Natal Playhouse

A Substantial Upgrade to Recording Studios and Opera Theatre.

Recording Studios – Acoustic Turnkey solution.

The original music studio’s at The Natal Playhouse situated in Durban, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa were built back in the early 1980’s at sub basement levels -2 and -3 ( below sea level.  The studios walls were covered in old hessian behind which were glass fibre panels.   With the result that over the years the studio’s became dated with no real investment in technology or aesthetics.

The goal was to revive these spaces into a modern and fully functional studio suite.  The spaces comprised of a primary and secondary control rooms, a vocal booth and a truly magnificent live room, designed to accommodate a full orchestra.  A unique and superbly designed space.

Not much acoustic work was required in the live room apart from a set of double sided floor standing, moveable, acoustic panels configured to create a vocal or interview booth with a natural reverb tail.

The main studio was completed gutted.  The design was to create a “non environment – environment” free from the constrained acoustics of being in a small enclosed space.  To create a stable sonic image, the design ensured absolute symmetry and controlled early reflections in order to create an “Initial time delay gap” ITDG of approximately 20milliseconds.

The Acoustic diffusion installed in the rear of the control rooms performs two functions.  Firstly creating a sonic illusion of a space larger than the actual volume.  Secondly whilst this is primarily an acoustic diffusion element it is also designed to add bass control.  It is shaped to seat a listener or client in a central position.


All products for the Natal Playhouse were designed, manufactured and installed by Acoustic Worx providing a complete turnkey solution.

New Sound Reinforcement System Design – Main Opera Theatre Natal Playhouse

1.   Generated a 3D Acoustic model to analyse the acoustics in the Main Opera Theatre

2.   Design Sound Reinforcement System optimising:

Loudspeaker coverage


Uniformity of Sound Pressure

3.   Tender documentation and evalution

4.   Final commissioning

The Recording Studio of the Natal Playhouse before the Acoustic Upgrade.
Natal Playhouse
Natal PlayhouseOpera Theatre

Important Acoustic Considerations for a Recording Studio

Sound isolation:    

Providing a very low noise floor by isolating external noise sources, such as traffic, HVAC systems, or nearby rooms. Proper insulation, double-walled construction, and sealing of gaps and openings are essential to minimize sound leakage.

Room shape and dimensions:  

The dimensions and shape of a recording studio can affect standing waves, sound reflections, and resonances.  Rectangular rooms with optimised proportions are often preferred to minimize acoustic issues. Additionally, irregular surfaces or diffusers can be used strategically to control reflections.

Reflection control:

Uncontrolled reflections, arrive back at the microphone, delayed in timed impact negatively in sound quality.  There is also comb filtering and other unwanted sonic artifacts.  Acoustic treatment in the form of diffusers, absorbers, and bass traps can be used to manage reflections and create a controlled, balanced listening environment.

Absorption and diffusion:

Careful placement of acoustic panels and diffusers helps control reverberation and provide a more controlled acoustic environment. Acoustic products which control absorption are used to reduce excessive reverberation and echoes, while diffusers scatter sound waves to achieve a more natural and even distribution.

Monitoring system calibration:

Studio monitors are essential tools for accurate audio monitoring. The acoustics of the room can affect the perceived frequency response, so it’s crucial to calibrate the monitoring system according to the room’s characteristics. Room correction software and professional calibration tools can help optimize the listening environment.

Vocal booths and isolation rooms: 

Recording studios often include vocal booths or isolation rooms for capturing specific instruments or vocals. These spaces should be designed to ensure proper sound isolation and control unwanted reflections.

Creating an acoustically controlled recording studio involves a combination of architectural design, acoustic treatment, and proper equipment selection. Consulting with an acoustic engineer can help to achieve the best possible results, tailored to the specific needs and requirements of the recording space.

The Oldest Recording Studio

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