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 Post subject: Studio Design Advice
PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:32 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Hello... I am totally new to the Forum and am looking at building a 100m2 studio in Portugal in the next 5 years and am starting to do a lot of research and would like to come up with my own unique design but will need some advice for sure. I plan to work with Vicoustic in Portugal for the construction and acoustic insulation.

http://www.vicoustic.com

I have tried to draw on some other designs and am trying to avoid right angles and too many windows. If we can buy the property where I would like to, it would be great to be able to have a large window to the nature (view down the valley to the river below) and then have some sort of acoustic wall you could move over the window for recording.

If you could comment on the angles, the room sizes, etc...

You might ask why the live room is so big but I have a space rock collective and we can be 6-8 people and we record totally improvised music.

Is 4x 4.5m too small a control room? We do not have a lot of outboard gear.

Thank you for your advice.. I have attached a PDF file for comments.

All the best
scott


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 Post subject: Re: Studio Design Advice
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 2:53 am 
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Location: Santiago, Chile
Hi Scott, and welcome to the forum! :)

Quote:
trying to avoid right angles and too many windows.
Why? There's no reason to avoid right angles, and there's no reason to avoid windows. Both of those are common myths about studio design. There is nothing at all wrong with right angles, and glass is always needed to provide good sight-lines between the various rooms. If it is placed correctly, and if the rest of the room is treated correctly, then there is no problem.

By not having rectangular shaped rooms, you make ti far more difficult to calculate the acoustic response of the rooms in advance, and therefore it is also much more difficult to design the acoustic spaces, and the correct acoustic treatment. It can be done, but you need to resort to complicated (and expensive!) FEM/FEA software analysis, you need an operator who knows how to set up the boundary conditions correctly, and who knows how to interpret the results correctly.

The usual reason cited for not having parallel walls is "flutter echo", but that can be dealt with very simply in other ways: The next most common reason is: "to eliminate modes", but that comes from from ignorance of what modes are, and how they work. You cannot eliminate modes by angling walls: all that yo accomplish is to move the modes to a different set of frequencies, and change them from one type to another. Yes, it is possible to eliminate axial modes by splaying walls, but that simply produces more tangential and oblique modes instead: you changed a simple mode for a more complex one.

In other words, there is no valid acoustical reason to avoid right angled corners or parallel walls, despite the myths and legends you read about on the internet. And there is no need to avoid using glass.

Quote:
it would be great to be able to have a large window to the nature (view down the valley to the river below)
Not a problem. That can be done.

Quote:
and then have some sort of acoustic wall you could move over the window for recording.
Not needed. If the room is designed properly to start with, and treated correctly, then there will not be any need to block the window during recording.

Quote:
If you could comment on the angles, the room sizes, etc...
There are guidelines for room sizes in publications from organizations such as the AES, EBU and ITU: They have created specifications for "critical listening" rooms, control rooms, and other types of rooms where acoustics are paramount.

One comment on your control room design: It gets narrower towards the back, but that should never happen. The control room should be narrower at the front, and widen out towards the back, if you do decide to have non-parallel walls. But once again, that isn't necessary: it is perfectly fine to have parallel walls in a control room, provided that they are designed correctly and treated correctly. You CAN have non parallel walls in some types of room design concept, such as RFZ, NER and CID, but in those cases the angles are calculated very carefully to get the desired effect, and the rooms always get wider at the back, never narrower. The only exception is the "corner control room", but in that case the rest of the room geometry is arranged to prevent acoustic issues.

Quote:
Is 4x 4.5m too small a control room?
ITU / EBU / AES specs call for a minimum floor area of 20 to 30 m2, and maximum of 50 to 60 m2, depending on use. Higher area for multi-channel surround rooms, such as 5.1 or 7.1, but smaller for 2.0 and 2.1: What configuration will you be using?

Comments on your PDF file:

Quote:
We want to avoid all right angles in the studio.
As mentioned above, this is not necessary.

Quote:
Ceilings should be a minimum of 3m high.
That's great for the live room and booths, but probably not needed for the control room or machine room. You should allow for additional height, for HVAC ducting and silencer boxes.

Quote:
Building must be built to be comfortable for winter and summer with proper insulation, heating, cooling and dehymidifiers.
That's all part of the HVAC calculation. For a studio that size, I'd suggest using a single AHU that can handle the entire studio, then ducting to each room (sized correctly for the flow volume and flow velocity needed in each room), and operated with a control system that has a series of sensors in each room, plus variable dampers to control the flow. Based on where you live, you will likely also need heat exchangers in the fresh air inlet and stale air exhaust ducts, to reduce heat loss (and therefore also reduce operating expenses!).

