Modeling a specific space

How can I do this?

So I asked the ass’t engineer at Sun when I was in Memphis last week if I could make a reverb impulse, and it turns out they’ve been offered big money for that and turned it down, and have a policy (“no”). But I do have a rough architectural sketch of the room, with pretty accurate dimensions and description of materials. I also have the voxengo impulse modeler, here:

IMpulse Modeler

Problem: the way Phillips built the room, the diffusers are oriented in 3 and not 2 dimensions, and it clearly is a major part of the sound. So…do you s’pose I could get the 3 dimensional effect from 2 dimensional modeling?

I know this is sort of hard to picture, but the Sun room is about 31 feel long, 12 feet high, 18 feet wide, with triangular diffusers in the ceiling running across the short way, on one wall running parallel to the floor, and on another wall perpendicular to the floor. 3 dimensions worth of reflections (well, all rooms are, but the diffusers in the Sun room are as well).



how about designing the room "upside down"


Still I can only get 2 dimensions…

Sure, that shouldn’t be hard to do TomS; you’re just missing one small impulse element…


On December 4, 1956, Elvis Presley dropped in on Phillips to pay a social visit while Carl Perkins was in the studio cutting new tracks with Jerry Lee Lewis backing him on piano. The three started an impromptu jam session and Phillips left the tapes running. Sam Phillips then called Johnny Cash to come in and join the other three.

Now, if you could only make SIR do that…!!! :D

the room is already modeled in every recording that was produced in there - find a really good quailty recording (on vinyl if you can) and record that into N, then splice out a few bits of it that have the sound you want, turn them into short wave files, then use those splices as presets in your converlution reverb processor - Pristine Space is fantastic (but expensive) -

Dr J

Hi TomS and Guys:
Were you able to capture any photos of that place when you were there?


I forgot…

I’m sure it’s Wicki’d somehow, but I don’t know how to search this…

There is a way to use a mirror and you hold it up and look into and see what you see… It’s for looking at reflections somehow… If you can see your monitor speakers by looking into the mirror you have a reflection, to deal with, in your acoustic environment… If you don’t see them you have that aspect to deal with, as well…

RADAR Wayne and I have discussed this… These are some of the acoustic details that attract his attentions…


It is possible to book the studio for recording, isn’t it? Book it for a recording, smuggle in a metering mic and a starting pistol… :D

Hey varakeef, I know you are joking of course, and I also jokingly suggested to the ass’t engineer booking an hour’s worth of time and doing just that - but the truth is, I wouldn’t want to do that. They have the right attitude about the room - it is historically significant, and they have found a way to keep it not just as a museum but as a working studio. I think that’s great. Folks in Memphis have the right attitude about using their musical history in general - the Stax museum is pretty cool, yes, but the charter school associated with it is genius. :)

That said, I was thinking of doing something like Dr Jack has suggested, only what I’d do is take the resulting impulse and then try to duplicate the sound of it as much as possible using the impulse modeler - I’d get a cleaner impluse that way, since it wouldn’t also include the sound of processing. I’m also thinking that I will go to some of the recent recordings made there (e.g., U2 or Def Leppard or whatever).

I dunno about the ethics of it, however - I mean, suppose I create an impulse that sounds close to the room; taking the actual impulse from the room is theft, but not perhaps taking it from a recording made there, and not from an impulse I made? Interesting question of intellectual property there. :D

Your reproduction of the recorded effect of the sound of a room is not theft, IMO. If that is the case, then no one should ever listen to a recording and attempt to reproduce the mixing quality, as it would be the same thing. Attempting to reproduce the aural intellectual property of another. What about when I went into guitar center, sat down with my Fender American Deluxe P-Bass and a Ernie Ball and attempted to dial-in a decent approximation of the sound? Is this theft of intellectual property? I understand the need for such limitations to a certain extent, but there has to be a line somewhere.


Interesting question of intellectual property there. :D

Don’t worry Tom. As long as you pay Uncle Sam the “Vibratory Air Particle Simulation Tax” you’ll be OK.


Of course, anything broadcast of the airwaves is free to recieve…so if it’s sound waves why not…oh well…I don’t know. Even an impulse won’t capture what you need. You have to be in the perfect place in the room, and I doubt it sounds the same everywhere, and just where was Cropper’s amp, and where were the other mics that picked up the bleed…and what about the vibe of playing in that room? That could account for some of the sound as well since it could affect the playing which would affect the sound…I’ll stop now.


Actually it was the Sun room and not Cropper in the Stax room I was after. The Stax space should be easy to model - it was a theater.

It was interesting walking around the Sun room clapping where Elvis’s mic was, where the bass was, and then where the guitar amp and drums were. Definitely didn’t sound the same each place, of course. The basds and guitar amp were placed in theoretically awful places, actually - right in a spot in the room where the ceiling and floor and one pair of walls were parallel. And you can hear that when you stand there. But it is that sound plus the drums that really make up the sound of the record - not the vocal sound. Elvis’s mic was typically placed in the right place, and there really was no distinctiveness to the sound in that location. Very interesting.

look at link below -

gives a lot of info on how the SUN sound was created - great read -

Dr J

Thank You Doc… What a great read…

There was studios in Nashville that Owen Bradley tracked-and-mixed in that you got reamed out if you tried to clean the place of hamburger wrappers and trash… He said it would alter the acoustics and produce “Bum Mixes”… He said something about pizza boxes making great Bottom-End Traps, or something… If you got on the wrong side of Owen, you didn’t track for him anymore… I heard stories saying that he had an ugly streak in him if he got up on the wrong side of the bed…



One thing to think about is the fact that every Elvis at Sun recording sounds quite different actually. The room has quite limited meaning.

Still I’m going to make a rock’a’billy album there when I turn 40.

I respectfully disagree. The recordings made in that room sound like that room. We’re only talking a hadnful of Elvis recordings - not all the RCA stuff. And standing in that room you can hear those records - the million dollar quartet, the Johnny Cash stuff, Carl Perkins, the killer, you can totally hear it.

according to the information gleaned from the link i gave - 1 microphone (called the Local mic) picked up everything (or as much as the mics polar setting allowed) within the recording room, the out from the mic went to a tape recorder with a playback monitoring head (genuine cutting edge for the time) the out from the playback monitor head was sent to the mixer to give an echo effect, the ‘speed’ of the echo being set by the speed of the tape machine - now the problem -

SO - modeling the room alone cannot give you the SUN sound - adding a tape echo alone cannot give you the SUN sound-

to get somewhere near to the original you would have to use both impulse modeling and tape echo - or would you ?-

to obtain a reasonable approximation i would feed the dry mixdown track out to my 1960s Watkins Copicat to provide the tape echo emulating the local mic and re-record that back into N to create the SLAPBACK TRACK and add that to the original track, adding a fairly simple reverb (in mastter track out) should emulate the room

if you dont have a Watkins Copicat or a Roland Space Echo there are many tape delay vsts available that could provide the SLAPBACk - saying that, both the Watkins and the Roland impart a special sound to any recording that digital units and VSTs really cannot emulate -

OK, so the sound in the recording room is VITALLY important, it is the SLAPBACk method of applying echo that makes the SUN sound what it was -

Dr J

Right - but think about U2’s recording there. Lots of mics, on an Aiwa 12 track digital deck, and it still sounds like that room. :D

Of course, everyone on this list has a spare vintage Watkins Copicat or twy just in case… :)

You know you can get a new one?