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red.guitar 12-02-2012 04:39 PM

Help with studio/rehersal space build
 
I'm not sure if this is the right spot for this, if not, I'll delete it.

Anyways, me and my girlfriend just bought our first house! We will be moving in, in about 2 weeks. My first task, for after x-mas, will be to finish the basement. Right now we have a 600 sq-ft, unfinished basment.

I'm planning on putting a rec room / rehershal space / possible studio, along with the bathroom and laundary room that my GF insists we "have"... :shrug:

So like I said, its going to be a month or so before I actually start this, but, being an engineer, I like to plan in advance :haha:. I was thinking of using some sort of sound proof insulation in the walls, to keep it quite upstaris while I crank my amps! Along with this, I'm thinking I may be able to convince my GF to let me build a seperate room, say big enough for a drum kit, that I can use as a sound booth.

Does anyone here have any experience building something similar to this at home? Any suggestion for different materials / layout options for me? I'm trying to dig up the floor plan now, I'll post it when I find it.

My recording setup is quite basic right now, but eventually (say 2-3years time) I'd like to be at the point where I can record some fairly prefessional sounding material. But thats a post for another day!

My gear collecting is ever growing, so I really just want a place where I can hang all my guitars up (so they all actually get the attention they deserve!!), and if I had it sound proofed or a booth, I could just crank my amps up without the gf, or pets going apeshit! :haha:


Thanks for taking the time to read my post! :)

EpiExplorer 12-02-2012 06:04 PM

For sound reduction outside of the basement, I'd recommend looking into STC ratings. Wall material of a rating of 60 is considered 'very very good' and 50 is apparently 'just good'. Bear in mind, this is quite expensive, as you're adding in new walls, essentially. Wikipedias got a nice list of stuff: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_transmission_class

So if money's an issue, get loads and loads of diffusive/absorpative material on the walls. A nice one is very thick drapes lining the sides, soaks up the mid-high frequencies well. For lower ones, look into bass traps. They're relatively inexpensive and a good option for dealing with low low frequencies. If you want extra extra absorption, look into this sort of material: http://www.thomann.de/gb/hofa_absorber_eco.htm

Pretty decent stuff. Dont need much of it either if you can plan the trajectory of the sound coming from your sound sources. Works in a similar way to light, so big smooth hard walls cause big reflections and soft wierdly angled material absorbs/diffuses.

This is based on the assumption that your room is very small, as reflections dont do well in my experience.


I knew this degree in sound design would come in handy some day.

red.guitar 12-02-2012 06:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by EpiExplorer
I knew this degree in sound design would come in handy some day.


Indeed it has! :haha:

What would you recommend size wise for a booth? I was thinking of something maybe 10'x10'? I just need something big enough to house my amps, and possibly a drum kit down the road.

I don't exactly need the room to be 100% soundproof. I just need somewhere, where I can crank my amps up a bit, without disturbing everyone in the house.

DisarmGoliath 12-02-2012 07:00 PM

If you have the budget, and are certain you want to build a 'live room' (i.e you aren't going to change your mind 6 months down the line) the very best thing you can do is build a room within a room, with a 'floating' ceiling, floor and walls.

Your best bet, given the space, would be to work out the minimum space required for the laundry room and bathroom (that your gf decides is adequate - trust me, you'll want to keep her happy if you're going to do this) and then separate the rest of the space you have (minus a corridor) off and you can start to plan.

10' by 10' is, in my opinion, probably too small for a drumkit and mics to fit comfortably (remember you'll need space to move around and set things up) but the good news is you don't need the biggest control (mix) room in the world. If anything, the live room is usually taking up most of the available space.

So I personally suggest you make a large live room, big enough to allow for a drum kit, and amps etc. to be placed in, and have a look into building floating floors/ceilings, as well as the walls they require. If you don't feel like doing so much renovation of the walls/ceilings etc. then I would say thicken the walls most definitely, with an air space of at least 1" between two layers. Then, at the least, hang a ceiling-style panel from the ceiling above as much of the room as you'll likely require (i.e you could create a large 'cloud' panel above the future drum riser and another/a few smaller ones over areas dedicated to amps/bass amp etc.

You will, at the least, want to build a drum riser (make this at least 10' wide, by 6' or 7' across, and it will likely be between 8-12" high. Construct it with a few different layers of different materials, or buy one if you want to save some time, but don't just get the kind of thing you see on live sound stages - you want something with mass, that will absorb the impact from the drummer stamping on the pedals, and any vibrations from the drums.

