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Multi-platinum, Grammy and Emmy-nominated producer/engineer Daniel Wyatt discusses Acoustic Fields Technology

Dennis Foley July 14, 2014 No Comments
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When New York City recording studio builder and designer, Joe Salvatto of Salvatto Sound, first approached us about incorporating our activated carbon low frequency bass absorption technology into a new studio build he was working on, we were happy to assist. Joe was looking for a solution to the low end problem he was facing in the room and was not satisfied by the performance of any bass traps on the market.

Little did we know that the studio in question was for one Daniel Wyatt, Multi-platinum, Grammy and Emmy-nominated producer/engineer and senior instructor at Dubspot, New York City www.dubspot.com/about. Dubspot is one of the world’s leading schools for electronic music production, DJing and performance, with campuses in New York City, Los Angeles, and online. Daniel Wyatt is also the founder and senior engineer of www.wyattmixmaster.com, which provides mixing and mastering services world-wide. Daniels credits include Curtis Mayfield, Norah Jones, Mos Def, Doctor John, N’dea Davenport, Sugar Ray, Olu Dara, and the Roots to name but a few. His full biography can be seen here www.danielwyatt.com/biography/.

The following video charts Danny’s experience with our technology and the incredible response it has received from A list engineers and producers including Luca Pretolesi (credits Tiesto, Skrillex, Bruno Mars, Savoy, Steve Aoki, Diplo) head engineer and director of Studio DMI, Chris Gehringer (credits Jay Z, Madonna, Rihanna, Nelly, Nas, Joss Stone, Nelly Furtado) senior mastering engineer at Sterling Sound, NYC, “Oh my gosh, this room is amazing! You can literally hear everything!” and Mitch “Catalyst” Cohn, the musical director for Chris Brown’s world tour and Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour, “This room sounds insane! I haven’t heard a room sound as good as this in a long time!”

So if you’ve never had the opportunity to experience our activated carbon diaphragmatic absorbers, then sit back, relax and let Danny be your guide as to what this audio experience is all about.

The following is a transcript of our discussion in the video.

This room is really was eight or nine months in the making but it’s the Acoustic Fields bass traps that really made this room sing.

Now it’s really quite a musical room that’s the way I would put it.

Because I’m in New York City, because I’ve been doing this for three decades, because I have a lot of Rockstar engineer best friends, you see them on the Mix Master Wyatt show, Chris Gehringer, Luca Pretolesi, you know all kinds of top engineers doing number one records in the country I get to move around some of the best rooms, really on the planet, and when they come up here they’re like “oh my gosh, this is amazing, you can hear everything in this room!”

You can hear extremely well sitting in the client couch and its, you can hear amazingly well sitting in the mix position and we used to have something too where if you stood up you’d get a slightly different low frequency response that also has gone now.

And I’m really happy to say, and I’m an endless fiddler, that it’s really in a place where I wouldn’t change a thing and when people come in, I had the musical director for Chris Brown’s world tour here yesterday who is out on Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour, top, top producer musical director and he was like “this room sounds insane!” He was like “I haven’t heard a room sound as good as this in a long time”. And he gets also gets to walk in the top rooms.

So I’m extremely happy with it. This room wasn’t done until the Acoustic Fields bass trap technology entered the room and then once we did exactly what was proposed by you Dennis the whole thing snapped into place.

So I couldn’t, I really just, I couldn’t be happier.

Dennis: So tell me what you’re hearing that you couldn’t hear before.

Danny: Basically this studio is literally a garage and it’s sort of 9′ by 18′.

Joe Salvatto, who’s a good longtime friend of mine, and I’ve, we’ve worked with him on so many projects, I told him when it was time to build my room, he was the guy to do it and he knew that.

And so we started construction probably about eight months ago and, just dealing with local ordinances and different things, it took its time, and also having it worked on by friends you know it’s hard to tell your friends… but things made their way and then finally we saved the bass trapping for last.

We built some really nice panels in here for the mid-range, put a nice cloud in, put some hard diffusion in as well. And typically, in building a room, we like to do the bass last because sometimes there’s a broadband component, sometimes there’s a tuned component, depending on the dimensions of the room.

