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How Much Does A Recording Studio Cost (to build) ?

This is a popular question. I've been in some preliminary talks with a potential new client for a design and supervisory role on a new home studio build in my area.

The obvious question is how much, the reply, well..... It depends. So many variables exist in studio construction it's very different than any other type of construction in a home.

So as a preliminary starting talking point I have him a basic structural materials cost estimate. This was based on the alloted area 22'x24' with two rectanglular rooms, divided by a double wall assembly. Very crude, but a starting point, and a weigh to address some basic cost vs benefit stuff. Since rooms of these sizes are so common in the home studio boom I thought it might be useful.

It also be great to hear from the others who have built, or had studios built for them, to get a scope of studio costs in general. I'll attach the cover sheet full size and the breakdown in the attachments. I'll also include one preliminary layout, which is non rectangular, and based closely of the picture on the cover of Build It Like The Pros.

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Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Tue, 02/23/2016 - 00:40

kmetal, post: 436645, member: 37533 wrote: I am curious what your investments were. For two reasons total cost, and cost per sqf.

Oh Lord, Kyle... that was so long ago, and I spent so much money over a period of so many years....because I was continually making improvements over time; I'd have to go back and look to get an exact figure. (Of course, in those days, it wasn't as difficult to recoup your outlay, as it it today, either).

I can tell you that my initial cost-outlay was around $20 G's or so, and this was in '87 (?)... for a 1500 Sq. Ft studio ( not including two offices, a tape duplication room, a lobby and various storage areas) which was construction only, of course... and this included the studio design by a former studio designer friend of mine, who had since moved on to more profitable pastures - LOL - but who came out of retirement to help me out, because I knew him well, and he wanted to help...so I probably got off cheap by the standards at that time.

And, we're talking about an initial investment of $20 G's in the mid 80's, which was 30+ years ago... that would be... what... almost 40 G's now?

That didn't include any gear, of course... and that figure would be really tough to nail down, because it was so ever-changing, as new pieces became available and older pieces became obsolete...and I didn't come into the business owning nothing - I had a decent amount of gear already at the time, having moved out of a home studio...

If I had to guess, and included gear overall, I'd say maybe a total of $70 grand? Which seems dirt-cheap when compared to a studio like Real World or The Record Plant... but then again, I was never in that league anyway; my studio was considered to be of the mid-level pro caliber.

Yeah, I was one of a few a big fish in a medium sized pond in this area (Northeast Ohio, which included Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Youngstown), but a very small "frye" indeed, ( a guppy, really, LOL) when compared to those million dollar A-Rooms in places like NYC, Nashville, Toronto and Los Angeles. While I'd mixed on Neve's and SSL's and Trident's as a hired gun engineer at other studios, I never had the luxury of owning that caliber of gear in my own studio. My stuff was mid-level pro; Neotek Console, MCI, Revox and Tascam 1" and 2" machines, a decent rack of OB gear... but I could have never competed with the more expensive rooms... and in my area, even if I'd had that gear, I doubt I could have ever paid for it through sessions...

But as you mentioned, some of that could be less - because the price of gear has come down considerably ( not including those classic sought after models)... conversion alone is much better - and much cheaper - if you compare it, dollar for dollar, against those early stand-alone models; and, digital provides much more bang for the buck in terms of track counts, built in processing, and editing; which equates to time spent working, which of course in this business equates to money - and because we can work more efficiently, and quicker, we can get more done in shorter amounts of time.... although there would be some that might argue that this is a money-loser and not a money-maker...

Your biggest obstacle isn't going to be in building your studio, my friend.... your biggest hurdle is going to be after your studio is built - trying to convince those bedroom DIY'ers why they should pay you, instead of doing it themselves for free, using an M-Box, Pro Tools First, and a Behringer C1 condenser as their main rig. You know the reasons, and I know the reasons... but you have to convince them of the reasons. And that's not all that easy to do these days, where everyone with a computer now has a "studio" in their bedroom.

The last thing I can tell you is this... whatever your project estimate is, whatever your budget is... you'd be best-off, at the very least, to multiply your original estimate by 1.5, because there will almost always be unforeseen obstacles to face, that will increase the cost of the project. And... it's not always the "big" unforeseen obstacles that will increase the costs, either... most of the time, it's a bunch of little ones that can end up jacking the cost up. ;)

FWIW

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Tue, 02/23/2016 - 01:34

True words Donny, thanks for the reply. This is such a common question its good to have perspective. According to an inflation calculator 20k and 1985 is 44k today

Lol I use the term 'investment' loosely.

