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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:50 pm 
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Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan U.S.A.
We’re building a new house and I want to build a studio in a portion of the basement. My current studio is 20 feet x 12 feet x 7.5 feet tall. I would like my new studio to be a little bigger but not a lot bigger (I think) but I also don’t want to miss out on a much better design if going bigger gets me there.

I don’t need isolation as most of my tracking is direct to DAW and VI’s. I can control my external environment when needed for recording via mic’s.

Primary purpose is personal use/business (no recording clients) for a creative environment, tracking and mixing my own “stuff”. My current studio is one room. Not sure if I should consider a vocal booth or continue to record vocals in same room.
Don’t plan to record drums.

I also would prefer to keep the walls parallel, if possible, for resale (just in case).
The ceiling will be 8’-10” unfinished with exposed floor joists. I am hoping to keep it this way for aesthetics but will certainly treat it acoustically.

My current studio was treated using a design by Ready Acoustics.

I'm hoping you can point me in the right direction to get started determining the proper size and layout.

Thanks!

I’ve attached a few pics of my current studio just for reference.
Attachment:
Studio-Treatment-Plan-Iso-1_Comp.jpg

Attachment:
Studio-Treatment-Plan-Top_Comp.jpg

Attachment:
Studio 1.JPG

Attachment:
Studio 3.JPG


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I compose and record almost everything on my own.
Guitars are recorded direct via Axe-FX III.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:38 am 
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There are specifications for rooms that can help you plan your mixing space: ITU-R BS.1116-3 for example. It gives you minimum floor size.

If you have a lot of space (like 600+ sq ft) then consider making a large vocal booth. Otherwise you could probably track vocals just fine in the control room.

Quote:
I don’t need isolation as most of my tracking is direct to DAW and VI’s.

So you don't mind hearing rain, foot steps above, etc while you're mixing or tracking vocals?

Isolation is a ton of work and money for sure, but it makes a huge difference. If you are building a house and decide to have greater than average isolation, I recommend having the following done during your house build.

- Get two layers of 3/4" sub flooring put on. This will prevent you from having to beef up your ceiling the hard and annoying way.
- Get the thickest rim board installed around the entire perimeter -- again, preventing you from having to beef up thin crap later.
- Plan your room as much as possible BEFORE signing off on anything.
- Plan for 36" wide doors because once you have multiple seals on it, your door will get quite a bit skinnier than 36".
- Install conduit in the ground before they pour the concrete (you need to have your plan pretty solidified before this stage of course!)
- Ensure that NO mechanical drops down and ruins your ceiling height in your basement.
- Get the tallest walls you can in the basement. Do not cheap out here. I have 10' in my basement and it's hindered my design big time. I would have gladly paid for 15' if I could have had them.
- Get 200 Amp service if possible in your area. Running designated HVAC and several isolated ground circuits eats up space in your breaker panel quick. Plan for a sub panel in an ideal location (making your electrical runs as short as possible)
- Plan to have your door in the middle (maybe more towards the back wall) which will prevent your door screwing up your soffit wing and back wall. Both these locations cannot have doors at them!
- Come up with several possible locations for your silencer boxes. Plan what floor joists your silencer box sleeves may run through and make sure your mechanical contractors do not run their crap through them!
- If your basement floor gets cold where you live, consider radiant in slab heating because you can't have rug!

Greg

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:55 am 
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Quote:
My current studio is 20 feet x 12 feet x 7.5 feet tall. I would like my new studio to be a little bigger but not a lot bigger (I think) but I also don’t want to miss out on a much better design if going bigger gets me there.
With 240 ft2 you don't really need to make it a lot bigger, although bigger is always better! The minimum recommended floor area for a good control room is 215 ft2, and your current place is comfortably bigger than that. However, your ceiling is very low, at only 7'6". So I'd be looking to get a much higher ceiling in your new place, even if the floor area is only about the same. Of course, if you can do BOTH (more area, and higher ceiling), that would be fantastic!

