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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:17 am 
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Location: San Diego, CA
Hello everyone. I'm located in San Diego, California.
Planning out how best to treat my home studio room for tracking, mixing & probably rehearsing. It is located on the bottom floor of our rented house. As it's a rental there is little we can do as far as creating a treated two leaf system. I'm also trying to balance cost, so true soundproofing is pretty much out of the question. I just want to be able to get a good recording and mix out of this room.

The room has an unfinished plywood subfloor, above a crawl space (drum floor effect). The space was originally not part of our rental agreement, but we asked the landlord to let us use it if we finished the floor to which they agreed. We anticipate doing all of the work ourselves. We are getting a great deal to live in a neighborhood/house that would be out of our price range normally.

The room size is 14.25 ft x 31.25 ft with 8ft ceiling.
There is another room connected by french doors on the end of this main room as well as a siding glass door (balcony) on one side and a hallway opposite, which leads to a bathroom. I'll attach some photos.

We were thinking to make this extra bedroom a carpeted recreation room with a couch and tv for studio breaks. It's pretty much a 14 ft square shape, but open to ideas.

I was planning to build bass traps and broadband panels to balance the room modal and frequency responses. Which I've yet to measure. Plus gobos and diffusers if there is a need. I'm not exactly sure what will be required. Perhaps we could frame a room within a room, with built in treatment. Or maybe just treat the room with panels as is? I'm still a rookie and so not sure if it's even worth trying without a proper 2 leaf system.

My main reason for posting is for advice on how to deal with dampening the floor and flooring material. I was thinking some type of cost effective laminate wood. But that might not help with impact noise. I'm open to suggestions. I'm not really sure what is possible on a budget of about 5,000 USD or less including flooring. I've searched pretty hard and have seen someone say there are ways to deal with the floor, but never an answer other than a highly expensive floating floor which is not possible in this situation. Would a drum riser be useful to separate the impact? Is it worth installing insulation and mass underneath the plywood subfloor? Would that require a structural analysis?

Anyway, I know this isn't an ideal situation, but we have to make the best with what we've got at the moment. Thanks for such a great platform of information. I am always so inspired when reading this forum, hope someone can offer some advice.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:23 am 
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Hi. Please read the forum rules for posting (click here). You seem to be missing a couple of things! :)
Quote:
The room size is 14.25 ft x 31.25 ft with 8ft ceiling
Depending on what you actually want to do in this room, that's a pretty decent size.

Quote:
I just want to be able to get a good recording and mix out of this room.
That sounds like you want to use it both as a live room, for tracking vocals and acoustic instruments, as well as a control room, for the actual mixing? Is that the idea?

It can be done, but it's not as easy as you might think. The basic issue is that the acoustic requirements for a live room (suitable for tracking a range of instruments) and a control room, are very, very different. The acoustic response of a control room must be totally neutral, flat, and invisible: carefully treated so that it does not sound like anything: it sounds like nothing. That's not a very good situation for recording instruments, which need a room that has life, warmth, character, air, etc. Recording in a totally neutral environment makes things sound lifeless, limp, flat, unpleasant. Mixing in a live, warm, reflective room means you have no accuracy in the mix, as you cannot hear the actual real sound of the speakers: you are hearing the sound of the room instead.

So, you have a direct conflict if you try to do both. Either the room is great for mixing but too dry and pale for live instruments, or it is great for instruments but terrible for mixing. The usual way of dealing with this, is to make the acoustic treatment of the room "variable", so some panels can be slid open or shut, flipped, rotated, or otherwise changed in some way in order to switch the room response between the two extremes. But that's complicated to do, and costs money.

The other option is to divide the space into two rooms: separate control room and live room. But that shrinks the size of both rooms...

Quote:
The room has an unfinished plywood subfloor, above a crawl spac
What is the current loading on that floor, and what load can it take? You need to know the dead load and live load limits, so you can figure out if it is possible to do what you want. The floor joists have a certain rating, and the existing floor and walls are already putting a load on them. You need to know how much margin is still available. So, yes, you wil need a structural engineer.

Quote:
We were thinking to make this extra bedroom a carpeted ...
:shock: Carpet???? Nope. Not in a studio, and certainly not in a control room. Carpet does the exact opposite of what is needed, acoustically, in a studio. Take a look around at photos of high-end pro studios, and see how many of them have fully carpeted floors... The number is somewhere between "zero" and "nil". There's a reason for that: carpet trashes the room acoustics. In the few cases where you do see some limited carpeting in pro studios, that isn't normal carpet: it is acoustical carpet, which is acoustically transparent, and affects the sound as little as possible. So, if you want a usable studio, carpet is out of the question. You might be able to use a few small throw-rugs as the final "cherry on top", to finesse the last bit of treatment in the room, but certainly not typical wall-to-wall hous carpeting.

Quote:
I was planning to build bass traps and broadband panels to balance the room modal and frequency responses.
Yes, but for which purpose? For tracking, or for mixing? Also, frequency response is only a small part of the total acoustic response, and not even the most important part. Many people get caught up on that, trying so hard to get their frequency response flat, when it isn't even necessary, and is far less important than controlling the time-domain response, phase response, early and late reflections, specular reflections, scattering, etc. Don't get distracted from the REAL issues with your room by concentrating too much only on frequency response.

