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Anyone have a one room studio? Pros and Cons?
Old 24th June 2005
  #1
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Anyone have a one room studio? Pros and Cons?

hey all,
i will be building a new project studio to work out of at my house (also being built), and have been considering going for a 'one big room' instead of two smaller rooms. has anyone else done this and would like to share pros and cons?
i think i would really like the vibe but i'm sure there plenty of down sides as well. the total space i would have to work with is roughly 30' x 20'.
any thoughts?
joshua
Old 24th June 2005
  #2
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Saucyjack's Avatar
 

I have a one room setup.
I like it.
It can create a few problems but overall has a good vibe.I can work pretty fast and I really like being in the same room while the tracking is going down.

Biggest issues is getting drum sounds while still in the same room and getting nonperforming bandmates to shut the **** up while overdubbing.

Interestingly I'm getting ready to add on to my studio and have been thinking about going to a 2 room setup but I'm torn.
Old 24th June 2005
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saucyjack

Biggest issues is getting drum sounds while still in the same room and getting nonperforming bandmates to shut the **** up while overdubbing.
yeah, i thought of that too, but its almost a toss up for me on whether i would hate recording a little piece of the drums so we can check the tones or walking back and forth from room to room to move the mic a quarter inch. as far as the bandmates thing.... they'll be pre-informed that they are on the clock :-)
thanks for your thoughts, that helps. (i had a feeling that the vibe would be better).
joshua
Old 24th June 2005
  #4
Practicalities asside, one room studios LOOK cool...
Old 24th June 2005
  #5
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max cooper's Avatar
 

I've done quite a bit of 'one room recording'. It's no big deal once you get used to it.

In some cases (especially if you're recording bands going full-bore) it can be better than two-room studios that aren't completely isolated, in that you'll be setting up sounds with some rumble leaking through, perhaps thinking that you know what you're getting, only to have to change everything upon hearing a playback.

There were some guys in L.A. who had a little project live-to-2-track down on Cahuenga who had such a problem; the control room was upstairs and I thought it would have been a lot easier to have it downstairs. As long as you're familiar with the gear and the room, it doesn't take too much trial and error to get something happening.
Old 24th June 2005
  #6
i have a one room studio. the best benefit is for the musicians in that after they do a take, they don't have to move to hear the playback and can instantly do another take if they don't like it. i can also communicate better than w/ having to use a talkback mic. the main drawbacks are that if the drummer starts to mess around on the drums, you have to listen to it. time for earplugs. also, if the music sucks, you can't turn it down. as well, you can't get away from them which can be a problem if you don't like them. i like having a one room studio. my space is about the same size as yours. you'll probably get better drum sounds if you keep it one room. just food for thought. pete
Old 24th June 2005
  #7
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2leod's Avatar
 

One room (+ a vocal booth) is what I decided on when I built my place. I mix in the middle of the room with mid and bass traps behind me, hidden behind some curtains. Each side of the room has a slightly different character 'cause of the wall treatments, which I like. I was worried that the distance of the side walls would mess me up with reflections when mixing, but the angled walls and the rock diffusers in the corners take care of the smear. I thought that I would pull out the gobos if it was an issue but I haven't had to yet so there you go...
Attached Thumbnails
Anyone have a one room studio? Pros and Cons?-room1.jpg  
Old 24th June 2005
  #8
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

I don't mind having the full band in the same room as me, but I can't record vocals that way.

I need to be able to hear what I'm getting at that stage.

So I would cut a section for a vocal booth.
Old 24th June 2005
  #9
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2leod's Avatar
 

More pics..
Attached Thumbnails
Anyone have a one room studio? Pros and Cons?-room2.jpg  
Old 24th June 2005
  #10
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2leod's Avatar
 

Joshua sez -
"Hey isn't that a THD Univalve? Looks strangely familiar..."
Attached Thumbnails
Anyone have a one room studio? Pros and Cons?-room4.jpg  
Old 24th June 2005
  #11
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kevinc's Avatar
 

Nice looking place Doug ! thumbsup thumbsup

I love the rocks.
Old 24th June 2005
  #12
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2leod's Avatar
 

Thanks Kevin... it's on the small side (28 X 13) but those dimensions work well with the 8 ft. ceiling, acoustically speaking. It's a great sounding room for it's size. It's tight with a band in there, but I like the energy flowing when we are all together.
Old 24th June 2005
  #13
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peeceebee's Avatar
 

I'm just in the process of setting up a one-room studio for (mostly) my own projects- There's a nice control room in the building, but the ergonomics of working in one room will be more practical for me.

