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New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

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New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby Tonyes335 » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:29 pm

Hello everyone,

Here I plan to share the story of my recording studio build. This will comprise a control room, a booth and live room. The slight complication is that the live room will also be the family home cinema.

I anticipate delays but I'm determined to keep this record as up to date as possible. I have deliberately taken well over a year to make sure preparations are right, a budget is in place and other potential distractions won't slow progress too much.

I hope you enjoy reading as much as I have enjoyed reading the many heroic studio builds featured all over.
As always if you need any further info or have any questions or criticisms please do not hesitate to ask or comment. If you see me stumbling into a glaring mistake or would like to propose an alternative method please do contribute as this discussion helps benefit everyone and perhaps equally important is entertaining!.

To begin:
Below is a mock up of the area based on the final plans.

The pianos in the image attached are just to give an idea of relative scale.

Image
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby Jack Ruston » Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:04 pm

Awesome. This looks exciting!

So one thing strikes me about the plans - you've made an effort to create a good sized booth there, and a booth can be a very useful thing. But ironically enough, the one thing vocal booths are generally not good for is...vocals. They're good for isolating amps, sometimes tracking an acoustic guitar along with a loud band, getting a guide vocal along with the band etc. But they're not USUALLY good for vocals. There's a lot of colouration and it's often better to screen off a space in the live room in a less 'agressive' way from a barrier perspective and work with that. SO my point is, don't compromise your control room (if you feel that you've had to do so) to create a big booth, which while very useful, might work equally well a little smaller.

The 'obvious' place to put the desk would be at the other end of the control room looking out over the live room. I see why you've done it this way though...doors and access etc. It also helps to have space in front of the glass so that a musician can stand in the CR and play with a band tracking in the room.

Looking forward to seeing more. Where are you btw?

J
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby J_J_Breeze » Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:14 pm

Jack makes a good point. It might even be best to completely do away with the vocal booth or make the space smaller and turn it into a machine room, this way you can have a very quiet control room. Quiet enough to track vocals.

Good luck with your project!
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby Tonyes335 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:37 pm

Thanks for the kind wishes and comments. Hopefully the following few posts will shed some light on the reasons for the current design.
We are based near Wrotham, Kent in the UK.

First some history.

I come from a drumming background and have built fairly well isolated drum rooms in most properties we have owned. With hindsight and the more I have learnt from the various resources available, I realise I must have used up a lot of luck getting acceptable results, particularly from an acoustic point of view.

I have a single room at the moment which has now become a store room and is partially converted to an office.
In October 2008 I started building an outbuilding to house a small recording studio, a bar / lounge, kitchen, bathroom and somewhere for guests to stay. I'll elaborate if there is any interest although there will be some background on the website in due course. Anyway, it was slow going as working full time in the City (London) meant that the time with my family was premium and pushed the build to the bottom of the list as I want to do most of the work myself.

At the end of 2012 I got a nudge towards early retirement. We decided it a perfect opportunity to leave the City career behind to spend more time with my family and focus on some of the things we wanted to do. I had only just been toying with the idea of getting a turnkey solution but having new found freedom decided it was something I would do myself.

I wanted a large live area and CR but thought that I may get good use from an iso booth that could possibly be used for vocals as well. It was a question of compromising a larger CR for more flexibility in future. In addition the small lobby created between the three rooms will serve as a transition between the different levels in the building, and possibly another exit point if necessary.
The large live area should also double as our home cinema in order to get max value from the build.

After an extensive research project, buying many books and trawling the usual forums I learnt more about studio design and building. However, I found the wealth of information available was quite often in contradiction which made me wimp out and call in a studio designer.

After an initial meeting with Howard Turner of StudioWizard we decided to go ahead and do a full set of drawings with plans for appropriate acoustic treatments.

After some extensive dialogue over many months in 2013 my plans were delivered. I then had to make some structural adjustments and decided to finish all my other outstanding projects as I had a feeling that once I started there was no going back.

Anyway Howard is kindly and patiently supporting me and I have the appropriate permissions for anything I post.

The basic shell that will house the rooms is nearly complete so have about 3-4 weeks worth of work before I start framing the inner rooms.

To finish this post I would like to acknowledge that none of this would be possible without the support of my wife also affectionately known as the spending committee, and of course my two children who after all this is all for.
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby Jack Ruston » Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:51 pm

Howard is great. You're in good hands there.

J
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby zenguitar » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:57 am

This sounds like an interesting project. And as you are planning to update us regularly I'll make the thread sticky.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby J_J_Breeze » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:33 am

Tonyes335 wrote:
After an initial meeting with Howard Turner of StudioWizard we decided to go ahead and do a full set of drawings with plans for appropriate acoustic treatments.

Great to hear - looking forwards to seeing some images of the build!
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby The Red Bladder » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:46 am

You have not told us yet, what it is that you are going to do there - on that topic, some thoughts (from someone who does this for a living!) -

1. If you are self-recording, i.e. making your own music and just for fun, the very LAST thing you need is a control room. CRs are needed when the engineer and the musician are two different people and have totally different skill sets. If you are a wind-swept and groovy rock-god who can afford his own in-house engineer, super. If not, who is in the CR whilst you are recording drums and piano?

2. Where is the machine room? Computers make a noise and some make quite a good deal of noise. They also require cooling; even with liquid cooling and heat pipes, that heat has to go somewhere.

