Posts Tagged ‘Auralex’

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A Buyers Guide to Acoustic Treatment

October 28, 2009

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A Basic Guide to Acoustic Treatment

Here is an excellent excerpt from Audiotuts which gives you are more than easy to understand introduction to sound treatment

Of course this is an extremely technical subject and this tutorial in no way claims to be the definitive guide to acoustic treatment, but these tips and guidelines should get beginners up and running and generally help to clarify the whole subject of room acoustics.

I’ll run through the basics of choosing the right space, positioning your kit and then look at different types of treatment techniques and materials.

Step 1 – Your Room

Unfortunately most of us don’t have the luxury of designing our own studios from scratch and in some cases permanent customization is even a problem, so often the rooms we work in have pretty obvious faults and more often than not there is work to be done. If you can afford it, you can have the room analyzed, or you can even attempt this yourself but assuming this is too expensive or technical for most, we’ll look at a more basic route.

Every room is unique and everything in the space will effect its sound. Wall angles, flooring, windows, doors and of course its overall shape will all dramatically change the way sound is perceived within the room. The first thing to do in any situation is to identify the problem areas in your room and home in on the issues that need to be addressed. It’s possible that some things can be rectified before any acoustic treatment is even purchased.

If you are restricted to using one particular room, you are pretty much stuck with its basic shape and size but look out for things such as highly reflective surfaces. These will create large amounts of reflection and play havoc with your stereo image and you are also likely to hear your audio several times as it bounces back to you. These issues can make mixing an absolute nightmare.

So if you have any large windows try using some curtains to cover them up. Even blinds would be a better option than large exposed areas of glass. Mirrors and exposed polished work surfaces should also be avoided if possible. This rule of thumb generally extends to floors as well, so try to opt for a hard wearing carpet rather than a laminate or hard wood floor.

If you are fortunate enough to have a choice of rooms (or you are able to modify the one you are in) it’s a good idea not to go for anything too large or too small. I realize these are very general terms but common sense should prevail here. Extremely large rooms often have many inherent problems, such as standing waves, nodes and large amounts of reflection. These problems often require a lot of treatment to rectify. The sheers size of the walls in larger rooms will mean that more acoustic treatment is required.

Large rooms can require a lot of treatment

Very small rooms will arguably present fewer problems from the offset but there will be obstacles none the less. Lower frequencies will often not have space to develop in these more confined spaces and this can lead to mixes that don’t translate well to larger systems. Unfortunately a lot of the problems caused by monitoring in smaller rooms cannot be solved using acoustic treatment, so the only remedy here might be to relocate!

A well designed small room set up

As far as shape goes, there are a huge number of variables here but as a rule symmetrical opposing surfaces are not ideal and rooms with differing angled walls will be much easier to treat.

Custom room design is ideal but expensive

Step 2 – The Listening Position

Just as important as the room you are in, is the listening position you choose. Smaller rooms may limit your choices here but if you have enough space, you can afford to take a more considered approach and really think about where you place your equipment.

First up the sound coming from your monitors needs space to develop, especially the lower frequencies. Try not to position your workstation in an alcove or too close to any walls. The same goes for your listening position, this should be a good distance away from any walls as well. Some speakers for example will be rear ported and these need to be placed at least ten inches or so away from any hard surface in order for the bass be reproduced correctly. The same goes for any sub woofers that are rear or side ported.

If your room is oblong in shape or has one aspect that is longer than another, it is wise to position your self so that you are in line with the longer part of the space. Again this gives the all important low frequencies a chance to develop and any reflections from the back wall will be more easily managed by using broadband absorption.

Correct position in an oblong space

Another important thing to think about here is something known as the ’sweet spot’. This is really just the ideal position between your speakers. With your speakers positioned correctly you should be able to draw a triangle between your ears and each speaker. The speakers should be positioned so they face down the lines of this triangle and if they are above you in height they should also be tilted downwards.

A simple representation of the ’sweet spot’

If you are positioned correctly in your room and you are in the sweet spot you should get a good stereo image and be able to hear all the frequencies your system is producing. You should now be ready to identify and tackle any acoustic problems the room may be throwing at you.

Step 3 – Absorption

Before I go into how and where to fit your acoustic treatment, let’s look at the different kinds of treatment that can be used and what each one is capable of. If you can get your head around these basics then it should be relatively easy to decide what you need when you experience a certain problem.

The first kind of treatment we’ll look at is absorption. This is possibly the most commonly used acoustic treatment in home studios, in fact it is possible that it is over used. In some studios this will be the only sort of treatment you’ll see and often far too much of it. This can have a really negative effect on your final mixes, so let’s look at the how it works and when to use it.

