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Building a small 6x6 air-tight cockpit for producing, recording, and mixing
Old 20th April 2015
  #1
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Building a small 6x6 air-tight cockpit for producing, recording, and mixing


Edit: This is the finished inside.

--------------------------

Original First Post:

The time has come. I need to build something where I can sing at the top of my lungs without weirding out the neighbors and I also need something that doesn't let any of their frequent partying audio break into my tracks.

This may make you cringe but I have to admit that my current setup is in the garage. No treatment, no special desk, just an ikea table where a "second car" could park. Needless to say it's dusty, spidery, and not soundproof at all considering there are cracks where the garage doors are and there are vents in the rafters where all said neighbor partying happens 3 feet away.

So it's begun. I was thinking of buying a trailer and modding it to be a studio on wheels, but for a hefty $3000 I'm not too into that. I also only have 6' 10" of clearance at the doors so I cant get a 7' tall 6x10 trailer in the garage anyway.

So I started googling and youtubing storage shed builds. The two most informative and motivating resources I found (outside of awesomely long stints on Pinterest) were:

Build your own man cave : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw-nnWWefJY
and
House-Improvements.com's shed building series: https://youtu.be/Xh_QMJALct4

I started the project yesterday afternoon and I'm going to document the entire process from start to finish right smacketely dab here.

I hope you guys enjoy the journey with me!

Last edited by MontyMakesMusic; 17th October 2015 at 04:38 PM..
Old 20th April 2015
  #2
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The first thing to do is the floor. I landed on doing 6x6 for a couple reasons. One is that I don't need a giant control room. I just need a cockpit where I can produce comfortably and mix. I also want to be able to move the thing once it's done if need be. So I don't want anything permanent or anything that needs to use the existing structure for support. I was thinking 8x8 but once I saw some guys on youtube making some that size I realized that I'd never be able to move the thing if I needed too. So 6x6 sounded like a good number because... no reason really. I just figured my desk could fit and whatnot. In retrospect, I probably would have been ok with 7x7, but I already framed the floor... So, as Eric Sarafin would say, make a decision and move on. So there you go. Also, I need to mention, this is going to be a standing setup. I'm going to get one of those cushy foot pads and everything, so from that perspective, 6x6 is more than enough room. The reason I chose a standing setup is from reading this article and ones like it... http://www.pcgamer.com/a-year-of-pc-...standing-desk/

Here it is framed. I wanted to make sure the floor would not bend under my feet so I placed studs every 12 inches on center. Then I put 3/4 in. osb on top and nailed her down. Thing feels like concrete under your feet. It's great.



Oh yeah, everybody kept talking about how you should use pressure treated lumber on your floors. But this thing will never be outside, so there's no danger of it getting wet etc. Hopefully it'll be ok. Saved some serious dollar by avoiding it too.

So I'll be buying stuff as I go but I will give full disclosure of the costs. So far I've bought all studs for the floor and walls (43 in total) and the osb for the floor and walls (7 sheets of 4x8).
As far as my budget goes, I was almost going to buy that 6x10 trailer for $3k, so if I can stay under that for the entire project (including a couple new pieces of gear), I'll be happy as a clam.

Cost to date: $193.40


Last edited by MontyMakesMusic; 20th April 2015 at 07:59 PM..
Old 21st April 2015
  #3
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Yesterday I wanted to get the rear and side walls completed but I quickly found out that things don't always go as fast as you'd like. But I did get the rear wall completed and the framing for the front wall is good to go. Today I'm going to go for getting the sidewalls and front wall done.

And then we'll be onto the ceiling. Looking forward to putting siding on and getting to the drywall!



Old 21st April 2015
  #4
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You're planning to mix in there too?
Old 22nd April 2015
  #5
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Way too small to be useful IMHO - just work on headphones!

Seriously - by the time that thing is finished it's going to be very small - and how are you going to breath!
Old 22nd April 2015
  #6
I hope the door swings out or you are going to be in trouble if you have to put anything else in the room like a table for a console. There just is no room...Also as someone else pointed out what are you going to do to for fresh air if you make it "air-tight"? Just wondering?
Old 22nd April 2015
  #7
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Ye of little faith! hahaha. I'm very adaptable. And to be honest, my whole career I've mixed from smaller than average spaces. With the right reflection and treatment I'm completely confident of the possibilities.

As far as the suffocation risk, I will be ventilating the space. I just picked up a used AC unit yesterday that will sit outside the room and will feed through a duct to the room. And being rated to cool 1200 square feet, I think my 30 square feet should cool down quite nicely, not to mention quick! However, I will put a small rubber sealed door on the inside of the room to seal the duct so it will be literally air tight when need be (i.e. vocal take or final mixing/mastering).

