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Studio Designers List
Old 6th November 2019
  #1
Studio Designers List

In the last few months I have received a number of requests from forum users regarding the creation of a sticky post listing Acoustics Engineering Companies, Studio Designers and Consultants.

A series of issues were also reported to moderators by users regarding certain individuals on the forum selling "studio design services" on the grey or black market, not delivering said services or only partially and ghosting the client, who lost their funds.

After discussing it with other forum moderators, it was agreed to create such a list within certain conditions:

- a locked thread that will be updated regularly by moderators,

- only professionals with registered companies, a website, verified contact informations and clientèle will be featured on the list.


This list will hopefully provide users with better visibility as to which companies and consultants are legitimate and help avoid grey market activities on the forum.

However, Gearslutz cannot take any responsibility for the information provided, and does not endorse the content of said list.

If you wish to be featured on the list or want to request a certain company/designer/consultant be listed, please PM me. A first version of the list will be posted in a couple of weeks.

Thank you.
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Old 29th December 2019
  #2
ACOUSTICS ENGINEERING COMPANIES AND STUDIO DESIGNERS

The following guidelines attempt to provide an overview of the acoustics engineering and studio design market. This is a generalized description of what can be expected when engaging different categories of services. Of course each company/designer offers a specific set of services and only they can give you the full scope and nature of their unique services.

Studio design services can typically be divided into 4 main categories:

1. Full Services: Professional Studios designers and Project Studios designers
2. Remote services: Professional Studios designers and Project Studios designers
3. Home Studio “spot” services
4. Room (loudspeakers) “tuning”


QUICK DEFINITIONS

Professional studio design: a situation where all factors (technical, location, budget) support the design target and comply with technical standards.

Project studio design: a situation where certain business, technical limitations and/or budget constraints dictate a series of design compromises.

Home studio design: a simple setup, typically in a spare room in a private house or apartment.

Room (speaker) “tuning”: a situation where the speakers and subwoofers location within an existing room will be optimized for best possible response at sweet spot, and speakers calibrated. The name is misleading as the room itself cannot be tuned.



1. FULL SERVICES

1.1 FULL SERVICE PROFESSIONAL DESIGNS

Price range: ◙◙◙◙◙◘ - ◙◙◙◙◙◙

Full design services for professional studios are provided world-wide and include everything from start to finish, with regular site visits by the designer or a member of their team for meetings, inspections and various test cycles.
Each company or designer typically has its own design standard (or follows one of the better known ones) and aesthetic strengths. They will provide design and acoustics engineering services, full 2D/3D detailed CAD documentation, execution plans and for some VR files. They will design for stereo or mutliformat (Surround, ATMOS, AURO) Recording, Mixing, Mastering or Post Production Facilities. The results are guaranteed. Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and design contracts are standard requirements.

The lead time for services and build sequence are longer as the projects are fully professionalised, complex in design and highly detailed. It's not unusual for a project to take over a year to be completed from first contact to final room certification.

Depending on location, such companies / designers will have specialized build teams available on request, but can also work with local contractors. Projects in that category generally cannot be built DIY. In certain rare circumstances, especially with smaller facilites or Mastering Studios, some partial DIY is possible, but often results in an extended build sequence and a steep learning curve for the client.

Full services providers often have ties with systems and material providers (HVAC, doors, specialized materials) and good contacts within the industry (cabling, studio technicians, loudspeaker and studio equipment providers or manufacturers, etc).

The acoustic treatment is custom designed and custom built. It is very rare to see pre-made out-sourced systems used.

Most of these companies have strict technical requirements when it comes to the building's shell, at least dimensional (minimum H/W/L) and structural (e.g. minimum load bearing capacity). They will carry out a detailed site survey before the process can start.

Such projects will require the involvement of an Architect, Structural Engineer as well as permitting and inspection by local authorities. Coordination between all parties involved is consistant and systematic.

