The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Great Barn Acoustics: It's In the Wood Slats

Posted by | August 8, 2013

Interior of hay and horse barn at historic Laudholm FarmEnthusiastic volunteer and proud mom Eileen Willard had her boy "Flip" Baber (Johnnyrandom) help us understand why music in the Laudholm barn sounds So Darn Good…

With the exception of symphony halls, most performance venues are acoustical nightmares. This is because they have painted, highly-reflective surfaces built in square or rectangular shapes. This causes unwanted high-end echo, ring or "slap" refraction coupled with muddy or "boomy" sounding bass response. This scenario creates undesirable diffusion and a loss of definition between instruments.

The Laudholm Farm performances transcend these issues in the most unlikely fashion by utilizing an old barn for the venue. Many recording studios and symphony halls mimic the construction of the barn's open-spaced horizontal and vertical wood slat interior, and for a good reason: Wood slats have ideal absorptive, reflective, and diffusive characteristics for live instrumentation.

Unlike passive absorbing surfaces, wood slats are perfect for balancing reverb response while enhancing the clarity and warmth of mid to bass frequencies. Adding to this, the barn has a high, vaulted ceiling which simultaneously acts as a bass trap while extending reverberation in a smooth, sustained manner.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

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