John Sayers' Recording Studio Design Forum

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Author:  ruffriddims [ Wed Jul 26, 2006 7:05 pm ]

Greetings to those that run and those who are involvedand members. I am a new member.

My name is Moemedi Ramogapi, I live in Palapye Botswana, Africa and where I am trying to build a recording studio in this village called Palapye. For those who don’t know where Botswana is, we are in southern Africa, just above South Africa. Just came back to Palapye Last year from studying in South Africa Johannesburg.

I have unfortunately already started construction and have gone so far with out making enough research. My goals are to try and build a professional studio and offer recording services to people in my village and surrounding areas. I would like the experience of being in the studio be the same as working into one in any part of the developed world (visually). Currently and for a while, my studio will be very computer based, therefore for now, I don’t have all the big mixers and all the nice gear. The reason I made a big booth was so that in the near future we could also offer live music recordings for bands and all so the size is mainly for drums space for the time of drumming.

I have just noticed that I was working in the dark as most studios that I have been to are built in the same manner and don’t have all the bends that I see the plans having. Basically the rooms are very square and in the information that I read says these are some of the hardest rooms to deal with. This is because the rooms are 3m x 4m with a wall of 2490mm in height.

I have already used most of the money that I had saved on the building and the builder but could raise up to US$1000.00 to try and finish the studio.

Description of the environment.
I have built the studio in my fathers land and extended to his existing building that operates a bar and has a loud jukebox. There are some houses near by the site where I am building the Studio.

Description of the structure

The building structure itself was not built based on an actual plan that where approved by the building inspectors.

The foundation is the same size a face brick, therefore 115mm across the whole building. The walls a 460mm brick work and pix have been attached to show it better.

The building comprises of an office, Reception, toilet, small kitchen, storeroom, and control room voicing booth.

The measurement of the control room is and voicing booth are the same, therefore 3m x 4m and I have built a 460mm wall to try and keep the noise and out. The wall is about 2490mm high from the foundation slab.

The plan above shows the actual plan used in the construction of the building, there is no elevation and roofing style, but this is what was used.

I have bought an air conditioning unit that will be used in the control room to ventilate the studio. They said it is at 12000, I believe that is the power of the compressor and all. It is a slit unit so will be mounted on the wall.

I was planning on buying wall-to-wall carpeting but would like to know if that is necessary as it costs a lot here in Botswana. But I notice that there was some wood that could be used for flooring.

I had bought mattress foam, which I was just going to cover the wall with until I saw and read that it would kill the room.

I had planned to put a double ceiling and fill it with Fibreglass, the very itchy ting. The roof will be a flat roof that I would like to add the second ceiling.

I also but some down lights 20 of them, 2 switches for the control room and the vox booth.

I have also left out a space between the voicing booth and the control room.


I currently use Studio Phile BX5 from MAUDIO but plan to upgrade to a bigger version as the studio grows. But this will depend on what size and brand I can afford at the time of purchase.


I have seen some very nice designs and not sure if US$1000.00 will reach any of the nice standards that I have seen here. SO I need a design that I could us for this space and if possible not have to demolish too much other wise the builder is going to kill me. I am not sure if it’s so late that the best things to just build acoustic panels.

I would really like to make a very nice studio despite that the studio would be computer based, as the plan would be to develop more equipment with time.

I have asked the electrician and builder to hold it for a while I try and get some help with this problem I am having.

The other thing is that here in Botswana, there are no dealers of a radio shack sound meters, so I am in a bit of a fix because I don’t know where to buy one and the thing is I don’t have master card or even visa to buy online.

I hope that I have provided the enough information

Author:  ruffriddims [ Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:24 am ]
Post subject:  I need AID please


I am in desparate need of assitance, any one who can help, WOuld greatly appriciate it. Please help!

Thank you very much

Author:  giles117 [ Sat Jul 29, 2006 5:36 am ]
Post subject: 

I tend to be internationally math challenged. Are all the dimension in your drawings mm???