The way I see it is your upfront cost is not recoupable in the studio business. Which depending on financial situation and accounting methods might fly.

So you start from zero after upfront costs and hopefully can cover living and operating expenses.

It's interesting to try and find areas of finishing returns or truly wasted money.

6 years working at commercial studios (counting construction time) has not shown me full time work, or living wages. It's fun, and has upped my status as a true professional with plenty, plenty of room to improve. Mixing in a room you can mix to changed it for me. Recording real professionals also changed it. A true high end signal chain front to back was the last aha. But those have nothing to done finances. Just experience, mainly at others expense and my 'extra' time putting in tons of free labour to get it done.

I venture to say the 1.5 x the estimate is more like 3-5 in money and time.

Also another interesting point you bring up is the 'evolution' aspect. Very few studios seem to set and forget the acoustics. Normandy was rebuilt 3x in the heyday and once recently.

Even abbey road has redone studio 3, I belive is the one. And the main studio has undergone a lot of changes over the years as well. There's a great book on Abbey roads history from inception to common era. It's like $100 so I got it at the library.

Much of the reason my Buisness model has shifted to multimedia and remote mixing is because of the lack of local Buisness at the studios. Everyone said it and I didn't doubt it, and its turned out to be true.

It's seems at least the tracking phase is mostly done by the artist. And mixing work isn't super common either. I think expanding to a worldwide market is the only chance. A couple of nice photos of the fancy studio and an add for $100 per song is the angle I'm going to try.

And in truth live acoustic drums and strings are really the only things imo that keeps a large studio relavent in the current era. Everything else can be done on a similar level, all other things being equal.

A booth is a booth at a certain point. Yeah bigger is usually better. I've never liked the sound of my guitar amps in ISO booths. I've gotten just fine results with vocals in basements with some baffles around.

Good live drums are tough tho in non studio enviornments. Although augmenting w samples again levels the playing field.

Truth be told the only time I hear true 'album' quality work is from albums released commercially. This applies from home to the studios. I think a lot of people get dissapointed whe they get into the studio and it looks the part but the result isn't much better than a decent home job. Much of which has to do w talent, but still.

I'm glad I haven't invested (there's that word again) in a ton of gear and a full sized studio as I once wanted. The amount of time 18 channels gets used at once can't justify it to me.

I remember an interview w a lady studio manager (maybe sunset sound) and she said they upgrade the whole computer system every 1.5-3 years. How could I compete. That's a huge separation between mid pro and elite.

I've made much more money from building studios and helping people with their home stuff than recording. Live sound falls in the middle or exceeds both. I just got tired of the scene. I'm going to get in the door of a dedicated theater or performance club if/when I go that route.

Like I say everyone with a couple hundred and a computer records and they all want to lmao how to "soundproof" and treat the room. I don't see it going away.

Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Tue, 02/23/2016 - 03:32

I think that the bottom line - and it was true to an extent 25 years ago as well, but so much even more so now - because of the availability of the technology to whomever has the money to spend, regardless of talent and skill - is to do it for yourself, first.

Do it because you love doing it, and because it's what drives you. Do it because you'd do it whether you made any money at it or not. Do it so that you can record only yourself, if that's all that it ever comes down to... and if you do make some money at it, then that's an added bonus; and I'm not singlling you out, Kyle... I'd express this same sentiment to anyone who was serious about wanting to build a "pro" studio in this day and age, when truly pro and famous rooms are closing their doors at an alarming rate.

It's not a good investment, and as the years pass, it gets even worse... and if profit is your main goal, then there are infinitely more profitable business choices to look at instead.

Do it because you love it - first and foremost - and if you end up making a few bucks along the way, consider yourself to be very lucky. ;)

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Tue, 02/23/2016 - 04:20

Agreed d. Encouraging words for anyone.

I think honestly (for me) having some variation in the career helps keep the actual recording and mixing fresh, it keeps that love alive in a way. I worked almost every day for a year and a half on a project, painstakingly editing (death metal note for note, kick for kick) and redoing because of technical problems and it wore on me. I actually started to hate it a bit (a lot), like when is this over!!!!??! Sleeping at the studio, staring at the screen to the point of like literal physical pain and exhaustion. The hiatus is doing me well.

