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Studio SOS!!!

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Studio SOS!!!

Postby paulsmusic » Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:46 pm

Hi all, I'm starting a community music recording studio, and have been offered a space in the grounds of a youth centre that will need some work doing to get it soundproofed. It's a detached brick garage (approximately 22 feet x 15 feet), with a side door, one window, a large metal garage door, and corrugated roof.

Can anybody give me any advice on how to soundproof the space? I'm thinking that I'll need to put a layer of cladding around the walls / ceiling, with some good acoustic insulation. But I also want a nice sounding space for recording acoustic instruments. There isn't room for a control room, so I'll also be mixing in the space as well. And I'd like it to look nice!

There are some photos here:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby blinddrew » Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:08 pm

Ok, the critical questions here are, "What do you want to do in the space?" and "What are you allowed to do to the space?"
Sound treatment (i.e. controlling the sound within the room) can be done fairly effectively and cheaply as a DIY project. And it can be easily removable if your lease is up.
Sound proofing (i.e. limiting the sound going into and out of a room) is neither cheap, simple, nor easily removable.
The doors and ceiling are about as sound-proof as a wet paper bag. You'd need to be considering a full room-within-a-room build to get anything that's going to be remotely sound-proofed I'm afraid.
But how far you need to go will depend on what you want to do, so back to those first two questions.
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby paulsmusic » Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:27 pm

blinddrew wrote:Ok, the critical questions here are, "What do you want to do in the space?" and "What are you allowed to do to the space?"

Thanks Drew! So the youth centre are happy for me to do any building work necessary to make the space soundproofed (e.g. covering the garage door with another layer), and are willing to help with a funding bid.

As mentioned in my post, I'll be recording and mixing in the space, so it needs to be soundproofed to avoid disturbing the neighbours, but I don't want to kill the acoustics
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:38 pm

Soundproofing will not do anything detrimental to the acoustics it will simply reduce the level of sound getting into and out of the room. The main components in soundproofing are mass and airtightness, i.e. thick and/ur heavy walls, doors and ceiling, and all gaps sealed. The next step up the effectiveness ladder would be the room in room structure Drew mentioned, that is in addition to the mass and airtightness and is a completely separate structure decoupled from the outer structure and similarly airtight and massy. Then you move onto acoustic treatment, the function of this is to control sound reflections around the room that cause echo/reverberation and 'room modes' where low frequencies disappear or are emphasised at certain points around the room. If well done the effect is to make the room sound balanced without sucking out the highs but, in a small room like yours, to sound fairly dry (the natural reverb in a small room is unlikely to sound good so the usual approach is to make the room as dry as possible and add artificial reverb in the mix).

There are lots of threads going into detail about how to DIY this but one of the best is a sticky at the top of the DIY forum, https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=43047. Others on here, me included, have done more modest studio builds and detailed the process in other threads. I'll try and search a couple out for you later.
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby James Perrett » Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:07 pm

How high is the garage and what are the walls, ceiling and roof made of?
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:14 pm

It's a 22' x 15' single skin prefab concrete garage with corrugated iron roof and metal garage doors.
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby awjoe » Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:19 pm

We still don't know how high the ceiling is.
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby paulsmusic » Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:38 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:There are lots of threads going into detail about how to DIY this but one of the best is a sticky at the top of the DIY forum, https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=43047. Others on here, me included, have done more modest studio builds and detailed the process in other threads. I'll try and search a couple out for you later.

Really helpful, thanks Sam
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby paulsmusic » Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:42 pm

James Perrett wrote:How high is the garage and what are the walls, ceiling and roof made of?

I've only had an initial look at the property today, and haven't had a chance to take any proper measurements yet. The roof is sloping either side from the centre, I would estimate 10 feet at the highest point, 7 feet at the lowest. No idea what the roof is made of, some kind of corrugated material, without insulation. The walls are single-skin brick...
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby James Perrett » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:05 pm

I'm afraid that I'm going to have to be fairly blunt here. By the time you've spent all the money needed to successfully soundproof that structure you might as well tear it down and start from scratch. The roof is low and very thin with no way that I can see to make it substantial enough to help with any soundproofing.
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby pt007 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:08 pm

James Perrett wrote:I'm afraid that I'm going to have to be fairly blunt here. By the time you've spent all the money needed to successfully soundproof that structure you might as well tear it down and start from scratch. The roof is low and very thin with no way that I can see to make it substantial enough to help with any soundproofing.

Ok, thanks James. Good to have an honest opinion!
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby James Perrett » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:31 pm

On a more positive note...

It may be worth thinking about how much soundproofing you actually need. How loud is the ambient noise and how loud will you want to work internally? If the neighbourhood is reasonably quiet and you aren't planning on recording drums in there then you may be able to build something soundproof enough but if you are in a noisy area or want to record drums then my previous post applies.
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby paulsmusic » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:35 am

James Perrett wrote:On a more positive note...

It may be worth thinking about how much soundproofing you actually need. How loud is the ambient noise and how loud will you want to work internally? If the neighbourhood is reasonably quiet and you aren't planning on recording drums in there then you may be able to build something soundproof enough but if you are in a noisy area or want to record drums then my previous post applies.

There's no traffic noise, but there was a dog barking constantly, which was quite annoying! I would be wanting to record drums...
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:29 am

Just a note on the roof is 'some kind of corrugated material'...

Sorry to be another party-pooper, but depending on the age of the building that roof could have asbestos in it. OK if left alone, but warning sirens and rules and regs kick in big-time if you're planning on doing anything that involves altering it in any way or altering the way it's supported... Maybe get a specialist in to check it out. (I watched one preparing to do a simple scratch test on a suspect roof recently - he chucked me out before he started the test. Full bio-hazard gear and a special sealed bag in which to put the sample. This stuff ain't a joke.)

If the building is in a residential area and you want to record drums then your only realistic solution is an e-drum kit and headphones.

Time for some compromises methinks. :) Good luck with getting something sorted! :thumbup:
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Re: Studio SOS!!!

Postby paulsmusic » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:37 am

Mike Stranks wrote:Just a note on the roof is 'some kind of corrugated material'...

Sorry to be another party-pooper, but depending on the age of the building that roof could have asbestos in it.

Time for some compromises methinks. :) Good luck with getting something sorted! :thumbup:

Thanks Mike, it's definitely not asbestos, as the building was constructed relatively recently. But, yes, the drums are a problem for sure.
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