Absorbing Sound Reflection From Side Walls in a Rectangular Room

I've been working to make my existing mixing setup sound good acoustically rather than getting new pieces of gear. So, I decided to take it upon myself and construct my own sound panels for the side walls of my room:


The first thing I wanted to do was absorb the upper mid and high frequencies that reflect off the side walls. Why the side walls? The music I'm listening to from my monitors goes straight to my ears but when the side walls don't have any absorbtion, the direct sound gets combined with the reflections. As you might be able to guess, my monitoring room is a rectangle, which is exactly what you don't want. This reflection can color mixes negatively, so I started treating the side walls with some old Auralex foam panels, some cedar slats, partical board, and some glue.

Here's the general progression of how I put these together

My next project will be to create superchunk bass traps for the corners. I'll have plenty of photos to share.

D WDiY, AcousticsComment
Austin Entertainment Business Meetup: May 17th at The Speakeasy, Austin, TX.

I've been loving this meetup! The best part of hanging out with people who come to this meetup is talking about their creative projects. It feels awesome to talk to people about what they are most passionate about. The thing that I believe some lose sight of is the idea that connecting with other human beings is actually incredibly satisfying. Go figure!! It begs the question: What message is a person sending when he/she is just asking for something from you, even if they just met you five minutes ago?

I understand how it might be for people with a little too much ambition. Thankfully, this meetup took the issue of building a career head-on, even from scratch. Jen Hutchings, the organizer who is a film/tv producer extraordinare, took the time to invite out two career coaches from the Austin area, Lynn Chang and Jonathan Troen. They both shared some fantastic advice.

Lynn Chang of Career Zen focused on the beliefs that surround us as we march ever forward to build our careers. The idea that we believe we can do something, the idea that we are changed by the energy when we feel we can do something, seems to be a central foundation to Lynn's work. She went beyond this and gave a little bit of a peek into her more practical skills by sharing what she calls Informational Interviews. The jist is this: Instead of meeting someone and asking them for a job within a minute or so, why not get to know them, understand them, and listen to them instead? This was great for me to hear because instictively I have always felt more comfy listening than talking! It's easy for me to connect to people in this way. I was so happy to listen to Lynn's talk because it validated what I naturally knew to be true.

Johnathan Troen of YogaTree was a perfect complement to Lynn. He was very forthright when it came to figuring out exactly what you need to do to build that career you want. Here's a quick overview of his process:

  1. What do you want?
  2. Why do you want it? Your "why" should make you tingle, should make you feel amazing to think about and experience.
  3. What is one thing I can do right now to get me closer to the why? What is the next right action to get me closer to feeling that why?

Of course, I'm just paraphrasing Johnathon, but I found that it was perfectly inline with how a career should go. Know what you want, know why you want to do it, and then find the next right action to get there. Perfectly logical!

Aside from the panel on building a career, I was also able to hang out with tons of great people at the meetup. I don't know how it worked out, but I ended up meeting three people who all went to the same small college I went to in Ohio (Bowling Green State University). We talked for at least a half hour on BGSU and all the things we did there. I got to meet a voiceover artist, an acting coach, and an incredibly interesting colorist who's worked with a huge name in cinema.

If I could sum up everything I learned last night, here it is: I think that happiness in a film career has a rough mix of cool projects, fair wages, and great people. By far, I feel that having awesome people makes me happiest. I was so glad to attend that meeting, and I'm already looking forward to the next one...

Happiness In Any Career

D WMeetupComment
Meetup Report: Austin Film Pros. Conclusion? Awesome.

Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure of attending a meetup group for film professionals at the Speakeasy in Downtown Austin. Jennifer Hutchins, a producer who has worked in both tv and film and whose credits include a film and tv series of the master magician Criss Angel, hosted the event. She put together a couple of fantastic presenters, and did an excellent presentation herself. One of the themes I noticed throughout the evening, between all presenters and practically everyone I chatted with, was the importance of connecting with others creators and film pros in Austin in the effort to make our community stronger.

Jennifer talked about the PGA, which stands for the Producers Guild of America. As a composer, I don’t know if they would accept me, but if they were to make an exception I certainly would. The way the PGA was presented by Jennifer made it seem like it would be a boon for just about anyone going down that path. The way Jennifer layed out all the benefits made great sense to me. I’d do it for hanging out with the members, and btw- it’s cheaper to join the PGA in Texas than in California!