Money aside I wouldn't have it any other way. I can hop on a construction crew or teach school or work my way into financing any day. I've seen many talented kids quit and go get other jobs for girls or stability. It's a test of attrition. I've just gotta evolve with the times and not let my personal taste and preferences rule all the time. It's a service industry.

I watch a thing called top 10 rules for success, short interviews with successful people like Steve jobs, will smith, Elon musk, very very rich men and women. 3 common threads with all of them. NONE of them picked what they do becuase they thought it would make them money. They all chased the passion. The all FAILED big time at one point or more, they say don't be afraid of failure. And at least half of them were dropouts or didn't attend college.

I've shared much of those sentiments. I stopped college end of junior year, I had my fill and gave sound a go. High school I finished early with all my credits and got booted for a stupid reason.

The funny thing is d, the phone rings. Not off the hook, but something seems to come up. I stopped worrying a few years ago about that. I kind of just belive. Besides rent (live with parents). I've managed to pay all my living expenses, gear purchases, and fun stuff. Everything but rent.

The only actual rule i put on myself was if I stopped loving it, I would hang it up. So between hating that death metal project, lifestyle reform, dealing w some personal issues i put off, and restructuring the Buisness plan, I'm reviving. I just officially registered a www domain, and I've got some stuff in the works. It doesn't bother me about my acruing debt or selling off most of my stuff. It's all part of 30's Kyle. My experiences have been mostly good, and enough proof that it can be done. And at the end of the day I'll hopefully feel satisfied. And maybe just maybe the world will know my name. There's always that chance. But if I make a decent living I'll consider myself lucky. There's a lot of great intelligent interesting people on the music community. I have very few regrets about jumping in full force, it's always all or nothing w me in any facet.

Here's to it!!

Profile picture for user Brien Holcombe

Brien Holcombe Tue, 02/23/2016 - 10:32

"My hunch is $100 per sqf average for studio construction accross the board."

Well, you would be incorrect. Let me say a thing on product. I have 5 guitars, cost range from hundreds to thousands. Why is that? Is it branding, quality of material, precision of product...yea, all of that. Having been involved in residential and commercial construction for all of my adult life the two are different in aspect, goal and finished product detailing and the two are priced differently often using materials and equipment specifically for the either residential or commercial market, subsequently the two have paid me according to market.

And then there is remodeling which, as you have learned, is an entirely different ball of wax all together with.

How much does a recording studio cost changes according to many factor. Location is first. Expectation of finished product is on the list. Material grade and quality are on the list. Budget is primary.

Budget sets the stage. You cannot build a 100k product if all you can muster is 34k. So does that fall into the 100 USD per square foot? No it does not. And here is why, at least in part.

Location, location, location.

Then you have the actual dimensions of the area, from out of the ground or existing building or is it a remodel to a structure and is that structure zoned commercial, residential or a fish-house?

A commercial project will require ADA compliance, no if's, and's or buts.

What is the cost to build a room 12 feet X 24 with 8 foot tall ceilings against building a room 12 feet X 24 feet with 12 foot ceilings? The additional height, material costs and complexity for building the structure alone and all the trades people that will come behind you will modify the cost of the recording studio cost. An 8 foot ceiling can be handled with ladders. A 12 foot will require scaffolding and a scissor lift with a slower time line.

That alone is enough to break out of 100 USD per square foot cost for building or remodeling a recording studio.

Back about 10 years ago when I was involved with johnlsayers.com and this site we would recommend that what ever the square footage cost of custom home building was in their >location

Where you live I imagine these prices are different.

There is no square footage bracket you can use to educate customers with who are interested in building a recording studio. There is location, budget and expected product finish as to what the market will bear.

As a firsthand example. Marco did not include HVAC in his build. So his square footage cost is significantly lower as is the complexity of the HVAC install and the other trades as to how they would be involved in the project to meet the obligations as defined by contract and code.

