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Asbestos Tile Floors in classic studios.
Old 11th May 2020
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Asbestos Tile Floors in classic studios.

Some of my favorite classic studios have asbestos tile on the floors. Of course it's not possible to get these now. Vinyl tiles that have the same look are available but they don't have the same sound or durability of the old asbestos tiles. They are just too soft. I'm working on a project where we really want that old look and sound for a classic studio renovation. What's available that comes close to the old style flooring in studios like East West studio 1?
Old 11th May 2020
  #2
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Jason Foi's Avatar
 

I think you're the first person i've met that can hear floor tiles. Acoustically speaking a floor just needs to be solid, free from resonance, and reflective. The appearance is purely asthetic. If you liked the way a room sounded i highly doubt the floor tiles gad much to do with that. Its all about the treatment.
Old 11th May 2020
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Foi View Post
I think you're the first person i've met that can hear floor tiles.
Interesting. You don’t hear the difference between different types of tile? I definitely do. I know I’m not the only one. I’ve had this conversation with several engineers and producers.
Old 11th May 2020
  #4
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Jens Eklund's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Alvin View Post
Interesting. You don’t hear the difference between different types of tile? I definitely do. I know I’m not the only one. I’ve had this conversation with several engineers and producers.
Flooring question
Old 11th May 2020
  #5
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Jason Foi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Alvin View Post
Interesting. You don’t hear the difference between different types of tile? I definitely do. I know I’m not the only one. I’ve had this conversation with several engineers and producers.
I mean the tiles would have to have drastically different properties to make an audible difference id think, i just dont buy it... carpet vs tile, sure. What frequencies are you suggesting different tiles absorb vs others? Diffusion from grout lines?
Old 11th May 2020
  #6
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Starlight's Avatar
 

Jason, I think it is all about the mojo from a bygone era, from a time when we used asbestos without a hint of knowing how dangerous it can be.
Old 11th May 2020
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Foi View Post
I mean the tiles would have to have drastically different properties to make an audible difference id think, i just dont buy it... carpet vs tile, sure. What frequencies are you suggesting different tiles absorb vs others? Diffusion from grout lines?
You and I live in very different worlds my friend.
Old 11th May 2020
  #8
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Jason Foi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Alvin View Post
You and I live in very different worlds my friend.
Indeed, welcome to reality.
Old 12th May 2020
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Foi View Post
Indeed, welcome to reality.
This is exactly why I rarely come here. I'm usually too busy making records anyway. If you need someone to take to school you should at least check to see if they might know something you don't. Perhaps ask a few questions like "What is the project you are working on? Why do you prefer older studios with that type of construction? Who else have you talked to that appears to prefer those studios too?" Any of these could have been helpful and at least would have given you some insight into the collective thoughts of some real professionals in our industry.
Old 12th May 2020
  #10
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Jason Foi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Alvin View Post
This is exactly why I rarely come here. I'm usually too busy making records anyway. If you need someone to take to school you should at least check to see if they might know something you don't. Perhaps ask a few questions like "What is the project you are working on? Why do you prefer older studios with that type of construction? Who else have you talked to that appears to prefer those studios too?" Any of these could have been helpful and at least would have given you some insight into the collective thoughts of some real professionals in our industry.
Im sorry if that hurt your feelings. I did ask what frequencies different brands of tile absorb/reflect differently, and offered that the room treatment is what should be of concern.

Did you even read Jen's link?
Old 12th May 2020
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Foi View Post
Im sorry if that hurt your feelings. I did ask what frequencies different brands of tile absorb/reflect differently, and offered that the room treatment is what should be of concern.

Did you even read Jen's link?
I did read the link. I know from personal experience on real sessions that people who have a career making records hear things that studio designers and techs never pay attention to. There are different ways of listening. It's a skill that has to be learned. Your opinion didn't hurt my feelings. You didn't have an answer to my question. I'm not interested in your opinion. All I want is to talk about tile. If you have real knowledge that could help an important project I'm involved with now would be a good time to inform me.
Old 12th May 2020
  #12
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Next thing is going to be a discussion on the difference in the sound of loudspeaker cables?
Old 12th May 2020
  #13
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Northward's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Alvin View Post
I did read the link. I know from personal experience on real sessions that people who have a career making records hear things that studio designers and techs never pay attention to. There are different ways of listening. It's a skill that has to be learned. Your opinion didn't hurt my feelings. You didn't have an answer to my question. I'm not interested in your opinion. All I want is to talk about tile. If you have real knowledge that could help an important project I'm involved with now would be a good time to inform me.
Hey Alvin,

Depends. I calibrate all the studios I design myself, on site with the engineer. While during the process we may sometimes not "listen for the same thing", down the line we're pretty much in line.

