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Bulding studio from ground up - have a question Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 5th December 2002
  #1
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Talking Bulding studio from ground up - have a question

OK Guys I;ve decided to build my studio from scratch - here are a few questions i'd like opinions on - preferably from those who have gone down this road already.
My idea is to build a garage like building and modify it to suit.
Budget is a concern.

1) Control room size - what is the optimal size I should consider?
2) Should I ignore this rubber - floating floor thing? My main aim is to isolate the recording area and control room - I would like to reduce noise leakage to the outside world but its not a primary concern.
3) Air conditionaing - Im not a big fan of air conditioning where cold air getsd blown in and the HOT air is not extracted - the aire in the room although cold starts to feel stale to me.. has anyone employed an extraction - coolingmethod? ie some extractors on the roof and cold air coming in from another spot - get my drift??

The acoustics and all that is for another day.

thanks!!!
Jule espcially interested in your experience with building your room. BTW how big can I make the glass plane between booth and room?
Old 5th December 2002
  #2
Gear Head
 
John Sayers's Avatar
 

Having built a few studios I put some info down at this place

Work from the index is the best way to go.

If you want to see what others have done go here

cheers
john
Old 5th December 2002
  #3
jho
Lives for gear
 
jho's Avatar
 

Good info above. I've built two on my own with hired help / contractors on extremely tight budgets. I'll limit my feedback to personal preference / experience things since there is such good reference materials available for the actual construction.

1. Control Room - this is where you will be spending most of your time so make sure it is large enough to be comfortable. If the whole buiilding was 1000 SF I'd make the control room at least 1/2 to 2/3rd of that if you can. If possible don't make it square...no parallel walls.

2. The floating floor thing...In both my studios I didn't go this route because of cost and I've never regretted it. Yeah...it's not as isolated as it could be but as long as you are not trying to peel your skin off with the control room volume I've never had a problem with leakage.

3. A/C - a very important thing. This is an area where I would bring in an HVAC contractor (maybe a few to compare) to get their opinion. What I have done is put the blowers farther apart from the intacts and tried to keep both lower to the floor as opposed to the ceiling. I've seen where folks used a large grill (like a big intake grill) as their output grill to reduce wind noise.
Old 5th December 2002
  #4
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Re: Bulding studio from ground up - have a question

Quote:
Originally posted by lnd
1) Control room size - what is the optimal size I should consider?
If you're in one of those "money is no object" kind of control room building events, you might want to contact someone like Tom Hidley about this. If you have budgetary constraints, I would suggest that you budget somewhere in the neighborhood of $200-250 per sq. ft. and determine how much control room you can afford from there.

Me, I like them fairly large with high ceilings... but you can't always get what you want.

Quote:
2) Should I ignore this rubber - floating floor thing? My main aim is to isolate the recording area and control room - I would like to reduce noise leakage to the outside world but its not a primary concern.
I wouldn't ignore it, though it seems that designers like John Storyk don't feel it's all that important. I'm not really all that wild about the main monitors feeding back into the microphones... but without proper isolation of control room and recording environment, I think you will experience great potential for that occurance, along with several other annoyances.

Quote:
3) Air conditionaing - Im not a big fan of air conditioning where cold air getsd blown in and the HOT air is not extracted - the aire in the room although cold starts to feel stale to me.. has anyone employed an extraction - coolingmethod? ie some extractors on the roof and cold air coming in from another spot - get my drift??
A "send and return" HVAC system is more the norm than the exception, and has been for many, many years.

Control room design is all about creating comfortable environment in which the user will spend many hours on end. Creating a controlled listening environment is or course the ultimate goal to achieve the highest level of comfort.

A control room [in my opinion] should be about the management of reflected sound first and foremost, creature comforts second, a working environment that "flows" without intruding on the management of sound reflections (but that's really part of the creature comforts aspect), and visual aesthetics that allow for ridiculous work hours with minimum fatigue.

I sincerely wish you the best of luck with the design and construction of your control room. I will strongly suggest that you interview a variety of acoustic consultants, and hire one that fits your budget and working philosophy. Once hired, try not to kibitz, allow them to do the job for which they were hired, and you should have a control room environment that will allow you to do the best work you are capable of performing.
Old 5th December 2002
  #5
Just a couple of things about AC.
You want to seal out exterior noise BUT you need to be able to breath.
My home studio gets twice as hot as the other rooms in the house - and that's with very modest outboard + mackie desk. Temperatures are almost unbearable in the summer and that's in a country where temps scrape above 70f in August.
Old 5th December 2002
  #6
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Most of the best control rooms I've been in have been around 17 X 15 interior finish dimensions. I have no idea why but it's happened repeatedly. A 17 X 15 control room and a vocal booth beats ANY smaller control room and bigger studio.