While less important aspects of the process happen online and the design is processed at the designer's HQ, during the course of the project there will typically be several in-person on-site meetings where the designer or a member of their team will:

- meet directly with the client, carry out a detailed assessment of the proposed location and have an initial conversation about the project,

- meet the Architect, Structural Engineer and HVAC team to discuss specific aspects of the facility and design, build scheduling and progress,

- share progress and seek the client’s approval on final design face to face,

- meet contractors and go over plans and budget in detail, give them clear instructions on processes and quality requirements,

- inspect the build site regularly for quality control, systems and room testing using dedicated measurement tools,

- installation and fine calibration of loudspeakers, room testing and certification to chosen or in-house standard.


This process happens in parallel to a monitoring of the build sequence on-line via a dedicated project management application or a cloud-based file sharing system where photos of progress and Requests For Information (RFI) are exchanged regularly.

Services are usually quoted all-inclusive minus transportation to site and living expenses while on site, or all-inclusive including transportation to site and living expenses. A clear schedule of payment is agreed upon before the project starts and included in the contract.




1.2 FULL SERVICE PROJECT STUDIO DESIGNS

Price range: ◙◙◙◙◘◘ - ◙◙◙◙◙◘

Full design services for Project Studios are usually provided at the national or local level, although there are designers working worldwide if the client's budget allows. The services can include everything from start to finish, but typically use a budget-oriented approach and focus the scope of services on the essentials to reduce costs. Scheduled site visits by the designer or a member of their team for meetings, inspections and various test cycles are typically included among the services.

Each designer has their own process and aesthetic strengths but may not use a specific standard, or will only follow certain aspects of a standard or philosophy depending on budget, the location's constraints and the client's requirements. They will provide design and acoustics engineering services, full 2D/3D detailed CAD documentation, execution plans and, in some cases, VR files. They will design for stereo or multiformat (Surround, ATMOS, AURO) Recording, Mixing, Mastering or Post Production Facilities. The results are usually not guaranteed, or the guarantee only applies to particular aspects of the design. Design contracts and NDAs are fairly standard.

The lead time for services and build sequence are typically 6 to 12 months.
Such designers usually do not have a build team available, but will work with and supervise local teams. Partial DIY builds are fairly common. Minimum technical requirements for the building shell are somewhat more flexible than for a professional build.

In the vast majority of projects, the acoustic treatment is partially designed in-house and partially pre-fabricated and out-sourced.
Such projects will require the involvement of an Architect and Structural Engineer as well as a permitting and inspection process by local authorities. Coordination between all parties involved is consistent and systematic.

While most aspects of the process happens online, during the course of the project there are typically several in-person on-site meetings where the designer will:

- meet directly with the client, carry out a detailed assessment of the proposed location and have an initial conversation about the project,

- meet the Architect, Structural Engineer and HVAC team to discuss specific aspects of the facility and design, build scheduling and progress,

- share progress and seek the client’s approval on final design face to face,

- meet contractors and go over plans and budget in detail, give them clear instructions on processes and quality requirements,

- inspect build site at key stages for quality control, systems and room testing using dedicated measurements tools,

- installation and fine calibration of loudspeakers and final room testing.


This process happens in parallel to a monitoring of the build sequence almost exclusively on-line via a dedicated project management application or cloud-based file sharing system where photos of progress and Requests For Information (RFI) are exchanged regularly.

Services are usually quoted all-inclusive minus transportation to site and living expenses while on site, or all-inclusive including transportation to site and living expenses. The schedule of payment is generally agreed upon before the project starts.




2. REMOTE STUDIO DESIGN SERVICES

Remote studio design services can be difficult to categorize as the services cover a broad range. They offer a variety of consulting services from complete studio design and CAD documentation to room optimization, DIY designs review or existing facilities upgrade. In some cases they use virtually the same type of design processes as Full Service companies except that the client assumes a much larger role. The common thread in these services is that the process happens purely online and parties never meet in person.

