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Old October 27th, 2005, 10:58 AM   #1
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Building a small sound studio

i have about 150-200 square feet of space and want to use it to build a small sound studio. does anyone have any advice on how to do this? what should go in it? what are recommended building materials for such a space?

most of my audio recording has been field recording, so i'm wanting to do this right, without flailing around, so can anyone who has done this walk me through the optimum space? the space is currently unfinished, so i can do anything i like in terms of drywall, carpet, etc. what makes good soundproofing material, etc?

thanks for help in advance....
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Old October 27th, 2005, 11:18 AM   #2
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Jay Rose in his book "Audio Postproduction for Digital Video" (ISBN 1-57820-116-0) has a chapter (Chapter 3) that goes into some detail about techniques and materials for studios. The chapter is well worth a look in the planning stages of a studio.
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Old October 27th, 2005, 11:36 AM   #3
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Jay Rose' book is decent for this, but check out Jeff Cooper's book, he's a professional designer that has budget studios in mind. Additionally, Auralex has a no-cost service where they'll usually help you design and configure. Call Brian or Pete at Auralex. I'm sure other companies do this too, but I used Auralex for a small studio we recently configured. 200 square feet is going to be hard to get sounding great, but if anyone can help you, they can.

Forget carpet, and be thinking about what sort of sound you want. A small room like that will be best if created dry vs any ambient. Too small for valuable ambient sound. It's easy to create an ambience, and often times dry rooms sound just that....dry. But only 200 square feet leaves you little choice, because tuning the ambience will likely cost more than it's worth to do, for very little yield on the quality of sound.
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Old October 27th, 2005, 12:36 PM   #4
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Here is something I found out on the net, that I found a good read:
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Old October 27th, 2005, 12:56 PM   #5
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This book really deals with larger spaces but the theory is good and the materials work well. "How to Build a Small Budget Recording Studio from Scratch ... With 12 Tested Designs" by F. Alton Everest

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Old October 27th, 2005, 02:10 PM   #6
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thanks for the leads, guys. this should get me started. just when i think i know a little something about something, something new comes along and shows me how little i know about anything. or something like that.....
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Old October 27th, 2005, 05:24 PM   #7
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Some quick notes:

In general, you don't want a perfect square or triangle room. This gives you standing waves and nodes that mess with sound. Slant the walls out of 90 degrees to each other (like a trapezoid).
Make the walls, floor and ceiling with the heaviest stuff you can afford. Auralex has stuff called SheetBlock that is kind of like linoleum flooring that is good as a layer in the walls/ceiling. Layers: start with the wall as-is, add the studs for the final walls and insulate with rock wool (heavier than fiberglass). Then a sheet of 1/2" drywall (mud and tape), then sheetblock, then another sheet of 3/4" drywall, then mud and tape to make sure it is as air tight as possible.
Do the same for the ceiling (more screws per square inch here... you don't want the sky to fall on you).
If you can, float the floor. Lay down polyurethane 'pucks' (like big hockey pucks) and pour a concrete slab on top of them. This decouples the floor from the world outside. Make all joints air tight.
That should get you a good solid start to build a great sounding room.
Heavy is good. Air-tightness is good (as long as the surfaces on either side are of different resonance frequencies i.e. thicknesses). Big spaces are good.
Hope that helps!
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 12:35 PM   #8
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In smallish rooms a good plan for where you place your gear is a good idea and do some research on "Bass Traps". Bass traps can be built alot cheaper than what you can purchase them if you already have the tools needed for constructing a room. The bass traps will typically go in the corners and ceiling to wall intersections first and then on the flat sections of the walls. Ethan Weiner has done considerable amounts of work in helping develop reliable data specifically towards improving the acoustic response of small work spaces.

Another resource for getting ideas can be found through where John has a forum specifically for Studio build outs and tracking rooms. Budgets big and none.

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