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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:42 pm 
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Location: Essex, UK
Hey all!

So me and a friend are considering converting her outdoor shed into a studio of sorts. We want to be able to track live drums, guitar, vocals, etc without annoying the neighbours, and to get some passable results. Last time I tried recording drums, it was in an awful room with a glass door so anything should be better than that in theory!

We are well aware the place we have isn't ideal of course, but it will be a start and it'll allow us to at least be able to offer something to locals bands, seeing as there aren't any other recording facilities in the area at all!

So the dimensions of the room are:

L 3.6m
W 2.4m
Short Wall 1.76m
Long Wall 2.23m

The floor is a simple wooden flooring, which we will be covering with thin metal sheets (as part of the wood has been chewed by rats, which are no long there I hasten to add!) and carpet. The walls and ceiling are corrugated metal and the ceiling is sloped. There is already a fuse box and plug points available. The door is roughly 1.8m wide. One end of the room will be occupied by a desk roughly 1.5m wide and 0.5m deep.

The ceiling is waterproof but there are gaps in the walls where the metal is corrugated, so we will need to find a way of waterproofing this as well as soundproofing it.

While our budget is fairly modest, this is a long term project so we're happy to save for the right materials, etc. We are aware that it won't be perfect, but we're willing to do what we can to make this into a usable space!

Thanks for any and all help, I can happily provide any more information if it's needed!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:42 am 
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Hi there "GhostlyDaemon", and Welcome to the forum! :)

So this room is ONLY for tracking, right? No mixing?

Quote:
L 3.6m
W 2.4m
Short Wall 1.76m
Long Wall 2.23m
That's a really, really small room for drums, and it has a very low ceiling. I don't want to rain on your parade, but I very much doubt you will get decent drum sounds in there. You'll barely have enough height to get the overheads in a good position, and they will be so close to the roof that the comb filtering artifacts will be atrocious. Drums need a LOT of space to sound good: Very large room with a high ceiling.

And that's without even isolation: I assume you plan to isolate the building, such that: 1) You don't annoy the hell out of the neighbors and have the cops showing up to shut you down, and 2) Outside sounds don't get picked up by your mics. Building the isolation system will take up a lot of space, leaving you with an even smaller room.

Quote:
The floor is a simple wooden flooring, which we will be covering with thin metal sheets
If the floor is wood, and rats already ate part of it, I would STRONGLY suggest that you get a structural engineer in there to take a look, and see if the remaining parts will be any good to support the live load and dead load of a studio!

When you say "thin metal sheets", what exactly did you have in mind? What does "thin" mean here? 1mm? 20mm? What type of "metal"? It has to be reasonably thick in order to support the weight of the studio... And why metal? That's certainly not the cheapest sheathing for making a good studio floor...

Quote:
and carpet.
Forget the carpet! It is no use at all in a studio, and in fact has the exact opposite effect of what you need in a small room. It's the perfect "anti-treatment" to make the room sound even worse.
Quote:
There is already a fuse box and plug points available.
Those will have to be removed and re-installed on the inner-leaf, once that is built.

Quote:
One end of the room will be occupied by a desk roughly 1.5m wide and 0.5m deep.
The room is rather small as it is: that desk will take up a rather large percentage of the available floor space, leaving very little to set up the drum kit.

Quote:
The ceiling is waterproof but there are gaps in the walls where the metal is corrugated, so we will need to find a way of waterproofing this as well as soundproofing it.
"Soundproofing" is not something you do to a wall. That would be impossible. "Soundproofing" is something that is achieved by creating an isolation system, of which your existing walls will be a small part. Acousticians tend to avoid using the term "soundproofing", for many reasons, but mostly because the word means different things to different people. We prefer "acoustic isolation", as that better describes the methods and materials that are needed to attenuate sound as it moves from one room to another, or from interior to exterior. You cannot really do much to a thin metal wall to "soundproof" it. It is possible to isolate your building, yes, but you don't do that by attempting to soundproof the walls.

Quote:
While our budget is fairly modest, this is a long term project so we're happy to save for the right materials, etc. We are aware that it won't be perfect, but we're willing to do what we can to make this into a usable space!
If you are serious about using this shed as a studio, there's a procedure or process for doing that. First, you need to define how much isolation you need, in terms of decibels. You do that with a proper sound level meter. A drum kit is the hardest of all musical instruments to isolate: to start with, it is the loudest of all, secondly it puts out a lot of its energy in low frequencies, which are much harder to isolate than high frequencies, and thirdly it's sound is "percussive", not constant. You say you want to isolate your room well enough that loud drums playing does not annoy your neighbors: that MIGHT be possible, but it is going to need a substantial investment to achieve. You are in the UK, and I know from experience with several of my clients who have built studios in the UK, that it is not cheap to do. It seems that a reasonable estimate is around £ 1,500 per square meter to build a place from the ground up, and around £ 400 to £ 1000 per square meter for renovating an existing space. You have nearly 9 m2, so you should be budgeting around £ 3,600 to £ 9,000 to do this, assuming that you want to do it properly: ending up with a room that really does isolate the drum kit so the neighbors can't hear it, and that also looks like a professional recording studio. It's not going to sound fantastic for tracking drums, no matter what you do, but it can certainly isolate well and look good.

