The Enemy of Good is Good Enough

or: Choosing Better is Better Than Choosing Nothing

The microphone arrived (ECM8000), the new measurements are done, the new arrangement looks good (enough), but I can’t build French cleats with the tools I have. So the panels hang will from the ceiling. I’ll re-measure before final mounting. I still need to shorten the stands and I found the device for cutting the steel today. Recovering the panels with the same fabric will brighten the space (visually) but I’d still like to shed about three more pieces of furniture and build at least two more panels before given the whole thing an effing rest.

This too-small room will never be great, but it is well on its way to being the best in can be given its dimensions.

Anticipation …

I suppose.

My own private personal measurement mic could be here this afternoon! I ordered a Behringer ecm8000 last week. The price for a new one has dropped to about half of what used ones cost. I assume that means they’re coming out with something new, but it won’t matter for my purposes. It is probably also that several companies have out with higher spec mics and corrections software to fill the new niche in room corrections for home cinema and more bedroom studios.

Also ‘on the way’ are the primary monitors. Again, my advice; Don’t buy used equipment. I only say that because I’ve been beaten up by this chapter. Six plus months of refurbishing, complete collapse of the amplifier in one and a return with the company saying that I might be the one that damaged them but they’ll fix it anyway. :^/

I’m perturbed and now I have to have my outgoing correspondence checked and edited for snark.

To be completely fair, I’ve only seen one complaint about the company’s service and there’s plenty of reason to discount that one story. They’re pretty reliable. That only strengthens my argument against buying used commercial tools.

Back to work

I’ll post new graphs when I get them done. I’ve turned the room sideways. That is, I am now facing the long wall and the window. By accepted practice I should be facing the short wall and having the monitors aimed down the length of the room, but by turning it I’ve done two positive things. Firstly, the right and left sides are far more symmetric. The window is in front of me and in theory, that space between the monitors should affect the image less than having the misshapen windowed wall on my right.

Since that change I lost access to the tool library I was borrowing them from. I’m really hoping the angle won’t matter that much. The room, as discussed, is too small anyway so low frequencies and the modes they amplify will always be there to some degree. What I really want out of this move is bilateral symmetry and a view. Don’t knock the view as a source for better sound.

Studio Treatments (pt. 3)

RCP Pt 3

annnd we (me) continue,

I’ve done one test using one HHB Circle 5A monitor with the monitor on the long wall. That is also the wall with the window. I know that it’s considered best to aim the speakers down the longer length of the room, but the difference between one and the other is about 11% (304 to 344). I’m guessing, and mostly only guessing, that the minimal size of the room vs the shape won’t gain me a great advantage and that I might gather some more imaging control by having more symmetrical sides. I won’t know for sure until I turn the whole room but the preliminary measurements are promising. The biggest confound is, of course, the desk.

These are right and left positions and one offset. Not a reliable measurement for several reasons, but promising.

The speakers have been with the manufacturer for a couple of weeks now. over 2 months.— 3.5 and counting

i think I keep forgetting that I’m really useless at composition in order to shield me from how dire my actual situation is. I can obsess over gear and bad phrasing while my life grinds on until it’s over.

#ATC-Audio, #room-correction

RCP Pt 2 (now ‘room correction project’)

also see https://nance.hcommons.org/studio-report/

Plenty of Rockwool in the corners now, the desk has moved a little and the speakers as well.

I’m still learning. The desk is actually too big for a mixing room. I’m not getting rid of it, but it means the next practical move is treating the ceiling. So far I’m just covering the standard bases. I’ve got first and second reflection points covered, both of which will need some adjustments as the desk shifts. I have a 10cm bass panel on the back wall, a triangular (prism) trap under it, just stacked sideways on a bale of acoustic rated Rockwool (RWA45).

The front has three 10cm panels just above and behind the speakers, and another bale of rwa45 standing in between them, with two bales more of insulation stacked in each front corner.

I want to mount the clouds with some space behind them, but the room is short, so I hope that’s practical.

I have a series of measurements made with a Neumann omni documenting various changes in room placement of the various panels and bales. Some are logical and useful and a couple are silly and voodoo related. I’ll be posting those results, but getting one final reading with an ECM 8000, before the ceiling panels are built and go up.

Room Correction Push (RCP)

The time has come to gather resources. The office studios are becoming an unreliable back up and having a good room for fine tuning won’t always be at hand. The answer is room correction. (Thanks very much to the company for the unlimited use in the past years. Much obliged)

I’m always reluctant to invest time and money in things that might not work, and I’ve never been sure about this space. One thing I just recently found out was that the only thing I should be working toward is getting as much spec specific material into the room (especially corners) that I can. It works equally well if you just leave it in the bale it’s delivered in and stack it there.
Acoustic insulators like Rockwool and Earthsilk are fairly cheap. It’s the frames and nice fabrics they’re housed in that cost money.
My prices for getting only half the panels and corner traps I need hit a thousand quid fast. The price for the insulator itself is, so far, about £300 to do all the corners and the remaining walls. It won’t look nice, but when I need to make it into furniture, I will. Right now I need bass control.