Quote:
Which I've yet to measure.
Here's how to do that: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=21122

Quote:
Plus gobos and diffusers if there is a need. I'm not exactly sure what will be required.
That depends on what you want to accomplish! :)

Quote:
Perhaps we could frame a room within a room,
I thought you said you didn0t have the budget for that? If you do need good isolation to the outside world, then yes, "room-in-a-room" is the way to go. If you don't need isolation, and only want treatment, then you don't need "room-in-a-room".

Quote:
Or maybe just treat the room with panels as is? I'm still a rookie and so not sure if it's even worth trying without a proper 2 leaf system.
You seem to be confusing isolation with treatment: they are different and opposite things. Isolation is what you do to a room to stop sound getting in and out, and is usually accomplished by making the structure into a fully decoupled 2-leaf system. Isolating a room does not make it sound good: it makes it sound bad, actually! Think about it: by isolating the room, you prevent the sound from getting out. And if it can't get out, then that means it stays inside, bouncing around like crazy, and totally trashing the acoustic response. Once the room has been isolated, you need to treat it, to make it sound good again. Treatment deals with the "bouncing around like crazy" stuff, so that it no longer "bounces around like crazy", and rather is under control, strictly regulated to be within the established ranges.

Quote:
My main reason for posting is for advice on how to deal with dampening the floor and flooring material.
If you are not really looking for true isolation, and merely want to damp it a bit, so that it doesn't transmit impact sounds into the building structure, then one way to do that is using Rod Gervais's technique of laying 2" of OC-703 on the existing sub-floor, then putting two layers 03 3/4" ply or OSB on top, screwed and glued, making sure that the wood does not touch the walls by leaving a gap all around the edge, then putting backer rod on the gap and caulking over it, with a suitable acoustic caulk, or other similar caulk that does not harden.

Quote:
I was thinking some type of cost effective laminate wood.
That would be your final finish flooring, on top of your new ply or OSB subfloor, that is on top of the 703.

Quote:
I've searched pretty hard and have seen someone say there are ways to deal with the floor, but never an answer other than a highly expensive floating floor which is not possible in this situation.
Well, it is POSSIBLE, just not the solution you need, or can afford. And you don't even need it, probably.

Quote:
Would that require a structural analysis?
Anything that adds substantial mass to the room will likely need input from a structural engineer.

But I'd suggest that your first priority should be to determine if you do need additional isolation beyond what you have already. It's simple to do: get a decent quality hand-held sound level meter (not an iPhone app!), measure the levels of a typical recording session ("C" weighting, "Slow" response), and compare that to the level that you are required by law to maintain at your property line, and/or to not annoy your neighbors. The difference between those two numbers is how much isolation you need. Also measure how much isolation you are getting right now, by playing loud music inside the room on full-range speakers, measuring the level inside, then measuring it again outside with all windows and doors tightly closed. The difference is how much isolation you are getting at present. Measure in several locations around the house, both outside in the garden and also in other rooms, to get the full picture of how much isolation you are getting in various places.

Once you have all that info, then you can determine of your current level is enough to keep the cops from knocking on your door, and the neighbors fro marching up your driveway with flaming torches and pitchforks.... If so, then you don't need additional isolation, and therefore you don't need to make your studio into a "room-in-a-room" structure. Otherwise, you do.

- Stuart -


- Stuart -

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I want this studio to amaze people. "That'll do" doesn't amaze people.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:57 pm
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Location: San Diego, CA
Stuart, thank you so much for the detailed response.

I've been mulling things over a bit. Had a busy week at work.
I think you're right I am confusing a few things. I understand now, that a good recording space is much different than a good mixing space. And isolation is much different than sonic treatment.

Assuming my room is a recording space.. What are my best options for treatment in theory. I am planning to test the room on Saturday. I already have a behringer PCM 1000 mic, is it really unusable? should I buy the Presonus mic you recommend? Hoping I can save the money, and buy the spl meter this week too.

In your opinion, if I am not concerned with isolation, is the floor an issue acoustically?
I assumed that untreated, it would reverberate and negatively affect my recordings/ mixes. Can this be resolved with trappings? Is a smaller version of the Floor (OC 703 layered with Sheetrock) as a drum platform not useful at all for dampening?

Also, without tearing out drywall and building a proper two leaf system - I meant that I could potentially frame a smaller fabric wall and place insulation behind fabric,(against the current drywall) in order to alter the perfect rectangle shape of the current room. I could frame faux walls/traps with 1 by 3 and build in traps, if that makes any sense . Is this unnecessary? Should I just hang panel traps and Super chunks, etc?

As for the carpet. I only meant for the additional smaller room(behind French doors) that I was thinking to use as a couch and tv room. I guess it's possible to make this a separate control room and treat it separately for mixing. But I think the hybrid setup in the larger room is ideal if it is possible. Then I could save on the (laminate) flooring cost, and not have to treat or isolate the smaller room.

Also, as for having a dual purpose room: I was sort of imagining smaller modular gobos that could flip around with reflective wood on one side and absorption on the other to help shape the drum sound. Is this unrealistic? Can the drums be recorded lively at the back of the room, if I treat the front of the room more for mixing (near the French doors?). it is 30 feet from the back wall to the French doors.

I will follow your procedure to test my room, and order a presonus mic if I can't make do with my pcm!

Finally, i think the Rod Gervais, floor method is an afterthought, mainly because of the cost of a structural analysis, and materials/labor. I have to leave my lease with a permanent floor in tact. So in the end having to tear it out and lay flooring down again might not be ideal. I'm still reading through home studio build it like th pros, so please forgive any of my nonsensical ideas.


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