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Section A.2. Designing a studio with proper acoustics

A.2. Designing a studio with proper acoustics

The first and largest component of the ultimate web sound studio is the room itself. A proper recording environment with pleasing acoustics and no echo or noise is essential to high-quality recording. (For more information about optimum room acoustics, see Chapter 3.) Successfully building a great sound studio depends largely on having the proper budget to design and remodel a room from scratch or the ingenuity to repurpose an existing room on a budget.

Pro option

Money and space permitting, most professional recording studios are customized from the ground up to have the ideal acoustics and optimum recording functionality. Professional studios generally have a minimum of two rooms: a control room for mixing and monitoring and a soundproof recording room for capturing the audio signal. The control room is where the audio engineer resides during a recording or mix-down session and contains mixing boards, a digital audio workstation, studio reference monitors, and so on. The recording room is where the musicians, voice-over artists, and microphones reside. Generally, the control room is directly adjacent to the recording room with a soundproof window built in-between so the engineer can supervise microphone placement and communicate with the recording artists.

Professional studios optimize good room acoustics by placing high-frequency-absorbing audio-grade foam on the walls and ceilings, bass baffles and traps on the floors and corners, and reflective hardwood floors for warmth and pleasing reverberation.

Budget option

Building a sound studio on a shoestring budget takes ingenuity and resourcefulness. Most web professionals and audio enthusiasts will have neither the luxury of building a room from the ground up nor an extensive budget to equip it with acoustic foam, bass traps, or sound isolation booths. For people with a limited budget, converting an existing square or rectangular room in their home or production offices into a dedicated sound studio is their only option. If you have one room for recording, mixing, and monitoring, the first step is to isolate and place any noisy, fan-cooled hard drives or power amps into a padded box or a closet with enough air circulation around the components.

Once you reduce any extraneous noise that can leak into your microphones during recording, place bookshelves, file cabinets, wall hangings, or other large objects against the walls to reduce echo and slap-back. If the ceiling and floor are parallel, place a rug on the floor or a tapestry on the ceiling to further reduce slap-back and echo.



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