, like omni mic's & Mid-Side recording.

Once you get treated, dig into the two demo's I sent you from Doug for the inside tips on how to achieve the clearest acoustic recordings possible (love your exceptional clarity, tone, tunings & playing Doug). His generous advice was golden for me when I could still play & record. It's all there, but it all starts with making room treatment.

Go for it Barry! Your talent deserves the stretch.

alohachris

Last edited by alohachris; 05-31-2020 at 07:36 PM.
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  #28  
Old 05-31-2020, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alohachris View Post
Aloha Barry,

Wow, some great advice here from people who really know.

Man, DOUG, that was some great amazing sleuthing comparing the two graphs of Barry & El recordings & discerning the reasons for the sonic differences. Fantastic! Yeah, it does suggest differences in the guitars, mastering, playing & attack plus the compression - I didn't like the obvious compression either of El's track. But it's the ROOM!

Sorry Barry, but I have a somewhat lengthy list here for making DIY broadband absorbers that will definitely improve your recordings. You've probably have read me harping about this in the past at AGF.

Suggestions for making DIY Room Treatment.

Movers Blankets - Per lgguitar's suggestion - Go to some movers & ask if they have some used blankets they'd just give you. They're large & pretty dense. Wash them. I used to hammer in grommets along one edge & hang TWO layers, 4" apart around where I track. I also covered windows, doors & hard surfaces with them. You can order them new from Uline or U-Haul, but ask for free - it always worked for me. They're just a start & don't work in controlling on all frequencies.

Fran's 4"x2'x4' OC 703 Rigid Fiberglass Broadband Absorbers - See the video! Just make 4 of these to start & you'll hear a huge difference in terms of frequency separation. Save a ton of money over manufactured & more versatile. You don't need to make frames for these.

http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2009/...-on-the-cheap/

They are free-standing or can be linked to stand up together with hard-wire. Put two absorbers in front of the mic's & two behind you where you track. Big difference in room control, right away. Here's Fran showing the difference just two can make:

http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2011/...adband-panels/

You'll probably want to make more once you see how easy it is to DIY. I made nine first for my tracking area, creating a room-within-a-room feel. Two in front, two in back, two on each side & one hanging above where I track.

I can add more room to the sound by leaving more space between the absorbers. Very versatile, you can use them for a vocal booth as well. They are portable & easily stored. And relatively cheap.

Barry, everything you need to make these panels is at Walmart. The OC 703 is available from acoustic material suppliers & is used by all pro studio's. Buy the 2" thick ones (much cheaper than the 4") & double them up with Locktite 200-300 contact cement. Use gloves! Use attractive cloth material (on sale at Walmart- I used white burlap) to cover them using contact cement & a hot glue gun for the corners. Make them outside if you can. Again, use gloves!

After making the first nine, I kept going & made a total of 22 absorbers, many of which I used for the room as corner bass traps & around & above my desk.

What's great is, even though I had to move a few times, I could use the panels to control ANY room in which I recorded. I don't record or play anymore, but now I loan the absorbers I made over 10 years ago out to other players who want to get into home recording in terrible rooms. They always work - even for jazz horn sections!

Better Interface - Upgrade from the Scarlett when you can. Better mic preamps!

I can't wait to hear you play your really nice music through a clear recording you make in your treated, controlled room. It'll open up a much bigger world of mic placement experiments, miking patterns & even mic's you currently cannot use in your untreated space, like omni mic's & Mid-Side recording.

Once you get treated, dig into the two demo's I sent you from Doug for the inside tips on how to achieve the clearest acoustic recordings possible (love your exceptional clarity, tone & playing Doug). His generous advice was golden for me when I could still play. It's all there, but it all starts with making room treatment.

Go for it Barry! Your talent deserves the stretch.

alohachris
Thanks!

What is doable for me is to make a three sided cubicle that can be taken down and stored. I'm thinking either 3 small coat hangers, with moving blankets either hanging from them or just thrown over them - something like
this

If I get moving blankets with grommets I can use bath curtain hooks to hang the blankets. If I do this in my garage doing the warmer months I'll be able to just roll the contraption against the wall and leave the blankets hanging. My cost for these and the blankets could be only around $100. If I get something like 6-12 blankets I could hang them on both sides of the racks to make them more stable and better at soundproofing.
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