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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:51 pm 
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Hi,

First time posting. Trying to make sure I did all the items in this post:
viewtopic.php?t=3231

1) Updated my location (San Francisco, CA)
2) Read FAQs section viewtopic.php?t=2125 . I'll admit I haven't gotten through this yet. It's at the top of my reading list. I'm in the situation where I need to pick out an apartment + sign a lease so I'd like to get advice from all of you before I sign a lease and have a room that is not usable.
3) Overview of project goals

Room Selection
I'm a hip-hop producer based in San Francisco, CA. I'm looking to rent an apartment/loft/ warehouse to use for a home studio. I'd like to live in or near this studio (ideally in the same building). I've been looking for suitable spaces to rent and finally settled on live/work spaces or warehouses. I'm open to selecting another type of location if there's a good reason. I looked at basements and found they had ceilings that were generally too low. I looked at two bedrooms apartments and found the rooms were too small (and would be too hard to isolate from neighbors).

Project Status
Planning (picking a building to put the studio in)

Project Budget
10k - 15k I could be talked into spending more if necessary.

How loud do I want to be?
Don't know. Purchased a meter to definitively measure as suggested. I'd like to be able to rap at full volume at 1 am and not worry about waking the neighbors.
The sound meter I just got

What do I want to be able to do in the space?
In order of importance. Primarily I want to be able to track my own hip-hop vocals and then mix them. I'd love to be able to master them here too, but I'm not sure that is realistic. A secondary use case will be tracking other hip-hop artists. So two people me at the desk and an artist using the gobo (as I don't think I have room for a dedicated vocal booth). A third use case would be having me at the desk, one artist tracking, and another artist/friend hanging out (probably on a couch at the back).

Neighbors?
To the north, there is my kitchen and then a small outdoor patio.
To the east, there is a commercial building (used as an office for a real estate company).
To the south, there's the rest of my apartment and then eventually a street (with traffic a source of noise).
To the west, there's a residential appartment (potential noise pollution from my studio to his apartment).
Below me, there is a basement
Above me, there is another apartment.

Existing construction details
Here's what I know. Painted concrete walls. Painted wood floor. I know this is not nearly the level of detail that would be ideal. Once I move into the space I will be able to provide a bunch more detail. If we need more details to make a go no-go decision on the space then I can view it again before signing a lease.

Facing Street
Attachment:
studio_facing_street.jpeg


Facing Kitchen
Attachment:
studio_facing_kitchen.jpeg


Room Dimensions
The section of the room I'm considering is 20x11x(15 maybe more very tall ceilings).
Attachment:
Proposed_Layout.JPG


My Current Bedroom Studio
Microphone: Neuman TLM 102, pre-amp: Chameleon Labs 7602 , audio interface: Scarlette 6i6 , computer: iMac Pro, Monitors: ADAMs A7.
Attachment:
Bedroom Studio Angle Two.JPG

Attachment:
Bedroom Studio Angle One.JPG


Items I have researched about the space
  • Is it a rental space I can afford? Yes (trying to keep monthly rent under 3.5k SF is insane :shock: )
  • Does it have fast internet? Yes
  • Is it nearby work? Yes.

Items I still need to research about the space:
I got some great suggestions from My HomeRecording forum post
  • Is there RFI in the building. Apparently, I can use a guitar amp to check for this.
  • Are the main electrics in good condition?

Questions
Before I sign I lease for this space (and commit to trying to build my first real home studio in it) are there any other items I should research about the space that I haven't mentioned?

Thanks for reading :)

P.S. I'm very excited to start on this journey and couldn't quite believe when I saw the quality present in this forum.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:14 am 
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Hi there Chad, and Welcome! :)

Quote:
Trying to make sure I did all the items in this post:
:thu:

Quote:
I looked at basements and found they had ceilings that were generally too low.
Right! Low ceilings are a bad idea.

Quote:
I looked at two bedrooms apartments and found the rooms were too small (and would be too hard to isolate from neighbors).
Very small rooms are also bad... and neighbors banging on the door with flaming pitchforks are also bad... :!:

Quote:
10k - 15k I could be talked into spending more if necessary.
That might be OK, or it might be too low. It all depends on the room you have, and what you want to accomplish...

Quote:
Purchased a meter to definitively measure as suggested.
That's a decent one, yes. Now use it! :)

Go rap as loud as you would on your most inspired day, in the room you are thinking of. Measure that level inside the room, and get someone to measure the same outside the room, in several places, while you carry on rapping extremely... Note down the levels and locations. Now shut up, and measure the levels again in all the same locations, noting the ambient level this time. The difference between "in room" and "just outside room" while rapping is how much isolation you are getting right now. The difference between the "rapping in room" and the LOWEST ambient level you measured
is how much total isolation you need in order to be at the SAME level as ambient, and therefore vaguely audible. If you wanted to be TOTALLY inaudible in those locations, then you'd need more isolation.

