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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:55 am 
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Location: Sacramento, CA
Brand new here. Let's see if I can get this right. I'm building a home studio. I've had three other studios before. The first one all I can say it was sound proofed to my satisfaction, although others here would have told me there'd be too much "flanking". Is that the word? We converted the garage and 3/4 of the walls were double dry walled with a gap. Playing loud it sounded like someone was playing a radio in their bedroom at normal volume. Totally acceptable for me.

For this, I'm NOT building a mastering room or a top shelf mixing tracking room, but I want it to be as good as reasonably possible. It will already be better than anything I've ever had. It's a cottage/house in my back yard. 800 sq total. My mother recently passed and this is where we made a home for her. I'm a jazz musician, guitarist-composer, and will record mostly my own bands, but I will have other paying clients. Mostly jazz, but willing to do anything.

The control room will be in the bedroom. The tracking room will be the living room. The iso room will be the laundry room, after we remove the washer/dryers and cap the water. Perhaps the odd session I can throw someone in the garage next to the laundry iso room.

It's an older house so we're upping the electrical from 40 amps to 60. I think /hope that’ll be enough? We're not doing central heat/air. There's a wall unit AC and a wall furnace. Problematic but I'm hoping I can work around them. Every once in awhile the fuse would blow when the AC and dryer were going simultaneously. I’m hoping we won’t have that problem since I’m raising the amperage and removing the washer/dryer.

The control room dimensions are10’ 6” x 14’. The tracking room is 14’ x 19’ 2” with the height of 9’ 3.5”.

The Tracking Room/Living Room

Problem #1: Windows. In the tracking room there's a sliding glass door that leads to the backyard. And there's another window also facing the yard. This house's most beautiful feature is the yard. I don't want to lose the aesthetics by closing it off. So I'm planning on doing double sliding doors and heavy drapes. Probably not the MLV since the verdict’s not in on those yet. Open to suggestions. The tracking room is the only room I'll be doing sound proofing. Yes, I mean isolation proofing, not acoustic treatments. So also double paned window in the tracking room.

Problem #2: I’m pulling up the terrible carpet and putting in wood laminate flooring. The tracking room is adjacent to the kitchen, which is OPEN. There's a small counter/bar. I'm also going to try and work with this. So this is the other major problem. The tracking room will be double dry walled with air gap, on most sides, including ceiling, but this will not be. Sound will just fly out through the kitchen and through THOSE walls. But mostly I'm worried about the effect of that on the tracking itself. I'm planning for the drums to be close to the kitchen. I'm not sure how that's going to effect the resonance, boominess.

The good news is we live in a very quiet neighborhood. No very close neighbors and no streets sounds. No planes. So the need for total isolation is mainly for tracking isolation and to keep the drums away from any neighbors who might be ultra sensitive.

The control room: This was the actual reason I started this post! The wall furnace is shared by the tracking room. That's the back wall of the control room. As I said the dimension is 10’ 6” x 14’. So my desk would be on the back wall, the length of the room. There’s window is to the right. it takes up MOST of the wall, but it's not floor to ceiling. It's regular window, it's just long, taking advantage of the view. I was planning on putting a heavy curtain on it and to balance things put a heavy curtain on the opposite wall. But I'd love to have window DOOR or shutter and place two acoustic panels on them, so when I'm just working, practicing and not recording or mixing, I'd leave the shutters open. So, is there something like that? A way of shuttering the window and placing panels on it?

For treatment I'm planning on three acoustic panels in front, behind the desk. Two QRD (skyline type) diffusers on the back walls, one by the furnace and the other on the other side of the door adjacent to the furnace wall. Three tiered cloud panels, three corner bass traps and multiple acoustic panels on the side walls.

I have a bunch of OC 703 panels and raw fiberglass from my last studio already.

By the way my budget, for now, is $15k. It was originally $30-40k but we no longer have that in the bank, but over time my wife has committed to agreeing with that original budget.

Ideas? Suggestions? The control room doesn't have to be sound proofed. Most of my control rooms in the past wee in the tracking room, so I wasn't isolated from the drums anyway. But I want to monitor without feedback and some separation.

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Jazz guitarist, recordist, educator.
http://henryrobinett.com
Sacramento, Ca


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:10 pm 
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Hi Henry, and Welcome to the forum! :)

Quote:
Brand new here. Let's see if I can get this right.
So far so good! You followed all the rules, so that's :thu: !

Quote:
Playing loud it sounded like someone was playing a radio in their bedroom at normal volume
To be honest, that's not much isolation at all! It's not worth going into it now, obviously, but there was something wrong with the way that was isolated. From what you described, you should have gotten MUCH better isolation.

