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Floor and ceiling in a barn studio!
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remsouille
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25th March 2013
Old 25th March 2013
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Building a studio in an old french barn!

Hey Sluts!!

Long time reader, first-time poster!! I just started building my studio in my ol' family's barn here in western France. Sound isolation is not the main issue, we just want a room that sounds great for tracking drums.
The cool thing about the room being in a barn is that the walls won't be parallel. The room would be 7meters long, 3m40 large at on end, 3m at the other end, all wooden walls.
Now i have two questions.
First, we have to determine the ceiling height. The limit here would be 5 or 6 meters, which I believe is quite high for a room of that size. Obviously, 7m long by 3,5 meters large is really off ratio, so one of our options, if we refer to say a Sepmeyer ratio (1:1,14:1,39), would be to build a 3meters high ceiling, and put sliding or movable walls which would, when needed, give us a drum booth that fits in the ratio.
Would it be overkill? Or should we just leave the room as his, treat it a little and benefit from a higher ceiling? What height do you think would be good in a room that size?

My second question is about the flooring. We now have a concrete slab. I know I want a wooden floor. Because of the look and the feel. I know how bad floating decks can be when installed improperly. Once again, isolation is not an issue, feel and sound (and cost) are.
My idea was to screw 2" beams in the concrete, fill them with sand and nail/screw planks over it (that's kind of what we do in this part of the country). Is it a good idea? Do you have any other?

Thank's a lot for your help!
Rémi
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25th March 2013
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Remi,

Use construction adhesive and GLUE the planks to the concrete. OR you could lay 'sleepers' like you described but space them about 12" or 30cm apart. This small spacing raises the wooden floor resonance so that it is easily damped.

My recommendation for the room is; hard boundaries are your friend when dealing with ratios.. and Bigger really IS better. So, go with the highest ceiling you can possibly get.
Honestly, I would forget about trying to match a known ratio for this room and make it as large as possible, asymmetrical, with various surface types. And most of all; HAVE FUN with it.

Cheers,
John
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remsouille
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25th March 2013
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Thank's a lot John, I had not even thought about glueing the wooden floor, great idea!!
I can do pretty much what I want with the ceiling, so I figure angle it would be a good idea. (?) Maybe I shouldn't build it too high, the room is already very long, I'm afraid having it higher than wide would just make it feel like a station hall, don't you think?
So maybe I could start at say 3,3meters on the shallowest side of the room and raise it to 4meters on the widest side... Thinking out loud here, what do you think about it?
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25th March 2013
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Is this a live room, control room or combo of the 2?

As far as volume goes - I would lean towards as much volume as I could pull off - large increases in room volume are pretty much always your friend acoustically.

Rod
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25th March 2013
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Hey there Rod, thanks for joining in, your book has been on my bedside for a while now...
It is a live room only, the control room will be in another part of the barn.
Ok, then I'll probably start around 3,5 meters and climb up to 4meters or even more (as high as I can afford actually).
Thank you both for your help, I'll post some pictures asap!!

Rémi
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26th March 2013
Old 26th March 2013
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Rémi,

My pleasure.....

A lead guitarist (and one of my best friends) had a live room on the 2nd floor of a huge barn - and it had the most amazing sound field without him doing anything to it - so make sure you check it out real well first.

The fact that you don't need isolation is a huge plus in your favor.

Good luck and make sure to let us know how things work out.

Rod
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26th March 2013
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Quote:
so make sure you check it out real well first
Ha! It's the first room I ever design, so although I read your book and know how I wan't it to sound like, I'm still a little in the "try and see" way of thinking... I aim for a very live sounding room, and I'm almost only producing rock music, so I'm not looking for super pretty high fidelity acoustics, I want it to have attitude (are these two statements even compatible, I don't quite know...).
I guess I can't go wrong with un-parallel wooden walls, can I?? My idea was to frame the walls with vertical wooden planks in the first place and then replace some with fiberglass until I get desired absorption. Is there anything else I could do to avoid treatment as much as possible??
Cheers!
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26th March 2013
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In my live rooms I lean towards wood slat/slot finishes - non parallel surfaces, etc.

You are beginning with an outside shell that doesn't offer a ton of isolation so you are already ahead of the curve.......

As I mentioned earlier - if I did not have to do anything acoustically I wouldn't - however I am also of the opinion that it is pretty much useless to bother trying to test a live room..... so in those spaces it is all about how it works to your ears.

