John Sayers' Recording Studio Design Forum

Australian National University Music School
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Author:  John Sayers [ Thu May 25, 2017 11:52 am ]
Post subject:  Australian National University Music School

For the past 18 months I've been working on the ANU's refurbishment of their recording studio in Canberra Australia.

Here's some pictures I've managed to find - the opening ceremony was covered by the press, there was no mention of my involvement.

there is also two control rooms above Control A but they were not mentioned or photographed.

BTW - the colour scheme was not mine!!

opening by Vice Chancellor.jpg





Author:  Soundman2020 [ Thu May 25, 2017 5:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Australian National University Music School

So you are not a fan of maroon cloth and light natural wood, nor bright blue ceilings? :)

Even so, the place looks darn good! Congratulations, John. Amazing work, as usual. I far more fascinated by the acoustics you created there, than by the interior decoration...

They really should get a better photographer, though: the lens he used for the shot across the console is really weird: it makes the poor guy with glasses standing behind the chair look like a flattened cardboard cut-out!

It's a real shame they didn't give you any credit, though. The average person would have little idea how complex that design is: they'd only notice that it sounds really good in there, so it would be nice if the guy who made that happen would get some mention! Perhaps you could convince a local newspaper to run an article on it, from YOUR perspective, as the designer?

But anyway, at least you have the satisfaction of knowing what you accomplished. And we get to drool and turn green with envy... :)

- Stuart -

Author:  sonicheavenstudios [ Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Australian National University Music School


Mark Opitz said it sounded amazing in there.

Author:  John Sayers [ Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Australian National University Music School

Thank you.
No one has told me what the rooms sound like , including the two control rooms above the main control room.
I got shut out from the project.

Author:  Soundman2020 [ Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Australian National University Music School

I got shut out from the project.
:shock: That's kinda dumb! Why would a supposedly smart customer leave the designer out in the cold? Especially after doing such a spectacular design! (Not so smart, I guess...)

- Stuart -

Author:  John Sayers [ Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Australian National University Music School

I upset the university professor - she was a total gear freak and didn't appear to have any interest in the design, acoustics and construction.
I'd flown to Canberra because they had finally removed the existing treatment and removed the rear wall of the control room which we were about to extend.
Finally I could see what was going on behind their existing walls, like aircon, electrics etc.
We had a meeting with the Project Manager and I was keen to discuss the construction yet she arrived at the meeting demanding I change the speakers in the control room.
(She'd had the plan for over a year with the speakers we'd chosen)
I suggested we discuss that later and she got her nose out of joint and walked out of the meeting.
She never communicated with me after that.
The speakers in the final room are the same ones I'd drawn in the plans. ;)

Author:  Soundman2020 [ Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Australian National University Music School

That's nuts! One would expect that a "professor" would understand that there are multiple issues involved, not just speakers. I've seen that occasionally among the less educated, but a university professor? One would hope that our institutions of higher education are run by people who actually have a higher education themselves... :)

But I'm not too surprised: Gear freaks tend to be like that, thinking that the latest, greatest, most expensive gadget can make even the worst room sound fantastic, by some mysterious act of magic that somehow defies the laws of physics... Hence the current fad for "room correction" software and hardware... as if it were somehow how possible for a piece of electronics to fix the underlying time-domain acoustic problems in a room.

But anyway, the studio looks great (no surprises there!), and undoubtedly sounds great (as born out by the comment above). And clearly, the people who actually do understand overruled the "professor" who didn't. And they do have nice things to say about the studio: from their website: "The ANU School of Music is home to the most technologically advanced recording facility in Australia and one of the finest recording studios in the world. Featuring a 9m2 double height, custom acoustically treated recording studio floor with variable wall panelling for flexible acoustic response, our main studio can accommodate large and small ensembles across all musical styles. Our facility also includes an oversized vocal booth designed to accommodate all vocal performance styles as well as isolate guitar amplifiers. " Yup. They just forgot to add "designed by the legendary John Sayers himself".

It's just a pity that you weren't able to be there to hear it for yourself, nor officially recognized as the designer... although it's obvious: The classic John Sayers signature is all over those rooms! Nobody who knows, could possibly doubt who designed it.

(It's also a pity they couldn't find a better photographer for some of those images: one who is able to take photos that don't grossly distort perspective, making people look like cardboard cutouts, and 19" rack mount gear look like gigantic props from a 1950's sci fi movie...)

- Stuart -

Author:  John Sayers [ Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Australian National University Music School

Thankyou Stuart. As usual you've understood it right.
So now a few music students have access the the best recording console in Australia.

Author:  Aka [ Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Australian National University Music School

Education does not seem to overcome prejudice, then again the position of power does make some irrational. Not many institution have the privilege to build such a facility without serious philanthropy.
The educated were obviously ill-educated to what they were about to receive. Not many get the privilege to work in a JLS designed space. It looks great in the photos, and if Optiz reckons it sound great
accept the fact that it sounds great. Sadly the purse string holders and the higher authorities lacking the experience at the coal face tend to ignore acoustics. We (TAFE School) were built new facilities multi story building with a Green Screen Cyclorama studio, and it took 2 years of submitting dialogue recording with serious slap back, to get a budget to treat the room, which was done by an INTERIOR DESIGNER who simply stuck thick felt all over the ceiling. Ace Job! Our audio studio is a long room, parallel walls covered in acoustic foam, and Oh! I had to call Factory Sound to come and install the tie lines as the studio builder failed to install any cables between the studio and the control room. WARNING! no amount of foam tiles can address standing waves in a small room with parallel walls, ours is good for Honky dialogue
we have to use reflection filters, and it's really hard to get the best out of mics when you've got doonas' and studio black cloth everywhere to cajole the room, dead dry recordings can make you feel ill. :blah: :blah: :blah: :blah: :blah: :blah: :blah: Anyway I meant to say John nice design, looks good, I'll wager it sounds good, sorry you had to go through the BS, then again I imagine you've experienced rude irrational behavior from the music biz people in the past.
Cheers and best wishes. Aka

Author:  John Sayers [ Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Australian National University Music School

I noticed this post on facebook referring to the ANU studio and you get a glimpse of what it sounds like. ... oZWGhCOYHE

Author:  Soundman2020 [ Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Australian National University Music School

Very clean, crisp sound! Beautiful. They should be ecstatically happy to have that. Excellent comments there too, by the musician: "One of the best studios in the world". Yup.

The faculty might not want to recognize you publicly, John, for silly childish reasons, but the studio speaks for itself, and the students and those who REALLY matter, certainly get what you did there. They should have a plaque on the wall: "Our exceptional world-leading studio was crafted personally by the one-and-only John Sayers".

- Stuart -

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