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Re-doing a friend's studio

Discussion in 'Room Acoustics / Isolation / Treatment' started by JohnTodd, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    An old friend of mine wants me to re-do his recording studio. I design, he builds.

    Basically, what he has now are 2 nice sized rooms and one small control room. Concrete and blocks.

    First thing I've done is ask him for exact dimensions and construction materials, fixture locations, etc.

    Second thing is I've asked him what he "wants" to do with it. What kind of sound? Music styles? Just friends and buddies or some commercial low-cost work? Etc. I know there will be some heavy metal involved. :)

    Right now I'm doing research on various treatments. I plan to calculate the modes and resonances, etc, and make a PDF file with buildable plans for him. I'm in Tennessee, he's in Minnesota, so I can't go there to check it out. He will source materials locally himself.

    I plan to have him build some wheeled baffles as well to gain additional flexibility.

    I've also included Q+A for fine tuning the room after we finish construction.

    My strategy is this: Have him build and install treatments based on the math, and then have an extensive fine-tuning period where we dial it in to what he "likes".

    Almost anything would be an improvement over concrete walls and floors.

    This post here is just a solicitation for general advice. I'm not asking anyone to do my work for me. Just asking for general advice.

    Your thoughts?


    PS. I read the "Read this first" sticky, but was unsure how to answer many of the questions. I'm sorry.
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    "Basically, what he has now are 2 nice sized rooms and one small control room..."

    I'm not your guy when it comes to the other stuff, but I think you need to consider moving away from the all-too-standard small control room. This is where you'll be doing the bulk of the work, this is where the sound is finalized. The smaller the space, the harder it is to control things like standing low freq's.
  3. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Great idea! I just got a preliminary set of plans from him, and he has another larger room to the side tht might be useful as a control room.
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    At some point, it became trendy to have a small, cramped control room facing out into a larger performance space. The larger performance space is nice if you are going to be tracking things like live drums or groups of singers, or whole bands who are playing while you track-at-once, but when it comes to mixing, those small rooms present a lot of problems.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    What about just setting him up with a " Control Room/Studio ? It opens the Room up. Makes for much better mixing. Ya track with headphones on of course. But the more cubic volume you can have for your control room and for the studio, it's win-win. Instead of fight fight, fix fix, re-fix.

    Bottom line, small Control Rooms and small Studios, sound like doggie do do. This makes the buildout, all the easier. You need a good-sized room for low-frequency waves to properly propagate.

    I'm just saying...
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    You two do present a very valid point about small control rooms.

    He wants his studio to be a tracking studio, but I know he has secret aspirations of being a mixing engineer in the future. He has a full time job that really is fuuullll time, so his progress will be slow.

    We found another room. I'm trying to talk him into using that for control since it is much larger.

  7. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    My thoughts are you are in over your head. If drums are involved, nevermind full band, the TL will hit 130....that requires isolation NOT treatment. Now you not knowing what it is you are getting into and he not knowing how to explain it, a recipe for poor performance.

    Frankly I have issue with your idea that you will "design" and you have shown no inclination towards this much educated area, in the previous months of you being here.

    HVAC is always the biggest issue in a well isolated area.

    "My strategy is this: Have him build and install treatments based on the math, and then have an extensive fine-tuning period where we dial it in to what he "likes"."

    Math will yield poor results and I refer you back to my opening comment.
  8. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Space, I'm in the same position a lot of amateurs here at RO are in: I have Rod's book, and friends here who will help. Must I just sit and wither? No, I shall go forth and dampen.

    As for isolation, I've been told point blank that my friend and his band are big fans of mic bleed. Told me that straight up. We'll get a little isolation because they are in two separate rooms, but otherwise they are all for the bleed.

    As for not showing an inclination for this, it's simply this: I haven't posted much about this stuff because I currently haven't the finances to do my own studio. Therefore, from RO's POV, I haven't been showing much knowledge in this area. I can see where you are coming from in that respect. But I do read. And I do know more than my friend. It is what it is.

    At the very least, OC703 panels will be better than the concrete walls he currently has. I've read that a lot here at RO.

    It is a big project. But I've done big projects before. I've tuned barren soil into great soil and fed entire villages in Africa. I've destroyed 20+ acres of old growth Kudzu in Alabama. I've gone miles behind enemy lines and placed satellite markers on targets so they could be blown to oblivion. I've toured for years as a professional musician / "rock star". And much more. And none of these things were my areas of expertise when I started. I learned, read, absorbed, asked questions, and used a lot of neurons to go and do things I've never done before. That much I know I can do. After many successes in "unknown to me" areas, one develops a certain confidence in one's ability to learn new things.

    This studio revamp will continue. Albeit slowly.

    One question I do have for you, Space, and it's about the math. Physics is an unyielding bitch. If a room calculates to having a bad resonance because of it's dimensions, does it not make sense to treat that resonance? It certainly must be there if that math says it is, right?


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