Quote:
It's a cottage/house in my back yard. 800 sq total.
So basically the entire house will become the studio?

Quote:
My mother recently passed
I'm so sorry to hear that. It must be hard to think about turning her house into something else, but also comforting in a sense, that "her" place will be "your" place, where you make music.

Quote:
The control room will be in the bedroom. The tracking room will be the living room. The iso room will be the laundry room, after we remove the washer/dryers and cap the water. Perhaps the odd session I can throw someone in the garage next to the laundry iso room.
IT would be good if you could draw up an accurate diagram of the house, showing all of those rooms, their dimensions, the locations of the doors, windows, and other major parts, so that we can get a better idea of what it is that you are dealing with.

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It's an older house
Construction? Does the house have a concrete slab foundation and floor throughout? Or is it all wood floors on joists raised above the ground?

Quote:
We're not doing central heat/air.
That's your first problem. You need fairly high levels of isolation: drums are loud, bass is loud, and even if you are mostly recording soft blues type jazz, there's still substantial sound energy that you need to stop from getting out to your neighbors. The only way to do that, is to seal each room to be totally air-tight. And of course, if it is air-tight, then you and the band won't be able to breath very well in there: It will get very stuffy and nasty quite fast, and your instruments will also suffer, due to the changes in humidity and temperature. So you DO need HVAC. This is a mistake that many first-time studio builders make, thinking that they can get away without using a proper HVAC system, but in reality you absolutely need one. It's not a luxury: its a basic requirement for a studio. It doesn't need to be terribly complicated, but you do need to circulate air through all the rooms, to keep the comfortable and keep you alive.
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There's a wall unit AC and a wall furnace.
Neither of those will be any use: they are both noisy, and the absolutely prevent you achieving any usable isolation. I'd suggest that you sell them and buy a suitably dimensions ducted mini-split system.

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The control room dimensions are10’ 6” x 14’.
That's rather small, but probably usable.

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The tracking room is 14’ x 19’ 2” with the height of 9’ 3.5”.
That's nice! Especially the height.
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I don't want to lose the aesthetics by closing it off.
Not a problem, if it is done right.

Quote:
So I'm planning on doing double sliding doors and heavy drapes.
Forget the drapes: not needed. And the second set of sliding doors will be very necessary... but only useful if you install them as part of a proper isolation system. On their own, they will do nothing. In general isolation is only as good as the WEAKEST link, not the strongest one. So if you only improve the isolation of some parts of the room, then in reality you have achieved nothing! Isolation is "all or nothing". You have to isolate the entire room, on all sides and also the ceiling. There's no other way.

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Probably not the MLV since the verdict’s not in on those yet.
I'm not sure where you were thinking of using MLV, but you are right to reject it. MLV does have some uses in studios, but it is VERY expensive, and there are alternative methods that cost a lot less, so I hardly ever use it in the studios that I design. You probably don't need it anyway in your case, so you can forget about it. The only place it is really useful, is for isolating things like water and sewage pipes and air ducts: it is very flexible and also very massive, so it's good for those situations, and it can also be used in one specific type of treatment device, called a "membrane trap", but apart form that, it's not very useful.

Quote:
The tracking room is the only room I'll be doing sound proofing. Yes, I mean isolation proofing, not acoustic treatments. So also double paned window in the tracking room.
... and also the rest of it! If you only add a second sliding door and double-up in the window pane, then you'd be wasting a lot of money. Those are certainly things that need to be done to get good isolation, but ONLY if they are part of a complete isolation system.

Quote:
Problem #2: I’m pulling up the terrible carpet and putting in wood laminate flooring.
:thu: Smart move! Carpet is terrible in studios anyway, since it does the opposite of what you need, acoustically, so yes, definitely get rid of it. And laminate flooring is a good choice for studios.

Quote:
The tracking room is adjacent to the kitchen, which is OPEN.
I'm not sure I understand: Are you saying that there is no wall between the kitchen and the tracking room? If that's the case, then that will have to be fixed! You MUST have a wall there, to isolate the tracking room. No wall = no isolation. It's that simple.

Quote:
The tracking room will be double dry walled with air gap, on most sides,
If you are only going to do "most" sides, then don't bother! You'd be wasting your money. As I mentioned above, the only way to isolate a room is to isolate it completely, on all sides. Think of this: Imagine there's a guy who wants to have an aquarium in his living room, because he likes to look at fish, so he goes to the store and buys a metal frame to make his aquarium. But then he thinks: "I only need to see them from the front, so I'll just buy one sheet of glass to put on that side, and leave the rest open". How well do you think that aquarium will hold water? :) Obviously, it won't hold water at all! But that is what you would be doing if you only isolate some of your walls. Your room will "hold sound" exactly as well as that aquarium will "hold water"... :) In many ways, sound behaves very much like water, so this is a good analogy.

