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"LEF" and "Studio Scala" are building a new recording facility Control Surfaces
Old 22nd March 2010
  #1
Gear Nut
 

"LEF" and "Studio Scala" are building a new recording facility

Hi guys,

Since we started construction on our new place I've been following these threads. Its time to start my own and let you see what we are doing. We are already building for a year now so changes in layout are not going to happen anymore. This thread is mostly for you to enjoy and maybe to tell me that I'm nuts. First take a look at the plans, pictures will follow soon.






Old 22nd March 2010
  #2
Gear Nut
 

I found some more renderings, as you can see some `gaps` have to be closed before recording. The roof you see is the structural convex concrete part of it, there is a plasterboard ceiling hanging free under it now.




Old 22nd March 2010
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
G Davis's Avatar
Looks great. Who did the design and renderings?

Thanks!
Old 23rd March 2010
  #4
Gear Head
 

I'm looking forward to seeing you this build is shaping up. The plans and renderings that you've shared look like we will have quite a few treats to look forward to!
Old 23rd March 2010
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Thanks, I did all the design work myself together with my brother in law who was starting a architectual study at the time. He taught me "Archicad" and off I went. Because of the lack of acoustical design software we did it the old fassioned way, draw it, study the reflection lines, draw it again, study the reflection lines, draw it again, study the reflection lines, draw it again, study the reflection lines, draw it again, study the reflection lines, draw it again.....................................

Archicad is great and pretty intuitive to work with. You can slice you building everywhere to see whats happening, and if you walk through it in 3D you really see all the problems with connecting "leaning" walls you couldn´t possibly predict on a flat drawing.

Is this enough to build a great studio? No, I have had a great studio in Waalwijk (The Netherlands) until a year ago, when I sold the building and demolished the studiopart of it. This is where I learned a lot. That studio was build under supervision of Sean Davis from the UK and sounded great. (He also designed the 12kW main monitoring system I have taken with me ) You could litteraly throw a few mics in front of a drum kit and everything sounded great, possitioning wasn't an issue, whatever you did it sounded great. I also took the large glass CR-windows, it is great a 120 degree view of the studio.

I was very nervous when building of the walls and roof begun and where they were up I slowly walked to the middle and gently clapped my hands......walked around.....talking, clapping........and started shouting.................... yes.................................it worked.

Pictures will follow soon.
Old 23rd March 2010
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Building the foundation: I designed a concrete structure that could support the inmence heavy walls and roof and still being totally disconnected from the existing slab. This is because sound proofing from the inside out is not the issue but I need to keep the subsonics out produced by the jet fighters of the airbase not more than a mile away.



Pouring the foundation with 7 m3 (1849 gallons)with a pump




The walls are made of something we call in holland "chalksandstone" (free translation) elements. These are 90 x 21,4 x 64,5 cm. (35.4 x 8,4 x 25.4 inch) and weigh about 225 kilo's (496 lb) each. This is the first shipment coming in, we need of about 400 of these blocks/elements for the outer wall.



This is a nice and fast way to put up walls





I promissed my son he could be in the story as well, so here we go.

Building inspector with his Grandfather overseeing the build.



Overview of the progress, This is one day of glueing walls. As you can see the walls are curved/angled. There are no parralels or 90 degree angles.

Old 23rd March 2010
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Rockwooling everything up with 2 layers of 6 cm (4.7 inch)



I saw when taking down the old studio that rockwool isn't that stable over time so I decided to put a layer of synthetic felt over it so it would stay in place.



I don't mind spending money to make a nice studio, but spending money on small pieces of metal to hold the rockwool and then hearing the price of 56 cents a pop, really irritates the h#$l out of me. And we used a lot, I mean realy .... a lot of them. And on the total budget it is nothing, but come on, its just thin folded sheets of metal.



OK, time to calm down.;-) After putting in the inmence 10,5m. IPE 650 beams (34.4 feet 25,6 inch high) it was time to construct the rooms roof. We made this out of concrete T-shaped beams with polystyrene elements. I liked the convex shape of it so sound wouldn't get a life of its own in between the ceiling and the concrete. On top of this we poured 23 m3 of concrete. (6076 gallons)





Overview of the roof, I'm starting t feel sorry for the concrete workers who are going to be crawling in wet concrete in this tight space. especially when knowing there are a lot of sharp screws sticking out of the roof of the building. There is gonna flow some blood here.



