The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Mark's mix room build
Old 11th February 2011
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Mark's mix room build

Hi, Group -

I'm a long time engineer and am about to build a mix room for my work.

My career has covered staff engineer, chief engineer, and freelance producer/engineer. For many years I would have my clients rent me a premium room in Nashville and other cities but by the end of 2008, low budgets were killing my gigs.

As a stop-gap measure, I started doing mixes in a rented office space, using my analog outboard gear that has traveled with me for years and a Mac Pro running Nuendo and PT LE (for transfers).

Somewhat to my surprise, I got busy! And it's largely with the same client base of Black Gospel producers and Roots/Blues/Rock projects. The little office was a test and since it looks like I have a new career chapter here, I want a better room that is on a higher technical and comfort level.

So, I have contracted Clarity Incorporated to create the space from a design by Jeff Hedback. Jeff is my pick for both innovative design and cost-effective use of space. Clarity is a new company specializing in turnkey installs which I need because I need to keep mixing at the old spot while the new studio comes together.

The new space is over a pizza and beer joint, too, so life is good! I'll attach a concept drawing from Jeff and post other images as we move along.

Regards,

Mark
Attached Files
Old 11th February 2011
  #2
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
That last drawing is a pdf and seems to require downloading to be visible, so I'll upload and "X-Ray" drawing of the new room, showing ceiling devices and an outline of equipment placement. The triangle thing in the back is a pipe I can't relocate so it has a covering that will deflect.

A photo of the present cramped space is next.
Attached Thumbnails
Mark's mix room build-mixer-mark-room-3d-overhead-x-ray.jpg   Mark's mix room build-mw-mix-room.jpg  
Old 11th February 2011 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
In recent years I’ve been known more for mixing on Neve’s, especially VR’s. However, I also have a lot of history back into the 1970’s with MCI and my new room is going to have an MCI JH-618 for analog mix functions along with the Nuendo workstation.

The JH-618 size is perfect, 18 I/O (including two stereo line modules), monitor management and a patch bay all in slightly more than 4’ of width. Randy Blevins rebuilt it for me in his Nashville space and it is currently sitting in the workshop of Rob Preston, my tech in Charlotte, waiting to be installed in the new mix suite. I’ll attach a picture of it patiently waiting to begin it’s new life.

The 600 series has lots of options for mods, too, so I will have Rob cooking up improvements for my particular mix needs.
Attached Thumbnails
Mark's mix room build-marks-jh-618-robs-shop.jpg  
Old 11th February 2011 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
AnthonyRochester's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
"like"
Old 12th February 2011 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
MidasHatesGold's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
yummy console you got...all the best
Old 12th February 2011 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The back of the mix suite will feature eight of the HdAcoustics circle diffusers, finished to match the rest of the woodwork:
Attached Thumbnails
Mark's mix room build-mixer-mark-room-3d-concept-toward-rear.jpg  
Old 13th February 2011 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
A little confused by the tubes. Are the broadband absorbers? Or are the tuned bass traps?
Old 13th February 2011 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hmm, I'll see if Jeff will answer that one himself. I think they are about LF tuning but we'll see. Thanks for the question.

Regards,

Mark
Old 13th February 2011 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
"tube traps"

Hi Mark,

First, I have to convey what a true pleasure and honor it is to design a space that will be used as a part of your efforts. Mark and I go back ~13 yrs to a record he produced and engineered and I played bass: Carrie Newcomer (forget which one that was) on Rounder Records. "The guy" gets tone and has the highest respect for the natural timbre and harmonic series of every source. PLUS he creates a session vibe that is second to none...you're always put in a position to make music (take a second to Google Mixer Mark for confirmation). Since those days we've stayed in contact in various ways.

Mark described the current task at hand very well and has shared my design concepts that are close to being fully fleshed out.

