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Seeking advice: relocating to the basement Studio Monitors
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Head
 

Seeking advice: relocating to the basement

First off, thanks for taking the time to read this - much appreciated.

Due to family logistics and general storage space issues, I’ve recently moved my music room to our basement. It’s separate from the main basement which has the benefit of being away from the noisy furnace and hot water tank, but the disadvantage of being slightly chilly. I’m in Canada and the winters can make it pretty cold downstairs. Regardless, that’s not my main reason for posting.

The room is 9.5’ x 13.5’. Concrete floor and stone foundation walls. The ceiling is 6’3” to the bottom of the joists and 7’ to the space between joists(the floor above). The room is pretty dry because of our property grade. What little moisture we get is easily dealt with by a small dehumidifier.

There’s two doorways, both on the short walls. One dead center (this is the back of the room) one all the way to one end of the short wall (this is the ‘front’ of the room).

My monitors are jbl lsr305s. I plan on using this room for mixing and tracking (vocals, guitars, drums). I’m fine with using only dynamic mics if necessary.

Anyhow, my main questions are about flooring, walls, and treatment.

For flooring I was thinking of putting in dricore subfloor and leaving it at that. It has insulation that will provide some warmth plus it’s wood.

When it comes to walls I’m pretty lost. One option would be to make standard drywall walls. I would probably want them to be a few inches away from the foundation to allow the foundation to breathe.

Or, I could make large movable acoustic panels that would form the walls of the room. They wouldn’t be right to the ceiling, but they would provide a visual and aural improvement.

If I go with standard walls, I would build separate acoustic treatment.

For the ceiling I was thinking I’d leave it as is well the exception of a couple of treatments above the drum kit and mixing chair. Should I be tearing the space between the joists though?

I’m anxious to get started but am having troubles solidifying a plan. Any comments appreciated.

Thanks again.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Head
 

tldr: in a small room with a low room and joists - two questions:

1. Drywall with space behind and treatment in front or no drywall (make walls out of the treatment)?

2. Stuff the space between the joists or just have the clouds?

Thanks
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scientific View Post
Stuff the space between the joists or just have the clouds?

Thanks
I think clouds in a room that is only 6’ 3” floor to joists is going to feel claustrophobic and awkward. Actually, if you put in your layer of flooring you are losing an inch or so to begin with.
Do not invite the basketball team to jam with you!

Filling that 9” depth between joists with fluffy stuff over the entire ceiling and masking it with a breathable fabric would “unbox” the room to a significant degree without impinging on any useable height in the room. It also gets you maximum flexibility in placing drums and gear. Likewise, I think a large number of thick moveable freestanding traps allow you to adjust the exposure of reflective surfaces and partition the space to adapt to whatever you are doing at the moment. You can air gap them out from the walls when you can, and move them out of the way when you need more space, or a more live acoustic.
And make THICK traps. In a small room with parallel surfaces, you will need to deal with serious low frequency resonances and destructive nulls effectively in order to produce better recordings and mixes.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Gear Head
 

Thanks, Bushman!

Would you say 4” thick would do or do I need to go thicker?
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Lives for gear
4” panels with an air gap is good. 6” panels with an air gap is better, but I don’t have the education or math to tell you how much difference it makes. You do want to have them moveable. If you did 6’ or 7’ height with a 6” panel, you are starting to get to classic Marshall cabinet weight.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Gear Head
 

Excellent. Thanks again!
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scientific View Post
tldr: in a small room with a low room and joists - two questions:

1. Drywall with space behind and treatment in front or no drywall (make walls out of the treatment)?

2. Stuff the space between the joists or just have the clouds?

Thanks
I would make walls out of the treatment, and stuff the space in the joist bays and cover with fabric (or dacron and then fabric).

Adding another stud wall with drywall is only going to eat up valuable space here, even if you built the wall as a stud wall, and then filled it with fluffy (all the way to the foundation- should breath just fine with no drywall), then you could cover that with dacron/fabric.

