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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:23 pm 
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Hi guys,
My name is Jim and I'm looking for some advice/direction with building my studio. This forum is an amazing resource and I plan to take full advantage of all the great knowledge/experience here. This post may be a little premature, as I haven't signed the lease just yet. But then I thought it might be wiser to see if any of the experts here may find any major issues/concerns before I pull the trigger on this space.

LOCATION:
Everett, MA (5 miles outside of Boston)

SPACE DETAILS:
The space is 500 sq ft in an old factory building. The inside dimensions are approximately 23ft(l) X 23ft(w) X 25ft(h). Almost a perfect cube. It's ground level. Concrete floors. Roof above. Nothing below. Neighboring units on 2 of the 4 walls (more about that later). The existing walls are standard studs 16oc/drywall with typical fiberglass blanket insulation. This space currently has no HVAC installed yet, but the owner says they would install an industrial gas heater (ceiling mounted). I know very little about the electrical set-up right now.

GOAL:
It's my goal to make this space into a standard 2 room design (control & live) with ideally a small iso booth as well. I know this space is on the smaller side, but I need to be able to record (loud) drummers, and maybe even entire rock bands. I made a quick Sketchup of the space layout and the neighboring units (attached). Although it's all rough/crude dimensions, it shows my initial idea for this studios layout. I'm still figuring out Sketchup, so please try to envision that each wall would be on studs and not paper thin (as it looks in the example). Aside from a couple super chunks in the CR, there isn't any acoustic treatment shown in the sketch, but I do plan to treat the rooms properly. I understand the live room isn't very big, but it is important that I have a comfortable-sized control room, as that's where about 85% of time is spent.

ISOLATION:
I am planning to make these room-within-room(s) for the most isolation possible. I own Rod Gervais' book and have been lurking this forum for a couple years - working towards the day when I could build my own place. I'm not too concerned with neighbors at this space, as the building is pretty remote (not residential) and my direct neighbors are 1) a contractors storage spot (I'm told "he's never here, he picks his tools up in the morning and drops them off at the end of the day" and 2) an appliance repair warehouse ("which wouldn't have any issues"). With that said, the more the isolation, the better.

BUILDING:
I am allowed to build whatever I want in this space. I anticipate hiring HVAC & electrical help. I'm capable of framing, drywall & painting (and running cable/soldering). I however know almost nothing about firecode and permits etc, so I'm thinking that hiring a contractor to go over the plans and get me started (maybe the framing) might be smartest.

BUDGET:
I'm hoping to complete this build for $10-15k. This includes any in-wall snakes/cabling. I already have my recording gear covered. I'm a DIY kinda guy and have no problem doing the dirty work if it'll save some money. The name of my game is low-overhead :wink:

INITIAL QUESTIONS:
Does anything jump out as a "red flag" with this space?

Can anyone suggest a smarter/more efficient layout than what I'm proposing in my sketch? I'm open to all ideas!

Any suggestions for the most effective (yet cheapest) HVAC solution to this space?

Are there any ideal ratios for control room height? I don't think I'd need to go all the way up to 25ft, not to mention it would raise my material/labor costs greatly. In the live room, more height makes more sense. But even there, should I be going as high as I can? Is there a specific room ratio that would work best (acoustically)?

Those are my first batch of questions. If I move forward on this space, I'm sure I'll have a million more.

Thanks in advance!
-Jim



***SKETCHUP NOTE:
please note that the white hallway and white area to the left of my control room is inside the building. The open white space to the left is basically the end of a driveway path through the middle of the building for trucks to pull in and load if needed. The hallway that ends where the roof ends, goes outside to the front of the building.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:44 pm 
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Perhaps you could incorporate a corner control room like the below thread

http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11508


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:12 pm 
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Thanks for the link, Leon. My first thought was to put the Control Room into a corner, but because this space is small and square, it would result in a square CR and a narrow boomerang-shaped Live Room (or more like a hallway). I really need a 3-person couch in the back of my CR. I might still try a Sketchup with a corner-position CR. I definitely want to consider all things with this plan.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:21 am 
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you don't need such a large gap between rooms and you can just have one long straight wall in each then angle the back wall with the couch.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:12 am 
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Hi Glenn, I really appreciate you taking the time to put that sketch together for me. It is a better/tighter use of space.

