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 Post subject: rehab house - options?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:52 pm 
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Posts: 13
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, US
Apologies - I tried to make this post a few minutes ago and then couldn't find it to add attachments. If anyone could help me delete the old one I'd appreciate it.

There are images attached, but here is a link to a googleDrive share of a print to scale:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1TxRUu ... 2su6oprIpB

So I'm rehabbing an old house, and I would like to work on music there.

Goals:
1. Record rock bands without time restrictions. From what I've been reading that means reducing the level inside the house of ~108db to ~55-60db outside the house?
2. Be able to hear in my monitors what the mics are hearing. We've been sort of "guerilla" recording wherever we can find/borrow space.
3. A structural engineer will be coming out to the house to look at some other things, and I'd like to be able to ask pertinent questions while they're there.

Disadvantages:
1. It's an old house with wood decking on all of the floors

Advantages(?):
1. The house will be dedicated to sound if my goals are feasible, so I can do whatever I like as long as it's safe. No one has to be comfortable when I'm making music except the neighbors.
2. It is a rehab, so all of the walls are wide open.
3. There are empty lots on both sides of the house.
4. I tend to get obsessed with things.

Oddities:
There is a non-functioning fireplace that can be removed if necessary.

I'm going to try to attach the print for the place. I will try to make a 3D model in sketchup as soon as I can learn it.
Ceilings are 9'.

The original idea was to dedicate the first floor to live room purposes and the second to control room, relocating the stairs to the attic for symmetry. After I've been reading it seems like studios on more than one floor are hard to build.

Most specifically I am looking on advice for a starting point for the floors. Everything I've found so far suggests my floor is the worst possible scenario. I'm hoping the flexibility in what I can do to change things will offer enough advantage to make up the difference.

I read through the faq and posting rules, but please let me know if I've missed anything or if I can provide any more information. Thanks in advance for any help.

Attachment:
Floor1 screencap.png


Attachment:
Floor2 screencap.png


Attachment:
Floor3 screencap.png


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Last edited by cbhris on Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:14 am
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA, US
Sorry - a couple more things...

Budget: I'm trying to get a budget in mind, but I don't know what will be necessary yet. If I can stretch the renovation over time, the budget will increase.

Also, the place is pretty much completely stripped. Along with wide-open walls, there is not much plumbing or electrical either.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:04 am 
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA, US
Forgot the basement...

Attachment:
Basement screencap.png


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:15 am 
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Hi there "cbhris". Welcome! :)

Quote:
1. Record rock bands without time restrictions. From what I've been reading that means reducing the level inside the house of ~108db to ~55-60db outside the house?
That sounds about right, yes. Ballpark.

However, there's a few issues that can modify that, both ways:

1) Drums played hard can be louder than that: 115 dBC is typical, and even heading f0r 120 dBC is not out of the question. So if you anticipate having heavy-handed drummers, then you should probably increase your "loud" number a bit.

2) Legal stuff: Your local municipality very probably has "nuisance noise" regulations written into the local bylaws somewhere, so check on-line or go to their offices and get a copy, to find out what your legal requirements are. It's probably something outrageously stupid, impossible to comply with (in most places these days, even walking down the street with your buddy, having a quiet conversation, would already exceed the legal limits), but it's good to know what you should be shooting for, if you hope to keep the cops from knocking on your door.

3) The distance between your building and your property line is a factor in your favor. Sound dissipates over distance, so the larger the distance between your walls and your fence, the better. Usually, the noise regulations specify that your property line is the point where measurements have to be taken to see if you are over the silly limit or not. However, in real life, what your neighbors care about is how loud it is inside THEIR house, so you have the additional advantage of the distance from the property line between you, up to their wall. So when you are figuring out likely sound levels that might annoy them, take that into account: the total distance from your wall to their wall.

4) The empty lots on either side are great news right now! But sooner or later someone will probably buy those and build on them, so your situation will change...

5) Have you also considering incoming noise? For example, when you are trying to record vocals or other quiet things, and a helicopter or plan flies over, or an ambulance with a siren on passes a couple of blocks away (ditto fire engines, cops, etc.). Or your neighbor mows his lawn, or his dog barks incessantly for hours, or.... there's a million "or's" you can add to that list: Rain, hail, thunder, wind.... the list goes on and on. Any of those could be a potential issue that you need to deal with. Eg. You might think that the sound of drums getting out is your biggest issue, but if you have a tin roof and hail is frequent in your area, that could potentially be a bigger problem than drums. Ditto if you live close to a hospital, and ambulances frequently drive right past yoru place with the siren on, or if your studio is located under the departure path from an airport, or close to a railway line... Lots of potential issues that you might want to consider when deciding on your isolation needs.