You can also do the same, but smaller, for amps to sit on. Raising and isolating the cab from the ground makes a huge difference to the amount of low end rumble passed on to mics.

Then you just need to look into ways of treating the room for any nasty reflections. You might also be wise to invest in a few gobo panels (wiki link, so you don't confuse anything with the lighting term etc.) that you can place to section off the area depending on the source(s) you are recording, and it will also reduce the amount of treatment for reflections you need on the walls.


As for the control room, that's more a case of treating for reflections than anything else, and the room will probably be fine as a rectangular shape (place the desk and monitors so they are firing down the length of the room, though) and you could build a cloud panel, similar to above the drums, angled above where the desk/monitors will be, which can aid against early reflections (ideally a curved wall-ceiling slope almost like a dome would sit around the mix area, as circular shapes give off very few direct reflections!) which will be more than adequate.

I'm sure others will also be able to help on this matter, and you did post in the correct place (almost medal-worthy!). The only thing I can think of adding to this lengthy post, given my current hunger situation, is that if you could draw up a rough 2D blueprint/map of the floor plan at the moment, we could suggest a (few) layout(s) for you to consider?

axemanchris 12-05-2012 03:25 PM

I can give you a ton of advice, but the most important piece of advice is this:

Take what you expect to spend, and multiply it by at least two or three. Soundproofing is expensive and takes time.

What is your budget?

CT

axemanchris 12-05-2012 03:27 PM

Start with this:

Actual soundproofing is expensive because it is actual reconstruction of a room. There are also factors such as where the room is.

Consider this: Remember the age-old tin can and string telephone experiment? The sound travels from the tin can along the string and to the tin can at the other end. Sound travels through solid surfaces better than it travels through air. Sound will have a harder time moving the particles of a material that is more massive, though. The concrete floor of a basement or a garage will not relay sound nearly as effectively as, say, a wooden floor joist of your attic.

So, you need to have mass, an air space, and then more mass. The 'inner' mass and the 'outer mass' can not be connected in any way to each other. They must be separated *entirely* by this air space. (or in more practical terms.... must be separated from each other in such a way that sound will not pass easily from one to the other.)

Example. Main floor bedroom. Simply screw sheets of drywall over top of the existing drywall to have a double-drywall wall. Sound will travel through drywall layer number one, through the screws and into the wooden framing behind. It will travel along the wooden frame structure to various parts of the house. It will also travel along the floor to the floor joists (and similarly along the ceiling and the ceiling joists), quickly traveling all over the house and to the outside where it will bother the neighbours.

Example 2: Concrete basement floor with concrete walls. Frame wall not directly in front of, but an inch or so in front of the concrete wall. This will leave an airspace between the frame and the wall so sound cannot travel from the framing to the wall. Drywall over top. ( and insulate, of course). Sound will travel, but not well, along the concrete floor. First, because it is concrete, and second, because it is directly against the earth, which will help prevent it from vibrating and will further absorb the sound. You can't get more massive than a big slab of concrete sitting on the earth. But what do you attach your wall frames to? The ceiling? Nope. Sound will then travel along the ceiling to the upper floors and to the outside. You have to create a 'false ceiling' that doesn't actually touch the 'real' ceiling. It can be suspended from your wall frames. You have essentially built a room inside your room, without actually touching the outer room. THIS is what you want.

Now.... you've stopped sound from traveling through your solid surfaces. Remember that sound will also travel through the air. As MrPillow said... doors and windows. You want to make the room air tight. If air can get out, sound can get out. It might only be a small crack under the door, but a 2mm gap underneath a 1m wide door is 2000mm2, or the equivalent of a 4cm x 5cm hole in the middle of your wall. Pretty significant.

But wait! If there is no air getting out of the room.... there is no air getting INTO the room. Sound like a problem? You betcha. You'd really hate to asphyxiate yourself in the middle of a practice session. So your next trick is getting air in without air getting out... and without jeopardizing the integrity of your physical structures....oh, geez.... head starting to hurt? Mine is!

You can see why this gets very difficult and expensive.

Now, in terms of your most basic question... how much benefit will you get from blankets, duvets, foam, etc?

Well... how much mass do you have? Not so much. Do you have an airspace between them? Not so much. Have you eliminated sound traveling along floor and ceiling joists? Nope. Have you addressed air leaks? Nope.

Sure, these materials will muffle things to some small degree, but honestly, don't expect much.

CT

red.guitar 12-06-2012 02:34 PM

This is GREAT info!!

I know there are a lot of things to consider, at least now I have a starting point.

