Sunday, October 10, 2010

Room acoustics

Listening to recordings of myself, I'm struck by how much notes pop in and out, with different volumes and colors even for close notes. Most of that is me, of course, and some of it will be characteristics of the reed, as well as inherent properties of the bassoon as an instrument, but I got curious how much is controlled by the space where I'm recording. It's a basement home office, basically a small converted bedroom. Reading about recording acoustics, and generally, bigger is better, room dimensions matter, and acoustic treatment is the first place you should look to improve your recordings. I guess small rooms tend to have modes which are further apart, since the fundamental is higher. And if you get unlucky with the ratios, modes will line up, giving you a really strong response at one frequency, and much less at another. Better is many modes all together. So I found a mode calculator, and a nice discussions of room acoustics, and plugged in my room measurements.

That result is not pretty. The 250-400 Hz range is where the fundamental lies for the tenor range. And some of those joined resonances basically turn into ringing for some notes but not others.

For reference, here's a plot for a nice room, designed by plugging ideal numbers into the calculator. So that's what good looks like.

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