Malekpour Design Partners Case Study:
Roc Nation, LA listening room
Boasting a client roster featuring some of the world’s most recognizable artists, such as Rihanna, Shakira, Alicia Keys, J. Cole, and Big Sean, Roc Nation wanted a listening room for their A&R department with studio-quality sound as heard in the control rooms where the artist’s records were recorded and mixed.
Not only did the room require audiophile-quality sound, but it was also built to accommodate several listeners, providing each with a balanced stereo image regardless of seating position in the room. Additionally, the room itself required bi-directional isolation, so that loud playback would not disturb offices on all sides of the room, including floors above and below. Conversely, the room had to reject sound transmission from adjacent offices, hallways, HVAC systems, and city traffic noise.
A simple hi-fi system would not be capable of producing the excitement and realistic playback that. The speakers had to be capable of the high-volume playback and bass response that Roc Nation president Jay-Z himself would expect to hear in the studio or a club. It followed that only an Augspurger system would provide the familiar sound quality and volume that artists working in the genres of hip-hop, R&B, or rap were already accustomed to hearing in the top urban studios of Manhattan and LA. An Augspurger Duo 12MF Sub 212 system, capable of 130dB SPL was chosen for the room.
To provide the intense level of isolation required, we designed a system to float the entire room, as well as floating the soffit-mounted speakers to prevent bass coupling with any physical surface. The room acoustics were crafted to produce the response expected in a world-class control room. In essence, a recording studio without the recording equipment was built.
Without having to deal with reflections off a console surface, producer’s desks, and equipment racks, listeners could be anywhere in the room could feel and hear unobstructed, immaculate sound reproduction. In addition to Augspurger’s advanced DSP that enables the monitors to be precisely tuned to the room’s acoustic characteristics (a service provided by Dave Malekpour), a great deal of attention was paid to speaker placement so that every square inch of the room was a listening sweet spot.
While Malekpour Design Partners often creates artistically inspiring interiors, including fabrication of one-off furniture and lighting, in this case, we partnered with Jay-Z’s creative director, designer Willo Perron, who was commissioned by Roc Nation to provide interior décor for the room. Naturally, our goal was to ensure that acoustics and interior design elements blended in a seamless join for the utmost in sound quality and ambiance.