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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:42 pm 
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Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Hello All,

My many travels through the internet have led me to the good people here at the John Sayers Forum, of which I have heard only wonderful things. I'm hoping to get some advice on a new space that I've moved into. Me and my “band” (only one other person currently) recently were able to find a nice large warehouse space where we can make as much noise as we want, whenever we want. I'm really excited to have this space because it has been quite some time since I've been able to really make a lot of noise. The only problem is that this large warehouse room sounds like a large warehouse room. Who would have thought?

Currently the primary purpose of the room is to serve as a practice/rehearsal space (we're building a band) and also for writing. A little down the line though I would like to hopefully (fingers crossed) one day be able to use this space for mixing and recording. Mixing is really the most important factor. We will record demos in this space but when its time for finished recordings we will probably go to an actual studio. Mixing, on the other hand, is something that I like to take a lot of time doing on my own, in my own space. So if at all possible I would like to see what folks would recommend in terms of setting this room up to be used for mixing.

Specs:
(I've assigned North/South/East/West assignments to the walls based on the floor plan I've attached as a picture below)
-Room is essentially 37'x23'x12' rectangle with a 4'x8' extension on northwest corner (attached picture has more exact measurements and better illustrates)
-North wall is cinder block (I believe...not really great with construction materials)
-East and West walls are drywall
-South wall is brick with two huge drywall windows (see picture...I think this room was some sort of extension to the original warehouse and those were the old windows)
-The floor is just plywood (or some form of thin composite wood material)
-The ceiling is exposed wood

Goals:
-Primary goal is to be able to mix in this room
-Primary concern to me right now is the huge reverb that is present
-Sound isolation is not a goal. It seems to me to be almost impossible in this place (unit is on third floor and I can hear people on the first floor pretty clearly). This will also never be a true recording studio and we can work our recording schedule around whenever it is quiet in the building.
-I'm interested in seeing what can be done without any major construction. We rent this space and don't anticipate being here for years upon years so I would like to see if there are ways to use just acoustic treatment. That way when we leave and go to a new studio space we can take along our acoustic treatments with us.
-Budget: $1000, I can go higher if necessary but would like to keep it under $1000 if possible. I anticipate mainly building the acoustic treatments myself if possible to help save some cash.

Again I would just like to see how some might approach trying to get this room into a condition to be able to get some good mixes accomplished. The current setup can be moved around if necessary. Currently the main problem (to me) seems to be the huge reverb thats in this room. I would like to try and knock it down and “deaden” it a bit. Would some homemade 703 panels be able to help with this? I have some basic knowledge of acoustics and room treatments but am at a real loss as to how to go about addressing the issues with this room and thought it would be best to seek advice from people who have some experience.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated and I apologize if I have left out any important details. The attached pictures below should hopefully illustrate the nature of the room. Wasn't sure if this should go in Acoustics (because I'm looking to do mainly acoustic treatment) or Studio Design, so please move if you feel it is in the wrong forum. Thanks again for all help.


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Many thanks, Al


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:14 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:17 am
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Hi Al, and welcome to the forum! :) Sorry about the delay in response to your post, but the end of the year is pretty busy for all of us, and there aren't many moderators active right now. But "better late than never", as they say...

Quote:
a nice large warehouse space where we can make as much noise as we want, whenever we want.
Please excuse me while I turn green with envy!!!! :) Lucky you, seriously. Not too many folks get that luxury.

Quote:
The only problem is that this large warehouse room sounds like a large warehouse room. Who would have thought?
:shot: Yup! So "isolation" and "treatment" are definitely two words in your vocabulary that you'll be seeing lots of, over then next few months...

Quote:
Currently the primary purpose of the room is to serve as a practice/rehearsal space (we're building a band) and also for writing. A little down the line though I would like to hopefully (fingers crossed) one day be able to use this space for mixing and recording.
OK, say priority number one is a combination live room / rehearsal room.... but for how many people? What do you envision happening in there, a year or two down the line? Just a couple of guys jamming, or maybe an entire symphony orchestra? You have the space.... but those are two rather different scenarios.

Quote:
Mixing is really the most important factor. We will record demos in this space but when its time for finished recordings we will probably go to an actual studio. Mixing, on the other hand, is something that I like to take a lot of time doing on my own, in my own space. So if at all possible I would like to see what folks would recommend in terms of setting this room up to be used for mixing.
so priority #2 is to add a control room, probably right next to the live room, and with good visibility between them?

Quote:
-East and West walls are drywall
OK, but how are they built? How thick is the drywall, what is holding it up, and what is on the other side? I imagine it is just 12mm drywall on 2x4 studs, or something like that, but the important part is what is on the OTHER side of those studs...

Quote:
-The floor is just plywood (or some form of thin composite wood material)
Ouch. Bad news. What is under that plywood?

Quote:
unit is on third floor
Ouch. More bad news! Studios on upper levels are a problem for several reasons: More about that later.

