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4 x 4 Meter Studio. Can it be done? Amp Sim & Guitar Effects Plugins
Old 28th November 2009
  #1
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MrCrowbar's Avatar
 

4 x 4 Meter Studio. Can it be done?

Here's the deal: My current recording location is a tiny bedroom with the bad acting as a bass trap and lots of acoustic foam. It's pretty much perfect for vocals and rather quiet instruments, for guitar I just turn the flat TV a bit and get a couch table in the and I get pretty decent recordings out of my really budget equipment. But I want to track small bands eventually which is why I'm looking for a new apartment to get a little studio going.

I came up with a design that can fit a control room, vocal booth and tiny isolation chamber (for guitar amps) into a room that's 4 by 4 meters and I want to know if this will work. I know it's a bit cramped but consider that I don't need a big console or rack, a 19" wide Presonus StudioLive mixer/interface and a couple preamps and compressors are all I need, really. I also like small rooms, keeps you focused and you don't feel lost when you're in there alone.

The "live room" would be an adjacent room (or any room within cable range) where one can be loud (corner of the house) and that you can use for other stuff too. As it will be kind of acoustically treated and insulated, it would be cool for watching loud movies, right? I also don't want to dedicate too many rooms to just music (wife acceptance factor) and be able to mix/edit while someone else is watching TV or whatever in the other room.

I live in Germany where inner walls are usually brick, not just drywall, so insulation in normal houses isn't that bad to begin with. Still, I wonder what I'd have to do avoid war with the neighbors when tracking drums.

So here's my questions:
- Is the shape and size of the control room ok?
- Do I need the diffuser above the couch?
- Is 25cm thick drywall with stone wool inside adequate for a vocal and guitar amp room?
- How important is it to have a window from the control room to the live room? I plan on having a camera in both rooms and run video on the TV in the live room and an LCD in the control room.
- What do I need to do to track drums during the day without annoying the neighbors too much?


I would use that solution to record lots of acoustic stuff (guitar player sitting on the couch in the live room), vocals (vocal booth) and occasionally bands with drummer and bassist in the live room, keyboard and guitar player on the control room (miked amp in the Amp room) and singer in the in the vocal booth. I know I can't get 100% isolation on everything, but I suppose it's still much better than a practice room. The key goals are to keep build costs low and just have something comfy that can be considered a recording studio.


See PDF floor plan
(1 meter = 3.2808399 feet
textured blue/grey stuff is drywall with stone wool inside.)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 4x4 studio 2.pdf (82.7 KB, 809 views)
Old 28th November 2009
  #2
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Or ist it better/cheaper to just get a bigger room, treat the crap out of it and do tracking and mixing in the same room? I could put the mixer/interface, and 19" on a rolling cart (Millenium RW2001 Rack-Rollwagen) and just move my control room into another room when tracking drums. I'd set up on little corner with foam to yell the vocals into instead of an iso booth.
Old 28th November 2009
  #3
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

You can make any room "work" with enough bass trapping, but you should not divide it into sections. Just leave it as one room.

--Ethan
Old 28th November 2009
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
You can make any room "work" with enough bass trapping, but you should not divide it into sections. Just leave it as one room.

--Ethan
So is a 4 by 4 meter room (square shape) better than a trapezoid shaped room like in the floor plan?
Old 28th November 2009
  #5
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

A square or curve is the worst shape possible. But total volume matters too. The text that accompanies my Graphical Mode Calculator program explains this in detail.

--Ethan
Old 28th November 2009
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
A square or curve is the worst shape possible. But total volume matters too. The text that accompanies my Graphical Mode Calculator program explains this in detail.

--Ethan
Thanks for that. Already checked it out.

So I transferred my plans into Sketchup and it looks pretty comfortable if I combine the vocal booth and amp room into one. So there's a trapezoid shaped control room with adjacent iso booth with one window. The live room (also living room) would be anywhere in the apartment where you can make lots of noise and the room size is about right.



This is all up to scale, Klippan Couch (Ikea), 20" LCDs, Presonus Studiolive interface, 2 Behringer motor fader units, 88 key keyboard, big guitar stand, Marshall full stack in the iso room. Left out the space for the radiators who are typically under the windows.

