Treat Your Studio to Better Acoustics!

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Studio1A walls are covered with Auralex AudioTile.

Are you building a studio from the ground up? Have you already built a studio – temporary or permanent?

If so, it is likely that you haven’t put a lot of thought into the acoustical treatment of that space. In the scheme of things, room acoustics simply aren’t glamorous like microphones, mixers and processors. However, if you are serious about your studio, acoustical treatment should be one of the first items on your list.

Acoustical treatment is critical to your sound in many ways. Taming and dampening unwanted reflections, refractions and other undesirable artifacts is the first step to having control of your recordings; whether you are mixing music or voicing a podcast.

Make no mistake, the art of acoustical design and engineering is far beyond this post. When designing the new Studio1A, I was mainly concerned about reflections. The building construction didn’t allow me to acoustically isolate the room into a large isolation booth. In other words, I just wanted a nice cozy and flat sound. If a helicopter landed on the roof while I was recording, you would still hear it loud and clear.

That’s an important point. Audio frequency isolation and dampening are two completely separate animals. Isolation is a much more involved process that completely removes the outside world (at least acoustically) from your environment. Think of isolation as that weird room you go into to have your hearing tested. That is usually an iso-booth and it is very effective at keeping outside sound from penetrating the “box”. Isolation booths are great, but they are extremely expensive and usually offer little comfort, not to mention space.

If you aren’t up to an iso-booth, a more practical solution are acoustical tiles. Tiles offer minimal isolation from outside sources, but are excellent at “flattening” a rooms acoustics. It’s best to stay away from the homemade solutions, such as stapling egg cartons or gluing foam packing material to your walls. Looks are one thing, but fire safety is paramount.

There are a number of manufacturers out there, but I have used Auralex for many years and decided to stick with what works.

A common misconception is that the entire wall surface needs to be covered in treatment. Computer aided design has maximized the effectiveness of the latest tile over the broadest of frequencies, so that even a small percentage of coverage can yield impressive results.

Studio1A is covered in the cleverly designed Auralex AudioTile product. The unique shapes of these tiles allow you to get very creative in your design. Plan ahead, and you will get great results. My tile floor was actually recommended my an Auralex engineer after I was convinced carpet would yield better results.

Check out the full spectrum of sound absorbing products from leading manufacturers. Plan ahead, ask questions and be sure the product works for YOUR space and requirements. Always follow the manufacturers directions for application and be sure you know whether it can be removed without leaving a mark.

AudioTile fit my needs. Talk to an expert to find out what will work for you. You will be amazed at the difference a bit of foam can make!

Drop me a line, any time with comments, thoughts and suggestions:
mark at newmediagear dot com

Best,
MarkJensen
Sig

Zoom H-4n Records Nova Era

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Nova Era – A Night in Venice DVD.

Big sound, …little recorder. The redesigned Zoom H-4n.

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Portable digital audio recorders continue to be a very hot topic. From hobbyists, to pro-sumers, independent studios and even the 3-letter broadcast giants – everyone is taking advantage of the these devices.

At least for Studio1A, Zoom is one of the major players in affordable and portable recorders.

The H-4 started it all. Then, the amazing sub-$200 H-2. Now, the H-4 is back with a complete face lift as the H-4n. Laura and I wanted to try out the new H-4n at a live concert. The group Nova Era was gracious enough to let us acoustically, and then direct-record a recent live performance.

We have used the Zooms for a lot of vocal work. I was curious to find just how well a stock H-4n, with its small X-Y electret mics would record a live performance; crowd noise and all.

Have a listen and let us know what you think of the completely redesigned Zoom H-4n…

Performance synchronization, © Nova Era Music 2007.

Drop me a line, any time with comments, thoughts and suggestions:
mark at newmediagear dot com

Best,
MarkJensen
Sig

The Aphex HeadPod – Music to your Ears

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Marvin Caesar, President of Aphex Systems talks about the HeadPod, used at Studio1A.

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Last time, we talked a little about reference and near field studio monitors.

Today, let’s chat with Marvin Caesar – President of Aphex Systems. You probably know Aphex as makers of the very popular model 230 Master Voice Channel.

The quality and versatility of the HeadPod is catching on. I had an opportunity to check out the early prototype HeadPod a while back. As soon as the production models were available, we started using them in our broadcast and post production studios. For studio, stage or even home audiophile use, the HeadPod is hard to beat for clean, responsive sound.

The HeadPod is a headphone amplifier and distribution box. Dressed in unassuming white and sporting ‘230’ style discrete level controls, the HeadPod is compact, while having a solid feel (and ample shielding against noise) thanks to the thick metal cover and body.

Feed the HeadPod either a line or headphone level signal via a 1/4 inch connector. With 3 physical 1/4 inch inputs, you select either 1 stereo input or 2 discrete mono connections. The master level sets the overall input feed level, while 4 potentiometers allow you to fine-tune the output of each guest headphone.

Listen in as we talk with Marvin about the little amp with big sound…

Drop me a line, any time with comments, thoughts and suggestions:
mark at newmediagear dot com

Best,
MarkJensen
Sig