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Sound Advice

Some Tips For Writer/Producers

December 13th, 2015

By Erik Alcock

Erik Alcock

I’ve been a professional songwriter for 12 or 13 years. When I first started, you’d write a song, you’d work it all out, you’d work on an arrangement, and then and only then would you find a studio, rent out a block of time, and hire a producer to record a demo. But nowadays, since everyone can have a studio on their laptop, that model has changed. Now, you can literally be recording while writing, and as a result, writers (like me) have had to embrace and learn more about production than past generations were expected to. And it’s fantastic. Read the rest of this entry »

Lowering Ambient Noise Can Improve Your Bottom Line

October 24th, 2015

By Peter Janis

Peter JanisIn a 2015 dining trends survey by Zagat, the number two complaint by patrons, after service issues, is excessive ambient noise. We have all had to speak louder to be heard by dining companions sitting right next to us. Bottom line is this problem must be fixed or it will affect your bottom line. If acoustics are poor, it will only serve to leave a bad taste in the mouth of your patrons, no matter how great the menu.

When you combine the sound generated by a music system, patrons trying to converse, staff communicating, and even ambient kitchen noise, it builds up and reaches a point where the energy in the room is no longer able to be absorbed or dissipated; moreover, design trends have evolved towards very open spaces (high ceilings) with hard, reflective surfaces (wood, metal, stone, tile, glass). This wide variety of sound in restaurants bouncing off these reflective surfaces increases the baseline volume, causing people to talk louder. The increased noise (noise floor) causes the music to be turned up and this cycle continues, resulting in a loud, unintelligible mass of noise. Read the rest of this entry »

Design Guidelines for DIY Studio Owners

August 10th, 2015

Part 3: Room Treatment

By Fred Gilpin

FredGilpinCreating a uniform energy decay across the entire frequency spectrum and controlling reflection is the main goal in treating your mix room. The use of both absorption and diffusion will create a natural sounding room. If you don’t have the ability to measure the energy decay in your room, a simple rule of thumb is to treat 25 to 30 per cent of the walls and ceiling with absorption, 25 to 30 per cent with diffusion, and leave the rest bare. Randomizing the panel locations on each surface adds to the overall diffusion in the room.

Mid and HF absorption can be done with soft porous material like semi-rigid fibreglass or open cell foam. You want a density of at least 3 PCF (pounds per cubic foot). A 4-in. thick panel of this density will have quite uniform absorption down to 250 Hz and is usable down to 125 Hz. Higher densities (like 6 PCF) only offer a minimal increase in absorption (mostly in the 125 Hz octave), but do offer more resistance to abuse. Spacing the panels off the wall increases the low frequency absorption. For example, a 2-in. thick panel with 2 in. of air space behind it will provide virtually the same absorption as a 4-in. panel mounted to the wall. Read the rest of this entry »

Design Guidelines For DIY Studio Owners

June 9th, 2015

Part 2: Sound Isolation Techniques

By Fred Gilpin

FredGilpinIf you read the Sound Advice column in the last issue and did the Transmission Loss (T.L.) measurements, you should have an idea of how much sound isolation you require for your room.

If you want to increase the sound isolation without tearing your room apart and starting from scratch, follow these steps and you can expect around 40dB of mid- and high-frequency isolation and about 20dB of low frequency isolation. These numbers will vary based on the construction of your existing room.

If your measurements showed that you require more isolation than that (especially in the low frequency range), you will need a room-in-a-room design and I highly recommend you hire a studio designer. A good designer will save you far more money than you pay them.

The walls, ceiling, floor, doors, and windows should all have the comparable T.L. values. Otherwise, your sound isolation will be limited by the weakest link. Read the rest of this entry »

Design Giudelines For DIY Studio Owners

April 9th, 2015

By Fred Gilpin

Owning your own studio is great. Having neighbours complain about hearing your next big hit all night isn’t so great. This is where I always start my studio designs: how much sound isolation exists and how much do we need? When we talk about sound isolation, what we measure is the “transmission loss” (T.L.) of a partition (i.e. walls, ceiling, doors, windows, etc.).The basics of measuring T.L. are: 1. Measuring and storing the response in the studio at your normal listening level (90dB SPL is pretty standard) 2. Measuring the response outside your studio 3. Subtracting the outside response from the inside response, giving you the T.L. of your existing partitions.

There are a number of free software audio analyzer packages you can use to make these measurements. To use these with a degree of accuracy, you will need a measurement microphone. There are a number of 1/4-in. omni-directional measurement microphones available for around $50 that will work just fine for this application. Most use the same miccapsule so the responses are very similar. Read the rest of this entry »

Using Ribbon Mics for Percussion

February 10th, 2015

By John JenningsJJennings

While at Revolution Recording in Toronto for an event organized by HHB Communications Canada, Royer Labs Co-Owner John Jennings spoke to Professional Sound about recording situations where some wouldn’t consider using a ribbon microphone but it might be a good solution. Here is such an example…

There are some applications that people just don’t really consider putting a ribbon microphone on but where they excel. For example, tonight, one of the percussion players, who’s excellent, kind of flipped out that we were putting a ribbon microphone on him. We put both condensers and ribbons on him and he said, “You can use a ribbon on this?”

Read the rest of this entry »


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