In other words, if you do need to isolate your room from anything, then you need to isolate it form everything. You cannot isolate a room in only one direction, or two directions, just like you cannot build an aquarium with glass on only one side, or two sides. As soon as you put water in it, the water will simply gush out and splash all over, in ALL directions, even the direction where the glass is, since the water will go over, under, and around that glass. If you only isolate one side of your studio, when you "pour" sound into it, the sound will gush out and splash all over, in all directions, including the direction where that one isolation wall was, because the sound will go under, over, and around that wall, as if it wasn't even there.

So, therefore, if you do need isolation, then you need to build the same amount of isolation in all directions around your room, and in all aspects: every wall, ceiling, floor, door, window, electrical conduit, HVAC duct, and everything else, must all be isolated to the same level. As I said above, coustic isolation is only as good as the weakest point, so if you isolate your studio fantastically all around except for the window, then you might as well not isolate anything, because sound will take the "easy" path out through that window...

It is "all or nothing". Many first time studio builders have a hard time understanding this concept, and think they can get away with only isolating some parts of their room, but that simply does not work. The laws of physics apply to everyone the same, even those people who don't want to accept them! :)

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Sound will just fly out through the kitchen and through THOSE walls.
Exactly. So you WILL need to build a wall between the tracking room and the kitchen.

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I'm not sure how that's going to effect the resonance, boominess.
As long as the treatment is done correctly in the room, then it should be OK. Drums like to have space around them to sound good, so keep them a decent distance from the closest wall, and treat the walls correctly. Properly designing the treatment is the key to success.

Quote:
So the need for total isolation is mainly for tracking isolation and to keep the drums away from any neighbors who might be ultra sensitive.
So DEFINITELY you need that wall between the tracking room and kitchen...
Quote:
The wall furnace is shared by the tracking room. That's the back wall of the control room
That's a major problem! That means there will be zero isolation between the tracking room and control room. So that furnace has to go, and the hole has to be filled in properly, to complete the isolation of the tracking room.

Quote:
So my desk would be on the back wall, the length of the room.
I'm not sure that I understand the layout you are proposing, but here's some tips on how your control room must be laid out: The speakers must fire down the longest axis of the room (the 14' dimension in your case), and they must be spaced equidistant from the side walls, 35" away on each side, such that the room is symmetrical (this means that the speakers will be 56" apart. All measurements are to the speaker acoustic axis, not the top, bottom or sides of the speaker, and not to the tweeter or woofer). Symmetry is the key to getting a good sweet spot with an accurate sound stage and clean stereo image. So your mix position (chair) must be on the center-line of the room, 5'3" from the left wall and 5'3" from the right wall, and the left side of the room must be a mirror-image of the right side. If not, you won't be able to produce balanced mixes. Your speakers will need to go up tight against the front wall of the room, except for a 4" gap, where you will insert a 4" thick OC-703 panel, to help eliminate the SBIR artifacts and other issues that would otherwise totally mess up the room acoustics. The chair should be set up such that your head will be 60" away from the front wall, and then the desk must be set up just in front of the chair, so that it is comfortable to operate the console or DAW. The speakers should be placed on very heavy, massive, sold, rigid stands, and rotated so that they are pointing at a spot about 16" behind your head. The acoustic axis of the speakers should be about 48" above the floor, or maybe a bit higher (depending on several factors).

That's the basic setup that you will need.

Quote:
I was planning on putting a heavy curtain on it and to balance things put a heavy curtain on the opposite wall. But I'd love to have window DOOR or shutter and place two acoustic panels on them, so when I'm just working, practicing and not recording or mixing, I'd leave the shutters open. So, is there something like that? A way of shuttering the window and placing panels on it?
You will need bass traps in the corners of the room: that goes without saying. Always. So if the window goes all the way into the corner, then part of it will be covered. You have no other options. You will also need porous absorption panels at the first reflection points on the side walls. Curtains are no use for that: you need at least 4" thickness of OC-703, minimum, but preferably 6". If you want to keep the view as well, then you'll need to put those panels on a frame that has wheels, so you can wheel them into place in front of the window when you need to do critical listening, and wheel them out of the way when you are just playing around.

Quote:
For treatment I'm planning on three acoustic panels in front, behind the desk.
What you will actually need is the two panels I mentioned, between the speakers and the front wall. Those are critical for dealing with SBIR and several other issues. Those panels will be 4" thick, so the rear corner of each speaker will be just touching the panel. You will also need the first-reflection point panels that I mentioned, and you will need a ceiling cloud too. Plus, you will need "superchunk" style bass traps in both front vertical corners. That's what you will need at the front of the room.