Quote:
* Large Window out to the nature but this requires that we also have acoustic wall that we can slide infront of the large window during recording.
Having a window there does NOT require movable treatment to cover it! It only requires good design, and suitable treatment of the rest of the room.

Other comments:

There is no door from the outside world into the live room: That should be fixed. You will need that for load-in and load-out of equipment and instruments, so that the musicians do not need to drag their gear through other rooms to be able to get to the LR.

The angles of the drum booth and iso booth doors is not practical: it will be impossible to open the doors like that.

There is no isolation shown: only single walls with single doors and single windows.

There are many ways that design can be improved.

Do you have photos of the actual building where this studio is going to be built? That would help to design a better layout for the rooms, and to have a better idea of any existing limitations.


- Stuart -

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 Post subject: Re: Studio Design Advice
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:07 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:32 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Hello.... I am back after 18 months and now know exactly what my building will be like. It is a stone granite ruin of dimensions 4.5x10x5m. (depth, width, height) A big rectangle. (See picture below) I would like to retain some of the original stone in the building if possible. The stone is about 1m thick on the sides and no one knows how thick on the back.

This home studio will be in Portugal where it is hot in the summer and cool and wet in the winter months. Never below 0C though.

Image

I am trying to learn sketch up so that I can propose some designs. Right now I am only focusing on the construction aspect and not the acoustic treatment. I feel I need to get the building right first and then the acoustics will fall into place with the proper treatments. Right?

These are my basic thoughts for construction based on reading a lot on the forum:

Concrete floor/foundation with thin acoustic closed layer foam underlay and laminate floor. (do not want to raise the surface). Underfloor heat if it is too cold in the winter? Can this be put into the concrete foundation?

Decouple the walls (air gap and rock wool?) as well as the ceiling using the 2 leaf MSM system. How much insulation between each leaf? 30cm thick walls, 50cm? The closest neighbor is 500m away so we don't have an issue with neighbors and the sound (but the wife might be irritated if it was too loud in the house about 25m away.

HVAC ducts and silencer boxes in the ceiling. The majority of the studio can have high ceilings but I had hoped to put the control room above the drum and storage room area (see possible design below).

For the ventilation, this was what was suggested by Stuart before:

"a single AHU that can handle the entire studio, then ducting to each room (sized correctly for the flow volume and flow velocity needed in each room), and operated with a control system that has a series of sensors in each room, plus variable dampers to control the flow. Based on where you live, you will likely also need heat exchangers in the fresh air inlet and stale air exhaust ducts, to reduce heat loss (and therefore also reduce operating expenses!)." What does a system like this cost?

There are not so many options when one only has 4.5x10m to work with. This is what I was thinking of:

Drum room 2.5x2.5m
Vocal booth 1.75x1.75m (might skip it as almost all the bands I work with are instrumental)
Live room 4x5m
storage room 1.5x2.5
Toilet and sink 1x2m
Band Room 2.5x2.5m

I have attached a rough sketch up drawing showing how I see the rooms and the upper floor control room. This is a tricky program to get all the lines exact so there are plenty of mistakes here. The ceiling is also very difficult in this model but you can get a good idea. The plan to get to the control room is a stair on the outside on the left side as there is a place where there used to be a window that could made into the door.
Image
Image

I am visiting the property in March and will meet with a couple of architects so I would love to get some feedback..
Obrigado.. Tak.. Thanks..

scott

Attachment:
Try 2.skp


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 Post subject: Re: Studio Design Advice
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:14 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:17 am
Posts: 11984
Location: Santiago, Chile
Quote:
(See picture below)
There is no picture below! Please follow the forum rules for posting pictures, to avoid this problem.

Since I can't see the image, I can't talk about anything you wanted to show in it!

Quote:
I feel I need to get the building right first and then the acoustics will fall into place with the proper treatments. Right?
Nope! That would be doing it totally backwards. The acoustic response of any room depends mostly on the size and shape of the room. By carefully adjusting those to be good, you control the basic acoustics. No amount of treatment can fix an inherently bad room, and a room that was good to start with will need less treatment than a room that was not good, due to having unsuitable dimensions.

