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What's the best place to play?
Finding the best place to play
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toefu
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September 28, 2016 - 9:56 pm
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Is playing in a loud echoey room better than playing in a closet with a bunch of clothes in it? I have a house with all wooden floors, and there is a BUNCH of echo when I play my violin. My brother recommended playing in the closet to help absorb some of the sound. When I play in the closet, I sound crappy on recordings, and I get super super super frustrated.  But in the echoey room, I sound a lot better.  Which one is the better place to play?

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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September 29, 2016 - 4:36 am
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I'd go for the room any time.   Largely what you are hearing is "reverb" rather than "echo" - but - that's a moot point.   Reverb is commonly added to studio recorded vocals, for instance - a mixed-in "delay" of 10-to-30 mSec, possibly repetitively added in at lower and lower amplitudes.   Precisely "how" this echo/reverb is perceived is quite a complex process in the brain - both by the player and the listeners.

Reverb gives an added "richness" and "interest" to the sound.   In fact, if playing as a solo with no other instruments or backing, added reverb (natural from the room, or electronically) can bring what could otherwise be a "relatively uninteresting" sound, to life.  It is this lack of reverb you experience when playing in the clothing cupboard.

For solid-body electric instruments such as the electric violin or guitar which lack the natural resonances from the sound-box it is virtually recognized as standard procedure to electronically add various effects, reverb being one of the most important.  Without it, I describe the EV sound as "sterile", lacking interest.

"Echo" as such, to my mind anyway - is much the same as reverb, it's just that it would involve a much longer delay and would arrive back at the originators ears as a quite distinct, and separate sound - like shouting "Helloooo" in a quarry or whatever and some noticeable time later hearing it coming back at you....   whereas with a much much shorter delay in "reverb" the reflected sound is being actively mixed with and added to, the original....

I suppose there would be a sort of limit on just how much reverb you would be willing to live with before the sound just became too "boomy" for your liking, but that would more likely occur in a large (and empty of audience) hall.

Both sound production and a listener's perception of it can be quite a complex thing to describe - it's like "you have to be there" LOL

Just my thoughts....  but I'd stick with the room "echo" - besides - you'd have a very limited audience playing in the cupboard !!!!

My brother recommended playing in the closet to help absorb some of the sound.

Are you sure he doesn't have a hidden agenda here ?   roflI'm just kidding with you ! 

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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September 29, 2016 - 10:59 am
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I'd go for the big room.

I love a big empty-ish room. When I dog sit, the apartment I stay at is an open layout, decorated minimally with wood floors. The dining room area is almost like a stage at the end of the living room. I love playing my violin there.

In my house I play in my bedroom since it's the largest room in the house, and sloped ceilings, no room in the house has great sound, though.
 
Favorite place to play? Empty church. I've gotten to do it a couple times now, and I love it. It makes me feel like I play so much better than I actually do, lol.

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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Charles
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September 29, 2016 - 8:03 pm
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Generally, you're going to find the echoey room more pleasant. If it's too echoey, take  a few of those clothes and hang them in various spots around the room. They'll dampen the echoes some, and make it more of a practice room and less of an echo chamber.  (How many to use is up to you. I'd start off with one at a time until it gets toned down to where you like it best.)

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Demoiselle
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November 24, 2016 - 8:41 am
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I have no reverb at all since I practice in a deaden cell I built in my kitchen. Having reverb would be nicer, but I hear any inaccuracy--it's really merciless. Which seems to help gaining accuracy. But it's not all that unpleasant to me. Playing trumpet in such a cell is way more unpleasant. I really hate it. The violin is way more suited to acoustic like this. 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 24, 2016 - 10:58 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

The bathroom usually works great. 🙂

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Demoiselle
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November 24, 2016 - 5:11 pm
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Fiddlerman said
The bathroom usually works great. 🙂  

It certainly does. My stepmother had Caterina Valente's autobiography, I read it although it wasn't really my music. And she wrote they took the studio microphone to the bathroom where she sang and recorded her successful hits of the 1950s before they had plate reverb.

But I'm afraid, in our multi-family house everybody will hear it over the plumbing, and on Sundays I may play up to 5 or 6 hours at times. My sound booth was highly necessary.

Another upside: I like the acoustics of the club where I will have my concert and I will enjoy it a lot after having practiced in my dry cabin.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 25, 2016 - 8:35 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Enjoy the club then. 🙂

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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intrepidgirl
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November 25, 2016 - 12:11 pm
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@toefu : I definitely prefer a big-ish emptier room with no carpets and a high ceiling if possible.  The imperfections may stand out to you, but the sound in general will be fuller I think.  If nobody is home, I stand in the middle of our living room, big windows, no carpet, no curtains, and play.  Otherwise I do in fact get relegated to an office or, yes, the bathroom.  I think it would be great, as @damfino said, to try playing in a church or a real performance hall that has some acoustics. 

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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November 25, 2016 - 12:25 pm
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@intrepidgirl While you've got the Traveler, I bet it would be easy to be allowed to try out playing in a church 🙂 I had someone open up a historic one at a museum for me and let me have it all to myself, lol, all just because of having the Traveler 🙂 It really was so fun to do.

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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Demoiselle
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November 26, 2016 - 3:53 am
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Fiddlerman said
The bathroom usually works great. 🙂  

Last night I thought about playing a short piece in my bathroom this morning and then the same in my dry cabin to compare it in one video and post that here. But now I'm afraid this might spoil my practice morning. First you're excited in wet acoustics, but you get used to it pretty soon and then it's like normality. But if you then go back to your dry chamber, you will absolutely hate to practice. So I better keep away from that wet drug, especially one week before my concert. About a week ago I had closed a last gap of my practice booth and since it's even dryer than before. The effect is now, that the elder woman above me will hear me like playing in another room that would be not directly below her apartment, which is a real improvement for her. The neighbors to my right hear nothing at all and those to my left probably a wee bit. Nobody can object to that.

Concerning my concert, it's worth to improve my playing in the dry booth, where I hear any inaccuracy. The sound in the club will brisk me up then. I told them, no electricity all all! I will bring on a lot of candles and hide all microphone stands and electronic equipment behind the curtain. So, nice acoustics with lots of candles will really boost my mood and joy of playing. I will flirt a bit with Mr. Handel, who will hang in a golden frame in front of the red curtain and make some jokes about my relationship to him as well. But until that: practicing hard in the dry cell of course. 🙂

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 30, 2016 - 9:23 am
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Exactly, it is best not to get used to the wet acoustics for lack of being satisfied in the dry. It's very good practice to play in varying acoustics on a regular basis.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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