Dacron will offer a small improvement in absorption via impedance matching, but it also helps smooth the whole surface visually.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Lives for gear
"Get outta there Rocky -- you can't win, you can't win !!!"
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sage691 View Post
"Get outta there Rocky -- you can't win, you can't win !!!"
Yeah. But given the choice between making music in a troublesome space vs. Not making music at all, I know what I’m picking 100 times out of 100.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Head
 

Thanks Ryan.

Seems like we have some consensus here. Stuff the joist space and make the other treatment function as walls. Happy to not have to deal with drywalling anyhow.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Lives for gear
Compared to some examples we see here, this is not a horrible, impossible space. First it isn’t a square room or a cube, so the number of equal-length dimensions is not extreme or unusual. You have enough non-useable trapping (absorption) space in between the ceiling joists to effectively remove one of the two largest surfaces as a source for much reflection over a broad range of frequencies. And the joists make concealing the absorption comparatively easy and not ugly (if you are reasonably handy). The cellar ceiling height is a limitation, but if it isn’t a commercial room and you are under 5’ 10”, that’s an odd visual detail, but not a reason to pass on the space.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 

I'd start with the 9.5' walls,and if uninterrupted by windows or doors, put 6" of 703 or equivalent semi-rigid insulation over the entire walls, and then finish with fabric covered pegboard . Corner superchunks in all trihedral corners next. All this would be a good start at getting your low end under control, which is going to be your biggest problem, If this is not a long term space, I wouldn't make the effort. Listen to the room as it changes, once done with this much, you may want to do the same thing to the 13.5" walls, you will loose about a foot on both dimensions, but the room would start to sound pretty good...
Bonus snacks for putting soffit traps all the way around the ceiling/wall boundary/perimeter.

YYMV

Light

Temple

Last edited by Temple of Light; 1 week ago at 05:17 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Gear Head
 

Thanks Temple. This would actually work well as there some aesthetic issues might make it best to cover the end walls completely. I hadn’t considered adding the pegboard (for diffusion I presume), is it because doing the entire wall might make it too dead or should I use pegboard regardless of how much I end up covering?
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Pegboard is added to the front of absorber devices as a means of range limiting the device.
In other words, putting pegboard in front of a stack of 703 or similar, would limit it's ability to
function as a broadband device, effectively reflecting mid and high frequencies so the device works
better as a bass trap, everything above a certain frequency is basically reflected back into the room.
Fabric is used to give an aesthetic appearance to an otherwise drab and boring look.
Pegboard has minimal diffusion capabilities in and of itself, unless you modify it with a series of
increasing diameter holes across the entire width and length of the panel.
Also in use is a B.A.D design which is a series of randomly generated holes that distribute the frequency scattering in all directions equally.
What I did was to take a 2'x4' pegboard panel and drilled a series of 1/2", 3/4", & 1" holes by skipping
every other hole in the pegboard, going across the width of the panel, so I ended up with rows of holes
going lengthwise...it's known as targeted diffusion, as it selects a narrow band of frequency
for the diffusion. Pegboard has a very narrow band that it diffuses, by adding the series of holes, it widens the band from very low frequency into the low mids range.I'm custom making a soffit that goes all the way around the ceiling of
my room, filling it with 1.6lb ecose in the frames, pink fluffy next to it and then several layers of safe and sound.
The modified pegboard panels are the horizontally mounted bottoms of the soffits and the vertically mounted frames hold the 1.6 lb ecose.
Completing the soffit shape, utilizing the wall and the ceiling as the other two surfaces of the soffit shape.
Seems like it's working pretty good so far...I only have the first pair of 8 traps installed, but the intelligibility of the
room has already improved to a noticeable degree.

