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Thread: Altering the monitoring room DURING a project.

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    Altering the monitoring room DURING a project.

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    I've got a bit of a problem. I work from home in studios built onto my home - dating from 2004 when we moved in. The building was converting from a garage (UK small style) that was trebled in length and had 1m added to the height. Divided into separate working areas. Works well, sounds fine. However - the roof is flat and sprung a pretty bad leak in two separate places getting through to the control room plaster ceiling. This I fixed in January and it appeared to be water tight and it dried out fine internally. The room next door flooded very badly in March, water pouring in and when I went up to fix it, discovered the previous leak had damaged the board surface and everything was sagging. The new roof is being fitted next week - but the roofing people have told me that almost certainly when they open it up the inside ceiling of my studio will be very wet, and while not through to the inner surface, will need removing - and possibly the timber removing too. While bad, it also gives me opportunity to adds some much needed ventilation, but this will mean changes to the surfaces - Something I can probably live with - BUT, and here's the question. I have no idea how much impact this will have on the three or four projects I'm currently working on. Has anyone experienced room changes, maybe by changing studios mid project? In 16 years I have got to know the sound of the room very well and how things mixed in it will sound elsewhere. I'm concerned that some of the tracks we're producing will sound 'wrong', or that we'll be able to pick them out afterwards? No recording issues, this is purely a mix situation. If the opinion is that I shouldn't;t do it, I'll put back exactly what was damaged and live with the occasional door opening for fresh air from time to time. If, however, people think the change is manageable or even not critical, then I'll take the opportunity to make a few changes. It's not clever space - basically a slightly non 90 degree rectangle, but with a parallel ceiling to floor - with some treatment to mop up some reflections.

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    How critical is WHEN you get these projects done? With changes, you will need to relearn the room, of course, but having projects that you've already been working on should actually help, because if you notice differences, then right away you will know that is because of the room changes.
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    At the risk of sounding predictable and unboxing Pandora again........

    I would argue for testing. Measure the room as best as possible before the change and after. Note the changes, if any, and their significance. Then let this inform your ears. Listen to the new space and make a judgement call. This is a unique opportunity to let science help you.

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    I also believe that after the roofers leave, you will never be able to think again. The pounding will drive you crazy and you may never be the same. I've been living in the same home for 25 years and we are on our second roof. Hurricanes tend to shorten roof life. They also flood studios.

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    I think if you pull up some older completed mixes and or references that you know well before and after you should have a good idea what, if any, changes have/have not occurred to your monitoring.
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    I'm still a little unclear about what is likely to change. Room dimensions? Room treatments? The absorption characteristics of the room? Are you replacing plaster with drywall? Is anything changing at the first reflection points or the ceiling above the mix position?

    My inclination is to say that, short of major changes to room dimensions or treatments, you're unlikely to see significant changes to what you hear and what you mix. You probably couldn't change the low end if you tried. And the high end will likely be sorted out in short order with your ears and brain.

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    Hmm. The only real difference would be a section towards the rear of the room where the ceiling height would be around 150mm lower, and if I did this I'd probably also slope the ceiling from this point a little which would remove a 'flutter' that I get where the ceiling and work surface beneath it fight a little. The actual ceiling is ,multiple layers of drywall with the usual staggered joints between layers - which are what we think might be somewhat soggy. the ceiling above the mix position would be the only real change, but a small change in angle would remove the only absolute parallel surface. I guess that I will be able to re-learn the new 'sound', but I'm just worried that it's the projects part completed that will suffer? Probably reading too much into it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    Probably reading too much into it.
    It's good to sweat the details but I think you will be alright. My experience with treating rooms is that a small handful of variables impact the way the room sounds. The biggest variable being the shape of the room and it's volume. After that, it's desk/speaker placement. And, finally, bass trapping. If you are keeping all those variables constant and not changing equipment (like monitors), I wouldn't expect the room sound to change in a meaningful way.

    If you are changing the ceiling height at one location, it may have a marginal impact. But it's clearly not like dropping the ceiling across the entire room or adding a new wall that alters the room's size.

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    I have a couple of projects on the go when I actually moved to a new building and a completely redesigned studio, there was also a 5 month gap (with understanding clients) between studios. As long as the new room sounds good it is very easy to work on the material there. In actual fact both the recording room and the control room at the new location were better sounding rooms and highlighted a few minor problems with the tracking in the old place, which were easily fixed with a little EQ.

    Alan.

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