Author:  ruffriddims [ Sat Jul 29, 2006 6:42 am ]
Post subject: 

Yes they are

they are in millimetres, we use millimetres and not inches here in Botswana and power is normally the same as in the Uk, 240volts.

Thanks you

Author:  ruffriddims [ Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

I would like to Know if I have posted this post in the Right section or should I have posted it in Constuction instead of Design?

Please help!

Author:  John Sayers [ Sun Aug 06, 2006 2:18 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi ruffriddims - welcome, I'm a bit confused by the plan and photos. It looks like you've built the Vocal booth as 3m x 4m but what you've labelled control room looks bigger than that, whereas the plan says they are the same size. Have you in fact built the office as well but haven't built the dividing wall??

as I've drawn in the attached drawing


Author:  ruffriddims [ Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi John, Thank you for welcoming me to your great site, wish more people can know about it here in Africa.

The plan is not drawn to scale. THe photos where taken in perspective so they look bigger as the pics where shot at a high angel. the Voicing Booth (in plan wrttten voicing room) and the control room (in plan written studio) are both the same size. the place looks bigger in the photos as I was there is perspective.

THere is an office next to the area reserved for the Studio, it has already been built. I will try and supply you with the full images of the whole are.

I would have like for the are that we have reserved fro the studio to be the on to be built on. as shown in the plan, there fore 8m x 3mfor the studio and voicing booth.

I will be back later to load the Pictures that will give you a beeter picture, I hope.

Thanks Moemedi for Ruff Riddims

Author:  ruffriddims [ Tue Aug 08, 2006 3:37 am ]
Post subject: 

Here are the pictures of the studio and office that I have taken late in the evening.

Please remeber that the plan is not to scale but the control room and the vocal booth measure 4mx3m metres each, they are exactly the same size. That is the area that I was intending to us just for the studio.

Author:  John Sayers [ Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:00 am ]
Post subject: 

OK - I see what you've done.

To treat the rooms you have I'd do it like this.


Author:  ruffriddims [ Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:49 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi JOhn

Thanks alot for the design, the only thing is that looking at the plan, i saw that you you had mad the dimension 3m, where as it is suppose to be 4 metres. THe length of the rea for the control room is the 8m and the width is 3m. I hope that the design will not change drastically due to the measurements.

length= 4mx 4m = 8m
width= 3 m

instead of the 6metres , it should be 8 metres by a width of 3 metres.

i would also like to know that if the door entring the studio goes into the voicing booth, will people entring not disturb? Is it possible to flip the design the other way so that the doors entring the studio lead you first into the control room.

Thanks John for all your help

FOr Ruff Riddims

Author:  John Sayers [ Wed Aug 09, 2006 7:51 am ]
Post subject: 

ah - I see what you mean - if you make it the other way you end up needing to face the control room the other way which means your window door system doesn't work.

This is the only way I can make it work but you'll have to change the window wall so you have double glass doors into the studio.


Author:  ruffriddims [ Wed Aug 09, 2006 9:41 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hey John Its great, I will talk to the Builder to hear what he will say about the demolishing of the building but I dont see it as a problem, What do I do with the floor, should I put a carpet or a wooden floor with insolation.

I would like to know How I will cross the mics cables from the Booth to the control room.

Rock wool seems not to be around the village so will fibreglass 4 " inso lation work alright? but will try and make an order for it if the can get it from South Africa or Gaborone.

THe other thing is, do you have a Key, Like the black sold line stands for and angels and measurements.

I really love it and am very happy with what you have done, I cant wait to star working on it.

do the specs that you supplies remain the same? for examples the additional wall and th angels that they run at and the insolation?

I cant wait.

Thank you John, You are changing the world day by day. and helping build more studios where there are non like in Palapye Botswana.

Thanks alot,

Moemedi Ramogapi

Author:  sharward [ Thu Aug 10, 2006 2:31 am ]
Post subject: 

Welcome to the forum, new friend from Botswana! :D

I have been following your thread here with great interest. I have even done a little bit of reading about your country -- very interesting! 8) It seems there have been great strides in economic growth there with a sizable middle class. :) I hope that sets an example and spreads throughout Africa!

