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Studio design Floorplan opinions

I'm currently working on upgrading my studio and need some help on floor plan ideas that best suit the room and the acoustics in the room.
Below is 2 images one with the dimension in the empty room and the other is my initial idea. Let me know what you think would be the best use of this space.

Comments

DonnyThompson Mon, 03/09/2015 - 04:22

@Chris @Ethan Winer @Josh Graves

I'd be interested to hear what Ethan thinks about having your mixing position shoved up against the front wall as you've shown in your plan.

In my last control room, I had my mixing position in the center of the room, to help to alleviate any early reflections hitting my ears before the other reflections in the room did. I would think that being that close to the front wall would mean that you'd be getting a lot of early reflections from the boundaries that are closest. Although, with the right traps, diffusion and/or absorbers, that could likely be fixed, or at least, vastly improved.

Acoustics aside, I'm not sure I'd worry about building a "lounge". That space could be put to better logistical use... Drums, amps, horns, acoustic guitars while doing a vocal, anything that you could use as part of the actual recording process.

Tell the bands that their girlfriends should stay at home when they are recording. ;)

anonymous Mon, 03/09/2015 - 10:13

DonnyThompson, post: 426021, member: 46114 wrote: I'd be interested to hear what Ethan thinks about having your mixing position shoved up against the front wall as you've shown in your plan.

Positioning is important to me. My sweet spot is approx 1/3 into this room. Once I found the position to where my room scoped out well, both with measurement software and my traditional 30 year approach doing the walk about test... Once the entire studio was treated and in place I spent a fair amount of detail just tweaking speaker height and where my head is. I think Ethan has a really good video on how he recommends doing this, which he may point to, or post it here which would be welcomed.
Using mirrors etc is all helpful.
Basically I always follow the 1/3 rule and pay attention to front, back walls and all the corners and above me.

I mix at low volumes and take breaks a lot. Its never been the complicated nightmare some make it out to be.:notworthy: I take acoustics really serious but at some point, it is what it is. I learn my room and adjust my ears to compensate.
At some point, you just need to be good at what you do. Speakers that suit you and your room are as important.

DonnyThompson, post: 426021, member: 46114 wrote: Acoustics aside, I'm not sure I'd worry about building a "lounge". That space could be put to better logistical use... Drums, amps, horns, acoustic guitars while doing a vocal, anything that you could use as part of the actual recording process.

Tell the bands that their girlfriends should stay at home when they are recording. ;)

+2

pcrecord Mon, 03/09/2015 - 12:21

Nice and good looking plan.
I just started to approach questions with those :
how professional do you want the sound to be ?
How profesionnal the work in it can become ?
what instruments are you gonna record exactly and what kinds of music?
What kind of budget do you have and what kind of revenu do you think you'll get out of it ?
First thing that is bugging me is the open wall to the lounge. If you are to have a lounge for people to chill and have a good time, they will disturbe you by the noises they will make for sure. I'd close the gap with a door, but that's just me ;)

Josh Graves Mon, 03/09/2015 - 18:23

The majority of my current clients are rappers and/or vocalists, So the booth is going to be used for booth vocals and hopefully this will allow for more genres. The main point of the booth is that a lot of my clients bring people with them for support or whatever they want to call it. My main goals are to have it acoustically sound and professional. I have a budget in mind around $6000. Revenue has been steadily climbing with my current setup a booth that is 6 X 7 in a spare bedroom with the control room outside in a smaller room( room within a room) so I attic pate to recover expenses with standard business deductions and an increase of clients/and or prices to compensate. Hope that helps!

pcrecord Mon, 03/09/2015 - 18:36

I get you Josh. A clean and pro place can pay off quickly !

I went to your RO profil, do you still record with that gear ?
DAW Program:
Logic Pro
Gear Profile:
Scarlett 18i20, Blue BlueBird, 2 Rokit 8s
If so, I would try to put a part of that money for at least a high end pre and a couple of mic alternative. This too will help you get more genres and business!
Just saying ! ;)

anonymous Mon, 03/09/2015 - 20:40

The lounge looks like a cool Idea, a great place to use for creating as well, BUT! have you ever watch Peter Gabriell's video on his Railway Real World studio ( I think its called something like that) , which is very focused on the larger control room as the place where it all happens. I tend to think Control Room studios are where its at today. Its how I have been doing it for years. I love it.

pcrecord Tue, 03/10/2015 - 03:02

Josh Graves, post: 426065, member: 48932 wrote: Yes. I mostly work with [[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.apple.co…"]Logic[/]="http://www.apple.co…"]Logic[/] Pro 9 and 10 but also am decent in ProTools and other DAWs.

