John Sayers' Recording Studio Design Forum

Nearly completed after 3 years - (Studio 3 Productions)
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Author:  monstertraxstudio [ Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:42 am ]
Post subject:  Nearly completed after 3 years - (Studio 3 Productions)


Its been a while since I've been on and posted anything. i wanted to first take an opportunity to personally thank John Sayers for putting me in touch with one of his BEST guys, Stuart Allsop (Soundman2020): he's been working with me for nearly 3 years on this build and he's an incredible man, engineer, designer, mentor and friend. a best friend that I've never had the privilege to meet in person and shake his hand, heck, hug him. I will post some pics and I will have him post some graphs and charts to show just what we have accomplished and built together. If you need to hire a real professional for a top notch job then he's def your guy!!! There's not enough time in the day or words in my vocabulary to express how amazing he is. Hire him now! While you can. (But wait a few more weeks so i can be finished first.) (:: pics to come.




YouTube Link to a News Report about this studio: The sounds of solitude and rock collide in Lone Jack

Author:  monstertraxstudio [ Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years

a few details:
68 mic inputs
32 in and 24 out (for now) track and mixed in the box or on the console
All wired with quad core Mogami
5 rooms: Control room 27x24x14, Vari-acoustic room 15x16x8, reverb room 12x16x15, tracking room 12x12x8, big room 25x28x14
Control room wall soffit monitors: Eve Audio-Germany SC407 4 way with ribbon tweeters
Dynaudio BM14M sub
Ref monitors: Genelec 1031-A
Pro Tools HD with 2 Avid HD I/O converters, 1 Digi 192 for monitors thru Behringers P system, 16 channels hear back
all timing thru Apogee Big Ben Clock
NEVE, SSL, UA and Amek Mic Pres
All patch bays and wiring provided and installed by David Rothchester at Technical Audio Services in Nashville, TN
Design by Stuart Allsop
Construction build and finish by Premier One Construction in Kansas City, MO.

Author:  monstertraxstudio [ Mon May 02, 2016 4:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years

Heres an update, after several weeks and lots of sitting watch rew files upload to Stuart, he thinks were almost complete, i don't think the line could get much flatter without an iron, ill post a few graphs he sent me, let me know what you think, and if you understand them... (:

Author:  spinstonchurchill [ Tue May 03, 2016 7:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years


Love the design. I don't fully understand all the graphs but know enough to say I love those, too. And I think a lot of people are going to love making music in there. You should both be very proud of yourselves.

Author:  Soundman2020 [ Tue May 03, 2016 3:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years

Thanks for the kind words, Spinston! (And Rod too).

Yep, you are right: I guess I should add some comments for those graphs, so folks can understand what they are seeing, and why John's design concepts are so excellent. Most of the acoustic devices in there are John Sayers inspired.

The top graph is the "waterfall plot" for the lower end of the spectrum, from 17 Hz up to 500 Hz. That covers all of the lows, and a good chunk of the mid range as well. It shows how the sound energy in the room decays over time for each frequency, in a 3D representation, with the time axis running towards you (coming out of the screen, so to speak), frequency increasing to the right (X-axis), and intensity increasing upwards (Y axis). This graph shows that all frequencies are decaying at similar rates in Rod's room, except for the very lowest part of the bottom end, below about 28 Hz, where there's still some modal activity. Unfortunately, due to the shape of Rod's room (which was already fixed before I came on board), there was no way of dealing with that. Fortunately, it doesn't matter that much, since there's not too many instruments that go down that low anyway, and we'll probably just end up rolling off a bit more under 28 Hz. to clean that up.

But the big point of that graph is how smooth the frequency response is in the low end, and how all of the frequencies decay at similar rates: That's not easy to accomplish. There's no uncontrolled modal stuff going on there, no SBIR, and no other bad stuff at all. Not many rooms get anywhere close to that smooth in the low-end energy decay.

You can see the same thing from a different point of view in the second graph, the "Spectrogram", which shows pressure level contours for the same frequency range 17 Hz up to 500 Hz. Here too you can see how very clean and smooth the low end response is. Everything is even, clean, smooth, and controlled to within one or two dB.

