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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:31 am 
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Location: Oak Ridge, North Carolina, USA
Hi everyone,

This is my first post, as I have been researching as much as possible trying to extinguish my own fires before coming up with something that seems to be beyond the scope of my knowledge. I have read the rules and hope I'm starting off the on the right foot.

I am working to come up with the optimal way to design the second story of my house into a functional area for recording, mixing, teaching, and band practice. The design area I have is actually split from each other - I have a bedroom (400sqft, directly over 3 bedrooms on the first level) that will function as my control room, and a completely unfinished attic (600sqft) over my garage that I would like to split into two areas for recording/practice. These two areas are separated by a living room/loft area (there is a banister and open air to the living room below) of about 35ft in length. Furthermore, the entryway into the Studio area has a ~100sq ft room that I'd like to use to store normal, non music related things (christmas tree, old cribs, bad children, etc). I have included a work in progress SketchUp layout for anyone to have a look at. (Linked externally, sorry to break rules, but the website is only allowing me to upload 500kb files.)

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1lZadFMvnNGaCJdoNcbuSxoWn6mbyXu-4

I am primarily a guitar player and have been interested in recording and production since the beginning. I have had vocal booths built in the last 2 houses I have lived in and now would like to step it up to accommodate full bands for recording and practice. I will be building my Studio area over my garage, which also happens to be on the opposite side of the house from where the bedrooms are, though I will be designing and building from scratch so adequate isolation will be a priority (more on this later, when I get there!) FWIW, due to the physical separation between my two work areas, I will be utilizing wired cameras and screens for visuals, rather than windows.

However, Because my instrument has now been given the gift of modeling units and impulse responses, I am willing to work slowly on the larger portion of the studio to make sure things are done correctly, the first time, after I've learned as much as possible and feel fully confident to do the best job possible. Also, my new control room/bedroom was a 400sqft gift my wife allowed me to have, which changed the order all this can be done in.

As a result of that change, I decided to tackle the Control Room first and foremost. Changes have been minimal so far - new paint and a laminate floor to replace the carpeting that was in there. With this light makeover done, I'm at the stage where it's time to get some equipment back in the room and start developing a plan for room treatment. Here, I am stuck on where to begin, as I cannot decide on where the best possible mixing position will be.

As you can see from the SU file, my room is asymmetrical, full of coves, and has slanted ceilings due to the roofline, in not one, but five places! As far as materials are concerned, the bedroom itself is fully finished so I'm dealing with standard drywall on all walls and ceilings bits. I have access to the attic area above the ceiling, and there is some airspace up there (up to about 3ft depending on the roofline).

I have a desk laid out in SU to where I initially thought my position to be optimal, though now I am not so sure. It would seem the most symmetrical options I have are in front of either of the two windows, though I'm not sure how the slanted ceilings and what would be behind me will affect the usability of either of these areas. Also FWIW, I plan on mixing ITB entirely for the foreseeable future and do not feel cramped by gear or need racks of stuff to work at the capacity I am used to.

There is the possibility of removing the closet in the room (which by the does have doors, just not in SketchUp!), but I'd prefer not to unless it will yield a major improvement in my situation.

I'd love some feedback on where to get my console laid out. Thanks for bearing with me, I hope this is enough information!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:52 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:57 am
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Location: Malmö, SWEDEN
TelosHedge wrote:
I am working to come up with the optimal way to design the second story of my house into a functional area for recording, mixing, teaching, and band practice. The design area I have is actually split from each other - I have a bedroom (400sqft, directly over 3 bedrooms on the first level) that will function as my control room, and a completely unfinished attic (600sqft) over my garage that I would like to split into two areas for recording/practice. These two areas are separated by a living room/loft area (there is a banister and open air to the living room below) of about 35ft in length. Furthermore, the entryway into the Studio area has a ~100sq ft room that I'd like to use to store normal, non music related things (christmas tree, old cribs, bad children, etc).


Hi

Reading your description and checking the SketchUp model, my spontaneous reaction is that you've locked yourself into a way of planning, due to the fact that you are up and running with the control room.

The big area is above the garage, right? And music activity in that area is maybe less prone to disturb anymore?

It's a large room that can be turned into a spacious control room and rehearsal room - with space for proper acoustical treatment.

You have to ask yourself what kind of activity that will be done in the room. Will it be mainly you working on your music and maybe recording a single instrument or singer? Then occasional band rehearsals? Or are you planning on recording bands and have them setup in the room while you're in the control room setting the sound?

The room you are using now is asymmetrical and kind of impossible to make into a proper control room, me thinks. You can of course make it work okay, but the large spacious area next door can be made into a really nice control room.

TelosHedge wrote:
I'd love some feedback on where to get my console laid out. Thanks for bearing with me, I hope this is enough information!


