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Built out Studio vs Open room setup
Old 10th September 2010
  #1
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Built out Studio vs Open room setup

I'm facing the reality that it's time get my studio out of the house. Too many interruptions and limitations (sleeping wife and child at night...how dare they)
Since I'm not fond of investing build out money in leased space I'm thinking of an open space with portable acoustic treatments that I can take with me when time comes to move. I mainly work with dance music so there won't be big tracking sessions going on and most sessions are unattended so I don't need a lot of people amenities. Flexibility seems attractive at this point... Any of you faced this dilemma? Thanks in advance for your input.

Ken Paul
Kengineering
Old 10th September 2010
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

I'm curious about this too. I'm in the exact situation you are in haha
Old 10th September 2010
  #3
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Paul View Post
I'm thinking of an open space with portable acoustic treatments that I can take with me when time comes to move.
I'm a big fan of all-in-one-room studios, so that aspect is fine. As long as you won't have lots of long sessions with pounding drummers. heh

Acoustic treatment can be portable, but in a room with high ceilings the upper walls and ceiling itself will need treatment applied directly rather than sitting on stands. Of course, good treatment products can be easily removed and taken with you, no matter where you hang them. One of the guys who works for me has moved twice over the years, and he just takes down his MiniTraps and moves them to the next place.

--Ethan

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Old 10th September 2010
  #4
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[QUOTE=Ethan Winer;5774102] but in a room with high ceilings the upper walls and ceiling itself will need treatment applied directly rather than sitting on stands.

Thanks Ethan. Portable wasn't really the word I should have used modular would be more appropriate. But as you suggested if mounted properly they can always be removed and redeployed. I figured I would also build some rolling gobos.

-ken
Old 10th September 2010
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I'm a big fan of all-in-one-room studios, so that aspect is fine. As long as you won't have lots of long sessions with pounding drummers. heh]
I love the idea of large one-room studios in theory. In practice I've been disappointed. Judging mic placement is tougher, isolation is more difficult, and communication can be a PITA when some people have headphones and others don't. If all I did was overdubbing and mixing I would consider it, but there are too many times that I want to hear certain instruments in solo on the main monitors. I also like to listen to speakers at relatively low volumes, and every pair of headphones I've ever worn has caused fatigue sooner than any pair of speakers I've ever used.

I also do a lot of VO work, and with chatty agency people in the room, the talent has to be in an iso booth.

I have good sized tracking rooms (36' X 20' and 35' X 60') for ensemble recording. I don't use iso booths except when I need them. I really like my control room though, and don't think I could work comfortably without it.
Old 10th September 2010
  #6
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eganmedia View Post
Judging mic placement is tougher, isolation is more difficult, and communication can be a PITA when some people have headphones and others don't.
All of that is true, but with a few caveats. To be able to hear the result of different mic placements requires true isolation that is not influenced by LF sound leaking through the walls. This is difficult and expensive to do with a budget studio. I've been using one room for almost 20 years. Now that we have DAW software with unlimited tracks, there's no need to pre-mix drum groups etc on the way in. So that lessens the need to hear exactly what you have before recording.

--Ethan

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Old 11th September 2010
  #7
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I agree that the need to commit to a sound, especially a submixed group isn't necessary anymore. But I have "settled" for kick and snare sounds without being thrilled with them enough times to know that if I plan to use a sound in a mix, it needs to be darned close in tracking. A good monitoring environment with adequate isolation makes that a heck of a lot easier.
Old 11th September 2010
  #8
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Yeah Eganmedia I'm with you on the isolation factor. I just spent a stupid amount of money building an isolating dividing wall to carve out a 9x10'-ish iso booth at my new space. In my case, it also improved the acoustics of my CR by making it a less stupid dimension (was wayyyy to long and not wide). But it cost at least 3x what I expected and was a huge pain in the ass. Avoid if possible! Ask yourself how much you really need the isolation - for dance track production I wouldn't imagine you'd need it a lot - a PVB or Reflexion filter might be more appropriate.
Old 11th September 2010
  #9
Gear Addict
 

There are many trade-offs between closed and open concept studios. Years ago, when building one of our two rooms, we chose open concept because of space and financial considerations. Having lived with the resulting open room, through analog, into digital technology, one constant has remained: Clients return, again and again to that room. And often, they mention the feel of the room itself, as one of the main reasons...

Certainly we endeavor to give them a fine product, and we attempt to maintain a level of competence and professionalism, but there is another issue that is just as important: The open concept studio halps to negate the 'us vs. them' scenario, present in some classic closed concept studios. Talent, producer, and engineer are in the same room. Information flows back and forth, unfettered by walls and distance. Yes... We are separated by space. In our studio, one must actually step down one step to be in the control area. However, the entire space is open to all of us. Colors are muted. Things are friendly. Friendly trumps sterile. Comfort trumps stress.

I have spent quite a lot of time in closed concept studios. 100% communication by electronics, closing and opening of doors, almost 'operating-room-gallery' like environment, etc., do little to calm nerves and produce an atmosphere where one can forget the process, and concentrate on the music.

For us, the open concept necessity, caused by space and dollar realities, has proven to be a positive. It works for us.

Best to all.
Byll
Old 11th September 2010
  #10
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eganmedia View Post
A good monitoring environment with adequate isolation makes that a heck of a lot easier.
Yes, of course, and I already agreed. heh But Ken (OP) said he doesn't want to spend the money.

--Ethan

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Old 11th September 2010
  #11
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Nathan Kunkel has been doing it for a while.
Nathaniel Kunkel: About Studio Without Walls
We wired the new Pilot room to be completely remotable as well.
Old 11th September 2010
  #12
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Benmrx's Avatar
 

If you're not going to be tracking drums... or even having many guests in the studio... and since you mainly do "dance" music... I don't understand why you would really need/want a seperate tracking room?

What kinds of instruments are you planning to mic?
Will you be the one performing?
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