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major upgrades! Need good advice.

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by vinniesrs, Jun 23, 2003.

  1. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    Here's the story. I have recently been approached by an investor who is willing to fund my studio. Renovations, equipment upgrades, whole new facility, whatever. I just need to com up with a solid plan.
    I know enough that I can't get too trigger happy, because if I spend too much it will drive prices up, and business down.
    So the question her is what to do! My current studio setup is modest. 24ch 8 bus Mackie, 16 channel old school yamaha mixer(m1516), Tascam da 20, 2 adat xt 20's, synched to a computer and a roland vsr880(rack mount 8 track) for a total of 32 tracks, e-magic logic audio with audiowerk 8 card, and outboard dynamics and effects by drawmer, alesis dbx, yamaha, roland, art,and symetrix.(there is a couple behringer peices that don't get used much, but you didn't hear it from me!)
    Mic wise I have the usual assortment of 57's 58's, akg c-414, rode ntv, 421's, beta 52, and two avlex avs 80s' which are pretty good.(1" dia condensers.)
    I am feeling at this point that the number one priority in my budget should be the acoustics, appearance, and layout of a new facility. Along with the construction aspects I will consider portability(if I have to pack up shop and re-locate), wiring (good cables,and multi-pin connects), balanced power, power distribution and ventilation.
    The space I am currently using is downstairs of the new location, upstairs is 40 feet wide, 16 feet high, and 120 feet, long. The rent is affordable. The location is good. I plan to use 80 of th 120 feet for studio space, with 20 feet on either end for receptionsales, and warehousing.
    I have good connections and can get building supplies at a good price, sometimes even free!

    Aside from the room I want to upgrade my equipment. I am thinking about a digi 001 rig to start, with 2 0r 3 888 interfaces. Also I will need some pre's and eq's.

    I think I can build for under $5000, not inluding wiring.
    I think I should spend no more than an additional $15-25000. This would increase my hourly rate by $6.25. I am currently at $40/hr and I think it's worth it.

    I could spend double this amount if I wanted to, but I am not sure that it's wise, or necessary in this area.

    Am I out to lunch? Will someone clue me in? I am looking for suggestions, a dose of reality, confirmation that I'm qualified to run my business(just kidding.)

    Really, if you were me what would you do?
  2. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member

    Hi Steve,

    It sounds to me like you may be realistic from an equipment point of view..... I'll let others answer those questions....

    However from a construction point of view it may well be something entirely different.

    You're talking about doing construction in a footprint of 4,800 s.f for a budget of $5,000.

    New construction within an existing footprint (not including wiring) for standard construction (not something as fussy as creating a good studio) runs somewhere in Connecticut for around 80 dollars a square foot. This would however include probably 12% OH&P - so hard costs - if you were to GC - would be in the area of maybe 71 a square foot.

    That would place your hard costs somewhere around
    $ 343,000

    Now i know that people picture contractors making money hand over fist - but that isn't really true - but even if they charged 50% for OH&P - you would still be looking at 170 grand (which i know isn't real)

    When i built Bongovi's studio - which was in 1994 - it cost almost 1/2 million to build just the rooms inside the shell. And that cost did not include low voltage wiring for the gear.

    So from my perspective = tis wake up time.

    I don't think you could frame what you need inside the building my friend for 5,000.

    Am sorry,

    Good luck


    I do this for a living
  3. thermionic

    thermionic Guest

    Three steps:



    and more Acoustics

    Treating the control-room properly was the biggest breakthrough I've ever made in my productions, no piece of hardware could've improved my work more than a few days building-work, further to studying some basic theory.

    BTW, I'd recommend the sonic quality of just about any MOTU converter over the 001 or 888. Maybe it's my taste, but 888s sound harsh and slightly vague to my ears.

    Make sure you get a lawyer to look over any agreements between you and an investor, as if you didn't already know...

    JM2C. Good luck!
  4. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    Rod: I see your point, but I really can get stuff cheap. Here is some info you might appreciate, please respond and tell me what you think.

    By your calculations, my current studio would have cost $54000 to build. In actuality it cost me under $1000. It was not constructed properly, though, I know this.( It does look nice, and isolation is ok due to a sealed 1' air space between walls) If I were to double my cost of construction, it would cost me $12,703 to do this new space. That's fine if it does, but since then the cost of my supplies has decreased, and the only thing I need to do differently is to float the floors, walls and roof.

    What items do you see as being the biggest costs in designing a studio?

    You do it for a living, so would you give me some examples of more expensive materials that you may use. Other than standard home building supplies.
  5. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member


    I'll tell you what - tonight after work - i will spend some time and create a shoping list for this space - just for the standard construction - along with a cost estimate - i will try to complete this tonight - but at the latest tommorrow evening - i will then get it to you.

    I'll try to cover everything.

    Happy Hunting

  6. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    Rod: Thank you. That is a very helpful ting to do, a shopping list of this sort would help me greatly. If you have time constraints, then don't bother with a cost analysis as you don't have access to my special pricing. I f you do decide to add costs and such that's kinda cool cuz according to our last conversation, I saved 53,000! :D :D :d:

    Something aint' right!

    Thanks again.
  7. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member

    Laugh out loud,

    WE didn't save anything - You did - you must have a relative who owns a lumber yard - because free is the only way you can do it for those prices.

    Whatever Works :p:

  8. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    Actually rod, I do have more than one relative who owns a lumber yard. A few who own building supply retail shops. Actually my grand father-in-law owns five such yards. One of my partners has a good position at a building supply shop, and I have an uncle that owns a manufacturing plant for vinyl products. Aside from that I know several avenues to source out other product, and I will never pay street price for anything really.

    I wasn't trying to be a smartass! When I asked to be clued into reality I meant with respect to my plans to build and upgrade my equipment.

    My initial costs analysis might be low, but not too low. I will know exactly, once I have finished the plan. :p:
  9. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member


    PLease - I hope i did not present myself badly,

    I was not suggestingthat you were being a smartass - nor was i being sarcastic in any of my communications....... but i am amazed by the ideas some people get into their heads about costs.

    The true value of the product will be "whatever the market will bear" which is what the assesment for taxes on the improvements will be once the work is completed....... my observation that you must have a relative who owns a lumber yard was (on my part) the only explanation for your low costs - damn man...... i envy you.......lol.

    Anyway - i hope you understand that i like you - otherwise i would not have spent the time on this that i have........ in fact - for the most part - i like everyone here - everyone has something to offer........ and that more than anything else (in my opinion) is what makes the world go round.

    I'll get back to you with my shopping list later - seeing as you have the costs covered it will only be material types. I have a few good ideas for the isolation of the wall assemblies.

    Till then

    Happy Hunting

  10. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    Rod: No offence taken, man! The thought did cross my mind that you thought I was a moron for suggesting such low pricing, but I understand that your intentions are good. I don't want to seem unreceptive to help or advice in any way, because although I may think I know, we are all human and sometimes all the pot I smoked in high school comes back to haunt me. :D

    I have been reconsidering my initial guess on cost and I have to admit that I may have been a little low, but only a little. I will give it more thought once I have heard your info, and had a chance to work some bugs out in my design.

    It is tough to express oneself effectively on the net without sounding like a putz, or a dork, but really, thanks so much for taking the time to help me out. It is appreciated.


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