Is a "dead room" the ultimate room?

Absolutely… our ears are used to hear reflections of sound… one of the reasons they are the shape they are… even headphones will have a degree of reflections between the ear and transducer in the transducer chamber.
As some one has said speakers for domestic Hi-Fi use are typically optimised for a room response so they sound ‘musical’ and natural.
My view attempting to listen to an audio track in a completely dead room will ultimately perhaps allow you to hear the technicalities of the production in a way they physically are, but not necessarily appreciate the music and feel of the recording in how it was mastered by a human being. Of course this is one of the reasons why masters do vary between production / mix engineers.

Yes you could argue doesn’t this provide a degree of variation on replay on who and how the recording was made. ABSOLUTELY… this is part of the art as well, and why some of us also appreciate who mixed and produced and where a recording was mastered.


Having spent time in an almost perfectly dead room (in a BBC Radio recording studio), it was a horrible experience. The last thing I wanted to do was spend more time in there, let alone move my kit in there to see how it sounded.

Russ Andrews’ website has a free article called Understanding Your Room (no commercial links allowed on the forum, but a quick google will find it) which I found interesting. He concentrates a lot on building and decorating materials, but also recommends (Diagram 5.15) that you have the end of your room where the kit sits to be quite ‘dead’ but the half where you sit to be quite ‘live’. Discuss…


I would actually be scared to fire those monsters up.

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This is what goes on at my local high end dealer. Their rooms (at least the 2 smaller ones commonly used for demos) are SO “dead” that I find them both bearing no resemblance to my home, and somewhat uncomfortable and unnatural to sit in. The front image is quite good!

I’ve listened to speakers that sound quite “boring” there, and are wonderful in my home. And speakers that sound wonderful there, but overpower my room.

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The last few years you also see people buying (expensive) monitor speakers more often for their home situations. Maybe they think “If it’s used in studios it must be good”. Truth is monitor speakers are really boring to listen to, they are revealing yes but they are not meant to be exciting.

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Well perhaps my boredom threshold is excessively low but ATCs are widely used in studios around the world. Indeed, I think the SCM in their nomenclature stands for “studio control monitors”. Are they neutral and highly revealing of source? Sure, but my active SCM40s still thrill me every evening with a level of realism and involvement exceeding anything I have had before. “Boring” is absolutely the opposite of how I would describe them and I don’t think I’m alone.


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When I worked at the BBC many years ago and spent time at the newly refitted Maida Vale recording studios, the mix and production area was treated to stop undue reflections on the wall and ceilings from memory but it wasn’t acoustically dead. Those production rooms sounded absolutely amazing.
I was once in a truly dead acoustic room, it was very disorientating , to the point I felt nauseous.

The one I was in was a very small space where they would record stuff that needed effects adding afterwards so they didn’t want any room signature on it at all. It didn’t have the triangular foam wedges that anechoic chambers have, but there was lots of fluffy padding on the walls and it definitely made me feel disorientated and almost ill.


Indeed, usually you would wear fold back headphones so you can hear what you are playing or singing along with what you are playing to, was there a reason that wasn’t offered to you?

I was there as a work experience teenager and just having a nosey around whilst all the radio drama actors were on a tea break. It was a great week that I learned a lot from and enjoyed thoroughly (apart from the 15 seconds I spent in that dreadful space).


Ahh I see, they are fascinating places. I had a secondment at BBC TV Centre, and TV Theatre at White City / Shepherds Bush… and I initially loved being involved with TV production… but after a while it did get rather tedious… the amount of rehearsal time seemed incredible and dis proportionate… perhaps it’s changed now.
The highlight was Top of the Pops on a bank holiday week, when it was actually broadcast live… the game was to try and get in the shot … which strictly was verboten :grinning:


I haven’t heard the SCM40s, but they appear to be more reference speakers rather than true monitor speakers, which serve a different purpose. Most larger studios have both, monitor speakers for the actual production process and reference speakers to simulate a real listening scenario while retaining a non-coloured sound signature. So i trust you that the SCM40s sound wonderful for your listening environment. :+1:

Most classical music recordings have a “correct” level at which they sound right. Less so with other forms of music which are not created in the same way. If that makes sence?

To me the attraction of the first room is the view, whereas the second room is ugly to my eyes, and dingy. However from the picture second room is a very long way from being dead: aside from the pair of corner bass traps, most of the panels on the front wall are diffusing not absorbing, while the side walls, floor and ceiling look pretty reflective.

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Is it? Does any composer think about the room in which the performance will be played, other than perhaps the odd special commission? Choosing a venue for recording, however, certainly requires thought as to how it will sound, and maybe sometimes also how it will be replayed.

Good expectation because that is right. Whether they would sound good would depend on the speakers and the room (and the listener), and not the speaker size.

It is the music that is supposed to be engaging, and in the case of some music exciting, and not the job of the speaker to modify it to make it so! Some music is boring - I prefer to ignore boring music and play music that is engaging or exciting in its own right…

Are you sure, because the height of the room seems very low, as the dimensions not the best ( rectangular). So I would think this room needs a lot of damping to accommodate these speakers.
Only my feeling, nothing technically accurate from me.

I see no possibility to such big speakers in that room to sound good and enjoyable.