I've done a lot of one-room work, and I've found that once you get used to it, getting sounds is pretty workable, especially if you're working with the same players & gear fairly regularly- A lot of trial recording passes to check sounds before trying for serious takes becomes commonplace, but usually with a few tweaks I can get in the ballpark. If you're doing a lot of different stuff with unfamiliar artists, an isolated control room might be more essential...
Old 24th June 2005
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2leod
Joshua sez -
"Hey isn't that a THD Univalve? Looks strangely familiar..."
lol, there she is... how are you liking it?
joshua
Old 24th June 2005
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2leod
One room (+ a vocal booth) is what I decided on when I built my place. I mix in the middle of the room with mid and bass traps behind me, hidden behind some curtains. Each side of the room has a slightly different character 'cause of the wall treatments, which I like. I was worried that the distance of the side walls would mess me up with reflections when mixing, but the angled walls and the rock diffusers in the corners take care of the smear. I thought that I would pull out the gobos if it was an issue but I haven't had to yet so there you go...
hey man,
how big is the vocal booth? how important is the booth to your working style? btw, thanks for all the input!
joshua
Old 24th June 2005
  #16
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charleslee's Avatar
 

Two Rooms!!

my studio is called "Two Rooms"

Old 24th June 2005
  #17
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Blatboy's Avatar
 

I've got a one room studio. It works just fine. I do a lot of composition there too, and the extra space is awfully nice for the brain. As was said before, it can take a little getting used to, but if you have limited space (I've got 500 sq. feet, but in NYC that's considered a palatial estate by many...) and you plan on spending a lot of time there... the advantages outweigh the disadavantages, IMHO.
Old 24th June 2005
  #18
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2leod's Avatar
 

The amp is great! A buddy of mine built a sweet cab out of maple with 2 10" Webers, that it sounds killer through. The cab's over in Vancouver now with a band that's trying to decide whether to ink a deal with Universal.

The booth is a must have for me. It's 6 X 8 and I've wired a 1/4" jack to it from the main room so you can use the booth as an iso for guitar. There's a storage closet off the booth so that we can cut vocals at the same time using an iso cab in the storage room. So I guess truth be told it's more like 3 rooms. heh
Old 24th June 2005
  #19
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Everything on my website (in my sig) was done in my 1-room setup.

I LOVE recording vocalists while they are in the same room, standing a few feet away from me. And they seem to love it too. I always hated vocal booths when I was on the "other side of the glass." Vocal booths suck, period. The isolation is stifling. There's a real spirit of collaboration when you can be in the same room with the vocalist, coaching them and cheering them on as they do their thing. They can easily talk to you, you're right there, you cut a take, converse about it, listen to it right there, cut another take...It's cool.

Same with guitarists, although the monitoring can be a struggle, a trial and error excercise. Small amps rule in this scenario. We bought a Fender Pro Junior just for this purpose, all tube circuitry, it sounds great, and we can easily find a sweet spot without earbleed volumes. Bass and keys we go DI, so that's not even an issue.

The cool thing about a one room studio, is you the engineer is integrated with the artist, and so it's a true collaborational process. Artistically, I feel we yield better results this way. I'm really happy to see more engineers opt for one-room studios. It should be the wave of the future.

One key is to design the room to make the artist comfortable. The other is to design the room so it sounds good. If you can achieve those two objectives, you'll get lots of repeat clients.

Happy hunting!
Old 24th June 2005
  #20
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DeadPoet's Avatar
I'm thinking about the same thing. Have a 30x16 (9x5m) outside space to construct, but it's just next to a road..

I'd love to see more pictures of one-room studio's !!


Herwig
Old 24th June 2005
  #21
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bradb's Avatar
 

I've also found it hard to get drum sounds. Isolating headphones and shure earbuds just don't cut it. I think some kind of isolation booth would add some flexibility for amps and/or singing.
Old 24th June 2005
  #22
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DrFrankencopter's Avatar
I'm in the design/construction process for my one room studio (15X25). I generally record my own band more than anyone else, so the one room concept just makes sense. For seperation, I have two closets, one for guitar amps (combos), and another big enough for vocals, bass amps, or bigger guitar rigs. When the iso closets are not in use, they'll be filled with the mic stands, and other odds and ends that need to be stored but ready for studio use.

