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Old 31st August 2019
Lives for gear

They are hard to persuade into importance of Acoustic Treatment, for them it's just foam and decoration, buying an "Acoustic Treatment kit" at the best, they simply don't understand the importance of acoustics, nore do they care since they made a lot of money without it so far.
I hear you for sure! I see that every now and then: The one guy in the project who really understands the importance of acoustics, doesn't control the money and has a hard time convincing the less knowledgeable guys who DO control the money, of just how important it is. That's a shame, but it happens... way too often, actually! You are in a tough spot, unfortunately.

One thing you might be able to do there, is to contact some people who have tried both ways (lousy treated studio, and also properly treated studio) and let them tell their story. There's a few out there who have done just that: first tried their own DIY treatment for their studios, then hired someone to get it done properly. If you get some of the others in your project to talk to those guys, that might help convince them that they need to invest here.

Also, ask the drummer in your group why he uses only Zildjian / Paiste / Sabian when he could be using trash can lids and empty kitchen pots instead (so much cheaper! After all, they "sound similar".... ), or ask the guitarist why he wants a Fender or Gibson, when a wooden stick glued to a cardboard box with some fishing line on it is "just as good"... .

But seriously, try contacting some studio owners that have done this before, to get their first-hand opinion.

I wanted to make a suggestion of hiring a pro acousticians to make the design, and tell them something like "Look guys, this pro acoustican would charge us this much for the design...", and see if they are down for that, but none of the guys I contacted wanted to give me an approximate design price without me kinda telling them the budget first, even though I explained everyone the dimensions and the requirements
Hmmmm.... that sounds a bit suspicious. The design should not depend a lot on how much money the studio has for the build. That can be a factor in later decisions in the design process, certainly, to refine the numbers (eg. substituting less expensive materials, or reducing the design goals a little in some aspect), but it should not be an obstacle to coming up with an approximate range of the design cost. Especially when it's already clear that its going to be a low-budget design: a good designer should just give you a range, saying "Between X dollars and Y dollars", explaining what both extremes would mean, then you can decide if that's within your possibilities or not, and if you do decide to hire him, then he can do a more accurate price, based on your feedback. Asking for the budget up front is valid, certainly, as it helps guide the designer in possible paths he can take, but where it's clear that the budget is low, and there aren't many possibilities, there's no reason why the designer shouldn't be able to give you a ballpark figure without knowing the budget.

however I do have one "second hand" price, and it's too much IMO,
What do you mean by "second hand"?

I mean it's not too much if the guy guarantees the results, and I'm not sure he does. And hence the question should I ask an accoustician if he guarantees the results?
A good studio designer should guarantee his work in one way or another, and that will usually be based on measurable parameters. It won't just be based on "it sounds bad" or "it sounds good" or "I don't like it", or "I love it!". Rather, it will be based on meeting one of the internationally accepted specifications for such rooms, such as ITU BS-1116.3, or EBU Tech.3276. Meeting those specs would be expensive, of course, because that's meant for high-end rooms, but the agreement you reach with your designer could be that the room would meet a reduced version of the same specs. For example, relax the very tight frequency response specifications by a few dB, or relax the time-domain specifications (decay times) somewhat. The specifications should be agreed on in advance, of course, then measured at several points during the construction, so the designer can make any modifications that might be needed along the way. Good designers do guarantee their work, and sometimes in the form of a final fee that is only payable if the design does meet the spec.

When a client is not satifsied with my work I give them their money back,
Music is subjective: acoustics is objective. You can't really measure a mix and say that it "meets the specifications for Rock and Roll", or Rap, or Jazz, or whatever. You can't specify that the bass must be 27.83 units of something, or the electric guitar must produce 1295 "strings" or more.... You can't put a measure on music the way you can on acoustics. So whether or not the client likes your mix is his personal opinion, and also your personal opinion: and nobody else has the right to step in and say that the mix meets the specs, or doesn't. So it's understandable that the only real remedy you have is to give the guy his money back. But a studio design is different: you can set specifications, and you can measure compliance with those specs. It's not a subjective opinion at all: either the design meets the specs, or it does not. There's also the issue of time. I think you'll find that a good studio designer spends a lot more time on designing your studio than you do on mixing a song. That's not meant to denigrate your work as a mix engineer! It's just simple fact. It takes a lot longer to design a studio than it does to mix a song. There's a whole bunch of math involved, in predicting acoustic responses in the room, predicting how that will change with different types of treatment, analyzing, testing, looking at interactions between the parts of the room and the speakers and the treatment devices, etc. Once again, it is objective mathematical work about measurable parameters, rather than subjective decisions about whether the female vocal might sound better with a bit of cathedral reverb, or not... that's subjective.

The designer also has no control over how well you build what he designed (unless you want to pay him a hell of a lot more to actually be there all the time, supervising!). So the designer is not going to return all of the fee if it doesn't meet the specs exactly. He will probably just waive part of the fee. You won't have to pay that part if the spec isn't met. That's fair.