The lead time for services can vary significantly from one designer to another. Projects build sequences range from as short as a few weeks or months to multiple years. Partial DIY is fairly common.

With remote services, establishing roles and trust between client and designer is essential. The designer must have the professional experience needed to ask the right questions and the client must have the integrity and motivation to supply very accurate information.

The client assumes the lead role with contractors, local architects, structural engineers and other professionals, but the designer should have some direct interactions with them as well.

Coordination must be consistent and systematic between the designer, the client and the builders.




2.1 HIGHER-END REMOTE DESIGN SERVICES

Price range: ◙◙◙◘◘◘ - ◙◙◙◙◙◘

Higher-end Remote Services often have their own design standard (or follow one of the better known ones) and aesthetic strengths. NDAs and design contracts are often required.

They will provide design and acoustics engineering services, full 2D/3D detailed CAD documentation, execution plans and, in some cases, VR files. They will design for stereo or mutliformat (Surround, ATMOS, AURO) Recording, Mixing, Mastering or Post Production Facilities.


Such designers usually do not have a build team available, but will work with and support local teams and DYIers online. Some collaborate with remote workshops who produce and ship custom items for them.

Projects will require the involvement of an Architect and Structural Engineer as well as a permitting and inspection process by local authorities.

The client will be responsible for:

- taking the lead role with local architects, structural engineers and other professionals,

- meeting and interacting with contractors to go over plans and budget in detail, and give them clear instructions about processes and quality requirements,

- surveying the build site for quality control, and carrying out systems and room testing,

- installation and calibration of loudspeakers and final room certification,

- gaining access to and understanding how to use specific measurement tools and systems (from acoustics measurement softwares and equipment to accelerometers, audio analyzers and test systems etc.)

This process happens in parallel to a monitoring of the build sequence on-line via a dedicated project management application or a cloud-based file sharing system where photos of progress and Requests For Information (RFI) are exchanged very regularly.

Using free software like REW or Fuzzmeasure, the client will forward the room measurements files via email and the designer will feedback.

Higher-end Remote Designers will often quote all-inclusive services and a clear schedule of payment will be agreed upon before the project starts.




2.2 LOWER-END REMOTE DESIGN SERVICES

Price range: ◙◘◘◘◘◘ - ◙◙◘◘◘◘

Lower-end Remote Designers may not use a specific standard, or will only follow certain aspects of a standard or philosophy depending on the given constraints of a project. They usually provide consulting services for stereo, but rarely for multiformat. NDAs and design contracts are seldom required.
Such designers typically do not have a build team available, but will provide light support to local teams online upon request. Partial or completely unsupervised DIY builds based on the designer's recommendations are the most common practice.

Such projects won't necessarily require the involvement of an Architect or Structural Engineer, or require permitting.

The client will be responsible for:

- taking the lead role with local architects, structural engineers and other professionals,

- meeting and interactiong with contractors to go over plans and budget in detail, and give them clear instructions about processes and quality requirements,

- surveying the build site for quality control, and carrying out systems and room testing,

- installation and calibration of loudspeakers and final room testing,

- gaining access to and understanding how to use basic room measurement tools


This process usually happens in parallel to a limited monitoring of the build sequence on-line via e-mail.

Using free softwares like REW or Fuzzmeasure, the client will forward the room measurements files via email and the designer will feedback.

Lower-end Remote Designers often bill by the hour or by block of hours.




3. HOME STUDIO SPOT CONSULTING


Price range: ◙◘◘◘◘◘

Remote and on-site home studio design consulting services are low budget oriented and have a limited focus, mostly offering “spot consulting” to reduce costs. Typically this includes fixing urgent issues or making simple room enhancements. The lead time for services and build sequence are typically a few days or weeks.

