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Studio in a caravan, am I crazy…
Old 11th September 2009
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Question Studio in a caravan, am I crazy…


Ok so I am putting together a studio in a large caravan with an annex of the side until I finish my actual studio which is taking way too long..
The caravan itself is about 13 meters long and about 2.5 meters wide, and 7 foot ceiling it is a huge caravan, I am using one end as the control room and the other end as a sort of a guitar iso room. The annex of the side is about 3.5 meters wide and 6m long with about a 7 foot ceiling at one end that slops down about a 6 feet.. this is the drum room

So now I need to treat this odd setup and I just don’t now the best way to do it, I need to make it as good as I can and would like to make as much of the acoustic treatment as I can to save cash..
Any ideas??
Old 11th September 2009
  #2
Gear Addict
 
Freematik's Avatar
 

I thought you were talking about a Dodge Caravan, which would be crazy:

But besides the low ceiling, seems like it shouldn't be too bad, dimensions-wise...

-Free
Attached Thumbnails
Studio in a caravan, am I crazy…-dodge-caravan-air-suspension-kit.jpg  
Old 11th September 2009
  #3
Gear Addict
 

To my mind, it's a bit too small to divide into separate control and iso rooms. You'd be (acoustically) better off tracking with headphones.
Sound insulation is going to be very difficult, most caravans have a rather flimsy outer shell. So you might need to drive into the field to mix at reasonable volume :-)
Old 11th September 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Weasel9992's Avatar
 

Yeah...don't divide it. I've seen a couple of situations like this work pretty well, but both of them have been post or network trucks.

Frank
Old 11th September 2009
  #5
Gear Guru
You are Crazy

Well you asked! However, chances are that a caravan would work pretty well. The walls are flimsy and are probably actually quite good at bass trapping. I would buy or build RFZ/Cloud panels. A good 4 inch Cloud with a gap above would be advisable with such a low ceiling. Make them well, or buy the commercial one, they will be equally useful in the final build.
DD
Old 13th September 2009
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

cheers for the advice! i will post up some pic once it is done
Old 13th September 2009
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

hehheh good one

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freematik View Post
I thought you were talking about a Dodge Caravan, which would be crazy:

But besides the low ceiling, seems like it shouldn't be too bad, dimensions-wise...

-Free
Old 13th September 2009
  #8
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Lightbulb

Some of you folks may already know that I've built six mobile units for Aura-Sonic; well, four and a half, since Elroy is so darn close to being finished (I can smell the bread baking) and Cosmo is still in the works.

In any event, I’ve learned a few things along the way.
To create enough isolation you need mass and that weights a lot.
Considering that fact that most remote trucks are built with MDF panels, lead or sound deadening vinyl – that stuff is seriously heavy. Don’t forget all the racks of equipment and ancillary gear you will be hauling. You must make sure the vehicle’s suspension can handle it. If not, you’re in a heap of trouble if you don’t modify the suspension to handle the extra load.

I designed a second room for Cosmo, but the dividing wall will be a movable and removable soft wall system that will separate the (noisy) machine room and entrance way from the control cabin. We shall be using custom made quilted fiberglass absorber panels for the dividing wall. Four of these panels shall be mounted on a track system, so they can be moved into place creating the dividing wall or wall with entrance way or completely out of the way. Each panel shall have a transparent vinyl window. This will not completely stop the sound of a Marshall stack, but (in my case) will help isolate all the fan noise and such.

Elroy was designed to be a mobile studio, not just a control room.
We have tracked four to seven piece bands in there.
We’ve done vocal, brass, strings, percussion overdubs in there with no problems whatsoever.
We have thrown in a few Tube Traps, but there are no walls to isolate the instruments, just good mic’ing techniques.

I hope this helped!

Good luck on your mobile build-out project.
Old 14th September 2009
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

thanks for the info, my set up is not mobile though the caravan is in a permanent so its just a matter of getting the best sound out of a small space
Old 14th September 2009
  #10
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
That's a whole other story.

Do you have any pictures you can show us?
Old 15th September 2009
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

I will post some soon, cheers
Old 16th September 2009
  #12
Lives for gear
 

John Sayers' Recording Studio Design Forum • View topic - Studio in a Container
Its only slightly smaller than your caravan so you could do the same kind of thing.