So we did that last and it was sounding really good in here, the monitoring in here is a dangerous D-box built by Chris Muth and a pair of B&W Diamond 802’s, a pair of Avant tones and all of the amps are Brycetones, we have a 2B and then the 4B on the Diamond 802’s.

Daniel Wyatt recording studio

And so we set everything up and it sounded very, very good except for the bass was a little uneven in the engineers seat in the engineering position and there was a lot of bass in the back of the room.

So Joe said “you know I did some research, I talked to this guy Dennis out you know West, works for this company Acoustic Fields. It’s a new experience for me I’ve never worked with this technology. He’s got this new technology, involves charcoal, and I would love to have your room be the first room that I you know use his new, Dennis’ technology and do an installation”.

So of course I said “Sure, let’s do it!” So he began to, I guess he spoke with you Dennis? And he began to do the construction with a non-disclosure signature and get some coaching from you and materials and he built, I think the first thing that he did is he built a broadband and a narrow band.

Daniel Wyatt Acoustic Fields bass absorbers

And he put them on the back wall. So he put those in I’d say about three months ago and immediately the bass changed in the room. The bass was very, very tight in the back of the room in the client couch position behind the mixers seat, and that was amazing.

But it almost sort of changed the bass in the front of the room and so Joe was like “You know I wasn’t sure if we were gonna need two or three. Dennis kind of counseled us to use three. I didn’t know if the room would deal with two. I think Dennis is right, let’s do three.”

And then I think he went back and built the final bass trap which we loaded into the front of the room, I’d say about two and a half months ago and literally, when the final bass trap went up and in front in the room, the room really came together.

Daniel Wyatt engineer dubspot

It was like the clouds cleared and the Sun shone, Jesus light shone down from the heavens and all of a sudden the room really came together.

And the way I would describe it is just that it is generous in bass, but it’s also tight and its softened the mids and the high’s in a way that I can only say was just kind of amazing, magical really.

It softened the vocals and it also gave more detail to the reverbs and probably you can describe why that happened a better than me and now it’s really quite a musical room that’s the way I would put it.

You can hear extremely well sitting in the client couch and its, you can hear amazingly well sitting in the mix position and we used to have something too where if you stood up you’d get a slightly different low frequency response that also has gone now.

And because I’m in New York City, because I’ve been doing this for three decades, because I have a lot of Rockstar engineer best friends, you see them on the Mix Master Wyatt show, Chris Gehringer, Luca Pretolesi, you know all kinds of top engineers doing number one records in the country I get to move around some of the best rooms, really on the planet, and when they come up here they’re like “oh my gosh, this is amazing, you can hear everything in this room!”

And I prefer my rooms a little bit on the dead side so it’s got to have a lot of carpet on the floor I have
my clouds and I have basically panels everywhere but this room is really was eight or nine months in the making but it’s the Acoustic Fields bass traps that really made this room sing and you know when I talked to Chris Gehringer when he moved from midtown to downtown at Sterling he set up his room and they moved things around by centimeters for you know three weeks.

And then finally once the room really spoke to him and it you know it’s a bit of art and it’s a bit of science, it’s a little bit a both when your room somehow has the forward force from the low-end the imaging comes together, the instruments sound like they should look like and the whole thing comes together and once the whole thing really speaks to you don’t touch it anymore, it’s not something that you try to make a five percent improvement for the next 10 years. You actually leave it.

And I’m really happy to say, and I’m an endless fiddler, that it’s really in a place where I wouldn’t change a thing and when people come in, I had the musical director for Chris Brown’s world tour here yesterday who is out on Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour, top, top producer musical director and he was like “this room sounds insane!” He was like “I haven’t heard a room sound as good as this in a long time”. And he gets also gets to walk in the top rooms.

So I’m extremely happy with it. This room wasn’t done until the Acoustic Fields bass trap technology entered the room and then once we did exactly what was proposed by you Dennis the whole thing snapped into place.

So I couldn’t, I really just, I couldn’t be happier.