6) You implied that you though you'd need around 50 dB of isolation, give or take a few points. That is an achievable goal for most DIY home studios. However, if you re-work your numbers and find out that you actually need 70... that's borderline. That's about the limit that can be achieved on a really good budget for a home or project studio, without getting into exotic and REALLY expensive solutions. 60 dB is probably about as far as most home builders can expect, and even that requires very careful design and very careful attention to detail in the actual build.

I mention all of the above to highlight the importance of assessing your real isolation needs as accurately as you can. There's a big difference in complexity and cost between shooting for 50 dB, and shooting for 70 dB. That likely implies a budget increase of 400%, believe it or not....

Quote:
2. Be able to hear in my monitors what the mics are hearing.
This is certainly related to your overall isolation number, but isn't the same. Sorry to be cryptic! The overall isolation to the outside world is one thing, but the isolation between rooms inside the studio is another thing. The two are related, since the isolation design is a system, not individual parts, but you need to take both into account when designing your walls, windows, doors, etc. It is possible to have different levels of isolation between rooms as compared against isolation to the outside world,but usually it is easier to just design for the same level all around. It keeps things simple.

Quote:
3. A structural engineer will be coming out to the house to look at some other things, and I'd like to be able to ask pertinent questions while they're there.
:thu: Excellent! Smart move! From what you say, I expect that your number one question would be "How do I remove the existing floor and replace it with a concrete slab?". More on that later...

Quote:
1. It's an old house with wood decking on all of the floors
... and now we get to "later"! :) This is your biggest problem, by far. You need reasonably high levels of isolation, it seems, and the number one key point in stopping sound, is mass. Heavy, solid, rigid, thick, dense, massive, building materials. Main issue here, being "heavy". Way beyond the ability of typical wood deck flooring to support. The best solution is simply to replace that wood deck flooring, with a concrete slab. Concrete has the mass, density, and structural integrity to provide the base for your entire studio build. So your question to the structural engineer, should be how you can do that: How you can rip out the existing flooring without causing the entire house to collapse, and how you can pour your new slab without damaging the remaining shell.

Quote:
1. The house will be dedicated to sound if my goals are feasible, so I can do whatever I like as long as it's safe. No one has to be comfortable when I'm making music except the neighbors.
I think you'll find it much easier to make good music if your musicians and sound engineers are comfortable while doing so! :) Ergonomics and aesthetics are a big part of studio design, very close behind isolation and acoustics. When I'm designing a studio for a customer, I try to put myself in the position of a musician or engineer involved in a session, and think through things like: "How can I make it easier to load the gear and instruments in and out, before and after the session? How can I improve visibility between the rooms, so everyone can see each other while they are tracking? How can I make it look nicer, brighter, more "airy", cleaner, warmer, more attractive, without compromising acoustics? How can I make it easier to go back and forth between the CR and LR, to set up mics and instruments?" Etc. It's just as important to have happy, content, comfortable musicians and engineers, as it is to have outstanding acoustics. A place that sounds wonderful but is dark, dingy, smelly, cold, and unpleasant, and requires you to go through six sets of double doors between the LR and CR on each trip to adjust a mic, while the engineer can't see the musicians, or the vocalist can't see the lead guitarist or drummer, the entry door to the building for bringing ibn instruments and equipment is way down the far end of a long, narrow, twisting passage and down a flight of stairs... well, that's not a good design in my book.

Quote:
2. It is a rehab, so all of the walls are wide open.
Excellent!

Quote:
4. I tend to get obsessed with things.
Even more excellent! This means that you'll really, really want to do everything you can to make it as good as it can be, and it also means that you'll spend way, way more than you even imagined initially... :)

Quote:
There is a non-functioning fireplace that can be removed if necessary.
Might not be necessary. Is that stone? Brick? Concrete? Something else? It might be possible to just block the chimney, and use the fireplace as a visual accent, or even for acoustic purposes.

Quote:
Ceilings are 9'
Great! The higher, the better.

Quote:
I will try to make a 3D model in sketchup as soon as I can learn it.
Do not try to use the totally silly, "SketchUp Free" version, which is a piece of browser-based stupidity. Total garbage, useless. Don't wast your time. Rather, download and install "SketchUp Make 2017". That's the actual SketchUp program that you install on your computer. Don't confuse that with "SketchUp Free". They are both free! But the one called "free" is worthless trash. The one called "Make 2017", is good, and that's what you want.