Quote:
Two QRD (skyline type) diffusers on the back walls,
What frequency range would you tune those to? :) I often have people come to the forum with this exact same idea: they think that they must have QRD's on the rear wall because they have seen photos of large studios that have them, and they think "Well, if the big boys need them, then I must need them too!". But they are wrong. Small studios do not need numerically tuned diffusion on the rear wall. QRD's are tuned to specific frequency ranges, and if you don't know what tuning would be correct for your room, then you definitely do not need them! :) Your room is too small to use them in any case. Yes, you do see a lot of small rooms that have them, but that's from ignorance, not from knowledge. The acousticians that figure out the mathematics of how QRD's work, and how to tune them, are two guys called D'Antonio and Cox. They wrote the book on these devices, and they clearly say that QRD's should NOT be used within ten feet of your ears. In a room that is only 14 feet long, it is impossible to have the mix position more than ten feet fro the rear wall. Therefore you cannot use QRD's, nor any other similar tuned numeric diffuser. Use only porous absorption.

Quote:
Three tiered cloud panels, three corner bass traps and multiple acoustic panels on the side walls.
What you will actually need on the rear wall is two large superchunks (one in each corner), about 36" deep, then cover the rest of the wall between those, with 6" of OC-703. You might also need plastic or wood slats in front of those to prevent them from sucking out too much of the high end.

Here's a thread that shows you how the process of tuning a control room goes: www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=21368 That is in progress right now, and should be completed in a few weeks. So you might want to follow it, checking back regularly to see the advances. It gives you a good idea of how to do this.

Quote:
Ideas? Suggestions?
If you provide that diagram I mentioned above, and some photos of the rooms as they are right now, then folks here on the forum will be able to help you a lot better.


- Stuart -

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:18 am
Posts: 27
Location: Sacramento, CA
Soundman2020 wrote:
Hi Henry, and Welcome to the forum! :)

Quote:
Brand new here. Let's see if I can get this right.
So far so good! You followed all the rules, so that's :thu: !
Thank you!! And thank you so much for such detailed responses!

Quote:
Quote:
Playing loud it sounded like someone was playing a radio in their bedroom at normal volume
To be honest, that's not much isolation at all! It's not worth going into it now, obviously, but there was something wrong with the way that was isolated. From what you described, you should have gotten MUCH better isolation.


Yes, well this is why I said this. What goes for studio design nerds, affectionately, wouldn't pass. But it was perfect for me. Keep in mind loud band playing ended up sounding, if you listened closely like someone was playing a small transistor radio from a bedroom. Are you old enough to remember those? That level of volume reduction was good for me. I'm trying to create a yardstick. What may be acceptable for me might be entirely UNACCEPTABLE for you. LOL. So when I'm looking at the level of expense vs what I can live with vs you, I have to jeu
Quote:
It's a cottage/house in my back yard. 800 sq total.
Quote:
So basically the entire house will become the studio?
YES!


Quote:
IT would be good if you could draw up an accurate diagram of the house, showing all of those rooms, their dimensions, the locations of the doors, windows, and other major parts, so that we can get a better idea of what it is that you are dealing with.
I'll work on this.

Quote:
Construction? Does the house have a concrete slab foundation and floor throughout? Or is it all wood floors on joists raised above the ground?
I don't know. I'm all thumbs when it comes to hammers and saws.

Quote:
Quote:
We're not doing central heat/air.
That's your first problem. You need fairly high levels of isolation: drums are loud, bass is loud, and even if you are mostly recording soft blues type jazz, there's still substantial sound energy that you need to stop from getting out to your neighbors. The only way to do that, is to seal each room to be totally air-tight. And of course, if it is air-tight, then you and the band won't be able to breath very well in there: It will get very stuffy and nasty quite fast, and your instruments will also suffer, due to the changes in humidity and temperature. So you DO need HVAC. This is a mistake that many first-time studio builders make, thinking that they can get away without using a proper HVAC system, but in reality you absolutely need one. It's not a luxury: its a basic requirement for a studio. It doesn't need to be terribly complicated, but you do need to circulate air through all the rooms, to keep the comfortable and keep you alive.
[/quote]OK. Well, there goes my $15k budget. My wife wants to keep it at that. The original budget of $30k was halved, I'm JUST NOW REALIZING because she wants to renovate a bathroom and kitchen! LOL. We've done a few rooms FOR HER ALREADY! LOL. I see what's going on. I'M GETTING MY BUDGET BACK!
Quote:
There's a wall unit AC and a wall furnace.
Quote:
Neither of those will be any use: they are both noisy, and the absolutely prevent you achieving any usable isolation. I'd suggest that you sell them and buy a suitably dimensions ducted mini-split system.
OK!


