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Input needed for my garage isolation booth! I did my homework ;)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Input needed for my garage isolation booth! I did my homework ;)

Hi everyone,

I'm a long time lurker on this sub. I'm an amateur singer/songwriter/musician who is finally able to build a small home studio. Been a dream of mine to have this and I've been researching like crazy about the proper way to build a studio. I've bought and read cover to cover Rod Gervais' book and most of my specs will come from that excellent reference. I will also use Tom Sayer's design for a vocal booth ( http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/vi...hp?f=1&t=14147 ...subscription is require to see plan document ) and most of my questions will be in regards to this vocal booth design and how likely my plan will achieve my expected results in a garage.


My situation:
I have a wife and small children who I don't want to bother/terrorize with my music. I also have close neighbors which I need to be on good terms with. I have a regular day job so the times I'll be singing and recording guitars (accoustic/electric/bass) will mostly be in the evening/night time. I've read posts here saying that vocal booth are more for sound isolation than sound treatment/recording wise because of the underlying boxyness issues with small rooms, here's why I don't think this matters much for my needs ...

My Needs: I need to be a grammy winning songwriter... Oh wait, that's a little presumptuous...lol! What I primarily need is a:
1- sound isolation room so I can practice my voice (full belting style) for 1-2 hours straight, with loud enough sound attenuation for recording electric guitars (no drum recording needed...they'll be done in MIDI) and not bothering my family inside the house and neighbors.

2- Sound quality/accoustic treatment: this will be secondary because my goal is mostly to track/record country demo song (with a little bit of pop/rock). Basically, I want this booth to be as soundproof as possible (I know 100% soundproof is unrealistic) with the added bonus of being able to record vocals/acoustic/bass guitar to the level of an acceptable demo quality. The market I'm aiming for is country music so apparently the powers that be in Nashville mostly look for vocal performance/lyric quality more so than recording quality.

3- Don't care much about window, but HVAC will be a big concern as is the case for any small space. Also, there might be 2 or 3 people inside so ventilation will be a primary concern. I'm in Canada so weather wise I may need heating and maybe cooling solutions too. I was planning on heating the inside of the garage to address heating in the winter.

4- Electrical: I won't need alot of power coming into the booth since I'll only need a few outlets for mic, preamp, interface, laptop, amp and lighting. I will follow Rod's book here.

5- I don’t need the thing to be portable at all, nor do I want to be built-in off of my garage walls since if I ever need to upgrade and have a bigger home studio, I have my wife’s permission to use a basement room for a bigger studio.
My plan: My carpenter friend will be building this for me (I'll be there as a supervisor and for looks...lol!) and I have fleshed out the dimensions on Tom Sayer's vocal booth design (see TSayerBooth1). So far, I'm planning to build pretty much per the design plan:
1- Wall: roughly 8'6'' high x 6' deep and 5' wide with the 4 inch walls being non-parallel (hard to see in the pic, but two opposing corners are 90 degrees while the other two are 78 and 102 degrees in order to reduce room nodes/filtering). From outside in: double ½ inch drywall separated by green glue adhesive, acoustical sealant applied to seams. Wall cavity filled with regular foam insulation (I think Rob doesn’t recommend Roxul), then inside finished with cloth/fabric instead of more drywall. The fabric inside is there for acoustical treatment in a small room where gobos are impractical due to limited footprint.

2- The ceiling: also 4 inch framing with appropriate lighting wires. Same layering of materials as walls (2x ½ inch drywall with GGlue, insulation + wiring, fabric)

3- Floor: the plan doesn't mention what to do with the floor, but I am thinking about floating the floor to similar dimensions (4 inch) as the ceiling, except maybe 1 or 2 OSB/plywood layers on top. I’ll have to find a decoupling method to isolate sound vibrations from the booth onto the garage cement slab. To be determined.

Questions/Unresolved issues
1- Can anyone guesstimate if this plan will yield acceptable results in terms of sound isolation? I am wondering that it may not be enough for electric guitar/bass if I don’t have inside layers of drywall for maximum sound attenuation. I think I may have to do this and sacrifice a little in terms of acoustics. I’m thinking of also going with 2X 5/8th drywall instead of ½ inch for the added mass.

2- Would there be big advantages to using a staggered wall approach by using 6 inch plates with staggered 4 inch studs with continuous insulation? The reasoning behind staggered walls is to decouple the inside of the booth from the inside garage walls, but this will be accomplished anyways since the booth is already a “room within a room”. If so, wouldn’t I need to also do the same staggered structure for ceiling and flooring…?

3- I assume it would be better for low frequencies to decouple the floor of the booth appropriately with decoupling posts. Is this necessary if I’m not going to record drum, but ony electric/bass guitar?

4- How likely am I going to go insane without a window in that small booth? I know windows are problematic for sound isolation so I’m inclined to leave them out, but are they overrated in terms mental stamina while recording long hours on end?
THANK YOU, for any input you guys can throw my way! I means so much to be able to have this opportunity to build a simple booth. I just want to be dead set on a plan, and by the way, framing starts tomorrow! Lol!

Ps: if there’s any interest, I would be happy to post building pictures and a video result. Thanks again!!