Quote:
-The ceiling is exposed wood
... and what is above that? How is it built?

Quote:
-Primary goal is to be able to mix in this room
that's confusing! You said the primary goal was "primary purpose of the room is to serve as a practice/rehearsal space". So is the primary purpose to have a live room for recording, or to have a control room for mixing? You should have both, of course, but if you are on a limited budget then you'll have to choose one or the other for now, and then do the second one later, as funds permit.

Quote:
-Sound isolation is not a goal.
Even more confusing! You say the place sounds terrible, and you can hear people just talking from two floor below, so why would you not want to isolate? A recording room with no isolation is not going to be very useful! How are you going to keep the sounds of those people talking out of the mics that you use for recording? Without isolation, that just isn't realistic. Also, what happens when it rains, or there is wind, or thunder, or aircraft flying overhead, or vehicles driving past, radios, dogs barking, phones ringing, etc. Do you plan to just stop recording every time there is a noise? It seems to me you'd spend very little time actually recoding, if that is the case.

And finally, this comment: " I can hear people on the first floor pretty clearly". So what will those peopel have to say about enduring your band rehearsals and recording sessions, at all hours of the day and night? :) Maybe they won't be so happy about that "as much noise as we want, whenever we want" part of your plan... :shock: There are probably also legal requirements that you have to meet, on local noise ordinances. You seriously do not want the cops coming around to shut you down for noise violations...

To be very honest, this just doesn't seem like a realistic plan. I would really suggest that you re-think this, and include isolation in your plans.

Quote:
-I'm interested in seeing what can be done without any major construction.
Well, without construction then "isolation" is out of the question, and even treatment is rather "iffy" in such a large space with no construction at all.

Quote:
We rent this space and don't anticipate being here for years upon years
You could build a modular structure that just bolts together in large sections.... so if you ever do want to leave you can just unbolt the pieces, load them on a truck, and take them to the new place...

Quote:
so I would like to see if there are ways to use just acoustic treatment.
Acoustic treatment alone is not going to isolate you at all from the outside world, and since the place sounds so bad in any case, it might not be enough to make it usable. Certainly your budget is nowhere near enough to do this right.

Theoretically, to tame a room that size down to ITU specs, you'd need about 1300 sabins of perfect absorption, which implies 1300 square feet of "open window". That's at least 40 panels of 4" OC-703, and probably more like 50. Plus enough wood to frame them all, and enough cloth to cover them all, and enough hardware to hang them all in the right places... I really don't see that happening on US$ 1k, and that's just the basic absorption you are talking about, without considering other treatment that might be needed.

Quote:
Would some homemade 703 panels be able to help with this?
Yes, it well help, but "help" is all it will do. And like I said above, you'll need about fifty such panels, spread around the room in the right locations, plus other treatment.

Quote:
The current setup can be moved around if necessary.
If you really choose to go down this road, as an "all in one room with zero isolation", and mixing is the number one priority, then you'll need to set up your mix position facing one of the walls, and centered on that wall. Your best bet here is probably to face the 32'9" wall, and center your desk on that. Centering is critical for proper soundstage and stereo imaging, so your desk and chair would be 18' 4-1/2" from each side wall.

Your chair would have to be about 8'8" back from that wall, and your speakers would have to be set up about 5'-4" on either side of that center line (in other words, about 10'8" apart), mounted on very massive, heavy stands such that the acoustic axis of each speaker is about 47-1/4" above the floor, and the speakers are angled inwards at 30°. That should have them pointing exactly at your ears, when seated in the chair at the mix position. Set up your desk accordingly, so that you can comfortably operate the console with the chair in the correct position. You'll need one of those 4'x8' 4" 703 panels directly behind each speaker, up against the wall.

If you prefer a more "near field" setup, then just slide each of those speaker ALONG THE ACOUSTIC AXIS until the front faces are about 3'5" from the front wall. That would place them about 6'6" apart, and roughly 6' from your ears. Since the place is highly reverberant anyway, that might be a good idea. In this case, you should set the controls on your speaker for no bass roll off, or maybe just 1 or 2 dB. If you have them up against the wall, on the other hand,m then you'd need '6 dB of bass roll-off, or maybe a bit less.

Finally, cover the entire wall behind you with at least 6" of 703, spaced 12" away from the wall, floor to ceiling, and extending at least 6' either side form the center line, then also hang a large ceiling cloud above the desk, at the first reflection point: Angle it at least 12° (lower over the speakers, higher over your head), make it hard-backed, and fill it with 4" of 703.

With all that in place (in addition to the 50 other panels of 703), measure the room response using REW, to see what else needs to be done still, to complete the treatment.

That would be my plan, but there's no way that all of that is happening on a 1k budget, and you still aren't done. So I would really suggest re-thinking that budget.

Hope all this helps!


- Stuart -

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