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Dimensions and ideas for multi purpose recording studio's

I'm going to build a multi purpose studio on 5 acres in a location where there is little outside noise to be overly concerned about. I'm in the country, on a very private lake where the sound of nature is actually something I would rather hear as a natural ambience (maybe I am onto something lol)!
Never the less, kidding aside... it's not like we have screaming city ambiance where I am living. Its very quiet here in comparison to a large city. So, isolating the outside from bleeding is far less of a concern for me but I would still like to discuss that as well.

NOTE: I have no idea what I want so I expect to evolve with it all as I gather all sorts of idea's from everyone. Thank you :)

Here we go...

What would the idea dimensions be to start with?



kmetal Tue, 06/05/2018 - 18:31
audiokid, post: 457567, member: 1 wrote: listen to Bobs comments on what a Chamber is and his reference to shellac Starts at 17:06 . (y)

Yeah man I gotta check that whole interview out, my batteries died when i was listening. Rod and Phil (Greene) told me about the shellac. 5-7 coats seems to be the recipe for The Powerstation, and Normandy. I prefer the sound of wood reflections vs the plaster reflections at The Wave Cave. For an actual echo chamber, tile or plaster however is my preference, or smooth concrete in a large area for the most perfect decay I’ve ever heard. Ever.

Chambers are the opposite rules for tracking and mixing rooms. A cubiod or rectangular room with reflective surfaces, and parellel boundaries.

If I remember correctly it was capitol (def some major studio) that had a great echo chamber they made in a closet or bathroom. It was wonderful. So they tried to design a fancy one with typical acoustics techniques, and it wasn’t special.

If you put a mic 15+ ft away from any source, and aim the mic at the (reflective part) of a wall, a few inches away, you can get a big sound. It’s the sound of the first Stevie Ray Vaughn record, or 80’s blues, or rock like Aerosmith. Not always appropriate but can make any room sound large.

kmetal Tue, 06/05/2018 - 18:58
audiokid, post: 457550, member: 1 wrote: Yes, I'm thinking I will build it on a radiant heated slab using a wood or gas to heat the water.


audiokid, post: 457550, member: 1 wrote: I won't ever need AC here, just slow turning fans or open windows to circulate air.
The temp here is usually cool averaging (20C 68F or less) and there is an even breeze that comes off the lake to cool as well so there is a big saving right there

I’m not doubting you, but I mention this for conversation. In the control rooms, and recording rooms to a lesser extent, I’ve used AC year round. Seem like you have it covered, and a standup ac, or ductless mini, is a very simple installation even in finished studios, should the need arise. Those units can do heat as well. I don’t see any problems with what your currently thinking.

audiokid, post: 457550, member: 1 wrote: There is a 200 amp service, I'll do all the electrical
Plumbing is going to be really simple

Beautiful. It cost the home theater project 8k to upgrade from 120 to 200A. I shoulda been the electrician on the project instead. They did it in a day and a half, and sent the B team.

audiokid, post: 457552, member: 1 wrote: In floor heating. Does this look logical" I've never seen isolation board put in the floor like that. I would have thought it would crush form the weight of the concrete.

Slabs are an area of ignorance for me. I’m somewhat of an armchair acoustician, with some holes in my game.

That said, my best guess is that you need some form of semi rigid underlayment, to compensate or move with, the expansion and contraction of the ground and concrete. Otherwise the pipes would crack.

I’ve been lucky (in one sense) that all 6 or so builds I’ve done, and most of the ones I’ve consulted, have had an existing foundation already. Second floors, and slab design have evaded me so far. I’m always eager to learn. Normandy is on a wood deck above the basement of the building, and (supposedly) Phil had them fill up the cavity below with sand. 6ft high, 25’x17’ area. I’m not sure I believe that, and tried to avoid the moldy dirty basement as much as possible on that project. One of the few times I dished off the shitty jobs to someone else. I used to take the worst of it for myself.

audiokid Tue, 06/05/2018 - 19:26
kmetal, post: 457570, member: 37533 wrote: I’m not doubting you, but I mention this for conversation.
For sure, this thread is for others too. I am taking what seems to fit for me but listening to everything said!

kmetal, post: 457571, member: 37533 wrote: Heater looks killer. The support pole obstructing the view is a detriment imho. I’m a huge fan of clear spans. I’d rather add decorative wood beams, and clear spans, than incorporate columns.