YYMV

Light

Temple

Last edited by Temple of Light; 1 week ago at 07:30 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Lives for gear
I don’t think entire walls of pegboard fronting traps is going to get the best result. As Temple says, unaltered pegboard is not much of a diffusion device, so my concern is that the reflections from large flat parallel pegboard surfaces is going to be coherent, and thus create peaks and nulls that unfaced trapping avoids.
I would suggest that you do not use pegboard. If the room is too dead, then you add some diffusion to taste.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
I would suggest that you do not use pegboard. If the room is too dead, then you add some diffusion to taste.
+1

This is why I would still frame the wall out, and insulate and fabric/dacron over it. This way you can have a nice solid frame that you can add anything to over the fabric. It's a pretty small space, but I bet some slats and smaller poly's would still work in there if the coverage wasn't too much. Maybe QRD's if there is a wall he doesn't get that close to.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Yes, perhaps the entire wall pegboarded over is overkill,
perhaps just facing the corner superchunks with it...

YYMV

Light

Temple
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Gear Head
 

Great stuff. Thanks everyone.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
Lives for gear
Please post back as you move along with this.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Please post back as you move along with this.

Yes, will do.

I’m realizing that there’s a lot more to do. Probably have to move some hvac, and possibly need to build a bulkhead for the hvac and plumbing. I’m going to try to tackle the whole thing next time I have a week off. I’ll post some pics during the process. And might have some questions along the way.
Old 5 days ago
  #21
Gear Head
 

One more question for now: should I bass trap the non-corner? Basically the room has three corners and the fourth is the entrance way. I could make a bass trap/door combo if treatment should be done in the entrance/non-corner.
Old 5 days ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scientific View Post
One more question for now: should I bass trap the non-corner? Basically the room has three corners and the fourth is the entrance way. I could make a bass trap/door combo if treatment should be done in the entrance/non-corner.
Yeah, you should: all tri-hedral corners will benefit from bass trapping. You can probably mount a 2'x2' panel on top and a 2'x'4' panel below it on the inside of the door, without causing to much mischief...6" depth would be good,
8" would be preferred, if it did not interfere with the door swing...

YYMV

Light

Temple
Old 5 days ago
  #23
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Temple of Light View Post
Yeah, you should: all tri-hedral corners will benefit from bass trapping.
Sorry. I should have been more clear. There is no corner. It’s an opening to the main part of the basement. No door, just open space that goes into another room.
Old 5 days ago
  #24
Gear Addict
 
s wave's Avatar
Why not make a sound treatment Chinese/japanese divider. Its movable not permanent and maybe make some rough tests for reflection etc. And if worst came to worst use it as a quasi door for that opening.
Old 5 days ago
  #25
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scientific View Post
Sorry. I should have been more clear. There is no corner. It’s an opening to the main part of the basement. No door, just open space that goes into another room.
In a sense, it already is the ultimate bass trap. They call a device with an absorption coefficient of 1 across the frequency spectrum an open window so...Then again symmetry is desirable, but without a hard boundary behind it, it still isn't acoustically symmetrical.

This is one of those things where it's really impossible to guess rather a trap in front would be worth it, or accomplish much or not.
Old 4 days ago
  #26
Lives for gear
 

A series of portable traps might do the trick...such as:
ATS Acoustics Studio Stacker, Gobo Panel
All sorts of portable possibilities... and leaving it as is without throwing any money at it has a an advantage too.
An open doorway allows a lot of standing waves an exit path, but the loss of symmetry/balance in the stereo image is the price...

YYMV

Light

Temple
Old 3 days ago
  #27
Gear Head
 

Thanks again.

One thing that would be great at keeping my budget in check is not running the treatment all the way to the floor. Would it be foolish to make 4’ High treatments that start 1’ from the floor and go to 1’ below the ceiling? Am I just getting cheap here?
Old 3 days ago
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scientific View Post
Am I just getting cheap here?
Probably...bass builds up in corners, so the opposite would actually be better (cover top and bottom) from a bass trapping perspective. You will want to absorb early reflection points on the middle of the wall.
Old 3 days ago
  #29
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanC View Post
Probably...bass builds up in corners, so the opposite would actually be better (cover top and bottom) from a bass trapping perspective. You will want to absorb early reflection points on the middle of the wall.
Noted. Top to bottom it is!
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