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A room to grow in
Old 5th November 2002
Gear Head

A room to grow in

After much thought, I've decided to house my studio in the basement of the new home I'm building. So, I'm starting with 12 foot poured concrete basement walls. I then plan to build independant, free standing rooms within. So, I'll have a lot of freedom to build rooms specifically to sound good. This seems a good opportunity to just copy the dimensions and treatments of a room that's known to sound great. Does anyone know where I might find published plans to help me out here.

Old 6th November 2002
Lives for gear
Steve Smith's Avatar

Go to the library ( not Jules Studio, the place with books for loan ) and search for anything by F. Alton Everest..

Also, John Sayers used to have a site with this sort of thing.. is he around here?
Old 6th November 2002
Lives for gear
Mike O's Avatar

Try this link:

Have fun!
Old 6th November 2002
Gear Head

After hours of searching, I've found the two F Alton Everest books I already had. And I've checked out John's sight. I recall him posting detailed info about a place as he was putting together some time back. It was great info. I do mostly rock and country stuff. Thanks for the pointers. Back to the drawing board.
Old 6th November 2002
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Rather then building a copy of a good room I'd try to build my own good sounding room. Unless you have unlimited funds and a great acousticion you'll never be able to copy say the Power Station control room. There's lots of material to read on-line but having a good consultant can save your ass. When I was planning my new room I was using Wes LaChot and he thought of lots of things that I hadn't including electric.

One of the things we talked about was room dimensions. Two common rules are;

#1 One foot of angle for every 10 feet of distance.
#2 The room dimensions should not be divisable by the same numbers. For example, 5x10x8 is bad. 5x11x8 is good.

Good recording spaces just seem to happen, good control rooms are designed. When I was talking to Wes he sold me on the idea of making the control room a rectangle which I had some reservations about. But, he said that trying to figure out room modes and reflections gets much more complicated. Also, I was going to be working with a contractor that hadn't built a studio before (ones that have cost A LOT more) and having all kinds of angles and things would add to the cost and be harder for the contracter to do well. So, building a box is the better way to go for a DIY control room. Pick some good dimensions, in my case it was 14wide X 19deep X 11high and do treatment after the room is finished with Tube Traps, foam, 704 etc.
Old 7th November 2002
Gear Head

Thanks all for the input so far. At present I am leaning towards constructing free standing individual rooms within the new deep basement. These rooms would also be floated upon jillions of 3" diameter closed cell foam pads. I've considered splaying the side walls and ceiling in the CR, and similar features in the studio, but doing so makes using some of the available tools I might be able to use to tune the room less useful. Standard geometry (rectangular?) would seem much more predictable. I'm certainly capable of more complicated carpentry but perhaps it's best to keep it simple. I think my personal philosophy wants to keep the rooms as live as possible and attempt to controll things with diffusion and geometry more than with absorption. Has anyone had good results using acoustic-x? Looks like it might be helpful.

At present, I must get the rest of this new home designed. So, for now, I am reserving no less than two 20' x 30' spaces in this large basement for the studio. And, getting back to a few more fundemental questions.

- what are the downsides of this separate rooms within the larger basement space? The cosmetics of the exterior of these rooms is inconsequential (except in the passageways between).
- would hot water heat in the concrete floor introduce unforseen problems (besides the catastrophic leak). Studio floor will be offset.

The F Alton Everest books have been quite enlightening. Thanks for reminding me of those.

Old 7th November 2002
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Those are questions that you should direct to someone with a clue. I know enough to get me into trouble. If your going through the time and expense of building a house and studio from scratch spending a few hundered to a thousand or two on a qualified consultant is well worth the bread to avoid any possible problems. Trust me, as much as you've thought about this there are still about a hundered things you haven't thought of like cable troughs and how to make them actually work. One studio I considered renting had built them with PVC which got crushed and pinched the snakes when the floor settled. So, they were totally useless unless I wanted to use their snakes and just change the connectors. And that's only one example. How about HVAC?
Old 15th November 2002
Gear Head

getting seriious now

OK, after drawing up house/studio plans until I'm blue in the face (and who knows where else?), tomorrow I am committing to an offer of $300G on an existing home. But, not to worry, it's a two story brick home with nine foot ceilings on EVERY floor, including the basement. So, I'm back to my favorite conundrum. But, now, a little more focused.

Already, I know that I do NOT want to build rectangular rooms just because they are easier to handle and predict. I want a room that addresses the fundamental idealogies that should make a great control room, studio, lounge, etc, ALL in my new basement with engineered lumber floor jopists 9 feet above the concrete floor.

I have available to me in great quantities, 3" diameter closed cell foam discs (approximately 40 durometer, for those mechanical engineers out there). At NO Cost, I can float as many rooms as I want on this byproduct of a process at my day gig. So, since I want to space my studio rooms off of the concrete slab basement floor anyway, I think I'll do so. These rooms will have their own ceilings that are nested between the floor joists above. The studio and control room should be able to accomodate 8' 6" ceilings, at worst case scenario (probably closer ot 8'9").

So, since I'm not just making up rectangular rooms and treating them with the standard RPG fare, I believe I need professional help. My rooms must scream "designed as a recording studio". My needs are actually simple, considering the thousands/millions who have come before me.

I need a consultant or advisor who can help me to design (re-create) the rooms within my ample space (or someone who has already payed for a design that has proven itself, and might want to make a few bucks by selling the plans, all legalities observed, of course). My entire recording studio must be within an approximately 35' x 35' area, that includes a stairway landing basically at the center of the area.