Ok, I have never made a single weld in my life, but how hard can it be? Well for starters when you have to do it 13 feet of the ground and you MIG machine only has a 9 feet hose, lift it up. Its sure nice to have a forklift at your disposal. After a few mistakes I got the hang of it, and if the studio fails I can always be a metal worker ;-)




First we have to build the CR, so the pouring of the concrete on the roof can be done in one day.

Making the first floating floor with all the piping in place.



I check all the measurements constantly with a theodoliet (I don't know the english word for this piece of equipment) everything still measures up at mm. accuracy

Old 23rd March 2010
  #8
Gear Nut
 

More rocks for the CR



The window frame for the CR windows was a bit of a challenge. In my other studio the wall above the windows was hanging from the roof structure. I cannot do that here because I don't want to connect this wall to the Live room roof and certainly not to the buildings roof. I want to make it self supporting. This is difficult because you have to make a beam that can withstand torsion. I have spoken to a lot of experts and all of them say the same.............don't............. OK, I understand its difficult and very time consuming but of course it can be done.





After the pour and drying of the concrete it was time to remove the mold. As you can see the beam is horseshoe shaped with a column next to the window so it can carry the weight of the front wall and roof with the weight of the side walls and roof as counter balance.



After more glueing it was time to put the beams in for the CR. Look at me go with my never used mussles at work. ;-)





Moving in the T-beams



All the supporting poles removed with the front wall mounted. The wooden column you see is there with a very thin small piece of metal under the beam just to see if the structure was moving when removing the supports.



I love it when a plan comes together.

Only 1,2 mm. of bending on the beam

Old 23rd March 2010
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Update: More pictures to complete the story in the above posts
Old 24th March 2010
  #10
Glad to see another commercial-sized studio build underway!
Old 24th March 2010
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
G Davis's Avatar
wow! serious construction! loving it. keep the pics coming!
Old 24th March 2010
  #12
Lives for gear
 
rainsinvelvet's Avatar
Awesome build!
Looking forward to reading more!!

ERic
Old 24th March 2010
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless View Post
Glad to see another commercial-sized studio build underway!

I'm glad too, all the ideas seem to work.

With a jet fighter passing by I have something like 97 dB outside. Inside I measure a value of 36 dB, and I don't even have doors in my airlocks yet and the ventillation shafts are also not in place with just open holes in the concrete roof. Everybody here in Holland declared me insane to try to build this at this location, but he, it works.

The credit crisis seems to help as well, I'm well below budget at this point due to suppliers tumbling over eachother trying to sell their product. It is going very well (knock on wood) but I still have to buy alot of equipment, and if Digi pricing is a trend prices will go up fast.

I will probably go for a D-control with remote Millennia pre's, the summing question I haven't answered yet, I don't know what to do. My Westar console sounded sweet but maintaining it was a hassle so it has to go. I also do various projects over a longer period of time so total/instand recall is a must.
Old 24th March 2010
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Making the foundation for the outside wall of the CR. This one is smaller than the others since it doesn't have to carry as much weight.



Niels helped me out during the building of the outside wall.



Nice double wall 21,4 cm outside 15 cm inside with a non parralel airgab and 12 cm of rockwool



Closed the gabs between the doors. One doorframe has a u-shaped "slot" where the panels sits in between felt and rubber.


Last edited by LEF; 24th March 2010 at 04:49 PM.. Reason: Replacing pictures
Old 25th March 2010
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Time to pour the concrete on the roof, it was hot that day. I have a lot of respect for the guys putting in this concrete under extreme time pressure and bad circumstances.

The pump, can't do it without it.





A overview of the roof before pouring the concrete, time to make sure nothing is forgotten like openings etc. Its a big hassle making them afterwards.



On the ground floor we are also gonna do the floating floors for the booths and accoustic room



Time to pour, the settlling concrete made the temperature rise to about 30 - 35 degrees celcius (86 - 95 F), nice...........



DONE, when I said (as a joke) if they could make it smoother the guys weren't laughing.



Her you see how the CR roof is totally disconnected from the recording room roof



And downstairs, nice separated slabs. 34 m3 of concrete was poured today.