Actually the container was only recently sold.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/austr...udio-sale.html
Old 17th September 2009
  #13
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freematik View Post
I thought you were talking about a Dodge Caravan.
That car looks more like a Chrysler Voyager to me. heh

At the PLASA show yesterday I did see a mobile studio with a massive Calrec desk built into a caravan.
Old 18th September 2009
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
That car looks more like a Chrysler Voyager to me. heh

At the PLASA show yesterday I did see a mobile studio with a massive Calrec desk built into a caravan.
cool, id like to see that, you dont have any pics do ya??
Old 18th September 2009
  #15
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Chris,

How are those pictures you promised us coming along?
I'm looking forward in seeing what you have to work with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Innocence View Post
cool, id like to see that, you dont have any pics do ya??
Old 19th September 2009
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post
Chris,

How are those pictures you promised us coming along?
I'm looking forward in seeing what you have to work with.
hey mate,
i'll try get some done tomorrow.. sorry its taking so long, been flat out
Old 19th September 2009
  #17
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
No worries.
I'm intrigued by your build-out project.
Old 21st September 2009
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

well of course the camera doesn’t work!!!!!! will borrow a mates and get some snaps asap. look forward to hearing some ideas on how best to work with the space
Old 2nd August 2018
  #19
Here for the gear
 
MsGravity's Avatar
 

Mobile Studio (Caravan)

I'm working on a similar project but my aim is to record live acoustic jams while traveling Australia . I have a 16ft caravan (I know it's a bit small) though I am only planning on having 6-8 people max at any one time.

It has been completely gutted walls, roof and all.

I have been researching different materials to use for acoustic treatment.

Would anyone have any ideas for what I should use for the walls?

My main focus right now is flooring, it currently has thick ply as flooring though I want to put another layer of ply (not as thick) with spaces and the right dense material to absorb sound.

Would appreciate any input for my mobile recording project.

Cheers
Old 2nd August 2018
  #20
Lives for gear
The caravan's suspension (leaf springs) should prevent too much very low frequency rumble coming through...so I'm assuming you want to block everyday sounds: traffic, aircraft, lawnmowers etc ?

Will you be recording in urban areas or out of towns ? Some layering of various materials...eg carpet tiles on top of the plywood, perhaps with lino (linoleum) on top of that.

Maybe some medium thickness pile carpet finally should stop foot movements from transmitting horizontally across the floor surface...and the layering of floor coverings should help a lot. Cork floor tiles could help, although they probably don't have enough mass.

Since it's on the small side for a studio, your biggest bane will be the 'small bedroom sound' syndrome, where echoes off the ceiling and walls will lead to it sounding a bit bathroomy. So plan on deadening it as much as possible to prevent these reflections, even to the extent of carpet on the walls and ceiling (of appropriate pile depth and density).

Of course, it'll sound dry and dead.... but that's preferable to lively and boxy and small (like recording inside your kitchen pantry cupboard !)

In terms of acoustic isolation, it'll never be the match of a bricks and mortar studio, so just aim to minimize proximity to outside sounds as much as possible...which will determine where you park it. You won't keep out the roar of a Harley riding past, but you can reduce it quite a lot.

Don't forget the windows can transmit noise also...can you eliminate them (and yet still allow for airflow on a 40 degrees day in summer ?)

Due to Australia's temperature extremes, it's hard to create a 12 months per year mobile studio: rain on the roof in winter, blazing sun will make it uninhabitable in summer (without aircon)...but you should still get 6-8 months of habitable comfort per year ?
Old 2nd August 2018
  #21
Gear Guru
Limp Bag

The light walls of a caravan will let bass pass through. This is a great start. As Newell called it, a limp bag.
There is a really nice studio built into a shipping container or two. That should inspire you. You will find it at johnlsayers.com
Spark.

DD
Old 3rd August 2018
  #22
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MsGravity's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
So I'm assuming you want to block everyday sounds: traffic, aircraft, lawnmowers etc ?
Yeah that would be suitable though I am planning to find areas that are off track and quiet when deciding to record.


Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Will you be recording in urban areas or out of towns?
The city and towns are no place for me, out back will always result in any movements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Some layering of various materials...eg carpet tiles on top of the plywood, perhaps with lino (linoleum) on top of that.Maybe some medium thickness pile carpet finally should stop foot movements from transmitting horizontally across the floor surface...and the layering of floor coverings should help a lot. Cork floor tiles could help, although they probably don't have enough mass.
Cheers, good thinking, I will experiment with various ideas and let my ears figure the best way.


Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
plan on deadening it as much as possible to prevent these reflections, even to the extent of carpet on the walls and ceiling (of appropriate pile depth and density).
Nice tip I will for sure. I also thought to put dense foam inside the walls before laying with thin ply.

Do you think foam is the way to go between the outer caravan walls and the inner?


Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
In terms of acoustic isolation, it'll never be the match of a bricks and mortar studio, so just aim to minimize proximity to outside sounds as much as possible...
I am not entirely going for a completely isolated sound, something a bit rough/organic is the sound I am looking for. I just need general creeks and cracks of the world kept to a minimum especially when working with a calm song with maybe only two guitars and a singer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Don't forget the windows can transmit noise also...can you eliminate them (and yet still allow for airflow on a 40 degrees day in summer ?)
I won't remove them but I just had a thought of creating roll out foam covers (You know that lumpy bumpy foam stuff) either way I'll see how it all sounds, some afternoons I may just want the sound of a particular bird outside to join in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Due to Australia's temperature extremes, it's hard to create a 12 months per year mobile studio: rain on the roof in winter, blazing sun will make it uninhabitable in summer (without aircon)...but you should still get 6-8 months of habitable comfort per year ?
I am planning on only recording at night during the summer or late afternoon. Winter should be pretty cozy.

Location is no issue, I have a 400w solar set up which will run my laptop and equipment.
Old 3rd August 2018
  #23
Lives for gear
I think you've got the right idea...accepting that external noises are best avoided by simply relocating a few hundred metres up the track (and maybe you'll want to leave the door or windows open to let the sounds of crickets, cicadas, galahs and frogs in occasionally!) Rain and hailstones could be your worst adversary ....and you just wait a few hours around that anyway, until it stops.

Regarding windows, you might want to consider either replacing conventional glass with a thicker acrylic see-through material (sometimes called plexiglass) It's cheaper than glass, you can cut it with a saw, or else adding a layer of it to the existing windows, it will work somewhat like double glazing. If you rap a pane of regular glass with your knuckle, it rings somewhat...if you do the same to plexiglass, you get a dull thud.

Use the knuckle test on hard materials...it's a good bush-mechanic test of whether it's going to transmit sounds or block them...the dull thunk sound is a good sign ! If you have a ceiling window/vent, consider making a good double-rubber seal around it...as it can allow sounds to enter if poorly sealed.

Regarding foam inside the walls, can you source the dense rubbery matting that goes inside car doors or under car carpets...it's a sort of flexible, rubber/bitumen/tar compound which stops road noise from intruding into car interiors....sold in sheets: Amazon.com: Noico 50 mil 50 sqft car Sound deadening mat, butyl automotive Sound Deadener, audio Noise Insulation and dampening (50 mil 50 sqft): Automotive

I reckon you're on the right track...and make sure the flooring is well attached with tech screws to avoid any creaks and groans...then layer it with the various lino sheets and carpets to dampen any footfalls.
Old 3rd August 2018
  #24
Lives for gear
As am alternative to the engine bay bituminous pads, a suggestion in another thread here on traffic noise reduction brings up an alternative: Noise Barrier Fence 1200 x 2400 mm – Noise Barrier Tarp

This is used to prevent the transmission of construction noise: "Our noise barrier fence is made of four different noise barrier materials: PVC, sound absorption wool, mass loaded vinyl, and fiberglass fabric. The temporary noise barrier fence panels are quick and easy to install in noisy street works. They help utility companies and their contractors reduce noise pollution, so you can do street work at any time of day and night with as less complaint as possible"

Noise Barriers Fences Specification
Thickness: 18mm
Size: 1200x2400mm (can be customized)
Structure: 4 layer
Acoustic Performance: 27dB reduction

It's made in China, and I have no idea of the cost...but if you can buy some of the large blankets used by furniture removal companies to protect pianos and other delicate easily damaged furniture, you could achieve something similar in noise reduction by sandwiching it between the inner and outer wall layers.
Old 5th August 2018
  #25
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MsGravity's Avatar
 

Awesome tips! I will definitely use that heavy car rubber material.

I am pretty excited to get into this, I am approximating it will take a few months as I will also be building all of the furniture into the caravan though keeping it as open plan as possible.

I will be making a new thread here to document the progress with photos
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