There's one other factor: get a copy of your local municipal noise regulations, and see what THAT says about how quiet you have to be. Then have a good laugh, because it is impossible to attain such ridiculously low levels in real life, but take note that that's the level where the neighbors could call the cops on you...

Quote:
In order of importance. Primarily I want to be able to track my own hip-hop vocals and then mix them.
So tracking vocals and mixing in the same room. That is possible, but not ideal. However, for Rap, you can probably get away with it just fine. That said, the design priority should be mixing, not tracking. The room should be designed as a critical listening room, or "control room".

Quote:
A third use case would be having me at the desk, one artist tracking, and another artist/friend hanging out (probably on a couch at the back
)Sounds like a typical single-room home studio! :)

Quote:
Below me, there is a basement
What is the basement used for? Is it yours, or somebody else's? Any people down there that would be annoyed by your rapping? Any noisy stuff down there that could get into your room and cause you problems, such as pumps, fans, HVAC ducts, water pipes, sewer pipes, people doing things, playing the radio, talking, shouting, etc.?

Are you allowed to get down in the basement and modify the "ceiling" (your floor) from below?

Quote:
Above me, there is another apartment.
Ceiling construction? Are you allowed to modify that

Quote:
The section of the room I'm considering is 20x11x(15 maybe more very tall ceilings)
Nice! A bit long and thin, but certainly usable.

Quote:
My Current Bedroom Studio
OK, yes, you definitely need a new place! :)

Quote:
Monitors: ADAM A7.
Nice! :thu: I have a pair of those myself.


Quote:
Before I sign I lease for this space (and commit to trying to build my first real home studio in it) are there any other items I should research about the space that I haven't mentioned?
Take a close look at that lease, and any associated bylaws, rules, regulations, etc!!!! Make sure that you are allowed to do anything you want, as long as you agree to leave it all looking the same as it was when you got there, if you ever decide to leave. You WILL need to do extensive work on the walls and possibly the ceiling and floor too, so check that the lease allows you to do that. You'll probably have to leave behind some of the stuff you do (changes inside the walls, floor, and eiling to improve isolation for example), so take into account that the money you spend on doing that will be lost if you leave: it would not be worth trying to recover that. However, the treatment you do INSIDE the room is certainly recoverable, if you build it that way.

That would be my biggest concern if I were you: the space is great, perfect for a studio, but you do need to be able to modify all of that room extensively. The lease might not allow that... So discuss that with the landlord: you might need to get a supplementary agreement of some type drawn up. As long as you promise to leave it looking the same as when you got it, at your own expense, that might work. You might be required to leave some type of security deposit to cover the costs of doing that, in case you skip out late one night and disappear....

But the space itself looks great! As long as you can modify it.


- Stuart -

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:21 am 
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Soundman2020 wrote:
That would be my biggest concern if I were you: the space is great, perfect for a studio, but you do need to be able to modify all of that room extensively. The lease might not allow that... So discuss that with the landlord: you might need to get a supplementary agreement of some type drawn up. As long as you promise to leave it looking the same as when you got it, at your own expense, that might work. You might be required to leave some type of security deposit to cover the costs of doing that, in case you skip out late one night and disappear....

- Stuart -


I have talked with the property manager about this. Good idea to get it added specifically to the lease. I'll bring that up!!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:24 am 
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Soundman2020 wrote:

Quote:
Above me, there is another apartment.
Ceiling construction? Are you allowed to modify that
-


I'm allowed to modify the ceiling although it's so high I was envisioning leaving the ceiling as is and building my own ceiling below it?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:15 am 
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Quote:
I'm allowed to modify the ceiling although it's so high I was envisioning leaving the ceiling as is and building my own ceiling below it?
That would be a three-leaf system... :) Your low frequency isolation could potentially be WORSE like that. Take a look at the difference between two-leaf and three-leaf isolation systems to understand why this is a potential problem.

Are you planning to build a proper "room-in-a-room" system here? It sounds like it, if you say you are planning to have a new ceiling below the existing ceiling. If that's the case, then your walls are also potentially going to be three-leaf systems, unless you do something about your existing walls to make them only single leaf...

But you are jumping the gun a bit: there's no point planning how to build your walls and ceiling until you know how many decibels of isolation you need. That's the key factor that defines the isolation method, construction techniques, and building materials....

