The Truth is in the … Room

I think it is really interesting that as audio engineers we constantly look for the hottest gear, the best mics, and the finest monitors to make our mixes sound great. And generally speaking, better quality equipment should mean better sounding mixes – right? So why then do certain mixes still have problems, why does a mix sound punchy and open in the studio, but muddy and overly dull elsewhere? The interesting part for me is that invariably we will lay down hard cash for a mic BUT will cut corners when it comes to tuning the room. Yes, those two ugly words – Acoustic Treatment – sort of equal to rocket science in complexity and cost, but with way cooler toys. This is not!!! A few Auralex 2”-3” panels on the wall or a couple of LENRD traps stuck in the corner (you looking at me) – this is RT60 MAN! It is the lack of attention in this area that causes your mastering engineer to call you at 3AM (never a nice call – sorry Eric – Eric is an awesome person and very patient mastering engineer).
Acoustic treatment, as I am finding out (well I always knew, but refused to make the investment) is equally, if not more important than that brand new, old Neve Preamp or Lexicon 224XL Reverb w/LARC. I love working in pro studios, ones who have made the time and financial investment to bring an acoustistician in and find the peaks and dips – then translate those findings into well positioned bass traps, diffusion and other means of removing problem areas. Cavern Studios, Bill Cashman and Brady Recording Studios, Jim Brady both located in Tucson, Arizona -are examples of two really great sounding rooms. If you are having problems and are on a deadline, it is well worth booking time to take your tracks and mix in one of these control rooms – you’ll be as spoiled as I am.

So, I am going to take the plunge! I talked with a company in Connecticut today and we have a plan. I actually shot my room last weekend, turns out it is not as bad as typical home studios. But, I want even tighter sounding mixes and the ability for my clients to know their projects will translate. This means the Auralex foam will be augmented by some heavy duty trapping and clouds.
I will keep this blog current as the project progresses – I am actually looking forward to this one 


Kindest Regard’s
Brad Lund (B!)
Westlund Studios

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