Now - before I get "jumped on" about not testing these spaces and we open up a flame war in your thread I'll explain my thinking on this subject.

In a control room you sit in a relatively specific location - so your ears are pretty much in the same location, and the sound source is always the same. Testing makes a ton of sense to get the best sound for the combination of speakers to ears.... and fine tune from that point forward.

However - in a live room sound sources might be anywhere in the room - your buddy walks into the room to set up his amp and the odds of it being in exactly the same place (or even the same amp) tomorrow as it was last week is pretty slim....

Also - everyone's ears are going to be anywhere except for in the same space...

So IMHO a live room is all about what sounds good to you, if you are recording in the space the intelligent use of gobos and mic placement/selections can go a long way towards ending up with some great results even in some pretty bad rooms.

Now - that having been said - if you end up deciding to construct some interior surfaces - I would always lean towards slat walls - with plenty of insulation behind them (standard fluffy insulation works well in large cavities - no need to get fancy in those cases) make those walls so they are not parallel to one another - at least a 12 degree variance between opposite wall faces. The intent here is to make the route the sound has to travel long enough that before it can meet itself head on it simply has too little energy to really cause any large acoustical damage......

Good luck,

Rod
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26th March 2013
Old 26th March 2013
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Quote:
You are beginning with an outside shell that doesn't offer a ton of isolation so you are already ahead of the curve.......
Don't get me wrong, when I say isolation is not an issue, it's because my outside shell is 25cm of poured hempcrete, massive and airtight. So I expect we won't have much to do after that to get the desired isolation (which is not a big deal anyway).
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19th August 2013
Old 19th August 2013
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Hey There everyone. Live room construction is going well, I'll post pics asap! Now comes the time for me to design the control room..... What a pain in the a**!!
Good things first:
-my dimensions fit Louden ratio n°1 1:1,40:1,90 with 283*397*538cm. Not exactly a big room, but not so small either.
-Isolation, once again, is not a major issue.

I would like to keep things as simple as possible, so my first question is: should I aim for an RFZ design, or should I keep my walls parallel and treat them where needed?
I'm concerned about volume loss if I was to aim for RFZ, so I would personally prefer to keep them parallel.
I use Focal CMS65 and JBL 4310 speakers, if it has any influence in the choice I should make.

Second question: If I was to keep my walls parallel, would an angled ceiling still be a good idea? Would 12° be enough or would more angle have any influence other than increasing construction material cost? And in order to stay in the ratio, should I lower the front side and higher the back side so I still have desired height in the middle? Like the green figure on this wonderful drawing?


I still have dozens of questions, but these seem to be the most important right now, any help appreciated!

Thanks!!

Rémi
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19th August 2013
Old 19th August 2013
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Ceiling

Why have you included a ceiling?
Why not use all of the height.
If you do want a ceiling to cut down decay time or to place lights on...LOL then a fully absorbent ceiling would be great. No need for an angle in that case.
If you leave your wall parallel you can still install angle fronted traps on each side. Take a look over at johnlsayers.com
DD
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19th August 2013
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remsouille
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19th August 2013
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Hey dandan thanks for chiming in!
I didn't think about using all of the height because of this damn ratio thing... Do you really think it would make things easier? It would probably make them more expensive...
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20th August 2013
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Ratio

You are welcome. The ratio predictions only come true in a fully hard boundary scenario. If there are layers of deep fibre treatment, e.g. overhead, sound slows down in the fibre and the effective dimension changes. Also your roof is angled. I would just avoid any really obvious nasty ratios.
If you really don't have an isolation requirement or even if you do (Rain?) , I say use the space overhead to advantage. There is something really great about sound going up and not returning.
DD
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20th August 2013
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Well, this has to be seriously considered.... the highest point is something like 6m....
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20th August 2013
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Would it be a good idea to build a straight absorbant ceiling as high as I can afford (say 3,5/4m) that would benefit from the roof angle at the front end, like this?
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20th August 2013
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or combine with your first idea and slant the blue ceiling portion up and then add angled (down) clouds (including hard panels embedded) in the back of the room for trapping and some energy retention to the back of the room seating.
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20th August 2013
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You mean something like that?