I don't ask what's their budget first so I can calculate how much I would charge... I don't like that, it smells like snake oil.
I agree! As I said above: the build budget can be a factor in setting the goals for the design, but should not be much of a factor in the design process itself. In essence, the designer is charging you a fee for his time in doing the design, that's all. If you want higher specifications, then it will take more of his time to do that, and it will probably cost you more to build it, but the construction costs should not be involved in figuring out how much he charges per hour of his time. If he's any good as a designer, he should be able to estimate both cases: for a simple, basic, minimal design that only meets a low spec, he will need about X number of hours, and for a complex, advanced, high spec design he will need Y number of hours. He should then be able to give you those two numbers. The fee usually depends on room area, room volume, and desired results. That's all. A good designer can take that into account and should be able to estimate his time for doing the job, in a broad range.

That's interesting ! I guess you could make an argument with other acoustician guys here on the boards, I read a lot of the actually opposite statements by other respected members here, everything I saw was they saying that ratios are not applicable for small rooms but for big halls.
I think you might be confusing room ratios with other acoustic concepts, such as reverb time, or diffuse fields, or critical distances, or coefficients of absorption! For small rooms, room ratios are very valid, and very useful: I always check the ratio when I'm designing a small room. But for small rooms it is NOT valid to talk about reverb times, or the reverberant field, or diffusion, or having a diffuse field, and other similar things: Those are invalid concepts for small rooms, because there is no diffuse field in a small room: no reverberant field, no critical distance, etc., and the Sabine equation is not valid for small rooms either (not the Eyring equations, or others toot). Those concepts only apply to large rooms, or only above the Schroeder frequency in small rooms (to a certain extent... debatable...) But there's nothing at all wrong with using room ratios to predict the response of a small room! Designers do that all the time. That is totally valid, and totally correct. Using the results of such predictions to help decide on the dimensions of the room is also perfectly valid. We do that all the time for small rooms. It can help avoid situations where the natural room response would be very bad, for example. Or it can show that a specific type of treatment is going to be needed... or perhaps that it is NOT going to be needed. On the other hand, for large halls the ratio is not really that important at all, because small room acoustics does not apply any more, and now you CAN use concepts such as RT60, critical distance, diffuse field, Sabine equations. Room ratios are all about modal behavior, and it's only in small rooms that modes are a problem, because small rooms do not have enough modal support for low frequencies. Large rooms do have modal support across the entire spectrum (in other words, the Schroeder frequency, or transition frequency, is so low that it doesn't matter), so ratios aren't very useful for predicting the response of large rooms. RT60 and the Sabine or Eyring equations are far more useful, and applicable, because there really is a true diffuse reverberant field. It's easy to confuse these concepts and how they relate to large rooms or small rooms, so my guess is that's what happened here.

I could quote like dozens of respected members saying the opposite thing.
If you do have quotes from respected acousticians saying that room ratios are only applicable to concert halls, never to control rooms, I would be very interesting in seeing those links.

Please, these are only letters, I'm not trying to be ironic here or something, I'm really not experienced in that field, I would like to know why other acousticians were saying the opposite thing.
I don't think they are saying the opposite! I think that maybe you saw room ratios and diffuse fields discussed in the same post, where an expert say that one is relevant to acoustically small rooms and the other is relevant to acoustically large rooms, but you simply confused the two. It's easy to do. Ratios are more relevant to small rooms than large. Diffuse fields, RT60, critical distance, etc. are more relevant to large rooms, but NOT to small rooms, since small rooms do not have a statistical diffuse/reverberant field. Only large rooms do. Large rooms do not have low end modal resonances: small rooms do, an that's what room ratios are all about: getting a good, smooth modal spread in small rooms.

That was my plan if I'm gonna do it myself... Trap every wall with at least 1 foot deep Bass Traps first.
Not every wall the same! That would not be a good idea. It would make the room very dead and unpleasant, and it would mean that you would be trapping the exact same way on all walls: same frequencies all trapped to the same level. Rather, you should put the deep bass treatment where it is needed most: on the rear wall, always. Then just enough treatment on the side walls to deal with the first order reflections and flutter echo. Then probably only a little on the front wall, but that will be decided by the design concept that you choose for the room (there are many). And some on the ceiling, as needed for dealing with both modal issues and reflections. Each wall needs its own specific treatment, designed to deal with the problems that affect it. Every room is different, and every room needs it's own specific treatment. I sometimes get clients who didn't realize that until they tried to treat their room the way some website told them to do it, generically. and it didn't work. But when we re-do it the right way, they understand that it's important to design the treatment for the room. There's quite a few of those!

Although, I still don't know what's there on 2.6m mark, it's maybe just a drywall so maybe the ceiling is extending even further up, I'll see.
That would be great! If you have more space up there, then that could make the room even better!

I guess it is, and more than anything I would love to have it designed by a pro. Thanks for your response Stuart !
You are welcome! I love it when I see people with rooms that have great potential, like yours... I sure do hope you can convince the guys that manage the money about how important it is to have your room done right!

- Stuart -