Profile picture for user Kurt Foster

Kurt Foster Tue, 02/23/2016 - 10:33

kmetal, post: 436645, member: 37533 wrote: Yes as far as costs @DonnyThompson @Kurt Foster @JayTerrance

I am curious what your investments were. For two reasons total cost, and cost per sqf.

i doubt my experience is relevant. i built my studio KFRS, on a different planet and a different time. 1990's ...... SF Bay Area. i think i put about $100,000 total over the years in three stages. 1000 sq ft, 2000 sq ft. and back to 1000 sq. ft.

on the initial start up, most of what was spent went on equipment. in the first year i purchased about $30,000 worth of gear and more in the following years.

into the building; tile flooring in the live room, air conditioning and 220v electrical for the a/c, a cage and bars for the window where the a/c was placed, a 10' x 8' x 9' drum booth in the live room with window, a double pane aluminium framed patio door placed sideways, that i scavenged from the trash scrap pile at a glass shop across the complex. they were glad to let me take what ever i wanted because the bums used to break out the glass to salvage the metal frames and leave busted glass mess all over.

i didn't spend a whole lot on the acoustics. one nice thing was since the space was so large, i didn't need much in the way of corrective treatment other than reflection control. i scored a nice set of diffuser’s, some wall panels stuffed with fluffy pink from Stanley Burrell's defunct studio across the parking lot (along with some choice pieces of equipment that needed repair) on the cheap from the landlord. he came into my place one day and said, "Tomorrow, you come over and pick out what you want. What ever's left, I'm gonna throw in the dumpster" ... and he did!

i went to a place that sold used office fixtures and bought some tables chairs and a load of fiberglass office partitions covered in grey Gulliford in steel frames. i took the floor stands off them and mounted them to the wall with wall screws through the frames. it left just enough space on the wall above them to glue 2 foot strip of foam.

an acquaintance's wife managed a foam factory so i scored couple of a box truck loads of 3" foam free in exchange for some free hours. a neighbor was a roofer, he was always bringing me blue Styrofoam roof sound proofing for free. i had worked previously for a dry wall factory that was part of Pacific Coast Products and i was able to get deep discounts for sheetrock and sound board. the only thing that cost me a lot was the carpenters and the lumber.

Maybe $100,000. in 1990 dollars total over the whole time, including equipment, maintenance, and the three different phases of construction. ($200,00 now?). The initial start up costs were about $25,000. i didn't lose money, i can say that.

as in the beginning, the finish was a coming together of circumstance. serendipity. i loved it and at a point, i hated it. i worked so hard, 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, no breaks, i would go to bed and dream i was mixing all night. i would wake up exhausted. i think now, it was time for a change but at the time i was too involved to see it. funny how the universe steers you in the directions you need to go.

Profile picture for user peteresat

peteresat Sat, 01/14/2017 - 17:53

Guys...I'm sorry to jump in here if that's inappropriate, but I came to the forum today in search of an answer, and after reading this thread...I must admit I just got a little discouraged about my proposed studio build. My basement room is roughly L 17' 10" x W 17' 4" x 8' 10" and I have a budget of possibly $15k to $20k. I am talking with a contractor on Monday who has built at least one pro studio previously. But at this point, I have no idea what the actual cost could be. That's why we're meeting. One of the things I'm trying to ascertain is whether I can afford him.

BUT...it seems like you guys feel that with such low ceilings, spending that kind of dough--no matter what--would be wasteful, and spending the cash instead on removable room treatments would be the wiser path to take?

(I guess, in one way, it's not discouraging, but would be a way for me to not have to spend too much and maybe use a little extra for gear.) ;)

But seriously, am I wasting money trying to build out this small of a room according to the instructions in Rod's book? I guess I'm confused now. Maybe I can still build it Rod's way without all the expense?

I guess my main question is: supposing the contractor comes back with a quote in my budget range. Would I be foolish to invest that much in a room that...as some have said in this thread...will still never get me to where I thought I could go? (I will be the first to admit I am an absolute novice with this stuff--it's just that--up until reading some of the comments on some of the threads here in this forum, I was proceeding as though reading Rod's book and building according to his instructions would be worth it if it didn't cost too much. Of course, being a novice, I have no idea what "too much" is.)

Help? Please?

Profile picture for user Brien Holcombe

Brien Holcombe Sat, 01/14/2017 - 18:08

At approx. 65usd a square foot based on a 20k budget you can do a good build...but you first need to establish your isolation requirements..without that baseline y ou r just putting good money after bad.

Next thing you need to do is to understand how and why a square room...and yours is close enough... is not a good place to build without modified
hard boundaries of the room.

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Wed, 02/24/2016 - 20:37

Brien Holcombe, post: 436675, member: 48996 wrote: "My hunch is $100 per sqf average for studio construction accross the board."

Well, you would be incorrect. Let me say a thing on product. I have 5 guitars, cost range from hundreds to thousands. Why is that? Is it branding, quality of material, precision of product...yea, all of that. Having been involved in residential and commercial construction for all of my adult life the two are different in aspect, goal and finished product detailing and the two are priced differently often using materials and equipment specifically for the either residential or commercial market, subsequently the two have paid me according to market.