Hmm... think I'll have to get the couch in there before I build that inner wall. :D
Old 29th November 2009
  #7
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Updated floor plan. Now it's 2 doors separating the control room and iso booth.


X-Ray floor plan. Note the double doors and the window between the microphone in the iso booth and the mixing desk.


View from the singer position in the vocal booth. I angled it downward a little so you can see the microphone. The mix stand model is a little short by the way, but the window placement seems about right.


View from the mixing position. I might make some virtual cardboard cutouts of performers so I can imagine it better. :D


Standing where the couch meets the keyboard do give you an idea.
Old 29th November 2009
  #8
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

Well, it's not ideal, but certainly better than a square.

--Ethan
Old 29th November 2009
  #9
Gear Guru
More

I hope your walls are all light plasterboard. I would recommend massive amounts of Bass Trapping in your corners. Try out your room dimensions in Ethans Mode Calc or even this little one. RoomTune DD Metric.xls
The angle is not a great help, I would lose it.
DD
Old 29th November 2009
  #10
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Hmm, building this inner wall seems very labor intensive and expensive when you do the math. I can get a lot of bass traps for the money.

The following is a 360 x 480 x 237 cm (11.8' x 15.7' x 7.8' ) room, pretty standard room size around here. If I use this for mixing and recording, is that bass trap placement adequate? The depicted bass traps are 150 x 75 x 10 xm (60" x 30" x 4"), one in each corner, 2 in the middle of the long walls and one angled one above the mixing desk.




More pictures from various angles here: ImageShack -
Old 29th November 2009
  #11
Gear Guru
More is enough

The Bass Trap corner positions are fine. However I recommend floor to ceiling ones. GIK have TriTraps and RealTraps now have a larger high performance one. DIY is easy enough. See SuperChunks at studiotips - tips on studio design, acoustics, and wiring
The side ones are questionable. Take a look at where your modes will be on this hunecke.de | Room Eigenmodes Calculator
Position your other traps where they matter most. This could be overhead, or at ceiling/wall corners.

DD
Old 29th November 2009
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
The Bass Trap corner positions are fine. However I recommend floor to ceiling ones. GIK have TriTraps and RealTraps now have a larger high performance one. DIY is easy enough. See SuperChunks at studiotips - tips on studio design, acoustics, and wiring
The side ones are questionable. Take a look at where your modes will be on this hunecke.de | Room Eigenmodes Calculator
Position your other traps where they matter most. This could be overhead, or at ceiling/wall corners.

DD
I think I'll go DIY traps since you can't get anything commercial in germany and shipping costs for those huge things are high. Still scared by those "rock wool is bad for you" stories though. Thanks for the links, these look very helpful.
Old 30th November 2009
  #13
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PaulP's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCrowbar View Post
The following is a 360 x 480 x 237 cm (11.8' x 15.7' x 7.8' ) room, pretty standard room size around here.
Your length is almost exactly twice your height. That isn't ideal mode-wise
as there'll be some frequencies boosted leaving large holes in between.
ModeCalc shows this clearly :
4 x 4 Meter Studio. Can it be done?-tmp.jpg
Paul P
Old 30th November 2009
  #14
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MrCrowbar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulP View Post
Your length is almost exactly twice your height. That isn't ideal mode-wise
as there'll be some frequencies boosted leaving large holes in between.
ModeCalc shows this clearly :
Attachment 146228
Paul P
Damn, you're right. How did I not see that (no WIndows here to run ModeCalc right now)?
Old 30th November 2009
  #15
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
I think you plan is a good start. As Dan said you really want to go floor to ceiling with the traps if you can . Also you could cover more of the ceiling to wall or floor to wall corners. The goal is to just cover as much of the corner area as possible. I would also recommend you us 4" panels for the reflection points (walls and ceiling). That will also give you a bit more control in the low end.
Old 1st December 2009
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Kuras View Post
I think you plan is a good start. As Dan said you really want to go floor to ceiling with the traps if you can . Also you could cover more of the ceiling to wall or floor to wall corners. The goal is to just cover as much of the corner area as possible. I would also recommend you us 4" panels for the reflection points (walls and ceiling). That will also give you a bit more control in the low end.
Hmm... after reading most of the DIY bass trap build threads here, I think I'll just make six 4" thick bass traps out of heavy rock wool with thin (garbage bin bag style) in a plastic plastic bag (to keep those fibers away from my lungs) and encased in a primitive wooden frame. The problem is that rock wool comes in 1x1 meter chunks around here and typical rooms are 2.37 meters high. Is it okay to make a frame that goes from floor to ceiling with two square cells to put the rock wool into and an empty space in the middle? This would be on the four corner traps and the two reflection traps.

