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recommendations and prices for a professional studio design
Old 14th July 2008
  #1
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recommendations and prices for a professional studio design

hi all!

i'm going to be building a studio from the ground up in bali, indonesia. i'm a pro musician/dj/bandleader/producer but i'm not making like a million bucks off it! anyway i don't have a HUGE budget but i do have A budget, and i thought getting some professionally made studio plans could save me a lot of mistakes and headaches in the building process. so i have a couple of questions for you helpful people

-how much (approximately) does it cost to have someone draw up some plans for a fairly small, simple studio?

-any recommendations for people/firms who can do this? preferably someone with a proven track record (it doesn't neccesarily need to be someone with platinum records under their belt, just someone who's built a fair few studios already and knows what they're doing)

-i've been checking out the forum at http://johnlsayers.com/, and the guy who runs the site seems like a good possibility for this. has anyone here used his services before? does he come well recommended?

thanks in advance for your help!


-mw
Old 14th July 2008
  #2
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John Sayers is great, and there are others great designers too. Some even visit here. Budgets can vary from zilch to 1 million dollars. If you state your budget you'll get much better advice here.

--Ethan
Old 14th July 2008
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by messiahwannabe View Post
-any recommendations for people/firms who can do this? preferably someone with a proven track record (it doesn't neccesarily need to be someone with platinum records under their belt, just someone who's built a fair few studios already and knows what they're doing)

-i've been checking out the forum at http://johnlsayers.com/, and the guy who runs the site seems like a good possibility for this. has anyone here used his services before? does he come well recommended?
More props for John Sayers. Check out www.bluebearsound.com...Bruce, the guy who owns the place, frequents these forums. You might PM him to see what he thought.

Frank
Old 16th July 2008
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
John Sayers is great, and there are others great designers too. Some even visit here. Budgets can vary from zilch to 1 million dollars. If you state your budget you'll get much better advice here.

--Ethan
fair enough, sorry i didn't mention that before. i was hoping to spend around us$1000 or less for some simple plans (smallish 4 room studio built from the ground up) and a bit of advice on building in indonesia/third world (sorting electrical issues in places with crap electricity, advice on sourcing/alternatives for specialist materials etc) is that realistic? as it's in indonesia i'd be obviously be supervising the building process myself. my overall budget for the project, builging and interior (not recording equipment) is us$35-50k, with ~30k going to the building itself - foundation, plumbing & basic electricity, bare interior walls and concrete floors.


thanks for the information so far!
Old 16th July 2008
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by messiahwannabe View Post
i was hoping to spend around us$1000 or less for some simple plans (smallish 4 room studio built from the ground up) and a bit of advice on building in indonesia/third world (sorting electrical issues in places with crap electricity, advice on sourcing/alternatives for specialist materials etc) is that realistic?
It's probably not realistic. Most professional studio designers will charge much more than $1,000 for four rooms, and none of the designers I know of are familiar with specifics of Indonesia. You'll do better to research yourself, and buy a few "how to make a studio" books. Then spend the $1,000 on a local building / contractor type to help you with your local questions.

--Ethan
Old 17th July 2008
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
It's probably not realistic. Most professional studio designers will charge much more than $1,000 for four rooms, and none of the designers I know of are familiar with specifics of Indonesia. You'll do better to research yourself, and buy a few "how to make a studio" books.

well, i've already got (and have actually read) "home recording studio - build it like the pros" by rod gervais. it's full of useful information, but it seems much more geared towards building in pre-existing homes or spaces, and fixing problems that already exist. what books would you recommend i purchase with the idea of building from the ground up? preferably one which has some good premade designs i could crib!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Then spend the $1,000 on a local building / contractor type to help you with your local questions.

unfortunately i have very little faith in local contractors being able to do anything but follow my simple, explicit instructions while i watch them like a hawk to make sure they don't f*#& it up/blatantly disregard what i say to do (the harsh reality of building in bali!)



so just how much *would* one expact to pay for studio plans? i could always adjust my budget to more realistic expectations, i could imagine it being worth it.

and is john sayers by any chance likely to be on the cheaper end of the scale? i notice he's got lots of project/home studios on his website... i suppose i should just bite the bullet and ask him myself! but perhaps you nice folks might have some suggestions for other competent studio designers who *are* on the cheaper end of the scale?


thanks!


ps. fwiw i downloaded a premade plan that looks quite workable for my situation (http://www.saecollege.de/reference_material/index.html , corner control room) but it's lacking in lots and lots of important details, like actual wall angles, lengths, ceiling hights, location of ac ducts, etc etc, that would be crucial in actually building out the plans... i don't suppose i'm just stupidly not seeing where this information is posted?
Old 17th July 2008
  #7
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I think Ethan said that it typically would be many times your budget, just for plans. I think $3,000-$5,000 wouldn't be out of the question for a single room depending on the complexity. We used to charge 3% of the estimated AV build cost for a full set of plans, so a decent size system ($250,000) might cost $7,500 in design fees. The only way to know for sure is to call somebody and ask.