And then there is remodeling which, as you have learned, is an entirely different ball of wax all together with.

How much does a recording studio cost changes according to many factor. Location is first. Expectation of finished product is on the list. Material grade and quality are on the list. Budget is primary.

Budget sets the stage. You cannot build a 100k product if all you can muster is 34k. So does that fall into the 100 USD per square foot? No it does not. And here is why, at least in part.

Location, location, location.

Then you have the actual dimensions of the area, from out of the ground or existing building or is it a remodel to a structure and is that structure zoned commercial, residential or a fish-house?

A commercial project will require ADA compliance, no if's, and's or buts.

What is the cost to build a room 12 feet X 24 with 8 foot tall ceilings against building a room 12 feet X 24 feet with 12 foot ceilings? The additional height, material costs and complexity for building the structure alone and all the trades people that will come behind you will modify the cost of the recording studio cost. An 8 foot ceiling can be handled with ladders. A 12 foot will require scaffolding and a scissor lift with a slower time line.

That alone is enough to break out of 100 USD per square foot cost for building or remodeling a recording studio.

Back about 10 years ago when I was involved with johnlsayers.com and this site we would recommend that what ever the square footage cost of custom home building was in their >location

Where you live I imagine these prices are different.

There is no square footage bracket you can use to educate customers with who are interested in building a recording studio. There is location, budget and expected product finish as to what the market will bear.

As a firsthand example. Marco did not include HVAC in his build. So his square footage cost is significantly lower as is the complexity of the HVAC install and the other trades as to how they would be involved in the project to meet the obligations as defined by contract and code.

I agree to an extent, I was not using labour in that estimate. Labour in NYC is different than middle of Oklahoma.

I think figuring in the estimate 'the cost of high end construction' is fair, and I've been saying that to answer this very question since I saw you say it a couple years back in another thread.

Gear was also not included, which when you hear about multi million dollar builds it likely is, but who knows for shure.

If you scaled the costs of studios of different locations to a median I'd be curious to see how my '$100 per sqf' estimate holds up. Or if you scaled that to Massachusetts values, where I'm from, how it would hold up.

Granted if your building a new high rise that's millions of your re fitting a barn that's different. I'm talking the studio itself. Massing up the shell counts as studio.

I'm in no way trying to say 'I'm right' just rather put a number to it and see how it actually stands up to reality. An average is an evasive thing. If this poll was big enough with all sorts of studio owners chiming in a national average could be made somewhat accurately. I know max recently said his studio cost about 65k. and he did at least half the work himself if I had to guess based on his build thread. That was something like 40x45 with some added space. He also cut down trees and milled a lot of the finish wood himself. Lol I like that determination.

Each country is different of course.

A quick Google search indicates $50k as a national average. In my city, 7sq miles, population 100k, 35k is the average income.

I stopped showing up to statistics class in college so I don't know how to do weighted averages and all that.

What I'm after here, is something besides the ever popular, and ever true 'it depends'. Maybe it's just not possible.

It'd be interesting to hear from John Sayers, and rod, and John Brandt Ect, to hear what there average budget/build is.

Also the era plays into it as well, studios are generally smaller and more single personal oriented and probably at least a slight majority residential. This same question in 1980 would yield different results.

Also as far as hvac, 10k seems to be the point of entry and 'average' cost for studios that I've heard about who have installed them. Again very broad statement indeed. And not counting labour.

pcrecord Sat, 01/14/2017 - 18:19

What is your plan Peter ? Commercial studio? home studio for your projects ?
I built a room in a room in basement it cost me 3.5k (did it myself) My ceilling is very low and I'm able to do acceptable sound.
So it really depend how pro you want it to be.