- Stuart -

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:37 am 
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Soundman2020 wrote:
Quote:
I'm allowed to modify the ceiling although it's so high I was envisioning leaving the ceiling as is and building my own ceiling below it?
That would be a three-leaf system... :) Your low frequency isolation could potentially be WORSE like that. Take a look at the difference between two-leaf and three-leaf isolation systems to understand why this is a potential problem.

Are you planning to build a proper "room-in-a-room" system here? It sounds like it, if you say you are planning to have a new ceiling below the existing ceiling.


I read up on the good information on this forum about what a leaf is. You're right in general about the 2 verse 3 leaf comment.

In my case though I'm not constrained on ceiling height. So I think I could make my ceiling start at 8' then have a foot between my first leaf and my second leaf. Then have the remaining distance to my original ceiling (say 8'). I could bump the distance between my first and second leaf until I got the sound isolation I need. Without having a super high ceiling or a super large spring. I think the info about 2 verse 3 leaves is especially relevant for people with constrained ceiling height (say in a basement). They might mistakenly make a 3 leaf system and get worse isolation.

I bring this up to discuss and am not sure one way or the other. Either way I appreciate you weighing in on the topic and giving me advice :)

Soundman2020 wrote:
Quote:
If that's the case, then your walls are also potentially going to be three-leaf systems, unless you do something about your existing walls to make them only single leaf...
- Stuart -


I believe my walls are solid concrete so single leaf.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:50 am 
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Quote:
So I think I could make my ceiling start at 8' then have a foot between my first leaf and my second leaf. Then have the remaining distance to my original ceiling (say 8').
That would be a FOUR leaf system! Which is even worse than a 3-leaf for low frequency isolation ...

I'm assuming that the ceiling is the same as the floor: in other words, there are joists up there and the apartment above has wooden flooring, like yours, on top of those joists, while your ceiling is attached to the bottom of those joists. Thus, there are already two leaves You are proposing to add ANOTHER two eaves blow that, for a total of four leaves....

First, you seem to be misunderstanding what "room in a room" construction really is. It means that you already have a room (the walls/floor/ceiling around you), and you will build a new "room" inside that. The new room will consist of a single leaf only. Done. Finished. End. The is no "my first leaf" plus "my second leaf" plus the existing ceiling.... There is only ONE new leaf that foes up, normally in the form of stud framing that has drywall on ony ONE side of it. So you would the frame four walls just an inch or so away from your existing four walls, and frame a single ceiling on top of those four walls, then put drywall on just ONE side of that framing. It could be the side facing the room, in which case it is "conventional construction", or it could be on the side facing the cavity, in which case it is "inside-out construction", but it would NOT be on both sides of the framing.

And that's it! There is no "extra" ceiling in there: just the existing ceiling, which is your "outer leaf", then the new ceiling on top of the new walls, and that is your "inner-leaf".

Of course, that assumes that you existing floor is able to safely support the very large weight of that new structure. That's where the structural engineer comes in: you will need to hire one, he will examine your place, and the basement, then determine what the load-carrying capacity of your floor joists is, as well as the current dead load and live load that they are already carrying, then he will tell you how much extra load they are able to carry. If that is not sufficient to support the huge load of the new "room", then he will tell you what you will need to do to beef up the structure so that it can support that load.

Quote:
I could bump the distance between my first and second leaf until I got the sound isolation I need.
Once again, the first leaf is alreayd there! That's your outer-leaf. You will only add one additional leaf to that, which is your inner-leaf. That is your "room in a room".

Quote:
I think the info about 2 verse 3 leaves is especially relevant for people with constrained ceiling height (say in a basement).
Its relevant for everyone! The laws of physics don't change for people with greater or lesser ceiling height.... If you leave a larger gap, the effect is to lower the MSMSM resonant frequency of the system. That will lower both f0 and also f+, true but they will still both be higher than the f0 for the equivalent two-leaf system. You would still have to do the math to determine if the f+ of your proposed 3-leaf system is at least an octave lower than the lowest frequency you will be producing in your studio.

However, if you leave a very large air gap, then you are wasting that valuable, precious ceiling height!

Have you looked at possible room ratios for your studio? Do any of them match the situation you propose?

Quote:
I believe my walls are solid concrete so single leaf.
Excellent! That's good news. So you should be able to get very good isolation, provided that you can beef up the existing floor and ceiling to have high mass as well, before you build your inner-leaf room.

I'm also assuming that you have checked into the issue with the basement below, and that there's no problem with having loud sounds from your studio penetrating down into that, and also that there are no flanking paths from there into the rest of the building. If that is not the case, then you'd also need to look into methods for isolating your floor.

Lots to do here!


