Treating your listening ambience

Most of us that consider music is either a hobby or slightly more end up in less than perfect spaces to carry out our art. We may get stuck in a small, carpeted apartment room, an area with high traffic noise, or we may also have a small human crawling across the house whose reviews may be better of unheard. Compromises should be made for excellent living spaces versus excellent studio spaces.

When you listen to pay or create sound in an acoustic space, you are at the same time shooting sound waves in every single direction. Sound waves have a physical length and feature and these features vary depending on their frequency. Low frequencies are wider and longer while high frequencies are narrower and shorter.

Have you ever been in a kitchen or shower and found yourself humming a tune? Did you get truly curious and excited when you explored a specific note in that tune suddenly and mysteriously became 10 times louder than any of the other notes? This is what is called a standing wave. It is when the length of a sound wave precisely matches the length of the two walls we are singing between. The sound wave efficiently layers or amplifies itself, as it is able to repeat its accurate waveform over itself without going out of phase. Now this is harder in bigger spaces or rooms as the length of the sound wave required for a standing wave should be longer, therefore lower, and as humans, it would be impossible to create. Nonetheless, it can be created by our sound systems!

While standing waves may be super cool and fun in the kitchen or the bathroom, they are quite uncool in the studio. The point of having an excellent studio is to have a precise listening ambience where all the frequencies are hard as equally as possible. This permits us to make right decisions without being fooled by the acoustic cloud panels of the room.

So if you ever have a friend who is at least somewhat into recording or have witnessed pictures of professional studios, I am sure you have seen the fad shapes and materials thrown up on their studio walls. These materials and shapes were drastically but for the most part come down to two types of treatment, absorption and diffusion.

Last but certainly not the least, if you are amazingly proactive with your sound treatment, trying to make a cloud, then as the name suggest, an acoustic cloud sits above your head in the listening space and takes care of the reflections off the sound baffles ceiling. Now in my situation, I had to forego using a cloud as my ceilings are too high for me to even try to hang anything from them. But if you can, go for it.

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