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Studio Build in the Country
Old 8th August 2020
  #1
Gear Addict
Studio Build in the Country

We’re moving to a new plAce on 3 acres and wanting to build a new space to mix and record music. The best part is I don’t need to worry about isolation and bothering neighbors so it makes this project different than any other I’ve worked on.

Considering I don’t care about sound getting out and can work around rain which is the only sound that can get in; what is the least expensive workable space I could build.

My options are: build a large shed, a yurt or a traditional garage. Without getting too wordy I’m curious what folks here would do and have done to build a space without breaking the bank. So least expensive comfortable space.

I’m in Hawaii and already have my studio in a garage with no AC and I’m far enough from the ocean where humidity isn’t too bad and have a little window unit if need be. I don’t have to worry about HVAC or soundproofing so I think this make it easier and should be cheaper.

I’m a guitar player, songwriter and will be mainly recording guitars, amps, vocals and drums are far secondary as I can sound replace electric or acoustic drums if need be. I’ll also be mixing quite a bit. A single room is the idea.

I’d love to know you guys and slutz thoughts on this.

Mahalo 🤙
Old 8th August 2020
  #2
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Starlight's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopussy View Post
I’m in Hawaii
Location: Portland OR, according to your profile. Maybe it needs updating.

I'd love a big yurt for the vibe but if you went for one what about the possibility of theft? A yurt is probably not very secure but maybe you don't need to worry about that, either.
Old 10th August 2020
  #3
Gear Addict
Yes I need to update that Moved to Hawai’i!

We would have our house on the property and zero concerns of theft; plus gear is insured.

I’ve done a decade of research (including posts on here) and after working in multiple amazing spaces concluded that sound isolation is way way way to expensive to even get a dude on the phone to tell you it’s too expensive.

So I figure it would be way better to eliminate sound isolation from the equation


Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
Location: Portland OR, according to your profile. Maybe it needs updating.

I'd love a big yurt for the vibe but if you went for one what about the possibility of theft? A yurt is probably not very secure but maybe you don't need to worry about that, either.
Old 15th August 2020
  #4
Gear Addict
Bump bump. Any love? Gearslutz making dreams come true! Or killing dreams. Either way it’s productice and we all learn!
Old 15th August 2020
  #5
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Kyle P. Gushue's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopussy View Post
Bump bump. Any love? Gearslutz making dreams come true! Or killing dreams. Either way it’s productice and we all learn!
Im not it your area so i don't know what's cheapest to build. In general id opt for a wooden structure with concrete slab for a floor. If mixing is the primary concern, you'll want a symetrical room, with good dimensions for modal distribution. Around here 2x4 spaced 16" oc cost about as much as 2x6 spaced 24" oc, so id opt for 2x6 framing. It gives a deeper wall cavity and can support more vertical height. You might be able to get away with just covering the side walls with fabric and having the 6" cavity insulation for broadband absorption. Then have a deep trap on the rear wall and ceiling for deep bass trapping. You could incorporate slats as well.

If the walls are lightweight, they will leak bass so you would get away with less trapping than a sealed massively constructed room.

You can calculate much of this ahead of time.
Old 15th August 2020
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Hawaii? I would consider wind noise. Other than that it sounds fabulous!
Old 15th August 2020
  #7
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Starlight's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopussy View Post
... humidity isn’t too bad and have a little window unit if need be. I don’t have to worry about HVAC ...
You haven't said what type of building you have decided on. How can you be so sure that you will never need HVAC?

According to this site the average relative humidity in Honolulu is 68%. Wooden instruments like nearer 45% but maybe you have no wooden musical instruments. If the humidity does become too bad, how will opening a window help as it is, on average, 68% outside? November is the wettest month, so somewhere north of 68% RH. The dehumifiying feature of an AC might come in useful.

Do you have any plans to breathe? The V in HVAC is kind of important. How will you be monitoring CO2 build-up in your airless studio?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopussy View Post
Gearslutz making dreams come true! Or killing dreams.
I have no desire to kill anyone's dreams but it would be easier for Gearslutz to help you if you could explain a bit more of your dream, your plans, your property, your budget, your music and more.
Old 15th August 2020
  #8
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
You haven't said what type of building you have decided on. How can you be so sure that you will never need HVAC?

