John Sayers' Design Forum

John Sayers' Recording Studio Design Forum

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 1:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 12:52 pm
Posts: 15
Location: North Carolina, USA
After being in a temporary Mastering space for 3 years we figured it was time to build a new room. My partner and I have been operating a dedicated mastering room for about 9 years. We decided to build the new room on the 2nd floor of my partners new house (he had left a space for it when he built the house). The space was about 15 ft wide by 14 ft wide. As my partner is a full time artist, he wanted to incorporate a vocal booth if at all possible. We knew that it would be tight and tried to come up with some plans. But we soon decided to enlist the help of John Sayers so I sent him this sketchup drawing before our first phone call:

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As you can see, the room has short side walls and a low ceiling at 7.5 ft. We knew it was going to be tough and expected John to tell us it was impossible.

We talked to John over Skype...John in Australia, myself in North Carolina, and my partner on his tour bus traveling to singing date. Technology is so cool! Anyway, during our first phone call John presented us with 3 options for the room...1 for just a mastering room, 1 with a vocal booth & stand mounted speakers, and 1 with a vocal booth & soffit mounted speakers. After talking with John about many aspects of the design we chose to go with the soffit mounted speakers and vocal booth. Here is his design:

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We modified things a little here and there but stayed pretty true to his design. He is amazing with Sketchup! I sent him my sketchup model about 20 minutes before our call and he had 3 options for us when the call started! I know it looks tight, and it is. But it is perfect for us and what we do. We never plan on recording bands. The main function of the room needed to be mastering. Mixing and the vocal booth were secondary in priority. We had another 1 hour followup call a few weeks later to finalize some details on the acoustical treatments of the room, soffit design, etc. Then we began the construction. Pictures are coming soon!

Scott Whitehead


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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 2:04 pm 
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Location: North Carolina, USA
John suggested that we remove the drywall on the ceiling at 7.5 ft and investigate turning the whole room into a cathedral ceiling. We had our carpenter look at the existing rafter ties and how the room was constructed. After careful consideration he decided it was safe to remove the rafter ties so we could sheetrock all the way to the peak. Here is an image of us just getting started. You can see our carpenter and my partners son working on some framing.

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And here is view looking back toward the main door. That is me holding the air duct back and my shy little girl beside me!

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We have finished the insulation and sheetrock all the way to the peak and re-installed rafter ties at 8 ft. Cloth will be attached to these rafter ties so in essence we will have a 9 foot peak in the vocal booth and mastering room:

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 2:14 pm 
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Location: North Carolina, USA
Our next job was tackling the framing. This was tough but our carpenter did a great job. Everything was on an angle! Here is the front wall. We still have to frame up 2 walls to make a center cavity, separating each speaker cavity. The speaker holes are over sized to facilitate larger speakers later (our current set is Event 20/20 BAS with 12" Event powered subwoofer). We chose to go with John's vented soffit design.

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Here is the back wall which will be covered in cloth and filled with bass hangers.

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Here is the side wall where the window is located. This will be a slat resonator wall. The wall where the glass slider is going to be will also be a slat resonator but with a more shallow cavity.

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 6:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2003 12:46 pm
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Location: Australia
Hi Scott - great to see you here.

Your studio is an interesting addition to the site as the attic studio is a breed of it's own :)

cheers
john


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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 1:20 pm 
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Location: North Carolina, USA
John,

We are almost complete! We have to finish the timber on the front wall and install some trimwork. We have someone building a custom desk for our equipment. After that is complete we can move in. I will upload other pictures of our progress over the past couple months as soon as I can.

Thanks for all your help!

Scott


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:29 pm 
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Location: North Carolina, USA
Wanted to add some updates. We are actually finished with the construction of the room. But I don't want to put the finished pictures up yet. I thought it would be better to show the process.

