Some friends visited last week, and I showed them the new mixing room here in the sound isolation studio, which included doing the "missing fundamental" audio test and playing "Billie Jean" (Michael Jackson) on the Kustom loudspeakers, which are as they come from the factory since I have not done the Behringer RTA step yet, and they really liked the way everything sounds, so being karaoke aficionados and wanting a new professional karaoke system, I am designed a karaoke system for them based on using the Kustom loudspeakers and Behringer RTA equipment, along with some other rack-mount stuff . . .
Part of the reason that everything sounds so good is the acoustic behavior of the sound isolation studio, but I can do acoustic treatments in their karaoke room once everything is setup and configured, since the Behringer RTA equipment will provide some clues regarding any significant trouble spots, where the most likely acoustic treatments will be stacking a few rolls of fiberglass insulation in corners to eliminate any deep bass "booming" and perhaps the suggestion to install some thick curtains if there are midrange and high-frequency issues . . .
Once I have the new storage building and workshop completed, I can design and build some Helmholtz resonating panels, since they tend to be helpful in some respects for particularly troublesome listening rooms, but for the most part simply eliminating any "boomy" deep bass tends to do wonders for a listening room, and while everything else certainly is important, as best as I have been able to determine dealing with it wanders very quickly in the realm of the absurd, at least for practical purposes, hence my strategy is to work through a small but vastly useful list of simple treatments that absorb huge quantities of sound toward the goal of making the listening room more like an anechoic chamber than anything else, since an anechoic chamber is the ultimate completely and totally neutral
listening room, for sure . . . For sure!
I did a good bit of research on room acoustics when I was designing the sound isolation studio, and the strategy I selected was focused primarily on absorbing sonic energy, since there were two goals for the sound isolation studio:
(1) keeping unwanted noises from entering the sound isolation studio from the outside
(2) preventing sounds inside the sound isolation studio from bouncing around excessively
So, I built a room inside a room inside a room, where the innermost room sits atop ground rubber mats made from car and truck tires, with particular focus on "sits atop", since the inner room is not anchored anywhere with wood screws or nails and literally floats atop the ground rubber mats . . .
There are huge quantities of fiberglass in the floor, walls, and ceiling for each room, and there are air spaces between the respective rooms . . .
And instead of having a single layer of sheetrock or gypsum board, there are multiple layers of different thickness, since the general idea is to make it as difficult as possible for sonic energy to travel through the various physical media . . .
At present, two-thirds of the inner room floor is carpeted and the other third of the floor has vinyl floor tiles . . .
The walls and ceiling are double layers of sheetrock, but it is done in such a way that there are Helmholtz resonating panels behind the sheetrock, where the Helmholtz resonating panels are in different sizes and additionally have varying size holes, so that as a set they absorb a wide range of frequencies . . .
From a high-level perspective, one way to understand the overall strategy is to personify sonic energy and to realize that the best way to annoy sonic energy is to ensure that nothing is consistent and similar, which for example is the reason for using different thicknesses of sheetrock or gypsum board, because sonic energy is more annoyed when it has to travel through two layers of sheetrock when each layer is a different thickness than when both layers are the same thickness . . .
In other words, from what might be a surreal metaphysical perspective, the general strategy is to annoy sonic energy to such an extent that it loses its intrinsic ability to annoy you . . .
Admittedly, this is a rather unusual perspective, but (a) it is backed by factual acoustic physics and (b) it works wonderfully . . .
The only caveat to the strategy of using the Kustom KPC15P 15" Powered PA Speakers is that they are so powerful that their volume levels must be kept low in small and medium size rooms, where the best strategy is to start with the volume levels for the Kustom KPC15P 15" Powered PA Speakers amplifiers set very low and then to use a sound pressure level (SPL) meter to adjust everything so that it is impossible to increase the volume level above perhaps 95dB, which actually is too loud . . .
The strategy I use is to set the volume level of the Kustom KPC15P 15" Powered PA Speakers amplifiers very low but to set the volume level of the computer and whatever playback devices to maximum, since the volume levels of the Kustom KPC15P 15" Powered PA Speakers ultimately determine the overall volume level of the complete system . . .