The problem is that the gap would be at ear-level when sitting at the mixing position. Would that be bad? I could put some lights in the gaps and cover the gap with a differently colored, thin fabric for mood lighting.

See pictures

Frame (as tall as the room is high)


Frame with two 40" x 40" x 4" chucks of rock wool (actually layered to get up to 4", wrapped in very thin plastic for health reasons)


Fabric covering. The top and bottom of the thing (i.e. the short ends) will not be visible when mounted in the room since they touch the ground and ceiling. I plan to paint the middle middle part or cover it with different fabric. small lights between fabric could be cool. Or cup holders at strategic positions.


Rough placement in the room


Is it bad that it's "untrapped" at listening height?

If the 5 pictures don't load, here they are:
http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/7...91201at222.png
http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/8...1201at222p.png
http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/3...91201at224.png
http://img44.imageshack.us/img44/432...91201at225.png
http://img44.imageshack.us/img44/394...1201at225q.png
Old 2nd December 2009
  #17
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Whoa, nevermind. I just discovered this awesome bass trap thread that I've read front to back. I'll go for this design instead. Much cheaper, lighter, more exposed trapping material.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/1235860-post491.html
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/1235860-post492.html
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/1235860-post493.htm
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/1984141-post622.htmll
Old 2nd December 2009
  #18
Gear Guru
SuperChunks

Don't you think you should make SuperChunks? Your room dimensions are very bad and SSC's are the most powerful shot at taming your modes.
DD
Old 2nd December 2009
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
Don't you think you should make SuperChunks? Your room dimensions are very bad and SSC's are the most powerful shot at taming your modes.
DD
I'm thinking about going superchunk for the corners. I'm just worrying about the cost and labor. Per trap, I would need 48 triangles (assuming I can get 2" thick pieces) which means cutting 24 squares diagonally. Now, assuming the rockwool comes in twice-as-long-as-wide sheets, that means 12 cuts to get my 24 squares. So I need to cut 36 times to build one corner trap from floor to ceiling. I'd also need to build frames (still looking for a good solution for superchunk traps), probably divide one corner into 2 managable chunks. Or can I just stack the triangles, wrap it all in cloth and just push that into the corner? I think it would bulge out in the middle and the irregularly cut reiangles would make it look pretty bad.

The room dimensions are fictional by the way. Well, they are of another room in my apartment actually. I'm still looking for an place where I can set up the studio.
Old 2nd December 2009
  #20
Gear Guru
SuperChunks

Plenty of SuperChunks details at studiotips, link given earlier. Here's the simplest and best construction I have found.
Corner Traps finally finished! - Home Theater Systems - Electronics and Forum - HomeTheaterShack
DD
Old 2nd December 2009
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
Plenty of SuperChunks details at studiotips, link given earlier. Here's the simplest and best construction I have found.
Corner Traps finally finished! - Home Theater Systems - Electronics and Forum - HomeTheaterShack
DD
Thank you. That looks simple enough for me. :-)
Old 2nd December 2009
  #22
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i dont know about putting the rockwool in plastic bags...unless you can breathe trough it...seems like it defeats the purpose....if you are worried about fibers ( dont worry you arent the only one)...then maybe try thicker fabric?