Quote:
I don’t need isolation as most of my tracking is direct to DAW and VI’s.
Are you sure about that? What sounds are there outside that could trash your mixing sessions? Thunder, rain, hail, or wind. Aircraft or helicopters flying over. Sirens from ambulances / police / fire engines. Nearby trains. Cars / trucks / buses arriving / leaving / driving past. Dogs barking outside. Lawnmowers. Loud radios/TVs. Also things inside the building itself, such as water running in pipes, fans, pumps and other motors, people walking on floors, doors closing, people talking, vacuum cleaners, washing machine, phones ringing, furnace.... There's hundreds of possible sounds that could annoy you as you try to concentrate. Isolation is a two-way street: You need to be thinking about sounds going in both directions, and set your goal to deal with the loudest one. The "loudest one" might well be your music going out, but it also might be something out there that you don't want to let in... :)

Quote:
Not sure if I should consider a vocal booth or continue to record vocals in same room.
If you can fit in a good sized vocal booth and still end up with more than 215 ft2 of floor area for the control room, then great! But if adding a booth would make the CR too small, or if it would leave it with a non-symmetric shape, then no, it's not a good idea.

Quote:
I also would prefer to keep the walls parallel, if possible, for resale (just in case).
No problem! It's actually a myth that you have to angle your walls in a studio...

Quote:
The ceiling will be 8’-10” unfinished with exposed floor joists.
Excellent! That's a major improvement over your previous place. :thu: Is the 8'10" height measured to the bottom of the joists, or all the way up to the under surface of the sub-floor? How deep are the joists?

Quote:
I am hoping to keep it this way for aesthetics but will certainly treat it acoustically.
See above: as long as you are totally certain that nothing happening on that floor above you could interfere with your sessions( ie, someone walking on that floor, or vacuuming it, or playing music up there, or the phone ringing, or talking... etc...), then that's fine: you don't need to isolate. But do think about it carefully! Perhaps things are OK now, but what about in the future? Might somebody want to practice tap-dancing up there, for example? Or maybe learn to play the bagpipes? :) If there's a chance that there will be annoying noises up there at some point, then do consider isolating your room...

Quote:
I'm hoping you can point me in the right direction to get started determining the proper size and layout.
General guidelines when designing a room for a studio:

1) Make the room as big as you can
2) Give it the highest ceiling you can
3) The room must be symmetrical, at least for the front half
4) Not square, and no dimension within 5% of another, or within 5% of being a multiple of another
5) No doors or windows in the corners,
6) Good existing isolation, or space for installing proper isolation walls and ceiling.
7) Good existing HVAC, or simple access to good locations for installing HVAC

Those are the key issues. There are other criteria that could be important too (such as easy access for bringing in gear and instruments, storage space nearby, no stairs, wide doors, etc.), but those are the most important.

Quote:
I’ve attached a few pics of my current studio just for reference.
Nice! :thu: I'd suggest that you run REW in there, so you have a clear picture of the acoustic response in that space at present, then you can compare that to the response of your new place, to see how you are doing, and what might need to be changed to make the new place sound like the old one... or what could be done to make it BETTER! :)


- Stuart -

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:52 am 
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Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan U.S.A.
Sorry for the long delay in responding to your posts. I sincerely appreciate the time you have all put into responding to me. I have been extremely busy preparing our house to list and also working with the builder to finalize selections, in addition to other life stuff.

I have managed to create a fairly decent Sketchup showing the basement layout and my propose studio layout. I've also included the location of the egress window, support poles, electric panel, water inlet pipes and a few plumbing pipes based on the drawing I have and going to look at homes currently being built. (my future neighbors).

I'm not happy with the location of the water inlet and electric panel (and one of the support poles) but there's nothing I can do about it.

** UPDATE: Electric Panel will be located near the furnace - next to stairs - so that's no longer and issue.

Here's a couple of pics of my sketch. It's not 100% accurate. I had to estimate some of the wall thickness. It's close enough to formulate a basic plan until I can see the actual blueprints.

