Los Senderos Studio
Control Room Design
 Issue 77 February 2016 
Control Room

Words from the Glossary

This month we take a look at how to provide acoustic treatment for the control room.

This month's terms: LEDE, ESS, RFZ, non-environment, controlled image.
(Note: Click on the term to view its definition in the glossary.)

Control Room Design

We have talked in past issues of the newsletters about the importance of good acoustics in the studio. Without proper acoustic treatment, excess reverberations, echos, and other anomalies can cause the sound to be muddied or harsh. Proper treatment for the control room is probably even more important than that of the live room. If your ears are not hearing an accurate representation of what the studio monitors are reproducing, your mixes will be all wrong. For example, if the control room acoustics produce excess bass, your mixes will tend to have too little bass.


There are several approached to designing control rooms to get the acoustics a good as they can be. One of these is LEDE™, which stands for Live End Dead End. LEDE is a trademark of Synergetic Audio Concepts. In this design early reflections at the listening position are controlled in the front half of the room and sounds are diffused to the listening position in the back half of the room. This design has lost favor in recent years, having largely been replaced by the designs we will discuss below. However, LEDE can still be found in many older studios.


With reflection free zone (RFZ), the control room is designed to minimize sound wave reflections so that they impose minimal character on the sound in the listening area. To implement this design, you have to imagine a mirror on each side wall. Then you place absorbers on those walls so as to obscure the "view" of the monitors. (See diagram.) The spot in the control room where there are no reflections using this design is also called the reflection free zone.


Another control room design is early sound scattering (ESS). In this design the reflections are random and impose no character on the listening space. An ESS control room has a highly diffused front end, which scatters the early reflections. The rest of the room is absorbent having damping for most of the low frequencies. These rooms have a flat frequency response and good stereo imaging, even in the rear corners of the room.

Controlled Imgage Desgin
Controlled Image

A controlled image design uses angled surfaces and absorbers to control reverberations and reflections. However, because the sound quality is poor at places other than the designated listening point, absorbers are sometimes added to the rear wall. Monitors are sometimes flush mounted, but this is not a requirement of this design. The downside to this design is that it must be implemented from the ground up. It cannot be easily retrofitted to an existing space.


A control room design where the monitors are flush-mounted and the ceiling, side, and rear walls are covered with sound absorbing material, but not the front wall and floor, is called a non-environment design. This arrangement removes most of the reverberations and reflections and results in a space that is almost acoustically dead, providing a sound with good detail and excellent stereo imaging.

These are the most common control room designs. Obviously, some are more expensive to create than others. Next month, we'll begin to look at how audio formats have changed over time.

In This Issue

Music Trivia
How to Contact Us
Stars Over Blanco
$50 Off Coupon


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When the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th, 1964, there were over 50,000 applications for tickets, but there were only 728 seats for the studio audience.

Elvis Presley loved animals. He owned dogs, mules, horses, peacocks, chickens, and a turkey. He even had a mynah bird that said, "Elvis! Go to hell!"

When his girlfriend was about to leave him, Peter Cetera wrote "If You Leave Me Now." It became Chicago's biggest selling hit. However, it did not save the relationship as she left him anyway.

Stars Over Blanco

The City of Blanco has announced the Arts in the Park series beginning in April 2016. The Spring series is free to the public and will include four evening concerts to be held in Bindseil Park beginning at 6 p.m. Not only will there be live entertainment under the stars, but local artists will also exhibit their art work throughout the Park. The goal is to bring people together in a family-friendly atmosphere and to enjoy a variety of great entertainment, local artwork, good food, and camaraderie.

The first concert will be on Thursday, April 7, 2016, featuring Leticia Rodriquez and her La Buena Banda. Leticia is a well known Austin artist who plays Pan American music and has been honored for her contributions to Texas Music. She has performed for NPR and has been invited to an international music venue in Cuba.

Additional concerts will be held on April 15, 22, and April 29. More information will be provided in future newsletters.

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