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tune the room

I’ve found that a key to me staying afloat in this strange business is to be able to do a number of different tasks. For example, last week included recording strings for a couple of folk songs for the prison project, doing my radio show, producing another radio showplaying a gig on bass, and mixing audio for a Monster Truck show. I love the variety, and each situation is a learning opportunity.

I recently got a call from someone who needed help with their home studio. Their goal is voiceover work, but the control room and tracking room needed a lot of help from an acoustics and connectivity standpoint in order to achieve professional results. I love this kind of work. Not only did I build and treat my own home studio, but I have consulted and implemented acoustic plans for several clients. I jumped at the opportunity to work on this project.

As an aside, I was extremely lucky to study with the mad scientist/genius acoustician and architect, John Storyk. His class was incredible, not only from an informational/real world/knowledge perspective, but also for his personality. Some memorable moments include an answer to the question “will it do anything acoustically if I put (fill in the blank) in the corner?” Storyk: “I don’t care what you put in the corner – a plant, a table, your mother-in-law, it’s doing something!” Or the time when we had to take a break in the middle class so John could take a call from his longtime friend, Eddie Kramer. Storyk also pronounces “reverb” in the most wonderful way. It was a formative experience to learn from this man, and I still revisit the texts and materials he gave us. It’s also an interesting twist that I frequently work out of a studio that Storyk built. The room is unmistakably his – the man has many signature fingerprints in his designs.

For this home studio project, I applied many of the tools I learned from studying with Storyk: assessing the scope and goals of the studio, testing and tuning the room with tones, white noise, and pink noise to discover the frequency response, designing and wiring custom wall patch plates, and working with the client on a solution that meets their needs, while also building out enough for the client to expand the scope of the studio’s capabilities should the need arise. And of course, staying within a budget. I’m pleased with the results. With the help of some well placed absorption, diffusion, ceiling clouds, de-coupling speaker stands, and an easy to use wall patch panel, the studio is fully functional and turning out great results. And we fit the aesthetic already established in the room, so it looks good, too.

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