Absorption is needed where there is a lot of reflection taking place. This will present itself as an echo or ring in your room and will usually effect the mid and high frequencies. These echoes are called early reflections and if untreated can be very fatiguing to the listener over time. It’s also hard to get an accurate high end mix when these are present.

Representation of early reflections
Early reflections being treated by absorption

Absorption treatment most commonly comes in the form of tiles, and these can be of various densities and textures. These tiles will actually absorb a proportion of the sound that hits them. This means less reflection and less of the signal coming back to the listener.

If you are pretty new to the area of acoustics, it might be best to acquire some broadband absorption tiles. These tend to be of a higher density and will work well across the largest frequency range possible.

The trick is here to do things a little at a time. As a general guideline you are looking for about 70% coverage using some kind of acoustic treatment. Don’t go crazy here and slap tiles on every surface, you will end up with a totally dead unrealistic space. You are really just trying to eliminate the ring for now and once you reach this point you will have certainly made enough impact to start looking at other areas.

Step 4 – Diffusion

Some reflection of the sound in our workspace is actually a good thing, believe it or not. Hearing some of the mix come back to our ears from various parts of the room can help create a realistic stereo image and a more open natural sound.

The problem is that if you simply leave areas of wall bare to create this reflection you will get a horrible slap back style delay and this is far from desirable. Other hard flat surfaces such as your computer screens and work surface can also create this sort of unwanted reflection.

The answer to this problem is diffusion. This is similar to reflection but instead of all the sound being reflected in one go it is diffused and returned to your ears at many different intervals.

When you see a diffuser you will immediately see how they do this. An average diffuser panel is made up of numerous small segments. These may appear random but are designed using exact mathematics. The Skyline range of diffusers for example uses a primitive root formula, meaning each section is an exact prime number.

Skyline diffuser
Diffusers fitted above listening position

This sort of treatment works really well in smaller rooms and can greatly enhance the stereo image and overall sound of a room when applied correctly.

Step 5 – Bass Traps

Fine tuning your space to reproduce low frequencies correctly is an art of its own and can prove to be a challenge. The first step here is to use traditional bass traps to treat all the corners of your room. This will help to prevent the powerful omni-directional low frequency energy from grouping and creating bass heavy spots. If you need to you can also treat the join between the ceiling and walls.

Traditional bass traps

If after this initial treatment you are still experiencing bass heavy areas in your room, it is likely that you have nodes or standing waves occurring. These can be reduced using heavier wall mounted traps. These are similar to broadband absorption panels but are usually made up of several layers and of much denser material. These are pretty expensive to buy but if you are confident enough DIY versions can be effective.

DIY traps

Step 6 – Decoupling and Isolation

When treating your room it is worth looking into isolating your speakers and subs. By using dense platforms under your speakers you can ‘decouple’ them from your work station, desk or floor. This will do a few things, firstly it will prevent anything the speakers are resting on from resonating. This means you will be listening to your mix and not the furniture in your studio. Secondly decoupling will reduce the amount of low frequency transmitted into the walls, floor and ceiling of your studio, cutting down on the sound traveling into adjoining rooms.

Speaker isolator

Subs can be isolated using dense pads especially built for the job and you can also decouple kit that is effected by vibration. For example turntables can be isolated to prevent errors in playback in loud environments.

Sub woofer isolator

Step 7 – Placement and Fitting

When you have got your head around the different flavors of acoustic treatment available to you and you have identified the issues in your particular room, you are about ready to start installing the stuff.

When it comes to actually sticking the panels, traps and diffusers up you have a few choices. For a permanent solution go for glue. For a more semi permanent, re-fixable option try spray adhesive and if you need something that leaves absolutely no marks at all you can get velcro pads or pins to hold the treatment in place. A hint: companies such as Auralex do supply excellent products but a quick scout around your local hardware store may reveal the same thing for a tenth of the price!

Fixing glue
Spray glue
Fixing velcro

If you are not well versed in the science of acoustics and you are unsure about the placement of various treatments, a good analogy to use is that of pool balls being fired from your studio monitors. If the balls hit a hard surface imagine they continue on their path, they then hit subsequent surfaces and continue further.

With this in mind it is likely that the path of the virtual balls will eventually reach your listening position and this is what you are aiming to stop. Try to treat the spots along this route you have traced with broadband absorption panels and listen to the difference this makes. This method should highlight how important it is to treat the rear and front walls and the surfaces directly above and to the sides of the listening position.

