sions required more creative collaboration.
To ensure that the seating for listening to
music was positioned perfectly between the
speakers and surrounding walls, Goodwin
asked Hubner to enlarge the lower-level
listening space. The change pushed the
air conditioning unit outside, making the
studio even quieter. When Dixon asked
for CD and album shelving, Goodwin designed custom cases that match the angled
wall panels and sit below ear level. At Goodwin’s urging, the loft banister features thin,
curved rails whose round edges and slotted
braces are acoustically transparent.
Even the fabric for the window panels
and the thickness of the Oriental rug were
subject to acoustic analysis.
After discovering that typically unobtrusive halogen bulbs
audibly buzz and crackle in
such a silent space, Dixon
added LED lighting. “Music is all about
these small little details that you have to be
just fastidious about,” he says.
The structure’s signature shape was
an acoustic challenge. “Normally, we don’t
deal with curves,” says Goodwin, explaining
that “a curve focuses sound.” The solution
was tiered acoustical panels that cover the
walls and ceiling. Each panel is a triangle
of acoustical fiberglass with a soft fabric
underside, custom-cut by computerized
milling machines and hand-veneered with
English sycamore. The result is a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall scalloped texture that
is both acoustically and visually stunning.
“Peter wanted something extraordinary, and
we did it for him,” says Goodwin. “This is a
The studio also has cutting-edge audio-visual technology and a custom control system that combines top-of-the-line speakers,
surround sound, a hidden projection screen,
and a 15-piece audio suite. The shelving
that houses the electrical components is
acoustically treated for an exact weight load
to absorb the audible vibration of the specific piece of equipment it supports.
More than just fancy equipment, the
studio embraces the centuries-old tradition
of music appreciation. “There was some
high technology put into structuring the
space acoustically,” says Hubner, “but the
result is very low-tech, old-fashioned listening.” Even the acoustical design process occasionally harkens back to a preindustrial
age. “Acoustics is a science and an art,” says
Goodwin, “and you have to be able to conceptualize — something that you couldn’t
get a computer to do. The computer doesn’t
think through creative solutions.”
For Dixon, the sound studio may
be new, but the idea certainly isn’t.
“This is my teenage male fantasy basement,” he says. “It’s basically an extension
of the room where I had the $300 stereo
with the black lights.”
Now he can invite his family and
friends to share the fantasy.
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