The column is there to support the roof while the concrete is settlling, there are three of them supporting the IPE beams. They have to stay in place for a few weeks.

Old 25th March 2010
  #16
Gear Nut
 

You guys should ckeck the posts above again since I found more pictures and I put them in between the rest to keep it chronological accurate.
Old 25th March 2010
  #17
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Toni-P's Avatar
very nice, would love to take a look when your finished


waar in nederland zit je?
Old 25th March 2010
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Wonderful stuff. It should be pretty quiet in there.
Old 25th March 2010
  #19
jdg
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jdg's Avatar
Old 26th March 2010
  #20
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toni-P View Post
very nice, would love to take a look when your finished


waar in nederland zit je?
Ik zit in Uden, is een stukkie rijden voor je.
Old 26th March 2010
  #21
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brenton View Post
Wonderful stuff. It should be pretty quiet in there.
Yes it is, when you enter the CR, you can hear your heart pumping. It is totally dead right now so it should be pretty easy to make it a litle bit more alive.
Old 26th March 2010
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Darius van H's Avatar
 

Nice - great to see another high end studio in NL being built.
Old 26th March 2010
  #23
wow, what a huge build! nice!
Old 26th March 2010
  #24
Gear Nut
 

Its a pretty complicated build as well. My father in law is a "uitvoerder" (don't know the english word for this, but it is the guy who bosses everybody around telling them what to do on big building sites) And he warned me about the complexity of the building I designed.

For example: I didn't want any columns in the recording area, because I didn't want them to limit the placement of walls and viewing lines accros the studio. This is also a example why we didn't hire a contracter to do the job. Most of them offered me to build it for a figure that was about 300k over the estimated amount, or they didn't understand why everything had to be totally disconnected from eachother. And all of them were probably going to rip the roof of the building to get it done. Hence the extra costs. So I'm my own contracter now and have my father in law as an advisor/bully to get the job done right. We hire workers as we go, and it is going fine. Keeping costs down and more importantly, building it exactly as I want it.

More pictures will follow because we are way further with the build than you have seen. This week I will be taping up my EMT again for transport to the storage attic in the recording area. Hope that will go well, fingers crossed. I won't be the first who rippes a plate banging it into something.
Old 26th March 2010
  #25
Moderator
 
Northward's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by LEF View Post
Making the first floating floor with all the piping in place.
Just a little curious wrt to how you floated the floors... For really preventing 'subsonic freqs' problems, natural freq has to be unusually low. Where did you decide to set it in the end?

Nice project!
Old 27th March 2010
  #26
Gear Nut
 

Aha, a clever question, well this concept might be for sale when proven at the end of the build, but lets just say that next to the floors being very thick the floors are damped with various materials and additives. In theory I got great results but I have measured some discrepancies in the smaller slabs, nothing to worry about but.......

The materials that are made for this purpose are rediculous expensive just because the factories aren't selling enough of it. That's fine when you are making a recording room of ...lets say... 30 m2, if you want 300 m2 it starts to matter. I wondered how many materials were out there that had sort of the same characteristics when combined. So I went looking for industries that not only used the materials needed but also used a lot of it. I found a few factory's that weren't aware of that their product could be used in other fields.
Old 27th March 2010
  #27
Moderator
 
Northward's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by LEF View Post
Aha, a clever question, well this concept might be for sale when proven at the end of the build, but lets just say that next to the floors being very thick the floors are damped with various materials and additives. In theory I got great results but I have measured some discrepancies in the smaller slabs, nothing to worry about but.......

The materials that are made for this purpose are rediculous expensive just because the factories aren't selling enough of it. That's fine when you are making a recording room of ...lets say... 30 m2, if you want 300 m2 it starts to matter. I wondered how many materials were out there that had sort of the same characteristics when combined. So I went looking for industries that not only used the materials needed but also used a lot of it. I found a few factory's that weren't aware of that their product could be used in other fields.
Sorry, I'm sometimes a very curious cat

Damping isn't the same as decoupling.

If I got what you say right, you are talking about some kind of 'hysteresis damping' with a high loss factor.