Isolation is the most expensive part but it also is the main difference between just having some gear in a garage and a studio. Your location will determine how much is needed. A quiet location and enough room for really thick walls can reduce the cost of isolation a lot.

The thing most people get wrong in studios is ventilation, moving enough air. You don't need nearly as much heating and cooling capacity as for an ordinary room of the same size but you need to move a lot more air. This is because an acoustically isolated studio and control room are really just industrial furnaces or coolers that have been finished and decorated to look like lounges. Another critical part of any studio is the actual lounge. It's purpose is to occupy idle minds so that bored people can't interfere with the production process.

If you intend to go into the studio rental business, you'll need to also provide secure client storage, a private office for clients to do business from while working on their project, and a receptionist and staff worthy of a five-star hotel. A convenient location and access to good hotels and resturants are also very important unless you can offer housing and a chef.
Old 6th December 2002
  #7
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for your posts so far -
that dimension 17X15 feet was what I was looking for.
Here where I live there are far and few contractors with expereince in studios (affordable ones anyway) so is it advisable to use someone who is proficient at building houses and just guide them? ie Most normal builders would not have built rooms with wierd angles and roofs , and double wall things...
I'm am gonna post here with the admins permission snaps of my progress..
I feel real excited abuot building my first studio although personally I'm about as good as Homer Simpson when it comes to building stuff...think spice rack....

Cheers!!
Old 6th December 2002
  #8
Gear Head
 
John Sayers's Avatar
 

Ind - what Bob said about the 17 x 15 was the FINISHED dimensions. The rear wall could have up to 4 feet of trapping behind it, and whilst the measurement may be taken from the front window there is probably 3 feet further to take the soffit mount speaker system. Thus you could actually start with a room 24 feet in length. Your standard Hidley room is usually based on around a 25 foot square.

Your builder is very important, there are techniques, like trap construction, wall treatments, wiring ducting, door/window seals etc that they've never encountered. Similarly with electrics and as stated before HVAC. Also some builders will not work with all the fibreglass involved!!

The main thing in isolation is mass and correct sealing. One 4" nail hole in a drywall cladding will seriously lower the STC (Sound transmission Class)

I agree with Fletcher that floated floors are usually more expensive than they are worth and are only required when you are isolating yourself some an outside noise like trains or planes. Beware Planes are really loud and require considerable isolation to get rid of.

With aircon - more air is required as Bob suggested plus I always ask for an increase in the fresh air added. Most aircons in offices/homes etc add around 15% fresh air - I always double that in a studio.

Hope this helps
Cheers
John
Old 6th December 2002
  #9
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
The 17x 15 "internal" dimension will still depend on the height, and shape of the ceiling [back when we were still designing control rooms, we came up with a ceiling that started as an 'expansion ceiling' but turned into a compression ceiling... it really worked well!!].

What John said about rear wall trapping is [of course] spot on... but, given a limited amount of space, and a good "outershell" ceiling dimension, you can port the top of the rear wall [behind the diffusion] and add additional trapping in the ceiling... then open or close the ports until the desired amount of trapping is attained. It's a bit cumbersome, but tunable, and will make up for lack of outer shell rear depth.

The outter shell will determine your modal problems from around 250-300Hz down... the inner shell can be "tuned" to deal with problems 300Hz and up.

In this case... it really kinda is rocket science.
Old 6th December 2002
  #10
Moderator emeritus
 

Hey, Fletcher - have you got a simple explanation of the difference between a compression and an expansion ceiling?
Old 6th December 2002
  #11
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
An expansion ceiling goes up... a compression ceiling goes down. The theory [simplistically... very simplistically] is that an expansion ceiling will help keep the front of the room a 'reflection free zone' [in terms of high end] and a compression ceiling will net you better bass efficiency.
Old 6th December 2002
  #12
Moderator emeritus
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Fletcher
An expansion ceiling goes up... a compression ceiling goes down. The theory [simplistically... very simplistically] is that an expansion ceiling will help keep the front of the room a 'reflection free zone' [in terms of high end] and a compression ceiling will net you better bass efficiency.
Thanks! And then what about those which go up at the front and down at the back?
Old 6th December 2002
  #13
Gear interested
 
LuvToLaf's Avatar
 

Just a few points from experience.