Regarding the ceiling height: It is 8" 10" to the bottom of the floor joists. The floor joists are ~ 11" deep. I am not 100% certain if I am going to leave it unfinished or drywall it.

Based on the recommendations so far, the key issue I may have to contend with is the egress window location. It's definitely in a corner.
Hmmm... is my proposed door location an issue?

Please take a look at my sketch and let me know if anything else violates the basic principles or if there's anything else I need to consider.

Again, just considering the overall shape, size and layout of the studio for right now - in conjunction with the known design of the house (electric panel, etc)

Attachment:
BSEMENT STUDIO 1.jpg

Attachment:
BASEMENT STUDIO 2.jpg


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I've been playing guitar for over 40 years.
Small Personal Recording Studio
I compose and record almost everything on my own.
Guitars are recorded direct via Axe-FX III.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:15 am 
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Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan U.S.A.
The new home construction is entering it's final stages. Electrical, HVAC and plumbing is in. Drywall is up and they've started painting.

I have been able to get actual dimensions in the basement and have created it in Sketchup. I drew in the support poles, egress window, electric panel, water inlet/supply and PVC plumbing pipes. I also drew in the area where the bathroom will be located (it's pre-plumbed for a full bath).

I'm planning to make this a single room.

A couple of key points to keep in mind:
1) The entire basement will be finished. We plan to install a wet bar in the corner to the right of the stairs. It will be used for entertaining, watching sports, movies, etc. It's just the wife and I at home now. We have 2 grandchildren (ages 11 & 12) and they spend the night sometimes. We want them to enjoy the basement as well.

2) I am keeping resale in mind as one day we may end up moving. I want the studio to be easily converted into a bedroom should we ever sell. For that reason, the location is based on having the egress window in it. Plus, being this is where I spend a lot of time teaching, playing guitar, filming and, of course, recording..... I thought it would be nice to have some natural light available.

3) The dimensions were all taken from the cement walls. When constructed, there will be a gap between the framing and cement in order to keep condensation down. I'm estimating the actual room dimensions will be about 1 foot less in the 17' 3" dimension.

4) I'm showing a proposed wall with a chamfered door (drawn in by hand). I'm open to changing the location (i.e. making the length of the room shorter/longer) if needed.

5) The ceiling height is 8' 10" from concrete floor to the bottom of the ceiling/floor joist. I am planning to drywall the ceiling unless it creates major issues.

6) I'm really not concerned with isolation. It's just my wife and I so I can control noise in the house when needed. It's in a very quiet neighborhood with mostly older adults. I'm on a cul de sac so traffic is very minimal. Most of what I do is guitar direct to DAW and VI's. If I have any serious issues when recording vocals, it wouldn't bother me to go to a local studio to record the vocals.

With this being said, I am really struggling with a few things:
1) How will I handle the water inlet/meter, the support pole and the PVC plumbing pipe that will be in the room?
In a typical bedroom, these could be hidden in closets.

2) I am assuming the best position would be facing the left wall. If so, will it be possible to flush mount my monitors with the electric panel and water inlet in the left corner?

3) For aesthetics, my wife would really like to have the door in a chamfered corner (as shown). Is this going to be a problem?

I've attached 2 JPEG's showing the room dimensions and location of the pole, plumbing, etc.
The HVAC is located to the left of the stairway.

I am planning to meet with a contractor soon to discuss the entire basement project.

We are closing on February 7th, 2020 and my intentions are to begin shortly after.

I want to share my Sketchup file but the file size is over 3MB even though I purged the file.

Attachment:
Studio 1.jpg

Attachment:
Studio 2.jpg


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I've been playing guitar for over 40 years.
Small Personal Recording Studio
I compose and record almost everything on my own.
Guitars are recorded direct via Axe-FX III.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2019 6:22 am 
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Quote:
1) How will I handle the water inlet/meter, the support pole and the PVC plumbing pipe that will be in the room?
In a typical bedroom, these could be hidden in closets.