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Wed, 02/24/2016 - 20:55

Kurt Foster, post: 436676, member: 7836 wrote: i doubt my experience is relevant. i built my studio KFRS, on a different planet and a different time. 1990's ...... SF Bay Area. i think i put about $100,000 total over the years in three stages. 1000 sq ft, 2000 sq ft. and back to 1000 sq. ft.

on the initial start up, most of what was spent went on equipment. in the first year i purchased about $30,000 worth of gear and more in the following years.

into the building; tile flooring in the live room, air conditioning and 220v electrical for the a/c, a cage and bars for the window where the a/c was placed, a 10' x 8' x 9' drum booth in the live room with window, a double pane aluminium framed patio door placed sideways, that i scavenged from the trash scrap pile at a glass shop across the complex. they were glad to let me take what ever i wanted because the bums used to break out the glass to salvage the metal frames and leave busted glass mess all over.

i didn't spend a whole lot on the acoustics. one nice thing was since the space was so large, i didn't need much in the way of corrective treatment other than reflection control. i scored a nice set of diffuser’s, some wall panels stuffed with fluffy pink from Stanley Burrell's defunct studio across the parking lot (along with some choice pieces of equipment that needed repair) on the cheap from the landlord. he came into my place one day and said, "Tomorrow, you come over and pick out what you want. What ever's left, I'm gonna throw in the dumpster" ... and he did!

i went to a place that sold used office fixtures and bought some tables chairs and a load of fiberglass office partitions covered in grey Gulliford in steel frames. i took the floor stands off them and mounted them to the wall with wall screws through the frames. it left just enough space on the wall above them to glue 2 foot strip of foam.

an acquaintance's wife managed a foam factory so i scored couple of a box truck loads of 3" foam free in exchange for some free hours. a neighbor was a roofer, he was always bringing me blue Styrofoam roof sound proofing for free. i had worked previously for a dry wall factory that was part of Pacific Coast Products and i was able to get deep discounts for sheetrock and sound board. the only thing that cost me a lot was the carpenters and the lumber.

Maybe $100,000. in 1990 dollars total over the whole time, including equipment, maintenance, and the three different phases of construction. ($200,00 now?). The initial start up costs were about $25,000. i didn't lose money, i can say that.

as in the beginning, the finish was a coming together of circumstance. serendipity. i loved it and at a point, i hated it. i worked so hard, 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, no breaks, i would go to bed and dream i was mixing all night. i would wake up exhausted. i think now, it was time for a change but at the time i was too involved to see it. funny how the universe steers you in the directions you need to go.

Man that's F-ing awesome Kurt. Truly is. The whole story, the pics. Really cool man. Love that hardcore DIY just get it done mentality, the free glass, awesome stuff.

Jelous of the 220v!!!!!

The inflation calc said 187k in 2016, was 100k in 1990. So you were 100-200$ per Sqft range, and I'm guessing that was including the 35k innitial equipment investment. or no?

Saved those pics for my archive man.

Profile picture for user peteresat

peteresat Sat, 01/14/2017 - 18:22

Thanks for the reply, Brien. My isolation requirements are fairly high, I think. I'm building in my basement--and I'll be recording and jamming in this room while my kids are being homeschooled in the same basement. That is, if it all works out. I'll put it this way: in each chapter of Rod's book, when he explains options, I've been going with the one that isolates the most in each case.

As for your second comment on the modified boundaries, do you mean building according to the suggested ratios he mentions in the book? Because I did punch in my numbers a few ways, and the modifications definitely shrunk the room quite a bit. Or do you just mean doing something like angling the walls the 6% that he recommends?

Thanks again for responding.

Profile picture for user Kurt Foster

Kurt Foster Wed, 02/24/2016 - 21:31

thanks Kyle,

it was a long time ago. i think i was $30k in on the initial equipment investment (console, JH24, the new gear purchased from Leo's) in the first year, not counting what i already had and another $5k to $10k on the first stage of construction.

The $100k was over all the years, from start to the end.

try to put that pile of gear together today for $30,000. i don't think you could. i didn't include the piano, the organ or instruments in the $30k figure.

the piano was another $10K ... the organ and leslie were cheap. so cheap i can't remember what they cost, maybe i traded some time for them. $600 into the drum set. PA speaks for the L/R were like a few hundred. we had a Marshall JCM 900 head & 4/12 cab, a hi watt head, a blond bassman head and 2/12" cab, 2 or 3 different small lo watt amps, Fender Deluxe tweed narrow panel ... '66 ampeg jet ... SWR bass amp w/ Peavey Black Widow 15"/2/10" cabs. .... i'm sure i'm missing a few things.

the 3rd pic, with the piano is the live room at stage 2. a couple of those partitions i mentioned are behind the leslie. sorry for the dim light, the pic was snapped with a film camera, no i phone.... the room was like 1000 sq feet and had a 16 foot ceiling. i splayed the walls at one end and built 2 isos 15' X 12' X 10' for vocals or drums and a small closet sized iso for amps, leaving a space above them that was 6' tall. along the front of that space we put in a slat wall and i stuck a load of that free blue Styrofoam behind that and placed soundboard directly behind the slat wall. .... plus there was a small office space i used for storage that was there when i moved in.

