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Music Studio Technology
High quality sound performance and recording requires different kinds of expertise, combined in a variety of ways. Performance spaces are designed by architects and sound engineers to provide audiences with the best possible sound experience. A sound emitted in a closed space will reflect off all surfaces producing a collection of interacting reflected waves. The perceived result is reverberation. The delay between the sound emission and the first reflection one of the defining characteristics of an acoustic space. Natural reverberation is produce by reflections with different frequencies and time delays - some reverberation creates a meaningful sensation of space and is pleasing. Other reverberation is noisy and confusing. The best concert halls enhance the performance of orchestras and soloists.
Sound engineering deals with blocking unwanted noise and directing desirable sounds to the right locations in an acoustic environment. The shape of a performance hall, the materials used as wall and ceiling covers and a host of other variables are considered. Sound baffles are used to absorb unwanted sounds. Sound reflective surfaces are used to enhance reverberation and to alter sound direction.
Loudness is perceived intensity of sound. Objectively, loudness is the pressure of sound waves applied to the ear drum. The decibel scale (dB) is used to measure loudness. The lower limit of audibility is 0 dB. An upper limit is defined as loudness with the potential to cause hearing disability. The ear can be exposed to short bursts of loud sounds up to 120 dB without permanent harm but longer exposures to sound levels over 80 dB can cause permanent hearing loss. The ear is most sensitive to sounds in the 1 kHz and 5 kHz frequency range.
Recording Studios have different requirements. The most important feature is sound isolation so that unwanted noise is not included in the environment. Some bigger studios are acoustic environments that have natural reverberation desirable for acoustic instruments. More often, sound isolation booths are used to capture one track at a time on the recording console. Near field speakers are used by recording engineers to audition the sounds they are recording. All the features of a normal acoustic environment can be added to sound recorded in acoustically neutral spaces. The job of mixing different performances and turning those into a high quality mix is easier if all the tracks have no acoustic space information.
The 25,000 square foot audio production facility for Electronic Arts In