This all depends on how you orient your room. No matter what, if you aren't doing a full isolation style build, cover/build around that stuff however you want. You may just have to put an acoustic panel on the face.

Quote:
2) I am assuming the best position would be facing the left wall. If so, will it be possible to flush mount my monitors with the electric panel and water inlet in the left corner?

Personally I would ditch the angled back corner and make it square. Then, I'd move the bedroom door to face the hallway beside the stairs. Keep the door as far from the corner as you can so that you can bass trap that corner. I'd would have the window to my left while mixing. That pole sucks but with some insulation wrapped around it, hopefully it won't screw much up acoustically speaking. For flush mounting with that stuff there, I would say you legally cannot build there. You might have to ditch the flush mounting idea unless you can build a your studio room somewhere else in the basement.

Quote:
3) For aesthetics, my wife would really like to have the door in a chamfered corner (as shown). Is this going to be a problem?

I addressed this question with my answer above.

Quote:
5) The ceiling height is 8' 10" from concrete floor to the bottom of the ceiling/floor joist. I am planning to drywall the ceiling unless it creates major issues.

Adding drywall to the ceiling is a pretty easy job if you want that for resale. Personally, I prefer dropped ceiling in basements to allow easy access to plumbing, electrical, etc. Having said that, if you want your room to sound great, you need to have a absorption on your ceiling. So, IMO your best bet is to fill your joists with insulation, put fabric over it and then hide your fabric seams with small strips of wood/trim. Before you cover it with fabric, be sure to take some acoustic measurements because you might need to put some polys on some areas of your ceiling (in the back of the room). Check out some treatment threads on the forum to see what I mean by taking acoustic measurements and fine tuning the room each step of the way.

Quote:
I want to share my Sketchup file but the file size is over 3MB even though I purged the file.

A lot of people link to google drives or dropbox URL's with their SketchUp files. Be sure to save as an older version (like 2014 for example) before you upload it so that everyone with older versions of SketchUp can still open your file :wink:

Greg

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:22 am 
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Greg, I’m interested in your answer to his ceiling question. I have the same issue, but with 7.5” ceilings (to bottom of 8” joists)

Quote:
So, IMO your best bet is to fill your joists with insulation, put fabric over it and then hide your fabric seams with small strips of wood/trim.


Wouldn’t that affect noise level upstairs quite a bit to not have drywall up?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:41 am 
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Quote:
Wouldn’t that affect noise level upstairs quite a bit to not have drywall up?

I'm sure to some small extent yes. However, if you're going this route I would suggest beefing up your sub floor from below. This is entirely relying upon mass law, so you can't expect amazing isolation. This is a compromise to get good acoustics in a room with limited height not requiring great isolation.

Greg

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:47 am 
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Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan U.S.A.
We are closing on this house on Friday, Feb 7th. I’ve been considering all of this information and plan to get back to designing the space soon. Other “house stuff” has taken precedence.

I will say we are leaning towards having an open ceiling in all of the basement and spraying it black or gray. If I do this, I will be insulating the ceiling in the studio and I need to decide on how to cover it.

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I've been playing guitar for over 40 years.
Small Personal Recording Studio
I compose and record almost everything on my own.
Guitars are recorded direct via Axe-FX III.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:19 am 
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Quote:
I will say we are leaning towards having an open ceiling in all of the basement and spraying it black or gray. If I do this, I will be insulating the ceiling in the studio and I need to decide on how to cover it.

Once you fill all of the joist bays with insulation, you can easily just staple on fabric to the joists. At any fabric seams, just add a strip of painted trim or stained wood. Whatever you'd like. This example is my friends room where he used black fabric and trim that he painted black to cover up the ugly messy fabric seams. It looks beautiful in real life.
Attachment:
Darren Ceiling Example.jpg

Greg


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:56 am 
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Gregwor wrote:
Quote:
I will say we are leaning towards having an open ceiling in all of the basement and spraying it black or gray. If I do this, I will be insulating the ceiling in the studio and I need to decide on how to cover it.

