Sunday, June 8, 2008

Moving/Studio Acoustic Set-up

Welcome to the new FOF studio!

For those who have been looking for blogs lately, I apologize, but I have been much too busy with moving. I am learning to appreciate the many people out there whose bodies are conditioned for manual labor. After moving my entire house and studio for the past 6 days, there are aches and pains in unspeakable places.
It has all been worth it though.

This is a picture of how it looked before i got started. I’m very eager to get recording, but the studio still needs some work. Such as:

1) Building a vocal booth
2) Assembling the amp isolation booth (build in my last studio, needs assembling)
3) Gettin a small Neve console – I plan track drums in this studio instead of renting another one
4) Working on aesthetics - gotta make the walls look cool and hang guitars everywhere
5) Baffling/sealing the window (to totally seal out sound)
6) Building sound absorbers


You can use almost any room as a control room. Lurssen Mastering in LA (I’ve used them for some mastering) just uses a square room in an industrial building. Things that make it possible though to have their ideal acoustic situation:

1) Some brick walls – solid walls mean no resonance (walls vibrating at a certain frequency)
2) Speakers placement – they have the luxury of putting their $200,000 speakers very far away from the wall. Speakers close to the wall mean a lot of low frequency buildup
3) Sound absorbers – both on the ceiling and walls

What I have done is similar but on a very small scale. Speakers are 2 or 3 feet away from the wall. And in some of the corners, I have placed bass traps (Auralex) where the walls meet and behind the speakers (sub) where the wall and floor meet.

I usually crank the system to see how I like it. I use familiar songs that I know are mixed and mastered well. My reference albums are usually not even albums I normally listen to that much. They are mixes though that I trust and that I really know the sonic qualities to. Among those are Audio Slave, Keane (not their new album, it sound terribly bright), Avril Lavigne (mixed by Lord-Alre), Fiona Apple, and older Coldplay stuff. I give these albums short seconds of listen through to see if I hear anything poke out. I can either add more bass traps or more high frequency absorbers (I will blog later about building those).Then later, I might take a sign wave on a pro-tools plugin and sweep through all the frequencies to make sure nothing is totally off.

My main concern is that my sub and bass level is consistent. When I’m mixing, that’s super important. Often rooms with 8 foot ceilings will have a very resonant 70Hz. I try to get rid of that as much as possible with bass traps and moving away from walls. My second concern is slap-back or reflections. Parallel walls take high tones and throw them back and forth. I use anything from couches to bookshelves to foam diffusers to get rid of these. Note that you don’t always have to do it on both sides of the parallel walls. Book-shelves is one of the best and most cost efficient sound diffusers. They sound amazing with a ton of books in them. I once mastered an album with a guy that would get mad at you when you touched one of the books on the shelf because it changed the acoustics. He was kidding.


I will be working on the studio a lot more over the next few weeks, so if you are into recording or have friends into it, tell them to stop by the blog. For those who read this but don’t care much about recording, sorry about all the techno-mumbo.

I am very happy to be moving. It was a relief to get out of my old house. This new place has such a spirit of HOPE in it. The few days that I have spent here, I feel my heart and spirit lifting. Just conversing with God. So much joy and promise in a new chapter.


minipinto said...

You sound like my one friend who knows all this stuff about sound and how to get the best quality and all that stuff.

P.S. I've commented here before, but I've never really introduced myself. Pretty much I'm just a fan of you guys. I ran into your music form a Worship album (well, it was actually a Something Like Silas song). And since then I just got more (starting with SlS and then FoF) and I really love your FoF stuff. FoF is probably my favorite worship artist. Hope you don't mind a fan commenting on your blog :-).

Daniel said...

hey.. i came across your blog today and promptly subscribed.. i've also followed you from the early sls days.. good to hear that your moving and studio building is going well.. thanks for sharing some of your knowledge..