the building was a cinder block industrial bay, so it didn't really need a/c if we kept the doors closed, except in the front office / lounge. i did put some space heaters in the live room during the winters but the C/R was heated plenty by the console! :ROFLMAO: it already had a handicap access bathroom in each bay.

if i needed to build again, i would do the same thing. go rent an industrial bay. you get big rooms and high ceilings which avoids huge room modes eliminating the cost of tons of room treatments, and addresses a lot of the concerns Brian was bringing up like the ADA compliance. The doors are wide, the B/R's have handicap access / rails ... you just have to get a DBA or an LLC (i recommend the latter) and buy slip and fall insurance (both necessary to get the lease). sometimes you can even get the owners to make upgrades or build to suit. if you are successful and show a profit, you can write the whole cost of the studio off your tax at the end of the year. so in a way, it's free! you just have to have deep enough pockets to start and the client base to support it.

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peteresat Sat, 01/14/2017 - 18:29

Hey pcrecord,

I guess I'll say I want it as pro as I can get it. Not because I'm going to use it commercially but because I want to get my music to sound as good as I can. I will disclose that I record almost everything directly: bass/elec guitar through a UA 6176 pre or an Axe Fx unit, drums are electric usually, and keys are MIDI. Really the only acoustic recording I do is vocals and the occasional acoustic guitar. Pretty basic rock stuff. And per Rod's advice in the book, since I'm just recording myself, I'm going with what he calls the "combo room."

But, I understand that mixing is really where the room matters for playback, so...I wanted to invest as much as I can without foolishly overspending. Frankly, until reading this stuff, I wasn't all that concerned that I could cross a "wise budget" barrier if I just followed Rod's advice?

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kmetal Wed, 02/24/2016 - 22:40

Kurt Foster, post: 436701, member: 7836 wrote: the piano was another $10K ... the organ and leslie were cheap. so cheap i can't remember what they cost, maybe i traded some time for them. $600 into the drum set. PA speaks for the L/R were like a few hundred. we had a Marshall head & 4/12 cab, a hi watt head, a blond bassman head and 2/12" cab, 2 or 3 different small lo watt amps, Fender Deluxe tweed narrow panel ... '66 ampeg jet ... SWR bass amp w/ Peavey Black Widow 15"/2/10" cabs. .... i'm sure i'm missing a few things.

Droooooolll.

A good control room never needs heat right? Isn't that the saying. lol

You really had the real thing. Concrete block is a perfect outer shell, even better if its solid block.

We had to follow Ada with reguard to having one handicapped accessible bathroom. Bathrooms are often an overlooked element of studio designs, especially the home/backyard assortment. That along w ac/heat.

Woulda loved to get some ambient mics going in that main room.

The only time I ever tracked in a room that large was some ramshackle office room in a haphazard mill for a few nights. The air in the single electric guitar (panned left) was picked up by the drums and it was so big and thick, and a bit eerie. I've never gotten ambience like that before or since.

Lol film is cool, I'm an old soul. Now ya take HD pics on you phone and get an app to make them look like film, lol. Things go around in circles it seems.

I wholeheartedly agree of you start w enough cubic footage you get great sound w far less work. I like to say space is the best acoustic treatment you can get. Building adequate size rooms saves so much in treatment, and makes recording easier, and mixing Ect. Not that everything has to be gigantic, just appropriate.

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peteresat Sat, 01/14/2017 - 18:34

Right, Brien...

But if I follow the ratios in the book, the room is substantially altered as to be no longer square. Correct? Is that what you're saying I should do? Because the only reason I didn't automatically go with one of those ratios is that Rod says in the book those are best used for rooms under 2000 cubic feet, whereas mine is around 2700...

Or do you mean buildng in that room is not a good idea period?

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Brien Holcombe Sat, 01/14/2017 - 19:19

Yes...you can build in that room as long as you understand the sonic dangers of a square room. I also would like you to read a page on my website: http://buildthisroom.com/picking-room-ratio-golden-optimized-ratios/

Basically I wrote this page to try and calm people down who worry about room ratios when a ratio is the least of your concerns. If you do not build a square or worse, a cubed room, its all cake.

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