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Question about Rod's book/my construction?

Hey guys--my name is Peter. I'm new here--I found this forum after reading through Rod's book. I'm about to have a studio built in a room in my basement in Colorado (by a guy who I know has built at least ONE studio before shown here: http://windovertheearth.com/rooms.html), and I've been really going back and forth over Rod's book trying to find an answer, but have been unable to find one just yet. Wondering if some of you guys could maybe help? I'd sure appreciate it. I have a pre-construction meeting Monday and I still need to find an answer.

My question (at least one of them) is this: I've roughly figured the cubic footage of the room to be 2,730 ft³ (W 17' 10" x L 17' 4" x 8' 10"), and this qualifies me as having--according to Rod's specs--what he calls a medium-sized room (p. 33 in the book). My goal is to build what he calls a "combo room." But it seems to me that the suggestions he gives for using ratios, etc. are only what he recommends for small rooms--i.e rooms under 2,000 cubic feet. What I'm trying to figure out is exactly how to deal with the room modes if my room is bigger than the suggested ratios. Are there other ratios I could use that better fit my dimensions? I know that later in the chapter about "putting it all together" he goes through an example--which is great--but I guess I've never found a concrete answer as to what exactly I should do with the room modes in my particular room.

I can tell you that I think I understand his descriptions about isolation (a high requirement for me) well enough to be able to communicate what I want to the contractor--I just don't know what to tell him about dealing with the room modes if he doesn't really know what to do.

Anyway. Thanks for any reply, guys. :)

Comments

peteresat Mon, 01/16/2017 - 16:53

He did. Thanks for asking, Brien. It was...how do I say this? Both encouraging and kind of a disaster. Ha. Encouraging because it helped me realize I have a lot more planning to do and that I need to get some more help--which I did. (I found a guy who is an acoustician by trade and I scheduled a meeting with him. He seems legit and very straightforward. He spoke in terms very similar to what I believe I've learned from Rod's book. So, we'll see. I just know my limitations, man. There is a point to which I can follow along with the book, but when we get to things like design and room testing, I wanna start crying and wet the bed.) :)

The way it was a disaster was that this builder guy reeeeally had a mishmash of ideas which, I guess based on what I've learned from the book made me realize if I just hired him to design it and so forth, it could get out of hand fast in terms of what I want. But again, it was kind of encouraging nonetheless because he was happy to help me once I have a more detailed plan, and was willing to not charge me an arm and a leg. So...

Not what I expected/kind of exactly what I did expect/but ultimately helped me move on to the next phase. And meeting this guy didn't cost me anything. Thankfully. Meeting the acoustics guy will, but not that much. And I think it's reasonable. I'm a musician, man. I'm no builder. If I did this fully myself, I'd be done when I'm dead. So I'm happy with where this is heading.

(Sorry for posting all that stuff on the wrong thread, btw. I just went with it since you guys were being kind and engaging me.)

OBrien Mon, 01/16/2017 - 17:25

It's cool my friend...posting on the other thread I mean...it is just an orderly fetish of mine....

You made the right decision to put on the brakes...this part is more time consuming then actually constructing it...trust me...I have been involved in hundreds of these here and at Mr. Sayers place (I go by
xSpace over there its a play on math...x being unknown and all that)

Anyway..if your acoustics tech is going to design this thing that's cool...but I (we) would like to be involved as much as possible since you seem to know what you want and understand your limits and this is the first lesson on building101.

I do not remember where you live in the U.S. so what I say next may not be doable.

When you construct a room in a room which is what an isolated environment is termed you have to support the structure. ..to the existing building so it can stay upright.

Many people...acoustics techs...will go right to isolation brackets and things of that nature to aid in the above goal.

If the design is done properly...and this is the important part...and sheathed first layer with OSB or 3 ply plywood...the inner room will be able to support itself without the aid of connections to the outer building. Make sense?

ElectriCal wiring is run low or closer to the ground and audio wire is run overhead. You want to keep the two apart and away from each other to kill the opportunity for introducing hum into your audio path.

