Meeting Topic: Masterclass on Small Control Room Design
Moderator Name: Pascal Pahl
Speaker Name: Lou Clark of Sonic Space
Other business or activities at the meeting: none
Meeting Location: Musical Arts Center - Jacobs School of Music at IU
In this masterclass, Lou Clark focused on the importance of the listening environment, specifically dealing with minimal space, and how "we need a neutral sounding room, not a good sounding room." Throughout the talk, Lou referenced one of his first projects with "Little River Sound," a singer-songwriter studio based in an attic.
The room's layout, structure, and materials used have an aural impact on your workspace. Symmetry in the workspace is critical. There are a couple vital pointers to making your workspace symmetrical: having an "equilateral triangle" for listening between the listener and the sound source/monitors. creating equal reflections because "too dead of a space is too uncomfortable," and even having symmetrical (centered) furniture. Sometimes it's a good choice to hide the sound source because "interesting things happen when you can't see what you're listening to."
Referencing his "Little River Sound" project, Lou used a variety of absorption including front-wall broadband, side-wall, rear-wall bass absorption, and angled ceiling panels. A typical mistake is to just throw up 1-inch panels everywhere and expect to have an improved listening environment, but really it's just adding a high-frequency "filter on the room." There are a couple more-effective materials that can help with getting an exceptional sound out of the workspace: Cellulose, Ultra Touch Bonded Logic, and Corning 703 Insulation. These tips provide a satisfactory plan to "fix the room."
AutoCad and Google Sketchup are great for designing the workspace. It also helps to tape-out the room in order to create a visible outline for installing gear. Lou Clark used these methods for his "Little River Sound" project and he continues to implement these ideas on his current projects.
Lou gained over 25 years of experience designing spaces while working for acoustical consulting firms, architects, and facility engineering cores. Lou brings a musical background as a performer, composer, and recording engineer to his design aptitude. He has studied architecture at the Boston Architectural College, sound system design at Synergetic Audio Concepts and has a Bachelor degree in Music/Sound Recording Technologies from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. In 2003 he became the founder and principal design talent for Sonic- Space.
The IU Audio Engineering Society Student Chapter would like to thank Jamie Tagg for arranging Lou Clark's visit. We would also like to thank Lou Clark for taking the time out of his busy schedule for this masterclass.
Written By: Pascal Pahl and Jamie Tagg