Her first guest speaker was Josh Rubin, owner of Media ATX. What I liked a lot about Josh was that he was incredibly forthright about how the community in Austin that does film doesn’t know the resources they have in their own backyard. He mentioned a number of studios that very few of us were aware of. Another thing that I found incredibly interesting is that he shared a story of how there were two kids who he met with who covered a niche in the gaming community on their blog and managed to pull in more than 1,000,000 views on their site a month. Had he not been willing to meet people and find new and interesting stories, he wouldn’t have found those kids (and they were kids, btw).

The next speaker was Tate Allyn, who is associated with Colaborator.com. I found her presentation really interesting in that it seemed like colaborator.com was about connecting ing people who work in this town with the big studios, and helping the big studios by finding them excellent talent in Austin. When I spoke to Tate later, she told me she studied musical theater and opera at University of Southern California! That is a such a great school for music! We had a good chat about introversion and extroversion. We both agreed that it gets really interesting when these two basic personality traits switch sides, ie when a lifelong introvert (myself) goes external (has a ball at a networking event) and when a lifelong extrovert (Tate) goes internal (starts thinking about what she could create and how she could present it). Fantastic conversation.

I really enjoyed meeting a ton of other people there and what they were up to. Tico, the photographer, has a background in design and it was cool seeing how he’s applying that to photography. Shawn who has a background in coding for video and how he’s applying that to videography. And JD who has a background in post-hardcore music and now he’s dedicated that same work ethic to creating his first short film. One other guy that I really enjoyed talking with was Joel Laviolette, a sound designer and composer. I hope I didn’t scare him with my enthusiasm, but damn, we had a 15 minute conversation about synthesizers and instrument plugins for Cubase. It was ridiculously nerdy and completely fun.

All in all, this was a fantastic event. I couldn’t recommend this meetup group enough. If you’re already a member, than awesome! Hope to hang with you at the next meeting. If you want to find out more about Jennifer and her meetup group for film pros, join the meetup here: https://www.meetup.com/AustinEntertainmentBusiness/

Also, if you’re a musician, please be advised I will probably want to talk shop. Warning: I could do that for hours.

Epic Cliff Sketch

This video is part of a series of videos called Film Scores For Photographs, which are musical sketches that explore the story of a single photograph and then sets that story to music.

This video's photograph is named The Amfitheater mountain / Das Amphitheater Berg, was taken by Marco Verch, and is licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

Photo URL: https://flic.kr/p/Lam5cp
Photographer: https://www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Spaceship Sketch

A quick musical sketch of a photo that seems like it should be part of a spaceship:

This video is part of a series of videos called Film Scores For Photographs, which are musical sketches that explore the story of a single photograph and then sets that story to music.

This video's photograph is named Star Trail, was taken by Toufique E Joarder, and is licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Photo URL: https://flic.kr/p/ozKv7J
Photographer: https://www.flickr.com/photos/toufique_e_joarder/
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Film Score For A Photograph: Star Sketch 1

Star Sketch 1 is part of a series of videos called Film Scores For Photographs, which are musical sketches that explore the story of a single photograph.

This video's photograph is named Star Trail, was taken by Toufique E Joarder, and is licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Photo URL: https://flic.kr/p/ozKv7J
Photographer: https://www.flickr.com/photos/toufique_e_joarder/
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Epic Review of The Big Heavy from Sleepingbagstudios.ca

This is fun! The Big Heavy just got quite a favorable review from Sleepingbagstudios. Check this out:

