home studio build!

Get that song on tape! Errr... disk?
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postchrist
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home studio build!

Post by postchrist » Mon Jun 15, 2020 9:47 pm

rented out an extra room in my apartment, going to work on converting my old room to a full studio. neighbors can be tough to work with at times but i’m hoping this will pay off as a creative space.

have been doing the lo-fi bedroom recording thing for quite a while and have been getting a little tired of it. picked up a pair of equator d5s(insane bargain, blowing my mind), as well as some furniture/storage and am now diving into making absorption panels on top of all the windows. super simple work but a lot of fun. will likely dive into treating the space with diffusion and more absorption/bass traps at some point soon.

pics!

mixing/work desk:
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the room prior to starting the buildout:
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frames started:
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from the back
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and the first two up!
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Last edited by postchrist on Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: studio build!

Post by mackerelmint » Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:02 pm

Righteous.

Tell me about those monitors you like so much. They're small and interesting.
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Re: studio build!

Post by postchrist » Tue Jun 16, 2020 2:12 am

mackerelmint wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:02 pm
Righteous.

Tell me about those monitors you like so much. They're small and interesting.
got them off craigslist for a steal, the reviews tend to be pretty good:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/low-end ... etter.html

i’m enjoying them! i’m not quite enough of a nerd to dive into why they sound so good to me, but they blow just about every other sub-$1000 set out of the water to my ears. just incredibly clear and balanced, and “airy” in the way that far pricier monitors tend to be. pretty excited to treat the mixing area and get a really clear listen on them.
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Re: studio build!

Post by postchrist » Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:50 am

today! finished up panels and started on a set of skyline diffusors.

went ahead and had some fun with the middle window as that’s where i’ll have the mixing desk eventually. i’ve never been quite so happy with anything i’ve built - it’s not perfect, but it’s clean and pretty. the diffusors are 1’x1’, and with a two inch border on all sides, three of them glued together will fit snugly in the window. planning on making it a pop-in, pop-out sort of thing, as the view out that back window is something i’m very fond of. didn’t quite pay enough attention in college to know for sure if i’m doing any of this right but so far the room sounds a million times better than it did two days ago.

little drunk and rambling. anyways:

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Re: studio build!

Post by mackerelmint » Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:30 am

Cool! I like your pop in, pop out idea. Someday I'd like to have a dedicated recording room, and I was kinda thinking that sound panels to cover windows but that can also be moved/removed/panel as shutters would be a cool concept. Because maybe you wanna let some sun in while you're just writing, or you're recording via DI and the room sound is irrelevant. Or maybe it's just stale or stuffy or stinky in there and you wanna open the windows up.

It doesn't always have to be a cave.
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Re: studio build!

Post by postchrist » Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:17 pm

mackerelmint wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:30 am
Cool! I like your pop in, pop out idea. Someday I'd like to have a dedicated recording room, and I was kinda thinking that sound panels to cover windows but that can also be moved/removed/panel as shutters would be a cool concept. Because maybe you wanna let some sun in while you're just writing, or you're recording via DI and the room sound is irrelevant. Or maybe it's just stale or stuffy or stinky in there and you wanna open the windows up.

It doesn't always have to be a cave.
exactly! the panels are all just held in place with cardboard shims for now as they’re not quite airtight-snug, figuring out how i want to mount them more permanently, hopefully with the option to pull one or two down every once in a long while.

this morning i made a stand-alone 2’x4’, likely the first of a few, haven’t yet decided how i want to make the “feet”. my old professor made his with a pair of common pine boards that pivoted out to stand it up or could lie flat, i may well go that route.

as of now-

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Re: home studio build!

Post by mbene085 » Wed Jun 17, 2020 3:57 pm

Cool thread.

I'm not totally sure about those framed insulation sound absorbers over the windows, though. Those are good for controlling reflections within the room, but not for preventing transmission into and out of the room.

The principles of soundproofing are mass, decoupling, absorption and resonance. Windows are lower mass than the surrounding walls, which is why they transmit sound more effectively. The number one thing that would insulate them is mass. Covering the window with something thick and heavy will always be the most effective way to soundproof it, so filling the frame with, say, plywood, would make it more effective for that purpose than filling it with insulation.

You can then treat the interior of the room with broadband absorbers as needed, typically at the first reflection point between your common listening positions and your common sound sources, though bass trapping the corners of the room is usually the priority and can sometimes provide enough absorption.

For the diffusers, you want to be careful about where you put them. You typically need to be listening from several feet back of them for them to have an effect. If you're too close to them, they can't actually diffuse most of the frequencies you're hearing, even if they're build accurately.

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Re: home studio build!

Post by postchrist » Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:44 pm

hey mike! so i’m with you on all counts, the panels were more for the sake of managing reflections than isolating from the outside world, but i also used rockwool safe and sound, which as i understand does something for both purposes. i am considering putting plywood backings on them before mounting permanently! my roommate and i did the outside test today, took turns going around back and listening. sounded heavily reduced from what it was before, mostly bass and low mids coming through now. bass traps are also on the agenda! probably within the next week or so.

as of tonight, arranged it more to how i’ll want it long term. desk is a little over a foot away from the wall, so should be space for the diffusers to do their job, but i’ll be experimenting a lot with placement on those.

i will also admit that it will be far from perfect, kind of just figuring it all out as i go, but it already does sound a hundred times better than it did prior.

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Re: home studio build!

Post by mbene085 » Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:31 am

Oh for sure it'll be a massive improvement over double paned glass, I didn't want to sound negative or critical.

Rockwool like safe n sound has a reputation for decreasing sound transmission, but it's actually super context-specific. For insulating ceilings between floors, compared to other options, it absolutely does more. But for insulating decoupled interior walls, it doesn't actually do more than low density fiberglass insulation.