Anyway, on with your project... In your first post, you wrote:
ruffriddims wrote:
I have built the studio in my fathers land and extended to his existing building that operates a bar and has a loud jukebox. There are some houses near by the site where I am building the Studio.

I understand that construction began on your project before you had the benefit of the knowledge you have gained from this forum. :( I am worried about what appears to be four leaf walls. I know the walls are already built so there may not be much of an opportunity to do anything ideal about it, but I'm curious about what we can expect and improve in terms of isolation (soundproofing)... :roll:

I think that until now, the focus has been on room treatment and layout. However, I'm very concerned about how the walls will perform. All the acoustic treatment in the world won't dramatically increase the isolation levels of the studio. I'm wondering if our friend here will end up with a studio that sounds great but has too much invasion of noise from the outside, and likewise, too much noise escaping the studio, each of which creates its own set of problems.

Can anyone comment on this? Is there anything that can be done realistically to improve the expected isolation levels? Would attempting to sand between the rows of bricks help at all by applying "mass law" to join all the leaves together, or are they too close together for that to be effective (chunks of mortar bridging the stacks of bricks in places, causing air pockets to exist in spite of the sand being added)? Would liquid expanding foam be better, and if so, is it cost prohibitive and is it even available in that part of the world?

It looks like construction has stopped for the moment and that there is no roof on the place yet -- so let's take advantage of this opportunity (however narrow) to try to mitigate problems later with some creative retrofitting solutions.

--Keith :mrgreen:

Author:  ruffriddims [ Thu Aug 10, 2006 5:11 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi Keith and John and the Massive from

I am very glad that I came to the website on time and before going totally in the dark about the studio and all.

I have managed to talk to the builder and show him the plan and the changes to the plan that I have seen from John. He is PISED off but is willing to doing, so that will not be a problem be a problem.

When I started the contruction I had not found this resourcful website and had gone astray for a Until now. I had hope that the for brick wall would reduce the sound coming in and going out (sound proofing) and I realised that I had gone totally astray with that idea. I am looking for any ideas, any affordable suggestions that can work in my country. I have found out that some materials are very expensive and that even rock wool is very hard to find here even the people that run hardwares dont even know what rockwool isolation is all about. so there is a big shortage of materials , well maybe here in Palapye my home village but will have to check if they can find any in Gaborone, the Capital City of Botswana. And if i dont Find it there, I know I will find it in Johannesburg and will have to travel there to find it.

in regards to the bricks, the builder had built two walls, with 230mm next to each other and if there is a suggestion to fill it up with sand or any other cheap material available locally, i will be more than willing to do so. San is not a problem, but will have to specify if it is river sand or pit sand that I should try and will the space inbetween the walls. I am not sure about the liquid that turns into foam as that is probably very very hard to find here in Africa. But I think that the sand idea would will be easy to work with becoz sand is available.

I would really love to make a studio that people would really love to come record at the studio and get the best sound quality they could get at any studio world wide. But the only differece it will be in a small village called Palapye in Botswana Africa. THe thing is I have seen all studios and they are all in a square room and not close to anything that I see at I would really love to build the best studio in the Country, with the little money I have.

Thank you keith for your interest for my country, we have a small population and we are currently accommodating alot of Economic refugees from Zimbabwe. My builder is from Zimbabwe. Hope you will all vist Botswana one day.


Moemedi Ramogapi
FOr Ruff riddims

Author:  Johnrg [ Thu Aug 10, 2006 6:45 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi there,

in my humble opinion I would not waste time and money trying to get Rockwool insulation. Just use the thickest normal fluffy insulation you can afford. We have the same trouble down here in New Zealand, Rockwool is hard to find and very expensive because it's imported. I used normal fluffy insulation and it seems to be doing the job fine.

Also, as Keith mentions four leaf is not great. You will notice a improvement if you fill the outside gaps with sand if it's easy to do and cheap (leaving the middle gap as air). BUT, I am thinking that a four leaf block wall is still going to be a pretty good insulator, depends on how loud you will be and how much outside noise there is.

Keep up the good work.


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