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How would you build it? New Studio Build, seeking advice
Old 28th October 2019
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How would you build it? New Studio Build, seeking advice

Hey everyone,

I have a basement that I'd like to put a studio space into. It's a rental, but the landlord is okay with me doing some construction as long as I'm not doing any major modifications to the current structure. I know this limits me, but essentially I thought I'd attempt an room within a room, 2-leaf design, with an independently framed ceiling supported on joists weaved between the existing joists and supported by the walls of the RWAR structure.

My question is, because I am not allowed to remove the carpet currently installed on the floor of the basement, whether or not it is advisable to construct a free standing structure roughly 20'x8'x8' without having the walls secured to the concrete slab beneath? (thus destroying the carpet between it and my structure) I am aware that those dimensions aren't the greatest for a studio, but it's what I have to work with.

I thought of perhaps laying underlay on top to protect the carpet and then securing some plywood to the bottom of the wall plates on top of that. This would A) avoid having a carpet floor in the studio space B) give me something to seal walls to floor with caulk and C) install laminate on top to finish the space. Not sure if this would do much for the integrity of my structure or if I need to worry?

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Last edited by JP_Dub; 30th October 2019 at 09:48 PM.. Reason: To refocus my question and make it easier to answer
Old 30th October 2019
Here for the gear

Wall Safety, Room within a Room

Restructured my original question to make it easier to answer. Hopefully someone may have some insight into wall construction for free standing structures.

Thank you.
Old 30th October 2019
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Jason Foi's Avatar

Man, thats a lot of work and money for a rental property. I'm not sure it'd be worth it for me. Are all 4 walls below ground? How loud are you going to be? Are there windows/doors to the outside? How close are neighbors? Do you live alone?
Old 30th October 2019
Here for the gear

Hey Jason,

I agree it's not ideal, being a rental and all. Fortunately I am planning on being here long term and am on good terms with landlord.

The 4 walls are below ground, there's about 2 feet between joists and ground level, so pretty well isolated overall. There is one small window, but it is actually in a separate room from where I would build. There is a door leading to the main level, but none that go to the exterior of the house. Neighbors are about 25-30 feet away, unfortunately. I do not live alone, wife and kid upstairs, hence the reason for trying to get as much sound isolation as humanly possible with this build.

As for loudness, primarily mixing in the space, but with the addition of a tracking room, on occasion I would be doing live guitars, vocals. I have a drum kit, but don't think it'd be getting much recording time due to the dimensions of the room being unideal. Probably just occasional practice on the kit more than anything. I'd also point out that I in no way expect to fully isolate the volume of a drum kit, probably the loudest piece of the puzzle here. Overall sound reduction however would be nice!
Old 31st October 2019
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Jason Foi's Avatar

Man, tough one. If your landlord is cool enough to let you do major construction in there, he might be ok with you removing the carpet as long as you agree to replace it when you leave. Might be worth asking.
Old 31st October 2019
Here for the gear

Tough indeed. I take it not having the walls secured to the floor is a big no-no then? Potential safety hazard?

That's a really good suggestion. I did ask him, but he had just put them in before I moved and doesn't want me taking them out, which I know is strange considering I'd be building over them anyways. I guess I can't argue with what he wants.

If building the way I had planned isn't advisable, you wouldn't happen to know of any other methods short of building a room in a room that could at least get me some degree of isolation would you? I've been reading Home Recording Studio: Build it Like the Pros and, while there are some tips in there for someone in my situation, thought it never hurts to gather some opinions.

I guess I got a little starstruck by the prospect of building a studio down there...
Old 31st October 2019
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Jason Foi's Avatar

I really don't know if it would be considered a safety hazard or not. I would think it's structurally sound if all 4 walls and ceiling were all securely fastened together, but I would suggest checking with the cities building inspector there.
Old 1st November 2019
Here for the gear

I would suggest putting your money into isolating the ceiling, the sound isn't going to travel through the walls and it will keep the wife and landlord happy. just anything over ground level will need isolation treatment.

Just make one big mixing and tracking space, this will cut out a lot of the construction, I think it's a better way to work with people (or yourself) anyway. Plus you will have one long rectangular room instead of two acoustically bad square rooms. The money saved could be used for acoustic treatment instead.
Old 1st November 2019
Here for the gear

I had to give that one some thought overnight, but I'm glad I did. I think you make a good point, having a longer room makes more sense and being partially underground does work in my favor too.

I might try putting together something a little more along these lines and focus on the ceiling a lot more. Maybe add some mass to the floor above with drywall, insulation and then another layer of drywall/green glue beneath all that.

Thinking of doing a room within a room still to enhance the isolation a bit more and to decouple, but will worry less about overdoing the walls. Maybe even build a foundational floor filled with rigid insulation on the carpet for the purpose of securing the walls to it and add a support brace mid way down the room to keep the new ceiling from bowing.

All great ideas. Much appreciated!
Old 1st November 2019
Gear Addict

If it were me, I would put zero dollars into a build at a rental property. You are never going to recover the time and expense you put into it. And you will likely need to put things back into order before you leave. What I would do is hang panels from some place like Acoustimac which you can easily remove without leaving damage, and move to your permeant location when the time comes.
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