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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?



audiokid Tue, 06/05/2018 - 07:47
pcrecord, post: 457555, member: 46460 wrote: I guess it depends how much more it will cost you and how it will affect sound. Morein heights had a view and they closed down none the less.

yikes, that's a sobering chair, sign of the times.

Being said, I'm not worried about closing down because I'm building this to be used and shared for multi purposes.
Examples: music lessons, practicing, writing, producing, collaboration stuff for my musical family and myself.

Any income generated would likely only subsidize us. Its by no means intended to be a commercial studio like you'd expect in a city. Imagine this as your big play house for you and musicians that have the luxury to track decent work with excellent recording and mixing equipment. A nice place to work on music with no one around to bother you. Ah... peace and quiet in a nice country setting.

I'll likely put a cozy wood stove (Blaze King) in there as well so it has a really cozy feeling. Like this example but over in a corner where a group can sit around a fire and jam, party etc with mics ready to go when needed.

audiokid Tue, 06/05/2018 - 16:21
kmetal, post: 457545, member: 37533 wrote: After that I’d add coats of shellac one by one to get the right brightness, and/or add wall panels or removing barn board to get the right amount of absorption. I was really surprised how many high level acousticicians tune the rooms by ear, one the basics are set. listen to Bobs comments on what a Chamber is and his reference to shellac Starts at 17:06 . (y)

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. ;)

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 !

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.

audiokid Mon, 06/11/2018 - 17:49
You can spray this on peaked ceilings too. Which in my case, a barn style,

I may be clueless how it would work for insulation but I saw this done in the last log home I finished and it worked excellent.

They of course covered it all (between the ridge beams etc ) with drywall.
But I’m wondering if I could blast it up there, leave it open, maybe double the dept if needed. I guess I need to consult with the company that makes this stuff.

kmetal Mon, 06/11/2018 - 18:05
That video is completely inaccurate from an acoustic perspective. Thermally, blown in foam is an excellent insulation product. It’s nearly idiot proof (although I’m sure i could screw it up), and it gets into all the crevices and imperfections, forming a great air seal. I’ve not compared the costs to typical fluffy batt insulation so I can’t comment on cost vs performance.

From an acoustic perspective it’s worthless. The density / GFR (gas flow resistivity) flow resistivity&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1

Is what makes the semi pourus insulation’s commonly used in studios effective. Think of to like a sponge for sound. Too dense and it can’t absorb anything, too pourous and it can’t contain anything.

Any soundproofing you get is related to the air tightness of the blown in foam, since the foam has not got the mass to have any great effect on isolation. Typical fluffy bats offer about a 3db attenuation at a 1k center frequency. It’s job within a wall or ceiling cavity is to muffle resonance (like palm muting a string, or moon gels for drums). When used in bass trapping or broadband acoustic treatments, you select the density and cubic footage that is appropriate for the frequencies of issue.

I cannot wait to develop and release my series on acoustics. I plan to brutalize much of the crap that floats on YouTube. I am an avid fan of acoustics and physics, far from an expert, but I never search for acoustics related stuff on the tube unless it’s with actual designers and engineers like WSDG, ect ect.

If this stuff is useful and cost effective from a thermal and structural point of veiw, by all means employ it. it certainly is an excellent insulator. Is has no place however in the realm of acoustic treatments.

audiokid Mon, 06/11/2018 - 18:17
Good to know. Thank you for the info. I was thinking I could then add traps up there and all over where needed. Feel free to school me on this but I have always thought its good to deaden a ceiling so it has no audible height heard. So it sounds like it could be 40 ft high for that matter. But, this was when I was only thinking about using Bricasti's which I am still doing but that would of course be for the dead production stuff.

kmetal Mon, 06/11/2018 - 22:51
audiokid, post: 457676, member: 1 wrote: I was thinking I could then add traps up there and all over where needed. Feel free to school me on this but I have always thought its good to deaden a ceiling so it has no audible height heard. So it sounds like it could be 40 ft high for that matter.

Your dimensions are excellent, so the main thing your treating is decay time, as opposed to trapping modal buildups. Room modes don’t come into play very much in a room that large. You also can use the treatment to qualitatively effect the Sonics. Ie, hard plaster sound, softwood sound, rigid fiberglass sound, ect. You can manipulate the tone of the room to taste along with the acoustic response.

In small, low rooms, dead ceilings are almost a necessity. Once you get into ‘full size’ rooms, reflections become part of your arsenal, or at least can be if you choose. I believe the powestation is like roughly 35’ at its peak, but I don’t know that for sure.

Most of the rooms I’ve tracked in are either basements or 10 footers, as far as ceiling heights. Because of this I end up using chamber mic, and room mics, as opposed to high up mics. The nightclub I worked at had a pitched ceiling roughly 15’ in the center, and was roughly 60x90’ of floor area. The JBls were flying from the ceiling over the dance floor. If I had a choice I’d have installed absorbers over the dance floor area (stained concrete) to make the mid range smoother.

Drums however sounded quite good. The kick thru the PA did that ‘concert boom’ thing, and the snare carried out with a nice full and smooth decay.

audiokid, post: 457677, member: 1 wrote: Again, just cluelessly wondering lol! With a dead ceiling, could I then strategically add reflective sheets or is this all ass backwards.

Either way works. If you start live/bare then add absorbing materials you could potentially save vs doing an entire layer of absorbent, then adding additional material on top. This presumes the bare surface is visually appealing enough, and made of something reasonable like wood sheathing. A steel sheet metal roof would not be desireable acoustically or otherwise, and that’s a situation where it would make more sense to me to start dead then liven things up.

I find that even close mic’d cabs and drums seem to sound better in big rooms. Or maybe more effortless is the better way to describe it. Not that I don’t like a nice tight booth sound for some things. When the sound is allowed to blossom it can help tremendously imho.

kmetal Mon, 06/11/2018 - 23:38
One economically reasonable way to start dead would be if the ceiling bays that are going to be insulated anyway for thermal reasons. This gives you a dead ceiling by default, and you can just cover the insulation with fabric for the dead areas, and a (semi) reflective surface. In this case it’s not bass akwards, or financially inefficient. I picture this in a senerio where there is a flat roof, or even an A frame style ceiling.

audiokid Tue, 06/12/2018 - 08:18
kmetal, post: 457683, member: 37533 wrote: One economically reasonable way to start dead would be if the ceiling bays that are going to be insulated anyway for thermal reasons. This gives you a dead ceiling by default, and you can just cover the insulation with fabric for the dead areas, and a (semi) reflective surface. In this case it’s not bass akwards, or financially inefficient. I picture this in a senerio where there is a flat roof, or even an A frame style ceiling.
That’s sort of what I’m thinking.