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One room studio with loft space - help
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ocolon
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7th February 2013
Old 7th February 2013
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One room studio with loft space - help

Hi everyone,

My wife and I bought a house last year that came with a guest house, and what I think is a great spot for my home studio. At the very least, it's a separate space where I can go at any hour and 'have at it'.

The main issue I am facing is that it will essentially be a 'one room studio'. It measures about 25ft x 23ft, and has a loft space that measures about 12ft x 19ft (see pictures below).

I am not sure on the layout, and I initially thought to make the loft the control room, but an engineer friend of mine said "Absolutely not. Put it on the ground floor.", and then starting talking to me about bass rumble and other stuff I couldn't really comprehend on the fly.

So I am not sure how to go about this, and I am not advanced enough to have the formula to make an educated decision. I will have to rely on advice. Based on the attached figures, does it sound like my friend is onto something? Is there a reason to not put the control room upstairs? Bass rumble? Ceiling shape? Anything else not already mentioned? Or do you think it's the better spot, leaving all the mics and performers downstairs?

(FYI...I will have two drum kits setup, a couple of guitar amps, a bass cabinet, a Wurlitzer...to give you an idea of what gear I will have to place)
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One room studio with loft space - help-studio.jpg   One room studio with loft space - help-studioloft.jpg  
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7th February 2013
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If you can figure out the loft asymmetry, put monitors up there.
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7th February 2013
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Not sure if that was a gentle nudge in the proper direction, or more of a "Yeah...GOOD LUCK with that." type of response.

I fear both, actually.
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7th February 2013
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You have a lot of big gear, it will obviously take space on the floor, be impractical to lift up a diddly ladder (well, not drums), and color your speaker tone if too close to the speakers. Also, if drums sound good up in the loft, why shouldn't the speakers?
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7th February 2013
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If I were to keep the "control room" downstairs, I would leave the drum kits down there, and probably the Wurly and bass rig. Would just put the guitar amps up there...or some variation of that. As you said, it would be impractical to put all of the instruments up top.

My biggest question is regarding whatever "bass" rumble my friend was talking about. Is he onto something with the space between the floor joists being hollow? Asymmetry can be dealt with...but I am not sure how to tackle that if it is a problem...besides putting the monitors on the lower level.
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7th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpusOfTrolls View Post
Also, if drums sound good up in the loft, why shouldn't the speakers?
BAM! I just had the same thought; if it wouldn't be good for the monitors, than why would a guitar amp work up there...or anything.

I'm just going to roll with Plan A. Thanks, Opus.
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7th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocolon View Post
BAM! I just had the same thought; if it wouldn't be good for the monitors, than why would a guitar amp work up there...or anything.

I'm just going to roll with Plan A. Thanks, Opus.
Close micing amps reduces room sound.

Just fill the cavities in the floor and start testing speaker locations. You don't want walls with hollow cavities, makes for very poor acoustics.
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7th February 2013
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It looks like a really cool space that has a lot of potential to be amazing. I suggest taking your time in planning, and look at lots of different options. The loft might work as a control room, or might work better just as a place to lounge. The more carefully you plan your work, the better your results will be.

Be sure to keep us updated!!
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26th February 2013
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Ok, I opted to put the control room upstairs. Again, I really have little knowledge of the formulas/theories used to create a great space, so be gentle.

I decided to put my desk in a position that utilized what symmetry the loft does have. The only difference is that along the left side you have the wood wall/windows, and on the right side you have open air overlooking the lower level. Is this an issue? From the photos I have posted, does anyone suggest a different layout, and why? The only other conscious decision I made, besides putting it upstairs and facing a certain direction, was to not put the desk all the way back in the recessed area against the windows. Instinct told me that sonically would not be a good decision. Could be wrong, I don't know.

One thing I forgot to mention is that there is NO sheetrock on the ceilings. The ceilings are simply burlap fabric covering the spray foam insulation. I am not sure of the pros OR cons of this.

Thanks.
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27th August 2013
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Beautiful space. Hope it has treated you well since the last post on this thread!
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Finally have the room setup to be an acceptable working room.

Major differences from the original photos:

1. Got rid of pulldown attic ladder and replaced it with spiral staircase
2. Switched out ceiling fan for a 72" modern fan
3. Built a proper railing for the loft
4. Closed in all of the downstairs windows with 2" 703 fiber panels and plywood.
5. Replaced window a/c units with Samsung mini-split ductless heating/cooling system.

There is no treatment upstairs - I purchased Arc 2, and was blown away by the difference it made (it was really bass heavy upstairs). It is not ideal for critical mixing, but we are primarily going to use this room as a tracking room, and because of it's 'one-room' properties, we end up getting sounds through headphones anyway. This will probably change in the future as I grow another budget for upgrades - but I opted to pass on it at this point in time.





