In this case the loss factor due to the polymer additive(s) to the concrete (a specific polymer being used as a damping material within the concrete mix) is a linear function of polymer concentration. Which likely means that in a purely practical aspect of things, the strength of the concrete will be decreasing - seeing the amount of damping we're aiming at here and hence the amount of polymer in the mix.

So, looks to me like that this would be unusable in your case.

Furthermore, variations in the ambient temperature will affect the frequency distribution of the damping and this is really hard to calculate and estimate - even for seasoned engineers. This is an area where a lot of research is being conducted. This is not easy physics at all.

Also, damping works well when used alongside decoupling. Decoupling without damping works very well (you can add mass until the resonance freq is low enough for ex - but damping can help getting there with less mass involved). Damping without decoupling in this case will have very limited efficiency and not in the 'subsonic' range.

You have to float/decouple, no way around it. Floating for subsonics would need to happen with a natural freq under 5hz, which no polymer can reach. The best ones (Sylomer or Regufoam/BSW in Europe) used in classical decoupling schemes (in a separate layers) stop around 7Hz, which makes them reasonably efficient from ~15-18hz.

In your case only some spring based systems (see Galaxy Studios for ex) or air pressure based piston systems (see most CPU manufacturing plants and labs in the world) are giving low enough freq.

The system on the pics seems really thin, which goes against everything I've seen engineered in my industry (including industrial designs) or that I've designed myself for studios and factories.

Sorry for being so very skeptical here, I don't mean to ruin the party. This is a nice project!
Old 28th March 2010
  #28
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post
.....Damping isn't the same as decoupling.........
I know...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post
......the strength of the concrete will be decreasing - seeing the amount of damping we're aiming at.......

So, looks to me like that this would be unusable in your case.
Yes, the strength has decreased in the concrete, but that doesn't matter since it isn't 3rd floor of a building, has supports everywhere, and has a lot of rebar. The additive doesn't have to do the job on its own, so the amount added isn't as high as you think. Then it would be possible to take the concrete out with a shouvel, and thats not what you would tipically want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post
Furthermore, variations in the ambient temperature will affect the frequency distribution of the damping and this is really hard to calculate and estimate - even for seasoned engineers. This is an area where a lot of research is being conducted. This is not easy physics at all.
I know, thats what makes experimenting exiting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post
Also, damping works well when used alongside decoupling. Decoupling without damping works very well (you can add mass until the resonance freq is low enough for ex - but damping can help getting there with less mass involved). Damping without decoupling in this case will have very limited efficiency and not in the 'subsonic' range.
The decoupling might be done less efficient than the general methods used out there but when you have a lot of mass. It shouldn't be a big problem. That's why I have the anomalies in the smaller slabs, and I have to fix that with more damping? Any ideas....?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post
You have to float/decouple, no way around it. Floating for subsonics would need to happen with a natural freq under 5hz, which no polymer can reach. The best ones (Sylomer or Regufoam/BSW in Europe) used in classical decoupling schemes (in a separate layers) stop around 7Hz, which makes them reasonably efficient from ~15-18hz.
Okay, maybe I have used the term subsonics loosely. The frequencies aimed at are about 10 to 30 Hz

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post
In your case only some spring based systems (see Galaxy Studios for ex) or air pressure based piston systems (see most CPU manufacturing plants and labs in the world) are giving low enough freq.
I think galaxy is a bit of overkill if you ask me. Spectacular studio, not quite in my price range. But, when I take a sledgehammer for example and hit the slab of the recordingroom I don't hear anything in the rest of the building. I was working in my office the other day and heard nothing going on, I went to check.

He guys, I tough I told you to make holes in the slabs and put in all the anchors.......... They: yeah well we did, and its done......
Mind you there are no doors in the airlocks, the studio is still open.

That was quite a nice feeling, it seems to work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post
The system on the pics seems really thin, which goes against everything I've seen engineered in my industry (including industrial designs) or that I've designed myself for studios and factories.

Sorry for being so very skeptical here, I don't mean to ruin the party. This is a nice project!
GS needs to be skeptical or nobody would learn anything....

I'm not building the 100+ % isolated studio here. I am not going to keep a soundbarrier breach of a F16 out. It happened once by accident in my 30+ years a living in this area and again the pilot would be fired when he does that in populated areas.

I am building a studio that can record without interruption by the rest of the outside forces and it might just work out....

