Acoustics: A Tale of Vibrations

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

It is a renowned fact that acoustics play a major role when it comes to a studio recording. The engineer should be well aware of the dimensions and the response of the room. The legends say that it would take a minimum of 5 years for an engineer to learn and experience the behaviour of a room.

Different studios treat their rooms in different styles and sounds. When the size of the room differs, the instrument’s or the individual’s sound characteristics would also differ, be it a soloist or a 72 piece orchestra. As time progressed and technology evolved, recording studios started introducing modular units, hydraulic wall and ceiling placements, rendering a higher degree of flexibility to the recordings, opening newer lanes of possibilities.

The Room or the Source?

An Engineer should be able to place the Artist in the room based on his knowledge about the instrument and his room’s response. For eg: if it is a 72 piece orchestra, he should know exactly where to place the percussionists, the Brass players, the string players, etc., to capture the best source these instruments can deliver in that space. The taller and broader the space, the bigger the sound will be, provided carefully and methodically captured.

The Hidden Conversation

The live room is an environment of its own. The different interactions that happen in this room influence the record in many ways. The temperature of the room affects each instrument differently. As we have seen, a skin instrument changes pitch, as it gets hotter or cooler (Chapter 2). This is true for any type of instrument. We have witnessed many great artists leave the instrument open in the live room for it to get acclimatized with its new environment. Here, they are leaving the instrument and the room be, letting them have a conversation with each other. This conversation, over anything else, has a huge impact on how the recording will turn out.

The Control Room

Your control room is equally or even more important than your live space because this is where we listen and adjudge the source that we capture live. This is where the room’s acoustic treatment and more importantly its calibration plays a vital role. A non-calibrated room can easily mar your judgment.

The correct methodology to follow while treating and calibrating a control room is to place the monitor speakers and treat the room in accordance to its response. It can be wall mounted, flush mounted, or stand mounted. The monitor’s response should always linger in the mind while the room is being acoustically treated. This will ensure an accurate and transparent listening experience. Without proper calibration, judging a source or a mix is an effort in futility, be it a home studio or a professional studio. So it should be never taken for granted. Above all the technicality, a point to keep in mind is that the control room is going to be where you’ll be spending majority of your time. The connection you share with this room should be intimate and pure. Radiate as much good vibrations and positivity inside this room as you can.

Latent vibrations are real and authentic; admit it.

Grantha Tips:

  • Acoustics play a vital role in studio recordings.

  • An Engineer takes at least 5 years to understand a room’s response.

  • The bigger the room, the bigger the sound.

  • Conditions of a room affect the instruments.

  • It needs to acclimatize to the environment for best results.

  • Control Room calibration shouldn’t be taken for granted.

  • Develop a connection with the rooms and the equipment with which you work.

The Grantha has much more to reveal. See you in the next Chapter!!

#bloggingtips #audioengineer #studio #acoustics #vibrations

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