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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?

Thanks!

Comments

Kurt Foster Wed, 03/01/2017 - 21:41

audiokid, post: 448052, member: 1 wrote: So basically I get my framer to do a 28 x 32 with 10ft walls, where the ridge beam ceiling peaks to about 18ft and I will be doing pretty good, eh?

i believe that would be stellar. one point would be to be sure to orient the direction your speakers fire into along the length of the roof ridge and not into the ceiling as it is sloping downward. John Storyk once told me when i met him briefly, "Never fire into compression. "

audiokid Wed, 03/01/2017 - 21:47

dvdhawk, post: 448053, member: 36047 wrote: Levon Helm's barn studio up near Woodstock NY is the ultimate to me. Beautiful old beams and big enough to bring in a small audience for the Midnight Ramble. I remember reading somewhere Levon talking about the whole thing being made using mortise and tenon joints, because he didn't want there to be any nails.

Every summer I finish at least one log home, some are done like that. That sounds beautiful indeed.

Kurt Foster Thu, 03/02/2017 - 07:57

slap echo is what you are hearing in those rooms.

cinder block and stone are way different. stone is diffusive while cinder block is usually reflective. i have seen cinder blocks that were specifically engineered as diffusers. i could imagine they work very well due to their mass. very expensive though.

what is good about both stone or cinder blocks is they don't flex under sound pressure. if you were to put up wall board on studs at 8 foot centers you essentially have a wall that flexes with very deep bass. put insulation behind that and you have a spring bass trap. even a sheet rock wall on 16 inch centers is in some ways a bass trap, how much so depends on its thickness.

stone or block construction is one of the best ways to combat flanking issues. this is why we see so many studios built in brick, stone or cinder block buildings.

JayTerrance Thu, 03/02/2017 - 09:37

Is this a combo room (live room and mix room)? I'd start studding out a Barn, minimum 32 x 40 minimum. 25' center height minimum. 16' Side wall height. I'm going by easily buildable 8 foot math so adjust if you want for any golden ratios that make you feel more comfortable psychologically. Stud out something as large as possible and play with it over the years. If it's a balance initially between spending money on acoustical treatment or building it for size, I'd spend the money on size - a little more size than you referenced above. Then chip away at it over the coming years with more and more treatment. Even without a ton of acoustical treatment but some basic treatment (being a more lively room in the beginning), a larger room like that with partial gobos placed correctly works nicely. Other than square, no matter what dimensions/ratios you build, you will always develop favorite spots in the room - and those spots will change depending on what sound you desire at the time - that's a given. Building a room at least the size stated above (about 24,000 cubft min), will have its golden recording spots in there.

My live room I built 12 years ago is roughly the size I mentioned above. When I've recorded groups in there I know I wouldn't want it any smaller. I now also use it (just lately) as my mix room because my old mix room was smaller (10 x 20 x 11) with plenty of treatment and still wasn't cutting it compared to the big room with limited treatment (I know the treatment guys won't like that I said that). 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.

DonnyThompson Thu, 03/02/2017 - 10:02

audiokid, post: 448072, member: 1 wrote: I notice this too.

I don't recall ever liking the sound of clubs I've played in that had rock/ stone./ cinder/ "hard surface" walls like that.
They were so ringy and loud. What would be good about that?

I would think so too...
But the mix is the proof I guess...

This sounds pretty damned good to me. ;)

Recorded/Mixed at Bear Tracks, engineered by Doug Oberkircher and Phil Magnotti.

DAP Thu, 03/02/2017 - 14:38

I've been wanting a barn studio for a while and when we recently moved a barn was a priority for me as much as the house. It came down to two pssibilities - one with a beautiful, huge circa 1870's barn with a smaller 200+ year old home and a newer larger home with a new "pole barn" detached garage (about 22x25) which is mostly metal. Unfortunately it wasn't all up to me and the larger home fit the family better, so that's what we ended up with. Not bad, but definitely not the rustic aesthetic I was hoping for. Would love to see how your build progresses.

kmetal Thu, 03/02/2017 - 16:37

audiokid, post: 448046, member: 1 wrote:

Example of the first one of the list:
(edit) Looking at these figure (image you posted Kyle, thanks), would I adjust all equal to the H to get the correct dimensions?

1 H
1.14 W
1.139 L

scale to an 18' ceiling =

18 H
20.52 W
25.02 L

The louden and sepmeyer ratios are based on a 10' ceiling height and are Not scalable. I'm not 100% sure about the rest as far as reccomended ceiling height.

In general the room ratios are just a great place to start the conversation, and if you can build to them or close to them you'll have the opportunity for world class bass response as far as small listening rooms go.

It's worthwhile to play around with this calc to seem some basic room mode responses. You can try different ceiling heights and see how they effect the calculated response.

You don't have to have a masters degree to mess around w them a bit. They'll give a reasonably accurate enough depiction of what a rectangular space that size would respond naturally w no treatment. Basically the canvas your starting w sonically.

Since this is a combo room it's more along the lines of a post room or small theatre. At least something the size we're talking at this point. The easiest way is to design it with nuetral/flat acoustics for accurate monitoring. If you need to add some movable panels to add further reflections or absorbsion for tracking. It's easier to mix room tracking worthy than a tracking room mix worthy.

In truth most tracking rooms end up being what's leftover after the CR or happy accidents. Many records have been tracked in rented houses from the doors to the chili peppers. Tracking rooms are forgiving because you can move stuff around to find sweet spots. This isn't to designing a tracking room is easy.

It's big enough to sound good on its own with minimal treatments. Much of the consideration will be for logistics and layout, keeping it easy to move tracking based things like stands and amps or baffles around, while keeping a fixed and optional listening position.

It's probably good to identify how much isolation is necessary, since that will determine structural load requirements, outer shell, and slab design as well as other facets of the project.

audiokid, post: 448072, member: 1 wrote: I notice this too.

I don't recall ever liking the sound of clubs I've played in that had rock/ stone./ cinder/ "hard surface" walls like that.
They were so ringy and loud. What would be good about that?

I always like to have a natural reverb/echo if possible / appropriate, since i was lucky enough to have used them regularly for a while.

Many many bathrooms and back halls have made the records. From the power stations siginature vocal and snare verb, to the Beatles and Paul Simon using the hallways.

Whenever possible I think it's good to try and take advantage of natural ambience. For mixing and tracking. Might not be the ticket for everything but it's nice to have on tap.

audiokid Sat, 03/04/2017 - 17:07

JayTerrance, post: 448079, member: 49019 wrote: Is this a combo room (live room and mix room)?

Yes.

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

Chris,
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. :)

-d.

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