Archive for the ‘Listening’ Category

Audio Quality: How to Build a Listening Room (Part 2)

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Just a quick update about our listening room project.  It turns out the New England Institute of Art will not be interested in treating room 112 because the room is being given to the admissions department.  There is currently no information about where the new room will be located.  I have been told that NEIA has recently built a new critical listening space in a different building, but I have not seen the space yet.

So we are on the search for another room to work in!  Please send a note or leave a comment if you think you might know of a good room for us to work in.


Audio Quality: How to Build a Listening Room (Part 1)

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

At this year’s AES meeting in New York City, the AES Educators took up the topic of how to teach our students to recognize and strive for the highest quality audio possible.  In order for us to teach  techniques to attain the highest audio quality,  students must have access to good listening environments. The traditional concept behind building a great listening room is to build a room which is essentially a studio control room.  Unfortunately this is extremely expensive, usually requires an acoustician and often an architect and is way out of the price range of most learning institutions.   What is needed is a clear set of guidelines to convert existing horrible sounding rooms into adequate critical listening spaces as cheaply as possible.

Gone are the days of the listening party, where people would come together and listen quietly to music together.  But the listening party teaches us a lot about what a listening room should be like.  Here are some ideals that we should strive for in the listening room:

  1. As Quiet as Possible
  2. As Symmetrical as Possible
  3. Use DIY Acoustic Treatment to Control Problems
  4. The Best Loudspeakers that Can Be Afforded in Good Positions
  5. Use the Creation of a Listening Room to Educate the Students

I teach Audio Technology 2 at the New England Institute of Art in a concrete box, which arguably the worst possible environment to do critical listening in.  If memory serves the dimensions are about 17 x 19 feet with 10 foot ceilings with a drop ceiling at about 8 feet.  I will try to use this room as the guinea pig room to talk about these issues. With any luck, I will get permission and a small budget to improve the room’s acoustics so that it becomes a better environment both for listening and for teaching.

– Hendrik

In the spirit of using my blog as a great way of complaining about the general state of the world I offer the following whine:

Today we have a great many adversaries to high quality audio, some of which I have outlined below:

  1. The dominant listening device is an iPod with Apple-made earbuds. (eew!)
  2. Most modern music productions are over-compressed so that they sound as loud as the other over-compressed recordings. (grody!) This is usually referred to as The Loudness Wars. (Also check out: The Death of High Fidelity)
  3. The second most dominant listening device is the car. (very noisy!)
  4. The third most dominant listening device is the craptop computer. (Noooooo!!!!)