Because of the very properties of a well isolated room...it will be hot...and it will be stifling so you must have air and that is another tedious task handled by baffles and such. You will be in a hermetically sealed room and you can only introduce so much air/pressure into the environment until the system is either not able to put in anymore or if done right...the exhaust will balance the outtake of bad air.

Windows and doors are always the weakest link so they will get special attention.

Keep us involved...there may be a nut or 2 here at recording.org that will try to be a superman and gum up the works with over thinking and complete unrelated nonsense. So just know it's coming...lol

Good luck....I believe you can do it if you give it the required time it takes to produce a plan that works.

peteresat Fri, 01/27/2017 - 13:57



Hey Brien,

Just wondering if we could open up this dialogue again. So, I met with an acoustics guy, and I decided that I'd rather not involve him. Learning the hard way, I guess. He did help me to not be so intimidated by this whole process--so. there's that, I guess. But basically, again, I felt like his ideas deviated too much from stuff I've read in the book. So, I guess I'm kind of looking to you guys for some advice. I've started messing around with a CADD program to punch in the basic dimensions of my room, so I'm going to upload that stuff here and ask for some opinions.

What follows is one picture just detailing the dimensions, and then another one with just a slight modification--it's basically just the orientation in the room that this guy proposed--and then lastly a 3d model as close to how it actually looks as I can get.

What I'm looking for is input on whether the guy's proposed layout makes much sense or if someone would maybe recommend orienting everything in a different way in the room. The room has that sump pump in the corner, so I'm going to have to enclose that in a closet or something, and this guy proposed using the remaining space on that North wall for a closet (I'm sure there's a more "architectural" manner for explaining direction in a CADD program besides using conventional map directions like "North," but I have no idea what they are and this is the easiest way for me to explain direction). Anyway, because I'm confused now about whether to actually use one of the ratios in the book since guys on here said my ceilings are too low, I'm wondering first:

1. Should I use a ratio or no?
2. Either way, is there an optimal orientation for this room that any of you guys could suggest? (I.e. anything better or more symmetrical that you could think of than this guy's proposed layout?
3. Should I try to incorporate all that space on the North wall or partition it into a closet like he suggested to achieve some symmetry? (He also recommended making the doors to the closet somewhat thin so I could fill the closet with insulation or whatever and use it as a big bass trap as well as a storage closet. I like the idea of the symmetry and the bass trap, but this is one area where I felt like his advice was way too different from that of the book's.)
4. Also, I'm unsure about his vestibule idea. I do see in the book that Rod included an air-lock in the design at the end, but I guess I'm wondering if that is why I think it is: is it because a single door will be weaker than a double wall at that point? I mean: since it seems like doors achieve ratings of around the mid 50's for the STC thing, is it necessary to have two or will one suffice? Sorry. Not sure I fully understand the whole STC thing yet. What I mean is, I don't even know if I were to build a double wall room within a room what the final STC rating could or should be?

Anyway. Thanks for any help here, man...

peteresat Fri, 01/27/2017 - 18:29

So, here's another idea that I actually came up with. It cuts out a lot of the room, but it at least does it in such a way that deals with the sump pump and the pipes on the left side of the room--which has to be done anyway--in an economical fashion. The other side of the room is where I lose the most space, but if I use one section for a vocal booth maybe, and the other for some storage, I think it could be pretty cool. The dimensions for the actual walls on the perimeter of the room are accurate, but the inner walls are only an estimate based on if I did 10.5" wall assemblies. I also have been playing around with the room ratios listed in Rod's book to see if it could work (based on a ceiling height to the bottom of the joists of 8'10"), but that's really still one of the unanswered questions: should I bother using a ratio? These other guys with their "8 ft ceilings are the kiss of death" comments really set me back and I have yet to sort out an answer? Am I wasting my time trying to work with a ratio in this small of a room or no?

Anyway, in this design, I also like how it would enable me to build in a symmetrical way, and it keeps that stupid beam behind me if I position my mixing desk towards the top wall. What do you think?