So if the budget you are considering is in that range, then it should be possible to achieve the goal.

I guess the real issue here is: is it worth it to spend a lot of money on isolating a small shed to a high level, knowing that it's not going to allow tracking drums with a big drum sound? That's the question only you can answer. If you decide that it is worth doing, then we can certainly walk you through the process of doing that. Not a problem!


- Stuart -

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:15 pm 
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Location: Essex, UK
Soundman2020 wrote:
Hi there "GhostlyDaemon", and Welcome to the forum! :)

So this room is ONLY for tracking, right? No mixing?


Thank you very much!

Very very very rarely may we do some mixing in here, but no, 99% of the time it will be for tracking!.

Soundman2020 wrote:
That's a really, really small room for drums, and it has a very low ceiling. I don't want to rain on your parade, but I very much doubt you will get decent drum sounds in there. You'll barely have enough height to get the overheads in a good position, and they will be so close to the roof that the comb filtering artifacts will be atrocious. Drums need a LOT of space to sound good: Very large room with a high ceiling.


I do totally agree, but I have also managed to get some good overhead sounds with a ceiling around the same height (not sure what was going on there, probably some kind of sorcery)! However I do know the bigger the room, the better the drum sound (as a general rule!), so I appreciate the heads up!

Soundman2020 wrote:
And that's without even isolation: I assume you plan to isolate the building, such that: 1) You don't annoy the hell out of the neighbors and have the cops showing up to shut you down, and 2) Outside sounds don't get picked up by your mics. Building the isolation system will take up a lot of space, leaving you with an even smaller room.


Sorry, yes, when I say soundproofing I do indeed mean isolation. How much space does that generally take out of a room?

Soundman2020 wrote:
If the floor is wood, and rats already ate part of it, I would STRONGLY suggest that you get a structural engineer in there to take a look, and see if the remaining parts will be any good to support the live load and dead load of a studio!


Oh that will happen, rest assured! It was originally used as a tool shed for a construction worker, moving the old tools out of there definitely reassured me it can take the weight!

Soundman2020 wrote:
When you say "thin metal sheets", what exactly did you have in mind? What does "thin" mean here? 1mm? 20mm? What type of "metal"? It has to be reasonably thick in order to support the weight of the studio... And why metal? That's certainly not the cheapest sheathing for making a good studio floor...


5mm sheets, I'm not sure what it will be though.

Soundman2020 wrote:
Forget the carpet! It is no use at all in a studio, and in fact has the exact opposite effect of what you need in a small room. It's the perfect "anti-treatment" to make the room sound even worse.


Thank you for telling me this, I always assumed carpet dampened the room, so we were planning on covering the metal with underlay and then carpet. What would you suggest instead? Ideally we want this room to be as dry as possible to avoid any of the huge issues you run into with a small, bouncy room.

Soundman2020 wrote:
Those will have to be removed and re-installed on the inner-leaf, once that is built.


No problem!

Soundman2020 wrote:
The room is rather small as it is: that desk will take up a rather large percentage of the available floor space, leaving very little to set up the drum kit.


Soundman2020 wrote:
"Soundproofing" is not something you do to a wall. That would be impossible. "Soundproofing" is something that is achieved by creating an isolation system, of which your existing walls will be a small part. Acousticians tend to avoid using the term "soundproofing", for many reasons, but mostly because the word means different things to different people. We prefer "acoustic isolation", as that better describes the methods and materials that are needed to attenuate sound as it moves from one room to another, or from interior to exterior. You cannot really do much to a thin metal wall to "soundproof" it. It is possible to isolate your building, yes, but you don't do that by attempting to soundproof the walls.


As above, I do indeed mean isolation rather than soundproofing.

