Yes indeed, but not always practical.
It is ironic that the best acoustic treatment I know of is made from ordinary stuff. Books, LP’s, Albums.
We go to great expense and long lengths to acoustically treat our rooms, yet when it comes right down to it, the best sounding rooms are typically filled with ordinary stuff. And lots of it.
How do you know when your room is acoustically correct? Just listen to your voice when inside the room. If it sounds natural you’re 90% the way there.
More than a few times I have recommended to people interested in damping or diffusing the point of first reflection to simply purchase a pair of tall bookshelves and fill them with either books or albums. My preference, by the way, is books. Books are uneven and that randomness helps diffuse sound in a very natural way.
Nothing I know of works better.
And, you don’t even have to have read the books. 🙂
Yesterday’s post Taking Risks stirred a lot of controversy. Good controversy. I encourage you to click the link and read those comments which range from ‘it’s a business, get used to it’ to Wagner’s Ring Cycle isn’t worth listening to for lack of melody. Others have written me privately asking why I don’t understand business and ‘who cares?’. It was a dialog I had hoped to get started and I believe I’ve succeeded.
Here’s the thing. A musician is lucky to make a few cents on an album. An author lucky to even sell a few books, let alone make any money doing so. This dynamic is fundamentally different than what I do: create a physical product where the bulk of expense goes into the actual cost of manufacturing that product. One could argue that the million or so engineering dollars we invest in our products each year are intellectual property expenses no different than the words an author writes or the songs a musician sings. But once those are spent, it is the cost of the physical product that dictate its costs. Not so with music.
I cannot help but think the current financial model is wrong and upside down. The musician and recordist should make the lion’s share. They ARE the product. The distributor and financial risk taker should make the smaller chunk.
My fear is two fold: losing talented musicians and quality studios to record them in. This subject cannot be a surprise to my readers: audio and musicphiles who yearn for musically important art, recorded well, to play on our home systems. Can it be a surprise there isn’t much of it around? Can it be a surprise that recording quality is going down?
When a well recorded, musically valuable album pops its head on the scene, it is many times overplayed to the point of nausea. Keith Don’t Go is a good example. For several years in a row that was all you heard at shows. Why is this? Because there is so little new and worthy material being released.
I am working on a project that may help change this paradigm for the better. I will keep you up to date on its progress as it progresses.