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Thread: New Interface

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    In the 90s, I built a studio - and it was in a old Victorian School building with high ceilings and plenty of space. My previous ones had all been, for practical reasons, full of treatment to solve the parallel wall problems. In this new space, I tried a new idea, because cost (within reason) and timescale of construction was quite fluid. We built the walls individually and built an oversize ceiling in panels with an MDF lower surface that we could simply lower onto our walls. We tried it on the recording area first. We stood up the walls, and pulled them in and out, changing angles and facing directions, then with pulleys from the metal tie-bars, we lowered the roof panels onto the walls. We then used a battery powered Hi-Fi to play test tracks and a snare drum. It was so strange. Kicking out a wall by just a few inches, and pushing in another made a very obvious difference. When we found what we felt was the nicest sounding hard surface shape, we secured everything, bolted them together and then added the plasterboard layers on the inside, as usual. One of the 'walls' was a heavy duty double glazed patio style door. It was the best sounding room I've ever built, without any treatment, so with a little bit of tuning with proprietary products it was great to work in. We did the same thing with the control room area, which ended up rather like a coffin shape. It too had a patio door, parallel with the one in the other room, about 300mm apart. These doors worked well for visual and access reasons, but were the weak link. The sound transmission was troublesome. We tracked it down to the Metal baseplate. Using a measurement mic and headphones we hunted for where sound was getting out and while the hardwood frames left right and top were pretty good, the one that carried the weight and the track was metal, and clearly the extruded profile let the sound through. The actual frame in the tracks was well sealed, oddly - and it was just the bit you walk on to go through that leaked. Not a sealing thing, just that it let sound in and out. Not enough to be useless by any means, but annoying.

    I'd absolutely do this again - because everything sounded good recorded in this room, and it was very forgiving. It was in a college - and lots of the recordings made were for exams. I'd like to think that even the weaker candidates did better in their grades because the room was so nice and forgiving. Mic positions less critical, and the layout of the things in the room not so important - and those that picked up a cheap ice cream cone shaped dynamic instead of a nice condenser got away with it!

    The thing that stopped me doing it again was simply practical - nowhere to hang the ceiling panels from to allow the walls to be moved around. I don't think I have heard of anyone else do this, as it's the ability to lift off the ceiling, move the walls, then drop it down again that can't be done in most builds. I'm nowhere near clever enough to calculate this with maths, but trial and error works brilliantly - IF - you can do it.

    The 'quality' increase in getting the room right was so worth while.

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