Quote:
Budget: I'm trying to get a budget in mind, but I don't know what will be necessary yet. If I can stretch the renovation over time, the budget will increase.
Think of a very large number. Multiply it by another large number. Add in a few other large numbers. Divide by a small fraction. That should get you close to how much you will actually spend on this... :)

More seriously: call a few local contractors, and ask for their "flat rate per square foot" for converting an unfinished garage into a living room or additional bedroom. If you can get a few quotes like that, drop the cheapest and most expensive one, average the others, add 30%, and you have rough idea of how much this is going to cost you, realistically.
Quote:
Also, the place is pretty much completely stripped. Along with wide-open walls, there is not much plumbing or electrical either.
That's REALLY good.

So basically you have a blank slate, and you can use all of the internal area of the ground floor and basement for your studio, while leaving the other floors for offices, green room, storage, kitchen, bathrooms, etc.

One question: Is this going to be a commercial facility, or a hobby facility? If commercial, then very likely you will be subject to ADA requirements, so it will have to be wheelchair accessible, including at least one bathroom. Major point! However, if this is just your own personal, private, hobby studio, for you to fool around in with friends and family, then that is probably not applicable. Your architect can fill you in on the details for both situations, so make sure you look into this, and determine of ADA rules are applicable to you.

I would suggest that you start your design be deciding how many actual acoustically isolated rooms you need in the studio itself (eg. LR, CR, vocal booth, iso-booth dedicated drum booth, machine room, etc.) and do a rough layout of where you think those would fit on the ground floor and/or in the basement, allowing for at least 6" inner-leaf walls for each room, then post your rough layout here. Then other members here can offer on advice on improving that, so you can move forward from there, with the design process.

- Stuart -

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:01 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:14 am
Posts: 13
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, US
Thanks very much for all the detail!

Quote:
1) Drums played hard can be louder than that: 115 dBC is typical, and even heading f0r 120 dBC is not out of the question.

That is definitely good to know!


Quote:
2) Legal stuff: Your local municipality very probably has "nuisance noise" regulations ..

In my area:
"..decibel limits for unamplified noise that “enters any residential property or premises in a residential zoning district” at 65 decibels between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and 55 decibels between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Amplified noise must be kept below 75 decibels. For “apartment-to-apartment and residence-to-residence noise,” the standard for a violation is 3 decibels “above background sound level,” though responding officers can also use a simple standard: Is the noise clearly audible from a distance of 75 feet?"
So I guess some measurement will be in order with a drummer friend who's a basher.


Quote:
3) The distance between your building and your property line ..

It's in the city so I've got about 20' on each side for the property line


Quote:
4) The empty lots on either side are great news right now! But sooner or later someone will probably buy those and build on them, so your situation will change...

The lot on the north side of the house is mine, so unless the vegetables complain I should be okay there. And the lot on the south side of the house is the same property layout as mine - a double lot with the house on the south side of it and their yard between their house and mine. So at least that may be a while before they build next door.


Quote:
5) Have you also considering incoming noise?

I haven't really considered that. I'll have to think about it.
Is there a preferred material for roofs? Mine has to be replaced anyway.


Quote:
The best solution is simply to replace that wood deck flooring, with a concrete slab.

I will definitely talk to the engineer about this.
If I can't make that happen for a while, what is the second best solution? I'm guessing I won't be able to get close to the numbers I want without using a concrete slab..


Quote:
Is that stone? Brick? Concrete? Something else? It might be possible to just block the chimney, and use the fireplace as a visual accent, or even for acoustic purposes.

The chimney is brick and was plugged by the previous owner. They just shoved a brick in the cavity and cemented it.
I was hoping I could keep it honestly, but was worried if it resonated in a troublesome way that I'd have to take it out.


Quote:
Think of a very large number. Multiply it by another large number. Add in a few other large numbers. Divide by a small fraction. That should get you close to how much you will actually spend on this...

ha


Quote:
Is this going to be a commercial facility, or a hobby facility?

It's going to be personal use only.

Thanks again!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:53 am 
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA, US
Here is a rough layout I was considering.

If I try for the same reduction in sound energy inside and outside, does that mean potentially that a control room above the live room could work?
I think I already know the answer to this..

Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to rotate the text.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:39 pm 
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Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Quote:
If I try for the same reduction in sound energy inside and outside, does that mean potentially that a control room above the live room could work?

I don't understand your statement regarding inside and outside?
The control room above the live room can totally work if you do it right. The issue is, as Stuart pointed out before, in order to isolate the two rooms, you need serious mass. Isolated rooms in general have a ton of mass. Way more than a normal room. Because of all of that, he suggested you replace the floor with a concrete slab.

Did you get an engineer there to give you some insight on the possibility of doing that?

Greg

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