My ceiling cloud is the only one that worries me a bit...with the wall panels, if the fibers were to get loose, i would think they would tend to accumulate on the floor around the panel...unless you have air blowing directly on it from some source ( window, ventilation ducts etc)

Your drum set seems to be in a bad position...I dont think its going to sound well with the kick drum facing right in front of a wall like that. unless its an electronic drum set?
Old 2nd December 2009
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takman View Post
i dont know about putting the rockwool in plastic bags...unless you can breathe trough it...seems like it defeats the purpose....if you are worried about fibers ( dont worry you arent the only one)...then maybe try thicker fabric?

My ceiling cloud is the only one that worries me a bit...with the wall panels, if the fibers were to get loose, i would think they would tend to accumulate on the floor around the panel...unless you have air blowing directly on it from some source ( window, ventilation ducts etc)

Your drum set seems to be in a bad position...I dont think its going to sound well with the kick drum facing right in front of a wall like that. unless its an electronic drum set?
People are saying the thin layer of plastic is ok for bass traps. It only reflects some high frequencies which can be fixed by adding some thin layer of foam in front of it if necessary. I wonder what material they use for commercial product.

I would swap the couch and drum position when tracking drums. The kit is only there so it can stay in the room.
Old 2nd December 2009
  #24
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unless its hanging over your head i wouldnt worry about the rockwool IMO...

i know LF can penetrate the plastic...but a combo of fabric and plastic...i dunno man.

Sweet rendering BTW...did you do that with sketchup?...looks great thumbsup

good luck on the studio build.
Old 2nd December 2009
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takman View Post
unless its hanging over your head i wouldnt worry about the rockwool IMO...

i know LF can penetrate the plastic...but a combo of fabric and plastic...i dunno man.

Sweet rendering BTW...did you do that with sketchup?...looks great thumbsup

good luck on the studio build.
Yea, that's all sketchup. It's really great because the whole IKEA stuff and all instruments are available in scale so you can check if it all fits.

The thing is, I used to have asthma and my lungs aren't the best to begin with. I'd spend lots of time in that room and expect studio guests to punch or kick the traps for giggles. Isn't there any alternative to rock wool or fiber glass that isn't a potential health issue? I know I'd be very uncomfortable sitting in a room with that health thing in the back of my head all the time. I imagine the fibers go through the fabric like pupes through tighty whities.
Old 2nd December 2009
  #26
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All the acoustic treatment will also collect dust. I suppose that regular
vacuum cleaning could keep most dust under control, whether it be from
the treatment itself or from normal sources.

Paul P
Old 2nd December 2009
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulP View Post
All the acoustic treatment will also collect dust. I suppose that regular
vacuum cleaning could keep most dust under control, whether it be from
the treatment itself or from normal sources.

Paul P
thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup

paul you read my mind....i had been thinking about that

regular vacuuming of the panels would probably be a very good idea.

but i can understand the OP worries about it...
Old 2nd December 2009
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takman View Post
thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
paul you read my mind....i had been thinking about that
regular vacuuming of the panels would probably be a very good idea.
but i can understand the OP worries about it...
Isn't there some material that's less effective in terms of acoustics but doesn't loose fine fibers? I mean, what's in realtraps for instance? <winks at Ethan> Some kind of foam?
Old 2nd December 2009
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCrowbar View Post
Isn't there some material that's less effective in terms of acoustics but doesn't loose fine fibers? I mean, what's in realtraps for instance? <winks at Ethan> Some kind of foam?
Does rockwool even lose fine fibers?? probably, but i have never seen any talk specifically about this....something/anything showing proof that it does?...It just seems like people have their mind made up that this material will be spewing out fibers left and right...maybe its a misconception....

The only thing i have seen mentioned a few times is that some people believe LF will shake them loose...or if its disturbed

But really...for the fibers to be shaken loose, then to make it through the fabric....then be enough to cause you problems?

I dunno man...i cant seem to make up my mind about this subject....its probably more in the mind..paranoia

I had a close look today at an extra rockwool panel i had sitting in the garage..and that stuff looks like its well bonded....

I believe Ethan uses owens corning 703....dont know that for a fact though...
Old 3rd December 2009
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takman View Post
I believe Ethan uses owens corning 703....dont know that for a fact though...
thx
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