Project: NO BUDGET

Hi guys,

My band and I are going to record a few songs, starting the end of next month. It’s a new project, so it’s gonna be the first material being made public, and sort off the first project I’m gonna put out there to promote future recording projects. And since we don’t have any budget at the moment, I thought it would be nice and make it a full DIY project, and capture some on the job material :slight_smile:

Not that it’s not been done though, but I’m gonna document the whole process with small youtube video’s, about what we encounter during recording and mixing and such, and how we get to the end of it. I’m planning on doing much in Dutch though, since there’s plenty of stuff on the net in English, and it basically supports the local scene a bit I guess. I almost never see dutch videos about this so… Who knows, it might get some views…
:smiling_imp: Bring me the fame :smiling_imp:
I guess cause we are trying to do it with only with what we already have, without spending a dime, it could inspire some local kids to record there own stuff.

Still no money to start building the studio, but at least the rest of the house is getting somewhere. I’ve got a room I can use atm, and since I haven’t got around at isolating my roof, I still have a huge amount of rockwool to my disposal to do at least some minimum acoustics :slight_smile:

So the plan:

For recording the drums: I was thinking of making the room as dry as possible with the rockwool packs, (thin but long rolls) Since it’s metal I thought this might be the best option considering it doesn’t perse need super awesome room acoustics, cause of the density of the mixes maybe? For as all I know this is my best option atm ?

For recording guitar and base, I was thinking of making a kind of guitar fort like Brandon mentions in his book, with the rockwool, and re-amp this way. But was also thinking of trying some cab-impulses, and using my amp’s line out. Only I need some good and impulses, for free :smiley:. If Some one could help me with that, would be nice! Plus, if it’s your own made impulse, I could always do a video on it in return :wink:

The vocals are gonna be done a bit later, cause I still need to figure out some stuff, and practice :stuck_out_tongue: (singing that is) So its gonna take a bit longer…

So in the mean time, I’m gonna start mixing.
I was thinking of setting up the same room a bit differently. I only have the rockwool though, so that must do. Any advice on how I should go about this ?
I was thinking of setting up the speakers first, and then listen some records I know well and wanna reference it to, and then trying some different placements of the rockwool rolls. Maybe just the corners, maybe entire backwall…

(Will provide some pictures of the room in a few weeks, when it’s empty.)

So the gear :smiling_imp::
At my disposel:

(drummers gear)
16 channel interface and mics. Don’t know any specs yet, but I gues it doesn’t realy matter since it’s all we got :smiley:

Cabs and amps

  • Mesa Cab
  • Engl Cab
  • Mesa Dual rectifier
  • Peavy EVH3 50w
  • dunno the brand of bass cabs and amps
    Hopefully my Rivera KR7 still works on line out. Its due for repairs, but not sure whats wrong.

Monitors and such:

  • Yamaha HS5
  • B&W 600 i - powerd by Denon pma 1060.
  • Sennheizer HD650

All the rest is in the box:
I use Cubase elements 7
Got some fabfilter plugins, and some waves compressors, and some other free plugins. So I should have more then enough to make it work.

The reason I’m already posting this thread, instead of waiting when I actually start and have something to show for, is cause I usually start wrong :smiley: So I thought I’d be ahead of myself.
I’ll be posting pictures and links to this thread as to how the project moves along, so if it interests you, youcan always follow :slight_smile:

Any tips, tricks, or advice is MORE then welcome, cause I’m still a newbie at this! Except grammar checks, I already know I suck at this, no need to rub it in, haha.

Wish me spirit :smiley:


Start by stacking all the rockwool packs in the corners of the biggest, most ambient room… Dont open them, leave it wrapped. Get it tall, try to get to the ceiling. Leave the rest of the walls bare for now.

If the room now sounds ambient but bright, not dark like a church, your room is nearly there. Make an open fronted drum fort behing the drummer to kill the back wall reflections.

Put lots of sensitive mics up (condensers or ribbons) in wide pairs.

Record drums.

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They don’t call me mad-nobudget-psychot for no reason!

Although I don’t exist on a no budget existence, I aim to be as close to that as possible :grinning:

I can only tell you what I did to treat my room, and in my opinion it made a HUGE difference to my room. Apart from the reflective foam squares for diffusion, I built some broadband absorbers that cost very little to build. I bought rockwool panels from Gamma. I chose them because you can stack two panels and get a nice fat panel. I made frames from wood, and then covered it in cotton. You can then hang these on walls, or corners or ceilings. I’m planning on making a couple more standing versions to place behind behind me for vocal recordings.

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when I first saw the title I thought it was “no budget” as in out of control spending…sky is the limit…massive blow money project.

with no budget, ITB is easy.
Tracking is all creativity…….the sound control room and monitors is the bitch, that’s what you hear and what is going on tape (or DAW)…that’s where most Home stuff loses and is painful and takes all the effort and is non fun with the biggest pay off to some point.

Ive been spending hours talking to someone fighting mixing, and its so familiar because the Tracking was done with closed blah headphones on and so tracking tones suck most likely (but sound great in the tone-blah headphones)……then the dreaded playback and mix in a blah room and the hell starts of trying to transfer something of the tracks made with blah headphone tones now being blahh’d out from blah speakers in a blah room.

so I think, how do the pro’s do it so easily? they can make blah songs sound great or at least tolerable in quality.

they set up the tones from the Control Room with good monitors, they decide the mic placement and which mic and nail the tracking tones… not the dude wearing Blah Headphones.

thought this might help.
I have no answers but Im pretty skilled at how Not to do it.

