|RealTraps Acoustics, LLC
47 North Plains Industrial Drive, Wallingford, CT 06490 * 860-210-1870 * http://realtraps.com/
It's been a long time since we sent out a newsletter to our customers and followers! So hopefully this little update will make up for our extended absence. We recently did some fabulous large installations at the famous Output Club in Brooklyn, NY as well as designing the treatment for a beautiful new production studio at Live Nation in Manhattan. We're still waiting for final photos to share, and will send them to you soon.
The main news for now is that RealTraps founders Ethan Winer and Doug Ferrara have sold the business to longtime employee Sean Kollar, below. Sean has been with RealTraps since its beginning in 2003, though Ethan is still involved helping customers with pre-sales questions and technical advice. So please rest assured that RealTraps hasn't changed at all, and our products and advice are still the best in the business!
RealTraps focuses on acoustic treatment, not sound isolation. Even though both are part of "acoustics" they're totally different. In fact, building construction that improves isolation often harms the low frequency response inside a room, requiring even more bass trapping. This was the focus of a recent discussion on Facebook when Ethan corrected the common myth that thick rigid walls not only increase isolation, but are also better for room acoustics. Less substantial walls that let bass "leak" through to the outside give a better bass response inside the room, compared to rigid walls that contain the sound and reflect it back to the source. To be clear, all acoustic problems - peaks, nulls, ringing, reverb - are caused by reflections. So after a few rounds of good-natured debate, Ethan proved the point using the Room Simulation graphs below from the fabulous Room EQ Wizard program.
A wall that absorbs some of the sound is exactly the same as a wall that passes the same amount through it, so this is a perfect way to show what happens as walls are changed from rigid to lossy. The top graph below shows the predicted bass response in a typical bedroom size space with all six boundaries fully reflective. The lower graph shows the same room with the walls and ceiling set for 40 percent pass-through. Clearly the bass response is much better when the room's boundaries allow some of the sound to escape.
Okay, here's one more sound isolation story, and in the next newsletter we'll get back to acoustics inside the room, I promise!
We get phone calls like this all the time: A lady called asking how to reduce the thumping bass coming through the wall into her massage business. On the other side of the wall is a dance studio playing loud music, but she owns both businesses so she can control the music. She said she already turned down the bass tone control and that helped a little. I explained that real soundproofing at bass frequencies costs thousands of dollars, but using a "tone control" was not totally wrong.
The problem with a standard bass control is it affects the entire bass range, as shown in the upper EQ curve below. Standard sheet rock walls have the least isolation at their resonant frequency, which is usually around 40 to 80 Hz. But when 70 Hz in this example is reduced 15 dB as in the top curve, the rest of the bass range is also reduced. So I suggested she get a parametric equalizer that can be tuned to the exact frequency of the wall resonance, and have a local audio installer set it up for her. Then the dance studio can still enjoy most of the bass range, but frequencies that leak through the most will be reduced on the other side of the wall.
RealTraps was founded in 2003 by Ethan Winer and Doug Ferrara, and is now owned and managed by longtime employee Sean Kollar. Sean handles the day-to-day operations at the factory, and Ethan still pitches in to help customers with technical and pre-sales advice by phone and email. Ethan is known throughout the audio industry for his technical articles in audio and computer magazines, and his popular book The Audio Expert published by Focal Press is now in its second edition.
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