A lot of designers like me also own a studio. Writing, playing recording and mixing music is clearly (an important) hobby I do around engineering and design work, and I would never claim to be a pro. But I've got a few thousand of hours under my belt, and the studio is full pro and very well equipped and maintained.

I don't think we're that far off really.

Tiles in themselves don't have a sound. The way you install the tiles creates the sound, i.e. glued, glued over concrete, glued over wood with/without cavities, type of thick or thin glue, whether the glue creates tiny air bubbles or large air bubbles within the glue when it cures etc. All this affects the properties by creating different type of cavities (large to tiny resonators) behind the tiles that create small areas of absorptions over certain frequencies .

Just like wood paneling doesn't have a sound in itself. It's the way you install it that creates the response. Space it 2" further away from the structural shell, and the behaviour and sound will change. Can you recreate that exact same sound with other materials: yes. It may need some very minor adjusting in marginal cases, but really that's it.

Any material of fairly similar mass and elasticity modulus as your original tiles, installed the same way, will "sound" exactly the same. Just like the same carpet in a different color won't affect sound differently.

So outside of any psychological aspects (and they do matter) what you need to do is inspect the current tiles and find a replacement with similar mechanical properties minus the cancerous bit and reproduce the original fixing method carefully.

Last edited by Northward; 12th May 2020 at 09:29 PM..
Old 12th May 2020
  #14
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Something I've often discussed with others is the possible 'inability' to detect a floor reflection.

The brain notices change but ignores constants and the floor reflection is the only constant that follows us from room to room.

If your ear is 5' 5" from the floor, its always the same distance from every floor. The distance to the walls and ceilings is constantly changing so that's what gives us the auditory sense that we are in different rooms.

The overall acoustics definitely change between hardwood and carpet, obviously, but for the first reflection that lets us know where we are, I believe the brain takes this as a standard that does not need to be measured.

I think that it takes a great deal of change in a floor type for the brain to take it into consideration. Mics on the other hand....
Old 12th May 2020
  #15
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Jason Foi's Avatar
 

Thick glue and holes in the thin set as part of a design principle?? Is this in leiu of porous absorbants or in addition to?

You guys must lose your sh!t when somone brings in a coke bottle
Old 12th May 2020
  #16
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
Jason, I think it is all about the mojo from a bygone era, from a time when we used asbestos without a hint of knowing how dangerous it can be.

it 's only dangerous if broken up dry
Old 12th May 2020
  #17
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When I visited Galaxy with Eric he told my girlfriend that he had the carpenter take out the entire wooden floor of the main hall because it wasn't properly glued to the concrete.
That of course matters (and I sustain that view).

On the other hand he insisted on the audible differences between speaker cables, not because he could hear it but because some of the award winning engineers said they could. When he had to convince me on stuff he understood he splattered me with science and math, when I tried to do the same with him about cables he refused to listen because electro acoustics were beyond his intellectual capabilities and these creative types could do magic stuff anyways .
Old 12th May 2020
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post
Hey Alvin,

Depends. I calibrate all the studios I design myself, on site with the engineer. While during the process we may sometimes not "listen for the same thing", down the line we're pretty much in line.

A lot of designers like me also own a studio. Writing, playing recording and mixing music is clearly (an important) hobby I do around engineering and design work, and I would never claim to be a pro. But I've got a few thousand of hours under my belt, and the studio is full pro and very well equipped and maintained.

I don't think we're not that far off really.

Tiles in themselves don't have a sound. The way you install the tiles creates the sound, i.e. glued, glued over concrete, glued over wood with/without cavities, type of thick or thin glue, whether the glue creates tiny air bubbles or large air bubbles within the glue when it cures etc. All this affects the properties by creating different type of cavities (large to tiny resonators) behind the tiles that create small areas of absorptions over certain frequencies .

Just like wood paneling doesn't have a sound in itself. It's the way you install it that creates the response. Space it 2" further away from the structural shell, and the behaviour and sound will change. Can you recreate that exact same sound with other materials: yes. It may need some very minor adjusting in marginal cases, but really that's it.

Any material of fairly similar mass and elasticity modulus as your original tiles, installed the same way, will "sound" exactly the same. Just like the same carpet in a different color won't affect sound differently.

