Build out a Mixing/Recording Room – Part 2

Finally, the money and time have presented themselves and I can continue the build-out of a new studio in the a basement room of a residential home.

You may review the previous blog of 4-2013
“Build out a Mixing/Recording Room – Part 1”

The owner has some specific concerns. Particularly in that “ I don’t want to hear anyone above me and I don’t want them to hear me” meaning, the rest of the family. Kind of a tall order given the fact that there is not much floor to ceiling height in this space. It is much easier to make his wishes happen when the space has a ceiling height of 10 or more feet. This space is 7′ 9”, that’s it. Bummer! Oh and did I mention, the budget is very tight. Ah!, the music business.

In deciding the best, most economical way to achieve the issue of sound transmittal between the basement room and the family room I have found that attaching drywall to the underside of the floor works pretty well. The addition of “Green Glue” works even better. As you can see in the following image there is space between the floor/ceiling joists that can be worked on.

Great Mix Recording - Studio Build Out - Ceiling No Drywall

I cut strips of 5/8” drywall of 8 foot lengths to fit in between the joists, spreading Green Glue on the drywall prior to screwing to underside of the floor. The whole idea of Green Glue in a nutshell is that by putting a layer of GG between two surfaces, the energy of noise whether its acoustical or impact is converted to heat and spread sideways to keep the energy from passing through to the other space.

Go here for info on what GG is:

One important thing about GG is that it takes awhile, time wise, to reach its full transmission stopping properties. There have been reports that as much as 3-4 months have gone by till you get the full benefits of GG.

Great Mix Recording - Studio Build Out - Ceiling With Drywall

You also need to chalk any gaps in the drywall/GG application.
Use an acoustical sealant. Not any ole’ chalk.

Great Mix Recording - Studio Build Out

Great Mix Recording - Studio Build Out - GG Application

You will also notice that there is HVAC duct work in the joist space that supplies conditioned air to the family room above this space. Another hurdle to overcome. Arrrg! This has to be dealt with as sound easily comes thru the duct work and vice versa. The best way to resolve this issue is to take down the duct work and wrap it with VERY expensive acoustical blocking material. Not going to happen.

So, next best way is to wrap the duct with a rubberized membrane that will cut down on the transmission and ringing of the sound. Still, pretty expensive. However, I found an automotive product designed for automobile interiors that will work just great for 1/3 of the cost. Ebay saves the day again!

This also needs to be done with any water waste pipes in the area.

Great Mix Recording - Studio Build Out

Great Mix Recording - Studio Build Out

Great Mix Recording - Studio Build Out

The next step is the addition of insulation stuffed between the joists. This helps even more to cut down on sound transmission by absorbing the higher frequencies. Do not “pack” it in. It needs to be relatively loose. Do not let it extend past the bottom of the joist.

The final step in the ceiling/floor issue will be to “float” the ceiling. I will discuss that in a later blog after the walls go up.
A great resource is:

Walls are just about all up.

Great Mix Recording - Studio Build Out

Great Mix Recording - Studio Build Out

Great Mix Recording - Studio Build Out

. Record . Mix . Master . Music .

Build out a Mixing / Recording room – Part I

Studio Buildout:

From time to time I am hired or asked to provide technical services in the design and construction of recording studio spaces and systems. As a partner with my good friend Kevin Sucher, in a studio, we find ourselves in a situation where we need to do a buildout in a residence on a pretty tight budget. In the following months I will blog about the experience to document and hopefully provide insights and thoughts to help other persons in such an endeavor.
-Jacques Sewrey

The Space:

An unfinished room in a residential basement. Dimensions are roughly 17′ x 29′ x 7’9”. This what we have to work with for better or worse. The better part is that the room is a fairly large space and is rectangular in nature. The worse part is the ratio dimensions are not the preferred kind and the height is a bit on the short side. Preferred height would be a minimum of 10′.

In looking at a space for the monitoring of high quality audio, many considerations need to be taken into account. The size of the room, the type of audio production that will be done in the space, the type of building construction of the bare space, any other adjoining rooms of the space and their use, the neighborhood in which the space is, proximity to any low-frequency generating business’s or sounds, access to electrical and HVAC systems.

The use is going to be production, mixing, vocal over-dub and small acoustic instrument recording. Possible drum recording will be done in the garage.

Our space uses construction block as the type of material that the walls of the space are constructed from. This is a very good thing. Construction block or poured concrete is very good at stopping the transmission of sound from and to the outside. And being below “grade” is also helpful. However, being below grade can be an issue if the space is located near low-frequency generating sources as the low-frequency can pass through the ground and into the studio space then get trapped and reverberate. This is unacceptable!! One of the numbers you may run across is the STC. Sound Transmission Coefficient. Which is the amount of sound that is stopped by the material/construction. A wall, floor, ceiling, sofa etc.. The higher the number the more sound is stopped. The average hollow wall in a normal home is 30-35. Filled block and poured wall construction is 50-55. A double wall separated by airspace with 2 layers of drywall on each side and fiberglass insulation is 55-60.

The biggest issue we face is noise coming from the living room and laundry room above the space. I will talk about this in the next installment of the blog.

The first thing I did was to measure the room dimensions and plot them (to scale) on paper. Do all the nooks and crannies. In doing this you can start to layout your room. Make decisions of equipment locations, speaker placement. Added walls and possible sound treatment. Always try to set up your monitoring position in the first 1/3rd of the longways of the space.

Come up with a budget, something you can do with-in your business plan. The budget for this project is a healthy $8000. This only includes the buildout, no recording equipment. In planning a studio think of everything. The equipment you have or will add. How it will be wired. What cue system you will use. Storage space. Internet. Lighting. How you will incorporate HVAC.

Stay tuned for more to come on this exciting project!

. Record . Mix . Master . Music .

9.9.2013 – Please note – this project has been put on hold. If you have any questions on your Studio Build Out do not hesitate to contact me directly.

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