Audiophile interview: An Acoustics Primer

Get started with the fundamentals of sound and Joe Albano

The latest and greatest gear may get all the attention, but if the acoustics of your studio aren’t suitable, all the toys in the world won’t make for great-sounding recordings

Let’s examine the basics of acoustics, look at issues that can affect our recordings, and discuss practical approaches for optimizing our recording spaces, with an emphasis on control rooms.

Before we jump in, let’s briefly review some underlying physics concepts.

A little background

It’s not exactly news that sound is created by vibrating objects (like a guitar string, drum head, or loudspeaker), and that these vibrations are propagated through the air in waves. Sound waves in the air consist of alternating areas of higher pressure (compression of air molecules) and lower pressure (rarefaction of air molecules), which correspond to the back and forth motion of the vibrating object itself.

Sound waves have three physical properties:

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