GeerFab Acoustics: MultiZorber II & MultiZorber OC703
The Bottom Line about Acoustical Treatment
Aside from a great performance from a great musician, acoustical treatment might be the single most important factor involved in capturing a high-quality sound. It’s fundamental. We tend to look at the newest gizmo or whatcha ma thingy and we’re convinced that if we add it to our signal path the angels will sing parallel cascading triads from heaven above and we’ll get the best sound EVER. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if the room/acoustical space hasn’t been prepped for success, neither will your sound be prepped for success. The sound of the acoustical space becomes inseparable from the sound of the source. To get a really tight, intimate vocal sound, you must create a really tight, intimate space to record the vocals in. That’s where these panels from GeerFab can absolutely save your bacon! They let YOU shape the sound that the mic captures. Once you hear the difference that simple acoustical control makes, you will never record another track without first considering acoustical influences on the sound.
Face it. In today’s recording economy the majority of recording is done in poorly designed home studios. Using portable acoustical control tools like the GeerFab MultiZorber II (they’ve added a cloth material to the front of this newer version, which changes the absorption character) lets you surround the recording area and shape the acoustical personality so that you really record something that sounds fundamentally great. There are creative reasons to include more or less room sound in your recordings; however, if you capture too much room sound—and if the room sounds terrible—the recording will sound terrible. And there’s not really anything that will fix the problem other than re-recording the track in a decent sounding environment. There are plug-ins that try to reduce the sound of undesirable acoustical influence, but important tracks deserve to be well-recorded in a controlled space.
No Matter the Studio, Portable Acoustical Control Tools Are Crucial
Even in the best of studios, almost every session includes the use of portable acoustical treatment tools to control the influence of the room sound on the recording. If you’re not doing anything about controlling the acoustical influence, I strongly recommend that you start today! Sometimes, we make changes in the way we record something for nearly unperceivable benefit (imagine a room full of white coats rubbing their chins and nodding knowingly but not really knowing). But skillfully implemented acoustical control results in a change that will be easily noticed by your Grandma! “Why, Johnny! I’ve never heard your voice sound so great on a recording!”
If you’re new to the study of acoustics, there might be some terminology that’s unfamiliar to you. Here are a couple terms, used in advertising specs, that are worth understanding:
Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC). The common definition for NRC is: A single-number rating system used to compare the sound-absorbing characteristics of building materials. A measurement of the acoustical absorption performance of a material, calculated by averaging its Sound Absorption coefficients at 250, 500, 1000 and 2000 Hz, expressed to the nearest multiple of 0.05.” (Credit for this definition and for more terminology: Gracey and Associates).
Translation. In plain terms, the extremes of NRC refer to how much sound is absorbed by something, with the numeral “0” representing that no sound absorption has occurred and the numeral “1” representing complete sound absorption. So, an open window would have an NRC of “1” because all sound goes through the open window and isn’t reflected back toward the source. On the other hand, a rigid, solid, steel wall with a super-smooth surface would reflect back virtually everything and would be at least very near “0” NRC.
The GeerFab MultiZorber II provides an NRC of .90 when against a wall, which means it absorbs almost all of the sounds that it is subjected to. The NRC is a result of standardized test procedures that take into account multiple factors so an NRC of .90 doesn’t really mean it absorbs 90 percent of sound but .90 is still near total absorption. Also, notice that NRC spec is occasionally greater than “1.” When the GeerFab MultiZorbers are are hung away from the wall, their NRC jumps from .90 to 1.35 because of the absorption occurring from the reflections behind (and even on the edges) of the absorber.
OC703. Ownes Corning 703 insulation is known for its extremely efficient sound absorption characteristics. The MultiZorber OC703 takes advantage of the excellent acoustical characteristics of Owen Corning’s 703 insulation in an extremely easy-to-use panel.
You owe it to your music and the quality of your recordings to include acoustical control tools in your work. It’ll make your music easier to mix and it will result in a dramatically more powerful and emotional production.