This is a very basic guideline on placing your treatment and shouldn’t be taken as gospel. If you are serious about doing this to the letter then you should really take the time to do some further research into audio acoustics.

Diffusion panels can be placed above any hard surfaces such as a workstation or computer monitors, and absorption panels can be alternated with diffusers for a more open sound in the room. This can be adjusted to taste as you go.

Treating the room for bass frequencies should be a separate process really and this is one area you can afford to be pretty heavy handed in. It’s pretty difficult to go over the top here but treating all corners is a pretty safe bet.

Bass traps being fitted
Bass traps being fitted

DIY acoustic treatment is all about applying common sense and caution. Apply a good mix of treatment types, add more treatment a bit at a time and take time for critical listening sessions throughout the process. If you follow these guidelines you should end up with a superior listening environment and mixes that transfer to the real world satisfactorily.

Treated room example 1
Treated room example 2 by Mo Volans

PG

Author: Mo Volans

Mo Volans has been releasing tracks for well over a decade with many of the world’s top electronic labels. Having worked with a long list of high profile artists, he has enjoyed top ten success on numerous of occasions. Mo records under the names MoHawk, Twisted Air, and Openair and also writes music for TV and film. 
Mo is also a prolific writer and journalist writing for publications such as Music Tech, Remix mag and EQ.

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NAMM 2009: Auralex debuts in-store room analysis kit

January 14, 2009

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Acoustic analysis program to be made available in a retail package

Auralex Acoustics is to offer its room analysis service in a retail package and will be demonstrating the kit at NAMM ‘09. The in-store kit is a complete program providing all the tools necessary to acoustically analyse any room.

Auralex Acoustics’ Lead Acoustical Engineer Gavin Haverstick will host several Room Analysis Plus overview demonstrations at the company’s booth (hall A, booth 6794) throughout the show to showcase the product and explain how the analysis service works.

Haverstick will present details about the service, including the features and benefits of Auralex’s off-site room analysis. This will comprise info on the service itself as well as the type of information the analysis can provide. Through this demo, Haverstick intends to convey how room analysis testing in conjunction with traditional modelling is the most accurate way to analyse a room.

Room Analysis Plus is an off-site analysis service where consumers download an audio file featuring a swept sine signal from 20 Hz to 20 kHz.  Users can then record the sweep with an omni-directional measurement microphone in the location of the room in question.

All files can be sent via e-mail, along with the personalised room analysis form, directly to Auralex for examination by its acoustical engineering staff. Frequency response, impulse response, waterfall plots and reverberation time (RT) values can all be generated from this service. A written report will be presented back to the user within three to five business days outlining the acoustical issues and how to solve them.

“By offering a demo of Room Analysis Plus at Winter NAMM, we are able to really showcase how this service works,” says Haverstick. “Through Room Analysis Plus we can pinpoint the acoustical anomalies of any room to more accurately analyse the space and provide the best treatment solutions.”

The in-store room analysis kit includes an omni-directional measurement microphone, a USB drive featuring swept sine signals and a complete instructional guide. The kit is available through the company’s established network of dealers.

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Auralex Famous Clients List!

November 20, 2008

Auralex has just released a list of some of their clients. Quite impressive. If you are looking for Acoustic Treatment products…you can’t really go wrong with Auralex!

“Auralex has 32 years of helping famous folks sound their best, and here’s a sampling of some of the notable entities with whom we’ve worked, often on multiple projects. You’re sure to recognize quite a few of these names, but bear in mind that this is just a sampling…and we’re contractually prohibited from mentioning many of our clients by name.

“A few of them would be tops on this list if we were allowed to mention them.

“The reason the Famous Clients List should be important to you is this. Auralex makes available to ALL our customers the exact same consulting expertise and technical firepower that helps our most famous clients. So, no matter whether you’ve got a few hundred bucks to spend or the kind of mega-budgets many of these clients are used to, you can rest assured that the friendly, competent engineers at Auralex will help your space be the absolute best it can be. I promise that you’ll enjoy dealing with Auralex, just as these famous clients did, and that you’ll be more than pleased with the results we help you attain.”