Same. The building I build will not have any posts like that but the fireplace does look awesome so I'm in on that!.
Log structures like that picture require posts everywhere. I've built and worked in a lot of log homes and they are not my choice. They look amazing and have a wonderful vibe about them but I would never want one for a variety of reasons. I much prefer a stick frame with decorative trim and paint which is what I'm planning. :)

DonnyThompson Thu, 06/07/2018 - 13:33
Hi brother. :)
I have no advice to give you on the technical aspects of your room, but I can offer a few thoughts on the spiritual, human part of what you are doing, and it’s this:
If building your own multi purpose music/creative facility brings you happiness, if you get up in the morning and what you see around you brings you a feeling of accomplishment and stokes creativity, if you are surrounding yourself with creative people, (not to mention working and spending time with people you love your kids ) and providing a place for artistic visions to come to fruition, then everything you’ve done or will do is absolutely worth it. Whether you turn it into a successful revenue generating entity is kinda secondary at that point. Yeah, of course we would all like to earn a comfortable living doing what we love to do ... but if your space is bringing you happiness, a sense of contentment and inner peace, then that should be enough, my friend. Especially at our age, when so many of us have been through the ringer of the rat race, or have faced health issues, or dealt with all the crap that life throws at everyone from time to time if we get old enough to experience them (LOL)...
creating something that brings you or others happiness is worth more than you could ever put a price tag on. ;)
I think what you’re doing, and what you’ve described doing in the near future, is a great thing. You deserve to be happy. Don’t get to a place where you second guess yourself about it.
You’re building s sort of dream factory; where very cool things can happen for you, and for the people that will come there... and you’re never too old for dreams.
IMHO, of course. ;)

audiokid Sat, 03/04/2017 - 17:07
JayTerrance, post: 448079, member: 49019 wrote: Is this a combo room (live room and mix room)?
JayTerrance, post: 448079, member: 49019 wrote: a larger room like that with partial gobos placed correctly works nicely.
Thats what I am thinking :)

JayTerrance, post: 448079, member: 49019 wrote: Other than square, no matter what dimensions/ratios you build, you will always develop favorite spots in the room
Thats so exciting. I love the idea of discovering sweet spots.

JayTerrance, post: 448079, member: 49019 wrote: My live room I built 12 years ago is roughly the size I mentioned above.
Wonderful. Is there anything you would do different?

JayTerrance, post: 448079, member: 49019 wrote: I'm no professional as some in here, but I sure enjoyed building the room and recording/mixing local groups/bands...and glad I didn't build it any smaller.
So cool, thanks for the encouragement and advise. This was exactly what I was hoping to hear.

DonnyThompson Sun, 03/05/2017 - 05:01
Obviously I'm not the guy to give advice about "ideal" dimensions, or, for that matter, anything related to acoustics ( or construction); I'm learning a lot here this week myself, soaking it all in, and it's a lot to digest.

My scenario is different from yours, in that you are looking at building a whole studio; whereas I'm only looking at developing a mixing space, with recording limited to vocals, (maybe some acoustic instruments), but my primary concern is to have a well balanced space to mix in... and you are going for the entire studio project.

I'll leave the advice about dimensions to those who know... I guess if I had any advice to offer, beyond splayed walls, canted or arc'd ceilings... it would be to make it as big as you can; from what I've learned, you're far less apt to have to deal with the classic and predictable problems that small spaces so often have.

I like the idea of using Go-Bo's and baffles; I think that live recording is very cool... make sure you can maintain visual contact for the players to see each other. Also, getting fresh air in there is going to be important, too.
I've worked in some places that are so air-tight, that after a little while, people start to get logy, short tempered, and eventually, performances start to suffer... LOL... oxygen is important, but the good news is, it's free. ;)

On a side note, just for fun, if I were building something like this, I think I'd explore the possibility of a dedicated reverb/echo chamber; something like what Goldstar Studios had, or Abbey Road. I'm the last guy here to tell you how to do that, but it might be fun to at least consider. I know you have the Bricasti, but I think it would be cool to also have a natural space that you could use from time to time for natural echo.