Attached files

Kurt Foster Fri, 01/27/2017 - 19:24

it appears to me what you are trying to do is make a silk purse from a sows ear. a basement with an 8'10" ceiling is not a good start. what you will end up with is an expensive room in your basement that will lower the value of your house. the first thing the next owner will most likely rip the room out to put in a laundry or a rumpus room for the kids. they will have no need for the splayed walls with a window in the wall that divides the two rooms. that will become a sticking point in the sale.

an 8"10" ceiling is just not high enough to do accurate monitoring. the first thing needed when building a proper studio is high ceilings.

OBrien Fri, 01/27/2017 - 19:38

I agree with kurt....but I do not remember seeing a budget.
There is no kiss of death acoustically there is only what do I expect and what I am paying. ...and these are the things I concern myself with.

If you were looking to setup the next Apple studio with a 10k budget...it wouldn't take but a few minutes to dismantle that pipe dream.

Some of these old timers...like @Kurt Foster forget the recordings done at Sun records and a host of other acoustically inaccurate places that yielded worldwide fame.

peteresat Fri, 01/27/2017 - 19:59

Ok guys...the point is duly noted: the ceiling is too low. But then, I have to ask: why the eff did Rod write an entire book on how to do this and then work through an entire hypothetical example at the end of said book using a basement with a ceiling only 7' 6" in height to the bottom of the joists (p. 238)?

I mean, it seems to me that has already been taken into account or the guy wouldn't have written a book for dopes like me unless he's just having a big laugh at our expense--which I don't suspect he is. Secondly, I'm aware of what this project could potentially do to the resale value of my house...and...I don't care. I ain't planning on moving anytime soon.

So...that leaves me with the original issue I came here with: I need constructive answers. Excuse my terse reply, but the clock is ticking and I'm hoping somebody here can help me out with this. I'm gonna build the friggin thing, so now I want to know how to proceed. So again, I'll ask: does anybody have any constructive ideas regarding the layout I've proposed? And...again...should I or should I not attempt to use a ratio to fit into this space? It seems to me the answer to that question would go a great deal toward helping me sort out the layout/orientation of the space.

Does anybody have anything to say that will help me proceed? Please?

Kurt Foster Fri, 01/27/2017 - 20:08

Brien Holcombe, post: 447006, member: 48996 wrote:
Some of these old timers...like @Kurt Foster forget the recordings done at Sun records and a host of other acoustically inaccurate places that yielded worldwide fame.

ahem ..... uhhh not hardly.
Sun Studio

Studio Dimensions
Front Room : 12' X 17'
Great Room : 17' X 28'
Control Room : 17' X 20'

and it has high ceilings too! here's pics. Sun is a very good room.

Attached files

peteresat Fri, 01/27/2017 - 20:28

Well look, Kurt...I appreciate your point. How about my prior question: why'd Rod write this book if it's just a big waste of time? I don't know much, but what I do know and have accepted is that my room won't be perfect. But an insulated room with good acoustics is better than not doing anything at all. Or why the book? Why this forum?

Kurt Foster Fri, 01/27/2017 - 21:23

peteresat, post: 447016, member: 50090 wrote: why'd Rod write this book if it's just a big waste of time?

i can't answer that. Rod rarely shows up here to take questions and the last thing i want to do is to step on his toes.

i could venture a guess he didn't write it just for laughs and it's not like the book is free. a lot of people will pay to be told what they want is possible regardless if it's the truth or not. i'm not saying any way that Rod is a liar or that his book conveys inaccurate information but i will say there's a lot of people that don't want to take no as an answer. you are a perfect example.

nature abhorrs a vacuum. guys like Ethan Weiner have made a ton of bank selling very expensive bass traps and treatments to people who have unsuitable rooms, insinuating world class results can be achieved using their products. Ethan actually told someone here that a his traps and absorbers would make a boundary disappear! what a moroon!

if you want accurate, you need to start with the correct space in the first place. high ceilings are a must. you will find everyone always hedges their bet when it comes to small rooms using terms like "You can achieve "acceptable" results using (insert whatever product being shilled).

the fact is there are accepted standards that have been long established by organizations like the BBC for control rooms and live recording spaces.

i'm not saying you can't record and mix a smash hit in a closet but i am saying what you will be hearing in the room will not be accurate playback and you will need to learn your system to make the correct compensations.