Quote:
The tracking room is the only room I'll be doing sound proofing. Yes, I mean isolation proofing, not acoustic treatments. So also double paned window in the tracking room.
... and also the rest of it! If you only add a second sliding door and double-up in the window pane, then you'd be wasting a lot of money. Those are certainly things that need to be done to get good isolation, but ONLY if they are part of a complete isolation system.

Quote:
Quote:
Problem #2: I’m pulling up the terrible carpet and putting in wood laminate flooring.
:thu: Smart move! Carpet is terrible in studios anyway, since it does the opposite of what you need, acoustically, so yes, definitely get rid of it. And laminate flooring is a good choice for studios.
Yay!

Quote:
The tracking room is adjacent to the kitchen, which is OPEN.
Quote:
I'm not sure I understand: Are you saying that there is no wall between the kitchen and the tracking room? If that's the case, then that will have to be fixed! You MUST have a wall there, to isolate the tracking room. No wall = no isolation. It's that simple.
But is this like I was referring to in my first response? Remember, this house is fairly isolated ALREADY. No close neighbors. Not VERY close. Big yards, so although their yard is right next door, their house is somewhat remote. We live in a cul-de-sac. So I'm thinking this may not be as much of an issue as it is for others.

I get the picture and the aquarium is a good example. I'm either looking at double walling the entire kitchen and ceiling or putting up a wall and door to the kitchen. The space for a door to the kitchen is super small. There's a wall separating the tracking/living room and kitchen, but it's a counter. I suppose I can wall up the counter. I'm not sure about the door.

Quote:
The tracking room will be double dry walled with air gap, on most sides,
Quote:
If you are only going to do "most" sides, then don't bother! You'd be wasting your money. As I mentioned above, the only way to isolate a room is to isolate it completely, on all sides.
Once again, in my other place there were leaks, but it was very acceptable to me. So I've got to be able to evaluate the data. There were definitely holes in the isolation scheme. The rest of the house was loud, but the volume to the street, which was my target, was virtually nil.

So I'm thinking with this. I can close off the wall to the kitchen and I'll look into a small HVAC system.

Quote:
So my desk would be on the back wall, the length of the room.
Quote:
I'm not sure that I understand the layout you are proposing, but here's some tips on how your control room must be laid out: The speakers must fire down the longest axis of the room (the 14' dimension in your case), and they must be spaced equidistant from the side walls, 35" away on each side, such that the room is symmetrical (this means that the speakers will be 56" apart. All measurements are to the speaker acoustic axis, not the top, bottom or sides of the speaker, and not to the tweeter or woofer). Symmetry is the key to getting a good sweet spot with an accurate sound stage and clean stereo image. So your mix position (chair) must be on the center-line of the room, 5'3" from the left wall and 5'3" from the right wall, and the left side of the room must be a mirror-image of the right side. If not, you won't be able to produce balanced mixes. Your speakers will need to go up tight against the front wall of the room, except for a 4" gap, where you will insert a 4" thick OC-703 panel, to help eliminate the SBIR artifacts and other issues that would otherwise totally mess up the room acoustics. The chair should be set up such that your head will be 60" away from the front wall, and then the desk must be set up just in front of the chair, so that it is comfortable to operate the console or DAW. The speakers should be placed on very heavy, massive, sold, rigid stands, and rotated so that they are pointing at a spot about 16" behind your head. The acoustic axis of the speakers should be about 48" above the floor, or maybe a bit higher (depending on several factors).

That's the basic setup that you will need.
THANK YOU! That's awesome.


Quote:
Two QRD (skyline type) diffusers on the back walls,
Quote:
What frequency range would you tune those to? :) I often have people come to the forum with this exact same idea: they think that they must have QRD's on the rear wall because they have seen photos of large studios that have them, and they think "Well, if the big boys need them, then I must need them too!". But they are wrong. Small studios do not need numerically tuned diffusion on the rear wall. QRD's are tuned to specific frequency ranges, and if you don't know what tuning would be correct for your room, then you definitely do not need them! :) Your room is too small to use them in any case. Yes, you do see a lot of small rooms that have them, but that's from ignorance, not from knowledge. The acousticians that figure out the mathematics of how QRD's work, and how to tune them, are two guys called D'Antonio and Cox. They wrote the book on these devices, and they clearly say that QRD's should NOT be used within ten feet of your ears. In a room that is only 14 feet long, it is impossible to have the mix position more than ten feet fro the rear wall. Therefore you cannot use QRD's, nor any other similar tuned numeric diffuser. Use only porous absorption.
GREAT. Thank you. I was looknig forward to building a couple. Even I think I could do that! Oh well. Not even in the tracking room?


