Studio Acoustics As Art
If recording studios were animals, then it wouldn’t be remiss to call the Analog Factory a honey badger. Tucked in a discreet industrial building in the sleepy estate of Woodlands, the Analog Factory, can at times feel out of place in utilitarian Singapore. Rising up at a time when recording studios worldwide are closing down, The Analog Factory represents a new wave of optimism and non-conformance, clawing back against an institutional economic machine.
Indie, young and run by an owner who gives himself 100% to his venture, The Analog Factory’s modus operandi was to provide the best for their clients. Equipped with an AMS Neve Genesys console at its core, the studio combined the flexibility of digital recording while harkening back to an era where warmth and colour were highly prized. Unlike most Singapore studios, which focused on producing pop numbers with dry and clinical studio acoustics, The Analog Factory demanded that the space be designed to to capture the raw feel of musical performance, ambiance included. The studio was envisioned to be able to record both pop numbers and small ensembles alike.
Top Performance and Design
As the Acoustical Consultant and Studio Designer, Soundzipper had the task of creating a one of a kind acoustical environment for The Analog Factory. The studio was to be composed of 4 areas:
– Control Room,
– Live Room,
– Lounge Area
– Storage area.
The owner had simple requirements: the studio must have unique acoustics and must sound good.
The Control Room
A Reflection Free Zone (RFZ) paradigm was adopted. Wood wool panels, resonant bass traps, fabric panels and acoustic diffusors were used to create an accurate monitoring environment. The studio walls were shaped to direct early reflections away from the engineer. Side wall panels were then covered in an acoustically transparent aluminum metal mesh providing a degree of coherence to the look of the studio.
The Live Room
Design consisted of timber slat resonators with insulation spaced 150mm from the studio walls. A clear coat of varnish was applied to the planks to reduce their high frequency absorption. A canopy system composed of Woodwool panels was introduced and designed to allow variation in acoustics across the length of the room. These panels were hung at different heights and angles allowing variation of ambience of the space. Velour curtains were then introduced to allow additional acoustic control.
The Lounge Area
Contrastingly, the Lounge area, had little to no acoustical treatment done. This proved to be a boon as its concrete screed floor and painted walls doubled as an echo chamber where special ambience could be recorded.
Acoustical isolation and soundproofing was also important for the studio. This was accomplished between the Live Room and Control Room by the use of acoustical partitions up to 400mm in thickness. A sound lock between the Live Room and the Lounge Area was created with a pair of acoustic doors. The sum total of these efforts resulted in a studio well equipped to capture the magic of music; a new beginning for sound in recording.