Eric Smith
Founder & President

·          ABC Radio Network
·          ABC TV
·          AT&T
·          Adaptec
·          Alan Meyerson
·          Alto Reed (Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band)
·          An Anonymous “Phamous” Rock Band
·          Andrew Gold
·          Andy Cichon (Shania Twain, Billy Joel)
·          Anheuser-Busch
·          Apple Computer
·          Ardent Studios
·          Art Academy of San Francisco
·          Audio Technica
·          Audix
·          Azden
·          Baldwin Pianos
·          Barnes & Noble, New York City
·          Barney & Friends
·          Barry Carl (Rockapella)
·          Beavis & Butthead
·          Bell Telephone Research Labs
·          Ben Fowler (E. Clapton, M. McDonald, Bad Co.)
·          Berklee College Of Music
·          Beyonce
·          Bill Fulton (I Am Weasel/Cartoon Network)
·          Bill Kreutzmann (The Grateful Dead)
·          Blue Man Group
·          Blues Saraceno (M. Bolton, T. Dayne, Cher, Jack Bruce)
·          Bob Hodas (acoustician)
·          Bob Kevoian (The Bob & Tom Show)
·          Boeing
·          Bootsy Collins
·          Bose
·          Brian Foraker (Heart, Yes, KISS, Starship, Night Ranger, .38 Special, Whitesnake, ELP, etc.)
·          Brian Knave
·          Brian May (Queen)
·          Brian Tankersley (Joel Osteen, Sawyer Brown, Shania Twain, Lonestar, Brooks & Dunn)
·          Brigham Young University
·          CBS Radio Network
·          CBS Sports
·          CBS Television’s CSI
·          Carvin
·          Castle Oak Productions (Titanic, Tremors, Wings, 21 Jump Street, Jose Feliciano, Sergio Mendes)
·          Celine Dion
·          CharlieUniformTango, Dallas (Cadillac, JC Penney, AT&T)
·          Chevron USA
·          Chris Henderson of 3 Doors Down
·          Christopher Cross
·          Chuck Surack (Sweetwater Sound)
·          Cigna Insurance
·          Cinema Video
·          Clay Krasner (Chely Wright)
·          Clint Black
·          Cobra Golf
·          Collateral Damage (Warner Bros./A. Schwarzenegger Film)
·          Collective Soul
·          Community Loudspeakers
·          Crawford Post
·          Daniel Spitz (Anthrax)
·          Danny Seraphine (original drummer of Chicago)
·          Dave Meniketti (Y&T, Taco Bell, Levi’s, Mattel)
·          David Paglia (producer/engineer)
·          David Rosenthal (B. Joel, B. Springsteen, Robt. Palmer)
·          David Schwartz (Northern Exposure, Ellen Degeneres, etc.)
·          Deftones
·          Dennis DeYoung, James Young & Todd Sucherman (Styx)
·          Denver Center For The Performing Arts
·          Dick Ervasti (Voice of Sports on Fox & Tons More)
·          Dick Wilkerson (Former Voice of WGN-TV, Chicago)
·          Digidesign
·          Digital Insight
·          Digital Sound Works (Babylon 5, Frazier/Becker, NBC, ABC)
·          Doane Perry (Jethro Tull)
·          Dominic Guss (Stevie Nicks, The Outfield, Kurzweil)
·          Don LaFontaine (voiceover god)
·          D’arcy & Smashing Pumpkins
·          Dr. Laura
·          Dreamworks
·          EA Sports
·          ESPN
·          Eddie Kramer (Zeppelin, Hendrix, Stones, AC/DC)
·          Ed Friedland (Bass Guitar Magazine)
·          Editel
·          Electroplex
·          Ensoniq
·          Eric Clapton
·          Event Electronics
·          Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
·          Famous Detroit Rapper
·          Fender Museum
·          Folded Space Technologies
·          Ford Motor Company
·          Fruit of the Loom Country Comfort Tour
·          Full Sail Center For The Recording Arts
·          General Dynamics
·          George Lynch, Grammy®-Winner (Lynch Mob, Dokken)
·          George Terry (Eric Clapton Band)
·          Gibson
·          Gino & Ross Vannelli
·          Gordon Campbell (Earth Wind & Fire, etc.)
·          Greg Karukas
·          Harman Automotive
·          Harpo Studios (Oprah Winfrey’s Company)
·          Healing Sixes
·          Henry Lee Summer
·          Hitachi
·          Hunter Fan Company
·          Investor’s Business Daily
·          Irving Azoff
·          JBL
·          James Taylor
·          Jars of Clay
·          Jeff Marino (Carolyn Dawn-Johnson)
·          Jerry Ragavoy (songwriter, producer, and founder of the Hit Factory)
·          Jerry Springer (editing suites)
·          Jim Bratton (Dow, Exxon, Shell, Continental, Compaq)
·          Jim Brock (Kathy Mateo)
·          Joe Bonamassa (#1 Billboard® Blues Artist)
·          Joe “Guido” Welsh (Wal-Mart, Atlanta Hawks, Turner Netwk.)
·          Joey Donatello (J. Jackson, T. Yearwood, T. Braxton, R. Kelly)
·          John Ashton (Psychedelic Furs)
·          John Baxter (Re-Flex)
·          John Blackwell (drummer with Prince, Patti LaBelle)
·          John Ferenzik (Todd Rundgren)
·          John Kay (Steppenwolf)
·          Johnny A
·          Journey
·          Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center
·          Kansas City Royals Broadcasting
·          Kathy Mattea
·          Kenny Aronoff (Mellencamp, Fogerty, Etheridge, Seger)
·          Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Rush. Healing Sixes)
·          Klipsch
·          Kodak
VIEW AURALEX PAGE AT DOLPHIN MUSIC
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Yamaha opts for Auralex

