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Matthew Range

The Acoustic Characteristics of Spaces

Musical spaces
Within the music industry there are many musical areas that are around, for live performance to
recording instruments and their soundwaves. One of these of these areas is the musical venue, and
this is where live performance takes place, this could be things such as live bands or DJs. Musical
venues come in a load of different shapes and sizes for example a large venue is the o2 in Greenwich
as this can fit 20,000 people within it. An example of a smaller venue is the venue at the Miskin
theatre which can fit between 150 and 200 people.
We underwent an investigation to see the characteristic of sound within a music venue, for this we
investigated in the venue at the Miskin theatre as this is a nicely sized venue for us to do our
investigation, also this venue is local is it is on our college grounds. Within this investigation we had
to measure all of the dimensions of the venue, this was the length and width of the floor and the
length and height of the walls. However there are 2 sets of walls which means some are different
from others so we had to get that into a count. The ceiling is also the same size as the floor so we
had to times that by 2. The point of measuring all of these dimensions is to find out the surface area
of the walls, floor and ceiling. Once we have the surface area of all of those things we can then work
out the RT60 and this is the reverberation time, what this is, is to see how a sound long it takes for
the sound not be heard from 60 decibels. If this is a quick it means the soundwaves are absorbed by
the surrounding area.
The images below show our results from our investigation;

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Acoustic characteristics
Within an environment where sound is being produced, the surrounding area can affect the
soundwaves and how they travel throughout the room. This is because of the characteristics of
soundwaves and objects that they become in contact with. This that can affect the soundwaves and
how we hear them are; absorption, reverb time and standing waves. In their own way they affect
the soundwaves which in turn changes how we hear them in the specific environment we are in. we
will hear sound differently if we was in a recording studio to if we was at a live performance in a big
hall we would hear instruments and sound differently.
This occurs when the surrounding areas takes in the sound energy and does not allow It to bounce
back off of its surface so it cannot be heard again. This happens as the soundwaves hit the surface of
a wall for example, and when it does come in contact with the wall they sound waves still have
energy which are transmitted into heat energy. The reason this happening as it is a wasted energy
which is not needed so it needs to be transmitted into something. Absorption happens differently in
different environments depending on what the walls floor and ceiling is made out of. In our
investigation the venue had different absorption points, one of which was the concrete wall which
didnt really absorb the wall too well, where as we had curtains which absorbed the soundwaves at a
high amount as it was made out of a different material. So depending where you are depends on
how you can hear certain waves as absorption is happening at all times.

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Reverb time:
Reverb time is the measurements of how a sound can decay from 60 decibels, this links to
absorption as depending the environment that the sound is being generated in, depends on how the
reverb time is. For example if you was in a room covered in cloth the reverb time would be quick as
all of the soundwaves would get absorbed compared to a room is it was only covered in concrete.
This is the equation for reverb time:

Standing waves:
A standing wave is a wave where at each point the axis of the wave is at a
constant amplitude. This occurs when a medium is coming the opposite
way of the wave which causes them to mix. The most common cause of
these waves is called resonance which can occur in a resonator. These
waves are also known as stationary waves. When the original wave has
hit a surface and is being reflected is when the reflected wave is still
passing the original wave which is also still travelling.
Acoustic treatment
There are many ways which you can model your musical space to help guide how sound travels and
works in this space. It can be things such as sound proofing, position of speakers or spectral analysis.
Each one will allow you to change how the actions of soundwaves work.
Soundproofing is acting as an absorption factor as this involves
having foam pad that can be put on the wall which ensures that all
the soundwaves are absorbed from things such as monitor
speakers. Soundproofing is mainly used in things such as studios,
but more so home studios. This is because in a home studio the
vibrations and soundwaves will travel through your house affecting
the other people that live there, but also your neighbours. In order
for this not to happen you add soundproofing to your room which
will ensure no problems. This will also make the sound quality
better in your room as the soundwaves will be confined into one

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Speaker positions:
The speaker positions in a studio matter as if you want the best sound quality you have to position
your speakers a certain way, the way you can position them can allow for better sound quality and
also for less reflections which will result in less stationary waves. The best way to set out a pair of
monitor speakers is to have each one facing you as this will mean the soundwaves are hitting
directly at the position of your ear so it will mean for a better sound quality as you can hear it
Having speakers set certain ways can result in a lot of reflections as seen in the image below;

Overall I hope that this article has helped you in understanding everything that you need to know
acoustic, hopefully of this has allowed you to gain the knowledge of what you will need to know
about being a producer and being able to create better sound quality at wherever you are at. If you
ever get stuck come back and read over this to gain an idea to help you carry on and be successful.
Creating a musical space in your home
If you are a young producer such as me for example, you may not have enough money to rent out a
studio space at an official recording studio building. So to be able to create music you will have to
create a studio space in your bedroom for example. And this is what I have done, however when
creating a home studio space you need to ensure that the shape of the room compensates for the
soundwaves which will mean that there will be a good sound quality. This only really results in what
the shape of your room and studio space is.
An example of my home studio space is below;

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Studio desk with all






As you can see my bedroom is a good shape for a studio, this is because it is completely square with
not many big obstacles in the way. The reason that my room is a good studio space is because the
soundwaves are able to move around and bounce off of all the walls with ease. It is good to have a

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studio space that allow the soundwaves to move around the room with ease, this is because it will
give you a better sound quality. It is good to have a good sound quality when creating music as when
you are creating it, it will allow you to notice any slight mistakes within your project as with a good
quality you will be able to hear it. By having the speakers arranged to face exactly where you will be
sitting will mean the soundwaves will hit your ear straight away, this is good as the sound waves will
be strong straight away as it will not be rebounded off of any object within your room. Having less
reflections will result in a stronger sound and better quality sound.
My walls in my room do not have any acoustic treatment on them, my walls are just complete
concrete this means that the soundwaves just bounce straight off of the surface which means that
they are not being absorbed. But if you are making a home studio I advise you to get acoustic
treatments as this means that the vibrations would be heard and felt to your neighbours. This is not
good as you might get noise complaints so this will affect your music production. If I would add
acoustic treatment I would place them right behind my studio space at to the right of it as this will
stop vibrations traveling to the room next door.
Creating a home studio is a good idea as you can be there at any time you and you dont have to pay
to use its, all you have to pay for is your equipment and that can range in prices depending on what
sort of equipment you buy.