Well, take a look in the attic and imagine a control room area at the far left walking into the attic. Then a spacious area for rehearsals and recording bands (yes, you can sit in the same room as the band). That way you make use of the area and volume of the room all the time.

Just my two cents.


Good luck
Fred


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:59 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:14 am
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Location: Oak Ridge, North Carolina, USA
Quote:
Reading your description and checking the SketchUp model, my spontaneous reaction is that you've locked yourself into a way of planning, due to the fact that you are up and running with the control room.


Thanks for the reply! I am actually NOT up and running in this room. It was because of the layout being so odd that I was waiting on more experienced opinions than mine to shed light on if it's worth pursuing or not. The biggest reason to use this room at all is moreso just to have more allocated space to work in overall.

Quote:
The big area is above the garage, right? And music activity in that area is maybe less prone to disturb anymore?

It's a large room that can be turned into a spacious control room and rehearsal room - with space for proper acoustical treatment.


The unfinished attic is in fact above the garage, yes. It is most certainly spacious enough lengthwise (~45') to do what i'd like but i'm most concerned about the width - stud to stud i'm only around 14' wide before i start building up walls - i'm concerned it'll get cramped up quickly, and i'd really love to have 2 separate areas for recording in addition to a separate control room. Furthermore, how do you feel about the slanted ceiling situation in either case for mixing? Is that something that can be dealt with easily enough? I wasn't finding tons of info on those types of areas.

Quote:
You have to ask yourself what kind of activity that will be done in the room. Will it be mainly you working on your music and maybe recording a single instrument or singer? Then occasional band rehearsals? Or are you planning on recording bands and have them setup in the room while you're in the control room setting the sound?


Yes to all. I will be running rehearsals a good bit out of the house and want a good amount of space to move around comfortably. I'd also like a second, smaller area for recording/teaching/etc as outlined in the diagram.

I will reiterate that I do not HAVE to use this wonky bedroom for anything at all - but it is free square footage as far as my wife is concerned, so I'd love to make some use of it if possible. Unfortunately it sits over the bedrooms below it, so recording anything in there wouldn't be an option IMO.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:37 am 
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Location: Malmö, SWEDEN
TelosHedge wrote:
The unfinished attic is in fact above the garage, yes. It is most certainly spacious enough lengthwise (~45') to do what i'd like but i'm most concerned about the width - stud to stud i'm only around 14' wide before i start building up walls - i'm concerned it'll get cramped up quickly, and i'd really love to have 2 separate areas for recording in addition to a separate control room. Furthermore, how do you feel about the slanted ceiling situation in either case for mixing? Is that something that can be dealt with easily enough? I wasn't finding tons of info on those types of areas.


4.2 meters in width isn't that bad. Depending on how much you need to sound proof, you can try and keep the inner walls as thin as acceptable, and use the short walls (and inner ceiling) for bass trapping (about 50 cm in depth).

The side walls can be treated with a mixture of absorbers and diffusers.

The slanted ceiling can be dealt with, it's anyway better than a low ceiling.

TelosHedge wrote:
Yes to all. I will be running rehearsals a good bit out of the house and want a good amount of space to move around comfortably. I'd also like a second, smaller area for recording/teaching/etc as outlined in the diagram.


Is that the room to the right when entering the attic? Is the wall already there?

TelosHedge wrote:
I will reiterate that I do not HAVE to use this wonky bedroom for anything at all - but it is free square footage as far as my wife is concerned, so I'd love to make some use of it if possible. Unfortunately it sits over the bedrooms below it, so recording anything in there wouldn't be an option IMO.


Well, I suggest you make the attic into two music rooms - control room when you're producing and mixing, and rehearsal space when you need to. As far as the small asymmetrical room, you can still use it as control room and editing suite when recording bands, if you want to hear just the recorded sound. Then mix and produce sitting in the big room.

So you have recorded a really picky singer, well have him or her sit and choose between takes in the small room, while you continue working in the main room.

Make use of the length and height as much as possible.


Cheers
Fred


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:40 am 
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Location: Oak Ridge, North Carolina, USA
Freddan wrote:

4.2 meters in width isn't that bad. Depending on how much you need to sound proof, you can try and keep the inner walls as thin as acceptable, and use the short walls (and inner ceiling) for bass trapping (about 50 cm in depth).


True. I'm trying to come up with a game plan on construction design, but haven't settled on anything yet to know a definitive thickness for the walls i'm going to do. While I'm not majorly concerned with isolation from the attic to the rest of the house (more on that below), I am still a bit focused on keeping too much sound from leaking out into the world (I have one close neighbor).

Quote:

The slanted ceiling can be dealt with, it's anyway better than a low ceiling.