If we made the CR width a little more narrow by maybe 2-4 feet, in an attempt to add those feet (width) to the live room, would that mess things up much (acoustically) in the CR? Is there is a certain ratio to 'proper' control room dimensions? I always assumed there was. I was also under the impression that control rooms should fire the long way, but this CR plan seems nearly square. Am I wrong or just being too picky?

Also, I'm still curious what ideal heights should be for each room? And should they be slanted at all?

Thanks again!
-Jim

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:37 am 
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the CR could be narrower. the ceiling height - 11' in the CR, 14' in the LR and booth (if possible). you can angle the ceilings in all rooms - in the CR about 9-12 degrees low in front high in back. in the LR and booth, you could do 2 angles to really change up the room response. remember to factor in HVAC...

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:58 pm 
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Going up to 14' would be no problem in this space. The ceilings are allegedly 25' (although they look a little less to me) but even still it'll be plenty.

HVAC is my biggest question mark. I know very little about it, so I'd hire a pro to install. This space goes right up to the roof and I'll have at least 10 feet (height) of hidden area above this control room, which I assume may allow for more options? Can anyone suggest an affordable system that does both heat and ac? Does that even exist? :oops:

PS - Glenn, does my budget seem realistic?

Thanks!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:40 pm 
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In general, your budget is low but if it's what yo have then it's what you have. If you're doing the majority of work yourself and consider lower ceilings (less materials) then you may be able to build out the CR but it will be tough. From an HVAC, consider a concealed duct unit hung above the rooms and baffle boxes to isolate the duct penetrations into each room.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:22 am 
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We're drafting the lease up this week, so I feel safe to move on with this design :)

First thing I'm going to do when I get in there is remove the inner layer of drywall. I'm going to try to do this as neatly as possible, so I can use it to cut into 16" strips to double-up against the outer leaf (but from the inside between the studs of course). I know Rod's book shows this a bit (with ceilings, but same idea). Can I get away with just caulking the seams, old screw holes, and other wise just pinning them tight in place with ledger board scraps? What are backer rods? And are they very important to this process?

There is allegedly blanket insulation inside these walls. Should I put it back in once I double up from the inside? Or should I save it for the rooms-within-rooms? Since they will be directly heated? I suppose I should have insulation in all leafs, but curious if it'll make a huge difference?

Thanks!
-Jim

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:32 am 
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the backer rod is a foam rod which you press into the gaps so it reduces the amount of caulk you need and ensures a consistent backing to the caulk. therefore its a really good idea to use it. if your joists are 16" oc, then you need 14 1/2" wide drywall... the amount of cleats/ledgers you use is really about properly supporting the drywall in place. really good job sealing everything is more important.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:30 pm 
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Is "all-purpose" caulking okay, or should I be using something special for this application?

I'm putting together numbers... will 2X6's support 2 layers of 5/8" drywall on my ceilings?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:30 am 
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caulk should be a non-hardening 25 year latex or equiv. a popular product is OSI SC-170/175.
what span are you working with? you will likely need a minimum of 15lb dead weight support. a 2x6 No.1 Doug Fir is about 12' max and a 2x8 is about 15' max. plus factor in absorbers, clouds, HVAC, lighting, electric, etc in total weight

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:31 pm 
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As for the span direction of the ceiling joists, I was thinking of going east to west (if the cr listening position is facing north).

I'm currently trying to find/price doors. For the iso booth, I was thinking of doing 2 solid-core wood doors, but I'd like a window in these doors for a view to the live room, so I'm wondering if I should buy plain wood doors and cut-away a section for glass, or if it'd be better/cheaper to go with something prefab? From what I've read, I understand laminated glass is pretty expensive. Any thoughts on this?

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:40 am 
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Looking through Rods book i don't see any specific instructions on how to brace the bottom plate of the walls into a concrete floor. Can anyone refer me to it?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:56 am 
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screw in or shoot in floor anchors. you could also decouple them, or use isolation brackets top and bottom.

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