Logic will deliver quite nicely. The target of my question was more about the bluebird and the scarlett which are very good for the price but not considered high end.
I'm not saying to buy a U81. But getting an focusrite ISA one with digital option and either a AKG 414 or a Shure KSM44 or a Neuman TLM 103 would make an excellent step up. (why the ISA? because of the digital option which can go directly to the digital input of the 18i20 and avoid loosing quality buy going through the preamps of the 18i20). Of course there is many better preamps.. but it would be my first high end step ;)

Josh Graves Tue, 03/10/2015 - 14:15

I will definetely need to improve equipment once this construction in finished but that will come after expenses from construction are recuperated. Is a square room Vs. a octagon room better? The purpose of the lounge for me is to provide a more private environment for the vocalist and me to communicate but still allow the friends and support that an artist brings with them. I am interested in having a bigger workspace for me and the vocalist as well. I just want this room to be the best I can afford and provide a good workspace for further growth, for me this is the step before leasing a space. Thank you for all the comments and help so far!! It's great and very helpful.

Reverend Lucas Tue, 03/10/2015 - 15:54

I'm not an expert, but would favor bigger acoustical spaces instead of the lounge. Comfortable creative spaces are important, too. In general, 'square' rooms with walls that are the same width as length should be avoided as this concentrates nodes at particular frequencies and can wreak acoustical havoc. Having different wall dimensions alleviates this.

kmetal Fri, 03/13/2015 - 19:24

The original floor layout is the better of the bunch imo. The rooms keep getting smaller and smaller, this is the exact opposite of what you need acoustically.

There are some options to keeping that lounge and using it to make your room acoustically larger. your vocal booth doesn't have to be large, thoughtarget booths generally sound better, it really just had to be dead acoustically, for a project like this.

Your budget significantly limits the amount of materials you'll have to work with, so smart placement is key.

Imo your best bet would be to build the booth with adequate isolation so you get clean recordings, and simply treat the larger space with the usual fiberglass or foam panels and some basic corner traps.

if the control room was oriented so the lounge was behind it, it is possible to use the lounge itself as a bass trap, but this signifcantly reduces isolation between the 'two' rooms. Two is in quotes because they would be acting as one acoustically coupled area at that point.

You need space for bass basically. It's a very integral part of hip hip, and most clients, that's an area of focus on the track. The larger you make the control room the easier it's is to get the low end right in general, when talking rooms of this size.

The booth should be as big as you can make it, but just has to be comfortable. This is where some isolation construction techniques come in. Although there's always compromise and work arounds, your budget could just about fit the materials for a nice booth and a fun reasonably accurate control room.

Part of the allure of hip hop studios is their hangout type enviornment and the entourages are almost necessary. Your gonna need a fridge a good ac and heat system as well as proper fresh air and ventilation. Sweat smoke and niose develops quickly and will need to be dealt with

With a project like this it's important to put money only where it's completely necessary, and also where avoiding mistakes will help. You need to familiarize yourself with the concept of flanking paths, and where and when to put the materials.

paulears Sat, 03/14/2015 - 04:10

I've done a fair few designs in my time and have often failed to appreciate that some ideas in practice don't work. The idea of a lounge is great, but it's unproductive. Corridors eat into the space. Do they have a purpose? In the design above you can get to the vocal booth from the lounge without going into the control room. Is this vital? If not, then why not increase the size of the control room and have the access through it? Same with the storage - a door from outside means the storage will be minimal, so why not have the external access direct into the vocal room, maybe via a sound trap? Or maybe swap the end of the vocal room and lounge.

My next design will put all the noisy kit that currently sits in the studio into a separate room, along with the racks of gear that waste their time in the control room - I use them less and less nowadays - so the computers are out of the room, and the room gets quiet! Not had that for years. My room where I track drums also gets used rarely now, so I'm going to increase the control room size so if I had to, I can put the drums in there, for the rare drum recordings, and shrink the drum sized room to a booth for vocals. What I now need is space to spread out, not a fair sized recording room that is full to the brim with junk. Currently two dismantled drum kits 20 odd guitars, flightless, two big mixers no longer used and some monitors, and a pedal steel guitar that I can't find the case for. Too cramped! I want space. I love the idea of a sofa in the control room!

