- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Artistpro; 1 edition (May 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159863285X
- ISBN-13: 978-1598632859
- Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 44 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Acoustic Design for the Home Studio 1st Edition
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About the Author
Mitch Gallagher has been chasing guitar tone for more than 30 years. He toured as a lead guitarist/vocalist in rock and country bands and has played with big bands, with fusion and experimental music groups, and as a classical and steel-string guitar soloist. As a music technology specialist, he has taught college courses, lectured, given clinics, consulted with manufacturers, and spoken at festivals, conventions, and conferences around the world. His musical compositions cover genres from classical to experimental to heavy metal. His work Prophecy #1: At First Glance, an experimental percussion ensemble/synthesizer work based on the Fibonacci number series, received a 1991 NARAS (Grammy) award in the Best New Music/New Classical category. The former senior technical editor of Keyboard magazine and former editor-in-chief of EQ magazine, Mitch has published well over 1,000 articles in music, guitar, and recording publications. His monthly column, "Guitar Tracks," currently appears in Premier Guitar magazine. He appears in well over 100 YouTube videos. In addition to freelance writing and editing, he is an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University/Purdue University Fort Wayne; he operates The Sound Sauna/MAG Media Productions, a recording and mastering studio; and he is the editorial director for Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Top customer reviews
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When I opened the book, a quote from Dick Heyser of the JPL (Jet Propulsion Labs) really blew my mind in its impliciate simplicty whilst also being very profound and illuminating as to why acoustical treatment is arguably THE MOST IMPORTANT equiptment in your studio! Even with a couple hundred dollar condenser mic (like the Rode NT1A) and a decent preamp (Ill just use what I have for the time being a Focusrite Saffire 8i6) - if your tracking room is treated right - it will make a WORLD of difference, then imagine it with an amazing locker of mic's and pre's!)
Dick (RIP) of the JPL described sound as "...what happens when air gets pushed." That's the most simple elemental way of describing what sound is and its mechanism if you will, in physics - which is why we need aborbtion, isolation and/or diffusion - the block/absorb bass frequencies with lots and lots of mass - even more mass is needed if you want to isolate the outside world from the studio thus double walls, drop ceilings, floating floors etc - or reflect/absorb mid and high frequencies to slow their motion, or equally dissipate their heat (sound is air being pushed, this creates heat - sounds complicated but its simple if you think about what einstein said "Energy cannot die, only change" - paraphrasing) over a 180 degree audio spectrum as in the case of diffusion
Mitch makes what can be a tedious learning (and eventual planning & crafting of your home or project studio) into fun, and easy to learn. All the resources are there that you need for any application, including the best companies and who to contact - down to equiptment thats cheap and works for its purpose (like the tip of the radioshack digital sound level moniter).
Great quote from the Foreward by Russ Berger (of the Famous Russ Berger Design Group) states - "Acoustics is an applied science that is part art, and part science. That doesn't meant the "art" part is some form of obscure "black art"; instead it's a creative application of scientific acoustic principles comiined in a way taht produces the desired environment."
Also, not that I have a problem reading small text - the text is large, and again not over written just to the point. He goes through all the myths that get perpetuated time and time again - like using egg crates or cheap open cell foam instead of closed cell, rock wool and/or rigid fiber glass, that any foam will work (including highly dangerous flammable material like packing blankets or eggcrate foam intended for bedding), that bass trapping has to take up alot of space (it doesn't, you're just use to seeing the gigantic bass trapping a high end studios), and that EQ can solve all acoustical problems (yep, sorry, no way in hell).
He teaches the importance of Bass Treatment (Bass Traps and Broadband Absorbtion panels). How furniture in the studio can creat acoustic problems, with comb filtering but can help as a ghetto bass trap (and you need somewhere to sit so, if it works with your acoustics use it). How to use a hollow wall (like a walk in closet, treated) as a sort of bass trap that aborbs the bass frequencies, allowing them to pass through - and bouncing the high and mid frequencies back. How carpet isnt good at sound absorption at all, if you carpet your walls, floors and ceiling expect a boomy muddy jam, listening or tracking room. Hard wood floors can add warmth to a room, which is good if it has the proper isolation beneathe it (either floating floor situation or something with alot of mass - like lead mass-loaded vinyl). The importance of treating your ceiling to get rid of ceiling reflections, reverb, flutter and slap-back. Explains diffusion, how it works - how its difficult but you can build your own citing plans online (and many companies build Quadradic Diffusers that you can drop right into your ceiling or attach to the wall. Many of the biggest names in audio contributed to this book including Auralex providing all the graphs and room layouts, RealTraps providing materials and photos used as examples, more than I can name really, the Walters-Storyk Design Group, Primacoustics, and alot of people from the Thomson Course Technolog PTR (Auralex Acoustics even includes "the fantasy studio design", that even the author of the book cannot afford haha we can all dream).