Like I said, I'm not expecting to have a complete 100% soundproof room, I just want a room that will prevent my sound from travelling to the rest of the house, to keep it a little quieter upstairs.

axemanchris 12-07-2012 05:23 PM

Your advantage is that the basement is probably the easiest place to do it, so long as it is dry and has enough height. Mine is in my basement, but if I had to sound-proof it, I'd be screwed because it's really only about 7' throughout much of it.

Your formula for sound reduction is basically:

mass + insulation + mass = soundproof

where the greater the mass and the greater the insulation, the greater the soundproofing.

Careful, though, as you don't want your insulation to conduct sound waves.

I'd start with framing in your walls about an inch from the foundation wall. That way, if things aren't totally true and plumb, you'll still have a half inch or whatever between your studs and the foundation wall. Insulate between the studs and put two layers of drywall onto the studs. Make sure the seams are off-set to minimize whatever might escape through the drywall tape and mud.

Then build your floor up using some hard rubber spacers between the floor joists (or whatever you'll use for your subfloor) and the concrete. Again, insulate and attach your flooring. Leave a quarter or half-inch or whatever between the floor and the walls to prevent vibrations from travelling along the floor to your walls. Maybe use more of those rubber spacers.

So far, you have your wall or floor material + insulation + concrete. This is good.

If you have a window, treat it similarly. Put two windows in if you can - maybe one into the foundation wall, and the other into the framed wall. That way, you'll have glass + air + glass. The heavier the glass, the better. Of course, seal the mother-loving crap out of it.

Suspend your ceiling on joists that go across the top of your walls but do not attach to the floor joists for the level above. You can buy other vibration-reducing clips and spacers for attaching the ceiling or the walls to the upper floor instead if you wish.

I STRONGLY advise two resources:

http://www.amazon.com/Home-Recordin...e/dp/1598630342

That ^ book is written in very friendly language, and is really well explained. I can't recommend it enough. I have it. The author is Rod Gervais, and the book is, by most people's standards, the bible on building a home studio. It also recommends techniques, materials, a bit of acoustical physics, etc.

http://johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/index.php

This ^ forum is hands-down the best resource on the internet for studio construction. John Sayers builds studios into the 100's of thousands of dollars and you can see his work on the site. He frequents the forum. Rod Gervais, the author of the book above also frequents the forum. So do many other bedroom experts, as well as many who are actually acoustical engineers.

CT

JohnnyCNote 12-08-2012 04:48 PM

I'm in a similar situation, except it's my brother (who plays bass) that bought the house and instead of a basement his place is on a 2 acre lot and there's a separate workshop, 50+% of which will be a rehearsal/recording studio. Also, most of the neighboring lots are the same size, so we really won't have to worry about noise, at least during the day.

We need to section part of it off and then equip it. I've got several ideas about financing, so hopefully one of them will bear fruit. I'm more interested in getting at least a start in recording and am thinking about a portable multitrack recorder. One choice is the Zoom R8 and another is the more expensive Boss BR800. I'm not trying to hijack the thread, but if anyone can point me in the direction of a forum that's dedicated to recording I'd be most grateful.

Good luck on the Canadian Basement trip yo!

red.guitar 12-09-2012 06:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyCNote
I'm in a similar situation, except it's my brother (who plays bass) that bought the house and instead of a basement his place is on a 2 acre lot and there's a separate workshop, 50+% of which will be a rehearsal/recording studio. Also, most of the neighboring lots are the same size, so we really won't have to worry about noise, at least during the day.

We need to section part of it off and then equip it. I've got several ideas about financing, so hopefully one of them will bear fruit. I'm more interested in getting at least a start in recording and am thinking about a portable multitrack recorder. One choice is the Zoom R8 and another is the more expensive Boss BR800. I'm not trying to hijack the thread, but if anyone can point me in the direction of a forum that's dedicated to recording I'd be most grateful.

Good luck on the Canadian Basement trip yo!


No worries bro!

I've been staying away from those multi-track recorders. Right now, I just got a small, 2 channel Alesis usb interface, and I'm running it into cubase on my PC. It's perfect for me right now, but when I get this room built, I'm going to start to upgrade to a bigger, multi channel interface, so I can record some live sessions.

JohnnyCNote 12-10-2012 12:26 AM

Thanks! Another possibility is I might be able to get an iPad in the near future. I know of at least one interface that's made specifically for that. Also, there are some nice mixers that are also compatible, like the Presonus stuff. I need to hold off and try to resist any temptation to get something prematurely . . .


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