DonnyThompson Sat, 03/14/2015 - 04:27

kmetal, post: 426261, member: 37533 wrote: Part of the allure of hip hop studios is their hangout type enviornment and the entourages are almost necessary.

I do get what you're saying, Kyle. It's just that I don't get the whole "entourage" thing in general...

I just don't understand why anyone other than the artist(s) and producer needs to be there... I never did get it. It's work. You're working.
Do you take your girlfriend to work with you? I never did much Hip Hop, but from what you're describing, I dealt with the same thing from the "hair" bands I recorded in the 80's... where the band members would bring their wives, girlfriends, and groupies with them.

It was always a royal PITA - especially when one of them would get pissed off at me and say something like "Hey! I can't hear the vocals!" To which I would respond... "That's because we haven't recorded them yet."

Oh... and then, there was always one of them who would attempt to shout through the control room glass... "Do that Bon Jovi song I love!!!"

To this day, I can get queasy if I smell "Obsession" - which was a popular woman's perfume in the 80's. Those groupies used to bathe in that stuff. For days afterwards, it lingered in the control room, hanging there like a noxious cloud...

Oh yeah... good times, good times.

It's no wonder that I eventually became a drug addict. LOL ;)

pcrecord Sat, 03/14/2015 - 05:24

DonnyThompson, post: 426278, member: 46114 wrote: It's just that I don't get the whole "entourage" thing in general...

For engineers, the more people in the studio meens more distractions. Even with a full band alone, I sometime have to ask the guys to be quiet in the control room.
But, I have many solo artists (voice over or just voc/guit) that come to the studio and many said they had trouble getting in the vibe of the songs because the were use to perform live and in the studio the energy is not there. Having a few friends on site who give the artist some love can make a difference. Yes, it's always distraction, specially when they start to doubt the choices of the artist and/or the engineer. But for the performance, it makes a difference.

I see a lot of those video on youtube where many persons are in the control room while the artists and the engineer create beat and music for the rap artist. After hours, of chatting on their phone they say Yeah it sounds good, like they were specialists and like it would make any difference. . .
These could stay at home. The sparkling eyes of a lover who watch you perform, this adds to a recording. (ok ok, to get me into nasty stuff like the girls in the booth with Jim Morrisson) :LOL:

Here is my opinion. Friends will come to the studio if you have a lounge or not. If you seperate it and they don't see the control room, it's half way close to useless.
Built a bigger control room and put seating places behind you. The need to see the artists and the artists to see them will be far more attracting to them. Of course they will have to go outside with their weed to protect the equipment. But hey ! you don't want to mix without all your faculties anyway ! ;)

DonnyThompson Sat, 03/14/2015 - 05:31

pcrecord, post: 426283, member: 46460 wrote: Built a bigger control room and put seating places behind you.

I don't know about that, pal... for as silly of an idea I think having a lounge is - at least at a home studio level - given those two choices, I think I'd rather have them hanging out there as opposed to sitting behind me in the CR, chatting and distracting me... or worse, telling me what to do. :cautious:

:)

d.

pcrecord Sat, 03/14/2015 - 05:43

I know Donny, having people behind me is often a pain, but the artists get real benefits from it. I'm not talking about 20 persons. 1-3 at most. If the artist have eye contact with them, it makes a difference when tracking. I don't like it but I just know the dynamics it produce. Altought, I'm not allowing that when mixing.
Once I setup the mics and hit record, it's an easy job (checking the meters and doing the punch ins), having people around is rarely a big problem.
Of course when I mix I want the artists alone with me. (less opinions makes the work easier) :)

kmetal Sat, 03/14/2015 - 11:16

DonnyThompson, post: 426278, member: 46114 wrote: I do get what you're saying, Kyle. It's just that I don't get the whole "entourage" thing in general...

I just don't understand why anyone other than the artist(s) and producer needs to be there... I never did get it. It's work. You're working.
Do you take your girlfriend to work with you? I never did much Hip Hop, but from what you're describing, I dealt with the same thing from the "hair" bands I recorded in the 80's... where the band members would bring their wives, girlfriends, and groupies with them.

It was always a royal PITA - especially when one of them would get pissed off at me and say something like "Hey! I can't hear the vocals!" To which I would respond... "That's because we haven't recorded them yet."

Oh... and then, there was always one of them who would attempt to shout through the control room glass... "Do that Bon Jovi song I love!!!"

To this day, I can get queasy if I smell "Obsession" - which was a popular woman's perfume in the 80's. Those groupies used to bathe in that stuff. For days afterwards, it lingered in the control room, hanging there like a noxious cloud...