Designers do not strictly follow a specific standard, but may try to follow a standard's general guidelines or philosophy (e.g. try to create a band limited early-reflections free zone around the sweet spot, manage basic SBIR issues etc.). They will try to optimize the space depending on its existing constraints and the client's requirements and budget. They usually provide consulting services only for stereo setups. The results are not guaranteed. Design contracts and NDA are not used.

Such designers typically do not have a build team available and will not work or supervise local teams. Completely unsupervised DIY builds based on their recommendations are the most common practice.
These designers usually have no minimum technical requirements when it comes to the building shell, but will use common sense and try to make the best out of a given scenario and budget.

Such projects will not require the involvement of an Architect or Structural Engineer, nor will they require permitting.

The process happens purely online and parties never meet in person.

The client will be responsible for the whole build process once the plans or recommendations are delivered.

Using free softwares like REW or Fuzzmeasure, the client will forward the room measurements files via email and the designer will feedback if needed.

The services are usually billed by the hour.



4. ROOM (LOUDSPEAKERS) “TUNING”

Some companies or individuals offer “room tuning services.” Often this service is only available in larger cities where there is a high concentration of studios. This process involves optimizing the position of the loudspeakers and subwoofers within an existing room for best possible response at sweet spot, and calibrating the speakers. The name of this service is misleading as it is not possible to tune the room itself. However, some service providers may assess and recommend basic acoustic room enhancements.


Thanks to Jeff Hedback, Jens Eklund and John Brandt for their participation in drafting this text.
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Last edited by Northward; 8th January 2020 at 12:23 PM..
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Old 29th December 2019
  #3
SELECTING A SERVICE PROVIDER

It is strongly advised to deal only with registered companies and acousticians / designers with verified company information and licensing, transparent contact details, and a website with a list of past projects and clients easily identifiable for background checks.

Beware of any grey or black market activities on the forum. There have been multiple abuses reported lately.

What follows is a list of service providers who have a website with references, contact information a company registration stated on their website. This list only contains the names and contact details of companies and designers known in the industry or who requested to be included in the list. The company / designer is accountable for providing truthful and transparent information about the services to the client.

Gearslutz cannot take any responsibility for the information provided, and does not endorse the content of this list.
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Last edited by Northward; 29th December 2019 at 11:46 PM..
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Old 29th December 2019
  #4
LIST OF ACOUSTICS ENGINEERING COMPANIES AND STUDIO DESIGNERS

As of 30/06/2020 in alphabetical order:

Artzen Consulting
Location: Jamaica
facebook.com/artzenconsulting/
lloydstanbury.com/

Akustikfixarna
Location: Stockholm - Jönköping - Umeå, Sweden
www.akustikfixarna.se/

Hedback Designed Acoustics
Location: U.S.A
www.hdacoustics.net/

Holonor AB
Location: Stockholm, Sweden.
www.Holonor.com/

John H. Brandt Acoustic Designs
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia.
www.jhbrandt.net/

Northward Acoustics / Northward Systems Ltd.
Location: Brussels, Belgium - NYC, NY, U.S.A - Los Angeles CA, U.S.A.
www.northwardacoustics.com/

Online Acoustics
Location: Portugal
www.onlineacoustics.com

Pilchner Schoustal International Inc.
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
www.pilchner-schoustal.com/

Pinna Acoustics
Location: Lekkerkerk, The Netherlands
www.pinna-acoustics.com/

Russ Berger Design Group
Location: Carrollton, TX, U.S.A.
www.rbdg.com/

Turnkey Acoustics
Location: Chennai, India.
www.turnkeyacoustics.com/

Walters-Storyk Design Group
Location: NYC & Miami, U.S.A - Basel, Switzerland - Berlin, Germany - Belo Horizonte, Brasil.
www.wsdg.com/

Wes Lachot Design Group
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, U.S.A
www.weslachot.com/

White Mark Limited
Location: Suffolk, U.K.
http://www.whitemark.com/
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Last edited by Northward; 27th August 2020 at 08:53 AM..
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