Once you fill all of the joist bays with insulation, you can easily just staple on fabric to the joists. At any fabric seams, just add a strip of painted trim or stained wood. Whatever you'd like. This example is my friends room where he used black fabric and trim that he painted black to cover up the ugly messy fabric seams. It looks beautiful in real life.
Attachment:
Darren Ceiling Example.jpg

Greg


Thank you Greg. Are you aware of any other pictures that show this ceiling better or others like it?

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I've been playing guitar for over 40 years.
Small Personal Recording Studio
I compose and record almost everything on my own.
Guitars are recorded direct via Axe-FX III.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:36 am 
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I text messaged Darren asking him to take some more pics of his ceiling for you. If you go to the completed studio threads I'm sure you'll find a lot on there. Again, it's just fabric and the seams are covered up with trim or whatever you'd like. There are some fabric mounting systems where the fabric edges just push into a clip/clamp type trough. I don't have links to these though because when I looked into them years ago they are wicked expensive. This forum encourages functional builds at affordable prices so I never recommend the mounting system. I'll be the first to admit that the system creates a beautiful look though!

Greg

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:00 am 
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Gregwor wrote:
I text messaged Darren asking him to take some more pics of his ceiling for you. If you go to the completed studio threads I'm sure you'll find a lot on there. Again, it's just fabric and the seams are covered up with trim or whatever you'd like. There are some fabric mounting systems where the fabric edges just push into a clip/clamp type trough. I don't have links to these though because when I looked into them years ago they are wicked expensive. This forum encourages functional builds at affordable prices so I never recommend the mounting system. I'll be the first to admit that the system creates a beautiful look though!

Greg



Thank you Greg.

Would I be able to achieve the same results (meaning achieving good room acoustics - not preventing outside noise intrusion) if I left the joists void of any insulation and treated the ceiling with acoustic panels?

Some folks I've talked to said they had concerns with insulation particles coming down through the fabric. This may not be a valid concern but I thought I would ask.

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I've been playing guitar for over 40 years.
Small Personal Recording Studio
I compose and record almost everything on my own.
Guitars are recorded direct via Axe-FX III.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:31 am 
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Darren sent me a few pictures of his ceiling for you but they are washed out due to lighting and his crappy phone camera:
Attachment:
Ceiling 1.JPG

Attachment:
Ceiling 2.JPG

Quote:
Would I be able to achieve the same results (meaning achieving good room acoustics - not preventing outside noise intrusion) if I left the joists void of any insulation and treated the ceiling with acoustic panels?

It would give you similar results yes, but, are you meaning that you want to leave the sheathing up or do you want to remove it and expose the joists? The reason I'm asking is because if your joists are exposed (give you a nice tall ceiling), why not just stuff insulation up there and cover it with fabric? It's probably easier than building panels and it looks better (see pics).

Quote:
Some folks I've talked to said they had concerns with insulation particles coming down through the fabric. This may not be a valid concern but I thought I would ask.

If you're worried about it, put a super thin layer of film (plastic) over the insulation. The thinner the better. If you use too thick then you will risk having high frequencies reflection issues.

Greg


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 5:40 am 
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Greg,
Thank you for the pics and the responses. I'm sorry I'm so late in responding. I don't get email notifications for my posts even though I have "Notify me when a reply is posted" selected. We've been very busy moving into the house and everything that goes with it so I haven't checked back recently.

A recent observation I made the other day.... I was in the basement and my wife was in the room directly above where my studio will be built. We were able to have a conversation!

Does this mean I should seriously consider using drywall if I want to prevent some of that transmission?

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I've been playing guitar for over 40 years.
Small Personal Recording Studio
I compose and record almost everything on my own.
Guitars are recorded direct via Axe-FX III.


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