Recording studios are generally categorized according to the recording being performed, with the two main categories being recording studios dedicated to music and studios dedicated to recording sound sources for TV, movies, games, and other video productions. Basic configurations include a studio area where sound sources such as musical instrument performances and vocals are recorded, and a control room where sound recording and adjustment is performed with the sound being played through monitor speakers. In addition, as a result of increased performance, more compact sizes, and lower prices of recording equipment in recent years, and as a result of generalization of hard disk recording using personal computer-based digital audio workstations (DAW), private studios where artists and producers perform pre-production before recording is on the rise.
At Nihon Onkyo Engineering, we approach architectural acoustic design for recording studios from the technical side, which treats sound as a physical phenomenon (acoustic design), and from the sensitivity side through sound adjustment based on past design and construction projects and on our accumulated expertise (sound field adjustment).
Points of note in recording studio planning
1: Building planning
The configuration of any studio will vary depending on the instruments being recorded and the recording style. Depending on the desired purpose--be it string and bass section recording, rhythm recording, overdubbing, or some other recording method--the size of the studio floor and the number of required booths will vary. In addition, equipment plans such as for pits and piping for audio equipment systems to be installed must be developed in the planning stage of studio design. In order to ensure comfortable studio recording and mixing work in the control room, a thorough examination of facilities, such as air conditioning/ventilation equipment, high-quality, stable sound power supply equipment, and comfortable lighting equipment, must be carried out at the planning stage.
2: Acoustic planning
Sound insulation planningSound insulation planning is designed to ensure the tranquility of the studio, to provide countermeasures against unwanted sounds from outside, and to ensure acoustic isolation within the studio. In terms of studio tranquility, the studio (sound recording area) requires stricter silence than the control room (sound reproduction area), but a certain level of tranquility must be ensured even in the control room for listening to delicate tone colors and reverb sounds.
Sound field planningThe necessary sound field is different for a studio and for a control room, so a sound field plan that is appropriate for each purpose must be devised. Studios call for a sound field where acoustic instruments, vocals, and other high-quality sound recording can be performed, and the sound field must be comfortable for musicians to play in and for vocalists to sing in. Moreover, mixdown work and other tasks may require high levels of concentration over long periods of time, so the sound field must be natural and an environment that is not fatiguing.
Although acoustic performance is an important factor for any recording studio, creating an atmosphere that motivates artists as well as facilitates playfulness and ensuring accessibility--including the ease at which instruments and equipment can be carried in or out--are important factors in increasing the value of a recording studio. During the actual planning process, taking into account the surrounding environment (noises, vibrations, electromagnetic waves, etc.) is also important, but the structure (allowable load, floor height, beam shape, etc.) and the conditions of the facilities (electricity, air conditioning, disaster prevention measures, etc.) of the building where the plan will be executed can also greatly influence the studio plan. At Nihon Onkyo Engineering, our studio plans embody a total performance design that incorporate not only property planning but also studio planning, architectural design, and air-conditioning, electrical, and disaster-prevention equipment design supported by a proven track record of numerous design and construction projects.