The mission (and challenge) of Scene Music Studio and his creator and owner Fabrizio Greco was to obtain a recording, mixing and mastering structure that, with the central location of the site, complements the need for maximum sound isolation, both among the rooms and with the adjacent spaces, with an optimised internal design of the spaces according to the highest standards of operation and aesthetics.
We then performed a restoration of the rooms: after laying self-levelling cement on the floor, we created a first soundproofing shell with a decoupling system, with rubber and steel pads and aluminium and wood sections, to which several alternated layers of plaster fibre and high-density low-viscoelasticity rubber were anchored. Inside this first (significantly) isolating treatment, the control and recording rooms contain self-supporting structures with 12 cm section laminar spruce frames, separate for each room, and coated with several layers of plaster fibre and decoupling rubber.
The floating floor structure within every room, including the machine room, was made with pieces of natural rubber and fibreglass, with an air cavity inside, that, optimized for the average load on the floor of the studio, allow the system infra-sonic resonance frequencies, and thus inaudible, in addition to guaranteeing maintaining elasticity over time.
Inside the self-supporting structure of the main control and recording rooms, and within the acoustic treatment of the entrance, used both for listening and recording, (and with acoustics more similar to an untreated domestic room), the optimisation of the sound propagation was obtained with the use of acoustic wood diffusers. This “diffraction network,” commonly called Schroeder (either QRD, quadratic-residue, or PRD, primitive-root), and perforated curves in the “binary amplification network system” also called Angus, alternating with natural kenaf fibre covered with fireproof elastic fabric, attached with interlocking edges, for its fast and effective replacement for wear or accidental stains.
The thick aluminium acoustic door with 42 mm double glazing, two for every passage between the rooms and between the control room and the machine room, allow, with special placement, obtaining insulation between contiguous rooms greater than 65 dBA and between the rooms and the bordering areas greater than 80 dBA, maintaining the passage of the natural exterior light to the control room.
The equipment for air circulation and control of the level of humidity, installed with the use of specific chambers and insulated coating of the pipes, does not add any sound to the rooms.
The electrical equipment was made with direct lines for every socket and switch, each independently activated on the general control board in the machine room, to reduce to a minimum any disturbance, with fast identification of any source of sound.
A specialised company (Funky Junk Roma) provided the audio equipment, and the wiring was carried out with high quality wires and connectors, according to the client and designer’s specifications.
A patch bay was installed with direct connections that allow interlinking of all the equipment in every possible configuration.
Regarding the comprehensive audio/video “philosophy,” an advanced, innovative system was conceived with the client that, with non-acoustically invasive dimensions, backed up with the best mastering equipment to the best pre-amplifier and microphones for recording voices and instruments, with the use of the A/V Smart multi-platform controller in the recording and mix phase and a Mac Pro with 12 processors, 64 GB ram and Avid HD Native adaptor.
Also for the AD/DA converters, the uncompromised quality of Prism Sound and Forsell was chosen.
The speakers are Barefoot, Atc 25 and Avant Tone.
At this point, the final result cannot be further described but only heard.
From the early 1980s, the acoustic function of the Schroeder diffusers in sound production and reproduction was found through studies regarding light diffraction. It indicated that the grooves, of both “Greek” (unidimensional) and “embedded” (bidimensional) type, with depths following determined mathematic formulas, with high modulation (many different depths), and not repeated too periodically, determine the optimisation of the space (amplitude of the sound scene) and of the sound images (the dimension that every instrument assumes in the stereo or multi-channel panorama).
Thus, balanced sound in several points of the room is found only in presence of the so-called “scattered field,” characterized by random propagation and homogenous distribution of sound energy, possibly in a broad-band of frequency, that also includes medium-low frequencies from 150-200 Hz and up, or at least medium and medium-high frequencies, from 500 Hz to 4 Khz.
Furthermore, the diffused sound must arrive at the point of recording (microphone) or listening with a delay of at least 12-15 ms compared with the arrival of direct sound, strengthening energy and intelligibility instead of creating adding and subtracting of phases between direct and reflected (or diffused) sound. This is found very evidently with rigid flat surfaces located at a short distance from the point of recording or listening. Naturally, we must consider also the direction of the microphone or of the sound source. For example, glass separating the control and recording rooms will not influence recording by a microphone in “cardioid” (heart-shaped) configuration turned toward the absorbing (or diffusive) wall opposite the glass. This can also be said of the audio monitor turned toward the rear wall of the control room, regarding the separating glass a short distance behind it.
The type of materials used for making the diffusers is also important to obtain diffused sound balanced harmonically to the various frequencies, as it is in making high quality acoustic musical instruments.
The Schroeder diffusers have the additional function of increasing the acoustic space of the areas in which they are installed; the overall reflective-diffusive surface is from four to seven times greater than that of a rigid flat panel; it is appropriate to calculate all the surfaces of the separators (in the unidimensional diffusers) and parallelepiped faces (in the bidimensional diffusers). Considering, furthermore, that the average absorption coefficient of medium-density wood is approximately 0.1 on a broad-band frequency, and the sound waves radiated by the diffusers are “bounced” onto the internal surfaces of the separators (or of the parallelepiped). This also derives from an average absorption coefficient between 0.2 and 0.3 that is more natural and homogenous than that obtained with the exclusive use of porous materials (synthetic or natural fibres). It must be recalled that diffraction network diffusers, unlike the perforated diffusers-absorbers with a binary amplification network system, also produce a delay over the time of arrival of the diffuse waves from the various depths of the cavity, in addition to the spatial dispersion. Furthermore, the diffusers-absorbers’ perforated curves present characteristics of significant diaphragmatic absorption at frequencies lower than 400 Hz and diffusion above 400 Hz, which is very useful for absorbing excess resonance in the corners without also absorbing the medium-high frequency, as occurs with the common porous materials in triangular sections located in the corners.