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Renovating basement into studio

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Renovating basement into studio

Postby Gerhard Westphalen » Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:36 pm

I'm am moving to a new house where I will use the main basement room for my film composition studio. The dimensions of the room is 9.5m by 3.6m. I will be replacing the walls and flooring. The room has a dropped ceiling.
Because of the large dimensions of the room, I'd like to split it into a live room and a control room by building a wall. I'll do research on the best wall do stop sound going between the rooms and I'll probably has 2 heavy doors setup. My main concern is the dropped ceiling and how I can stop sound from travelling over the wall via the dropped ceiling.
I was thinking of building a second ceiling below the dropped ceiling but the ceiling is very low so I think adding anything would make it way too low. I'm a violinist so I need some room above me when I'm playing. I appreciate anyone's reply.
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Re: Renovating basement into studio

Postby James Perrett » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:09 pm

Is the dropped ceiling separate from the floor above and, if so, is there any way that you could replace the ceiling? Alternatively, you could remove the underside of the existing ceiling, mount joists between and slightly below the existing joists and then mount a layer or two of plasterboard on these joists to form a separate structure from the existing floor.

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Re: Renovating basement into studio

Postby _ Six _ » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:16 am

You don't say where you're from but I looked into converting my UK basement and decided it was a bad idea.

Watch out for the slightest bit of damp. It will destroy instruments and studio equipment without mercy and is really bad for your health. If the walls haven't had a lot of money spent on tanking, or if the existing system is old, then you're asking for trouble.

Basements are difficult to sound proof and acoustically treat too. To stop sound getting out you need to build a room within a room, that is totally air tight and isolated from the structure with a floating floor and ceiling. For that you need lots of insulation, framing, resilient bars, a double layer of plasterboard, barrier mats/ damping and a sealed heavy double door. Being airtight poses problems for breathing so you need an acoustically designed ventilation system. Low ceilings are notorious for being difficult environments to record and mix in.

The basement may not qualify as a habitable space and studio use can invalidate home insurance. A lot of them are listed for storage use only. Are the electrics okay? Any modifications to the building can change your council tax band and can cause problems if you try to sell the place due to building regs (or problems for the landlord if he'd allow it). More than a few people will need an adequate fire escape which might mean having a second exit depending on where the main door is located in the house.

It can be a nightmare.

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Re: Renovating basement into studio

Postby Gerhard Westphalen » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:18 am

There is a gap between the ceiling and the floor above. I'm not sure if completely replacing the ceiling would be too expensive and difficult. How effective would the plasterboard be? If I were to have a string section in the other room would I be able to hear them?
I was thinking that maybe there is a way to fill in the gap between the floor above and the ceiling but I'm not sure what material I could use or how effective it would be.

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Re: Renovating basement into studio

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:02 am

I'd also second _Six_'s cautions. Basements always have really major low frequency standing wave issues because of the nature of the where they are -- LF has nowhere to go becuase of the solid walls everywhere! So whatever else you do, you will need to install large, serious bass traps and they will eat up a lot of your current floor space, quite posible making the two-room idea unworkable.

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Re: Renovating basement into studio

Postby Gerhard Westphalen » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:09 am

To fix bass issues I've seen 3 types of solutions. I could use any of them in my situation.
1. The Auralex Lenrd foam traps
2. Panels which go across in the corner (creating a triangle)
3. Making splayed walls (similar to the panels but actually having the wall with that shape and having it filled with dense insulation and maybe some light foam on the outside of wall)

Do you have any idea of what would be best for my basement?
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Re: Renovating basement into studio

Postby Gerhard Westphalen » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:17 am

I live in Calgary, Canada which is a really dry city where dampness and mold is rarely a problem.

In most Calgary houses the basement is the most inhabited space of the house. My studio will be where a living room currently is so it does qualify as a habitable space.

Right now between my studio and the room that I record in there is only a thin interior door with an air gap underneath it so I'd be happy with any significant improvement. It doesn't have to be great soundproofing.
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Re: Renovating basement into studio

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:25 am

All you need to know is in the pages of this book here -

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Re: Renovating basement into studio

Postby Scramble » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:50 am

octilliondollars wrote:To fix bass issues I've seen 3 types of solutions. I could use any of them in my situation.
1. The Auralex Lenrd foam traps
2. Panels which go across in the corner (creating a triangle)

Foam and panels won't do much to help with bass.
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Re: Renovating basement into studio

Postby Gerhard Westphalen » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:56 pm

Do you know if building the room with the wall behind the monitors in the corners being perpendicular to the monitors with insulation would help? I'm not sure if I explained that right.
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Re: Renovating basement into studio

Postby James Perrett » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:32 am

Pictures and diagrams might help to explain things better.

I've used splayed walls in my last 2 studios although you really need to get an acoustic designer on board if you want to use them properly. I've also used panels across the corners for bass trapping in my current studio although it isn't quite finished enough to say how successful they've been.

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Re: Renovating basement into studio

Postby Gerhard Westphalen » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:20 am

As of right now, I think that the best solution will be superchunks
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