The next graph is RT60, which shows the reverberation time for each 1/3 octave frequency band across the entire spectrum, from 60 Hz to 12 kHz. Here too, you can see how smooth that is, with no major variations in decay rates between adjacent bands. The specs for "high quality critical listening rooms" call for no more than 0.05s difference between adjacent bands, and Rod's room easily meets that, exceeding it by far in most bands. the horizontal blue line shows the original target for the overall RT60 time for that room, at 265 ms, and how the actual results stack up against that. It's a little lower than I wanted in the lower mid range, but well within spec. And very smooth, I think.

The series of graphs below that show the full-spectrum frequency response curve for the room, with different levels of smoothing. It's easy to make bad room response look good by smoothing the curves, so I did a full series, showing the real curve at each level of curve-smoothing, and hiding nothing.

The top graphs is the highest resolution, with only very slight smoothing, at 1/48 octave. That's all the data, in all its ugly glory. At the very right edge of the graph. you can see the range of deviation. In this case it is 15.6 dB, which implies that every single frequency present in the spectrum is within +/- 7.8 dB of the reference level (80 dB). Even if I say it myself, that's pretty impressive for what is basically an un-smoothed curve! Nothing is more than 7.8 dB from flat.

The next graph down shows higher smoothing at 1/24 octave, and we are within +/- 5.8 dB of flat.

Next is smoothing to 1/12 octave, and we are within +/- 3.4 dB of flat response. That's what most control rooms get, but only when you smooth the data a lot more. We get that, with high resolution.

Next, smoothing to 1/6th octave, and frequency response is within +/- 2.3 dB. That already exceeds international specs for control rooms, and we are still at one level of resolution higher than what the specs call for.

It's the last graph that really matters most: That shows the frequency response curve smoothed to 1/3 octave, which is what all international specs call for (AES, ITU, EBU. etc.) Most of those specify that the frequency response should be within +/- 3dB from 100 Hz to 8 kHz, and with permitted deviations above and below that. As you can see, we meet that, easily, and beat it hands-down. Response is pretty much ruler flat (within +/- 1.6 dB) from 23.5 Hz to 12 kHz. In other words, the graph here shows that Rod's room is flat all the way down to two entire octaves lower than the specs call for, and one octave higher than it calls for.

There's not too many control rooms on this planet that can boast response as flat as this. In fact, most studios don't ever publish their acoustic test results at all, because they really aren't that good. But when you have results like this, it's worthwhile taking the risk of showing them to the world.

One word of caution: some people don't like ruler flat response in a control room, as it sounds a bit dull, lifeless, and, well, "flat"! (pardon the redundancy). That can be disconcerting to some people who aren't used to it, since it isn't very common, and hearing the exact, clean, clear perfect truth of what your mix really sounds like, can be a bit annoying! So over the next few days Rod and I will be working on some slight adjustments, to make the final curve closer to the B&K recommended curve, which slightly favors around 80 Hz, then gently rolls off all the way to the top end, and also a bit to the bottom end. That will be the final curve for his room.

The above graphs are more of a "proof of concept" that it is possible to get impressively flat response out of a room that is well designed, well built, and well tuned, and has excellent speakers.

I do have to mention that one of the main reasons we were able to accomplish this, is because those speakers are pretty darn amazing. Those are Eve Audio SC-407's, and they are absolutely top notch. Their chief engineer kindly helped us out with some advice, since those are rear-ported speakers, which supposedly cannot be soffit mounted, but we did it anyway, with their blessing and a bit of technical help. Those speakers are also more commonly oriented horizontally, but I felt they would be a better match for the room if we mounted them vertically, and the very helpful engineers at Eve Audio concurred.

So there you have it: Speakers that are supposed to be horizontal, and are not supposed to be soffit mounted, breaking all the rules, mounted vertically in a John Sayers inspired soffit, and producing spectacular sound. If anyone is considering what high-end studio reference monitors they should buy, you'd be hard pressed to find something better than these beasts. Not cheap, large, heavy, and cumbersome, but very impressive. As you can see from the graphs.