I know your fatigue, lots of low-frequency forward dynamics at a low listening volume which is always what I’m looking for because, you know I’ve done lots of different music over in my career right now I find myself in a medium space which I always loved even before it was cool and so you know we deal with a lot of low-frequency projects and projects that are really meant to be played back in clubs and I have a very clubby function one response at a low listening level so I am a very, very happy camper here.

Dennis: Wow! I’m starting to sweat, well good. Every word you said Danny was exactly the premise I used to develop the technology. Everything that you articulated that you heard was what I was never hearing in rooms, yes, and the diaphragmatic absorption technology that you are hearing in your room with the carbon

I had the technology I just didn’t have the carbon fill because the fill material is the rate of absorption. It’s the rate of absorption that’s necessary in order for definition, separation and clarity to occur.

It’s not necessarily grab a hundred percent of everything.

Danny: Well that makes sense to me, that makes sense to me the rate of absorption because the way I experience the room now is that the low-frequency decay is smooth but its tight.

In other words there’s nothing eating the bass and 808’s and low frequency material can extend and decay but it doesn’t hang out passed its welcome.

So again you know I try to keep my brain innocent of anything I don’t really need to know and I’ve been a very successful guy doing that for many, many years now so I don’t really understand how you achieved it but I do know that you achieved it and I think the part of the signature sound of this technology that you’ve created, is the decay of the low end is smooth but its generous.

And it’s nice

Dennis: I always thought to myself why can’t we have the same definition and clarity in the low end that we have in the middle’s and highs.

It’s easy to get good definition and clarity with the mids and the highs. Absorption, diffusion good technologies to do that, we’ve accomplished that I believe as engineers.

But the low end is always problematic. I don’t care who’s designing the room or who’s working in the room and this was my goal to give people a tool that really has an impact on attack and decay.

Danny: Well I think that, that has been achieved here and I’m glad you know I don’t know if you typically recommend to do the bass response the low frequency response last but I’m glad we did it that way in this room because I think it allowed us to figure out where the mix position in this room wanted to be.

And you know any time I go to people’s rooms I either see them set up where they’re sitting where the room wants them to sit and then so they’re not fighting the room and the rooms typically have a more musical response. Or some people always like to sit it where you know, 5:45 the Sun comes in the window and the Sun sets on their coffee cup in a certain way and they always wanted to have a view of the Sycamore tree. And like I’ve had friends like that and they end up sitting in really weird places in the room. It might only be one or two or three feet off from where the room is telling them to sit.

And sometimes those rooms never get good, just because they’re stubborn about you know where the mix position wants to be so I think in this room we got we sort of met the room where it was in a sense before the bass trapping and then we then with the bass trapping it only got better and it only got better.

And you know it’s interesting because I’m asked this all the time about subwoofers and I’m and I know I have friends that use ’em and I have who make number one records and I have friends that don’t who also make number one records. I am and anti subwoofer person. I will go out there and say that.

I don’t like subwoofers. I find they’re usually band-aids for much bigger problems that don’t get addressed and you slap a big hunk of low-end in your cancellation hole and it’s still canceling and then your room modes are all the worst for it and it makes for a party response but I don’t think it makes for a very clinical response and one of my favorite you know rooms is Chris Gehringers room at Sterling in New York in the Meatpacking District and he has no subwoofer and he has plenty of free moving sub frequencies that can stick out and recede in attack and decay very quickly.

His you know trap music in his room sounds like trap music and low frequency are making hip-hop sound right in his room with no subwoofer and you know I also had a room built in New York City had a little room built off of Dub way and it was also built by the head of construction who helped build Sterling and it was such a beautiful room that we had small Genelec’s at that time with six inch woofers but the room was so sweet that you could hear the subs perfectly and we did a lot of hip-hop at that time lot of stuff for Raukus Records and Ultra Records and different record companies at that time and with these people would walk in and say where’s the sub?

And we had six inch woofers on some small Genelec’s so that’s just a long story to say that if the room is behaving properly I think you don’t need a sub I don’t know Dennis where you come out with the whole sub debate but I’m I’m anti sub, I’ll just say it.