So outside of any psychological aspects (and they do matter) what you need to do is inspect the current tiles and find a replacement with similar mechanical properties minus the cancerous bit and reproduce the original fixing method carefully.
Thanks for the response. Very helpful.
Old 12th May 2020
  #19
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Jens Eklund's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bert stoltenborg View Post
On the other hand he insisted on the audible differences between speaker cables, not because he could hear it but because some of the award winning engineers said they could.
This kind of silliness is unfortunately way too common in this industry. Many lack the confidence to admit that they don't hear a difference (when there is none to be heard) out of fear that their hearing capabilities will be questioned, and one ignorant buffoon in the room is often enough to push everyone else into believing. It's a virus ...
Old 12th May 2020
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Eklund View Post
Interesting stuff. I still have a questions though. A studio I worked in had hard vinyl floors and the room sounded fine. They decided to switch them out for hardwood and it ruined the sound of the room. Everyone who worked there hated the sound of the wood floors. I'm curious what would cause such a dramatic change since both surfaces were hard. In another example I was recently involved in helping a studio restore their echo chamber. It was bare concrete on the inside so it was a very hard surface. We decided to paint the inside of the chamber and the sound changed significantly. It got brighter and the reverb time was longer. I know that in both cases it is possible that we were making a correlation equals causation error. But the changes were not small. If the surfaces are equally hard in both situations shouldn't the overall sound be roughly similar?
Old 12th May 2020
  #21
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Jens Eklund's Avatar
Painting porous surfaces is known to increase reflectivity (especially in the upper range), so no surprise there. Wood floor vs hard vinyl is probably (again) due to different mounting conditions as demonstrated in the other thread.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...RaTMQmsK6AzE1j
Old 12th May 2020
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Eklund View Post
Painting porous surfaces is known to increase reflectivity (especially in the upper range), so no surprise there. Wood floor vs hard vinyl is probably (again) due to different mounting conditions as demonstrated in the other thread.
So there could be a difference between soft vinyl tiles and hard asbestos tiles even though they look the same?
Old 12th May 2020
  #23
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Jens Eklund's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Alvin View Post
So there could be a difference between soft vinyl tiles and hard asbestos tiles even though they look the same?
Unless glued to the concrete, sure. Again; it depends on mounting (gap due to possible underlay), mass and modulus.
Old 13th May 2020
  #24
Moderator
 
Northward's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Foi View Post
Thick glue and holes in the thin set as part of a design principle?? Is this in leiu of porous absorbants or in addition to?

You guys must lose your sh!t when somone brings in a coke bottle
Hahaha, yes we do. We doooo...

Nah, not really part of the design principles. Glue the floor, move on. The psychological aspects with certain people is an important factor though, and I respect and understand that. But a lot more often than not, it is far detached from the reality of what's actually going on.

Some very famous old studios refuse to change wore out floorings or get rid of leaded paint on walls (!) from fear of changing the sound of the room. Which is totally irrelevant. It is like Bert said, the same issues as the cables, HDD influencing the audio quality etc conversation.

But to try and work within such situations, you have to try and explain what is relevant and what isn't within the framework of a more scientific approach.

All other things being equal, the differences in the way a floor is glued is statistically not measurable, i.e the very very small differences (if any) cannot be identified as coming from that particular variable - as in they may occur due to a small difference (in mm) in the location of the mic, temperature, humidity, location of source. In short, it's as relevant to the room's response as your Astral sign.

In some reverb chambers, some type of paint has been known to marginally influence the RT response past 16kHz due to tiny air bubbles. Which is completely irrelevant in a studio, especially in larger LR that naturally low pass a lot earlier than that from distance alone.

Moving the snare, OH mic or room mic 5cm / 2" will have a real effect that is many orders of magnitude more noticeable than that.

Imagine adding a few amplifiers, people, gobos. That drastically changes the room's response as all these absorb sound within particular bandwidths.

I had a case of a series of tests labs we did for a large multinational. One of these rooms was an ITU room. We had completed it dead center within the norm, including decay time. A few months later I get a call from a slightly upset R&D engineer telling me the decay time is way too low and under standard and I need to come right away change that.

I travel to site and realize as I come in the room that it is filled with equipment, workstations, prototypes etc.

We empty the room of all unnecessary and unused equipment stored in there, measure with the R&D team and it's exactly within standards again.

Priorities.
Old 14th May 2020
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post
Hahaha, yes we do. We doooo...

Nah, not really part of the design principles. Glue the floor, move on. The psychological aspects with certain people is an important factor though, and I respect and understand that. But a lot more often than not, it is far detached from the reality of what's actually going on.

Some very famous old studios refuse to change wore out floorings or get rid of leaded paint on walls (!) from fear of changing the sound of the room. Which is totally irrelevant. It is like Bert said, the same issues as the cables, HDD influencing the audio quality etc conversation.

But to try and work within such situations, you have to try and explain what is relevant and what isn't within the framework of a more scientific approach.