Now onto the topic of the cylinders, they are broadband devices. When located in a corner junction they can provide control below 60Hz. Unlike the ASC product, there is no reflective/perf membrane. But very much like the ASC product, the design basics and materials are pretty simple: 2" pipe wrap covered in fabric. We have the top/bottom sealed with a wood cap. For nice technical details of this type of device, go to the source, ASC (see link)

ASC TubeTrap Technical

Why the cylinders in Mark's case, the existing door in the front right was the original leading indicator in the form follows function as more "conventional" deeper corner traps wouldn't fit (Mark has since relayed to me that that door is being removed)...but the design is still on point. The wall mounted devices are position 2' AFF to avoid receptacles and the cylinders will give coverage down to the floor so that the entire corner system consists of panels on each wall surface ~8" deep (with LF membrane) and the 20" diameter cylinders in front.
Old 14th February 2011 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
thanks for the explanation and kind words, Jeff.
Old 14th February 2011 | Show parent
  #11
x86/x64 Moderator
 
George Necola's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Williams View Post
thanks for the explanation and kind words, Jeff.
cool man! I wish you all the best with your new room. post pics when finished.

do you have a website? I just recently got into black gospel (listening) and want to check new resources.
Old 14th February 2011 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
My wife (writer and editor) and I have just started a new little LLC and will be setting up a new web site. For now you can find me on facebook ("MixerMark") and there are folders of pictures that you may enjoy.

Regards,

Mark
Old 14th February 2011 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Downsound's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'll be interested in seeing the floor treatment in order to isolate both the pizza pub from you and you from them. Very cool . . . I will be watching.
Old 15th February 2011 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The building's second floor where I am is concrete and my tests with 95+dB playback yielded nothing in the lower level. I don't work very loud, typically 85-90dB max, so I don't anticipate bothering the folks downstairs. And unless they start booking live bands (very unlikely) I don't expect to hear them.

At this point, unless Jeff specifies something more isolated, I expect that we will just use laminated wood flooring.

Thanks for asking and we'll see how it all shakes out soon!
Old 15th February 2011 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It occurred to me that a picture of the building might help the discussion. This building was originally a "Sundries" store built about 100 years ago. "Sundries" stores were sort of like modern drug stores but without the drugs.

Anyway, our space is on the second floor in back over the kitchen. It's a nice neighborhood with about a dozen bars and restaurants in neighboring spaces.
Attached Thumbnails
Mark's mix room build-studio-building.jpg  
Old 16th February 2011 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Colonel Blues's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Wow, amazing, looking sooo cool… !
Old 17th February 2011 | Show parent
  #17
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Clarity chimes in

Hi, Folks, Just wanted to set up my info for discussion. I am with Clarity Inc., the company that is handling Mark's studio along with Jeff Hedback. Not mentioned so far... Mark will be using a monitor system designed and built by Clarity. With an extended range of 17 hz to 40Khz, these beauties are amazing! The monitors are from our guru Bill Weir, a very well know designer in Electronic Music circles.
Old 18th February 2011 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Here's a picture of designer Bill Weir and fabricator extraordinaire Doug Burns studying a Clarity Motiv monitor cabinet before it's final finish.
Attached Thumbnails
Mark's mix room build-bill-weir-doug-burns-clarity-motiv-monitor.jpg  
Old 18th February 2011 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The Clarity Motiv monitor cabinets are made by James Jackson and there are more pictures here:
HTML Code:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=500100786762&set=a.117555841762.120345.772341762&theater
Old 18th February 2011 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
well, that link doesn't seem to have worked! Try this one:

<http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=500100786762&set=a.117555841762.120345.772341762&theater>
Old 18th February 2011 | Show parent
  #21
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
17hz to 40khz!? Aww wow! I want a pair of these babies! How do i get in touch with these guys?
Old 18th February 2011 | Show parent
  #22
NCP
Here for the gear
 
NCP's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_mistro View Post
17hz to 40khz!? Aww wow! I want a pair of these babies! How do i get in touch with these guys?
I'll take that one off the air. Don't want to be crass or uncouth plugging stuff in here.

