This Room Doesn’t Look Acoustically Treated!
Have you ever seen a picture, often in a trade magazine, showing a world-renowned producer, engineer or artist sitting in their studio?
An array of equipment will surround them: a mixing desk of some sort, various near-field monitors, racks of outboard, and an obligatory lava lamp. Did you ever think to yourself “This doesn’t look like an acoustically treated space? Where’s the acoustic treatment?”
This is not an exhaustively researched theory – but I believe it’s a good hunch – that the reason this can be the case is down to the human ear’s ability to adapt and compensate. To make sense of poorly, or barely, treated acoustic environment.
How do producers get good results in badly treated rooms?
To start with, all the gear in such rooms is of excellent quality, so we can assume that it sounds good from the beginning.
Secondly, the monitor speakers are usually near or midfield monitors. This will help to minimise (but not remove) the effects of the room acoustics. And lastly, the user will acclimatise themselves over time with their’ home field’ acoustic surroundings.
All of which sounds quite reasonable. The result – evidenced by the work they produce – is an excellent working environment for those individuals who occupy and work in that particular space.
They are accustomed to how the space sounds and can deliver the goods.
Where problems occur
However, such an approach will not work in a multi-room facility where projects start in Studio A, move to Studio B to accommodate bookings, with the final mix happening in the swanky Studio C when the clients are in attendance.
If the unfortunate operator and/or client find themselves having to move between different, inconsistent acoustic environments, they will find themselves experiencing unnecessary levels of stress and (completely avoidable) challenges.
The Smart Studio strategy is to remove such obstacles by implementing a design which delivers acoustic consistency, room to room. A neutral room acoustic allows the operator to move from studio to studio and simply focus on the job in hand. No need to get to know the sound in another space and wonder which is right and which is wrong.
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