3. Media room - 4K projector in the ceiling? Furniture? Where do all the Parker-Knolls go? Beers and nuts on the floor or on a table?

4. Control room = one set of speakers. Media-room-come-live-room = another set of speakers. Good speakers cost money, as in many thousands of pounds. They also take up space. One room = one set of speakers!

5. You plan 5.1 in the CR - are you doing A-for-V for TV and video or are you authoring DVDs? Music in 5.1? Hardly ever! A friend of mine got a Grammy for a 7.1 music project, but he admits that was largely because hardly anyone else was bothering with surround for music-only projects. Film is sometimes in 5.1 or usually 7.1 or sometimes in Atmos, TV in 5.1 only and music is nearly always only in stereo. There are very, very good reasons for this (that I cannot go into here, as it is a huge subject!)

6. If you have multi-media ambitions, a larger room can double as a video studio.

7. Having the live room behind you will just not work. You have to see the talent and have the speakers making the sound from the same direction as the talent. There are many half-baked home/project rooms with the CR at 90-degrees to the live room and the engineer ALWAYS ends up having to keep looking sideways and in the end, someone comes to their senses and turns the desk around and faces the talent.

8. Unless you have a separate store room, the booth is going to fill up with junk (AKA, toys/er-equipment you are not using right now). My booth right now has two electronic drums kits, three keyboards, a bass amp, two guitars and an old analogue drum machine. And I DO have two store rooms!
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby Jack Ruston » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:55 am

Yeah good point about the surround....Is that something you're doing for a specific reason? It really isn't that useful in most music production work, and even then quad makes a lot more sense than 5.1, because the centre channel and subs are really quite film specific - The sub is an LFE rather than handling 'bass' like it would in studio monitoring setup, and the centre channel allows for dialog to come from the middle of large screen, where some viewers are not sitting centrally, and so would get no central phantom image from a stereo pair of speakers. It really has little role unless you're working specifically for film and being asked to do surround work. Most of the guys I know who have spent money setting up for it have used it once in ten years or whatever.

J
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:58 am

The Red Bladder wrote:... Where is the machine room? Computers make a noise and some make quite a good deal of noise. They also require cooling; even with liquid cooling and heat pipes, that heat has to go somewhere....

Do keep up! :)

There's been a thread here recently about the number of people using silent computers and those specialist manufacturers who now offer them...

But heat from various sources and ventilation is always a factor in a 'proper' studio. Proper ventilation and, sometimes, air-con does need to be factored-in.
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby Wonks » Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:07 am

The Red Bladder wrote:You have not told us yet, what it is that you are going to do there - on that topic, some thoughts (from someone who does this for a living!) -

7. Having the live room behind you will just not work. You have to see the talent and have the speakers making the sound from the same direction as the talent. There are many half-baked home/project rooms with the CR at 90-degrees to the live room and the engineer ALWAYS ends up having to keep looking sideways and in the end, someone comes to their senses and turns the desk around and faces the talent.

Andy, you obviously haven't looked at his layout picture in detail. There is currently no window between the control room and live room, so it doesn't matter which way he faces. Presumably there's some sort of CCTV link to the live room which hasn't been mentioned (though hopefully thought about).

Steve Hill's Woodworm Studio worked well without a window to the live room (OK, it was dictated by the split level arrangement and he would probably have liked a control room, but it still worked). And some people may perform better if they can't see anyone staring at them through a window!
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby The Red Bladder » Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:16 am

Mike Stranks wrote:
The Red Bladder wrote:... Where is the machine room? Computers make a noise and some make quite a good deal of noise. They also require cooling; even with liquid cooling and heat pipes, that heat has to go somewhere....

Do keep up! :)

There's been a thread here recently about the number of people using silent computers and those specialist manufacturers who now offer them....

I do keep up! But that means you are always limited to those machines that can be supplied in a silent mode. What happens if you want to buy an old Radar for tracking, or a friend brings in his old ProTools TDM rig with a G4? Or it's the middle of Summer and the machines are so hot, you could fry an egg on them? I have about 3kW of PSUs and computers in the machine room (admittedly, most of that is the desk PSU) and having ice-cold air blowing at them is just vital! And they last longer that way!

It's these doofus practical issues that a studio designer is supposed to solve.
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby The Red Bladder » Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:28 am

Wonks wrote:There is currently no window between the control room and live room, so it doesn't matter which way he faces.


EE-Gads! There are no windows anywhere! (Or are those turquoise boxes on the right wall windows?)

I have worked in dozens and dozens of studios and they all had daylight. Even one that was built into a converted cinema, had windows knocked into one side.

I know of a suite of some eight studios and only the two mastering rooms in the cellar had no windows. But that is in Germany where nearly all houses have proper cellars. Anything above ground needs windows.
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby Wonks » Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:32 am

After another look, maybe the light blue panels are supposed to be windows? I took them to be acoustic panels as they seem to be in the right place for those.
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Re: New Studio Build - Summerly Studios

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:43 pm

The Red Bladder wrote: I have worked in dozens and dozens of studios and they all had daylight.

;) You've had a spoiled life, RB! I've spent a great many years working in radio and TV studios, OB trucks, and dubbing theatres with no windows at all! Didn't do me any harrrrrmmmmmm!

It is much nicer to have natural daylight, I quite agree. But it also adds to the cost and acoustic issues which may outweigh the benefits in some cases.

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