These graphs were produced using Room EQ Wizard, a free software for precisely this.

That dip, from SBIR at the at 58Hz, is giving me massive drops all the up the spectrum. I need to absorb as much coming off the front and back walls as possible to weaken that phase cancellation.

After that I can start tweaking everything else. For now, there’s nothing that can be fixed until that is done.

It’s all from the shape and size of the room, (necessary) speaker placement, and listening position.

Back to it.

Buxton trip null

It was a great trip for climbing, but the audio and photo gear is too bulky in that little car with 3 people’s luggage and tackle. I took the LS-100 and might have gotten some crickets out on Robin Hood’s Stride.

Field Recording, Bouldering, and Gravity’s Part II

I’d meant to do this piece years and years ago. For practical reasons the sounds were taken from climbing gear: friends, nuts, ropes, etc. This time I wanted to get back to original projectI was recording my attempting some problems in Cademan Wood yesterday and right now I’m reviewing them.

First thing about bouldering sounds: There’s just a little scraping and falling mostly.  Some breathing and cursing I guess. Pigeons are annoying and persistent

Gear

I will take a windscreen next time, but this time was fine. I’ll also have some proper mics and an interface if possible. I’ll be working in MS for the most part as I go along but this is just an Olympus LS-100 with the built in mics. I’ll use anything interesting if it’s there, but this was a pre-session investigation I tagged on to a 5+ project I wanted to climb. (I got it)

Warm up on Hidden Wall
Shoe against rock, hands, wind,  pacing around, dragging the mat, a fly or a bee (or is that in the studio?). I’m reviewing this with the high pass filter (damn wind).

Probably not much useful here, but I’m still taking the gear to Buxton. Might get a nice dawn chorus if I get up early enough.

Final assessment. Nothing here. Catalogued and put away. (new tagging software!)

A year in as a Zoombie

It’s been  little over a year at the time of this post actually. I am unfortunately less affected by the sparse contact with people than I think is healthy. My natural affinity towards being alone is being nurtured by lockdowns and social screen fatigue. A few hours teaching can be handled, but a few hours at an online party is a crush of low-grade vision, distorted sound, and half spoken thoughts.
Brains!

Building

I sit at the studio desk making sounds all the time. Granulating with the newest updates, stretching fft bins and looping them apart from their internal bits and bytes. I don’t finish actual pieces too much. I had thought that I’d be doing some online improvisation with John English, but I think it might be too oblique for him. The one time we tried it was a predictable failure, but the subsequent attempts never came.
I did just finish a long term project. At least I finished what one might consider an overture, or a preamble to the big paper, bark and leaves piece. Nothing significant can be done with it now, so it’s named Silver Birch, for it’s sources and shuffled it off to Montpellier to be forgotten under an avalanche of submissions from all over the rock.

Guitar

The Bach 2-Part Invention #8 is starting to be musical. It’s comedically slow on guitar, but hey, I have half as many fingers to play it than a pianist would. It sounds quite open and the counterpoint is very clear. I’ll be happy with it I imagine. I would like to use it as a source for something.

New strings coming and a new way to record it is available. I’d really like to get an outdoor version, maybe up in Cademan Wood.

Trumpet

Nothing happening here. I was progressing really well with the circular breathing multiphonics, but Tak rarely leaves the house for more than two hours in a week. I don’t ‘explore’ well with other ears in range. Every time I pick up the horn and play, I can hear ‘the other’. I really don’t have a clue as to how to handle this. So far the answer has been not to handle it at all.

Langham Research Centre

ResonanceFM, a streaming show from London that was formerly a broadcast station, Has quite a few good shows. One the best for modern music is the one done by the Langham. They have a few disks and CDs. What I have I’m happy with. I’ll probably skip the cassettes, but the vinyl is good.

They played some Ambrose Seddon, but only an extract. He has a new CD on Empreientes Digitales I was hoping to hear. Got a small listen. I like Ambrose’s  work so far. It’s ‘classical acousmatic’ in the sense that it isn’t afraid to delve into the tried and true structural hierarchies, but doesn’t sound like anyone else’s work.
https://electrocd.com/en/album/6094/Ambrose_Seddon/Espaces_éphémères

A quick paste of Langham’s program notes for today:

Langham Research Centre

[Repeated from Tuesday 8pm.] Langham Research Centre present their favourite electronic music and musique concrète, mixing classics and new releases, on the third Tuesday of each month. Tonight: music from Robert Farnon and His Orchestra, Denis Smalley, Ulrich Troyer, Langham Research Centre, Philippe Petit & Michael Schaffer, Annette Vande Gorne, Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux, and Ambrose Seddon. Presented by Iain Chambers and Robert Worby.