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Q. How can I turn my shed into a studio?

I have a brick shed out the back of my house which measures 10 feet by 8 feet inside, and I would like to make a little studio there — there's just enough room for my guitars, bass, keyboards, and recording gear. The shed has a single‑skin wall. Can I use this with some sort of sound‑insulating material, or will this not be dry enough for the equipment? What sort of sound‑insulating material should I use?

Michael Edwards

Editor Paul White replies: Most of your sound leakage is likely to be via the door and window, and maybe the roof, so the walls are not the main concern. I doubt you'll get enough isolation to record live drums, but then it doesn't sound as though they'd fit into your studio in any case. I'd be inclined to dry‑line the walls with foil‑backed plasterboard on roofing battens, using two layers if you can to damp vibrations. You can put rockwool in the gap, which will help a little with thermal and sound isolation, but you'll make the greatest difference by putting on a heavy door with good seals and fitting secondary double glazing to the window. A small number of acoustic foam tiles should tame the worst of the excess liveness, but a room that small will never be a perfect studio. I'd be inclined to try putting foam on the walls either side of the mixing chair and also on the ceiling above the mixer. Try to avoid having a solid wall behind your monitoring position — use this space for racks of gear, shelves and so on.

To make sure the place stays dry, run a dehumidifier in there full‑time — you can make a small hole in the wall for an outlet pipe so you don't have to keep emptying it. I wouldn't recommend putting gear in the shed without a dehumidifier.