That was my initial intention. Is it a good idea to get rid of the corners with absorbant angles like that, or is it best to build them and put traps in??
Thank's!!
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20th August 2013
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Higher

remi, do you have an actual need for this internal hard ceiling? e.g. Is Rain on the roof audible? You might want to take a look over at Tornadoe Teds roof/ceiling/treatment discussion. EDIT in when I find it.
If so, I like the idea in post 16, but I would go higher. It's just something I have noticed over years as a live sound mixer, then a recording engineer, then acoustician. Every space I particulary liked had a high and or completely absorbent ceiling.
DD
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20th August 2013
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i would make the corner in the back and use angled treatments so you can build in a lot more trapping.
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21st August 2013
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The Final Frontier

+1 use the space one way or another for extensive trapping, but don't just simply seal it off.
DD
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21st August 2013
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I would have to see the footprint of the space before making any suggestions as to design..... but you have a ton of space there that can be utilized for room treatments - I would not make any quick decisions regarding geometry before looking at all of this carefully.

As far as the room's footprint goes - personally I would opt for the largest outside foot print I could (rectangular in nature) and then would develop my room finishes inside of that - you can create reflection free zones easily through the use of interior finishes while using the voids created behind those finishes for low frequency control........

If I were designing a control room in this space I would most probably end up with the ratio of somewhere in the range of 40% utilized as finished space and 60% of the volume as room treatments.

As a piece of that approach I would not reverse the ceiling frame in the back 1/3rd (or whatever) of the room - it would be low in the front of the room and highest in the back of the room...... again in order to maximize the overall volume of the room as well as making use of that additional volume for LF treatments.....

You can do anything you want inside the room from a finish point of view to deal with upper mids and high frequencies - but once you establish the frame you cannot create more room volume.

Rod
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21st August 2013
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Hey there Rod! So, after all the input you guys provided and considering the building's structure, we decided to use as much height as we reasonably can. We definitely won't be able to go all the way to the top (more in the 7meters range), but 5m is doable. It would look something like this:

The idea is to make everything red absorbent. This means, we'll just build a frame to put fiberglass in, and we'll cover everything with cloth in the inner shell, with the outer shell being the roof on the slanted side, and osb or something similar for the ceiling (not drywall, as we'ld probably use the space left over for storage or whatever).
This means less material cost and a much easier construction for us. Does it seem like a good idea?
Also would it be a good idea to keep the top of the walls (the red fill on the drawing) absorbent as well? Again in an attempt to avoid having to put drywall up there and to have as much absorbtion as possible in the highest parts of the room?
My main concern is: what am I to do with the vapor barrier on the fiberglass? I know it should be facing inside the room, but what about absorbtion then? Is there a solution for this?
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21st August 2013
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Good

High will obviously keep me happy....;-)
There was another thread somewhat similar to this. A CR with very low ceiling at one side and very high at the other. There were different opinions as to where to place the speakers. I favoured at the higher part as this would move more boundary further away from the speakers.
The point being, have you considered the other way round?
If it is a practical option, I suggest testing both locations acoustically. Use the one with better LF, better Waterfall graph.
DD
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22nd August 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remsouille View Post
....we'll just build a frame to put fiberglass in, and we'll cover everything with cloth in the inner shell, with the outer shell being the roof on the slanted side, and osb or something similar for the ceiling (not drywall, as we'ld probably use the space left over for storage or whatever).
This means less material cost and a much easier construction for us. Does it seem like a good idea?
Fabric cover and absorption fill is a great idea. Keep in mind that the use of lighter materials like osb or similar is not preferable to drywall for your sound-proofing. You may possibly require more mass on the ceiling since there is less space between the interior partition and the actual roof partition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by remsouille View Post
Also would it be a good idea to keep the top of the walls (the red fill on the drawing) absorbent as well? Again in an attempt to avoid having to put drywall up there and to have as much absorbtion as possible in the highest parts of the room?
No problem as long as you won't need isolation from the elements. But I think you will need to drywall it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by remsouille View Post
My main concern is: what am I to do with the vapor barrier on the fiberglass? I know it should be facing inside the room, but what about absorbtion then? Is there a solution for this?
For wall cavity absorption; vapor barrier next to the interior of the room. For acoustic treatment; get rid of the vapor barrier - OR place it AWAY from the room interior. You can add layers of insulation in the ceiling cloud with the frk away from the room interior - no problem.

