Sweet Sounds of Collaboration
I love it when a plan comes together.
Those of you who know me know that I like to push the envelope with my designs. If I can’t find an acoustic treatment that meets my needs, then I’ll design one. Unfortunately, I’m a lot better at designing things than I am at producing them (without my wife wrinkling up her nose). That’s why I feel very lucky when I’m part of a design and construction team having the exceptional talents to make a radical design work.
Curtis Incorporated’s newest recording studio and control room is just such a project.
For Curtis, I decided to take the RFZ theory to its extreme and shape the entire front half of the room to resemble a satellite dish. Calculating the dimensions and angles was a challenge but I really have to admire Steve Roach and his crew at CR&R Builders for their work in accurately creating the space. As demonstrated by our acoustics tests of the completed job, the reflections from the walls and ceilings of the control room are exactly where they should be in both time and space.
CENTRAL CONTROLThe control room features beautiful cherry wall storage cabinets that also serve as acoustic treatments. It has long been common practice to place bookshelves along the back wall of rooms used to listen to music or watch videos. The random pattern of books absorb some of the sound and diffuses the rest; making the room sound interesting. I took this old concept a bit further with the design of these wall cabinets. The reveal pattern of the cabinet doors and the spacing of the cabinet shelves were designed using a mathematical function called a “minimum length sequence.” The cabinet doors can be opened in varying degrees to adjust the reverberation, absorption, initial time delay and diffusion within the space. I take my hat off to Gene Mugler of Apex Cabinetry in Cincinnati for his craftsmanship in creating these cabinets. Acoustically they perform exactly as theory says they should. Visually they are stunning.
The adjoining studio also features variable acoustics in its design: large hinged boxes attached to the walls (affectionately known as “wall coffins”) allow a wide range of adjustments to the reverberation and diffusion characteristics of the studio.
SOUNDS GREAT“I had a solo classical player in the studio recently,” Brennan says. “After closing about half of the doors, her instrument came to life and really utilized the natural reverb in the room.”
In addition to monitoring and mixing, Brennan finds the acoustics and low noise floor of the control room to be ideal for the recording of sound effects. When recording Foley, it is important to be able to record and manipulate sound in the control room. There often isn’t time to set up mics in the studio and call a second engineer to run the session. We keep a mic “live” on the mixing desk to capture that moment’s creative inspiration.
WATCH THE PROGRESS
Those of you who would like to listen and watch the variable acoustics of the studio in action can do so at www.vimeo.com/4748682 or www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLjyAJTSVnk.