Dr. AIX's POSTS — 27 December 2015

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Christmas 2015 has passed. My oldest son headed to Las Vegas with his girlfriend and her family on the 25th, which meant the Waldrep family and some friends celebrated on Christmas Eve with a wonderful meal, drinks, and a great game of “Dictionary”. That left the morning of Christmas open to see the new Star Wars movie in IMAX 3D (which I thoroughly enjoyed!) and to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon clearing out the last remaining stuff from the 1000 square feet in the front of the building, which will become the new studios.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I would be designing and building some new recording and production rooms for a new tenant. I posted a picture of the room packed to the hilt with AIX Records products, packing supplies, and lots of other boxes. It took a lot more effort to clear the room, but it has actually been done. See the before and after pictures below:

151227_before_after

Figure 1 – Yes, it really is the same room from roughly the same viewpoint. I won’t show you the area where all of the stuff got moved. I’m still working on that. [Click to enlarge]

With the room emptied and the plans roughed out, it’s time to start constructing walls and enclosing three new spaces. There will be two control rooms/production rooms flanking a central live room. This configuration will provide maximum flexibility as well as make the space attractive to any future tenants. These three rooms will be shared by three producer/engineers. Each will have their own dedicated space for writing and working “in-the-box” but they will also be able to take advantage of the live room when they need to record an acoustic instrument such as a drum kit or vocalist.

Here’s the layout of the new rooms:

151227_studio_plan

Figure 2 – The floor plan for the new studios. [Click to enlarge]

The red walls are new and form the space within the raw space provided by the building. That’s one of the main design considerations when you’re trying to isolate the spaces from each other AND to prevent leakage from other studios intruding on these new studios. Low frequencies are very troublesome for a multi-room facility. With the use of sub octave generators and the “big bass” on pop/commercial tunes, it’s very difficult to design proper isolation in sound facilities.

The approach that we’re taking involves physically isolating the rooms from each other by avoiding any common walls, using 50 durometer rubber underneath each wall, elevating the floors with additional rubber, and making sure that none of the new construction is in physical contact with any of the existing walls.

So we’ll have double walls throughout the new space. And on each of the new walls will be multiple layers of materials of different densities. We’ll use cotton insulation inside the walls then a layer of drywall, a layer of sound board, and a layer of drywall before the surface gets covered with “704”, one inch insulation covered with fabric. A simple 2×4 based vertical wall gets another 6-10 inches by creating multiple layers on both sides. And there must also be a small air gap in between the walls. It’s expensive but it does the job.

When I left the room yesterday, we had finished one wall. Construction has begun.

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About Author

Dr. AIX

Mark Waldrep, aka Dr. AIX, has been producing and engineering music for over 40 years. He learned electronics as a teenager from his HAM radio father while learning to play the guitar. Mark received the first doctorate in music composition from UCLA in 1986 for a "binaural" electronic music composition. Other advanced degrees include an MS in computer science, an MFA/MA in music, BM in music and a BA in art. As an engineer and producer, Mark has worked on projects for the Rolling Stones, 311, Tool, KISS, Blink 182, Blues Traveler, Britney Spears, the San Francisco Symphony, The Dover Quartet, Willie Nelson, Paul Williams, The Allman Brothers, Bad Company and many more. Dr. Waldrep has been an innovator when it comes to multimedia and music. He created the first enhanced CDs in the 90s, the first DVD-Videos released in the U.S., the first web-connected DVD, the first DVD-Audio title, the first music Blu-ray disc and the first 3D Music Album. Additionally, he launched the first High Definition Music Download site in 2007 called iTrax.com. A frequency speaker at audio events, author of numerous articles, Dr. Waldrep is currently writing a book on the production and reproduction of high-end music called, "High-End Audio: A Practical Guide to Production and Playback". The book should be completed in the fall of 2013.

(11) Readers Comments

  1. Mark, Just this morning I was telling some friends about the way recording studios are designed with no parallel walls, and even vertically-slanted windows, to spread resonances out so individual frequencies aren’t emphasized simply because their wavelengths go evenly into one of the room’s dimensions.

    I assume that’s still standard practice – or am I out-of-date?

    • Phil, you’re absolutely correct. The best way to remove room resonances (build up of specific frequencies in a non-linear way) is to have non-parallel walls. However, the same end result can be achieved by using the inside layer of the rooms to minimize resonances. I’ll talk about the approach in a post soon.

      • Yes and studio “F” is nearly square, another no-no for playback. Curious if any of the 704 is reflectively faced as its unfaced density would really suck out the upper octaves ? I’d love to see the frequency and waterfall response when finished. When considering file quality, one wonders how studio aberrations and the corrections thereof, are detrimentally enhanced during playback ?

  2. Have you decided on the brand and model of speakers for your new studios?

    • I’m supplying the rooms…the actual equipment will be up to the tenants.

  3. Do you have a mastering suite in addition to recording suites? i.e. a room specifically for listening to playback of final masters. How is it set up?

    • Yes, my large room is equipped for mastering. I spent 13 years mastering recordings in both standard and high resolution. It’s based around my B&W 801s, Bryston, Benchmark DACs and Sonic Studio’s Sound Blade DAW.

      • Very nice. And nice to know, too. Thanks.

  4. Dear Mark,
    I haven’t received information about how to download my Kickstarter reward. I did float them an email, but have had no response. Please advise.

    Regards,

    Alex Ferguson

  5. Surprised you saw Force Awakens in 3D when it was not photographed in 3D but post processed. I love 3D but only watch it when captured by 3D cameras.

    http://realorfake3d.com

    • It worked for me…there is so much CGI stuff that can be successfully converted to 3D in post, that I was satisfied.

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