Dennis: If the room, you said it so well Danny, if the room is behaving itself, less is more.

Danny: Yep.

Dennis: You just don’t need all that energy if the room is behaving correctly it’s the old problem, I want to hear more of the good stuff in the room so I’m going to turn the gain up. And that causes the room then to react to more pressure and unwanted pressure and then it just makes matters worse so then you turn the gain up a little more to try and squeeze more out of it and that’s not what you need. The room has to behave itself and then less is so much more. I have heard rooms with low end, with 6-inch drivers that sound wonderful.

Danny: Exactly same here me too, me too and I’ve heard rooms with huge subs that sound terrible.

Dennis: Absolutely, absolutely. I have to laugh a little bit about your comment when you got the units installed how the mids and the highs came together really nice and I’ve had that experience many, many times and it’s a wonderful experience because you know they’re there, you know your electronics are capable of producing what you want to hear but when you drop the pressure in the room with the carbon and cover the low end like you should, Joe did his job, he got you all mids and highs that you needed, you just couldn’t hear them.

Danny: Well but that’s exactly right and I think it was interesting because we were picking the, I didn’t have an amp like that, these were my first set of this sort of style speaker, that I was able to use in my personal studio and so he gave us first a loaner a Macintosh amp, was solid state, with huge you know it was a 400-pound I forget the model number it must have weighed two tons, transformers the whole thing and so it had a rich slow transit kinda sound to it and it was a pleasing sound and I think I would want it for my home stereo having like a really good glass of wine or something at the end of the day but on a clinical level it was almost too rich in flattering for a daytime let’s nit-pick this master a little kind of thing and so when we switched to the Brighston transformerless it was a much quicker faster sound and it almost was too clear for me at first for a moment, it was almost too clear.

And, but I got used to it because like it was very, very clinical and I could tell ultimately I could work critically very, very quickly on these once I got to know them and still there was something that I’d didn’t love about the sound yet and I was using Calvin Harris as a reference because I think he is a great producer whose work spans the Radio Club thing very well, I think his tracks tend to translate very well in both, which is a lot of what I’m doing right now. So as soon as we dropped that final bass trap in the front of the room it softened the sound and it took a harshness out of the frequency response of the speaker’s almost like we changed the amp. I mean if, I would of lost that bet. I would of easily lost that bet. I would have said you stuck a different amp in there right?

And now it’s really the best of both worlds because it’s a very quick amp sound but its easier on the ears, it’s a little less strident, its rounder and I think it’s more the intention of the engineers. I’m hearing more the intentions of the engineers and it’s not one of those things were everything’s flattering and you can’t tell good from bad because if something comes up that’s bad, you can hear right away that it’s bad.

So it’s a very but if something’s good it sounds amazing! But it does show faults and things which is what I was looking for. I wasn’t looking for something that, where everything sounded good, and so I would be too lenient on project X.

I’m hearing lots of mistakes in the ultra high-end I would say, and I think that’s a function of the amp, speakers and the way the room is working, but if I’m finding that a mixer is not being making enough judicious reductive EQ around from 16K and up and if there’s traffic up there I’m hearing it now better than I’ve ever heard in my life up there.

And sometimes my business is very much a stem mastering business and so as long as I have the stems, I can just do some low pass filters and set them very, very high, especially now with the sort of all digital productions coming out of EDM world and hushing the high-end is something I can hear now better than ever in this room. And all the clients have been very, very happy, they’re like not sure what you’re doing but it’s smoother, it sounds better at a really loud listening volume and the low mids and lows are hitting me better because I’m not getting poked in the ear by excessive high highs that I think I simply just wasn’t monitoring as well before this room came together.

Dennis: Yeah well a lot of people really don’t understand the impact that low frequency energy has on mids and highs they kind of view those as separate areas and well the bass isn’t going to have an impact on my mids and highs so I can kind of not be too concerned about that but it’s the pressure that the low-frequency produces within the room, that smothers and blurs things and when you reduce that pressure you can hear it. It’s always been there but you can hear it, it just jumps out at you and whenever I hear that happen I just sit in the chair and smile.

