Acoustic Treatment by PAD
Acoustic treatment is the final phase of studio design and construction. It’s also the means by which we take an existing space and fashion its acoustic response to support and enhance its intended purpose.
Some spaces, despite being meeting places where clarity in communication is essential, are built, outfitted, and decorated with a traditional image and function in mind—with sound treated as an afterthought—more often than not, a problem to be solved at a later date (after the complaints begin). It is possible to design rooms from scratch that require no EQ, but that doesn’t happen when a client moves into a facility, warehouse, or spare room in their home. To achieve the sonic results required, there is no substitute for an experienced acoustic consultant.
Pro Audio Design can provide acoustic treatment for:
House of Worship
Retail & Restaurant
Noise & Vibration Control
Far more than equipment, a great-sounding room is what separates the recordings of professionals from those of amateurs
The acoustic signature or “sound” of your live room and elimination of adverse acoustic characteristics in the control room are the ultimate goals of recording studio design. Tempting as it may be to attempt a DIY solution, you simply can’t learn enough about studio acoustics on the Internet to build a commercially competitive space.
Since the physics affecting the sound-field of every room is different, as the reflective qualities of every piece of sheetrock are different from every other, there are no off-the-shelf solutions to acoustic treatment done right.
Small-room treatment requires more of an artisan’s approach since there are no formulas or apps for small-room acoustics. The reason being is that you can’t enter enough information to achieve definitive results. Since the walls and ceilings move, thereby acting as panel absorbers for the first two octaves, there are no predictive programs that can be applied. And while every decision made is scientifically based, the art lies in reconciling all of the overlapping factors (which no app or formula can dependably predict) and choosing the compromises that best benefit the space and its intended use. (Perhaps the greater part of the “art” of small-room acoustics lies in explaining those compromises to the client.)
It's all in the ear
All the online RTA calculators in the world can’t take into account the specific physical properties of your space (i.e. what’s behind your walls as well as coating them). Nor can buying guides and the online “universities” of web stores selling commercial acoustic treatment teach you what to listen for when you tune a room.
Acoustic design requires an intimate knowledge of how various building materials, acoustic treatments, physical structure, and dimensions of a space will interact sonically in response to acoustic waves at various frequencies and sound pressure levels—and above all, an experienced and talented ear.
When designing a recording room, a balanced sound is essential
Creating a balanced sound requires the ability to “pre-hear” what a room should sound like in your mind’s ear, which only comes from years of experience. The next step is tailoring the room with acoustic treatment in order to achieve that sound, thus giving you the level of intimacy and depth we all seek in a recording space.
Control room acoustics
When designing a control room, the primary focus is on the engineer's "sweet spot," which is where all frequencies need to converge with a special emphasis on phase and time alignment. Through a combination of room design, acoustic treatment, speaker placement, and tuning, Pro Audio Design’s acoustical engineers can create an ideal mixing environment: where stereo becomes three-dimensional, and critical mix decisions are made with confidence.
Let's Talk Acoustics
With Pro Audio Design’s considerable studio design experience, we can offer options to fit or stretch your budget from Spartan to a more appealing creative space. Tell us a bit about your project and we'll share our ideas.
Budgeting for acoustic treatment
While isolation costs are for the most part fixed since the number of materials and labor required can be calculated based on physical measurements, costs can vary wildly with acoustic treatment. For those taking a minimalist approach—opting for function over fanciful form—budgeting for treatment is simple and straightforward. Interior treatments to control wavelengths are easily calculated, easily mounted, and require a specific amount of materials for the space involved.
However, when you’re also selling image to high-end clients, the budget for the interior look can equal the rest of the budget; premium fabrics, millwork, a circular dome above the console with recessed LED lighting that flashes in time with the music, latticework, stained maple ceilings, switch plates in the color and shape of the studio’s logo, etc., can drive up costs dramatically.
Additionally, the materials must be evaluated for their absorptive or reflective qualities, shaped, and fabricated. Like purchasing a recording desk, if you don’t budget for patchbay, wiring shipping, and installation, you can wind up “console poor.” The same holds true for aesthetically based acoustic treatment.
With Pro Audio Design’s considerable studio design experience, we can offer options to fit or stretch your budget from Spartan to a more appealing creative space.
Begin your journey to a great-sounding studio
Are you looking to build a great sounding room? We have helped design hundreds of recording rooms, from basement build-outs to multi-studio complexes—and the feedback from our clients is always the same: "You made our room sound incredible!"
House of Worship, Retail & Restaurant, Boardroom and Other Fixed Installations
In a house of worship, boardroom, courthouse, lecture hall, or other fixed installation, speech intelligibility is of paramount importance regardless of listening position. Any large reverberant space with numerous reflective surfaces poses specific problems for clarity. However, the purpose of the space must dictate treatment. For example, a house of worship requires intelligibility across its length and width, regardless of listening position.
On the other hand, in a restaurant with similar design elements, i.e. high ceilings and lots of reflective surfaces, but the need for vocal intelligibility is not across the entire facility, rather, in the near-field, while the overall din of conversations at each table must be controlled. Unlike the house of worship, you don’t want someone at the opposite end of the structure hearing what’s said at the bar across the room as though they were sitting at the table (it happens).
Live Sound Venues
For proper acoustic performance, not only must the physical properties of the venue be taken into account and compensated for, but also how that space will respond when filled with people. Additionally, the proper sound reinforcement equipment must be chosen to provide the optimal performer/audience experience. With a background as both performing musicians and acousticians, Pro Audio Design will enable you to achieve the optimal sound your venue is capable of.