Building home studio in shipping container


Feb 15, 2021
Building a home studio, but this is what i'm working with, looks like there's no two-ways about it in terms of budget, location etc.:

-Building it in a shipping container. Yup, that's right. About 20'x6.5', height around 6.5'-8'
-Budget for sound-proofing and acoustic treatment: around $7,000 maybe could go a little more.

Anyone have any ideas how to do this right? And i will NOT be reading Rod Gervais's book before this, mainly because of time.


Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2014
Lowestoft - UK
There are loads of YouTube videos, but probably you won't have time for that before spending your seven grand?

Seriously - the thing with these - and I looked at doing it, are the drawbacks. In Israel I don't suppose damp and condensation is a problem, but you probably need cooling, if the sun beats down on the container. The one I went into about 4 years ago had a big drawback, a strange one. The metal box is a perfect Faraday Cage - no cell phones, only wired internet. The width once you've built the inside is also quote narrow, so it will be cosy.

The positives are good - strength, security and easy to get sited and setup. From what I can seem if you are a dab hand with a rotary disc cutter and can do a bit of welding - it's a possibility = if you can cope with the downsides. Here a second hand single trip container can be got for around 1500 pounds. The cost of building one from normal materials would be more.


Mar 20, 2000
Nanaimo BC, Canada
I recall a members tried doing this some years back. Other than the obvious small space setbacks, heat etc, he also recommended building a room within it so you kept a space between the steel and your acoustic environment. I can imagine treating it like a vocal booth and then mixing at a very low volume to help reduce constant vibrations within the steel. I think you'd be way further ahead building a wood structure but I suspect you have your reasons for the steel.


Kyle P. Gushue
Well-Known Member
Jul 21, 2009
Boston, Massachusetts
How much isolation do you need?

What are you recording?

You could have a look at mobile recording trucks. Alot gets done in those from classic records to broadcast. I also suggest looking at tiny homes. They have great ideas for using space. In fact you may be able to get a better suited end result if you just build a "tiny home" style studio. Its just box on a flatbed. You can save significant cash if you skip the flatbed and leave it on some setting blocks, or suitable jack stands.

The 6.5' width is brutal. If you don't need isolation you will lose a min of a foot for acoustic treatment, bare minimum. With isoation walls you lose another foot, and are very close to having a 20ft long hallway.

You may find an old camper or a landscape trailer much better since 8.5' width is very common.


Feb 26, 2021
What ideas could there be?
To give up the idea of building a studio in such a small room is the best idea, of course you can set up the acoustics and with such parameters, but it will not be ideal.
The advantage of the steel container is that it is homogeneous, it will simplify the issue of stereo.
In one article I read that in small rooms you can experiment with low-frequency bass, because the size of the room is much smaller than the sound wave, the bass will not be reflected, and will fill the room evenly, which will reduce the jumps. This method is used in car acoustics, you can use it.
But I'm not sure about the accuracy of this information, to tell the truth I don't even remember the source where I learned it, if somebody can correct or add to it, it would be cool, I am interested in finding out more about it. I have my own interest in this.


Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2018
A shipping container isn't an obvious choice. Caravans are even worse.

What I would do, is find a refrigeration back from a real truck. Caravans and the like are limited to a width of 2,55 m (a bit over 8') in Europe. Almost as narrow as a container. I don't know about Israel, obviously.

A refrigeration back has usable isolation, is strong enough and lighter than the shipping container. And trucks can be another 5 cm wide, about 8.5'. Additionally, it has ventilation that could be tuned to studio needs.

I'm sure I can find one on the cheap here. Once they're no longer usable for food, they're a nuisance. There's nothing to recuperate, as it's foam, plastic and aluminium. They're also usually white, which helps with temp control.

A short search on a local 2nhand site revealed a 7 by 3 by 2,40 m one for 3000 €. Mind you, that's a working one, including compressors and condensers. Maybe one that's up for demolition, could be had for nought?