Danny: Oh yeah, yeah it was so funny because you know I was here with Joe and he lived with the room the whole time and he’s a great designer he’s a great combination of art and science I would say almost like building a violin if it was all science it would be built by a computer that being said there is a science to it and I think you know we were all in a bit of suspense you know because the room was coming together and as soon as we dropped it up there I mean we could almost hear talking in the room that just talking change and as soon as I put on the reference tracks we all just smiled and we’re like we’re done, we’re done, we’re done. And I think we went out for lunch and didn’t come back well into the next day which was the work day.

Dennis: So you know, that’s my favorite thing to see.

Danny: It’s been an absolute total success here and everybody who comes in to hear the room, especially the heavy hitters, they’re blown away, they’re blown away and like I said it’s not just the mix position but the client couch is very tight and accurate. And sometimes you know sometimes in hip-hop to have a boomy client couch serves a certain clientele who just can never have too much subs and too much bass but for those who are a little more picky, wanna hear more the way the engineer’s hearing.

Now they can sit right behind me and there’s in the room modes in the distribution in the room is so smooth and so even that really like I said you get a ton of dynamic low-frequency at a very reasonable listening volume and to me that’s the hallmark those are my favorite rooms rooms with lots and lots of dynamic low-end at a low listening volume with no Subwoofer. That’s what I like, yes, and that’s what we achieved here with the help of your technology.

Dennis: Well thank you, thank you it is a great joy to hear everything isn’t it in one comfortable position?

Danny: It is, it is and in New York you know we have some great rooms and there are some rooms where the Emperor really has no clothes and sometimes you find yourself there and you find yourself engineering in high-pressure situations and you’re guessing and it’s no fun to guess.

It’s much more fun to have the confidence that you know that what you’re doing is going to translate and you know part of you know a big part of the philosophy of Dubspot in the mixing mastering program is that we use reference tracks very religiously and so and I do it with my clients on an international basis as well and so when somebody wants something mastered or stem master, stereo mastering or mix I have them send me a high-resolution wave file 44 124 bit or 16 bit wave file of something that they think sounds really, really good and we will match to it and then when you can hear that reference track which is probably a popular track whether it’s commercial or underground and you can match to that track and then you can accurately bridge the gap because you’re hearing what you need to hear you know when you’re done with that work day you’re done and you know that you’re good.

So there’s something incredibly satisfying about that and not having to guess and to hear all the dynamics in all the frequencies I mean that’s really what it’s about and low end I think being the trickiest domain to tame like you said I think there are technologies in place that were very effective on the high-end you know hard diffusion and then the low mids and the mids to upper mids with the soft absorption but the bass trapping always the toughest always the toughest so yeah like I said I’m not changing a thing.

Dennis: Well it’s great. I love my customers immensely but it’s so great for me to hear a professional like yourself that really understands what I tried to create and hear it and believe in it and that, you’ve made my year to be honest.

Danny: Well in all reciprocity you’ve made my year!

So and I think you’ve made mine for years to come so you, I hope so, absolutely, and so Dennis you know I can’t thank you enough for inventing this technology and believing in it and propagating it and helping Joe all the way across country get it together in this room. And all I can say is the proof really is in the amazing response in this room and this response I’m getting to the room which is just across the board, people are just blown away.

So just wanna thank you and hopefully this will serve a little bit as a testament to those who are either building new rooms or have been sitting in a room with low-frequency problems and you know knowing what they’re missing but not knowing what they’re missing because this technology was very clear and straight forward to set up and it worked instantly.

Dennis: Yeah good, well Danny thank you so much for your time we surely appreciate it here.

Danny: Well my pleasure and we will keep it going Dennis.

Dennis: Alright take care, you too, cheers. Bye bye.

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Dennis Foley

I am an acoustic engineer with over 30 years’ experience in the business. My technology has been used in Electric Lady Land Studios, Sony Music of New York, Cello Music and Films founded by Mark Levinson, and Saltmines Studios in Mesa, Arizona, along with hundreds of others.

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