Josh Peck, one of the composers at my NYC studio, has his rig in the corner of a soundproofed room designed, manufactured, and assembled by IAC. The wall panels are surfaced with metal membranes -floating and some perforated for bass trapping and lower-mid absorption, and set at odd angles for dispersion. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of upper-mid and high-frequency absorption, so the corner in which Josh works had some problems with harsh-sounding reflections. After looking into a bunch of possible solutions, I decided the best approach would be to use a modular system of acoustic foam that could be configured with the least amount of cutting to conform to the angled wall panels. I chose to employ AudioTile, designed by Russ Berger, an acoustic designer with a tremendous reputation and in my opinion, one of the best presenters at last year's TapeOpCon. AudioTile comes in two styles, ShockWave and CornerTurns, with the former for flat surfaces and latter for corners, as the name implies. ShockWave is comprised of four different pieces, with which you can design a seemingly endless variety of organic-looking patterns. Furthermore, because of the three-dimensional curvature of each ShockWave piece, a wall covered with it presents greater surface area (at many more angles) for the sound waves to strike than traditional acoustic treatment does. A 24-piece box of ShockWave streets for about $130 and covers 12 sq ft if applied without any gaps. It's worth a trip to Auralex's website to see photos of various AudioTile installations. It took us a couple hours to treat Josh's corner; the ShockWave pieces worked well with the angled panels while the CornerTurns made for a seamless corner. A couple months into working in the treated space, I asked Josh to comment, and his response follows. -AH
Setup for these useful and extremely effective foam pieces was extremely easy. Given the different shapes and useful corner pieces, minimal cutting was necessary if at all, and we still managed to create a cool and very functional design. There is absolutely no lack of quality in the material, and it helps shape and adjust room acoustics very well.
They helped tremendously with drying up the sound. Before there were a bunch of reflections, especially off of the left wall. Now the sound is much more crisp and located, I have better control over imaging, and there are fewer standing waves. The before/after difference was not subtle. I was even surprised with how much of an immediate difference the foam made. Now everything feels more controlled, directionally. (ShockWave 96-piece carton $599 MSRP, 24-pc carton $159; CornerTurns 48-pc $199; www.auralex.com)
Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.