Soundman2020 wrote:
If you are serious about using this shed as a studio, there's a procedure or process for doing that. First, you need to define how much isolation you need, in terms of decibels. You do that with a proper sound level meter. A drum kit is the hardest of all musical instruments to isolate: to start with, it is the loudest of all, secondly it puts out a lot of its energy in low frequencies, which are much harder to isolate than high frequencies, and thirdly it's sound is "percussive", not constant. You say you want to isolate your room well enough that loud drums playing does not annoy your neighbors: that MIGHT be possible, but it is going to need a substantial investment to achieve. You are in the UK, and I know from experience with several of my clients who have built studios in the UK, that it is not cheap to do. It seems that a reasonable estimate is around £ 1,500 per square meter to build a place from the ground up, and around £ 400 to £ 1000 per square meter for renovating an existing space. You have nearly 9 m2, so you should be budgeting around £ 3,600 to £ 9,000 to do this, assuming that you want to do it properly: ending up with a room that really does isolate the drum kit so the neighbors can't hear it, and that also looks like a professional recording studio. It's not going to sound fantastic for tracking drums, no matter what you do, but it can certainly isolate well and look good.


I will take a few measurements when possible and post them here, but I gather that "as much as possible" isn't a real answer to this?

Soundman2020 wrote:
So if the budget you are considering is in that range, then it should be possible to achieve the goal.
I guess the real issue here is: is it worth it to spend a lot of money on isolating a small shed to a high level, knowing that it's not going to allow tracking drums with a big drum sound? That's the question only you can answer. If you decide that it is worth doing, then we can certainly walk you through the process of doing that. Not a problem!
- Stuart -


We originally budgeted around £6000 for this, so that fits spot on!

We are aware it won't be the best sound in the world, of course it won't be, but we want something we can start off with and then earn our money back, make a name and eventually move into a bigger place (I know, ideal world scenario of course, but what's the world without a dream or two?).

Any pointers you can give us to make this happen would be greatly appreciated! Thanks Stuart!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:36 pm 
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Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Quote:
Very very very rarely may we do some mixing in here, but no, 99% of the time it will be for tracking!.

This is good news.

Quote:
How much space does that generally take out of a room?

There are two factors that affect the amount of isolation you will achieve. Those are mass/weight and distance between your two fully decoupled masses. The design best suited to achieve isolation using the smallest amount of space and money is called a Mass Spring Mass system. Another term thrown around is "room in a room". Each mass is referred to as a leaf. On the outside of a building it is typically OSB or OSB sheathing "beefed up" (that's the term we use when adding mass to an existing leaf) with drywall. Then the inner room's leaf is typically drywall and sometimes OSB. Any heavy and affordable material will work. MDF is a popular product used as well.

Having said that, your metal walls and ceiling will be no use. I assume the metal is screwed into a wooden frame and roof truss? What you'll have to do is figure out how much isolation you need by taking measurements like Stuart instructed you to do already. After that, you can use this calculator to figure out what materials and gap between them will give you the isolation you require:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=21770

I'd guess at minimum you'll need 3/4" OSB sheathing beefed up with 5/8" drywall between your existing studs. Then I'd say an an inch or two between your framing and the new inner room frame. On that inner frame (probably made from 2x4 dimensional lumber) you'll probably need at least two layers of 5/8" drywall. So, do the math.

For your ceiling, it all depends on how it is constructed right now. But, your new inner room ceiling, it will have to sit on the inner room walls. Depending on how far the span between those walls are and the weight of your ceiling (remember, it has to match your walls mass), you might need to use 2x8 lumber with at least an inch (maybe 2 if you can afford it space-wise) between any existing joists and this new ceiling structure. So, let's say you might be 8 1/4" or 9 1/4" shorter than you currently are. Visually anyway! We always recommend to build your ceiling using John Sayers inside out method. Nothing beats it. It gives you the best acoustic possibilities and highest ceiling height, acoustically!

Quote:
Oh that will happen, rest assured! It was originally used as a tool shed for a construction worker, moving the old tools out of there definitely reassured me it can take the weight!

I'm sorry to break it to you, but I guarantee the construction workers tools are a mere fraction of the weight your studio will weigh. Be safe.

Quote:
5mm sheets, I'm not sure what it will be though.

Like Stuart, I too do not understand your metal sheet plan eludes me.

Quote:
Thank you for telling me this, I always assumed carpet dampened the room, so we were planning on covering the metal with underlay and then carpet. What would you suggest instead? Ideally we want this room to be as dry as possible to avoid any of the huge issues you run into with a small, bouncy room.

A hard reflective surface floor. Laminate, tile, concrete, hardwood, linoleum, etc. Your treatment will be on the ceiling and walls, not your floor.

Quote:
I will take a few measurements when possible and post them here, but I gather that "as much as possible" isn't a real answer to this?

Correct. Only build it to the limit you require.

Quote:
I know, ideal world scenario of course, but what's the world without a dream or two?

Be thankful you have a place to record in and yes, dream big.

Greg

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It appears that you've made the mistake most people do. You started building without consulting this forum.


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