Pt 16 – November 7th

The good news is that we’re finally nearing the end of an exhausting build and Snap is looking great. More importantly, all the tests we’ve done to date suggest that it also sounds good – tight, controlled and with a firm low end.

The bad news is that yet again we’re over our revised budgets and schedules.

So…what’s been occurring?

Well, the live room is days away from completion. Last week we started to fix acoustic panels, which serve the dual purpose of tuning the room (more or less rockwool behind the hessian panels will deaden or brighten the room according to requirements) and offering a calm, unobtrusive finish to the walls. One of the long walls is dead and the other features maple panels, offering a brighter, more reflective surface. Of course, we’re fortunate in having a number of tall and short Audio Kinetics screens, originally purchased from John Entwistle’s private studio, which can separate areas or screen off the live wall for further deadening.

The wall panels, housing mains and audio rise flush from box skirting, which doubles as wiring conduits, easily accessible for cabling. Rather than being sunk into the wall, which would affect the many layers of soundboard soundproofing, the wiring conduits and wallboxes are mounted on the wall, with the soundproof hessian panels giving the impression of flush mounting.

The wallboxes are multipurpose housing balanced mains outlets, 110v mains outlets and audio, coax, CAT 5 (for the Aviom foldback system) midi and video tie lines. Of course, conventional mains should always be kept well away from audio lines, but one of the several advantages of balanced mains is that there is zero interference with audio.

Spotlights have been fitted around the ceiling, but the central lights will be mounted in suspended clusters or ‘clouds’.

The live room should be ready within a week, with variac dimmers, door seals, handles and acoustic panels fitted and the final maple trim around door and window frames complete.

The main area to be tackled is the control room. Murray Harris is awaiting door and window seals and the final acoustic tweaking before firing up and tuning the monitors. Then we embark upon a chicken and egg process during which Fritz will tune the room and Murray will tweak the monitors (dampening the ATC subbase units and tuning their custom enclosures, tweaking the custom crossovers and suchlike), Hopefully, a couple of days of interactive tweaking and tuning will result in a tight, accurate control room, ready for cosmetic trim to add the final finishing touches.

Meanwhile, I’ve been scouting local junk shops for eccentric bits and pieces to give Snap that illusive, individual vibe. Creating idiosyncratic spaces is a passion of mine (as anyone whose visited Funky may realise) and I’m chuffed to bits to have found a bunch of kitch 1940’s and 1950’s ceiling lights, a funky Elvis stylee 1950’s mirror and various other bits and pieces, all now sitting in storage awaiting their new home. And I’ve made some radical decisions about décor. I’ve asked that studio one’s lounge be painted a deep blue throughout, including the ceiling. Henceforth, I’ll refer to this as ‘The Blue Room’. If it doesn’t work, I’ll change it. More radical is my decision to carpet the corridors with Astroturf. The result will either be amazing or naff. If it works, it will be a talking point and give the studio a unique vibe. If not…? It’ll be cheap and simple to replace with the usual boring industrial carpet.

Overall, the place is now close to realising the dream we’ve long since had. A site meeting on Monday with all concerned will hopefully confirm that the build will be ready for audio installation by November 20th – three weeks behind schedule. This will then give us four weeks to install and test the gear before the world clocks off for Christmas.

Up against the wire but looking good.