He gives you simple (what I consider fun, compared to winging it) ways to find your reflection points using a mirror, a friend, you in your listening position and your moniters triangulated on your lsitening position. Aswell as where to put ceiling reflectors. Ive learned all this and I havent even read the book just eagerly skimmed it haha. Im about ready to start treating my studio (montarily) and I just happen upon Mitch Gallagher's project studio video on Sweetwater and after seeing his set up, and him explaining things so succinctly and to the point. I immediately bought the book knowing it would help me immensely not just in this intial build but in tweaking it to become perfect and building even better studios in the future (inevitable with changing technologies, monetary situations and how often people move around - not to mention helping other artists with their own studios). Even my friend whom usual acoustics (and alot of other things like signal flow) go over his head - realized how easy it would be to learn from this book (which is also used in universities, mitch gallagher has a treasure trove of titles hes held from reviewer, contributer and editor/cheif editor of many'a well known and famous musical magazines, and he's engineering, mixed, produced, mastered, of all sorts of different styles, teaches guitar and is an accomplished guitarist.) Mitch effectively shows you how to utilize any space you've had (because he's built studios everywhere) from the corner of a living room, a basement, an extra bedroom, an attic and a garage (but aslong as you have a decent ammount of space, and youd be surprised at how little you need if you treat it properly - you could make a studio set up just about anywhere). He flawlessly explains the different acoustical challenges a room can give you, and the confusion behind most acoustics in general such as...acoustics verses sound isolation, basics of sound, how sound works in a room, first reflections, flutter echo, Reverberant Decay, Controlling Reflections & Reverberation. Gives you the low down on Room Modes and Standing Waves & The Three types of Room Modes aswell as the Good, The Bad and The Ugly when it comes to (perfect or completely imperfect) Room Dimensions, Room Shapes, and how really...it's not the end of the world and their's solutions for all your problems (wether its creatively that you build or something someone else thought up available commercially - or if you compensate for that say extra 10% of loss from electrical plugs, screw holes in the wall, windows, non-acoustical or storm doors with spectral anaylsis, mixing headphones or learning your room enough to know that you need bass boost here because its not treated quite right).
He also answers the popular question "Why not just use EQ" which is basically say "Why not just fix it in the mix" - like engineers love telling people, because its impossible to "Polish a Turd" no matter how hard you mix, swap out punches or instruments, if the recording, mic technique or how it was captured by your DAW is flawed - theres nothing the best mixing engineer or mastering house in the world can do for you. Not saying you cant fix some things here and there (with the use of limiters or compression on a bus, so you can take it off or on/tweak it and its not recorded that way) but you'll always get a better mix from an flawless recording and preformance! If the DIY method isnt for you he reccomends quite a few companies, well known for their top notch equiptment - that have out of the box room kits, just install and record (tweak as needed). Shows you how to chose the best room and the easiest ways of checking it to see if its acoustically solid (using programs, graphs and sound level moniters - cardioid reference mics if you can affords them haha) and how to design/set it up best for your need and room set up. The issues taht can arise with symmetry (boxy sound), getting another pair of ears in (pref. professional acoustical consultation) your finished studio, cleaning it all out and playing tones/music so you have an A/B comparison of before and after (and youll be able to notice more of what further needs treatment and what is good as is). He discusses, getting everything properly orient, moniter speaker and treatment placement and listening position (Triangulated at your head! If the desk doesnt accomodate get yourself a good pair of moniter stands, and make sure they' and the desk are atleast 2 feet away from the back wall, and how critical (simple seemingly no brainer) things are to your mix - try walking in and out of the sweet spot, especially with a room microphone on, you'll tell the difference).He discusses creating a RFZ (Reflection Free Zone). Also for you no-budgeter out there have no fear, whilst not the optimuum position - you can still create an environment conductive to creativity and recording (perhaps not mixing/mastering) with chapter 10's no budget home studio plan discussin common household items, and a brand new way of looking at it. Even goes over things most people overlook until the last second - like noise control (equiptment noise from amplifies, ground electrical noise, HVAC systems (which you need ventilation in and out, because your creating an airtight environment - otherwise you suffocate). He goes into how to go about sound isolation, without building a room within a rom, and lastly the last few chapters are examples of many different studios and how they were set up from designs to their pros and cons from home officce, basement, bedrom, bonus rooms, a recording booth and machine room. The Appendix is full of resources studio deisgners and online resorces that will be invaluable to anyone setting up a studio - giving you all the information, materials, software, hardware and where to find it.
This book is really the end all be all for beginniners trying to get top notch quality sound. Highly reccomended.
In fact, after reading the book for the second time, I decided to check out some of the venders he lists. All of them were legitt and thier prices were not that bad. I called one of them and mentioned this book and the person I was speaking with knew of the book and had in fact read it themselves (allthough I wasn't offered a discount for mentioning it). I made a purchase from them and was, and am, very pleased with my decision on what Mr. Gallagher recomended. In applying the tips and procedures that are outlined very well, I transformed my small home project studio into a very nice sounding room. I also used the same principles to treat my home theater space and have gotten glowing comments from family and friends about how great movies sound in said room. My mixes are much better and are translating to other playback systems much better than before I read this book.
You really don't need to have a home studio to benefit from the information contained in "Acoustic Design for the Home Studio". If you have a home theater setup with surround sound, or even just a Hi-Fi stereo system you use to listen to your favorite music on, you can learn a lot about what makes sound tick and how to tame it to make it sound like it was meant to sound when the artist recorded it. And if you are not careful, you might have a lot of fun in the proccess. I know I did!!!
The most helpful aspect to the book, for me, were the passages in which the author reveals compromises he made constructing his own home studio.
Asserting his own thoughts on what that added or took away would have been well replaced by more revelations of real-world applications in home studio acoustics.
My greatest disappointment with this book was the assumption that the reader has no skills to build their own attractive solutions. If you're a hobbyist looking for plans to make absorbtion/diffusion devices there are none to be found. Layouts for the Home Studio may have been a more apt title.