Then, using the Nady SPL Meter I slowly increase the volume level of the Kustom KPC15P 15" Powered PA Speakers amplifiers until the sound pressure level is in the range of 85dB to 95dB, and then everything is fine . . .
One might suppose that this occurs with typical commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) studio monitoring systems, but since they are smaller it is less likely to be dangerous, but with the Kustom KPC15P 15" Powered PA Speakers, which are designed specifically for use as PA loudspeakers, there is a greater danger, hence the caveat that there needs to be a specific procedure to ensure that the Kustom KPC15P 15" Powered PA Speakers never
are set at too high a volume for smaller listening spaces, which basically includes every room smaller than approximately 24' by 24' by 12' (width, length, height), since the Kustom KPC15P 15" Powered PA Speakers have the real potential to be a lot
louder than most folks imagine, because their primary role is being PA loudspeakers, which curiously is what makes them stellar for small room studio monitors, provided you run them a very low volume levels, which among other things maps to the amplifiers having plenty of "headroom", which in turn maps to having sufficient available power for handling dynamics without clipping and distorting . . .
Explained another way, when you run the Kustom KPC15P 15" Powered PA Speakers at "2" but something comes along that is twice as loud, it is not a problem for the power amplifiers temporarily to jump to "4" or "8", all without clipping and distorting, because "2", "4", and "8" all are less than "10", where "10" is the maximum . . .
In other words, if you run the Kustom KPC15P 15" Powered PA Speakers at "10" and something comes along that is twice as loud, there is no "headroom", so instead of it being played accurately what happens is that it is clipped and distorted, which is a useful bit of information gleaned from the universe of audiophile systems, where the general strategy is to have massive power amplifiers but to run them at a very low volume level specifically so that there is a virtual festival of "headroom" available . . .
However, some of the audiophile stuff is a bit nutty, and while some folks enjoy listening to orchestral and symphonic music that has wide dynamic ranges from pianissimo
") to fortissimo possible
"), I mostly consider it to be vastly annoying to such an extent that I run it through a compressor so that it always is at a reasonably constant loudness ranging from piano
") to forte
"), because when it is ppp
I usually cannot hear it, so if I increase the volume of the ppp
stuff so that I can hear it, when the fff
stuff comes along it blasts my ears . . .
If it is important, then you need to be able to hear it, because otherwise there is no need for it, hence the best strategy when something is not needed is to remove it from the song entirely to make more space available for the stuff that is needed, which is fabulous . . . Fabulous!
P. S. For those folks who might be thinking, "Gee whiz! Do the Behringer RTA step and get on with it!
", the fact of the matter is that being able to hear everything completely and totally changes quite a few things, including (a) the way I orchestrate songs and (b) the way I use VST effects plug-ins, which became obvious when I did the experimental remix of "Feel Me" (The Surf Whammys) with the new Kustom KPC15P 15" Powered PA Speakers . . .
By virtue of having switched to doing nearly all the orchestration with music notation and IK Multimedia virtual instruments in NOTION 3 (Notion Music), the fact of the matter is that I can work through all the required changes primarily as a series of thought exercises, which is what I am doing, and redefining essentially everything takes a while . . .
And while it might appear that I am doing little more than twiddling my thumbs, the reality is that I am doing a lot of intense mentation, and over the years I have learned that it is best to allow myself to do the required mentation, since as a general rule it goes quicker when I let it happen naturally, which is what I am doing . . .
This is something that I realized soon after I started doing computer programming, and what tends to happen with less experienced computer programmers is that they get an assignment and immediately start writing code long before they have any idea what they actually are supposed to be doing . . .
In contrast, I think about it for a long time, and then once I understand everything I do the coding very quickly, which always works better . . .
So, while I might not appear to be physically busy, the fact of the matter is that I am doing a lot of vastly intense mentation, which is coming along nicely, especially since I realized recently the reason that the song "Miss You" (The Rolling Stones) has intrigued me for the past three or so decades, which specifically is because it is highly orthogonal
. . . Orthogonality (wikipedia)
Orthogonality is very important here in the sound isolation studio, and for reference ZZ Top is the most orthogonal three-piece musical group, while the Beatles were the most orthogonal four-piece musical group, where the key bit of information is that everyone is playing something distinctly different, yet it all fits together to create a Gestalt that is more than the sum of its individual parts, for sure . . . For sure!