Acoustic design technology for studios
When designing the architectural acoustics of a studio, a variety of needs must be addressed, including the intended target and purpose of a recording as well as the operation and habitability of the studio.
The most common basic ideas of architectural acoustic design can be divided into the following three general categories.
1. Ensuring sufficient tranquility within the room
2. Preventing sound leakage to surrounding areas
3. Providing a sound field suitable to the objectives and purpose of recordings
The first category focuses on sound- and vibration-proofing designs for in-room background noise in addition to designs that quiet air conditioning.
The second category includes sound- and vibration-proof designs with a particular focus on unwanted low-frequency sounds and vibrations such as music with drums or basses and monitor sounds from speakers.
The final category includes room acoustic designing related to a studio's recording sound field and reproduction sound field in a control room. Failing to address even one of these three points can have major implications on work in the studio.
Control room acoustic design = Monitor sound field design
During the studio's acoustic design stage, one of the most important aspects is sharing with customers the plan concepts and sound field image being created. In doing so, all necessary considerations―including for freedom of layout according to the building conditions, regulatory issues stemming from the building acts and the fire laws, and layout with consideration for facility design conditions, habitability, and operability―can be addressed in the plan. Plans from Nihon Onkyo Engineering not only address the indispensable architectural acoustics perspective but also consider technical and cost aspects through technical proposals such as monitor speaker characteristics and equipment system features in order to realize a high-quality, easy-to-use monitor sound field. When designing the acoustics of a control room, we look at the basic shape of the room (shape of the floating sound insulation layer) in an attempt to obtain characteristics that are as flat as possible for low-range transmission frequency characteristics. For acoustic interior designs targeting the middle and high range, our plans include detailed scrutiny of such fine points as appropriate arrangements of diffuse reflection surfaces for a more natural sound, image localization and reverberation, selection of finishing materials with consideration for sound quality, installation methods for monitor speakers, and acoustic treatment of peripheral areas in addition to usual considerations such as avoiding primary reflected sounds with strong acoustic energy and reverberation time planning.
Acoustic design for recording studios
The sound field required for recording-based studios must combine moderate echoes suitable for recording acoustic instruments, a certain level of comfort that facilitates playing by musicians, and a vibrancy that easily captures the performance atmosphere. In designing a recording studio, our approach at Nihon Onkyo Engineering is to imagine the arrangement of the musical instruments being recorded and to arrange the sound-absorbing surfaces and reflection surfaces based on the concept for a well-balanced sound field. Acoustic designs of booths will depend on the characteristics of the instrument being recorded. Booths used for recording drums, electric basses, and similar instruments require higher sound insulation performance to account for the larger performance sound, resulting in a relatively "dead" final sound field. Piano booths must be designed not only so that the performer can see the conductor but also with consideration for the arrangement of reflection surfaces and sound-absorption surfaces with regard to microphone arrangement. In addition, vocal booths require a design that can record lively sounds while announcer booths in dubbing studios and other studios must be able to record clear narration, requiring a somewhat more "dead" sound field design than vocal booths.
Integrating sound field simulation, measurement, and sound adjustment technologies
At Nihon Onkyo Engineering, we undertake a wide range of tasks when designing building acoustics, from deciding on concepts with customers to designing, constructing, and verifying performance through measurement and adjusting the sound upon completion. However, the tasks we emphasize most are "listening to the sound" together with customers and adhering to the wishes of a customer to create a "tailor-made sound field." For example, although physical specifications such as transmission frequency characteristics and reverberation time are relatively easy to measure and evaluate, how we hear something is not necessarily reflected in these characteristics. In the end, our ears are what rate a finished studio's sound field. Of course, meeting the physical specifications is a must, and in addition to designing and creating acoustics, we at Nihon Onkyo Engineering strive to share the customer's imagined sound field, working hard to implement an acoustic design/construction that embodies that shared image.