Frank
Old 17th July 2008
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by messiahwannabe View Post
i've already got (and have actually read) "home recording studio - build it like the pros" by rod gervais.
Excellent.

There are a bunch of books with plans. One is Building a recording studio by Jeff Cooper, and there's another by Mike Shea and F. Alton Everest that has plans for a dozen or so different types of rooms. Maybe search Amazon.com.

Quote:
is john sayers by any chance likely to be on the cheaper end of the scale?
I have no idea, but probably not. There are a few pro designers that visit here, and I'm surprised nobody piped up yet.

--Ethan
Old 17th July 2008
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
There are a bunch of books with plans. One is Building a recording studio by Jeff Cooper, and there's another by Mike Shea and F. Alton Everest that has plans for a dozen or so different types of rooms. Maybe search Amazon.com.

well, thats how i found the gervais book - just looking for recommendations, i've seen at least one book with studio designs on amazon but there were only one or two designs for a "project" recording studio in it, and i couldn't see from the sample what they looked like...

* edit: ok, i think that would be the shea book i'mk thinking of, 12 studio designs but 10 of them are completely different from what i'm looking at, and i cant tell from the "see inside" page what sort of plans are included in the cooper book :/


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I have no idea, but probably not. There are a few pro designers that visit here, and I'm surprised nobody piped up yet.
i know, i keep waiting for someone who does this stuff to notice my query and show some enthusiasm high hopes i know but i've seen the stupidest questions get attention from actual designers on some of these forums, but no ones even degned to respond to my specific, "john sayers designed studios" question-related on his forum yet. sigh....

anyway, i can imagine that $7500 is far from unreasonable, it's an esoteric field and all... rats, i was really hoping for something under 5k given my limited budget... ok, i admit, i actually stupidly thought a thousand bucks was ballpark tbh :/ we're on a different pay scale here in the third word you know!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 View Post
We used to charge 3% of the estimated AV build cost for a full set of plans, so a decent size system ($250,000) might cost $7,500 in design fees.
ha! i've got pro equipment, but in small amounts - digi hd, genelecs, but just a single api 3124+ for a mic pre and 3 midrange akg condensers, etc. it's all for my own projects... which sell, but i'm not charging anyone (ie. myself) $300 an hour here!

so if i've got like $40k worth of equipment, does that mean you'll do it for $1200?

anyway i'm not opposed to doing the legwork myself if i have to, i make my living from my studio work but i'm not really in the big leagues yet so maybe i cant afford the big guns at the moment. if i'm spending like 35-50k on a project, do you think 7500 on plans alone would be money well spent? or would i be better off spending it on materials? like i sadi, thats 30 on the building itself, then i've got to build out the interior for $15k or (hopefully, fingers crossed) less. though on the other hand i'm not rich but i'm (thankfully!) busy as hell with my work and i can easily see where seven grand spent at the beginning could save me twice that lin mistakes/studidity later! anyway thanks for the info, 7.5k is at least a number i can think about and mull over...


-mw
Old 17th July 2008
  #10
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ps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by messiahwannabe View Post
ps. fwiw i downloaded a premade plan that looks quite workable for my situation (SAE , corner control room) but it's lacking in lots and lots of important details, like actual wall angles, lengths, ceiling hights, location of ac ducts, etc etc, that would be crucial in actually building out the plans... i don't suppose i'm just stupidly not seeing where this information is posted?
so how would i go about getting further info on this here pre-made plan, if i wanted to implement it properly? it's an appealing, useful gif and all, but it's a pretty simple gif at best. is there some full blueprint it's attached to somewhere out in the wide wonderful web?

ok,i guess it's time to write some actual emails to actual companies that do this (GIK Acoustics. and Recording Studio Design :: Index thanks for your helpful web presences, fwiw!) once i wake up fully sober and all.
Old 17th July 2008
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by messiahwannabe View Post
so how would i go about getting further info on this here pre-made plan, if i wanted to implement it properly? it's an appealing, useful gif and all, but it's a pretty simple gif at best. is there some full blueprint it's attached to somewhere out in the wide wonderful web?

ok,i guess it's time to write some actual emails to actual companies that do this (GIK Acoustics. and Recording Studio Design :: Index thanks for your helpful web presences, fwiw!) once i wake up fully sober and all.
I probably should be clearer here. GIK would be happy to help you with the acoustic treatment end of the design (note that we do acoustic treatment, not soundproofing). When I cited the example above with the word "we", I really meant to my former life as an AVL design engineer.