with all that in mind, i don't understand why anyone would want to invest thousands in a room like yours when with just a few treatments and the correct orientation of your monitors and seating, you can achieve just as good or better results.

i just think what you want to do is overkill. you will never keep the sound from migrating upstairs without building a room within a room which will reduce your already too small room size or totally decoupling the house from the basement. no matter how much mass you put up the bass will vibrate through the structure. save your money and yourself a lot of headaches when you go to sell the house.

vibrations1951 Sat, 01/28/2017 - 03:19

Against my better judgement and expecting flames, I am moved to add my 2 cents. FWIW I took a corner design from John Sayers site about 10yrs ago and fit it into a 1200 square foot footprint with 14' ceilings and then realized I was in way over my head, even after considerable book, ratio and other types of acoustical design reading and wondering. I have considerable experience in construction but this kind of project was way way out of my league. The best move I ever made after that was to hire Rod to fix what I had started and set me straight. I am not trying to shill here. Personally I don't care who you access but i do know this:I am as passionate and stubborn as the op sounds, the space will be built one way or another!

Petersat, every penny you have is wasted w/o hiring a professional that can stick with you and your space and needs start to finish.
I believe that everyone here shares your passion Peterstat and only wants you to succeed as much as possible. Most here come with years of trials and tribulations (valuable experience and hard earned scars) of a bitter-sweat struggling and changing industry, sciences and art. From my experience there is great value in the research you have done to date, including the variety of responses you are receiving here. Take what you have and are learning and use that to articulate that to a hired professional to make your space what you need. Perfection is illusive and overvalued IMHO.

Above all, don't, don't rush into this! Stop! Breath! Listen. people are trying to help and like myself at the stage you are in, it seems like you are trying to get quick simple answers that just don't exist! This construction is incredibly complex! The details are specific to your individual situation and number in the thousands if not millions! I can assure you that this is a much deeper hole than anyone can expect speaking from my experience and others. I am now at about the 80% mark of completion I think. I have made many mistakes and compromises and wanted to burn it all down many times yet i'm very glad I haven't quit yet and every single comment from others here and elsewhere has been valuable in my process one way or another.

I'm in the odd position of understanding and agreeing with most of what every response on this thread is trying to say in their own well meaning way. The time and money you will spend up front will benefit you more in the long run rather than rushing out too quickly and paying for it later, and you will. Try to let what folks are saying sink in and take the time to decide what fits best for you. I hope this doesn't sound like mere platitudes or condescension, as this kind of advice did to me when I was in the space you seem to be in right now. Above all, I wish i had taken it slower up front and listened more to really hear where people were coming from and why. I can't express enough how valuable this forum continues to be to me. Do I always hear what I want to ??? NOPE! But that doesn't mean I shouldn't listen.

Good luck!

OK folks, bring on the fire!

Kurt Foster Sat, 01/28/2017 - 06:50

Brien Holcombe, post: 447026, member: 48996 wrote: Here is the simple way out of this for me...I listen to quality music in my living room.. on my back porch and in several different vehicles...none of which have anything taller than an 8 foot ceiling...

listening is the key word. not recording or making critical mix decisions. if accuracy in monitoring isn't an issue then why the splayed walls? because it looks cool?

i myself have never seen any pro room that had low ceilings. 8'10' is a bad start. if it's a box in a box, you will loose several inches to that. if it's not a box in a box then transmission issues will abound regardless of how much mass is applied unless you float the whole house. lol. . i don't see putting all the effort and money into a space starting with a 8'10" ceiling as a good investment.

i have made records in less than suitable spaces. i submit the results coming out of that space will be just as good with standard construction and some treatment panels and bass trapping from Prime Acoustic or ASC. (Tube traps kill) . i'm not telling the op not to use the room, i'm just telling him not to sink a lot of money and work into it. it would be money wasted that could go to better converters and other things that would make more of a difference in this scenario.

in the first post the op expresses concerns about room modes. he's going to have tons of issues with modes unless he begins with a proper space. 14 feet is a minimum dimension.

