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Dimensions and ideas for multi purpose recording studio's

Member for

21 years
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

Member for

6 years 5 months

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 it...how'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.

Member for

21 years

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.
Smart.

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.

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Mon, 03/06/2017 - 12:20
DonnyThompson, post: 448279, member: 46114 wrote: 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. ;)

HVAC seems expensive till people pass out lmao!!! The worst is booths with no AC. Man I have seen some really sweaty individuals come out of those.

I'd rather have a studio that was smaller to reserve money for proper hvac than a larger one without it.

Lol, if chris gets enough pultecs, he won't need heat up there in the great north!

DonnyThompson, post: 448279, member: 46114 wrote: 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!

Killer idea!

Got me thinking you could mount them on a little track/string and servo motor, and move them around from the control room remotely. Just dreaming aloud.

JayTerrance, post: 448286, member: 49019 wrote: 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.

Treat 55 and you'll tone down the 105 octave as well. If you could make some broadband traps centered around 60hz you could tame both of those modes. Assuming that the speaker positioning is at its flattest. Not trying to give un-solicited advice, just making conversation.

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 - that is, same ambience from the same room problem.

Larger rooms generally have more optimal low end response, which is super important. It's much easier to tame the overal ambience and decay time in a larger room, than make the bass response better in a smaller room. It just comes down to more broadband absorbsion generally.

I know at Normandy in the 80's they had rebuilt the CR a couple times and had made it smaller becuase there was apparently a discernible slap echo. That room was an LEDE style so reflections play a paramount role in the function of the room. So due to the inherent nature of a semi reflective back half in the lede style shrinking it made sense to them to control the reflections length/delay.

This is one of the few times I've heard of a case where a smaller CR was actually more beneficial.

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Mon, 06/04/2018 - 18:18
Is there any existing structure or foundation yet? Is this freestanding or attached to another building section?

If you need better than 30-40db of sound isolation, your looking at a room within a room. In that case a large outer shell, rectangular, and ditto with the inner shell. If you like that angles on the ceiling, you can angle the acoustic treatments. It’s perfectly acceptable to angle the inner shell, you just sacrifice some cubic footage. That said you can make the space useful by running ducts and conduit thru it. Ideally the angle is ‘lopsided’ for lack of proper term. So the pitch angle on either side is different, this keeps the Asymmetry that tracking rooms love. It won’t effect mixing imaging much, given a decent height.

Barn styles really can look cool or classy. With big access doors they’re perfect for studios. Also, typical barns are big enough, that room modes aren’t usually a major issue, as they are in smaller rooms. Area (cubic footage) is a wonderful bass trap, and usually cheaper than building smaller and trying to stuff traps in.

One consideration with pitch roofs, or any non-rectangular room, is the complexity of the calculations for the acoustic response.

That pitch in the pic is much steeper than I’d make it, given the choice. I’d use a much flatter angle, maintaining a higher avaerage ceiling height, and maximizing the cubic footage as much as posssible.

Having a single room saves thousands on walls, glass, and doors. Glass and doors are particularly expensive and painstaking with studios.

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Mon, 06/04/2018 - 18:57
audiokid, post: 457541, member: 1 wrote: Kyle, travelling so my posts are short.
Free standing in a very quiet surrounding.

I have a flat 1/2 acre spot on that 5 acre lake property to put it.

Excellent you isolation exists naturally!!!! That took 30-50% off what it would otherwise cost.

Imho, and hopefully others will chime in, but here’s my initial thoughts.

Slab foundation.

2x6 or 2x8 wall frames (depending on height), and a flat, gambrel, or pitched roof, in that order or preference. Engineered i-joists can span quite far, like 35-40ft, without mid-span supports or lally columns. That’s what I’d use for the roof. They’re relatively economically priced, and I’ve seen a single dude, average size, install them for his 2-story garage. So they seem somewhat possible to install with any sort of crane.

I’d then sheath the outer layer of the barn with two layers of osb, and Green glue, or consider a third osb layer and no glue. Cost is usually what determines which is best, since performance is similar. Two layers (no glue), plus the finish (siding, shingles, Ect) would be around STC 40ish, which is about 6-8db better than a single layer wall. You could also use Hardie Backer, and the appropriate siding. Hardie backer is a bit heavier than osb or drywall. So you could do OSB layer one, Hardie backer layer two, and the finish.

On the inside id cover the r-value insulation with some plastic sheeting to contain the fibers, then finish that off with fabric or barn board, or combo of both. This will setup your overall room response and reverb decay time. And you can modify from there.

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.

For the flooring, I like the look of wood, as opposed to carpet, or bare stained concrete, which are less expensive.

48,000 btu Ductless Multi split for ac/heat can be had for 5-8k installed, typically around here. And that’s for Daikin, which is best imho. I may be off on the BTUs but not by much.

Electric and plumbing could be significant costs, depending on plans, an existing electrical service. Perhaps you would consider using solar/wind/water power for some of the less intensive electrical stuff like lighting.

Sorry a lot of that is generic info, usually the complicated parts are due to existing conditions, tiny or cluttered areas, or the desire for multiple isolation rooms.

If you figure

15k foundation
10k electrical/plumbing
8k hvac

That leaves 40k for the structure. Which if it’s say 24x42 roughly, is about 20k in materials, very roughly, Boston prices. Maybe an additional 5-8 for sheathing layers and insulation.

Leaving 10-12k for treatments et al’.

That’s a very general and vague cost estimate but typical to what I’ve experienced around here on New England.

I think you can accomplish what you need within your budget, without a lot to spare, or it’s easy enough to just design and size to the budget constraint.

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Mon, 06/04/2018 - 19:00
audiokid, post: 457544, member: 1 wrote: Should I build it with a view or forget that?

To me the view is priceless. Even if through a couple sliding glass doors. That said, glass is one of The more expensive propositions usually, because it has to be thick. You can likely get away with bigger or cheaper, since your iso requirements are low.

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Mon, 06/04/2018 - 19:03
I’d be jealous if I wasn’t so inspired! I almost bought a lakeside house last fall, but the deal went south. Something about playing out on the deck with an acoustic guitar seemed natural.

For my place, I have strongly considered using a single OSB layer, and the stone/plaster/concrete exterior finish. The name of it escapes me but it gets you some mass cheap, since all it’s both a mass adding layer, and the finish layer, it just needs paint. That type of finish can be installed faster than layers of sheathing in general, if it’s apllied with a trowel. It may not have the allure of the other exteriors, but it’s acoustically and cost effective, and very low maintenance, while being dead simple to repair.

Looking forward to hearing what the other fellas round here have to say.

Member for

21 years

audiokid Mon, 06/04/2018 - 22:36
Wow, lots of good info, Kyle, thank you.

kmetal, post: 457545, member: 37533 wrote: Slab foundation.
Yes, I'm thinking I will build it on a radiant heated slab using a wood or gas to heat the water.

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.

There is a 200 amp service, I'll do all the electrical
Plumbing is going to be really simple
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