It’s a sad yet perfect day to discuss the music of Dave Wirth…so that’s what I’m going with today.  If you’re Canadian…if you’re a fan of The Tragically Hip or if you’ve been lucky enough to hear any of the poetic words from the mind/mouth of Gord Downie…today has been a tough, tough day.  A true ambassador & champion of creativity and expression is no longer with us…and it’s just fuckin’ sad man; it’s been hard enough to navigate through the shock today, let alone write anything at all.  I did the standard tour through The Hip’s catalog and exhausted my tears as best I could…and then I suppose I did what I naturally always do in times of emotional-need – I searched for music that would help me through it all.  This entire day has been ‘The Big Heavy’…but as it turned out, The Big Heavy was also what began to pull me out of the despair of the day’s events and shine a light on a path to a way out.
So thank-you Dave…I’ve been saving this record for a day when I needed it most…and today is that day.
It’s more than just a suitable narrative by the way.  Downie was misunderstood by many for the somewhat bizarre approach he found in the melodies he wrote…Dave has some of that same artistic courage in his writing that creates a tangible strangeness in the beauty of the music.  Also much like Downie, Wirth can be intensely poetic…and after the release of the instrumental record Flutters earlier this year – it’s awesome to hear him back at the microphone with his unique approach combining highly vibrant imagery in his lyrics with genuinely soulful expressions that give the words weight through the way he sings them.  Is everyone going to ‘get it?’  Maybe…maybe not.  I’ve been down this road with Dave’s music before…my ears are absolutely convinced that he makes truly stunning, gorgeous music from the heart that completely connects…but I’ve also encountered contrasting opinions due to the amount of artistic expression he’s put into his music before.  Some people dig their music to be different – some don’t…doesn’t make anything bad or good, it just is what it is and we all hear things the way we hear them.  Even a band like The Tragically Hip can be relegated to just one continent more or less due to those kind of signature sounds and uniqueness…to me, it’ll always be much more important to pursue your art as you see it, no matter where you end up or how far it takes you…be true to yourself.
After listening to Dave’s music for several years now, I feel like he’s always stayed true to himself.  Years back, in his old band Sprightly Moans, he wrote one of my favorite tracks from the indie-scene still to this very day, a song called “Love Is Nothing Without Eternity” that showed a much different side of his music…a side that sounds much closer to this new EP, The Big Heavy.  Certainly makes me happy…there’s a real comforting sound in Dave’s vocals that’s organic and real as it gets; he takes chances in how he expresses himself that way, but with a more refined approach now in his current work – it’s all paying off in the results.  I’ll advocate on behalf of “Love Is Nothing Without Eternity” until I’m dead and gone…but I also can’t deny that Dave has certainly upped his game when it comes to his confidence, production and performance on these new tunes from The Big Heavy.  What makes it exceptionally interesting to listen to is the fact that he’s put out a two-song EP with vocals after so long without…alluding to the fact behind the scenes that something about these songs needed to come out, perhaps if only to break the walls down to allow the rest to continue afterwards, I’m not entirely sure…but I’ve certainly been there.  Sometimes it’s best to cut the cord before you potentially take an idea too far, or again, just to be able to separate one project from the next, say what you need to say, and move forward from there.  Whatever his reasoning was…he nailed it; these two songs truly shine together and are a brilliant return to the microphone for an artist that truly belongs in front of it.
I’m not entirely sure which order these came out in…so I’m writing this in the order that I’ve heard’em, which I’d imagine is likely how it ended up.  I started with “Eyelids And Oil” and was instantly hooked; knowing where he’s come from in his past music, I knew immediately he was heading into a style and sound that truly works in his favor.  Again – Dave’s upped his game significantly from anything you’ve heard in the past through the amount of layering and work he’s put into this material…so while it might have a few sonic comparisons to what you know from his past music that make it comforting, inviting and welcoming to listen to – it’s also evolved into something that’s potentially going to last much longer.  If I had to take a guess as to the inspiration might have been on a musical-level here for “Eyelids And Oil,” I feel like it wouldn’t be a guess at all – there’s an incredible amount of Thom Yorke-like tendencies here…not the Radiohead stuff, the solo stuff…listen and you’ll hear it.  Particularly in the brilliant use of percussion that continually creeps into the mix of “Eyelids And Oil” – it sounds like rain on a hot tin-roof, changing, deepening and strengthening the sound as the rain continues to beat down as the roof begins to cool and changes the tone of each drop.  