In the United States you'd need a licensed architect, structural engineer and electrical engineer to sign off on the plans before you could pull a building permit (in most counties). I have no idea what the applicable laws/codes are where you are though.

Frank
Old 18th July 2008
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 View Post
In the United States you'd need a licensed architect, structural engineer and electrical engineer to sign off on the plans before you could pull a building permit (in most counties). I have no idea what the applicable laws/codes are where you are though.

as i understand it, the only reason anyone would take any particular interest in my building/structure in indonesia would be if ther were looking for a bribe, which would undoubtably be sought regardless of whether or not my papers were in order and my building up to snuff
Old 18th July 2008
  #13
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Quote:
ps. fwiw i downloaded a premade plan that looks quite workable for my situation (SAE , corner control room) but it's lacking in lots and lots of important details, like actual wall angles, lengths, ceiling hights, location of ac ducts, etc etc, that would be crucial in actually building out the plans... i don't suppose i'm just stupidly not seeing where this information is posted?
Some information you won't find it anywhere, since it's just the way a specific designer does things. There are different philosophies involved in this process and not a single way to design a studio. There are physics involved that should be respect but also a degree of liberty in studio design depending on what kind of room you want to achieve.

It is a bad idea to copy a design without understanding it totally, each has their owns flaws.
Old 18th July 2008
  #14
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I'm glad you chimed in Andre because you're one of the pro designers I had in mind. MW, meet Andre. I'm sure he can help you. heh

--Ethan
Old 18th July 2008
  #15
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Thanks for the comment Ethan ! :-)
Old 19th July 2008
  #16
Just to give people an idea of the range of things, We have a set of plans in the office from a very well-known designer that cost $75,000 for a single room. Granted, it's for a SSL 9000 equipped high-end room. It's also not uncommon for simple consults for small project rooms or home studios to be as low as $1,500. These do not include full plans, but rather a simple layout with some guidelines for construction and treatment. This is why it's more properly called a consult rather than a design in that case. There are still many variables when you take on a project without a full design, but it still can really help over flying blind.

The 3% figure mentioned earlier in the thread sounds like a bargain. I would have expected 5%. It really depends on the scope of the project, and also whether you need full architectural plans and rendering, detailed construction plans, and engineering, as opposed to just a basic design.
Old 20th July 2008
  #17
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Jay, you are correct. It takes a lot of time to create such designs. If you want to use acoustical models to predict the acoustics of a room it takes even more time. It can be a very time consuming process, that reflects on the final price to the customer.
Old 21st July 2008
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrebrito View Post
Jay, you are correct. It takes a lot of time to create such designs. If you want to use acoustical models to predict the acoustics of a room it takes even more time. It can be a very time consuming process, that reflects on the final price to the customer.
Definitely. The scope and price of a concert hall project differs profoundly from a home studio!
Old 21st July 2008
  #19
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It doesn't make sense to use an acoustical model for a home studio, but for a professional studio, where a large tracking room might be involved, then it can be another useful tool. Some engineers use acoustical models, others don't.
Old 22nd July 2008
  #20
Gear Guru
Acousticians

Messiah, all hail. I don't think you can get someone interested enough to do a costing without engaging them. I have been around for a while. John Sayers' site and observed behaviour seem impeccable IMHO.
On the other hand, I (and others I am sure) would be willing to take this on. I don't have the experience of complete builds, so I charge accordingly. Perhaps such experience would not apply in your country in any case.
I suggest you pick one or two of us and start brief introductory private discussions. It should be easy enough to chose who to trust.
Best Regards, Dan FitzGerald AMIOA
SoundSound - Homepage
Old 22nd July 2008
  #21
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English is not my first language, what do you mean with this sentence
Quote:
"I don't think you can get someone interested enough to do a costing without engaging them."
Old 22nd July 2008
  #22
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Lightbulb

It means, Nobody will help you figure out costs without actually hiring them.

--Ethan
Old 22nd July 2008
  #23
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Desculpa me?

Sorry Andre that is just Bad English! I am suggesting that Messiah chose a couple of us and 'interview' us for the job, by direct email or by phone.
Best Regards, DD
Old 22nd July 2008
  #24
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Ahhh ! Got it ! thanks for the explanation !
Old 24th July 2008
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
Sorry Andre that is just Bad English! I am suggesting that Messiah chose a couple of us and 'interview' us for the job, by direct email or by phone.
Best Regards, DD
which is probably what i'll do, once i get some preliminary steps taken care of (mostly getting an estimate for laying the foundation and building the outer walls)

<bookmarks this page>

thanks for all the help guys!
Old 24th July 2008
  #26
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Golden Ratio

Messiah, before you build. Just in case you are unaware- The dimensions of your room will have a significant effect on the final result.

DD
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