I'm also curious on people's opinions on the ceiling. To answer another question, and to give a more detailed synopsis, the entire attic area is not finished. The wall in the attic is not up either, and can be moved to accommodate a larger live room/smaller CR/etc etc. The areas that show textured walls are all studs, and show the current (unfinished) amount of area I have to work with. That also includes the slanted and flat ceiling above - the outline of the ceiling is simply laid out that way with studs/rafters/beams. The concern I have with the ceiling is where the slant begins on the wall - about 5 ft up the walls - that makes the room feel a bit more cramped than its width would suggest. I'm still also looking at a max ceiling height of about 8 ft, before construction/treatment - unless I left it all open and paid no respect to isolation at all.

Quote:

Well, I suggest you make the attic into two music rooms - control room when you're producing and mixing, and rehearsal space when you need to. As far as the small asymmetrical room, you can still use it as control room and editing suite when recording bands, if you want to hear just the recorded sound. Then mix and produce sitting in the big room.



Light bulb! This might be the game changing idea I didn't have. I still want the attic divided into two rooms. The larger of the two would house drums/amps/PA and be used for rehearsals, drum tracking, and also function as a waiting room for teaching. The smaller room would be a little more heavily treated for reflections and function as a second tracking area, and an area to teach in. Adding mixing capabilities to one of these rooms may work out so long as I can still use the asymmetrical room for monitoring big projects for tracking only. Is it possible to treat a room correctly to be able to both track and mix in it?

EDIT: I ran upstairs and took a couple of quick shots to show what I'm trying to explain. I'm including a shot of the room long ways, and a shot of the ceiling architecture as it stands right now.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:39 am 
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Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Check with a structural engineer to see how much weight you can add in that attic space. Building everything you want to up there is going to be super heavy. Looks like a totally usable space though!

Greg

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:51 pm 
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Location: Malmö, SWEDEN
Gregwor wrote:
Check with a structural engineer to see how much weight you can add in that attic space. Building everything you want to up there is going to be super heavy. Looks like a totally usable space though!


Agree!

Of course you need to insulate the whole attic and make sure to have a moist barrier etc. A good carpenter can help you out with proper building plans.

Depending on how much you need to sound isolate, try to keep as much height as possible, because it's good for the acoustics and will make the space more enjoyable to work in.


Cheers
Fred


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:25 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:14 am
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Location: Oak Ridge, North Carolina, USA
Freddan wrote:
Gregwor wrote:
Check with a structural engineer to see how much weight you can add in that attic space. Building everything you want to up there is going to be super heavy. Looks like a totally usable space though!


Agree!

Of course you need to insulate the whole attic and make sure to have a moist barrier etc. A good carpenter can help you out with proper building plans.

Depending on how much you need to sound isolate, try to keep as much height as possible, because it's good for the acoustics and will make the space more enjoyable to work in.


Cheers
Fred


Thanks so much for these suggestions. In my mind I am now sort of jumping ahead. Construction on this area wasn't looming in my head just yet as I wanted to get my other room situated first. However, since it seems a general consensus that the asymmetrical room won't be worth its salt as a full time CR, I'll have to delve forward into concepts and plans for construction in the new area - time for more research!

First thing is first - I do not have any current data for the attic in terms of what isolation it provides to the outside world. I'll have to do my research on how to properly measure my starting point, but I'm planning to run a loud guitar amp, a drummer, and maybe some white/pink noise through a PA in the attic to measure dB levels inside, outside, and around the rest of the house. Then I can talk about the amount of isolation to aim for, and go from there.

In terms of construction, I most certainly agree with the previous suggestion of trying to keep the ceilings as high as possible - not only for sonic reasons but for the aesthetic as well. I feel with a bit of creativity and thought I could make those overhead beams look way nicer than just some flat drywall up there!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:10 pm 
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Location: Malmö, SWEDEN
TelosHedge wrote:
but I'm planning to run a loud guitar amp, a drummer, and maybe some white/pink noise through a PA in the attic to measure dB levels inside, outside, and around the rest of the house. Then I can talk about the amount of isolation to aim for, and go from there.


Sounds like a good idea to have a drummer, bass player and guitarist play some heavy rock together, and listen and measure the noise outside the barn.

TelosHedge wrote:
In terms of construction, I most certainly agree with the previous suggestion of trying to keep the ceilings as high as possible - not only for sonic reasons but for the aesthetic as well. I feel with a bit of creativity and thought I could make those overhead beams look way nicer than just some flat drywall up there!


Exactly. The beams will look much nicer than drywall ceiling that will make the space into a gigantic shoe box.

Just keep in mind that you need to make the space fire resilient, most of all for personal protection but also for insurance reasons. A good carpenter will know the rules in your State.

Lots and lots of work, but if you do it right, it has great potential. :-)


Cheers
Fred


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