Offering acoustic consultation and comprehensive sound design solutions
Are you experiencing noise pollution, unwanted reverberations, sound "leakage" from adjacent rooms, or complaints from neighbors related to sound? We can measure, sample, and track down acoustic compromises in the space. After detecting the source of your issue, we design and specify a comprehensive solution that will effectively mitigate these sound issues without exceeding your budget.
Different rooms require different approaches to acoustic treatment. Whether you're constructing a recording studio, a restaurant, or a home office, we can deliver solutions to craft a perfect sonic environment for any application. Whether you're looking to upgrade an existing space or construct a new room, we can put you on track for the most efficient and functional design based on your own goals.
Audio & Video
As well as expertise in acoustic environments, Sonic Zen offers design and problem-solving for both commercial and residential audiovisual systems. Having built numerous recording studios and deployed hundreds of both temporary and permanent AV installations for large scale events, conferences, and exhibits, we can put you on the path to perfecting your system no matter the scale or budget.
Sonic Zen Acoustics is led by engineer and designer Charlie Wilson. Charlie has 15+ years of experience designing and building recording studios, audio & video systems, and acoustic treatments for commercial and residential buildings. As a professional musician, recording engineer, and music producer, Charlie is intimately familiar with what makes a functional and well-designed space meet these needs. Drawing on his education in Physics & Philosophy at UC Berkeley, with coursework in mechanical engineering on vibrations & waves, he offers insights that address not just the technical issues but first and foremost the resulting human experience of sound within the finished space.
Whether you have a recording studio, office, home theater, multi-tenant building, or virtually any other acoustics puzzle, we can put you on the ideal path for your sonic needs.
We believe that all sound-related issues in a building are solvable, and with decades of combined experience and a wealth of technological resources, we can help you do it today.
These are just a few of our many designs and build-outs.
Napa Charter School
When River Middle School moved into their new digs – a hundred-year-old historic building, fully upgraded – the project managers wanted to ensure that the two music classrooms would not interfere with the surrounding academic classrooms across the hall. We performed a full structural inspection and acoustical analysis to determine all likely pathways of sound transmission. The net result was that no further acoustical construction would be needed to achieve the isolation desired. We were happy to provide the confidence the client needed to prepare for the grand opening.
111 Minna Art Gallery & Event Venue
System Design, AV Install, Room Tuning
Through several phases of system upgrades and room tuning, Sonic Zen helped turn one of SF's oldest art galleries into one of the busiest event venues downtown. A centrally-matrixed sound system allows the two rooms to be split for simultaneous events, six ceiling-mounted HD projectors are networked to show either identical or separate video feeds, and full-ceiling acoustic absorption tames the sonic atmosphere for both the coffee bar and corporate meetings by day, and the DJs and live bands on the weekends.
Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
Consultation, System Design, Install
As the San Francisco Zen Center constructed a magnificent new retreat hall in the Tassajara Mountains in 2010, we were on site to help envision, design, and install a minimalist and effective suite of AV components that would future-proof this huge investment for the coming decades. We consulted with the architect to add cost-effective sound absorption behind the entire maple-slatted ceiling. The projection screen is hidden in a custom maple-veneer enclosure to disappear when not in use, and the tiniest pair of microphones hangs from the ceiling to record lectures and performances at the press of a button.
Woodside Home Studio
Full Home Studio Conversion
When a private client wanted to convert a home office into a music and video production studio for their three talented children, We stepped in to design and manage the construction of a top-notch production suite that would be meticulously integrated into the existing home’s architecture and woodworking style. A soundproof vocal booth with isolated HVAC was linked to the main control room and the living room via 4k cameras and displays. The vintage leather-top desk that had previously occupied the home office was converted into a custom audio production console with inset rack bay and internal cable management.
Recording Studio Room Addition
In 2005, when the legendary Coast Recorders studio, built by Bill Putnam in 1964 for Blue Note Records, wanted to add a 4th isolation room, the owners contacted us to design and build a “disappearing” room whose walls could fold flat and out of the way when not in use. The hinged soundproof walls rolled on wheels and mated with a floating ceiling suspended by steel cables. The finished addition debuted just in time for the AES conference after-party hosted at Coast Recorders that year.
Hong Kong Multimedia Design Exhibition
Commissioned by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in 2019, the Co-Creating Hong Kong exhibition of 14 multimedia design pieces drew on a wide swath of Sonic Zen's technological expertise to create an immersive and engaging installation at Chandran Gallery in SF. 3D projection, acoustically focused "SoundTube" speakers, custom lighting fixtures, precisely installed architectural sculptures, and more than two dozen securely installed interactive iPads, TV's and wireless headphone stations were all sourced, installed, and configured to the exacting specifications of the 14 artists who flew in for the grand opening.
Roche Harbor Residence
Soundproofing Consultation, Home Theater Design, Whole-House AV Design
This private residence, under construction in 2020, has a commanding view of the busy marina at Roche Harbor Resort, and aims to keep its technology seamless and easy to use. Four 4K displays and six installed audio zones all run from a single smart hub, and music can be streamed instantly from any smartphone without having to find any remote controls. A 4K webcam at the top of the tower will share a livestream of the harbor view 24/7 for neighbors and friends, and a "virtual window" in the dining room can show the view from the tower... or from the Eiffel Tower, just as easily.
Sonic Zen Acoustics offers more than a set list of consultation options.
The heart of all acoustic issues is the actual experience of sound within a space by real human ears - not just an abstract physics formula. We are dedicated to using our expertise to craft specific, efficient solutions to any acoustic or audiovisual challenge you might be facing.
Is your office or business experiencing too much noise from next door?
Are you building a home theater or studio and need additional expertise?
Is noise pollution from a nearby freeway interfering with your work?
Perhaps there is an electrical hum in your system that you can't trace?
Is it hard to hear your customers or co-workers because the room is so "loud"?
...We love solving problems like these, and pride ourselves on crafting lean and creative designs.
Contact us today to schedule a free initial phone consultation.
We look forward to learning about your project!
We're here to help, and we're happy to offer a free phone consultation to get the process started. Please give us as much context as you can in writing below, and we'll reach out to set up a time for a call.