Here is the left wall with the glass slider and vocal booth. We actually made a mistake by sheetrocking the control room side of the wall and had to tear the sheetrock off. It needed to be a slot resonator like the wall on the right side. We also had to replace the glass in the slider with 3/8" solid glass. The thin insulated glass had a terrible pinging sound when you sang in the vocal booth. The sheets were very heavy and the door now weighs a ton!
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Here is 1 of the 2 bass traps in the vocal booth. They will be filled with bass hangers and covered in cloth.
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Rockwool Time!! :D
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Here we are in our hazmat suits cutting the rockwool for the bass hangers. An electric knife cuts it very well. The construction is a fiberboard core, with rockwool on both sides. The rockwool is held onto the core with ductape. This was not a fun job. We had a miserable couple of days working with this stuff! :)
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Last edited by aswhitehead on Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:51 pm 
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Location: North Carolina, USA
We caulked every joint, seam, etc in the room. Here is my partner caulking in the bottom of the speaker platforms.
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Now its time to install all of those bass hangers. Once we got them all built outside it did not look like they would fit into the room, let alone into the wall cavities behind cloth. I don't remember an exact number but it was at least 30 - 40 of them.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:56 pm 
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Location: North Carolina, USA
Here is the rockwool in the slot resonators
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And we put insulation in between the joist hangers in the ceiling of the control room and vocal booth.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:11 pm 
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Location: North Carolina, USA
Here are the boxes we built to hold the speakers rigid. They are a very tight fit. The bottom part of the box is filled with concrete and everything is glued and screwed. There are vents up the back with about a 3" airspace for air to flow up from the bottom of the cavity and take the heat from the amps out a slot in the top of the front wall.
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Here are the vent holes in the top of the box
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Here is the custom vent tunnel to direct the heat to the front wall. You can see we have begun filling the cavity around the speaker box with rockwool and insulation cutoffs. We filled it all the way to the top and around the vent tunnel.
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Here is a testfit of the Event 20/20 BAS before we started filling up the cavities.
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We covered the backwall with plastic before covering it with cloth
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We have started covering the walls in blue cloth. This is the right slot resonator wall. To the left you can see the speaker cavity is completely filled and above you can see that the angled ceiling areas have been painted.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:30 pm 
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Location: North Carolina, USA
Slats on right slot resonator and cloth on back wall (taken with cellphone).
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Putting bamboo on the front wall that matches the bamboo flooring in the room (taken with cellphone. sorry for the bad quality)
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Removable cloth panels on bottom of front wall (cellphone again)
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:37 pm 
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Location: North Carolina, USA
My father-in-law and I built a custom desk for the mastering room. This is during construction and does not show the 2 angled racks that were added to the top. We modeled it after an argosy but because our room dimensions were so small there was no way we could fit a real argosy in there. So we shaved as much off of the dimensions as we possibly could. These pictures do not do the desk justice. It is extremely sturdy (you can hop up on the front center of the desk and set with absolutely no sag in the desk. We had a guy finish the exposed rounded edges to match the bamboo flooring in the room. Its truly a 1 of a kind desk. There will be better pics of the desk later when it is finished. There were taken with a cellphone so please pardon the bad quality.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:57 pm 
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Location: North Carolina, USA
We finally finished the cosmetics of the room and were able to move in! :yahoo: Its almost impossible to believe we fit a mastering room AND a vocal booth into a space 14 foot x 15 foot. But it fits very nicely and there is plenty of room. When we first saw the design, it looked like all our room space was being ate up with bass traps! But those areas had very low headroom and would not have been unusable anyway. And without all the traps, an area this small would have never worked. We are very happy with the room and very excited to begin working in there. We had our first mastering session this evening and it went great.

During the months of construction we never hooked the speakers up and "tested" the design. We just trusted that John's design and suggestions would work. And I have to say, the room sounds great! :D THANKS JOHN! Very even response when you move around the room...nice tight low end and crisp top end. And it looks great too! Here are a few quick pics. We still have some things to finish (blank plates in the left rack, tidy up cables, etc) and then we will have some professional shots taken.

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You can see the Event Powered Sub setting behind the desk in this image.
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*NOTE: The area with the pool table is not part of the mastering room/vocal booth. It is part of the residence where we built the room. But we did run mic lines and headphone runs into that room in case we ever need to use it. :wink:
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:35 pm 
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Location: Australia
My congratulations to you both - looks fantastic. :thu:

Love the use of mdf.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:27 pm 
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Location: Netherlands
Wow, that's great. Nice report. Have any details on the Argosy replica ;) ?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:51 pm 
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Location: North Carolina, USA
Thanks John & Ro!

The argosy replica was kind of a "build it as you go" project. I had put together 2 argosy's before so I knew how they were constructed. The width was calculated by the width of 2 racks plus about 22" for the monitor in the middle. Height was based off of the argosy. Depth was a little more tricky. I basically took a side view scale drawing of an argosy and started moving lines around till I got something that would allow 13 rack spaces, provide room for a mouse on the flat area, allow a small armrest, and give plenty of knee room under the desk. The desk ended up being a little over 5 feet wide and 36" deep.

We bought (2) 4' x 8' sheets of 3/4" MDF that were veneered with black laminate. We did not use the European "knock-down" fasteners like argosy. We glued and screwed most connections. That is why you can sit down on the arm rest in the middle of the desk with your feet off the floor and there is no sag. Legs are welded steel like argosy. We had to remove the racks from the top to get it up the stairs. Took 4 guys and it barely fit up the stairwell. All edges were rounded over with a router and finished to match the bamboo by a local furniture finisher.

It took about 1 1/2 weeks to build. Then we had to wait a couple more weeks to have the edges finished. It was definitely worth it. No one makes a desk small enough for our room so we really didn't have a choice. And we came out quite a bit cheaper than buying a similar argosy.

Scott


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