Cheers,
John
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22nd August 2013
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Hey there John!
So you mean layering it like that (from in to out): fabric > rigid insulation > vapor barrier >fluffy insulation > ceiling/roof ??
Wouldn't that mean that humidity would condense in the rigid fiberglass? The building's structure is wood, so that would be a problem.
Would a thin plastic film between the fabric and the insulation act the same as the vapor barrier (as well as containing any fiber that might want to get out?
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22nd August 2013
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Remi,

Not a good idea for a partition wall...

IF this is only 'treatment' then you don't need to worry about a vapor barrier. That is what I meant by my last post. - there are two parts to my post:

1. IF it is for cavity insulation/absorption, place the vapor barrier towards the room interior.

2. IF it is for treatment... TEAR IT OFF! you don't need a vapor barrier for treatment.

IF you are trying to combine treatment with wall construction... ~Jedi mind trick~ You need to go back and rethink your plan.

Because you WILL need some isolation... and you WILL need to build an interior shell for the studio room. Whether it is a control room or tracking room. Tracking rooms usually require higher isolation levels as well.

Cheers,
John
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22nd August 2013
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The thing is, and no disrespect meant here, I don't really need that isolation. I've been mixing in an adjacent building with the same layering for some time now(roof> 20cm fluffy fiberglass> wooden slats so spaced they really don't provide much isolation), and had no problem with sound coming in or out, and I plan on using 20cm fluffy and 10cm rigid for this room, so....
The place is really damn quiet and there is no neighbours within 20/30 meters, so.... Is there any other reason why I shouldn't do it this way (like humidity problems or whatever)? Because it really seems like the simplest thing to do...
Cheers and thanks for the good advice!
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23rd August 2013
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Remi,

Thanks for the info!

Okay then. Place the vapor barrier ON the building framing to the inside of the room. This means that you will have some insulation on the outside part of the barrier. Once the room is 'sealed' with the vapor barrier, you can proceed to add treatments without worry. But be careful, this must be perfectly sealed to prevent moisture ingress & to provide an effective barrier.

Then proceed as previously outlined with your treatment.

Cheers,
John
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17th September 2013
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Hey there everyone!

I guess John's concerns about isolation finally made their way into my head... So we decided to build a box with 2 layers of drywall, and treat it afterwards!
Here is what the place should soon look like:


THe room would be 4,55m high, 3,68m large and 5,05 long, which is not exactly big, put still pretty cool I guess!
The two angled corners in the backwall are a structural necessity, the door has to be this way and there would be a corridor running behind the other corner.
It still leaves us with 2,4m of corner height on each side to put basstraps in, which again I think is pretty cool!
The idea is to cover the back wall with insulation and frame it with wood (the way avatar studio is built in Rod's book).
My material supplier here stocks Knauf ecose products, which I'ld be happy to use!
So my first question is: Is fluffy insulation, something like 2" thick, ok for this backwall, or should I go rigid? The idea here is to treat reflections and let the bass traps handle the lo-freq, right?
Again, I'm not looking for a super dead and controlled room here, I still like my rooms to have a little life to them!

On the front wall, the idea is to soffit mount my jbl 4310 speakers. Most of the work, I do on my Focal nearfields, the Jbl would be there to control the low-end and for casual listening (I know there certainly are better speakers for this, but that's what I got and I kind of like those old boxes).

I did not settle for a precise sweetspot, as I am used to not stay so still when I'm mixing, and I think it's a good idea that the Jbl theoretical sweetspot should be further behind, as it makes them more enjoyable from the guy sitting in the couch's perspective.
The space under the JBL would, of course, be used for bass trapping.

As far as the ceiling is concerned, I stepped a little away from the idea of full absortion, and geared towards the cloud route. Stretching fabric all over this area would probably be a pain in the a**, and I don't think it would look good.
So the idea is still to have most of the ceiling absorbent, but to achieve so, we would build not one cloud but several, so that we can arrange them in a sight-pleasurable fashion, give them different shapes, well, have fun, you know.
We would of course also put panels on the side walls at early ref points.

RS45 and RS60 rigid fiberglass boards (45 and 60 being density kg/m3) seem to be the most suitable Knauf products for panel construction.
What would be the best choice of density and thickness for my different applications? 4" for the side walls? Thicker for the clouds?

Thank's a lot to all, and thank you John for pushing me to do the right thing
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