Disclaimer: This is for the die hard studio construction slutz only and definitely not for those who feel there is no need for another studio construction thread... I promise that none of my posts will be longer than this first one
I agonized quite a while over posting another studio construction thread, but since I hope to offer a different version on this topic, I decided to post anyways...
Most of the threads seem to cover constructions that include one control room with attached recording spaces. We are building three rooms: a Mastering room, a multi-purpose 5.1 control room with attached iso booth and an Edit Suite – also with attached iso booth. It’s not a huge facility, but handling up to three projects at the same time brings up different problems than the average studio construction, especially regarding isolation.
To get a better idea where we are comming from and what this is all about, I included a brief evolutionary description of our current studio and how the idea for the new studio evolved:
We started business in 1995 in our current location as a music production based, single room studio. Business grew, and we added a second room in 2000. Arround that time we sucessfully specialized in Mixing, so we added an SSL 6056 and rebuilt studio A in 2001.
Already somewhere back in 1996 we bought an M5000 with the MD2 software. We were getting a decent sound with the MD2 package for finalizing mixes and since there where no mastering studios in Vienna that could produce professional sounding masters by international standards, we started getting the occational mastering job - whenever it was not feasable to go to the big facilities in London or New York for a project.
Over the years we started collecting more and more specialized gear, experience and reputation for mastering. For many years we wanted to build a dedicated mastering room – but our existing location was maxed out spacewise, and after a while we realized that if we would wait for some neighbour to move out and make room for us, we could be waiting for years...
Since relocation into a bigger facility would have been very expensive and with the current state of the music industry there would have been no way we could raise prices (which would have been be necessary with new rooms to replace the existing ones) we decided against it – and in January 2007 started looking for a place to rent, just to build a dedicated mastering studio.
I have to go back again, to explain the next step: About 2 years ago we started working on audio books (for one of the largest publishing companies worldwide). The customer was very happy and the workload has been continously growing ever since up to the point where we had to hire a dedicated engineer just for audio books - earlier this year.
So, after a couple of months of looking for space to build a mastering studio, we therefore started looking for a larger place that could take a second room for the audio books. Other clients got word of us building a new studio, and enough of them asked us if we then would be able to do thier 5.1 work as well for us to justify a dedicated room (# three). By end of May we reached the conclusion that with three new rooms in addition to our two existing rooms we could finally cover all our needs – and almost all the needs of our clients (with the exeption of free drugs and women...)
This IS getting long, I know, but I am almost through... End of May we found and rented a suitable location, and started looking for an acoustic consultant. We do have some very experienced acousticians available locally, but we wanted to build the studio to the highest standards – internationally, not locally – and therefore also started looking outside of our contry as well. We talked to many – from Germany to the US and while we were quite impressed with the work of those comming from the US, there always seemed to be a problem, simply because of the difference in language – which can be a huge problem since construction type guys arround here are not fluent in technical english... Also finding the products to match what is available in the US can be a major pain.
But finally we very happily found Gabriel Hauser of WSDG (Walters Storyk Design Group) who also have an office in switzerland – which is where Gabriel works. They have a very interesting corporate concept: Every one of their offices (and they have a lot of them around the globe) is specialized in one aspect of acoustic design. While ALL of the architectual drawings and concepts are comming from the New York office, eg acoustic simmulations and calculations ALWAYS come from their swiss office – no matter if they design a studio for Alicia Keys, Timbaland or anyone else arround the globe. Their workflow always stays the same. thumbsup
So here was our solution: With John Storyk we found the acoustic design and concept we were looking for, and with Gabriel Houser we got the local expert who bridges the gap between American acousitc design and European construction standards (Plus he is a hell of a nice guy...).
The last couple of months (starting end of July) have been spent analysing out needs, comming up with a basic concept, investigating many, many options and refining and boiling everything from basic sketches down to the final set of plans – which should be ready in a couple of days or so. Over the last month we also spent quite some time negotioating with various companies, evaluated quotes, talked, negotiated, evaluated, talked even more ...
BUT – now we’re almost done: We will finally start building within DAYS. Our local architect who is handling the construction is still waiting for a couple of details and delivery dates, but it seems that we will start building either October 31 or November 5...