In today’s video, we had the opportunity to sit down with Alex Oana, co-founder of Audio Test Kitchen again! The last time we sat down with Alex, he told us all about how Audio Test Kitchen works, and went through a demo with us. Today, he is going to tell us about some of the challenges he and his team ran into while setting up Audio Test Kitchen.
For those of you who do not know what Audio Test Kitchen is, it is a free online resource that aims to change the way we audition microphones. They have partnered with the top pro audio manufacturers in order to provide the most comprehensive gear comparison platform ever. Audio Test Kitchen does this by providing users with real recordings of microphones in 11 acoustic spaces under precisely standardized conditions, so there is no variation in the source at all. This way, when you switch between mics on the site (you can compare up to 6 mics at once), the only difference you are hearing is the difference between the mics themselves.
When Alex and his team set out to record all of this source content, they did not realize what a large undertaking it was going to be. Their goal was to take 250 mics and record them on 10 sources. They booked out approximately 2 weeks at East-West Studio 2, and thought this would be plenty of time. They soon realized this was not going to be the case. Although East-West is an amazing studio, they soon realized it is not really set up to be the laboratory they needed it to be. While they thought they could record 8 different sources at the same time, they noticed there was still bleed between rooms and other variables they could not control, meaning they could not record that many sources at once.
For example, one variable they had not thought about and were not able to control was the exact temperature of the room. East-West has a fairly consistent HVAC system that controls the temperature in the room, but when they were recording the drums, they found that even a change of a degree or two affected the way the drum was tuned and the sound that was being recorded. The worst part is that they didn’t realize the sound in their recording was changing gradually until they were 5 days and 185 mics into recording their source material, causing them to be behind schedule.
In the end, they only got about one third of the content they thought they were going to be able to get in East-West Studio and had to find other locations to continue with their process. Alex and the team were not going to be satisfied with “good enough”, so they knew they were going to work hard to get this right and up to the standard they originally set out for themselves!
Despite this and other challenges, Audio Test Kitchen has launched and is a great success! The goal of Audio Test Kitchen is to empower people to think independently by allowing them to compare equipment for themselves and see which sound and mic they like best. Through hard work and perseverance, Audio Test Kitchen has managed to achieve this goal with microphones, and hopes to move onto speakers in the future, to expand the knowledge base available on the site.
Watch the full video below to hear all about the challenges Alex and his team ran into during the production of Audio Test Kitchen, how they overcame those set backs, and where Audio Test Kitchen could be headed next!