I'm looking for advice from folks who have actually PAID for consulting and feel as though they actually got EVERY penny's worth from the experience (or folks who can clearly qualify their statements). I, myself, am actually a mechanical engineer, with a relatively good grasp of acoustic and mechanical concepts that are pre-requisite knowledge, for even a mediocre attempt at studio design.

BUT, I don't want to fool myself! I have a space that can accomodate many proven recording spaces. . I know it has been pointed out that copying an existing space is not the answer. But, to some degree, it is (considering parabolic, reflection controlling control rooms). I don't wish for an absorptive room. Sure some absorptive treatment will be required. BUT, I want to build the control room to control the sound (BTW, 5.1 monitoring) instead of just tame it with absorption. I'm willing to pay for prior experience, but, don't feel I need to start from scratch (or pay for starting from scratch).

Anyone got plans for proven control rooms or recording spaces, given the space I am working with. Like I said, I'm willing to pay for this, but, given my unrestricted confines, I don't feel I need to re-invent the wheel (studio), or pay so much for the art of it. I don't mind that someone else may have "the original". I have the space to take advantage of an already proven design. It's most cost effective to do so.

Get the idea? You designers, chime in, OR contact me offline for other arrangements. Tomorrow I close the deal on my new house. I'm ready to get started, in earnest!

I am a competant builder and intend to build this 100% myself, obviously, cutting no corners.

As I see it, I should be able to include studio, CR, lounge (with pool table) and bathroom into this space. Strangely there is a space off of the main square basement area that is ten feet wide and 25 feet long. I plan to use/treat it as a chamber.

It's all quite exciting. And, I've about tapped myself out on the house itself. But I don't want to mess this one up. This would be a good one to document with pics and such on this site. Anyone want to contribute to GigaBoy's cause?

Old 15th November 2002
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I'd still go with Wes LaChot or maybe Chris Polanis. I've never been in a John Storyk room that I've liked the sound of, probably because he designs the rooms around the mains. There was one control room I was in that has a big hole at 80hz at the mix position. WTF? That's no good. Seems like a lot of designers seem to think about a rooms astethics as an afterthought. What good is a room if it's not comfertable to be in? Francis Manzella has desinged some good sounding rooms but I'm not too into the look of them. Also, they're expensive as **** to build. Probably about $150 per square foot. Back to Wes, studio design for the real world and a small budget.

BTW, after you float the floors you'll probably have about 7.5 feet left if you start with 9 feet. That space gets chewed up rather quickly. Maybe you can float the iso booths and control room but leave the live room as-is if your recording drums.
Old 15th November 2002
Gear Head

Jay, thanks for all of your feedback. When I moved into the place I'm in now, I cabbaged onto a whole house worth of carpet and dragged in down to my basement, where I had plans for building, but never did. Now I must dispose of this. I had made plans to cut this carpet into 14 1/2" strips and completely fill the studio's rooms walls by hanging these strips from the header, perhaps 4 or 5 thicknesses between each 2 x 4. Has anyone done this with success. All that carpet would seem to provide mass and absorption of sound as it is trying to pass through the walls. Also cutting it into these strips would make it a helluva lot easier to carry out of my current basement. Is this worth doing, or should I just trash this old carpet?

Old 15th November 2002
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Wait, lemme see if I'm understanding this... You want to use the old carpet in place of fiberglass? If that's the plan it might work but I'd tend to say it won't. While you want something dense you don't want something stiff. If it's stiff it'll just vibrate with the rest of the wall and won't do much of anything. But honestly, I think you should contact someone who knows what they're talking about or read a good book or four on the subject.
Old 16th November 2002
Gear Head

Yeah, it's somewhat of a guess as to how effective it would be. The current plan was for standard 2 x 4 stud walls with a single sheet of drywall on each side, with no common walls between any rooms (ie, each room a free standing structure with its own 4 (or #?) walls. Voids between 2 x 4s packed with 4 - 6 thicknesses of varying types of used carpet.

I am finding designing the CR to control reflections is simpler when designing for the main (soffet mounted) monitors. Considering I am wanting to accomodate 5.1 surround, and typically use near-field monitors when working with stereo, I suppose, I'm getting back to looking at more predictable rectangular designs.

As far as "floating" my rooms, this requires a little more explanation. I don't want to give up that kind of height. Above, I can easily nest my studio room ceiling joists between the first floor's floor joists. My guess is that I'll lose 2"-3" at most. The foam discs I have are 3/4" thick and 3 1/2" round. I had hoped to lay 2 x 4's on their side with the foam discs interfacing the 2 x 4 with the floor. I have strength in numbers here. These pads could be spaced as close as 6" apart. The on-side floor (risers?) supports then would be decked over and then receive hardwood. So considering 3/4" decking and 3/4" discs and the risers/joists at 1 1/2", I've lost 3" both above and below. It's tight, but since I'm doing it all myself, it should be do-able. All of this floating seems only to be to prevent transfer of the sound through the already massive poured concrete basement floor. Is it worthwhile, given that its purpose is mostly to spare the rest of the house from the sounds of the studio? Floating the CR and Studio separately does seem a good way to de-couple the two rooms.

One thing to keep in mind here is that I have just blown the wad on this new house, but do have all of these free materials at my disposal. I'm trying to do a respectable job with what I already have on hand. Of course, I'll be buying the lumber and other required materials new.

Hey, any feedback from others besides Jay would be appreciated as well. And thanks for yours, Jay!

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