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Regardless of any challenges you may have trying to accomplish symmetrical/flat acoustics, this place has mojo and vibe all day long! Congratulations and good luck on the music!
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LOOKS FANTASTIC! Good luck on the sounds If it sounds half as cool as it looks, you have nothing to worry about.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocolon View Post
One thing I forgot to mention is that there is NO sheetrock on the ceilings. The ceilings are simply burlap fabric covering the spray foam insulation. I am not sure of the pros OR cons of this
BTW- I dont know if the properties of the spray foam, i.e. whether or not it is open cell, but if it acts like regular glass or mineral insulation this might actually be a nice benefit taming down the room.

Out of curiousity, how would you describe the sound of the big area and the listening position upstairs? I realize this is totally subjective, just curious generally how much the burlap covered insulation sucks up, i.e. how live overall is it?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveGTR View Post
BTW- I dont know if the properties of the spray foam, i.e. whether or not it is open cell, but if it acts like regular glass or mineral insulation this might actually be a nice benefit taming down the room.
I think it does just what you propose, Steve - because the foam is so mis-shaped, I think it acts as somewhat of a diffusor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveGTR View Post
Out of curiousity, how would you describe the sound of the big area and the listening position upstairs?
The big area is live...primarily because the ceiling - burlap or not - is 17' at its highest point. I think if it were drywall, I would have to find a solution to tame it, like you mentioned above.

The loft area is bass heavy. That is why I purchased ARC 2. Well, actually I bought it to test it while we were considering sound treatment options. It arrived and I installed it, analyzed the space with the included mic, and I couldn't believe the difference in clarity of what was coming out of the speakers.

FYI...here is a link to the initial drum sounds we got after throwing the kit up. There was no focus on trying to capture a certain sound here, just a primary test of some of the new mics we got in, the room, etc.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/v3nr3p5vqx...weatherNew.wav

We have AKG 414lxii's as overheads, AKG D112 in the kick, 57's on top and bottom snare, and a U87 upstairs in the loft, right up against the railing facing outward. Note - there is only a smidge of the U87 in this less-than-a-rough mix. Though there are 421's on the tom's in the pics...there are no mics on the toms in this sample - it's all overheads and a little of the room mic.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocolon;10017788[url
https://www.dropbox.com/s/v3nr3p5vqx2mlmd/DrumSetupFairweatherNew.wav[/url]

We have AKG 414lxii's as overheads, AKG D112 in the kick, 57's on top and bottom snare, and a U87 upstairs in the loft, right up against the railing facing outward. Note - there is only a smidge of the U87 in this less-than-a-rough mix. Though there are 421's on the tom's in the pics...there are no mics on the toms in this sample - it's all overheads and a little of the room mic.
Jesus, man. Sounds like a great room!
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love the space man! looks amazing
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Thanks, iandyha and mharmon1.
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looks and sounds great
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Thanks, Electro.
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Agreed,the room sounds great!
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that room looks and sounds amazing!!!
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Looks great and sound great!

Wouldn't it just be a easy idea to just close down that upper section from the rest by a double dry wall with a window + door. Like studio2 of Abbey Road ?
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Creepy spider shadow on the ceiling, lol
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Love it....this is exactly the type of space I dream to have. I have a good friend with a studio outside Toronto which is same setup. Loft control room and downstairs is tracking. When you sit at the desk you look out over the woods outside Orangeville. Inspiring and great sounds from the room. We often set up mics in the loft looking over the edge into the live room or point them at the ceiling on angles to capture amazing room sounds.

So jealous....wish I could find a space like this!!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeMauce View Post
Looks great and sound great!
Thanks, dude.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeMauce View Post
Wouldn't it just be a easy idea to just close down that upper section from the rest by a double dry wall with a window + door. Like studio2 of Abbey Road ?
That's a possibility for the future, but initially the budget constraints left us working with the structure as is. Now that I've got the room setup, I would be a little leery at losing whatever benefit the open loft brings to the sound of the room, or being able to set a mic up there. At this point, closing it in would only be done because it seems like the 'right' thing to do. I have really embraced that I do have a one room cottage studio, and it is phenomenal. I was concerned about the limitations of having to get sounds with cans on, but we did it, and I think the test sounds are pretty great. So then something that was a concern becomes a non-issue. It just then becomes, "Well, this is how you get sounds at Fairweather Studio." It becomes it's own little quirky thing - and I like that.

That's not to say I won't ever close it in. I'll just need a good reason to.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpusOfTrolls View Post
Creepy spider shadow on the ceiling, lol
I wasn't the only one that spotted that, then. Ha.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spurratic View Post
I have a good friend with a studio outside Toronto which is same setup. Loft control room and downstairs is tracking. When you sit at the desk you look out over the woods outside Orangeville. Inspiring and great sounds from the room. We often set up mics in the loft looking over the edge into the live room or point them at the ceiling on angles to capture amazing room sounds.
Maybe you could snap some pics next time you are there, and post them here? Would love to see the setup.
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