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Early Reflections in Recordings

Published On: September 25, 2020Tags:

Using Early Lateral Reflections in Recordings

Lateral reflections are useful not only in a playback environment, but can also be used to improve the realism and quality of vocal and instrumental recordings.
Below is a snippet of an article written by Art Noxon, PE Acoustical, that explains the reasoning and technique used to create intimate, yet lifelike recordings by harnessing early reflection control through the use of acoustic devices. Classic QuickSoundField photos also abound. Enjoy!

The original article can be read in our PDF: Creating Authentic Vocal Tracks

Creating Authentic Vocal Tracks by Art Noxon

To bring a dry recorded voice to life, the effects unit is typically set up as follows: the direct signal is followed by a lower-level diffuse reverb with no pre-delay for the upper treble, and crossed over at about 500 Hz. The problem with this synthesized ambience, however, is that it is made entirely out of cloned sound and the ear-brain doesn’t like it.

Natural acoustic sound always sound better than synthesized sound. Instead of working in a dry, lifeless reflection-free studio environment, you can set up a lifelike-sounding, reflection-rich acoustic space and get tracks that sound real in the first place–tracks that need no further processing.

The QSF for recording vocal artists

This lifelike-sounding acoustic setup is as follows: in an otherwise dead room, set up eight to ten specular (smooth and shiny) diffusers in a horseshoe pattern on a radius of about three to four feet. Set the mic to bi- or omni- pattern in the center of the reflecting array. Talent stands in the opening. Upper treble is instantly diffused and adds to the direct signal. Lower treble and bass leaks out through the spaces between the specular diffusers and does not return. The listening ear likes the acoustic version of lifelike sound.

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