Oh yeah... good times, good times.

It's no wonder that I eventually became a drug addict. LOL ;)

paulears, post: 426279, member: 47782 wrote: Sorry - I missed the entourage thing totally, and I see the point. Thank goodness I don't do that kind of music.

Paul-LMAO, I believe that's my most favorite comment I've ever seen you write.

This is a discussion about culture. You have to try to understand the culture behind a lot of the conditions, surrounding this genre, and genre of studio design. The culture of this music is very, group oriented. As much as any rock band. You could easily have three or four vocalists for one song, and these guys generally work quick, Ime. So your gonna house a couple of artists at a time.

Their friends and protection come with them. It's part of their life and culture. I come from a city that is 7 square miles, and has a population of over 100,000 people. I get this culture, as its just a part of my surroundings.

id rather have the partying and noise going on in another room, besides the control room. Besides me not really wanting to know what else they are doing, I don't want the noise. And if they're is no place for it to go, it's gonna be in the CR.

I always talk very upfront with these clients about the purpose of the studio, and our rules about weapons, and keeping it limited to necessary people, and close, artistically important people. They understand time equals their money, eventually, and that's usually the best point. It's also made known that the studio is a crative place welcome to everybody, and is nutral territory, and open to anyone.

The lounge doesn't need to be large, or particularly nice, it just needs to be there, and be comfortable. While it's ibviously a touchy subject, it's no secret about arists and drugs, and while I may not agree with people's behaviour, sending them 'outside' has its own set of complications, and it's of my personal belief that stuff like that is a personal individual choice, and should be done in their own privacy, not out in public.

This is probably taking it beyond what the OP is gonna deal with out in Iowa, but not necessarily. A lot of times the band members themselves get bored or need to hash something out, so it never hurts to have one extra room, even if it's a bathroom. Which to me personally, is important, and a good thing people forget to have in studios.

paulears Sat, 03/14/2015 - 11:38

Wow! Scary stuff to us Brits.

Their friends and protection come with them

our rules about weapons,

I kind of believed that what we see in the movies and TV was just that, TV. From time to time we get people lose their tempers, but losing your temper with a gun in your pocket frankly worries me. To us actually having to have a rule about weapons is just very, very strange. The only entourages I bump into are those clumps of suits trying to keep the turns happy.

DonnyThompson Sat, 03/14/2015 - 11:42

kmetal, post: 426297, member: 37533 wrote: I always talk very upfront with these clients about the purpose of the studio, and our rules about weapons,

Weapons?

As if that's a conversation you should even have to have in a studio. Good Gawd... what have we become, when we actually have to have that conversation, to tell people that they can't carry loaded weapons into a recording session??

Okay...Show of hands from everyone here, who when they were first starting out as engineers, ever envisioned loaded guns as being a necessary part of the recording process ...

My hat's off to ya Kyle... putting up with that stuff. God bless ya, brother.

Personally, given a choice between the two, I'd rather dig ditches 8 hours a day for a living before I'd be forced to deal with that crap for even just one minute..

I'm happy to live for my craft and art... But I'll be damned if I'll put my life at risk, or potentially die for it. ;)

paulears Sat, 03/14/2015 - 12:49

Donny - faith restored! If kmetal can make a living off this style of client, then he has my respect. The stress level must be up in hyper space though! Glad to hear that this weapon thing is not a common thing - although on a bass player forum I use, somebody did once start a poll on who goes on stage with a concealed weapon permit - which again shocked me! If people in the audience heard my playing and singing sometimes, AND had a weapon - oops!

kmetal Sat, 03/14/2015 - 23:00

Well talking about it upfront avoids misunderstandings later. And again, this is not for every dj or hip hop artist I work with, and it's not always just the hip hip guys either. but there are people who I've had to have this discussion with upfront. You know who your dealing with in general where weapons would be something to talk about upfront.

The rule is simple, NO Illegal weapons, of any kind, are allowed in the studio.

Some of the 80s stories I've heard from co workers are crazy. This sort of thing isn't always limited to the urban hip hop crowd that takes so much credit. There are some crazy things around some studios I've been to, and i think since a lot of studios are in low rent areas, I'm not alone. its unfortunate. It's not all always crazy like the movies, but drug busts and beatings and shootings are an unfortunate truth in the city I am from. It's not just urban gangs either, or hip hop, it's a whole underworld with all imaginable types. Sorry to be so depressing, there's certainly good people, and I try to keep a positive realistic attitude.

