UK location-based recording and live sound hire company Mu-Mu Audio has been developing its Nebula custom DSP system to create a variable acoustic without the need for expensive or complex building work.
Nebula, devised by Mu-Mu founders Matthew Devenish and Paul Jones, uses DSP and live processing to create the desired acoustic effect, regardless of the actual sound of the space. It does this by capturing audio using a stereo pair of DPA d:dicate 4011A mics and feeding it through processing software specifically written for Mu-Mu. The processed sound is then replayed through a selection of Fohhn loudspeakers, which creates a reverb effect giving the impression of a larger, more live-sounding space.
“We devised the system in answer to a request from Adam Munthe, the owner of Hellens Manor, a historic house in Much Marcle, Herefordshire [in England], that we have been using as a venue to record albums since 2005,” explained Devenish. “Hellens Manor has a big barn and Adam wanted to make its acoustic more sympathetic and supportive for classical music—i.e. longer reverb times with a diffuse soundfield. However, the barn is a listed building and, having taken advice from a highly respected building audio acoustics company, he was told that adapting it would require a lot of physical change to the inside of the barn.”
Nebula, which is only available through Mu-Mu, is also scalable, said Devenish, and doesn’t impact on the physical structure of the venue.
According to Devenish: “We chose DPA for this system because both Paul and I have a long history of using the company’s microphones for recording projects and as test microphones. DPA was our first choice because its products deliver a very flat and very good off axis response, even from cardioid microphones such as the 4011. We didn’t want the microphones introducing colouration (resonances) into the reverberant field because we were not going to be just producing simple reverberation.”