What I WILL say in here though, since it can be appied to anyone's design and its purely geeking out is:

Since there are a lot of people in here that make monitors, I thought I'd throw this out on the table for ridicule/discussion... :-)


While I am using modern components and techniques I am fundamentally doing nothing new. What's new is doing all the things Im doing in one place at one time in a nearfield/subwoofer monitor rig.


My big thing is temporal/harmonic accuracy, otherwise known as minimum phase.


There have been a couple of studies done that claim people cannot hear when harmonics are in time with the fundamentals they are associated with, or “square wave accuracy”.


Well, Me and a bunch of people I've admired over the years have decades of experience that say otherwise. Perhaps the people in the studies didn't know what they were listening for, or perhaps the listening times involved were not long enough to allow the differences to become obvious to the test subjects, I don't know but it's not subtle! To my ears its one of the biggest clues that something is reproduced rather than real.


There are some well known people making expensive boutique speakers in large format that get this, like Brian at VMPS for example... but no nearfields that are more or less affordable for real working engineers. No, we get stuck with 4th order LR xovers and gain clone chip amps etc. every time I see a new monitor system advertised I feel like it's “Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss”.


The speakers are based around 6.5 inch underhung midbass drivers with ginormous magnet structures and flat response out to 16khz, not to mention 16mm of linear xmax. Many of you are familiar with what an underhung structure brings to the table. For those not, it ensures that the driver is always operating within the peak of the motor's BL curve. In other words, the harmonic distortion does not jump way up at extremes of cone travel which means the monitor doesn't get harsh when you turn it up a bit, or even more important in the studio- change it's voicing by going into power compression after hard use, tilting the response to the thin side.
No fancy plastic or metal cones, just a treated spruce pulp paper cone here.
Boxes have sculpted baffles and are time aligned. Mr. Dickason was right- it is very easy to create more problems than this solves, and if you have the room and situation it is easiest to just tilt the cabinets back to do the time alignment, but I don't know of any nearfields being able to be used that way in the average studio so it took me over a year to arrive at a solution. The interiors have non parallel surfaces, and the sub uses constrained layer construction.






There are only a couple of readily available tweeters that will work, it needs to be flat down to 500Hz.
There is a ring radiator for the inexpensive version, and there is the Scan Speak Illuminator that Mark is getting.


Crossover is passive, with impedance compensation. The Bi amp split is between the tops and the sub.
The crossover is a design suggested by Dr.s Ashley and Kaminski back in the 50s. You don't see it often because it is quite demanding on the drivers and design in general, but it is a series network that is 9db/octave for the first octave, then steepens to 14db/octave in the second and beyond. It has relaxed damping which leaves no “hole in the middle”, and it has exactly 360 degrees of phase shift (or 0 depending on how you look at it)- and best of all- so long as you time align the drivers it will pass a square wave without making it look like a stock market value graph.


They are self powered, amps are from HPA (www.aussieamplifiers.com) and are fully discreet mosfet amps with good audio performance at the switching frequency of the class D amps a lot of people use. The biggest thing about these amps to me is that Anthony has managed to somehow deal with the large gate capacitance of the FET output stage so unlike all the other FET output amps I've ever heard, these amps have real balls in the bass and midbass as well as exemplary mids and highs. I'm still not real sure what their “sound” is. Just pure amplification. Exactly what we want in the studio!
Also the main supply caps are about an inch away from the output devices so... they really get the job done.
I did a Vactrol based, sidechain limiter circuit that is entirely sidechain even when in heavy limit.


The sub is a servo based design, I'm using a 12” driver, and due to the servo will also repro a decent square wave.


I tend not to make nearfields with lots of deep bass because the nearfields never seem to get to live in a place in the room where they will make bass. The tops have the 12db/octave sealed box rolloff at 80Hz, coupled with the 12db/octave HP filter in the sub it is an exact match for the 24db/octave LP on the sub driver.


so- there you have it! Back to the 50s with a modern twist!