I've always remained professional and any of my personal experience with anyone I've worked for has been professional, and people have respected the studio as a place of creativity, reguardless of outside influnces. I've worked live gigs for local and national hip hop acts during my tenure as a tech and bartender at a nightclub. I've seen people party side by side peacefully all New Years night at that club, and someone had to say something dumb over the mic, resulting in a stabbing. I could go on for hours, about this stuff, I couldn't even make this stuff up if I tried! Fortunately I've never seen anything really bad, and if I hear about it it's from the news. I've found sticking to the music and treating people with respect has worked for me, and I haven't personally been hurt, in any of the many uncomfortable situations I've been in.

I try to make sure that the client and I are on the same page as we talk casually the first time, and often times our price point exceeds what the artists want to put into their music, and these projects move to one of the smaller home based studios around here that to that about half the price.

The way I see it music is positve and evryone deserves a chance, and it's saved a lot of people in unfortunate situations, I think it's important that while people are making music they aren't taking part in some of the negative opportunities around them. Same for death metal and hip hop, and happy pop music, people are free to express things they may not do or say on reality!

Kurt Foster Sun, 03/15/2015 - 08:46

i have carried both at the studio and at gigs. usually when i was expecting to pay out or receive a large cash payment or expensive equipment. nothing wrong with having a gun imo as long as you are a responsible type. you know the type who would never wave it around and use it to scare or to try to command respect. in the best of worlds, no one should even be aware you are carrying .... and never pull it unless you are ready to use it. i'd rather have a gun when i need it than not.

DonnyThompson Sat, 04/11/2015 - 04:24

Kurt Foster, post: 426363, member: 7836 wrote: i have carried both at the studio and at gigs. usually when i was expecting to pay out or receive a large cash payment or expensive equipment. nothing wrong with having a gun imo as long as you are a responsible type.

I think there's a big difference between a business owner hedging his bets and protecting his property and safety, than having to deal with customers who are packing.

If there are people wearing loaded guns in my place of business, then that means that there's a potential for them to be used in my place of business, and I simply won't allow the chance for that to happen, no matter how slight that chance may be.

Remove the threat, remove the chances for someone getting hurt - and by "someone", I'm talking about me or the people I care about. If you wanna go live your "culture" out on the street, and part of that culture is to settle differences with guns, then go do it in your own neighborhood, far away from me and the people I love. I can't help that... that's your business.

But ...the very second you walk onto my property wearing a gun, you've now made it MY business.

And just because I own a handgun and have one in my house or business, does NOT mean that it's okay for you to bring your gun onto my property. ;)

In fact, trust me when I tell you that the absolute quickest way to get me to use my gun, is if I don't know you, and you come to my house and flash your gun.

Believe me when I tell you that you really don't want to do that. :cautious:

paulears Sat, 04/11/2015 - 05:31

As a Brit, we really have problems understanding the gun issue, for and against that you all have. We have the same kinds of people here, and I don't see any increase in violent crime here - in fact, on the occasions when I have large amounts of cash, the sensible practices we take just don't seem to require any kind of weapon. I do see both sides of the problem, but I have never held a gun (excluding paintball) let alone fired one. The notion of people having these things on them 'for protection' does rather make me think they have already decided that killing somebody is somehow justified, and I can't get my head around it at all. I appreciate that maybe business clients may well be the kind of person who thinks carrying a weapon 'for protection - ha ha' is necessary for their chosen lifestyle, but frankly those people would not be welcome in my premises, let alone in my home.

I guess I'm more with Donny's stance, yet even he has to accept that he too is in the compromise zone. Having a weapon at home, for security, presumably, is an American right - but surely rights have responsibility attached?

Over here, we had a really public situation a year or so back when a burglar entered a country property. The home owner also had a legally held weapon (This is allowed here for certain uses like farming - and pretty well most people would know a farmer may well have a shotgun). The young guy got caught in the act and the farmer shot him dead. Cue condemnation from everyone, court, and imprisonment - public opinion was divided but our legal system here does not cater for shooting burglars. I quite like our system, and apart from the big cities where guns are being used in drug related crime, guns thankfully do not feature in our lifestyle.

The notion of a little old lady on her own at home, with a weapon in the bed side drawer ready to shoot a burglar legally is quite astounding to us.

I'm watching the too and fro here with interest, but basically, I do wonder if you are all quite level headed. Here, even a baseball bat in your vehicle would be considered an offensive weapon!

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