Question about recording and air temperature.

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I've heard that depending on the air temperature, the sound at live gigs will vary in it's harshness and softness. If I remember correctly, the hotter the temperature is, the better the sound will be. The colder the temperature is, the harsher the sound will be.

Would this apply also to studio record rooms?

Have you heard of anyone keeping their record room at a higher or lower temperature solely for the sound quality?

I'm curious.

Utopia

Posted 2010-08-17T00:32:05.037

Reputation: 14 155

{{citation needed}} – endolith – 2010-08-17T01:34:32.963

Answers

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The reason this happens is because the varying temperature changes the density of the air, hence changing the speed of sound. You can hear this difference as the seasons change, if you live in a temperate climate area. For example, back in CT, when it got hot in the summer (90 - 100F), it sounded "warm". Because the density of the air was thinner, the lower frequencies are closer to the speed of the higher frequencies than if it was winter (0 - 30F).

If you then listen in the same location in the winter (or even at night in the summer), all of a sudden things sound different. You can now hear the highway from 10 miles away that you couldn't hear when it was hot, and things sound thinner. All this has to do with temperature, relative humidity, and wind sheer.

It's sort of like the difference of listening to sound underwater or through metal vs through air.

As for studio application, I've never actually tried an A/B comparison, but, for most uses, I don't think it would matter very much. The only time it would be an issue would be at any distance. If you think about a concert, there are often people 1000+ feet from the speakers. The frequencies have a ton more time to separate at 1000 feet than at 1 or 2 feet. In a studio environment, almost everything is very closely mic'd. Vocals are maybe a foot away, drums, guitars, etc... are often right up on the instrument. The only mics that are more than a foot or two away are drum overheads, which are still pretty close, and room mics, which, depending on your room, usually aren't more than 20 feet away.

So, IMO, it's not going to really make a difference in the studio environment. The reason most studios are cold is to preserve the equipment, and the sanity of the people working in there 12 hours a day.

I'll write you a nice long scientific explanation, but it's going to take a bit of time, plus a scientific calculator, so I'll just publish this for now, then edit it with some nice equations once I'm finished.

Colin Hart

Posted 2010-08-17T00:32:05.037

Reputation: 7 588

Hah! Thanks and don't bother about the essay, I get it. I see how it's relevant in a concert or outdoors sound application than a smaller studio environment. Thanks! – Utopia – 2010-08-17T01:56:50.560

@Ryan - Hmmm - maybe I'll write a blog about it. It's an interesting topic indeed! – Colin Hart – 2010-08-17T02:06:01.697

@Colin Yeah - like I wonder if air humidity alters it as well. – Utopia – 2010-08-17T03:21:02.497

@Ryan - Temp, Humidity, Altitude, Wind, Pollution/gas ratios - all these alter sound – Colin Hart – 2010-08-17T03:43:21.780

@Colin I guess pollution helps sound since most of the studios are in L.A. Haha – Utopia – 2010-08-17T19:33:17.197

@Colin If a tree falls on the top of Mount Everest, does anyone hear it? lol – Utopia – 2010-08-17T19:33:47.163

If there were trees on the top of Mount Everest, then maybe! – Colin Hart – 2010-08-17T23:35:14.913

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The house I grew up in was in a forest edging a lake. On the other side of the lake was a train track. We used to comment that the louder the train seemed, the greater the chance of a rain storm.

MtL

Posted 2010-08-17T00:32:05.037

Reputation: 1 083