Tag Archives for " acoustics "
One of the problems with most studio control rooms or small home studios is that fact that there are problems in the low end response. We try to control these with bass traps, but to be effective, normal passive traps take up a lot of precious room. There is an alternative however, and that’s to use a new breed of low frequency absorption that’s active, and that’s exactly what the PSI Audio AVAA C20 Active Bass Absorber does.
The AVAA C20 works on frequencies from 15Hz to 150Hz and it’s dead easy to set up in that there are no settings or calibration, only an on/off switch. So how does it work?
When audio sound waves hit a wall they build up pressure, which makes them bounce back into the room, reinforcing some frequencies and attenuating others, which creates an uneven frequency response. A normal passive bass trap takes that pressure wave and turns it into heat with material like fiberglass or rockwool, but you need a lot of it to be effective, especially at lower frequencies. The AVAA C20 has a microphone that measures the pressure of the sound wave. An acoustic membrane then is driven to absorb the volume of air going through the acoustic resistance of the front panel of the unit, turning the pressure of the sound wave to zero so it doesn’t bounce back into the room.
The interesting thing is that the AVAA C20 is totally analog and there’s no DSP involved. No, it’s doesn’t make a sound either, but it does the job of a bass trap up to 20 times as large as the unit!
The PSI Audio AVAA C20 is not a small investment at $2000 each, and you’ll need 2 for a 400 square foot room (one for each corner). Unlike physical passive traps though, these are easily portable, so you’re buying something that you can use in any environment for a long time. Check out the video below or go to the website for more info.
We pretty much know about life in the studio around us, but how different is it in other countries? My former assistant Joshua F Williams has been one of the top engineer/producers in the Middle East for the past 10 years, and he’ll tell us what the music scene is like in the Dubai area on my latest podcast.
Yes, the techniques are different, the instruments are different, and even the way you listen to things are different there, but Josh also sees the similarities between Europe, Los Angeles, and the UAE. It’s some interesting insight into a land that most of us are curious about, and well worth a listen.
In the intro I’ll look at the changing streaming music business (32 services have closed in the last 5 years), and at the world’s first “perfect” concert hall.
Most mixers have at least one convolution reverb in their arsenal that has a variety of concert hall impulses. Ah, but the question is, do you have the right ones? Why not have the best of the best (if you can get them). Here’s a list of the world’s 10 best concert halls (inspired by an article in Business Insider) as judged by the godfather of acousticians, the recently passed Dr. Leo Beranek.
#1: Musikverein, Vienna, Austria (pictured on the left)
This is a relatively small hall at only 1,744 seats. According to Beranek in his Concert Halls and Opera Houses book, “the superior acoustics of the hall are due to its rectangular shape, its relatively small size, its high ceiling with resulting long reverberation time, the irregular interior surfaces, and the plaster interior.”
#2: Symphony Hall, Boston, USA
Another small one at 2,625 seats, famed acoustician and Harvard professor Wallace Clement Sabine helped plan the hall, while introducing his new technique to measure and increase reverberation time.
#3: Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands
#4: Konzerthaus Berlin, Germany
Just 1,600 seats, this concert hall opened in 1821, but was severely damaged during WW2. It reopened as a concert hall again 1984.
#5: Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, Japan
Another small one at 1,662 seats, but different from the rest in that it’s relatively new, opening in 1997. Who says we can’t make them as good anymore?
#6: Stadtcasino Basel, Switzerland
Just 1,600 seats, again showing that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.
#7: Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England
Another relatively new hall, opening in 1991. It’s somewhat larger than the others at 2,262 seats.
#8: Culture and Congress Centre (KKL), Lucerne, Switzerland
Another new one, opening in 1998 and having 1,840 seats.
#9: St. David’s Hall, Cardiff, Wales
This hall opened in 1992 and seats 2,000.
#10: Meyerson Center, Dallas, USA
Another relatively new hall, it first opened in 1989 and holds 2,062.
When we think of the finest concert halls, we automatically think of something large with a long decay time. If this top 10 list indicates anything, that supposition is far from the case, as smaller halls are consistently considered to sound better. Maybe that will play into our reverb settings in the future. Goodbye large hall?