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I was planning on that :smiley: Hate the itch, and I gues it stacks easier.

Good idea. I’ll probably start out that way :slight_smile:

Where do you live by any chance ? :smiley: I’m from Belgium btw, we also have Gamma’s :stuck_out_tongue:
The thing is, I would do something like that, if I didn’t already have a shitload of rockwool for my roof. As long as it’s placed on the roof, I can use it ‘‘for free’’ without ruining it :smiley:

I wish it where ture :smiley: haha. Unfortunately I’m not that lucky. On the other hand I probably woudn’t get my money’s worth on all fancy gear since my skill lvl ain’t high enough, so maybe it’s for the best :smiley:
I’m gonna take my time setting up the mics, and just playing them back after recording a bit and then adjusting. Takes a lot longer I guess, but at least I hope to overcome that BLAH into infinity problem :smiley:

@DeRebel, feel free to post as much as possible as you progress. This is awesome :beerbanger:


Oh no problem, I’m gonna spam this thread :smiley:

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Ik woon in Den Haag!

For room treatment, I accepted to simple facts. First, I could not ever afford the kind of treatment that my room deserves, and secondly, no room will ever be perfect. In my loft, I have a lot of flutter echo, and without treatment, any sound at 100 - 120Hz is either way too loud of completely missing - depending on where your ears are. I built 4 panels the first time around, and placed one in the front corner (facing me). The effect was immediate and noticeable. As an experiment I moved that panel to another location and my bass build up problems returned instantly. So I’ve ended up with 8 full size panels. 4 are in front of me, and 4 are behind me. I haven’t been too scientific about it (as in I didn’t analyse my room with apps or equipment). I basically played bass sine waves and walked around the room. Anytime I could hear interference (either too loud or too quiet) I would place a panel there. I can now mix with way more confidence. It’s not perfect but my god, when I go to my friends house to mix it’s unbearable for me. He has a really odd shaped room and roof, and zero treatment there.

So, if you can control the harsh echoes and any standing waves you might have, I think you can get most rooms to sound “ok”.

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Just to add…

The reason for this is your room reverb / tone response will be much more even if you have your insulation stacked in large ‘bundles’ - tie some of them together with string if you want to make them more stable.

Unwrapping them or thinning them out is a really bad idea, at this point. Get the best ambient drum room sounds you can BEFORE you finish the room. After that, everything can be recorded dry.

Ribbon mics especially sound good in DIY rooms and are cheap from the likes of Thomann/Guitar Center -

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When I start building a studio in my basement, I was thinking of making one wall in the style of those anachoic chambers. Its a rectangle, so I was thinking of using one short wall to setup the monitors and stuff, so I have room enough to put some drums in between that spot and the other short wall. THAT wall, would be the on I would try to make as dead as possible. Its just a thought. But I would think I would have les problems with frequencys coming back to me from the back of the room right ?

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You think thats the best way to go even in a relatively small room ? For the drums I mean.

The stacks will absorb the low mids and bass, evening out the response. The reflective surfaces will create some natural ambience in the upper mids.

Consider this the ‘front end’ of your drum reverb. You dont want to kill this ambience or your drumkit will sound like it has a ‘blanket over it’.

Small rooms can still give you the ambient reflections and a bright tone.

Record a snare drum from 2-3ft (60-90cm) from directly overhead with your best condenser mic and add the stacks around the room. When you like that sound, your room (and your first mic position) is pretty much done.

One thing I’ve realised is that room treatment is a very specialised field of engineering. All rooms have problems - even ones that have been treated. I do like @vtr’s solution to make bundles in the corners. That’s where, in my experience, all the nasty stuff happens with frequencies. Trying to deaden the whole room is not going to help you get a good drum sound. For any overheads and room mics to add to the mix, the room is going to have to add some colour to the drums. So you’ll need a combination of absorption and diffusion.

My suggestion would be to setup and do a decent recording of the sound of the drums before any treatment. See how bad it is and from there isolate the real problems with the sound in that room.

You may get away with minimal treatment and some acoustic shields around the drums. Or you could end up placing panels on walls and ceiling to control the echoes and build up. If you’re not going to hire a professional to treat your room, you’ll have to DIY it methodically.


Videos of drums in rooms (with room mics)

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Thanks man! I’m already glad I started this thread beforehand :grin:

So are you also implying that for the mixing proces, in this case only I me mean, to make it as daad as possible, or sort of go at it the same way as getting the drum sound? But yhen while listening to reference tracks?

Control room acoustics tend to be a mixture of hard and soft. you still need bass trapping, and lots of it. Also a good amount of diffusion, combined with a little absorbtion in critical areas.

For example, go into your kitchen and record your voice on your phone. It should sound clean and bright, quite nicely balanced, but probably still just on the ambient side.

That is the sound of multiple hard surfaces (usually wood) diffused. Its quite good, maybe needs some treatment, maybe not.


Now go outside (and record there). You dont want that. That is the sound on an anechoic chamber,…your recordings will just sound small. A DIY dead room will be an imperfect version of that, usually it makes your low mids all uneven and weird, it also rolls off ALL the top end.

Obviously this is a simplified answer to a complicated question.

Just to add, if this room is in a basement, i.e. a concrete bunker…

your best bet is to fit your insulation THICK with air gaps between, then brighten it up again with wood surfaces.