October 7, 2008

Acoustics specialist helps tune artist services facility drum studio.

Yamaha has employed by acoustic treatment brand Auralex to assist with its drum showroom’s acoustical issues.

The space, located in the Yamaha artist services facility includes its artist relations drum and snare showrooms along with a recording studio, used for both drums and guitars.

Reserved for the Yamaha’s elite artists, and only available via appointment, the audio quality of the studio as well as the showroom needed to be top-notch in order to showcase the range in sounds of the drum kits on display, in addition to being used as an in-house R&D facility for new and upgraded drum and guitar products.

“Our goal with the Auralex acoustical treatments was to create a more deadened sound to the room,” says Ken Dapron, director of Yamaha artist services. “Auralex’s ProPanels not only helped with the isolation issues we were experiencing, but it tuned the room perfectly, enabling us to achieve a more natural drum tone.”

Auralex acoustically analysed the room and the main acoustical renovation involved was absorption and diffusion, while also increasing the spaces’ isolation properties. In the main drum showroom, which contains several drum kits of varying models, sizes and configurations, Yamaha installed 12 Elite CT45 ProPanels, three on each corner of the space and 72 ELiTE B24 ProPanels tactically scattered throughout the rooms’ four walls.

The snare drum room includes four T-Fuser diffusers, which were installed on the ceiling, and two boxes of 96 AudioTile Shockwave (48 right concave, 48 left concave, 48 right convex and 48 left convex) that were strategically arranged throughout the room’s walls as well as placed in the center of the ceiling.

The recording studio was outfitted with 24 of Auralex’s ELiTE B22 ProPanels, which were installed on the walls, 3 ELiTE c24 ProPanels on three of the four walls, 3 ELiTE CT45 ProPanels in each corner of the room minus the corner closest to the door, and 6 SpaceArray Diffusors located on both the ceiling and walls of the space.

Yamaha requested that all ProPanels be obsidian in color in order to match the existing décor. For additional low frequency control, Auralex also recommended that the B24 and C24 ProPanels be mounted with 2’x4’s to create an air gap behind the panels.

“A special adherence to low frequency nodes was needed for the install at Yamaha’s drum showroom,” says Tim Martin, director of sales and marketing at Auralex Acoustics. “Auralex needed to create a sound environment that best reflected the natural low frequency of the drums while offering added sound control to the space as a whole. By carefully analysing the current state of the space, our team of engineers was able to carefully and accurately select the appropriate placement and treatments involved to both properly highlight Yamaha’s line of products while preventing the sounds from bleeding into neighbouring spaces.”

View Auralex at Dolphin

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Auralex Anounce SpeakerDudes

July 24, 2008

SpeakerDudes(HD) are isolators for your speakers.

SpeakerDudes(HD)

SpeakerDudes will decouple your speakers from the surface they rest upon, resulting in a more pure, accurate tone. Low frequencies will be projected and will no longer lack the definition you desire. Mid and high frequencies will be crisp and intelligible. Rattles and resonances will be a thing of the past.

Speaker manufacturers develop and design their speakers based on tests that are performed in anechoic chambers where the speakers are suspended in the middle of the room – i.e. there is no interaction between the speaker cabinet and a hard surface. Once the speakers are implemented into real world applications, the speakers will not sound the same because they are now interacting with the environment.

The SpeakerDudes(HD) wedge allows you to tilt the speaker (or any item to be decoupled/isolated) to listening angles of 4° and -4°. Turning the wedge face down allows the speaker to be set flat 0°.

SpeakerDudes(HD) have unlimited uses, such as isolating delicate electronics from vibration. The use of SpeakerDudes under CD burners, laptops, turntables, and other electronics is encouraged, providing the SpeakerDudes do not restrict ports or vents.

Vibration Reduction

Test conducted using accelerometers to determine the amount of vibration that was reduced by inserting SpeakerDudes underneath a speaker.

Vibration Reduction

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