Electronic enhancement systems in recording studios

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Electronic enhancement systems in recording studios

Post by JCBigler »

So, one of my long term projects at my day job (a live sound tech at a large municipal performing arts center) is to work on the redesign of the sound system for our large (2,400 seats) concert hall.

One of the aspects that this new system will incorporate is an electronic enhancement system such as a LARES or Meyer Constellation system (along with a new main PA system and all new acoustic treatments of the room).

It got me to thinking about the suitability of using a similar type system in smaller recording studios. I'm sure it's possible; the question is whether it is worth the effort and money required to do it and if it will produce quality results. I'm sure the money at play would make it cost prohibitive. But, in theory, if one had the monetary resources and the inclination to do so; would it make a good space?

The idea being that you start with a pretty dead room with a very low reverberation time, and then use a DSP system and a network of microphones and speakers to lengthen the reverb time of the room. In some of these systems, you can also control some of the equalization of the room to make it sound different even with the same reverb times.

I know that good natural acoustics is probably the best all around option, but, if you have a small or medium sized room it would give you the option of increasing the "acoustic" size of the room electronically with one of these systems. So, you wouldn't need to build different sized rooms or multiple rooms to get a different acoustic footprint.

Just some random thoughts...
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Re: Electronic enhancement systems in recording studios

Post by Soundman2020 »

Actually, I've been having a discussion on another thread with someone who claims someone else has done exactñy what you propose, and linked to a thread on Gearslutz about it. He was trying hard to convince me that it worked, despite the REW test results showing that it didn't, and despite the room in question not even being a control room at all, but rather an audiophile listening room!

The big problem is that you can't create a diffuse reverberant field using specular sound sources in a room that does not support a reverberant field! :) Speakers are basically point sources, and by definition a diffuse field is the exact opposite of a point source: it's a sound field that is the same in all directions and all locations throughout the room. And unfortunately it is impossible to create a natural reverberation in a room that does not support it. Small rooms do not have a reverberant field in the low end of the spectrum (below the Schroeder frequency for the room), and playing back a fake reverberant field into the room over speakers, just sounds, well, "fake". It is not actually reverberant, and is not diffuse, so it doesn't meet the necessary criteria.

It works for large rooms, and perhaps might even be acceptable in a home theater or audiophile room, where accuracy is not a goal, and the room is just supposed to "sound nice", but for a control room where precision, accuracy, and perfect neutral acoustics are the goal, I don't see it working. As the saying goes: "You can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear"...

- Stuart -
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