- Stuart -

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:50 pm 
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Soundman2020 wrote:
Quote:
So I think I could make my ceiling start at 8' then have a foot between my first leaf and my second leaf. Then have the remaining distance to my original ceiling (say 8').
That would be a FOUR leaf system! Which is even worse than a 3-leaf for low frequency isolation ...

I'm assuming that the ceiling is the same as the floor: in other words, there are joists up there and the apartment above has wooden flooring, like yours, on top of those joists, while your ceiling is attached to the bottom of those joists. Thus, there are already two leaves You are proposing to add ANOTHER two eaves blow that, for a total of four leaves....



I believe the ceiling is a single concrete block but I'll have to look again.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:52 pm 
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Soundman2020 wrote:

First, you seem to be misunderstanding what "room in a room" construction really is. It means that you already have a room (the walls/floor/ceiling around you), and you will build a new "room" inside that. The new room will consist of a single leaf only. Done. Finished. End. The is no "my first leaf" plus "my second leaf" plus the existing ceiling.... There is only ONE new leaf that foes up, normally in the form of stud framing that has drywall on ony ONE side of it. So you would the frame four walls just an inch or so away from your existing four walls, and frame a single ceiling on top of those four walls, then put drywall on just ONE side of that framing. It could be the side facing the room, in which case it is "conventional construction", or it could be on the side facing the cavity, in which case it is "inside-out construction", but it would NOT be on both sides of the framing.

And that's it! There is no "extra" ceiling in there: just the existing ceiling, which is your "outer leaf", then the new ceiling on top of the new walls, and that is your "inner-leaf".


Good points about the room in a room. Thanks for clarifying that!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:05 pm 
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Soundman2020 wrote:
Have you looked at possible room ratios for your studio? Do any of them match the situation you propose?


8.08x10.5x15.35 - Is the closest I could find. I still need to go in and get the space measured exactly. Once I move in I'll take exact measurements and start working on a sketchup mock.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:05 pm 
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Soundman2020 wrote:

I'm also assuming that you have checked into the issue with the basement below, and that there's no problem with having loud sounds from your studio penetrating down into that, and also that there are no flanking paths from there into the rest of the building. If that is not the case, then you'd also need to look into methods for isolating your floor.


Will add this to my list thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:59 pm 
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Quote:
8.08x10.5x15.35 - Is the closest I could find.
That works out to a ratio of 1 : 1.29 : 1.89, which actually isn't very good: it fails one of the three "critical" tests: 1.1w / h < l / h < ((4.5w / h) - 4) In words: the length divided by the height must be greater than 1.1 times the width over the height, and less than 4.5 times the width over the height, less 4. In simple terms: a check that the room is not too long and narrow for the height.

But with a height of 15 feet, a length of 20, and a width of 11, it doesn't seem logical to make the room so small. Cutting down the length from 20 to 15, and cutting down the height from 15 to just 8, is making the room very small when it doesn't need to be. In fact, it turns out that 20 x 11 x 15 is a ratio of 1 : 1.36 : 1.81, which is pretty good! It's close to Louden's best ratio, which is 1 : 1.4 : 1.9. It gives you a floor area of 220 ft2 which is larger than the smallest recommended size, and a room volume of 3300 ft3, which is well over the minimum of 1600 ft3. So that would be a great room, exactly as it is, in terms of ratio, area and volume.

Now, assuming that you do need to do a "room in a room" to get good isolation, and you lose 6" on each side from that (1" gap, plus 3.5" studs, plus 1.5" sheathing), then your final internal dimensions would be 19 x 10 x 14.5. The ratio is still good, at 1 : 1.45 : 1.9, the area is still good at 190 ft2, and the volume is still good at 2750 ft3. You don't need to go smaller than that, I would expect.

Quote:
I believe the ceiling is a single concrete block but I'll have to look again.
That would be excellent, if it really is a concrete slab! But if your floor is wood, then I would assume that the other floors are wood too... Hopefully I'm wrong about that...


- Stuart -

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:11 pm 
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Quick update:

I've been working in SketchUp to model the space, so I can propose some designs for the studio and get feedback from the community. Here is my progress so far.

Attachment:
The Studio .jpg


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:30 pm 
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Good work! Keep at it dude!

Greg

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:47 pm 
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After looking at the construction of the walls and ceiling I realized they aren't concrete and are in fact 1/2" drywall. I'm wondering if I should plan to rip off the existing drywall?

I have a standard wall consisting of a 2x4 with drywall on both sides. I don't see a way to add mass to the side that is in the wall currently. Consequently, it makes sense to me to leave the wall as is and just build a 2 leafed system inside it. With the first leaf being drywall green glued to the existing wall and the second leaf being a normal wall.


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