Quote:
If you provide that diagram I mentioned above, and some photos of the rooms as they are right now, then folks here on the forum will be able to help you a lot better.


- Stuart -
AWESOME STUART!! Thank you so much. See what happens when you try and follow directions?? LOL.

_________________
Jazz guitarist, recordist, educator.
http://henryrobinett.com
Sacramento, Ca


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:28 am 
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Posts: 11990
Location: Santiago, Chile
Quote:
AWESOME STUART!! Thank you so much. See what happens when you try and follow directions?? LOL.
Absolutely! :thu: Just like the directions say: we try to put as much effort into our replies, as people put into their original posts. You clearly put a lot of thought and effort into yours, so you got back a lot too! Sometimes we get newcomers who post something like "I have a room. Show me how to make it into a studio." and that's their entire post! Guess how much help they get... :)
Quote:
Thank you!! And thank you so much for such detailed responses!
:thu:

Quote:
Yes, well this is why I said this. What goes for studio design nerds, affectionately, wouldn't pass.
Not trying to knock your opinion, but to be really honest, it doesn't take much extra effort to go from "sort-of OK for me" isolation, to "wow this is amazing" isolation... :) It's basically just attention to detail. And since isolation is a two-way street that works the same in both directions, if you have good isolation that prevents sound getting out, then you also have good isolation that prevents sound getting in: such as wind, rain, hail, thunder, planes flying over, helicopters, sirens, dogs barking, the toilet flushing, phones ringing, the vacuum cleaner, cars arriving/leaving, people talking in the next room, and about 27,342 other things that could all trash your most-perfect-ever tracking session. You are a jazz guitarist, and I'm guessing vocalist too, so you are well aware that if you are recording a soft, quite guitar passage or breathy vocal, and somebody drops their coffee mug in the next room... well, your perfect take is trash, and you need to start over. But if you have decent isolation, then the sound of the coffee mug smashing and tinkling all over the kitchen will never get into your mics, and your perfect take is safe. Substitute "dropped coffee mug" for "ambulance siren two blocks away" or "heavy rain storm" or "drummer's girlfriend laughing loudly on the phone outside", and you get the picture: there's way too many things out in the scary-noisy world that can destroy your beautiful music before it reaches the mic...

Jus' sayin' ! :)

There's more reasons for having good isolation, then just keeping the neighbors happy. :)

Quote:
Are you old enough to remember those?
Yep. And valve radios too! I used to build radios as a hobby when I was a kid. Correction: I used to TRY to build radios.... many attempts, only some successful!

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What may be acceptable for me might be entirely UNACCEPTABLE for you. LOL.
It's not about my opinion, or what the books say, but rather about simple math. It's relatively easy to figure out how much isolation you need, because the loudness of various instruments and "things" is a known factor (measured in decibels, not "guess-ibels" :) ) And the level that is needed for a soft blues vocalist tracking session, or acoustic guitar session is also known. So it's fairly easy to say "The loud things outside that I don't want to record are this loud, and the mics are this sensitive, so therefore I need X-many decibels to stop the gurgling of the toilet getting into my overhead drum mics". This is math, not persona preferences. It's fairly easy to do. It's even better if you get a sound level meter and actually measure YOUR instruments in YOUR cottage studio, and YOUR outside noises, so the math can be even more accurate for YOU. You might play louder or softer than the average. Your house might be quieter or nosier than average. The neighborhood might be quieter/nosier. Etc. So if you actually measure YOUR levels, then you can come up with a number that represents how much isolation you NEED in order to build your studio right.

Think of it this way: it would be really sad if you invested all that money, then had to shut down the recording sessions every time a car drives past, or every time it rains, or every time the neighbor's dog barks, or every time the rescue helicopter flies to the hospital two miles away, that you forget about.... And even sadder if you end up over-isolating your room, spending way too much money to get a level of isolation that you didn't really need! Building materials cost money: it's just as bad to buy more than you need, as it is to buy not enough. Careful planning will help you buy only what you need to buy, and end up with just the right amount of isolation: not too much, and not too little.

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Construction? Does the house have a concrete slab foundation and floor throughout? Or is it all wood floors on joists raised above the ground?