Thanks for writing back. I’m thinking between a yurt, small cabin or a more practical large 2 car garage with tall ceiling. I’m thinking 600-700 sq ft would be big enough for 3 people confortable with workstation/synths on one side and a small live area that’s focused on recording vocals, elec and acoustic guitars and a small drum kit.

I don’t have HVAC now in my garage because all windows are always open in most houses in Hawaii. I’m at about 1000 feet up the mountain so far my guitars have been ok. My Martin needs a neck reset which sucks but might have been on the plane and storage I dunno.

According to this site the average relative humidity in Honolulu is 68%. Wooden instruments like nearer 45% but maybe you have no wooden musical instruments. If the humidity does become too bad, how will opening a window help as it is, on average, 68% outside? November is the wettest month, so somewhere north of 68% RH. The dehumifiying feature of an AC might come in useful.

I’m on the big island and up the volcano. Humid I’m sure but not sweating it too much. I have portable units if necessary. Doors and windows will be open 90% of the time.

Do you have any plans to breathe? The V in HVAC is kind of important. How will you be monitoring CO2 build-up in your airless studio?

Breathing is optional. ,)

I have no desire to kill anyone's dreams but it would be easier for Gearslutz to help you if you could explain a bit more of your dream, your plans, your property, your budget, your music and more.
Budget I’d say no more than 30k. Ideally as low as possible hehe. Style of music is lots of stuff ya know. Not metal and usually amps under 30 watts. Drums aren’t super critical as I can program and sound replace. This is primarily a serious creative space and only for hand picked projects.

Hope that helps a little.
Old 15th August 2020
  #9
Gear Addict
Thanks Kyle. Maybe a wooden cabin? Would that be better than a yurt? Or a normal tall ceiling 2 car garage?

Recording and mixing in the same room. If it’s a critical mix I can pass it on but normally it will be for licensing film and tv as well as passion projects. It’s a combination of acoustic and electronic elements.

Would I need a lot of insulation type stuff even if it’s something like a yurt? Or if I need minimal isolation? The idea is to get professional level work done with minimal costs and I’m excited that for the first time I don’t have to worry about isolation. Creativity is the primary objective. A good space for tracking vocals and guitars. Drums can be programmed, sound replaced or recorded elsewhere. I don’t mix at super loud levels and I have multiple reference monitors so even though the room might not be pro level acoustics; good enough to get serious work done.

Cheers

QUOTE=Kyle P. Gushue;14915642]Im not it your area so i don't know what's cheapest to build. In general id opt for a wooden structure with concrete slab for a floor. If mixing is the primary concern, you'll want a symetrical room, with good dimensions for modal distribution. Around here 2x4 spaced 16" oc cost about as much as 2x6 spaced 24" oc, so id opt for 2x6 framing. It gives a deeper wall cavity and can support more vertical height. You might be able to get away with just covering the side walls with fabric and having the 6" cavity insulation for broadband absorption. Then have a deep trap on the rear wall and ceiling for deep bass trapping. You could incorporate slats as well.

If the walls are lightweight, they will leak bass so you would get away with less trapping than a sealed massively constructed room.

You can calculate much of this ahead of time.[/QUOTE]
Old 15th August 2020
  #10
Lives for gear
 
avare's Avatar
 

You have done tons of research including here? You write budget of 30K. Anyone familiar with the world knows that anything imported to Hawaii is expensive. More importantly are you DIYing? This would roughly (I hope you are appreciating the 20 question Kyle) cut costs for any given element by 50%.
Old 15th August 2020
  #11
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Kyle P. Gushue's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopussy View Post
Thanks Kyle. Maybe a wooden cabin? Would that be better than a yurt? Or a normal tall ceiling 2 car garage?

Recording and mixing in the same room. If it’s a critical mix I can pass it on but normally it will be for licensing film and tv as well as passion projects. It’s a combination of acoustic and electronic elements.