Of course, squiggly lines on a computer screen don't tell the full story of how the room and the speakers really sound to human ears, but so far Rod seems happy with that too! But we'll be doing some real listening tests with real human ears and real music in a few days, after we get the final tuning done, then we'll report back on how that goes.

By the way, basic inspiration for the overall room design, is an eagle in flight... not sure if you can see that.

One other things I wanted to mention: many, many features of the room are inspired by John Sayers techniques, ideas, and concepts. I merely adapted them to this specific room. If you want proof that John's studio designs and skills are unequaled, then here you have it. That's the other major reason this room works so well: because John knows what he's talking about, and the proof is right here.

We'll probably be posting a bit more about this room and the rest of the studio over the next few weeks, as there's still some tweaking to be done in the treatment of the large live room, the medium live room, and smaller "variable-acoustic" room, which Rod might want to talk about at some point (He can swing some movable panels that I designed, to fine-tune the room acoustics as needed for different scenarios). Those three rooms are already working well, but with a control room this good, Rod feels it's worth the effort to upgrade them to match it.

Anyway, if anyone reading this needs to record in a world-class studio in or around Missouri (or the entire USA for that matter), you'd have to go a long, long, long way to find something that can even get close to this level of precision here.

Stay tuned for updates! And feel free to PM Rod or myself if you'd like to know any specifics of how we did this. We won't be revealing all of the secrets out in public, of course, but there might be some things that we can share in private.

Congratulations, Rod! Your place looks great, and sounds better than great.

- Stuart -

Author:  monstertraxstudio [ Wed May 04, 2016 11:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years

Sorry guys I guess I should have let Stuart put up the graphs and explain them as he went. I guess I was just so excited to finally be nearly complete with the tuning I mighta jumped the gun a little. As Stuart said we are very excited at the results that are coming, and had I not started from scratch with him who knows how accurate and flat it would be. I'm excited to offer the studio to anyone, if you have a producer or a favorite engineer then we are more than willing and welcome to unlock the doors and turn the lights on for ya.

My vision and goal when my wife and I started this adventure was to build a world class studio that we could run and offer it to anyone no matter what status level they hold nor the amount of money they have. The less fortunate artist with a tattered guitar and a torn shirt with a message to the nations as well as the seasoned A list artist looking for a hideaway to record that next platinum record. We believe that everyone deserves the best we have to offer and the use of any of our new and vintage gear. We don't believe anyone is more special than the next. Please share our studio with friends and family, you could be a part of someone's journey to greatness or the message someone needs to hear through music. Blessings.

Author:  Soundman2020 [ Fri May 06, 2016 11:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years

Rod just sent me an updated photo with the Eve speakers visible, as well as a few other changes that happened to the room during the tuning process.


(Rod, you need a better camera! ...)

Author:  Soundman2020 [ Thu May 19, 2016 4:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years

To put all those graphs above into perspective, here are the graphs for the original, untreated, empty room:

First, the ORIGINAL full-spectrum frequency response, in the untreated room:

Then the ORIGINAL waterfall plot for the low end of the spectrum, in the untreated room:

And the ORIGINAL decay times for the full spectrum, in the untreated room.

So if you are building a room right now (or planning to) and wondering if it will be any good, there is hope for your room! If you follow the techniques and procedures developed by John Sayers for designing and building and treating your room, it can be very, very good. It takes time and effort, and attention to detail, but if you want assurance that all the advice you see on the forum really can produce good results, here it is. This thread is proof positive that John's methods works. I'll testify to that, first hand. Pretty much everything I did in this room is based on concepts developed by John.

- Stuart -

Author:  BlackStorm [ Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years

That's an amazing achievement Stuart!!

Did your designs include also the construction part? Or just acoustic treatment after the walls and all were built?
It must sound great!! :wink:

Author:  Soundman2020 [ Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years

Thanks, BlackStorm!

Did your designs include also the construction part? Or just acoustic treatment after the walls and all were built?

A bit of both. When I came on board, the room was already built, with all the walls in place and no longer modifiable, so I had to design around that. The result of that is the entire front end (soffits) plus the raised floor, plus the cloud, plus the treatment, and plus some of the HVAC design too.

