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Author Topic: Mastering and studio furniture  (Read 3006 times)

DBarbarulo

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Mastering and studio furniture
« on: August 24, 2006, 06:41:47 pm »

Hi and thanks to be here.
The question is obviously about the interaction between speakers and consoles (or rack units) in a mastering environment. As seen in several pictures of Sterling, most of the time there's an obstacle between listener and source. Is a compromise (if is) in the name of ergonomics?

Again thanks and regards

DB
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jfrigo

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Re: Mastering and studio furniture
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2006, 12:02:49 am »

DBarbarulo wrote on Thu, 24 August 2006 15:41

Hi and thanks to be here.
The question is obviously about the interaction between speakers and consoles (or rack units) in a mastering environment. As seen in several pictures of Sterling, most of the time there's an obstacle between listener and source. Is a compromise (if is) in the name of ergonomics?

Again thanks and regards

DB


Some guys worry about some ideal of acoustics theory and ignore the real world ergonomics. I think this is putting the cart before the horse. Certainly you should not ignore the impact of a console, rack, or anything else, but the room is there to serve the work, not the other way around. If having a console makes the work flow easier, then have a console. Eliminating a console and sitting on a big leather couch with a couple small, low racks in front of you will not eliminate acoustic impact, only change it. It may be for the better, it may not. Neither way is right nor wrong. Each just has advantages and disadvantages.

For me, a console is the way to go. Once you've decided to have one, however, you should make the acoustic impact as small as possible. This includes having as small a footprint as your application will allow. It also means avoiding large, flat surfaces that will reflect sound to your listening position, causing comb filtering. You also should have the bottom of the console (between the legs) open.

When designing my console (which I did as part of the room design), I chose angles for the various elements to avoid harmful early reflections, and also made the back (facing the speakers) soft. Set into a wood frame is some 703 rigid fiberglass wrapped in fabric that matches the side walls. There are two bays of gear, and a smaller center section that houses VU meters and provides a platform for the monitor controller and t.c. 6000 remote. This cavity is stuffed with some fuzz, and is of course covered by the fabric wrapped 703 panel. This actually creates a little (very little) bass trap right in the console. It's not big enough to do much, but it certainly doesn't hurt. My point is that you can purposefully use the structure of a console as a part of the acoustic plan. Don't just get something "off the shelf" when it can be a part of the overall deign plan that fits the bill ergonomically, visually, and acoustically.
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franman

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Re: Mastering and studio furniture
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2006, 04:41:02 pm »

Right on Jay... that's the ticket. In a really critical listening room like a mastering suite, you really want to try and not ruin an otherwise great environment with the technical furniture (the desk and racks)..

1. Keep them low!! especially side racks!
2. Make them in such a way that they do not ADD to the destructive first reflections!! This is hard in a recording control room with in - wall speakers, but you can do it in a mastering environment with free standing monitors and some tricked out furniture.
3. Keep you flat screens low as possible!! I always have to fight the guys about this one, but you can get a lot of diffraction around these flat panels and it will mess with your imaging.
4. Build your furniture to be as "transparent" to sound as possible. Make the rear panels out of stretched fabric, keep the units as open as possible so that at least LF sound can easily travel through it and it doesn't become a huge phase plug to the low end..

Jay is also right that most off the shelf stuff is large, solid reflective nightmares!!

At the end of the day it's the engineer/operator who has to work in the room and they have to be comfortable with the ergonomics. Yes, we would prefer to not have a large console or desk in between the speakers and the listener, but until HUD in a pair of glasses with VR control comes to Pro Audio these things will always be there.

We have had pure-ist mastering guys put all their gear off to the side (beyond the point of first reflection) and they make adjustments, then listen without anything in the way... repeat until done!! But most folks don't want to work this way!!
Cheers!
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jimmyjazz

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Re: Mastering and studio furniture
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2006, 12:58:40 am »

I'm going console-less in a 5.1 mix room I'm putting together.  (Actually, I'll have a small digital monitor/mix board off to one side, but that's behind the mix position.)  I plan on editing/mixing exclusively "in the box", and I'll be using a projection screen and free-standing monitors to allow a completely clean acoustic path between the monitors and my ears.  Of course, I am paying strict attention to first reflections off the floor, sidewalls, and ceiling.  I don't know how diffuse I'll be able to make the back wall, but it's 10 feet or so behind the mix position, so that's good.

I have no idea how well this will work, but I'm having fun setting it up!  If I get frustrated by workflow issues, I'll revert to a more traditional setup.  We'll see.
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franman

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Re: Mastering and studio furniture
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2006, 09:40:25 pm »

Let us all know... If you address all the early reflections, install sufficient bass trapping and have good room proportions, I bet you'll have a kick ass mastering suite!!
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