I might also consider semi-permanently mounting a mic or two way up high, or maybe at the peak of the ceiling or something - or at least run a cable or install a jack panel up in spots like that, so that you could grab the sound from those hard to reach places. I mean, it might be a sonic disaster - but it might be kinda cool too!

Just a thought. Or two. Or three. :)

audiokid Sun, 03/05/2017 - 08:44
DonnyThompson, post: 448279, member: 46114 wrote: My scenario is different from yours, in that you are looking at building a whole studio; whereas I'm only looking at developing a mixing space, with recording limited to vocals, (maybe some acoustic instruments), but my primary concern is to have a well balanced space to mix in... and you are going for the entire studio project

My ideal studio is targeted towards mixing and recording mostly vocals and guitars. The rest of what I don't do well, nor really want to, I will shop out to musicians and studios that do example: beautiful drum work.

If I am doing the production I will be using a lot of electronics. I have been programming for 30 years already so I am basically improving on what I do.
To be clearer, I'd not likely be tracking drums for any other reason than to replace them. If I want live drums, I would send the session to a drummer who has the ability to record live drums that are compatible quality as all the other collaborators.

The focus is about collaborating with studios that have specific talents that record instruments better than I do or can for a particular client. Building relationships with musicians and studios that collaborate.

DonnyThompson Sun, 03/05/2017 - 09:08
Kurt Foster, post: 448050, member: 7836 wrote: like the one Sound City had, defy conventions. Sound City's live room was basically a square and everyone will tell you that a square room is the worst place to record in. but for some serendipitous reason it worked for them and that room produced some of the biggest rock hits ever recorded.

I watched that movie again a few nights ago - before it was Sound City, it was a Vox guitar factory - and as you said, it sort of defied explanation.
I mean, I'm sure a pro acoustician could get in there and eventually come up with the details as to how it worked, but most of the pro's that worked there were of the same opinion... "it shouldn't work"... "it can't work"... but it did.
And because it worked, because it sounded so good, there was probably no need - or desire - to figure out the "whys" and the "hows".

Especially for drums; man, the drum tracks recorded there sounded great - to me anyway. I'm sure that having that Neve desk, top-notch tape machines, all the other awesome OB gear they had, and the talented and knowledgeable cats working with all of that stuff didn't hurt, either... but it all started with the room, and people who were experienced with mic choices and placement.
I'm not a big Nirvana fan, never was really, but I can't deny that Grohl's drum sounds on tracks like Smells Like Teen Spirit sounded awesome.

IMO. :)


JayTerrance Sun, 03/05/2017 - 13:21
audiokid, post: 448274, member: 1 wrote: Wonderful. Is there anything you would do different?

I probably would have done a totally separate structure like you are doing. Mine is an attached room in the house.

I always wondered about "ideal" dimensions and then read the Gervais book AFTER I built's that for great planning. I experienced a frequency bump at 55 and another at 105-110 at my seated mix location, but then pretty flat from there on. The exact dimensions are 29W x 37.5L x 26H. I've tried all the math calculators but could never figure out the 2 bumps above. Although the ceiling is not flat and the room is not a clean rectangle - it has 2 angled corners (NW and SE corners) and an attached loft. So it's probably pretty complicated how the actual 55 and 105-110 bumps are generated in the room. I could treat them pretty easy with tuned membranes I guess. Wood floor, wood ceiling, wood ceiling trusses, 75% of 1 wall is stone. I was researching/reading RVG and his studios back in the old days. I was always intrigued with his masonry wall, so thought I would do stone instead.

I've mixed previously in 2 rooms in the house and finally settled on mixing in the largest room. The first room was too small, the 2nd room was a little bigger and treated fairly well but I kept feeling like the sound was "all over me". I always stayed away from the largest room for mixing because I was concerned on not hearing the recorded ambience - that is, same ambience from the same room problem. But lately I've finally tried the largest room for mixing and it is much better. Even though my old ears aren't what they used to be - everything seems cleaner in there. I still go back to the other room to double-check ambience. I would imagine your room will be even cleaner since my initial design was not for mixing in there. You may not want the wood ceiling or stone? as your emphasis is more mixing than mine initially was. I'm no professional on this stuff - only fascinated with sound/music. I can only imagine what some of the pro's in here like yourself could do with a nice large type of room. If you are ever in the area (or any of the regulars on here for that matter) and want to stop by, you are more than welcome.