And again, the size was dictated by the eventuality of needing to move the room. If I had the security of permanence I would build a 24 x 24 or even larger...

As far as the door: I'm thinking I'll use a 30in x 70in piece of 1/2in acrylic sheet with Cardellini Clamps at the four corners. I'll drill holes for handles on the acrylic too and put a rubber seal around the outline of the door frame and basically seal myself in from the inside. In other words, the door will be detachable, so no worry about gear space.

Thanks for the responses!

Last edited by MontyMakesMusic; 22nd April 2015 at 07:21 PM..
Old 22nd April 2015
  #8
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Last night I got all four walls up. Today I'm going to try to get the rest of the osb up on the side and front walls. I'm still deciding if I should do the roof yet because I might need to drop the desktop through the top as I'm pretty sure I'm going to use one piece of notched 5x4 high quality ply for the desk and fitting it through the roof hole will probably be the easiest way to get it in place.


Last edited by MontyMakesMusic; 22nd April 2015 at 07:22 PM..
Old 23rd April 2015
  #9
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Wow, the thing is starting to feel pretty sturdy now. I've got the rear and side walls osb'd. Almost done with the front. Tomorrow I'll make the trip to home depot to grab the rest of the supplies (insulation, drywall and osb for the roof, etc). I've decided I'll put the roof on next since I think the desktop will fit through the door. Really looking forward to being done with the shell (aside from painting the outside and putting right angle trim on the corners). Onto the innards soon!

Old 24th April 2015
  #10
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The thing is finally enclosed and I just bought drywall and insulation today and got started on it. Wow, insulation is not cheap. Total cost this trip for remaining osb, insulation, and drywall supplies is $229. Total cost of project to date is $422.

I do have to say that working full time and then coming home to work on this is starting to take a toll. Good thing the framing is done. At least insulation and drywall aren't too heavy in pieces...

But even with it wearing me out, it is very exciting to build something from scratch and I'm so looking forward to using it when it's finished!




Old 24th April 2015
  #11
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therecordlabel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyMakesMusic View Post
The thing is finally enclosed and I just bought drywall and insulation today and got started on it. Wow, insulation is not cheap. Total cost this trip for remaining osb, insulation, and drywall supplies is $229. Total cost of project to date is $422.

I do have to say that working full time and then coming home to work on this is starting to take a toll. Good thing the framing is done. At least insulation and drywall aren't too heavy in pieces...

But even with it wearing me out, it is very exciting to build something from scratch and I'm so looking forward to using it when it's finished!




I commend the DIY attitude man, really - but you know anything below like 100hz will be outside your walls right? I mean it's an acoustic nightmare. Not knocking, just wondering if you've thought about that...
P
Old 24th April 2015
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therecordlabel View Post
I commend the DIY attitude man, really - but you know anything below like 100hz will be outside your walls right? I mean it's an acoustic nightmare. Not knocking, just wondering if you've thought about that...
P
I've been thinking a lot about how to approach that. It is an issue. But I won't be able to really attack it until I know for sure how the sub is behaving in the space. Now, if you're talking about it being loud outside the room, as in bothersome or something like that, that's not an issue. The garage will disperse any excess noise. But besides that, I'm not going to be doing finishing work in here. Not to mention very loud work. This is going to be for producing, singing, and mixing. If it turns out to be a nightmare to master or put finishing touches on the mix, I just wont do it there. I just need a place to write music and record vocals. So I think of it as a vocal booth with a drum machine in it...

As far as it being an acoustical nightmare all around, you're not alone in that assumption as you can see from the dudes above, but I just don't see it that way. Like I've mentioned before, I've spent most of my career in tiny spaces. I recorded and mixed for a year in a room at a studio that was no bigger than this is going to be and it was certainly manageable (if not ideal).

Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I think it's going to be awesome.
Old 24th April 2015
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyMakesMusic View Post
I've been thinking a lot about how to approach that. It is an issue. But I won't be able to really attack it until I know for sure how the sub is behaving in the space. Now, if you're talking about it being loud outside the room, as in bothersome or something like that, that's not an issue. The garage will disperse any excess noise. But besides that, I'm not going to be doing finishing work in here. Not to mention very loud work. This is going to be for producing, singing, and mixing. If it turns out to be a nightmare to master or put finishing touches on the mix, I just wont do it there. I just need a place to write music and record vocals. So I think of it as a vocal booth with a drum machine in it...

As far as it being an acoustical nightmare all around, you're not alone in that assumption as you can see from the dudes above, but I just don't see it that way. Like I've mentioned before, I've spent most of my career in tiny spaces. I recorded and mixed for a year in a room at a studio that was no bigger than this is going to be and it was certainly manageable (if not ideal).

Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I think it's going to be awesome.
Cool man - I'm not trying to put you off, just hoping to manage your expectations a little! Recording, being creative, yes - but I don't think you stand a chance of getting anything like an accurate response from your monitors in those conditions. If you can work around that then cool, but I definitely need to hear what's happening between 50 and 200hz accurately to mix, never mind sub frequencies. Also, there will be significant first reflection issues that will create stereo image and high frequency problems too. The amount of treatment needed to control all this would halve your space and make it unliveable...

Basically just suspend the idea of proper final mixing and use it as a writing space. Then you won't end up spending a ton of money trying to fix the unfixable...

Please don't take this as negative, just trying to help you avoid disappointment dude!
P
Old 24th April 2015
  #14
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Will be interesting to hear how it goes. 6 x 6 foot, wouldn't the lowest null be about 94 Hz? Well sealed room, maybe low bass all in the pressure region, would be pretty easy to drive smoothly, with the proper speakers?

94 hz is high enough to be "pretty easy" to absorb, assuming the room contains lots of absorption? Just a work desk, space for one person, and the rest of the space full of absorbers?
Old 24th April 2015
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcjr View Post
Will be interesting to hear how it goes. 6 x 6 foot, wouldn't the lowest null be about 94 Hz? Well sealed room, maybe low bass all in the pressure region, would be pretty easy to drive smoothly, with the proper speakers?

94 hz is high enough to be "pretty easy" to absorb, assuming the room contains lots of absorption? Just a work desk, space for one person, and the rest of the space full of absorbers?
It's so funny. The more I read and research about peaks and nulls, the more I realize how familiar I am with dealing with these issues on a daily basis. It's why I have 3 sets of reference monitors and a sub on an independent channel in my mixing suite. I'm constantly moving around, changing sub levels, removing sub, going from 8in monitors to 5 in. mix cubes, etc. Peaks and nulls are my life apparently. hahaha
Old 26th April 2015
  #16
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Got most of the sheetrock up and mudded today. I'll put the ceiling on tonight or first thing tomorrow. Then do a second coat of mud. Also went to home depot today and picked up paint and flooring. Super excited to be getting close to the flooring! Of course have to paint first. Just glad to have the osb and framing done. That was horrible. At least doing the mud is a little bit artsy and creative (maybe that's a stretch...)



Old 26th April 2015
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcjr View Post
Will be interesting to hear how it goes. 6 x 6 foot, wouldn't the lowest null be about 94 Hz? Well sealed room, maybe low bass all in the pressure region, would be pretty easy to drive smoothly, with the proper speakers?

94 hz is high enough to be "pretty easy" to absorb, assuming the room contains lots of absorption? Just a work desk, space for one person, and the rest of the space full of absorbers?
Since it's basically a perfect cube the mode at 94Hz is going to be massive. In addition to standard broadband absorber panels used inside the space, I wonder if a tuned Helmholtz absorber would be the way to go here to tame that? You could even build it into the outside of the door I would imagine.
Old 26th April 2015
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dheming View Post
Since it's basically a perfect cube the mode at 94Hz is going to be massive. In addition to standard broadband absorber panels used inside the space, I wonder if a tuned Helmholtz absorber would be the way to go here to tame that? You could even build it into the outside of the door I would imagine.
Man, from everyone's responses so far, it sounds like I'm going to get schooled on acoustics from this thing when it's done...
Old 26th April 2015
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dheming View Post
Since it's basically a perfect cube the mode at 94Hz is going to be massive. In addition to standard broadband absorber panels used inside the space, I wonder if a tuned Helmholtz absorber would be the way to go here to tame that? You could even build it into the outside of the door I would imagine.
Actually, while you are correct, the mode he will most likely experience massive pressure on is the second axial mode. The speakers would be on the wall, the listener at the center between boundaries.
Old 26th April 2015
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcjr View Post
Will be interesting to hear how it goes. 6 x 6 foot, wouldn't the lowest null be about 94 Hz? Well sealed room, maybe low bass all in the pressure region, would be pretty easy to drive smoothly, with the proper speakers?

94 hz is high enough to be "pretty easy" to absorb, assuming the room contains lots of absorption? Just a work desk, space for one person, and the rest of the space full of absorbers?
It's going to be a lot more complicated than this. The absorbers would need to be perfect, a perfect absorber is also synonymous with an open door or window, or just no walls. Somewhere below 94hz there will be a massive hiccup.
Old 27th April 2015
  #21
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Finally. It's painted. I cannot begin to explain my new found realization that I am horrible at mud. And sanding mud. But hey, it doesn't look THAT bad and absorption along with gear will be covering up most of the walls anyway.

I also cut the desk before I painted to check the angles and ergonomics. Next I'll sand and paint the desk, then install. And then holy crap! The floor!!







Old 27th April 2015
  #22
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Hey, that cockpit looks cool. It's pretty impressive that you managed to form a room from scratch within a week time, considering you work full time meanwhile.

It seems that 150hz and upwards reflections can be pretty much eliminated with absorbers with depths 4inch or more. If you are to set up a listening triangle with 4 feet, you'll be left with 1 feet clearance remaining from each wall, which I suppose is enough space for installing absorbers.

Good luck, man! I'd love to see room response measurements of before and after treatment!
Old 27th April 2015
  #23
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I've had a recording booth inside my apartment that was almost exactly built like yours.
Same size, same materials. I had the whole booth standing on 5 rubber feet, and I added a window.
I had to put a lot of absorbers and diffusers inside there to make it work. A room of this size is only useful if it's "dead".
It served me well for 4 years. It was great for recording vocals and practicing drums, but forget about anything else.
You won't be able to mix on monitors inside that booth... it won't work.

thumbs up for your DIY approach!
Old 27th April 2015
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the fxs View Post
I've had a recording booth inside my apartment that was almost exactly built like yours.
Same size, same materials. I had the whole booth standing on 5 rubber feet, and I added a window.
I had to put a lot of absorbers and diffusers inside there to make it work. A room of this size is only useful if it's "dead".
It served me well for 4 years. It was great for recording vocals and practicing drums, but forget about anything else.
You won't be able to mix on monitors inside that booth... it won't work.

thumbs up for your DIY approach!
Great to hear your feedback! Thanks a bunch.
Yeah, I'm focused on recording vocals and producing in here, especially after doing some reading up on what everyone in here was talking about. If I get some rough mixes or whatever that's great but this is mainly going to be the "idea room".

But still, I'm very interested in hearing everyone's input on how to get this room as close as possible to monitor mixing. That would be icing on the cake.
Old 27th April 2015
  #25
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I am very ignorant of acoustics, and do not want to be a downer. Am guessing that a 10 x 10 x 10 room with 2 feet deep of pink fluffy full coverage on all walls and ceiling, might give a 6x6x8 space with fairly good acoustics, especially if using sealed subwoofer and sealed monitors.

In theory, maybe the same treatment of the 6x6 would work similarly, except that would leave very little remaining space in the room.

So just full coverage as deep as you can get it. Maybe on the front wall, make the insulation as deep as you can stand, and bury the monitors in the insulation. Which might give deeper absorption on that wall without stealing working space.

At 12" or thinner absorbers, probably denser absorbers than pink fluffy would work best. At less than 12", fluffy absorbers are not very effective as far as I've seen.
Old 28th April 2015
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Perhaps adjust/build outwards, rather than inwards.. maintaining the maximum core workspace? Just a thought
Old 28th April 2015
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyMakesMusic View Post
Finally. It's painted. I cannot begin to explain my new found realization that I am horrible at mud. And sanding mud. But hey, it doesn't look THAT bad and absorption along with gear will be covering up most of the walls anyway.

I also cut the desk before I painted to check the angles and ergonomics. Next I'll sand and paint the desk, then install. And then holy crap! The floor!!







Looking like fun man! Are those side desk parts empty voids? Cause if so they are going to resonate in exciting and horrible ways. Maybe fill them with an absorbent material like rockwool?
P
Old 28th April 2015
  #28
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Why did you choose 6x6x6?

A cube is one of the worst shapes acoustically for a listening space. With building a space from scratch you could have chosen unrelated height/width/depths and got a better response off the bat.

Too late now obviously, but anyone else reading this should not make the same mistake!

Cheers

Conundra
Old 28th April 2015
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conundra View Post
Why did you choose 6x6x6?

A cube is one of the worst shapes acoustically for a listening space. With building a space from scratch you could have chosen unrelated height/width/depths and got a better response off the bat.

Too late now obviously, but anyone else reading this should not make the same mistake!

Cheers

Conundra

Oh my god. You're so right! I'm a complete idiot. Forget it. I'm scrapping the whole project.


Old 28th April 2015
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clockwise View Post
It's pretty impressive that you managed to form a room from scratch within a week time, considering you work full time meanwhile.
On that point, I took last night off and went to bed early. This whole thing on top of work and family life took me to the limit. BUT I'M BACK ON BABY!

I did get my tape LED in the mail yesterday so I couldn't help but put it in the desk to see a preview last night. Hard to see in the pic, but trust me when I say it's awesome...

In case you're all wondering, it's this: LED Strip


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