unless the op is going to be earning inordinate amounts of money in this room i just don't get it unless of course is just a huge boy toy. then it's just money wasted on a build that will have to be demolished when ever he sells the house. that said, if the op wants to proceed it's no skin off my nose. he can't say he wasn't warned.

peteresat Sat, 01/28/2017 - 09:36

The primary issue is isolation. I will be working in this room most of the day every day. And, as I mentioned in the beginning, I have kids being homeschooled in the very next room. To reiterate: resale value of the house isn't a factor. So...my line of reasoning is thus:

1. Isolate the room as much as possible.
2. If I'm going to take that much care to isolate it--which seems to be where the bulk of the expense will be...
3. ...why not try to build it with care for the acoustics?

And yeah, splayed walls do look cool, don't they? ;) But, more seriously, they'll help with high frequency issues even if I still have to deal with modes too, right?

vibrations1951 Sat, 01/28/2017 - 12:22

Peter, STC ratings don't help with the key isolation factors involved with low frequencies. They are the killers and flanking will kill ya as well. Decoupling an existing structure properly is way more difficult than many of the companies selling very expensive decoupling devices tend to make it seem. Using their products correctly is a challenge in ideal situations and any minor variance from their specs will make them useless and perhaps worse than nothing (and many do fail over time)! And besides that, I wonder if you even have enough overall space relative to the bass trapping you would need?

As I remember in Rod's first edition he walked through the process of cutting away the concrete floors from the footers etc. to stop flanking. I've cut plenty of concrete and let me tell ya, it is very difficult and expense, not to mention the need to hire an engineer first to be sure your footer will remain stable for supporting the rest of your home!
I may be way off base because I do the construction myself, but Peter, have you considered adding a space onto the home instead and starting with an isolated slab and high enough ceilings instead of putting good money after bad so to speak. Any floor isolation other than this will rapidly eat up your valuable height limits.

Sorry but I just can't seem to keep my mouth shut, again, FWIW!
Namaste

peteresat Sun, 02/05/2017 - 20:37

So, Kurt...if I sounded like my dukes were a little bit up, I'll be honest: they kinda were. I thought: look, man, Rod wrote this book for guys like me and gave an example in a basement almost identical to mine. So...why are you giving me all this grief?

But then...I kept thinking of the pain of spending all this money on a studio which...if I did go through with building, would probably end up severely limiting what I could spend on acoustic treatment to put inside it in the end. So...I will say this: you forced me to reeeeeeally think through what I wanted. I decided that, since I record everything direct except vocals and acoustic guitar, I really can get away with not spending so much on isolation and trying to deal with room modes and such, and instead spend more money on treatment. Plus, my wife decided (right in the middle of all of this) that now she doesn't wanna do school with our kids right in the next room. So, isolation is no longer a huge requirement for me. So, it all works out in the end. I have beefed up my acoustic treatment and am even spending a bit on some deco to make it a cool space. I am also building a nice little vocal booth, too. Which is cool. So, thanks for the input. You, too, Brien. It all made me think and I'm happy with my decision.

Cheers.

audiokid Sun, 02/05/2017 - 22:06

peteresat, post: 447271, member: 50090 wrote: So, Kurt...if I sounded like my dukes were a little bit up, I'll be honest: they kinda were. I thought: look, man, Rod wrote this book for guys like me and gave an example in a basement almost identical to mine. So...why are you giving me all this grief?

But then...I kept thinking of the pain of spending all this money on a studio which...if I did go through with building, would probably end up severely limiting what I could spend on acoustic treatment to put inside it in the end. So...I will say this: you forced me to reeeeeeally think through what I wanted. I decided that, since I record everything direct except vocals and acoustic guitar, I really can get away with not spending so much on isolation and trying to deal with room modes and such, and instead spend more money on treatment. Plus, my wife decided (right in the middle of all of this) that now she doesn't wanna do school with our kids right in the next room. So, isolation is no longer a huge requirement for me. So, it all works out in the end. I have beefed up my acoustic treatment and am even spending a bit on some deco to make it a cool space. I am also building a nice little vocal booth, too. Which is cool. So, thanks for the input. You, too, Brien. It all made me think and I'm happy with my decision.

Cheers.

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