Ready Acoustic Traps

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Ready Acoustic Traps

Postby crunch » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:03 pm

Image

I (and my partners in crime) operate a tiny hybrid project studio on the north side of Austin, Texas, doing mostly mixing, but a lot of voiceover, singer/songwriter, overdub and entire indie album projects for a fairly wide range of clients, with a highly modified 36x24 TAC Matchless crammed into a 12’x20’ control room. Doing maintenance that requires we move the console is no small endeavor, so when we really, really have to do maintenance, we have to be organized and complete all the maintenance items required at once so we can get the room back together to get back to work.

Fun, I tell you.

We had an intentional 9 day window before the next bookings began, so one of those so-called chores was (because we were thoroughly sick enough of looking at the old, pointy, anechoic-chamber-looking Auralex stuff on our walls) we were going to rip that crap down, pronto.

No more angry walls, right?

Note: Listen, even if you do decide to use Auralex for some masochistic reason, DO NOT USE THE ADHESIVE. Get some long staples. Trust me on this.

It wasn’t all that pronto. Even with staples the Auralex would balloon out and look all frumpy and bloated, so we glued and stapled so we wouldn’t have to mess with it about 3 years ago. “We’ll never have to remove this stuff…” I distinctly recall saying…. Kill me now.

Well, we did remove it. That crap stuck everywhere. Everywhere. One has basically one option in that situation. Break out the sander and the scrapers, then re-texture the walls.

Gahhhh.

Death was entirely and completely preferable to the two days we spent scraping and sanding and cussing and sweating and in the end, we called in a pro painter to make the problem go away, mostly while we had cold Tecates and limes while we watched him work his magic.

Problem went away. Always remember, delegating authority means more time for drinks. One day, 12 Tecates and a really good painter later, and we had nice clean, freshly painted walls.

Now what do we do?

We require room treatment on our walls. Because of our control room size, we have significant issues with reflections and crazy, horribly wrong bass response. I may sound bitter, but while the Auralex was ok at taming reflections, it didn’t really do squat for the corners, where we needed competent trapping to get the bottom end right in the first place.
We looked around, and the general consensus as far as trapping and absorbers go, get a bunch of Owens Corning insulation, bag ‘em and hang em. The least amount of mess with the best bang for the buck.

Easy, right?

It ain’t that easy, especially if you’re mildly interested in not making your control room look laughably ridiculous. Add Gabby, who as one of the aforementioned partners in crime, will under no circumstances tolerate that room looking anything less than wonderful. Please note: we can’t work until we get some treatment on the walls and get the control room back together. I was easy game for making it nice looking, if we didn’t go broke doing it, but I also wanted it to sound at least as good as the other stuff, but obviously, better is more better.

So we shopped around, decided it’s cheaper and easier to buy bags than to make ‘em, and for what we can afford on a price/performance ratio, Ready Acoustics was the clear choice, as they are less expensive than the competition, and a lot more helpful. But was it going to be some cheap stuff? I’ve seen some people’s (who, although clueless as it pertains to visual aesthetics, shall still remain nameless) rooms using bags for insulation, some looked droopy and uneven, something which is totally unacceptable in the land of Gabby.

I fear her.

Anyway…

We ordered 12 Tan Chameleon Bass Traps in 12 Sand Chameleon Acoustic Frames, with brackets for the bass trapping in the corners. These guys went through _everything_ with us, we did a model of our control room, figured out where we needed absorption without over-deadening the room and graciously explained what would be the best deal based on our budget and needs.

I’ll just say this. If I get postal mail, it’s bills. Or trouble. Or both. There isn’t any joy to be found in my mailbox. On the other hand, FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliver nothing but happiness.

5 days later we had 4 of the biggest boxes I’d seen in a while dropped off by UPS.

Mwahahahaha!

We ripped into them. These things were packed _really_ well, 3 to a box, preassembled, inside thick plastic bags for protection. I grabbed a level and a tape measure, made my marks, and sank two wall anchors for each panel. Took three hours. Ok, ok, I was done in an hour and a half, but we wanted to make sure to get the bulk of the center and side panels situated so they would most compliment the mix position, so I shifted everything down a bit before I started placing wall anchors. The brackets for the corner bass traps were the easiest of all, measure twice, sink anchors, done. So, after three hours, I was ready to hang the traps.

10 minutes later they were all hung. Yes! They look fabulous and I could tell the difference in the room the second we got the bass trapping in position, the whole room just “tightened up”. No ridiculous reflections of course, but I’m talking about the bottom end. It just got “rigid” sounding. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s just Owens Corning insulation, but I think the combination of having really well made, good fitting bags secured with the rigid frames helped significantly. No rattles. And they look NICE. Everyone comes in, looks around and says what a welcome change they are. Anyway, it took me another day to get everything back in place and we made our 9 day schedule. Since hanging them, I’ve tracked two albums in there, rough mixed one and produced a few vocal spots and in every case, the room just sounds better. I was concerned that I might be forced into a position of having to relearn the speakers in the room, but, frankly, it was effortless. Not only is the bottom end much tighter, but there is a much more distinct, wide stereo field. Midrange response is throaty without being harsh. Top end is bright and agile without being remotely fatiguing.

Heaven.

All we need now is a frozen margarita machine in there. What a great difference Ready Traps made in our studio; their products are highly, highly recommended, less expensive than the competition and ultimately, their attention to detail and personal service is what won me over.
crunch

"I have a well-thought-out plan that carries minimal risk to innocent bystanders"
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Postby gabby garcia » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:24 pm

no doubt - the control room sounds great and the traps give it an aesthetic quality i can enjoy on a daily basis!


now does anyone happen to know of an informative review site for margarita machines?

:)
gg
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Postby subvertrecordings » Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:34 pm

Crunch,

Great Review! Now, I have a slightly off-topic question: is that meter bridge on your Matchless stock, or a custom piece? It's absolutely beautiful! Thanks!

--Steve
Many questions in many subjects are equivalent when viewed at the appropriate level of abstraction.
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Postby crunch » Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:44 am

Hiya Steve,
From what I understand, totally stock, it was the first version of the Matchless, with VU's instead of LED's. FWIW, we split up the power, separating the channel power, center section power and meterbridge power (for the lights). Additionally, I need to get that old Brian Roth down here to go through the entire thing; still sounds great, but some channels are getting iffy and a bunch of "little things"... It's ready for new pre's (except the 12 custom ones) from Colin, as well as every cap in that thing. It sure would be nice to have every lamp light up as well...
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Postby jensenmann » Sat Jun 14, 2008 12:50 pm

I´m going through my Matchless at the moment and I found the resistors in front of the channel muteswitch lights are dimensioned a bit too small (powerwise). Since these resistors are placed inside the logic circuit a bunch of the lights did funny things - or nothing. Upping them to 470 Ohm/2W helped. The Transistors around this stage are endangered, too, because the current is pretty high for them.
Same is with the decoupling resistors for the bussamp-supply in the channels. In theory they are dimensioned ok but my desk had a few half-smoked ones which have increased their value already - not what you exactly want for a supply-rail. Upping them to 2W will do the trick. What I don´t know is if they were meant to act like fuses to protect the PSU. Then it´s a bad idea to increase them. I will find out - no risk, no fun.

good to see others using those old JBLs :D
Jens
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Re: Ready Acoustic Traps

Postby Andi Lambert » Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:24 pm

Hi Gabby, check this out http://www.swirled-ice.com/ for your request on margarita machine review and this http://www.swirled-ice.com/, too, for the luscious concoctions you can make:)
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