You will need more space than you might think. There are things that require space that are not areas that you can use such as, proper low frequency treatment that will consume space in many directions, sound locks etc. Even the HVAC ducts will require special baffles.

I know of one built out of an airport hanger that could hold a large Dougles cargo plane, and when finished, was much smaller inside than the way it looked outside.

A studio acoustic consultant in the planning stage is well worth the investment, perhaps there are plans available for a (ground up) small studio already.

Less glass, less problems, and expense.

Install your snakes in a way that will allow easy removal. Be carefull to use power from the same rails of your power box, to prevent ground or polarity differences in various areas of the studio, between tracking room and main sound room etc.

Hope this helps a little,
and best of luck! It took me over a year to build a slab-up studio once, I had no regrets.

LTL
Old 7th December 2002
  #14
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Martin
Thanks! And then what about those which go up at the front and down at the back?

I was only talking about from the front wall to the "listening position"... once the audio is past the desk, all that's left to do with it is control reverberation times and patterns of diffusion.

A ceiling that goes up in the front and peaks just behind the engineer's postion is an expansion ceiling... a ceiling where the low point is just behind the engineer's position is a compression ceiling... the rest of the ceiling isn't really quite as critical [in a Jim Beam vs. Jack Daniels sort of way... it's all a matter of taste at that point, and conflicting views of theory].
Old 8th December 2002
  #15
Ted
Gear Maniac
 

Fran Manzella from FM Design is doing my studio. He does very good work and I have very much enjoyed working with him. He also is quite reasonable. My control room is based on a reflection free zone with RPG in the back.

Thanks,
Ted.
Old 8th December 2002
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Nowak's Avatar
John Sayers, your website is totally inspiring!!

Thank you!!

Stefan Nowak

Old 8th December 2002
  #17
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groundcontrol's Avatar
 

It is cool. Great stuff John!
Old 8th December 2002
  #18
Gear interested
 
MagicMark's Avatar
 

A good friend of mine turned me on to a product called Mineral Fiber (Made by Owens).

It is like the pink stuff (only it's yellow), but much better.You buy it in bales and each bale holds about twenty 3"x24"x48" panels. It is placed between the studs, and assembled cloth panels are placed over it.

When we had finished framing the room, i began laying in the fiber between the studs. As we progressed, the acoustic properties of the room began to obviously change. Here is what my crew noticed:

1. Increase in intelligability
2. Outside noise drastically began to disappear
3. Room beacame a bit cooler

Most AC Supply joints should carry it.

It is also fire resistant.

Cheers
Old 8th December 2002
  #19
Gear Head
 
John Sayers's Avatar
 

Thanks Nowak and groundcontrol

Mark - the product you refer to is called rigid fibreglass. KNAUF and OWENS CORNING both make it.

Normal pink batts put on a wall will absorb down to around 800hz and rolls off quickly after that. This rigid fibreglass will absorb down to 500hz and tapers off slowly and is still working at 250hz and 125hz.

This is still creating an inbalance in the room as the low-mids and lows are still active in the room. Some form of low frequency absorption in the room is required in the form of bass traps and slot resonators.

cheers
John
Old 9th December 2002
  #20
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
John S are you based in melbourne??
If so I'd like to by you a beer sometime and try and extract some information from you - Maybe you can give me a tour of your studio or sumthin...... Dont worry I'm very experienced in the Vulcan mind meld technique and garauntee it will be compltely painless!
Old 9th December 2002
  #21
Gear Head
 
John Sayers's Avatar
 

Ind - I live just north of Byron Bay in the hills behind Murwillumbah. 61 266 795380 call me sometime.

cheers
JOhn
Old 10th December 2002
  #22
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

The amount of trapping needed depends on the amount of isolation needed. If you don't need isolation, the bass can just just be allowed to escape right through thin walls. As you increase isolation, you then need to trap the bass so the energy is dissipated and doesn't fold back on you.

Any isolated room is a weird space that needs treatment to make it less weird. I define acoustical treatment as something intended to make a room not sound like whatever it really is.
Old 16th December 2002
  #23
Gear maniac
 
RSMITH123's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Ted
...My control room is based on a reflection free zone with RPG in the back.

Thanks,
Ted.

What does RFZ in the front mean?
And I assume that RPG in the back is diffusers. Right?
Old 17th December 2002
  #24
Gear Head
 
John Sayers's Avatar
 

RFZ means that there is heavy absorption in the front of the room so there are no early reflections.

cheers
John
Old 17th December 2002
  #25
Gear maniac
 
RSMITH123's Avatar
 

Thanks John. I guess it's another way of describing a live end, dead end room?
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