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Old 18th November 2019
Alright, I get it. You have pretty strong feelings on the subject of whether a project is viable according to room size. Which is ironic given that you're moderating a forum which is at least 80% about small - medium rooms.

Still I get the sense that we're saying similar things but still talking past each other. Although you did quote me as saying something I didn't say, but rather your response to what I said.

I know there are designers who disagree with this. I've seen dozens of threads covering the subject. Sure some of them may be scammers but I doubt all of them are. I'm not going to mount a defense for them, hopefully some will do so themselves, although traffic has been sadly thin here lately.

Which brings me to my last point: the die hard myth of a home studio that sounds like a pro room, meets pro room criteria, for the price of a home studio.

It's the biggest lie in this industry. This is day dreaming on the end user side, supported by misleading marketing on the provider's side. If it were true, pro studios and facilities would not be investing sometimes over 7 figures in pro rooms. I'd be out of a job, and all these mix and mastering engineers / facilites would work at home from a spare bedroom.

A pro room will need a compliant space and a budget in the 6 figures for the build alone.

Now, you can very much optimize a home studio / small room so it performs as good as it can. The best way to do that budget wise is via educated DIY (read a lot on the subject), followed by a period of "trial and error".
What I find most frustrating about this thread are the generalities.

What exactly is "pro room criteria" and what exactly is "small"? Rod's book, which is literally about DIY "like the Pros" defines a large room as 5000cf+, medium as 2000-5000cf and small as <2000cf. That's a helpful starting place. Just for the record, my room is in the medium range. Your minimum for a control room is on the higher end of Rod's medium. I have some ideas about the criteria (EBU Tech. 3276 etc), I'm just pointing out that they're being glossed over in this debate about what is achievable.

I do get your points, I really do. Small-ish rooms are definitely a challenge, and surely cost more to treat on a per sq foot basis. Results diminish in many cases. But for some of us, there isn't another option and we know (to varying degrees) that we aren't going to get 100% (or 50% or X%) pro results. It's just not always clear what that means. But not everyone requires a state of the art 3, 4, 5+ room multimedia facility with independently floated floors. I'm sure these builds can easily get into the 7 figure range.

So my point was that designing small-ish rooms (by which I suppose I mean Rod's "medium" down to some unspecified "small" dimension where an expert will throw in the towel and say "not worth it") is a specialty. As I've said before, there is a spectrum between 8'x8'x8' and Blackbird C. Along that spectrum you have changing cost, effort and results and places that you just can't go. So I think it's the role of a good designer to help you determine where you fit on that curve and be straight with you about what you can hope to achieve with a certain cost (and effort!). And I totally agree if they aren't doing this then there is probably some snake oil involved.

I know of two very pertinent examples (and I won't name names but I've communicated with the client). They involve a "medium" two room facility.

One designer who has been mentioned in this thread worked with the client on the build. He provided a design he probably assumed was good enough for the client. Then didn't ask for many pictures, didn't discuss the client's needs all that much and did very little testing or follow up. After a ton of work the client was unhappy with the sound.

He went to another designer (also mentioned here) for help.

The other designer is a strong advocate for being able to achieve "world class" quality in a medium size room. He worked with the client on fixing what had been done. Long story short, they went down a deep deep rabbit hole that took years, cost a ton of money and involved building some very esoteric devices to treat the room. Eventually (after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and TESTING), they got it done and the client said it sounded glorious. ...but his sanity is a bit shaken and he spent way way more than he intended.

My point is that these are two extremes. I don't want either of these. I want something in the middle, and I believe it's possible (knowing that I won't have an ideal RT60 and may have some lingering bass control problems, etc etc). I think there have been many many threads here that prove this is possible.

Not all designers know or care enough to help a DIYer with a low 5 figure budget to get there. But some absolutely do. And that's what I had hoped this thread would be about.