Old 18th February 2011 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
That was Bill, by the way. Thanks for favoring me with your design work!
Old 18th February 2011
  #24
Gear Addict
 
lane thaw's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Just a quick shout out to say that Mark is one of the most amazing engineers I have worked with. His great ears and positive energy makes it a pleasure to be involved with him. Here is a song he tracked and Bruce Swedien mixed. If you need a all pro ME, give him a call.
Attached Files

Patina.mp3 (4.05 MB, 2451 views)

Old 19th February 2011 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Head
 
chrissyb's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Really, really nice work...
Old 19th February 2011 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I really appreciate everyone's kind words about my work, although I expect most folks would like to read about the studio design and build.

One challenge I have in setting up this room is to find and possibly modify some software to use when I document the analog equipment and patch routes. Fortunately, with this small console, there is much less to doc than mixes I made on huge VR's but I still need a paperless way of storing the settings for later mix recalls. Some of my equipment has templates I can scan and I can also scan graphics of an I/O module of the MCI desk from the manual, but I still need to have those appear in a software image that I can then mark with knob and switch positions.

Any thoughts? Thanks! We'll get back to hammer and nails soon (or green glue and cotton acoustic fill).
Old 19th February 2011 | Show parent
  #27
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Mark's Chops

For those of you who are not aware, Mark is one of the great producer/engineers in the country. His credits including mixing over 50 Grammy winning records. Mark mixed Finale (Donald Lawrence) which had numerous top 10's off the record. He was the engineer for James Brown's last CD, which was never completed due to his death. Others? Kirk Franklin, Hootie and the Blowfish, Joe Walsh, The Staples, Stephanie Mills, Yolanda Adams...

Yep, da man.
Old 20th February 2011 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks to everybody for the love fest, but I think it will be much better to use this space for a discussion about building the little mix room. And among our colleagues here there are going to be many people with credentials well beyond my own, so I prefer we not get into all that if possible, thanks.

That said, my career has been as long as it has partly because I've been willing to adapt to changing conditions in our line of work. Opening a small room that is specifically for mixing is one of those adaptations. My clients have many options for recording their work (with my help and without it) and I think this dedicated mix room will help me offer my work in a way that suits the rotten budgets available to producers today.

Here are some design features that may be worth talking about:

No giant monitors. Most studios put those in to hype clients that may want to rent studio time. I'm this studio's only client and I don't need the hype. Thoughts?

No lounge. I think if I have a lounge, somebody will come and lounge in it. The mix room should hold me and as many as 3-4 other people. I think if they bring more buddies than that, the extras can all go eat pizza downstairs. Thoughts?

I've often complained when asked to record in someone's project studio that the equipment is set with space for only one person to sit near it. I'm planning to have enough space for two of us to sit sort of at the wrist pad, although neither of us will really be in the middle at that point. Thoughts?

I want to hear opinions while this is still being constructed so thanks for your response!

Regards,

Mark
Old 29th March 2011 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Nut
 
Mark Williams's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Well...the deal for the space has gone sideways.

There is a huge duct (3' wide and 1.5' tall) that runs the space and from the earliest meeting, we were told that it could be blocked and removed.

Then after four months of trying to put this together, the building owner announced that the duct could not be removed. That was a deal killer unfortunately so we are back to square one in a search for where to put the mix room.

Once there is more to talk about I will either continue this thread or start a new one.

Regards,

Mark
Old 2nd April 2011 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Joao B.'s Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Wow.. that sucks.

Best of luck finding a new place!
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 4 views: 2521
Avatar for brianroth
brianroth 28th August 2005
replies: 188 views: 38753
Avatar for chrisenglish
chrisenglish 15th April 2013
replies: 189 views: 21604
Avatar for MarsBot
MarsBot 29th August 2017
replies: 871 views: 102552
Avatar for miscend
miscend 1 week ago
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
πŸ–¨οΈ Show Printable Version
βœ‰οΈ Email this Page
πŸ” Search thread
πŸŽ™οΈ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump