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21st March 2017
#1
Here for the gear

My new studio - how should I treat the space?

Hello, I'm looking for some helpful advice for my soon-to-be new studio space in South London.

We're about to move house and the new place has a separate building in the garden. It was formerly a garage but has been converted, so it's a room with finished painted plaster/gypsum walls, electricity, carpeting.

It's a fairly large space so I'm wondering whether to keep it as one room or to build a dividing wall and give myself a control room and a live space. And once I've decided that, then what kind of acoustic treatment I should go for. My priority would be to have a great sounding mix room, but a usable small live space would be a bonus.

Dimensions are 5.46m x 4.72m x 2.25m (averaged height of sloping ceiling). The ceiling slopes slightly from the front long wall (with a door and window) to the back wall starting at 2.10m finishing up at 2.40m.

Those measurements in feet for American readers:

Dimensions are 17.9' x 15.5' x 7.4' (averaged height of sloping ceiling). The ceiling slopes slightly upwards from the front (long) wall (with a door and window) to the back wall starting at 6.9' finishing up at 7.9'.

My initial question then is should I treat the room as it is? Or should I divide it up by building an internal wall? How should I divide it and should I consider a diagonal wall to achieve non parallel walls and improve the acoustics?

I have attached a scale image of the plan of the empty room, as well as two ideas for the internal wall.

With the perpendicular wall idea, I plugged some numbers into an online calculator and discovered that in order to get into the "Bolt-Area" the width of the mix room should be at least 3.10m (10.2'), which leaves quite a narrow second space. I have no idea how to crunch the numbers with non-parallel walls...

Any input appreciated : )

Thanks

Al
Attached Thumbnails

Last edited by alriley; 21st March 2017 at 09:14 AM..
21st March 2017
#2
Lives for gear

What type of recording are you planning to do in there? What will you be recording? What type of noise can get in? What if sound gets out?
21st March 2017
#3
Here for the gear

Quote:
I'm wondering whether to keep it as one room or to build a dividing wall and give myself a control room and a live space. And once I've decided that, then what kind of acoustic treatment I should go for. My priority would be to have a great sounding mix room, but a usable small live space would be a bonus.
My initial question then is should I treat the room as it is? Or should I divide it up by building an internal wall? How should I divide it and should I consider a diagonal wall to achieve non parallel walls and improve the acoustics?
Kindly, your questions/statement are contrary. According to this, would say:
Too many variables here. If quality is priority - don't waste time, seek professional help, and save on some labor.
If you still want go DIY: not to make things worse, leave like it is, larger - better. But in any case, non-parallel wall as you draw on pic. N3. is absolutely no-no.
And:
Quote:
...what kind of acoustic treatment I should go for.
The most accurate answer to this question is - appropriate one !
Cheers
21st March 2017
#4
Here for the gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by philsaudio
What type of recording are you planning to do in there? What will you be recording? What type of noise can get in? What if sound gets out?
- Definitely more mixing than recording.
- Examples of recording I'll likely be doing: vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion, upright piano if I can find a decent one within budget. Unlikely I'd record drums there.
- It's a quiet area, and relatively far away from streets, traffic and neighbours...for London anyway.
- Not too concerned about sound getting out. I think it's far enough away from neighbours that working at moderate volumes and within sociable hours won't upset the neighbours.

Like I say, a great sounding mix room is priority over getting a live space. I just wondered if building a wall would help me achieve better results in the mix room? Or is this a case of bigger is better?

Also, if I go with the large room approach, where should I have my speakers and mix position? Initial thoughts:

Option A: mid way along the front wall. Pros - ceiling splays up in the correct direction. Cons - position of window means setup is asymmetrical.

Option B: mid way along the rear wall. Pros - less of an issue with symmetry. Cons - ceiling splays down in the wrong direction...

Option C: mid way along the shorter wall. Still symmetry not perfect, and ceiling splays sideways.

With any of these option there is of course plenty of space to move away from the walls. I've attached a photo of the room, still full of previous owner's stuff...
Attached Thumbnails

22nd March 2017
#5
Lives for gear

If that was my room, I'd not split it into 2 smaller rooms. The existing room is about 2050 cubic feet, which is under the 2500 rule-of-thumb. So by itself it's already on the small side, acoustically speaking.

I would set it up the usual way: start with the listening position about 38% of the length of the room (use the 17' dimension for length), get the speakers in the right spots. That will leave more than half the room behind you for overdubbing, while also making mixing ideal.

Treatment strategies are all straightforward: bass trapping, reflection points, rear wall, overall ambiance of the space. These will help:

Basics of Room Setup -
The Basics of Room Acoustics: Bass Traps, Diffusors, Acoustic Panels
A Well-Balanced Audio Room Using GIK’s Patented Treatments -
22nd March 2017
#6
Here for the gear

Thanks James - I think I've decided now that I'm not going to divide the room. I do far more mixing than recording and there's a studio with a great live room not far from me anyway. Thanks for those links.

Setting up the way you suggest - this means the ceiling would be sloping sideways. Would this cause symmetry issues? Or would it be negligible? Would a ceiling cloud help?

Running the numbers on room modes, my lowest modes will be 31 and 36 Hz. I've been recommended some wedge-type corner bass traps which come out 2'9" from the walls. Do bass traps have to be this huge to be effective at frequencies below 50Hz? They would actually block the door and block out part of the window...any other options?
23rd March 2017
#7
Gear Guru

Nice

Nice big space. If the walls are relatively light your modes may not be strongly pronounced, and with that size they may be well distributed, dense.
The angled ceiling will prevent the two biggest surfaces from fluttering.
Best to start measuring the acoustic response with speakers at real possible locations. I would not rule out anything, even locating the speakers at the long wall.
DD
23rd March 2017
#8
Lives for gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by alriley
a great sounding mix room is priority
I think the challenge to achieve a decent sounding room gets greater the smaller the room is.
Dividing will give you 2 130sq' rooms, which isn't a great size when you consider you'll lose
about another foot off the length and width with trapping, because small room require a lot. gl
23rd March 2017
#9
Lives for gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by alriley
Setting up the way you suggest - this means the ceiling would be sloping sideways. Would this cause symmetry issues? Or would it be negligible? Would a ceiling cloud help?

Do bass traps have to be this huge to be effective at frequencies below 50Hz? They would actually block the door and block out part of the window...any other options?
Well, the symmetry issues are there. The main thing to be aware of is a) what direction reflections are aimed in, and b)severe bass buildup in acute corners created by the angled surfaces.

Yes a ceiling cloud will help a lot. Make it as thick as you can.

Bass traps smaller than that will give some measurable performance below 50Hz, but you need a lot of coverage area. To really get that low consistently they have to be thick.

That said, I'm much more interested in what happens from 80Hz on up in the bass range, since most music has way more energy in that range than the bottom octave or two.
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