There's a huge amount of treatment in there that you can't see, as it is above the clouds and visible ceiling (several feet of bass trapping), or hidden in the walls (there are superchunks on both side walls where they meet the rear, and also on both side walls where they meet the ceiling), as well as the visible stuff, such as the three large panels on each side (some of which contain one or more tuned device), the inverted QRD diffusers high up on the rear walls, the large poly-cylindrical diffuser on the back wall below the window, and the combined bass-traps / HVAC silencers above the rear window, etc.

Parts of the front wall are slot resonators, which I don't normally do at the front of the room but had no choice here (and the room is big enough to get away with it!). The two "wings" out to the sides of the soffits actually include doors to a small machine room on one side and a storage room on the other, and even those doors are tuned slot resonators. Maybe we can persuade Rod to take some photos of the room with those doors open (once he gets a better camera, of course! :) ) so you can see some of the hidden bits.

So from one point of view, I didn't design the actual original room shape: it was already in place and could not be changed. But from another point of view, I redesigned pretty much everything within that shell, to modify the original shape the way I needed it to be, by means of the soffits, floor, and cloud, then I designed the treatment for it all. The floor is tuned, for example, but deliberately not floated. (!) The soffits, for example, bring the front of the room in by about 3 to 6 feet, and re-shape it RFZ-style, but they also raise the speakers slightly and tilt them down just a little (at 4.3°, to be exact), which we did partly because of the large desk and high dog box on the console with the video screen on it, and partly for other reasons. There are acoustic hangers inside the lower portion of the soffits, all the way across the front. The cloud is in several sections at two different angles, some parts are hard-backed some are not, also for dual purposes: helping to control reflections, and also helping to control modes.

Etc. There's a lot more to it than meets the eye, and Rod did a superb job of building it all and disguising it, so you can't even see a lot of it.

The room is also designed for a future upgrade to 5.1, if Rod ever decides to go that way.... There are already provisions for the center speaker and rear surround speakers, which also go in soffit modules. So when the time comes to do that, the room is ready.

It was quite a challenge, but Rod wanted it to be as good as we could get it, within the limitations of the original room, but I think the goal has been achieved. And once again, credit where it is due: pretty much all of the principles I used in designing and treating this room are the same ones John Sayers has been using for years, and openly promotes for everyone else here on the forum. I think this very much validates that what John does in his rooms, and also generously shares in public, really does work exceptionally well.

In fact, the final response is even flatter than the curves above show. There is less than 1 dB difference between the left and right channels across the entire spectrum, now. I should probably update the thread with new graphs at some point, but I'm rather busy at present. with other projects!

I'm also hoping Rod will share some photos of the three live rooms in the facility, when we finish treating those over the next few weeks. One of his rooms has a set of variable-acoustic devices I designed for him, that allow him to change the acoustic response of the room slightly, as needed for different situations. . . .

- Stuart -

Author:  monstertraxstudio [ Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years

Yes Stuart, you should show some nearly tuned out graphs so we can all see them. Stuart has been an amazing designer, friend and mentor in this process. this forum is blessed to have such an amazing mind and intuitive person. He is always thinking outside the box and his loyalty to the forum is unmatched anywhere. we still have a few miles to travel together and a couple of more rooms to treat with the degree of accuracy the control room is but we will get there in His timing. Thank you all for showing interest in our buildout and the steps involved.

More to follow as Stuart can come up for air and post some things.

Author:  John Sayers [ Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years

Wonderful work guys - both of you - the studio and the charts look wonderful.

A credit to you Stuart :thu:


Author:  monstertraxstudio [ Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years

Thank you John for the kind words, Stuart is an amazing designer, artistic mind and a great friend. You have a real powerhouse of knowledge and loyalty in Him. I hope to speak to you soon.

Author:  Soundman2020 [ Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years

Thanks for the kind words, John! Very much appreciated. Coming from you, that means a LOT!

- Stuart -

Author:  ZSXI [ Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nearly completed after 3 years

Just wanted to say this looks great! I wish I was still in KC, I'd love to come scope it out.

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