Nick
Attached Thumbnails
Input needed for my garage isolation booth! I did my homework ;)-tsayerbooth-1.jpg   Input needed for my garage isolation booth! I did my homework ;)-tsayerbooth-framing.jpg  
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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Jason Foi's Avatar
 

Quick thoughts...

John Sayers.... not Tom

I cant tell if your design is a single or two leaf system. If single, you need the rest of the room its in to be airtight as well. If its two, youd be better off with a fully decoupled MSM system.

These details and others, make or break isolation..

https://www.google.com/url?q=http://...4xrFCOI5scy0JV

Floor its going to be on is slab on grade?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Oh my, yes. John Sayers!! lol!!!

His design calls for a forming single leaf system (comprised of drywall-green glue-drywall) on the outside booth walls only. He mentionned that he purposefully designed it as such to make the small booth somewhat acoustically treated while getting some isolation with the single leaf. The reason is that putting some isolation panels inside would end up taking too much footprint in a booth. The inside walls are finished only with a basic fabric. I'm thinking this probably won't be enough isolation though.

When you mean fully decoupled MSM system, you mean Mass-Space-Mass system with double walls with 1-2 inch space between them, double ceiling with and floating floor? If so, I know this is ideal for maximum sound isolation but I'm just concerned about loss of footprint in my garage. I'm going tonight to measure and figure out how big the booth can be while still parking one car in it.

The floor is going to be a concrete slab on grade. So I think I'll have to decouple this by raising it and putting some sort of special post or absorbing material for the booth to sit on. I don't have Rod's book so I can't really remember exactly what would work best. That'll be for later.

As a side note, what do you think about this guy's booth?
skip to 4:45 for wall design...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv5_BealBrA

results video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AANjMVa_jxM
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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Jason Foi's Avatar
 

If you dont design a Mass Spring Mass system, either with the existing garage walls or by building a new MSM system, you will be at the mercy of the mass law, and not get very good isolation. The pdf i linked you to will explain it all in full detail.

I wouldnt worry about floating the floor in your scenario

Have you figured out how loud you are at certain frequencies and how loud you need to be?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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Jason Foi's Avatar
 

I skimmed the videos. He got around 35 db of isolation... Not super impressive, and such a small room will not make for good recordings.

Instead of building a small booth, have you thought of isolating the whole garage?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Oh for sure I've thought about isolating the whole garage, but I've haven't earned nowhere near enough of bargaining chips - nor the "paychecks" - to justify dropping more than 3-5K $. My labor costs are moderate here since it wont be a DIY job.

My musical goals far outreach my musical output right now, and I'll be mostly recording my own country/indie folk/soft rock demo songs with minimal mixing and mastering prowess. If I prove myself and eventually get some serious song syncs or publishing deal, then I'll have those bargaining chips to upgrade to a studio garage. Because I'm not going for professional-grade recordings, I think my goals could initially be done in a small booth.

I do agree that the isolation could be better in the guy's video. I think you've convinced my to do a full MSM route for maximum isolation. My 30-some year old garage is insulated but certainly not super tightly acoustically sealed and probably shouldn't count it for a leaf in my design. I'll take a deeper look into the link you sent.

By the way, is there a best way to isolate a garage door effectively?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Jason Foi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RingoNick View Post
Oh for sure I've thought about isolating the whole garage, but I've haven't earned nowhere near enough of bargaining chips - nor the "paychecks" - to justify dropping more than 3-5K $. My labor costs are moderate here since it wont be a DIY job.

My musical goals far outreach my musical output right now, and I'll be mostly recording my own country/indie folk/soft rock demo songs with minimal mixing and mastering prowess. If I prove myself and eventually get some serious song syncs or publishing deal, then I'll have those bargaining chips to upgrade to a studio garage. Because I'm not going for professional-grade recordings, I think my goals could initially be done in a small booth.

I do agree that the isolation could be better in the guy's video. I think you've convinced my to do a full MSM route for maximum isolation. My 30-some year old garage is insulated but certainly not super tightly acoustically sealed and probably shouldn't count it for a leaf in my design. I'll take a deeper look into the link you sent.

By the way, is there a best way to isolate a garage door effectively?
Understood. We're all in the same boat, with bigger dreams than pockets.

To seal the garage door you'd have to match its mass to the rest of the walls mass and seal it airtight.

Or, build a two leaf msm system in the middle of the garage. Acoustics won't be great, but it'll be less costly. I wouldnt splay walls, and i would do inside out 2x6 inner leaf to maximize cost effectiveness. Hvac and electrical are the tough ones
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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Starlight's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RingoNick View Post
... so I can practice my voice (full belting style) for 1-2 hours straight ...

... there might be 2 or 3 people inside ...

... 6' deep and 5' wide ...

... How likely am I going to go insane without a window in that small booth?
I cannot imagine enjoying being in and feeling creative in such a small space for an extended period, let alone with one or two other people, your instruments and recording gear and maybe even a chair or three. I would suggest finding something of a similar size to try out, like a garden shed at your local DIY centre, and see how you feel inside it. My guess is you will end up wanting a larger room.

Like you, evenings and nights are my creative time and as is dark that a window does not feel as necessary as it would be if I was in there during office hours, knowing there is daylight outside. YMMV.

Last edited by Starlight; 4 weeks ago at 09:10 AM.. Reason: spelling
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