I don't know. I'm all thumbs when it comes to hammers and saws.
Bang on the floor with a stone (not too big!). Does it sound hollow and boomy? Or does it sound really hard and solid? Jump on the floor: does it feel a bit "springy" under your feet? Or does it feel like solid rock? Or maybe someone in the band or among your friends has construction experience, and they can take a look. It's VERY important to know what your floor is made of, because building your double-wall that you mentioned (and which you definitely need!) will put a lot of extra weight on the floor. You need to make sure you won't be overloading the floor, causing it to collapse. If the floor is concrete resting on the ground, then you are OK: it's really hard to overload a concrete "slab on grade" floor"! But it's a lot easier to overload a wood-framed "joist" floor. If you don't have any experience in this area yourself, you should call in someone who does. If you do have a wood-framed floor, you will need to hire a structural engineer to take a look and tell you how much extra weight you can safely add to it.

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OK. Well, there goes my $15k budget. My wife wants to keep it at that. The original budget of $30k was halved, I'm JUST NOW REALIZING because she wants to renovate a bathroom and kitchen! LOL. We've done a few rooms FOR HER ALREADY! LOL. I see what's going on. I'M GETTING MY BUDGET BACK!
:) :thu: Just think: after the studio is finished, and you start making truck-loads of cash from all the spectacular recordings you'll be pouring out, there will be plenty of extra nickels and dimes to remodel the kitchen as many times as your wife feels like! :)

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But is this like I was referring to in my first response? Remember, this house is fairly isolated ALREADY. No close neighbors. Not VERY close. Big yards, so although their yard is right next door, their house is somewhat remote. We live in a cul-de-sac. So I'm thinking this may not be as much of an issue as it is for others.
Hopefully all is well there, but there are also legal restrictions on how loud you can be. Your local municipal bylaws will have a specific number in them, and the cops can come shut you down if your level at the property line is higher than that number. Maybe your current neighbor is fine with your music, and loves jazz, but if he moves out and you get a not-so-laid-back new neighbor, you might end up with problems. You really don't want your friendly local cop knocking on your door telling you that you have to shut up, or worse still, handing you a fine for exceeding the legal levels. It would be worth your while to investigate what that level is: check the website for your local municipality, and look for "noise regulations". Yeah, they do consider jazz music to be "noise"! Go figure.... :)

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I get the picture and the aquarium is a good example. I'm either looking at double walling the entire kitchen and ceiling or putting up a wall and door to the kitchen.
Both options will work, but doing the entire kitchen is going to be much more expensive.

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The space for a door to the kitchen is super small. There's a wall separating the tracking/living room and kitchen, but it's a counter. I suppose I can wall up the counter. I'm not sure about the door.
Walling up the counter is a good idea. The door is not a problem: you might need to replace it with a thicker, heavier door that has better seals around the edges, but there's no problem with keeping it as a door, if you do want access between the tracking room and kitchen. There are methods for "beefing up" a door to make it isolate better.

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Once again, in my other place there were leaks, but it was very acceptable to me. So I've got to be able to evaluate the data. There were definitely holes in the isolation scheme. The rest of the house was loud, but the volume to the street, which was my target, was virtually nil
You did mention that one of your goals is to separate the tracking room from the control room, so that you can hear what the mics are hearing when you listen to the control room speakers, without that being drowned out by sound coming through the wall. To me, that's very important. I find it really hard to position mics well on a drum kit when I can't hear each mic all by itself in the control room. Some engineers aren't bothered by that, by personally I find it very beneficial to be able to capture the subtlety that I'm looking for with each mic. If I can't sit at the mix position and listen to how each mic sounds all by itself, in total isolation, with no "bleed" coming through the walls / door / window, then I find I can't do such a good job. Not sure about you. Especially if I have two or three mics on the acoustic guitar, I want to be sure that each one is getting what I want it to get, so that I can blend them nicely in the final mix to really capture the full sound of the instrument.

In other words, if you need to do that, then it is important to have good isolation between the tracking room and control room.

You are going to spend a lot of money to build this studio, so it doesn't seem right to just sort of aim for "somewhat mediocre" or "sort-of maybe half-assed"... :) If I'm going to blow 30k on a studio, then I want to get 30k's worth out of it! I want it to be as best as it possibly can for 30k!

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So I'm thinking with this. I can close off the wall to the kitchen and I'll look into a small HVAC system.
:thu: Yes!

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THANK YOU! That's awesome.
There's more to it than just that, but that gives you the basic theoretical best layout for your room. Once you set it up like that, I can walk you through the procedure for optimizing, to see if there's an even better setup. If there is, it won't be too far from that one, but it can be hard to find. Using the procedure (which is slow and boring) you can certainly find it, and it's definitely worth doing! But even just setting up the way I laid it out, you'll still have pretty good acoustics at the mix position.