I always hated making the trip from the control room to the tracking room to make mic adjustments. Sure, the control room lets you make decision in a live sense (i.e. you don't need to hear the playback to decide if the tone is good), but any deficiencies in your control/tracking room isolation will influence those decisions. With a one room concept you are making all decisions based on playback...me, I prefer to work that way. Invest in a good set of headphones, and possibly attenuating earplugs. No point in killing your ears while laying down the drum tracks. I think those etymolic (I'm sure I spelled it wrong) custom moulded in ear monitors would be great for keeping track of performances at reasonable volume levels. I have a set of the attenuators, and they work quite well, and are actually pretty comfortable.

My current plan is to build a rolling mix station (with control surface and monitors, and maybe some of my most used outboard bits). Roll the station up against the front wall for tracking, to maximize the room space, and pull it back to the sweet spot for mixing (main monitors are soffited).

One big advantage of the one room concept is that if you're dealing with a limited amount of space (and most of us are, especially the hobbyists), one bigger room will generally sound far better than two smaller rooms. Mode density increases dramatically with room size, and bass problems tend to sort themselves out fairly well (traps are still needed, just less of them). If you want an iso booth vibe for recording vocals, and don't have the space for a dedicated booth, consider allowing for heavy curtains to be suspended from areas on your ceiling to block off parts of your room. You can build a cozy booth with decent high frequency attenuation, without the low frequency/stuffyness problems that tend to plague small boths.

Cheers,

Kris
Old 24th June 2005
  #23
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blaugruen7's Avatar
i like this one.
havent been there...
http://www.allairestudios.com/studios/studios_neve.html
Old 24th June 2005
  #24
Gear Head
 

Though I couldn't find a link to a picture online, Palindrome Studios is quite a cool-looking single-room. Inside of the notes for Nada Surf's Proximity Effect there's a pretty nice picture. Anyone know what I'm talking about?
Old 24th June 2005
  #25
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Ted Nightshade's Avatar
 

I am used to one room as I rarely work in any kind of formal studio. My whole rig is set up to be mobile in character, although I am working on designing an installation for home base use as one gets tired of cords all across the floor and I could use some more floor space and general organization. Finally I'm figuring out how it is I work and what I need to do, so I can design better.

There are times I really need a totally, completely isolated control room with fantastic acoustics and great monitoring. I don't know of any that are within reach, and I'm sure I couldn't get one together myself. With less than absolutely total isolation, I can do better by monitoring playback, and with digital it's convenient enough. For tape, you want to monitor what actually is going down on the tape anyway. Amazing how a little bitty bit of bleed from the tracking room can totally skew your idea of what is coming through.

The chief danger is simple: FEEDBACK! Monitoring live mics with speakers is not such a hot idea.

The chief advantage is simple too: The engineer is constantly reminded of what the source really sounds like in the room. Too easy to forget about how the source really sounds, from the control room, where you need to make a special trip to the tracking room to check.

Another advantage is that everybody's present. None of this mission control vibe.

Of course this assumes that the music is good and not too loud and that you actually want to be in the room with it!
Old 24th June 2005
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by blaugruen7
i like this one.
havent been there...
http://www.allairestudios.com/studios/studios_neve.html
WOW!
Old 24th June 2005
  #27
One problem that I know I would encounter if my place was only one room, is that many of the musicians really enjoy being in the control room and listening to themselves on the ADAMs while the drummer is in the larger and isolated tracking room. It's a more natural feel than headphones, and they aren't getting blasted with 105db for the entire day. Guitarists (at least the ones I record) also greatly dislike being in the same room as their amp for main rhythm track overdubs, even with phones on. But unless you have a huge facility, a 500 square foot 'booth' with 14 foot ceilings isn't likely. The booth, if there is one, in the one room facility is likely going to be small, and then the instruments can't breath.
Old 24th June 2005
  #28
Gear Head
 

My "booth" has interesting acoustics, and has the added convenience of having a toilet and sink in it.
Old 24th June 2005
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Holland
My "booth" has interesting acoustics, and has the added convenience of having a toilet and sink in it.
ah ha!! i hadn't thought of that. nice one.
joshua
Old 24th June 2005
  #30
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Hi Joshua,

Fancy running into you here!

> the total space i would have to work with is roughly 30' x 20' <

One big advantage of a single room - at least for the typical home studio - is having one large space avoids the boxy sound and low frequency problems inherent in all small rooms. This is what Nathan was talking about. In a large room you get better monitoring, and when recording the microphones and performers don't have to be so close to walls.

--Ethan
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