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I am building a studio from ground up, any tips?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by jamjunctioncom, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. I would like to know any tips or hints that has helped the more experienced people. I have a question I would like to put 4 windows in my main band room how much will the sound come through? I will put double glass ect.
  2. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    What ever you do, use heat treated (tempered) safety glass.

    After witnessing a guitarist putting the headstock through a control-room window, I vowed never to use anything else. He was simply turning around to talk to someone and didn't realize how close he was to the window and BAM!

    Luckily it was not my studio, but the guitarist got a serious injury from the falling glass.

    It's not cheap, but neither is a lawsuit.

    Also, sight-lines are super important. Really think about the layout and maybe draw it out on the floor and imagine where everybody would stand/sit and if they can see the things that they need to see. (do you remember Les Nessman from WKRP in Cincinnati?)

    Hope this helps a bit,

  3. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    research how to and build your own acoustic treatments.
  4. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    Do it yourself is nice but don't skimp on those treatments. Ask anyone here and they will tell you the most overlooked thing involved in recording - whether it be project, home, or a new commercial venture - is acoustics and room design. This is one area where if you skimp you will be sorry. There is no cheapy, work-around solution to avoid having a poorly designed room. You can tame a room but it will never sound as good as a properly designed one IMO. I'm sure everyone will agree with me on this.
  5. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    I definatly agree. Anyone building a room should read The Master Handbook of Acoustics. A good understanding of what treating a room is, is very important. I have found hundreds of detailed plans online of how to build things. And the book I mentioned has lots of plans in it too.
  6. splurge

    splurge Guest


    It's probably worth your while posting this in the Acoustics and Design section of the forum.

  7. heyman

    heyman Guest

    Another thing you may not want to overlook is properly grounded outlets. I had a guy come in and rewire my basement. For 250 bucks he put in a ton of regular outlets( to run a tv and other non musical stuff) and also installed several Isolated ground outlets for my music equipment only. I have not heard one hum or hiss and the music equipment is dead quiet.

    Definelty consider Isloated ground wiring.
  8. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    How much money do you want to spend on the superstructure?

    What are you goals with your studio?

    How handy are you with woodworking tools?

    All the comments so far have been very much right on, IMO. If you are very handy, there's a lot of money savings in doing things yourself. My studio superstructure was built for a paltry $10K, but that was done at the same time my main house was being built.
    Here's my space, which I totally love, but I ended up doing all the finishing work myself. The acoustic treatments were very affordable, but took a lot of time.

    Other items:

    Remember, soundproofing and acoustic treatment are pretty much totally unrelated to one another.

    Room size is important and height is the cheapest dimention.

    Room dimensions are important for controlling standing waves and acoustics. Avoid multiples in your ratios, but check out the aforementioned book for various popular ratios.

    Depending on your budget, you may have to choose between two half-assed rooms and one fully-assed room. I went for fully and never regretted it.

    Good Luck and be prepared to spend a lot of time and money on your dream.
  9. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    I personall like the one room approach. I like to be close to the musicians. I think when you are working with limited space you create more sonic options with one bigger room. Baffels are a wonderfull thing and usually do the trick, once you get the hang of it, for isolation. The AC is very important too. There are some good tricks for keeping it clean using iso's and such, esp if you want to use dimmers. I'll say this, when I was building my studio I tried to enlist the help of electricians and carpenters who were musicians and offered free studio time for their help. I ended up not using any of them cause they refused to wrap their heads around the concepts of acoustics and the importance of proper grounding schemes. It was nerve wracking to spend time explaing things and then being told, "I know theres something too that physics stuff, but I just dont see how blah blah is gonna make any difference, you should just do blah blah cheap soultion". Maybe this only happens in the south.

    BTW todd, your room looks cool as $*^t to me. And digging through your site seems like it should sound good too.
  10. Thank you

    Hey guys thanx for the tips . We are doing it ourselves we have all the tools and are very handy, Tempered glass sounds good. Right know I have a main room and an iso booth I have made sure that the band members can see each other. I have a seperate line for electrical just for the studio. All the floor space will have hardwood floor in the main room I will put a rug down, if I want less or more of a live feel. The vocal booth I am still doing research but I found some good accoustic foam. When it is up I will post some pics. it will be used just for me and local talent. I want to go bigger, but this is a good way to get my feet wet. It will be mainly a protools studio.
  11. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    Thanks for the nods Hack. It does sound great, although here's the rub: I was studioless for the three freakin' years (shuttin' down the old place to put it on the market, moving into the soulless townhome while the new place was built, then taking the empty shell and working on nights and weekends to make it all happen).

