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Seeing São Paulo With WSDG

Brazilian broadcaster retains cityscape views in new studios

The sound-baffling windows can be seen here fully installed. SÃO PAULO —For almost 20 years, Mix106.3 FM Radio has built a strong following among Brazil’s prized 15–29-year-old listener demographic. The station’s high-powered top 40 signal is heard throughout the country. As our listening audience and advertising client base expand, so, too, do our staff and studio requirements.

In 2006, the station moved to the 22nd floor of a state-of-the-art skyscraper in São Paulo. The building’s antenna soars 1,033 meters (almost 4,000 feet) above sea level, providing a strong signal that reaches more than 2 million listeners a month, making that signal the leader in 74 markets, according to the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics (IBOPE).

Our search for an architect/acoustician led us to the Belo Horizonte, Brazil, office of the Walters-Storyk Design Group. A 40-year-old, multinational studio design firm, WSDG has created thousands of broadcast, TV production and recording studios around the world.

WSDG Brazil-based partner Renato Cipriano made numerous site visits and participated in meetings with our on-air, engineering and management teams to help develop a studio design program to optimize the space. One of our major concerns was that our new studios be able to take advantage of the extraordinary 360-degree cityscape views available from many of our windows.

The studio comprises 15 individual components. A spacious 2,000-square-foot reception room/lobby leads to a 5-foot wide, 40-foot-long corridor, which provides access to six studios, three production suites and related support spaces, all of which border the corridor.

First studio on the left is On-Air SP 1, our 200-square-foot primary on-air broadcast suite. Directly adjacent is our 150-square-foot On-Air Satellite Broadcast Studio. A 130-square-foot reserve studio for future expansion resides between the Satellite studio and Production 3, which features a spacious isolation booth designed to accommodate both voiceover artists and live performances. The right side of the corridor is headed by Production Suites 1 and 2, a 350-square-foot complex with two individual studios and two ISO booths, accessible by a four-door sound lock. There are also a 100-square-foot production lab and a 150-square-foot CMR on the premises.

Virtually every one of our studios and production suites is distinguished by breathtaking window views. The idea of masking those views with sound-muffling curtains was unacceptable, so we asked WSDG to devise an acoustically and aesthetically pleasing solution.

WSDG recommended outfitting the five oversized windows in our two primary on-air studios with Quadratic Residue Diffusers (QRDs). Custom-made of clear glass, and fabricated in Brazil, these units were designed to cover each window completely. QRDs consist of a linked series of narrow, translucent “wells,” precisely calculated to diffuse the frequency range of each studio and joined together as a single “windowsill-to-window-top” installation. While similar units have been used in high-end recording studios such as New York’s Jungle City, they had never before been applied to a radio station.

These units have proven themselves extremely effective in keeping extraneous noise from leaking into our studios from outside (including plane and helicopter engines), while permitting a virtually unobstructed view of the city.

For information, contact Sergio Molho with Walters-Storyk Design Group in New York at (845) 691-9300 or