In Holland there is no way you can make money building a studio for lets say a € 2.000.000,00+ building budget. I do think that we are building a place that is by far the best studio over here with a € 500,00 - € 800,00 /day pricing. And it might be better than the € 1500,00+ /day studio out there, but that's speculating....
Old 28th March 2010
  #29
Moderator
 
Northward's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by LEF View Post
Yes, the strength has decreased in the concrete, but that doesn't matter since it isn't 3rd floor of a building, has supports everywhere, and has a lot of rebar. The additive doesn't have to do the job on its own, so the amount added isn't as high as you think. Then it would be possible to take the concrete out with a shouvel, and thats not what you would tipically want.
Agreed, you clearely don't want that...

Amounts of additives are usually only between 2 and 3%.

But it still bears the question of the efficiency of the system in itself, since it would clearely require a lot more of it to obtain such behaviour at such frequency. We often use various additives to manage the behaviour of a floated floor's slab (resilience - often just to add elasticity to the floated concrete so that it will perform better under the mechanical strain due to the torsions inherent to some floating techniques)

Adding mass like you mention lowers freq of resonance of the structure, but doesn't prevent mechanical transmission at all between the various concrete layers. That you used some variation of a Hysteretic / Structural Damping system is one thing but here it would serve no purpose since it doesn't prevent transmission of noise in itself. Damping is used to reduce / tame the resonant response, not to prevent transmission.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LEF View Post
I know, thats what makes experimenting exiting.
That's a hell of risk too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LEF View Post
The decoupling might be done less efficient than the general methods used out there but when you have a lot of mass. It shouldn't be a big problem.
I think we should not be speaking of decoupling here because from a purely engineering point of view, none of the structures here are acoustically decoupled / floated. They are damped. I think it needs to be clarified for the readers, as it can really create confusion. Floated floors and foundations are not built or designed like this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LEF View Post
Okay, maybe I have used the term subsonics loosely. The frequencies aimed at are about 10 to 30 Hz
Well, not really. Subsonics are generally speaking freq under 20Hz. So we're roughly talking subsonic frequencies here.

Problem in this general approach of things remains the lack of decoupling. Quickly:

- Changing the damping factor (increasing it) within the new slab will have little to no particular effect on the slab supporting it. The local increase in mass will have one, but hard to determine and very likely this will not bear anything really interesting in this specific case as we are dealing mostly with mechanically transmitted noise (high SPL airplane LF noise being transmitted to the building structure and environment resulting in mechanical excitation of the building's floor structure and hence generating "re-emission" by the whole structure of the studio itself = a certain amount of noise within the studio shells).

- Increasing the damping factor of the new slab will impact susbtantially on the new slab's internal resonance frequencies. Which only means that at the resonant frequencies the amplification factor of the slab will be reduced. But this does not mean that it prevents impact / mechanical noise from traveling through the floor. Just that these are not amplified by the slab itself. It's a big difference from decoupling, which will simply stop mechanical noise transmission from a certain freq, depending on the decoupling system's natural freq.

Anyway, this is not the right thread to speak about all this and it's better that all this is maybe discussed some other place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LEF View Post
I think galaxy is a bit of overkill if you ask me. Spectacular studio, not quite in my price range. But, when I take a sledgehammer for example and hit the slab of the recordingroom I don't hear anything in the rest of the building. I was working in my office the other day and heard nothing going on, I went to check.

That was quite a nice feeling, it seems to work.
Galaxy are indeed great studios.

I'm glad to hear that so far you have no issues with impact noise, I hope it stays this way - but I wouldn't bet on it.

Now, on with the pics / diary
Old 28th March 2010
  #30
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post
...so far you have no issues with impact noise, I hope it stays this way ...
Why would it change?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northward View Post
I think we should not be speaking of decoupling here because from a purely engineering point of view, none of the structures here are acoustically decoupled / floated. They are damped
I don't see how you come to that conclusion?

Don't answer that, this is indeed not the place to dicuss this, I will open another thread tomorrow so we can go on about all my building ideas/questions/mistakes (strikethrough the not applicable) . Now its to late for me as I have a early business meeting.

Interesting detail about the T-shaped foundation is that I can take a ruler stick it under there and move it sideways. It has a force of 0,5 N/mm2 on it.
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