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Home | Technical | Science | Recording Studio Design

Recording Studio Design

Overview

Commercial recording studios cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to construct and one of the most costly procedures is often the soundproofing of the studio. Many studio are sited in noisy, city environments and so it is essential that no external sound enters the studio. This is perhaps less important where the music to be recorded is entirely electronic, but if real instruments and microphones are involved then soundproofing is essential. Other important considerations when designing a studio are the electrics and the layout of the rooms. Poor electrics, apart from being dangerous, will often be a source of unnecessary noise. The extent to which you choose to plan your wiring systems is ultimately up to you, but whole books have been written on the subject dealing with detailed issues such as electrically separating analogue and digital equipment, avoiding certain wires crossing or running in parallel etc. Certain types of recording require a different sonic environment (e.g. vocals) and so separate booths etc. will need to be incorporated.

Acoustic Theory

Some understanding of the properties of sound is useful when planning a studio. Sound can travel through any medium, but wil travel better through liquids and solids than it will through gas (i.e air). The intensity of a sound is also reduced when it passes from one medium to another (e.g from a solid wall into air) and this is a property that is often made use of in soundproofing. The amount of reduction is dependant on the density of the two media so, in studio terms, it is the density of the wall that is of concern.

Unfortunately wall are inevitably slightly flexible and this flexibility will tend to reduce the effect as movement on one side is radiated on the other side (this is known as coupling). If the sound reaches a resonant frequency (every material has a resonant frequency at which it vibrates), the wall will boom.

In terms of theory, therefore, the main aims in designing the acoustic properties of a studio are to reduce coupling and eliminate resonances.


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