The Acoustic Consultant’s View

null The Acoustic Consultant’s View

The Acoustic Consultant’s View

Here at Studio Sound Service, we work globally in the field of acoustics, specialising in the design of recording studios, mastering rooms, post-production and dubbing studios, broadcast, cinema, and audio facilities in general.

Our clients range from broadcasters such as Fox, Disney and Netflix to musicians and producers, but also include architects and private clients who need acoustic consultancy for a wide range of projects. Our work is very varied and every day’s task is different from the day before – which makes life very stimulating!

Studios are changing

Over the years, we’ve certainly seen the needs of our customers in the music field changing. Productions are now made mostly “at home”, so the rooms that clients ask us to design are increasingly smaller and more “personal”. The transition to digital helped this process. Now a computer can replace dozens of pieces of equipment that once filled control rooms. Very recently this trend has expanded to those such as dubbing engineers, since the COVID situation has made the “work from home” process inevitable.

As acoustic designers, the main problems we must overcome are in space management. Studios are getting smaller and smaller and it's not always easy to find a layout that’s acoustically functional and ergonomic as well. Studios are also often located in urban areas, so isolation from neighbours becomes very important.

Each project is different from the others because clients, their personalities and artistic needs are different, so we always need to find a very personalised design that can inspire the artist’s workflow. But - in my opinion - this is the best part of our job.

Why use GLM?

We’re always happy when customers choose Genelec because we know we can always count on efficient assistance and high-level collaboration. GLM software helps us in the final process and speeds up this part of the project. We were eagerly awaiting the new 4.1 version of GLM which will allow us to calibrate using EQ in an "additive" way when required. Customers have been asking for this feature for a while and we’re happy that the time has finally come.

GLM software is very reliable; but in our experience it definitely works best in well-treated rooms. Untreated rooms require more attention, and we find that it’s often necessary to make additional checks and measurements, followed by manual adjustments within GLM.

For those that might struggle with the idea of using studio loudspeakers in conjunction with DSP and software calibration, we find that it’s never misleading - and doesn’t detract in any way from the final quality. This attitude of not wanting to use anything for fine tuning derives from the HiFi world. On the contrary, there is always a need for fine tuning, because loudspeakers are designed and tuned in anechoic chambers - but real rooms can never be anechoic (fortunately!). If you just think about the equipment in a studio, some corrections are always necessary. Mixing consoles, for instance, always give physiological defects in frequency response.

Professional advice

My advice for anyone who’s unsure about how their room is performing would be to perform an acoustic analysis, and there is free software that will do this, such as Room EQ Wizard. When people call us with listening problems, in 99% of cases the issues are at low frequencies (since problems in the medium-high range always have easy solutions).

When rooms are acoustically treated without the help of professionals, there is a tendency to absorb a lot in the medium-high frequencies but almost not at all in the low frequencies. People always appreciate diffusers and scenographic acoustic panels seen in cool photos - and they try to reproduce what they see - but actually the most important interventions are always the hidden ones!

About the author

Cecilia Torrachi

Cecilia Torrachi first worked with Studio Sound Service in 2014, subsequently graduating in civil engineering with a thesis on recording studio design. She joined CEO Donato Masci to become a partner in the company in 2017, and now works closely with him on numerous projects both in Italy and abroad. Cecilia also has a conservatory diploma in classical piano, giving her an attentive ear and a special insight into the audio requirements of her clients.

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