Would I need a lot of insulation type stuff even if it’s something like a yurt? Or if I need minimal isolation? The idea is to get professional level work done with minimal costs and I’m excited that for the first time I don’t have to worry about isolation. Creativity is the primary objective. A good space for tracking vocals and guitars. Drums can be programmed, sound replaced or recorded elsewhere. I don’t mix at super loud levels and I have multiple reference monitors so even though the room might not be pro level acoustics; good enough to get serious work done.

Cheers

QUOTE=Kyle P. Gushue;14915642]Im not it your area so i don't know what's cheapest to build. In general id opt for a wooden structure with concrete slab for a floor. If mixing is the primary concern, you'll want a symetrical room, with good dimensions for modal distribution. Around here 2x4 spaced 16" oc cost about as much as 2x6 spaced 24" oc, so id opt for 2x6 framing. It gives a deeper wall cavity and can support more vertical height. You might be able to get away with just covering the side walls with fabric and having the 6" cavity insulation for broadband absorption. Then have a deep trap on the rear wall and ceiling for deep bass trapping. You could incorporate slats as well.

If the walls are lightweight, they will leak bass so you would get away with less trapping than a sealed massively constructed room.

You can calculate much of this ahead of time.
[/QUOTE]

Like i suggested, a wood frame structure with a concrete slab would be my choice. Rectangular, with good proportions for bass response, 10ft minimum ceiling height. That would be my baseline to compare options with.

The reason i suggested the insulated wall cavities, covered with fabric was to handle broadband absorption and thermal insulation in one shot. You need insulation to control sound reflections. You need symmetry because your mixing in there.

You've got to get some cost estimates for what construction like that costs, then size the building to the budget, and make it with the best possible proportions. Or pick your ideal size and figure out how much it costs.

There is no singular correct answer that can be arrived it with such general information. Especially since costs vary by region so much.

If you use the louden and sepmeyer room ratios based on a 10ft flat ceiling, you get an idea of how small you can go acoustically with good proportions.

Beyond that it is difficult to give any answers because the question is so broad and variables so vast. I would go as large as possible in general.

Does 30k mean just for the structure? Or does it include rack furniture, wiring, acoustic treatment, electrical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
You have done tons of research including here? You write budget of 30K. Anyone familiar with the world knows that anything imported to Hawaii is expensive. More importantly are you DIYing? This would roughly (I hope you are appreciating the 20 question Kyle) cut costs for any given element by 50%.
I am appreciating the 20 q's. Recording.org had a great sticky by Rod that had the "20 questions" written out, so it saved people from typing them every time. It covered budget, location, usage, expected results, ect... It helped the posters get accurate answers faster, and helped the responders save time.

i have a link to something similar from Sayer's site.

http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3231

Perhaps @ Northward would make a sticky of something similar, even if someone(s) else put it together. It would be help the community i think. The JS one could be modified, but is a reasonable starting point.
Old 15th August 2020
  #12
Gear Addict
Yes I’m aware it’s more expensive. I think 50% is probably a bit drastic. Labor is definitely more expensive but if you’re not an asshole, there are plenty of people here that aren’t trying to rip you off. Lots of very rich entitled assholes around here.

Yes. Some DIY and some I’ll contract out. I figured the lack of sound isolation would cut costs dramatically.

I respect your involvement in this community. Your first line is a little.... I’m not sure what your intent is here. I know you answer a lot of dumb questions. Maybe I just come across naive and dumb to you.

For example. I can buy a yurt for under 30k right? I could probably build a 600 sq foot cabin or a prefab for around there maybe, right?

Maybe some constructive criticism? Or maybe just be completely honest as to me your response, respectfully; come off a little passive aggressive.

I just saw the 20 q’s. I’ll try and go thru that and post something knew after a but more research.

I appreciate you chiming un though.

QUOTE=avare;14915764]You have done tons of research including here? You write budget of 30K. Anyone familiar with the world knows that anything imported to Hawaii is expensive. More importantly are you DIYing? This would roughly (I hope you are appreciating the 20 question Kyle) cut costs for any given element by 50%.[/QUOTE]
Old 15th August 2020
  #13
Gear Addict
Awesome. Thanks very much Kyle. All this is super helpful. I’ll use the 20 q’s next time after I research a little more. I guess I was trying to keep it somewhat simple and not super detailed. Maybe a post to a simple construction site might have been more appropriate lol.