    With all my time out of recording practice, the arrangement chops and ears have suffered. It'll take a while to get back into shape.

    Bottom line: make a realistic estimate of how long you'll be out of pocket. Then triple it.
  12. stereomaus

    stereomaus Guest

    Building a DIY studio

    Hey Jam J,

    I have worked on a very small studio, & I am still "working out the kinks". I think you already have some terrific replies, but I'll take a shot. First off, if you have the dough that Todd seems to have & the space, then you're laughing, if on the other hand...
    I spent about $1500.00 and created a small booth to record in behind my furnace room. Of course I am only talking about building materials here not time & effort. If you are not a carpenter or a very handy guy, forget the DIY thing unless you are a masochist and have beaucoup time on your hands.
    Work out a rough budget & multiply by 2 or 3. Then imagine the time you'll need & at least quadruple it. If you can buy materials that will not need to be cut, finished doors, windows etc,... do so. Cinderblocks filled with sand would be fantastic, but you may not be able to swing that. Bass frequencies can only be "cut" by dense materials so bring your muscles with you and your friends if you can organize that.
    I used Sonopan, Textalite ( a sort of compressed cardboard-like material) , Masonite and a whole bunch of mattresses to create walls from 6-10 inches thick. I used plexiglass and Medium density fibreboard to build a diminutive window to look into the control room where my 1" tape machine is. I built a raised floor with 2X6s, sand and cotton batting. At those places where the floor meets the walls I attached 1/8" polyurethane strips to avoid contact vibrations.

    Other things to consider: a patchbay with some flexibility, heavy door(s), ventilation, heating and of course electrical wiring... I ran a snake out to my dining room and set up my DAW there.
    Enough to think about?

    Have fun!
    -Stereomaus :wink:
  13. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member


    Yes, I have more $ resources than most young newbies (but then, I also drive a 9 year old car, watch a 20 year old TV and buy clothes at thrift stores). It should be noted that I did all the cabinetry and finishing work myself. You're correct that DIY is very time-consuming and at times, masochistic. But I saved an unbelieveable amount of money doing it myself. My builder made the empty shell (16'X 23' X 14', sand-filled cinderblock + elec + HVAC) for $10K. I put another $2K max in to acoustically treat it, build bookshelves, install lighting (thank you Ikea!), build my desk and install the all important beer bottle opener. Next, I'm sewing my own curtains out of moving blankets and some funky fabric.

    Bottom line: Being a cheapskate is no impediment to gettin' it done!
  14. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Hi all,

    While we're jamming here I'll throw in a few ?'s.

    First of all, Todd, I was most shocked and disappointed to find out you don't really look like the image on your postings here. Oh, well, I guess one can't expect too much truth in advertising...

    Also, did you skew the room at all, or are all those walls parallel.

    And regarding the grounded outlets:

    i understand I'm to branch off a separate feed, with separate ground for the studio. Once I've done that, do I connect all the grounds from the lights, heaters, and recording gear etc to THAT ground, or is the music gear to be on it's own ground with nothing else on it?

  15. Dave62

    Dave62 Guest

    For my window I used two sealed units (vinyl) with differen't thickness's of glass (4&5mm) and argon filled in my studio and they work great and cost about $200 Cdn each. Also double drywalled all walls and ceiling in studio to control sound movement and infiltration. Common wall between control and studio is actually two framed walls like this: 2 sheets drywall, stud with R12 Insul, 1sheet drywall attached to back of wall #1, 2" to 4" space (walls not parallel) then stud wall#2 with tied insul and then two more sheets drywall. Wall#2 interier is left open backed so the insulation will damp resonances that exist between the walls, which can not be touching each other anywhere. Bass absorbers were built by installing 2X4' tectum panels across the corners with insulation behind and are quite effective. Additional absorbtion was done with 4" and 2" ridgid fiberglas panels that I covered with fabric. Pix at http://www.zestudio.ca
  16. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    Red Pill,

    My posting icon is actually me in my angry teen years.

    Seriously though, I did not splay the walls. Anything other than traditional angles would have upped the cost tremendously. Yes, it would have been better, but if that had been an important consideration, I would have done it with a false inner wall, which woulda been cheaper than splaying the load bearing structure and encumbering all sorts of roofing challenges as well.

    I can't say enough about how many problems are solved with a stand-alone building. Isolation is a huge boon. HVAC is cheaper since I keep the thermostat at 55 in the winter until I'm playing. And since I'm not sharing ductwork with the main house, that rules out a prime cause of noise transmission. Also, it really gives a nice separation from creative life and family life, which is important in terms of dedicated time.

    Rock Forth...

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