Quote:
Right now I am only focusing on the construction aspect and not the acoustic treatment.
Instead, you should focus on the overall design. When I design studios for my customers, I start by looking a the overall space and taking into account the limitations imposed by the building itself, such as the locations of doors, windows, structural columns, stairs, pipes, and other things that cannot be moved for whatever reason, then figuring out a layout for the rooms that fits in with those restrictions and still provides the best functionality. By "functionality" I mean that there can be good sight lines between rooms, doors that don't open into each other or obstruct other things, and are not located at points where acoustic treatment will be needed, simple short routes for load-in / load-out of equipment and instruments, simple logical routes for movement between rooms, good shape and size of each room, the locations where treatment will be needed in each room, good geometry and layout of the control room, such that the speakers and listening position will be in the optimum locations acoustically, practically, and aesthetically, and that the needed treatment can be in the correct locations, of the correct size, and of the correct thickness. Once I am done with all that, and have a good workable arrangement with good acoustics, only then do I start worrying about construction. That's the point where I will decide how to build the walls, ceilings and doors, what materials to use, what techniques to use, etc. The question of "how to build it" only comes AFTER the functional and acoustic aspects have already been determined.

If you forget about acoustics and only design for construction, you will end up with rooms that sound lousy. This is a studio, so the very first thing you should take into account is the acoustics: That's the entire point of the building! To have good acoustics so you ca record and mix in there properly. The building should be centered around that, not around construction.

Start by designing he acoustics response that you need for each room, then work forwards from there to the question of how to build it in order to get that response. Not the other way around.

Quote:
Concrete floor/foundation with thin acoustic closed layer foam underlay and laminate floor. (do not want to raise the surface).
Excellent! That is, indeed, one of the best way to do studio floors. Raising the floors would be a big mistake.

Quote:
Decouple the walls (air gap and rock wool?) as well as the ceiling using the 2 leaf MSM system.
Yes! That's the right approach, for sure.

Quote:
How much insulation between each leaf? 30cm thick walls, 50cm?
How much isolation do you need, in decibels? That's the key question.

Quote:
we don't have an issue with neighbors and the sound (but the wife might be irritated if it was too loud
You need to put numbers to that: how many decibels would be "irritating for your wife"? How loud are hte external sounds around your place that you need to sop from getting in? How loud will your recording sessions be inside? You need to answer those questions with real decibel numbers.

Quote:
The majority of the studio can have high ceilings but I had hoped to put the control room above the drum and storage room
That would make your construction very much more complicated, and expensive. It would also have a negative effect on functionality, since there would be no visibility between the CR and the other rooms. Having a room that needs acoustic isolation on an upper level makes it hard, complex, and expensive. That's why most studios are built on the ground level.

I would switch things around, so all of your acoustic spaces are on the ground, and all your auxiliary spaces are above: But your storage room, the toilet, and the green room (band room) upstairs, and put your live room, control room, drum booth and vocal booth downstairs, where you can easily get good isolation and also have good sight lines between rooms.

Having the CR and LR on different levels is also impractical for setting up mics: running up and downs stairs twenty times to adjust the positions of mics, then go listen in the control room to see if it is good, then run back again to move it a bit, then run again to listen.... that gets very tiring, very quickly. That's part of "functionality": keep the LR and CR right next to each other, with simple, short path between them.

Having said all that, you only have 5m of height to work with. Your floor is going to be at least 30cm thick, leaving 470cm. HVAC ducting will take up no less than 30cm, minimum, leaving 440 cm. You want your control room at least 250cm high, so your rooms upstairs are going to have very low ceilings: around 190 cm. That's an important aspect to take into account. Since your LR needs a very high ceiling to make it usable, acoustically, I would suggest that you should not put any rooms above that, or maybe just a small storage "loft", so you can keep it at least 3.5m high, inside.

Quote:
What does a system like this cost?
It's impossible to say, without first knowing what system you need! That's like asking "How much does a car cost?": Without knowing anything about your needs for that car, it is impossible to say which car would be good, or how much it would cost. It might be that a US$1,000 small used car is all that you need, or you might need a US$ 20,000 new typical family car, or you might need a US$ 150,000 luxury car, or maybe a US$ 300,000 sports car, or perhaps what you really need is a million dollar limousine. Until we know what your needs are for the VAC system, it is impossible to say how much it will cost.

