Having an optimal space for recording sound is a top priority at Studio 637. When configuring a room for recording, it’s important to keep in mind both absorption and diffusion. Oddly shaped objects in a room add to the diffusive characteristics of the space. In this article we’ll explain how to get the best possible sound for your unique space.
Our studio just went through major renovations, so we thought it was a good time to redress the sound treatment on our ceiling in the Live Room. Previously, the space was filled with long sheets of one inch thick acoustic paneling, but we took out the large panels and installed a checkerboarded pattern of diffusion and absorption to help control reflections in our space.
The new absorbers are thicker than our original sound clouds, so they absorb more low end frequencies. The resulting gaps in the checkerboard pattern have been filled with diffusers, which scatter and clarify high end frequencies. In a room, the floor to ceiling distance is usually the smallest dimension compared to the length and width of the room, so be sure to pay special attention to how the frequencies are interacting there, because they are parallel surfaces which cause standing waves. The goal with the ceiling is to find a balance between diffusion and absorption.
Best Walls For Recording
When curating a live space for recording, it’s important to consider which items in the room will diffuse sound and which items will absorb it. Before our renovation, we had tons of “Space Junk” diffusing the sound (equipment, stands, and random items all around the room). Now that we have more space in our live room because of our closed in garage addition, we’ve cleared the space junk out and have added elements which allow us to control the sound.
Wooden Slat Wall
When we cleared everything out to re-paint, our room sounded like an echo chamber due to untreated, highly reflective parallel walls. Upon adding our first layer of absorbers, the reflections were absorbed too much, creating a completely dead room. Adding the wood slats and diffusion pattern on the ceiling brought the life back the room, but in a more controlled manner.
To make the sound come alive again, we added a wall covered by beetle-kill pine. Every detail of the wooden slat wall was carefully configured to ensure that it is the most effective for the space. The wall has given us a noticeable increase in the quality of our recordings.
We’ve found that adding wood on the wall left us with the most warm, natural tone. We were really thankful for the decision to leave the boards un-sanded. The rawness of the wood added more odd angles, increasing the diffusive properties of our slat wall.
To create natural sound, one needs to use natural elements.https://www.acousticfields.com/recording-studio-construction-techniques/#:~:text=Knotty%20pine%20is%20the%20wood,the%20sound%20sources%20and%20microphones.
The slat wall does a combination of absorbing and diffusing sound. The wood slats and gaps between them accept frequencies with a wavelength as large as the gap and smaller. Now with thicker absorption material behind the wall, it has extended the low end absorption in the room.
Since we like to include our Hermosa neighbors in any project we can, we reached out to Raul from Cypress Millwork and Custom Cabinets from across the street to help design and build our slat wall. A dramatic difference can be heard in the sound since incorporating the beetle-kill pine wall.
Once Raul added the beetle-kill wood it sounded different instantly.-Claire Davenport
We’ve noticed that the new sound of the room is
Cyclorama Stage Area
Since our live room is a multi-use space, we often find ourselves recording dialogue, or scripted material such as tv-shows or commercials, in front of our cyclorama stage area. We made sure to minimize reflections in this area so that recordings sound much more controlled. We’ve put a lot of time in to refining our talent, honing our skills, and gear, so the last step was creating a space with the same standard to bring the highest quality product to our clients.
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