The more massive a membrane/barrier between two spaces, the lower the resonant frequency and the lower the high-pass cutoff frequency it displays. If you want to hear less from outside and vice versa, adding thick plywood backing to those frames will absolutely accomplish more by adding mass and dropping that resonant frequency.

I love the science behind this stuff, and have been prepping for creating a nice space of my own as soon as I'm able to. Looking forward to seeing what else you come up with!

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Re: home studio build!

Post by øøøøøøø » Thu Jun 18, 2020 6:37 am

mbene085 wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:31 am
But for insulating decoupled interior walls, it doesn't actually do more than low density fiberglass insulation.
We have an informal NDA with our architect, Thomas Jouanjean of Northward Acoustics, who designed our three most recent rooms. But I think he'd be okay with me disclosing this--

While we used both pink fiberglas and mineral wool in our rooms (as well as a third "mystery" type of insulation, and some other more-secret acoustic treatment), all of the walls for the decoupled shells specified mineral wool insulation.

I assume he chose this material in this location for a specific purpose, considering we used fiberglas in other locations, and it's more expensive (and slightly more difficult to source) as well as a little bit trickier to work with than fiberglas.

The only reason for the insulation within these decoupled shells (which were completely floating, constructed on suspended concrete slabs over a tuned mass-spring system) would be to attenuate cavity resonances and/or create transmission losses.

One thing I learned about Thomas is that everything in his designs is done with intent, for a reason, and is backed by a massive understanding (both intuitive and academic) of acoustical physics.

I learned quite a bit about the subject myself just by my proximity to him, his designs, and of course being tasked with executing it.

Short version--if he specified mineral wool over pink fiberglas in the application you're describing, I feel sure that he considers it to be superior in that context.

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Re: home studio build!

Post by mbene085 » Thu Jun 18, 2020 6:47 am

That's really interesting, Brad. Maybe it had more to do with tuning resonant frequency than absorption? Everything is a part of a larger system, but I wish I could find out why he used that in that situation.

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Re: home studio build!

Post by øøøøøøø » Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:02 pm

To be precise/clearer: this was not a part of the acoustic treatment within the rooms. This was within the decoupled shells, the part of the construction that kept "inside sound" in and "outside sound" out.

The walls of these exterior shells were built to be extremely stiff. You would not believe the framing--how closely-together the studs were spaced and blocked (all framed in 2x6 lumber). High density mineral wool was then stuffed in all of the spaces between these studs before the inside and outside were sheathed in thick OSB (two layers!) and then high-density drywall (two layers again!)

When we were done, the walls were so stiff and massive that they might as well have been poured concrete. But inside in the voids was high-density mineral wool.

The treatment itself was a whole other story... much, much more insane. I've been a part of five ground-up studio builds now, and these rooms had by far the most sophisticated and complex/intricate treatment of anything I've encountered.

But that's where Thomas's trade secrets lie, so I can't say too much. Only that he had some very innovative and effective means of creating the necessary mechanical impedance mismatches needed to control frequencies all the way down below 20 Hz. The rear wall treatment alone was over six feet thick when we were done, which sounds like a lot--but that thickness isn't all that unusual.

What was unusual is that it's actually very space-efficient treatment... it's much more effective than "six feet of rockwool" or whatever would be.

The result is pretty staggering... everywhere outside the "sweet spot" sounds the same in that room... from the back corner to the middle to the front or wherever. And the imaging within the sweet spot is almost alarmingly pin-point... the first listen I had in these rooms was to put on a record I've heard literally thousands of times. Within thirty seconds I had noticed five things I'd never heard in that recording before

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Re: home studio build!

Post by Larry Mal » Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:42 pm

Very interesting, I'll be following along with this thread since I hope to buy a house some day and will carve out a studio space there. God knows when that will happen in this market, but I'll be happy to be reading and learning in preparation, anyway.
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Re: home studio build!

Post by mbene085 » Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:35 pm

øøøøøøø wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:02 pm
Oof, that's the stuff of dreams, right there.

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Re: home studio build!

Post by postchrist » Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:37 am

brad! i always love hearing what you have to share. i’ve absolutely loved keeping up with the bunker over the past ten or so years, i remember watching the progress videos back in 2011/2012.

to speak to the mineral wool thing - it’s a good deal thicker and denser than fiberglass, in my experience. back when i went to school for audio engineering, my professors built their treatment panels out of owens-corning 703 and dense mineral wool, depending on the application. both seem to manage reflections as well as mid-high range isolation significantly better than pink fiberglass in my(limited) experience.

@mike - i ended up going with drywall cut to the windows for further isolation. seems to have done a bit of good - not a world of difference, but drums are even more muffled from the outside now, to the point that you only hear the very lowest lows, which eases the fears of the neighbors calling cops to our door.
Larry Mal wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:42 pm
Very interesting, I'll be following along with this thread since I hope to buy a house some day and will carve out a studio space there. God knows when that will happen in this market, but I'll be happy to be reading and learning in preparation, anyway.
buying is a very far off dream for me, but i would so love to do this properly, with a lot more in the way of planning and control over circumstance. part of the process of sorting this has been knowing i’ll likely only be in this house another few years(so investing what i think is worth investing to make quality work within that frame of time), and that i can’t do much more than drill a few holes without losing a sizable chunk of our security deposit. that said, i’m happy with what i’ve been able to do with the space. it’s never going to be quite perfect as a recording or mixing room, but it’s shaping up to be a great all-around creative space.

put up a couple hanging panels tonight that i think help to manage initial reflections from the monitors, and are at least measured and placed to do so. bass traps, maybe one more stand-alone 2x4 like the one i did before, and then think i’ll be honing in more on details.

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