Quote:
There are not so many options when one only has 4.5x10m to work with.
Right. Considering that you need about 20m2 for a decent control room (for good acoustics), and that the live room needs to be about three times the size of the control room, I'd say that you have a problem! You will have to sacrifice acoustics to fit in just those to rooms alone. You can probably squeeze in a usable control room to maybe 15m2, leaving 35m2 for your live room, drum booth and vocal booth. That is unworkable: Forget the vocal booth, and do any vocal recordings in the CR. 35m2 for LR plus drum booth is VERY tight. This is going to be a very small studio, and you won't be able to get good drum sounds, simply because the drum both will be very minute. Hardly big enough to fit in a typical drum kit. Since drums sound terrible in a room with a low ceiling, try to keep the ceiling in there as high as possible, with no rooms above.

Quote:
Drum room 2.5x2.5m
:shock: That is SQUARE! That's the worst possible dimensions for an acoustic room, since all the room modes in the "length" direction will line up perfectly with all the modes in the "width" direction. The modal response will be hell. Bad idea.

Quote:
Live room 4x5m
Small, but usable.

Quote:
storage room 1.5x2.5
Toilet and sink 1x2m
Band Room 2.5x2.5m
Upstairs. There is no room for those downstairs.

Quote:
I have attached a rough sketch up drawing
Unfortunately my main computer crashed and is in for repairs, so I'm using a very old computer where I can only install up to Version 13 of SketchUp, and your model is in Version 16, so I can't open it. If you want to save it as version 13 and post that, then I'd be happy to take a look at it.

Quote:
This is a tricky program to get all the lines
Not once you get used to it, and learn how to use all of the features! It's a very powerful program, and placing walls, windows, doors, treatment, furniture, etc. is actually very simple. Take a look at one of the many tutorials on how to use it, on YouTube. The trick is to make each object that you create into a "component" as soon as you create it....

- Stuart -

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


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 Post subject: Re: Studio Design Advice
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:51 am 
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Hello Stuart

Thanks.. I can see I will face a number of challenges. It is not necessary to have a band room, bathroom or vocal both so I will try to put the control room downstairs and leave the high ceilings in.

I will make another design and I have attached the one I made in the version that you can read. More soon..
peace
scott


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 Post subject: Re: Studio Design Advice
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:29 am 
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Stuart writes:

Quote:
Considering that you need about 20m2 for a decent control room (for good acoustics), and that the live room needs to be about three times the size of the control room, I'd say that you have a problem! You will have to sacrifice acoustics to fit in just those to rooms alone. You can probably squeeze in a usable control room to maybe 15m2, leaving 35m2 for your live room, drum booth and vocal booth. That is unworkable: Forget the vocal booth, and do any vocal recordings in the CR. 35m2 for LR plus drum booth is VERY tight. This is going to be a very small studio, and you won't be able to get good drum sounds, simply because the drum both will be very minute. Hardly big enough to fit in a typical drum kit. Since drums sound terrible in a room with a low ceiling, try to keep the ceiling in there as high as possible, with no rooms above.


Then maybe the best option is to make only a control room and a live room. Place the drums in one of the corners and use some of these drum isolaters that you see (Steven Wilson had his drummer playing in some sort of tent structure on his last album.) and then you can take advantage of the room acoustics.

A more simple design, rather than all the rooms too small..... As I see it if the control room is 4.5x 3m this would 4.5 x 7 for the live room.

I will try to work with this idea...
peace
scott


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 Post subject: Re: Studio Design Advice
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 4:48 am 
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Location: Santiago, Chile
Quote:
A more simple design, rather than all the rooms too small..... As I see it if the control room is 4.5x 3m this would 4.5 x 7 for the live room.
That makes a lot more sense, yes.

Quote:
Place the drums in one of the corners and use some of these drum isolaters that you see
Right. Those don't make the drums totally silent, but they do reduce the level a bit, by maybe 10 to 20 dB. It's a good solution when you have a very small space to work with.

- Stuart -

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 Post subject: Re: Studio Design Advice
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:34 pm 
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Anyone know how to get Stuart to finish a job? I contracted Stuart to make a 70m2 studio last year and made the first payment in July, 2nd in November with the promise to be finished in a month and now it is April and I still have nothing I can work with to go forward with my local architect. It is very frustrating. He rarely answers mails and promises and never delivers.

I do not know what to do to get my studio design finished?? Help??? Does he always take 8 months or more and say 3-4 months?
Thanks folks. I would love to share and discuss but all I can do is complain at the moment..

peace
scott


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 Post subject: Re: Studio Design Advice
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:03 pm 
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I'm sorry to hear that Scott!
How far along are you with the design so far?
Greg


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