As our various Studio SOS adventures have shown, the difference between no acoustic treatment and some basic absorption material applied in strategic places can be dramatic. However, if you want to achieve the best possible results, the process gets a little more complicated, especially if noise leakage is also an issue. That's where How To Build A Small Budget Studio From Scratch (McGraw Hill, ISBN 978-0-07-178271-5) comes into its own: it covers all the basic theory and measurement techniques without ever allowing the maths to get scary, then moves on to a number of case studies of actual studio construction projects, with diagrams and materials specifications. In addition to covering acoustic treatment, the book takes a detailed approach to sound isolation and tells you how much isolation various types of structural partition are likely to provide.
Authors Mike Shea and F. Alton Everest are well known in the field of studio acoustics, so it is commendable that they've managed to make the subject so approachable while still covering the essential technical basics, such as room modes, standing waves, room shape and size, the mechanisms of sound absorption, and so on. There are performance graphs for many commonly available types of acoustic material, a discussion on the relative merits of absorption and diffusion and several DIY absorber, bass trap and room construction descriptions. The book finishes with a section that looks at the ways various musical instruments produce sound and the considerations that need to be taken into account when choosing and placing microphones. There's also bonus online content for those who want more technical detail, manufacturer listings, and so on.
This book, which runs to 438 pages, goes on to provide detailed construction details for doors, windows, stud walls, ceilings and ventilation systems, while displaying a degree of pragmatism in dealing with real-life situations, rather than idealised 'on paper' projects. Yes, there are graphs, tables of values and some basic formulae for working out absorption and the like, but nothing that you can't do on a pocket calculator. If you want to convert a garage into a studio, build a studio space within an industrial property, build a studio from scratch, or simply turn one of the rooms in your house into a studio, this book covers all the options, while keeping a firm eye on the budget. For less than the cost of one acoustic foam tile, this book could save you a lot of money and help you to avoid expensive mistakes.