But I figured the lack of sound isolation which has always been my struggle would keep costs way down and make it much simpler.

My question was literally simple as; what structure would be the least expensive option that could still work. I have cabling and acoustic panels etc. The insulation with fabric is for sure something I’ve considered.

Like i suggested, a wood frame structure with a concrete slab would be my choice. Rectangular, with good proportions for bass response, 10ft minimum ceiling height. That would be my baseline to compare options with.



The reason i suggested the insulated wall cavities, covered with fabric was to handle broadband absorption and thermal insulation in one shot. You need insulation to control sound reflections. You need symmetry because your mixing in there.

You've got to get some cost estimates for what construction like that costs, then size the building to the budget, and make it with the best possible proportions. Or pick your ideal size and figure out how much it costs.

There is no singular correct answer that can be arrived it with such general information. Especially since costs vary by region so much.

If you use the louden and sepmeyer room ratios based on a 10ft flat ceiling, you get an idea of how small you can go acoustically with good proportions.

Beyond that it is difficult to give any answers because the question is so broad and variables so vast. I would go as large as possible in general.

Does 30k mean just for the structure? Or does it include rack furniture, wiring, acoustic treatment, electrical?



I am appreciating the 20 q's. Recording.org had a great sticky by Rod that had the "20 questions" written out, so it saved people from typing them every time. It covered budget, location, usage, expected results, ect... It helped the posters get accurate answers faster, and helped the responders save time.

i have a link to something similar from Sayer's site.

http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3231

Perhaps @ Northward would make a sticky of something similar, even if someone(s) else put it together. It would be help the community i think. The JS one could be modified, but is a reasonable starting point.[/QUOTE]
Old 15th August 2020
  #14
Lives for gear
 
avare's Avatar
 

So you know of the data required to be useful and and you write "I know of the 20 Q."

Just for starters of what you have written, what is the base like? Are you talking about a rock base or soft sand?

You know what information is required. Answer the questions.
Old 15th August 2020
  #15
Gear Addict
I didn’t think I said that, did I? If I did I didn’t realize it. I’ve read about it somewhere but it didn’t occur to me with this because it was more a question along the lines of the structure; yurt vs cabin vs garage build without the need for isolation which is what got me excited since isolation has been my issue even having big rooms.

But I totally get what you’re saying and will definitely try to include that. The research for the past 7 or so years was regarding sound isolation and building a room within a room which I’ve assisted on a few builds in my 20s but never my own place.

The base is either using the driveway slab or normal yard space

Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
So you know of the data required to be useful and and you write "I know of the 20 Q."

Just for starters of what you have written, what is the base like? Are you talking about a rock base or soft sand?

You know what information is required. Answer the questions.


QUOTE=avare;14915982]So you know of the data required to be useful and and you write "I know of the 20 Q."

Just for starters of what you have written, what is the base like? Are you talking about a rock base or soft sand?

You know what information is required. Answer the questions.[/QUOTE]
Old 15th August 2020
  #16
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avare's Avatar
 

Thank you.

In terms of sound isolation you have minimal rain plus?
Old 15th August 2020
  #17
Gear Addict
Thanks man

It rains but I’ll definitely work around that; not a problem. I have a good amount of sound panels and a cloud and plan on adding more. For vocals I like to setup a little tent with blankets type thing which will keep some of that out. I tend to use an SM7 a lot for vox. And for guitars I don’t think rain will be an issue. A lot of the times it’s a light rain and it’s not all day 🤙
Old 16th August 2020
  #18
Gear Addict
Maybe I didn’t understand your question? What does minimal plus mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
Thank you.

In terms of sound isolation you have minimal rain plus?
Old 16th August 2020
  #19
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avare's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopussy View Post
Maybe I didn’t understand your question? What does minimal plus mean?
It means more than rain. Thunder for one.
Old 16th August 2020
  #20
Gear Addict
Zero thunder! Same when I lived in Oregon. I don’t think I’ve heard thunder in 12 years funnily enough. I do actually miss thunderstorms sometimes.

We do have birds though




Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
It means more than rain. Thunder for one.
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