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GREAT. Thank you. I was looknig forward to building a couple. Even I think I could do that! Oh well. Not even in the tracking room?
There's a fundamental difference between the goals for a tracking room, and the goals for a control room. For the control room, the acoustics must be totally neutral. When you think about it, this is obvious, but most first-time studio-builders don't put enough thought into this part. What is the purpose of the control room? So you can clearly hear the speakers! It's that simple. That's the reason why you have a control room: so that you can hear what the speakers are telling you about the mix, and adjust the mix so that it sounds the way you want it to. BUt that implies the most basic, most critical aspect of the control room acoustics: it must be truthful! The control room must NOT add anything to the sound of the speakers, and it must NOT take away anything. The only thing it must do, is to get the clean, pure, original sound coming out of the speakers, to your ears. So the control room MUST be neutral: It must sound like it isn't even there! It must be "flat", in the sense that it does not favor any note over any other note: imagine how bad it would be if the control room enhanced every D# on the musical scale, and also muffled every C and F, but didn't touch A's or D's. Could you mix a good song in a room like that? Obviously not. Even worse would be a room that shifts the sound of every B just a bit, so it actually sounds like a B#.... You'd be forever trying to figure out why your guitar is tuned perfectly, but sounds "off" in all your mixes! Very frustrating.

So the basic requirement for a control room is that it must sound like nothing: flat, neutral, no life of it's own. It just has to tell the truth. And that's fine, but a neutral acoustic space is not nice at all for tracking! instruments need a room that has "life" and "character" and "warmth" and "air" and "mellowness", and all the other things that musicians love about a good room. The tracking room must have "vibe". It must sound pleasant to play in, and it can most certainly enhance some parts of the musical spectrum over others, since that's exactly what gives a room "character".

OK, that's long, convoluted explanation as to why you should NOT use numeric diffusers in a small control room (because they make it non-neutral) and also why you SHOULD use diffusers in a live room / tracking room / rehearsal room (because they make it non-neutral)! You can use whatever treatment you feel like in your tracking room, to make it sound any way that you want. Some people even build "variable" treatment devices, with parts that swing on hinges, or slide, or rotate, so that they can actually change the acoustics of the room to be able to handle different situations: it's one thing to record a honky-tonk upright piano, and quite another to record a concert-grand piano! They are both "pianos", yes, but they have different sounds, different purposes, and different acoustic needs. Ditto for a Phil Collins drum kit setup for recording "In the Air Tonight", vs. a setup for mimicking a Max Roach session, trying to capture all the subtleties and soft textures of his unique style. Both are "drums", but two very different acoustic needs. A room that has variable panels could be used for both, just by flipping the panels to change the "character" of the room. I'm not saying that you should do that in your room! I'm just mentioning it as an example of the flexibility of tuning a tracking room to be any way you want it.

So, in summary: control rooms are totally neutral, and must not have any sound of their own. Tracking / live rooms must NOT neuntral, and MUST have a sound of their own. That sound can be whatever you like. So yes, you can use QRD's in the tracking room if that's what it needs to get the sound you want.

(Sorry about the long rant! But I'm nearly as passionate about getting the acoustics right, as you are about getting the music right! :) See my signature block, below.... )

- Stuart -

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:44 am 
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You are incredibly awesome. And I don't like that overused word. OK, so I'm not sure I got my 30k BACK, but I have the buy-in from my wife. She agrees we need to do it right. But we only have what we have. And right now it's $15k.

I have contractor I work with. He's coming over today. He's never done a studio. I just told him about green glue. He watched a video and wants to come over and discuss options. I don't know what he's referring to, but I texted him about the HVAC and walling up the kitchen. Adding that to our budget, the estimate I haven't yet seen!

Thank you so much. This makes a lot of sense. Less money for diffusers and bass traps for now. And that drum set I was going to buy . . . LOL.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:09 am 
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Well shucks. Here's the bad news. It's expensive. LOL. It's going to go way past my $15 budget. I'm going to have to upgrade my electrical for the entire house, and not just the cottage. We're only at 40 amps back there. That'd have been fine, but with the dryer and AC and microwave we sometimes blew fuses. Putting a HVAC I'd have to up the electrical overall because the cottage functions off of a sub panel. So it's looking more like my original estimate. Might be a deal killer.

OK, OK. That's why looking at it without the HVAC is was definitely doable for approx $15k.

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Last edited by henryrobinett on Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:24 am 
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Attachment:
Control Room Lantzy 1(1).pdf
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Tracking Room Lantzy(2).pdf
Here are some rough drawings. I just bought a cheap little CAD program. I've never used one so apologies.


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