All other things being equal, the differences in the way a floor is glued is statistically not measurable, i.e the very very small differences (if any) cannot be identified as coming from that particular variable - as in they may occur due to a small difference (in mm) in the location of the mic, temperature, humidity, location of source. In short, it's as relevant to the room's response as your Astral sign.

In some reverb chambers, some type of paint has been known to marginally influence the RT response past 16kHz due to tiny air bubbles. Which is completely irrelevant in a studio, especially in larger LR that naturally low pass a lot earlier than that from distance alone.

Moving the snare, OH mic or room mic 5cm / 2" will have a real effect that is many orders of magnitude more noticeable than that.

Imagine adding a few amplifiers, people, gobos. That drastically changes the room's response as all these absorb sound within particular bandwidths.

I had a case of a series of tests labs we did for a large multinational. One of these rooms was an ITU room. We had completed it dead center within the norm, including decay time. A few months later I get a call from a slightly upset R&D engineer telling me the decay time is way too low and under standard and I need to come right away change that.

I travel to site and realize as I come in the room that it is filled with equipment, workstations, prototypes etc.

We empty the room of all unnecessary and unused equipment stored in there, measure with the R&D team and it's exactly within standards again.

Priorities.
Small differences that seem insignificant when measured (not listened to) get magnified when the number of microphones, tracks, compression and distortion pile up. Little things matter when multiplied. This is what I'm talking about when I say that audio engineers listen differently.
Old 14th May 2020
  #26
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Jens Eklund's Avatar
If you believe it, you will hear it ...
Old 14th May 2020
  #27
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Northward's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Alvin View Post
Small differences that seem insignificant when measured (not listened to) get magnified when the number of microphones, tracks, compression and distortion pile up. Little things matter when multiplied. This is what I'm talking about when I say that audio engineers listen differently.
Why do you assume we listen any differently or that we don't know about any of this? Acousticians also happen to understand the physics of sound very well. Real Audio Engineers do too. Audio "operators" which is an increasing percentage of Pro Audio, not so much.

That's my studio. I record and mix pretty often. I'd like to understand why we're supposedly less able to understand and hear the subtleties of a room within the recording process.

It's just a weird myth about designers.

Edit: pic upload seems buggy. Will try again in a bit.
Attached Thumbnails
Asbestos Tile Floors in classic studios.-img_20200514_183554.jpg   Asbestos Tile Floors in classic studios.-img_20200514_183534.jpg   Asbestos Tile Floors in classic studios.-img_20200514_183508.jpg   Asbestos Tile Floors in classic studios.-img_20200514_183448.jpg   Asbestos Tile Floors in classic studios.-img_20200514_183636.jpg  

Asbestos Tile Floors in classic studios.-img_20200514_183620.jpg  

Last edited by Northward; 14th May 2020 at 09:14 PM..
Old 14th May 2020
  #28
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Kyle P. Gushue's Avatar
When the Powerstation NE was built, it was a duplicate of the original NYC studio, with a couple subtle differences.

One of those differences was an additional door in the control room of the original was not present in the new build. Several engineers refused to work there claiming "they could hear a difference" or "it wasn't as good".

Solution?

They added a door which opened up to nothing, and the engineers decided it "was right now".

Steve Albini often mics the floor for room sound, i wonder if he specfied a "better sounding" glue pattern in his custom built Electrical Audio studio. He did mention using a particular concrete block (adobe???) That was softer than a standard concrete block for the walls.

Confirmation bias is a real thing, and when coupled with obsession, it can make mountains out of mole hills.
Old 14th May 2020
  #29
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avare's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post
Why do you assume we listen any differently or that we don't know about any of this? Acousticians also happen to understand the physics of sound very well. Real Audio Engineers do too. Audio "operators" which is an increasing percentage of Pro Audio, not so much.

That's my studio. I record and mix pretty often. I'd like to understand why we're supposedly less able to understand and hear the subtleties of a room within the recording process.

It's just a weird myth about designers.

Edit: pic upload seems buggy. Will try again in a bit.
Thank you for the pictures.

Your central Canadian friend,
Andre
Old 14th May 2020
  #30
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Jason Foi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post
Why do you assume we listen any differently or that we don't know about any of this? Acousticians also happen to understand the physics of sound very well. Real Audio Engineers do too. Audio "operators" which is an increasing percentage of Pro Audio, not so much.

That's my studio. I record and mix pretty often. I'd like to understand why we're supposedly less able to understand and hear the subtleties of a room within the recording process.

It's just a weird myth about designers.

Edit: pic upload seems buggy. Will try again in a bit.
Daaaaaaaamn that is a BEAUTIFUL thing. Why the sunken floor vs having different ceiling heights?
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