More Than Just a Door

DOOR1000.jpg

Grab. Click. THUMP. Siiiiiiiiiiilence.

 That simple sequence is an essential step to kicking off every session at BB4 Studios. What is it? We refer, of course, to the ultra-satisfying sensation of closing the three custom doors that separate our control room from the rest of the facility.

While our studio is never “done,” the installation of these highly engineered portals stand as a prime finishing touch to BB4 when we opened in 2015. Our studio was uniquely designed from the ground up to provide world class mixing and mastering in one room, but accomplishing that took more than just a philosophy and a careful design. It also called for attention to detail, including details that – as hard as we tried – we simply couldn’t anticipate in advance.

An Open and Shut Case

The need for these heavy-duty doors became clear as our control room’s construction entered its final phases. Everything else about the critical listening environment, from the PMC speakers to the cryogenic wiring and even floor-mounted diffusors had been carefully considered. Then it occurred to BB4 owner Rafael Planten that ingress and egress must come to the forefront.

“I was thinking about how to make a room with the absolute best qualities,” Planten recalls. “I called the studio designer and said, ‘We can’t have everything else so tight and have weak doors!’ and he said, ‘You’re making the right decision.’

“Then we started talking about the ideal doors for BB4,” he continues. “We wanted them to be as soundproof as possible, with the ability to integrate cleanly with the studio’s structure. Optimum soundproofing requires a lot of weight, so that meant there also had to be a heavy door frame to keep it in place. On the other hand, the door couldn’t be too heavy to actually be opened by hand, and it also obviously couldn’t cause structural damage when it was slammed shut.”

The solution at came from Thermostop, a Canadian company with decades of experience in building industrial-strength doors for docks, cold storage, and myriad other applications including acoustics. The company crafted a set specifically for BB4, then shipped them down south to us – and not in a station wagon.

“The shipping rate was 1,000 pounds!” laughs Planten. “We had to stop traffic for a long time on Bedford Avenue to get them off the truck. Installing each of them was an adventure all its own.”

‘Like an Airlock’

 Fortunately, the mixers, mastering engineers, producers and artists working at BB4 don’t have to sweat it when these serious doors open and shut. Each one is mounted on smooth compression swings combined with incredibly strong hinges, resulting in that aforementioned, addictive whoosh that declares to our clients – in no uncertain terms – that they are firmly ensconced in their own highly-accurate world.

“Many people tell us that it’s like a ‘Law and Order’ sound when those doors shut,” Planten says. “It’s a solid ‘clink-clunk’ that’s like an airlock sealing in a sci-fi movie. When you hear that, it means, ‘Blast off! Time to get to work.’ It completes an environment that’s closed off to all other distractions and is about one thing only: making music.”