ATAM Productions

Acoustic Treatment in Ottawa

One area that ATAM Productions has been involved in over the last year is audio production. In the fall of 2009 I moved into a new home studio from the lab at Arts Court, where I was located originally. The Lab was a really great space because the rental was paid for in partnership with SAW Video. I was able to learn many aspects about studio layout including the importance of dense walls and solid construction

One major problem with my previous facility was the acoustics of the room; the room just simply didn't have the right mojo for mixing. In my new space I have the ability to add acoustic treatment, and my first purchase was bass traps. The purpose of bass traps is to solve specific problems in rooms in order to improve the quality of sound in a room. This natural room resonance is called room modes. Just like a drum resonates at different frequencies based on its size, a room reinforces certain frequencies based on its size. The biggest problem is an uneven volume across the frequency spectrum. Some notes will be "normal" while others will dip as much as 30 dB. This is more pronounced in smaller rooms and it is first noticeable with low frequencies.

This waterfall shows several peaks and valleys uncovered during room analysisWaterfall graph of audio frequency showing room modes[/caption]

For recording engineers this is a problem because we make decisions about the sound that work very well within the room, but when we play the same mix in another environment it sounds boxy or boomy. If the root frequency of the bass isn't playing clearly than its impossible to create a mix that sound good everywhere. For a home theatre, hard to understand movie dialogue, indistinct and/or boomy bass instruments are all results of highly reflective rooms.

To solve this acoustic problem I decided to learn how to build bass traps out of a very high-performance acoustic medium. In my own experience once a room has been properly treated, the clarity of music, especially any bass frequencies, improves immensely.

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