Stairwell Impulse Response

October 29, 2017

Several weeks ago, a few colleagues and I stumbled across a car park that had interesting acoustic properties. The stairwell within the multi-storey car park featured a reverberant space in which the reflected sounds decayed over a relatively long period of time (approximately 8 seconds). What caught my attention about this space, though, was that the initial reflected sounds were perceived louder than the impulse used at the time (our hands clapping).


So last week, after gaining permission from the car park cluster manager, I hired a Zoom H6 and an Aston Origin to capture a large balloon popping. Due to the irregular shape of the stairwell, and by recommendation of my colleague, Rian Gamble, we decided to record multiple balloon pops in mono and essentially double-track the impulses to make them stereo for application in a convolution reverb unit, later. This was to avoid potential phasing issues between the placement of 2 microphones. Below you can find a video clip of me popping one of these balloons, with Rian recording on the 6th level (3 levels higher).



We later discovered when exiting the premise on the ground floor that the balloon pops triggered the security alarm. Fortunately this wasn't audible on the recordings.


As of yet, what the reverb will be used for is uncertain, although I have some suspicions that it will feature in my Sound Design for a Game Level assignment that I am currently working on.

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© 2019 Tavish Cross