I obviously can’t vouch for that completely being the intention – but the overall result is bloody brilliant no matter what it reminds you of, it sounds amazing.  Listen to the layering at the very beginning!  It’s so damn subtle it hurts!  Right as the song begins, there are completely awesome things happening in the music that are threaded wonderfully underneath the vocals, and then “Eyelids And Oil” breaks to a simplified sweetness and brilliantly focused performance in the verse.  Punctuated by Dave’s vocals providing the main hooks without words and just allowing the music and melody to guide his singing, he sounds amazing in these moments…the lead is spectacular and the backing layers give it all such amazing personality, character, charisma and charm that by the end when everything is all combined together, Dave’s found himself right in the swirl of a real time-stopping, breath-taking moment in the emotionally intense atmosphere of “Eyelids And Oil.”  The way he makes this song develop, evolve, envelop and surround you is honestly one of the most beautiful moments I’ve experienced in music this year…everything is so immaculately subtle adding up to something so powerful…the progression of “Eyelids And Oil” and Dave’s choices here, the ideas, the execution…I think it led him directly to make the most stunning track I’ve heard from him in years.  Love the music, love the way he sings it – I love everything about it quite honestly…this is Dave at his best in his vocals and certainly in the lyricism…it’s minimalist music with maximum impact and real sincerity.
“Open Mouth, Monstrous Teeth” takes a more traditional approach than perhaps “Eyelids And Oil” does…and I’ll admit it took me longer to get into this one by comparison as well…but by the end of several listens, I was pretty much just as hooked on this tune.  Pretty much!  I’m not going to take anything away from or tarnish the stunning awesomeness of “Eyelids And Oil” by pretending these two are completely neck-and-neck for me…close…but not quite.  “Open Mouth, Monstrous Teeth” has a much more lethargic energy to it…not lazy by any stretch, that’s not what I mean; more like a comfortable droning, like being locked into an emotion, thought or moment in time.  Where “Eyelids And Oil” succeeds most wildly is in how it evolves and takes us on that adventure in sound as it develops, “Open Mouth, Monstrous Teeth” takes the opposite approach by revealing nearly all of its cards at once in that sense.  Completely different approaches in the writing, both songs yield stunning results…just depends on what you’re looking for & what ya wanna listen to as to which method might connect to you more quickly than the other.  I’m still thinking I’m hearing the Yorke influence here on this track…I know that Dave and Thom have different tones, but listen to that mix of sweet haziness in his tone coupled with insightful, descriptive lyricism and try to tell me that there are comparisons to be made!  Beautiful use of the pedal-steel guitar drifting in and out of this mix…the music is almost all complementary here to what Dave’s doing vocally, which is the essential driving force in this entire melody.  “Open Mouth, Monstrous Teeth” is the kind of song you have to hear instrumentally as well to truly appreciate just how much the vocals are bringing to this tune…which is fairly true of “Eyelids And Oil” as well…he does really well inside of a minimalist approach and finds the perfect level for his vocals to stand out just as they should when taking charge of the main melody-lines as they are.  His vocals have truly become an instrument in these new songs on The Big Heavy…and he’s really never sounded better on the microphone.  There’s a beautifully warm glow in the music and sound of “Open Mouth, Monstrous Teeth,” even while he details the melancholy and metaphorical imagery in his words…it’s all oddly comforting, creating a wonderful contrast between the sound of the music and the lyrics that brings about another highly memorable moment in time from Dave’s highly capable musical-mind.  He’s got the uniqueness in his approach and instincts that lead to authentically beautiful results…through songwriting that will truly last and music that always captures the heart & mind with equal strength.
I’ve got more to say about this…so you can expect that I will on the upcoming episode of the SBS Podcast, episode 035 coming out this week…check that out and I’ll tell ya some more details about The Big Heavy from Dave Wirth and play you one of these cuts on the show.
Add To Cart
The Big Heavy, by Dave Wirth, Now Available

Two folk songs that include choirs of background vocals, cellos, trombones, pedal steel guitar, and free jazz drums (yes, seriously). This record tells the stories of the self-destruction of a family after a loved one passes away as well as how two people willed the sun not to rise during a night of lovemaking.

Add To Cart
The Big Heavy To Be Released on October 10th, 2017

Two folk songs that include choirs of background vocals, cellos, trombones, pedal steel guitar, and free jazz drums (yes, seriously). This record tells the stories of the self-destruction of a family after a loved one passes away as well as how two people willed the sun not to rise during a night of lovemaking.

Release Date: Tuesday October 10th, 2017