But even though I have a room inspired on RVG, unfortunately I can't recreate his ears/knowledge.

audiokid Sun, 03/05/2017 - 15:55
JayTerrance, post: 448286, member: 49019 wrote: I always stayed away from the largest room for mixing because I was concerned on not hearing the recorded ambience
Yes, I was thinking about this too. You bring up a very good point.

JayTerrance, post: 448286, member: 49019 wrote: I still go back to the other room to double-check ambience.

JayTerrance, post: 448286, member: 49019 wrote: I'm no professional on this stuff - only fascinated with sound/music.
You sound like me. Simply fascinated with sound and doing my best to keep the magic alive in it all.

JayTerrance, post: 448286, member: 49019 wrote: If you are ever in the area (or any of the regulars on here for that matter) and want to stop by, you are more than welcome.
That's very kind, I would do that for sure now, thank you.

JayTerrance, post: 448286, member: 49019 wrote: I can only imagine what some of the pro's in here like yourself could do with a nice large type of room.
You sound humble and as pro as the rest of us.

pcrecord Mon, 06/11/2018 - 06:00
I would be tempted to keep the room alive to some degree if it sounds good of course. You know, to get those big drum sounds everyone dreams of.. ;)
You could have a dead isolated room for when dead sound is needed but keep the rest alive.

I know nothing about acoustics so everything I do is listen first and fix the issus. Just like when mixing, it's easy to overdo acoustics...
But that's just me !

audiokid Mon, 02/27/2017 - 13:20
Thanks Kurt but I don't want to read this on another forum like Tapeop. There must be enough information and great minds on RO after all these years? I'm hoping we start adding this stuff here so we aren't always degrading RO to a link factory.

That being said, thanks from the bottom of my heart, I know you are helping.

kmetal Mon, 06/11/2018 - 09:58
audiokid, post: 457652, member: 1 wrote: Could the ceiling benefit from spraying it all with acoustic foam insulation and leaving it exposed ?

The ceiling would be dead then.

It all depends on height, and ceiling type. With a pitched roof, often the peak is a wonderful place to have a couple feet (2’-6’) up there, for bass trapping, like a typical corner trap. This would be a stronger consideration to me in your case since since the room is going to have some mixing done. You can then use a semi reflective covering on the trap, to maintain life in the room. This can be anything from fence slats, to a glass feature, to plywood with holes cut in it.

If your 10ft or lower in height, completely dead is my preference. Ceiling reflections are generally gross, until your in then 12’-15’+ range. I typical overhead mic 6’ high is only 4’ away from the ceiling, which is going to exhibit phase cancelizations.

My personal preference if doing a room like yours would be to keep it dead over the mix position, and then open up the sound with a more lively, but balanced tracking area. I’d probably make one dead section in then corner for tight drum/gtr/bass/vocal sounds, and incorporate some Gobos if necessary. This is what I designed for a garage conversion in Finger Lakes NY, in late 2016. (I can dig up some of the floor plans that included treatment if you’re interested)

With a pitched roof in particular, id leave at least one small section live, as the reverb time, and density will increase as you get closer to the peak of the roof. This is a creative tool. The power station has the ‘coffin’ at peak of studio A, that serves this purpose.

Flat ceilings can have useful reflections as well, just not quite so drastically Varialble with mic positioning. It’s easy enough to have angled, and curved treatments hanging as well, to achieve a similar result to the peaked roof.

That said, even with a completely live ceiling, min 10ft, it really doesn’t seem to effect the close mics, or any of the mics on floor stands, to any great degree in Munich experience. In reality it’s equally simple to liven a dead room, or deaden a live room. And my preferred way is to think in ‘Zones’ when it comes to one large room.

@audiokid can you link the acoustic spray foam? I’ve never seen a that type of product before.