Re: Re: Re: The perfect practice room

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Posted by Rick Denney on June 26, 2002 at 15:18:53:

In Reply to: Re: Re: The perfect practice room posted by Chuck(G) on June 26, 2002 at 14:56:41:

Chuck, your living room came to my mind when my wife and I first toured our new house. It isn't crescent-shaped, and it's definitely Virginia and not Oregon, but it has a lot in common, including the long distance to the neighbors. I wish I had your basement, though.

I have parallel walls only on the ends of the room, and then the parallel parts are a relatively small percentage of the whole. The ceiling slopes from 8 feet to about 25 feet at the peak above an overlooking loft office area. Two corners open into adjacent rooms through wide doorways, with a door that stand open at a slight angle on one of them. A piano with a raised lid blocks another corner, and the fourth corner has a three-section room divider hiding my various tuba cases. All tuba players should hope to find a house with a sloped ceiling.

I didn't take nearly as quantitative an approach as Mark would have, because I have neither the knowledge nor the agreement from my wife (the room is our living room and had to meet her approval). But I can't hear any echo, and the immediate space is nearly 4000 cubic feet. There are modal resonances, I'm sure, but they are not bothersome to me.

Back to the subject: The point is that we don't have to achieve perfection here. I once controlled reflection in a practice room by hanging an 8x12 rug on one wall. It warmed the tonal color of the room up and greatly diminished the reflection. I hung it on a strip so that it was an inch away from the wall. Was it perfect? Of course not. Would a real expert like Mark approve? I'm hoping he'll say. But it was $75 for a clearance rug at Sears well spent in that room. The trick is understanding that size is good, reflections are good, but reflections between parallel walls are bad. If you can adapt a largish room and control echos by parking furniture, room dividers, large potted plants (like a fikus tree), piano lids, bookshelves, or even doors opened to an angle, you can achieve a room that works pretty well for music and also for living. It seems to me that for playing music, the smaller the room, the more you have to be Mark Mazak to get good results in it.

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