What's a good size for a home studio, and some gear to go in it

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by dB, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. dB

    dB Member

    Messages:
    3,791
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    We are buying a new home in the next few months. Being an architect/builder it will likely be something that will get completely renovated. Part of the plan will be to have an outbuilding that will house my workshop on the first floor and a music room and exercise/yoga room on the second floor (for the wife). My music rooms have always been the extra bedroom, or the basement, etc... This will be my first dedicated music room, and since it's being built from scratch it is completely sculptable at this point.

    In terms of playing, I am really just a hobbyist. I don't have a lot of experience recording, but do play guitar, banjo, mando and pedal steel...so I do want to have some mics setup and ready to go for acoustic and electric recording. This space should also be large enough for a few people to jam/record.

    As of right now, I have it designed as a 12'x12' room with an 8' ceiling. The walls and floors will be birch veneer plywood. No windows, but probably a large atrium type skylight in the ceiling for natural light. The walls will be spray in insulation to try and make it quiet.

    Any thoughts on ideal size, shape or materials?

    Next, I need to outfit it with some recording gear...and have no idea where to even begin. My plan is to get a computer/software, some mics, and a couple monitors. It would be great if the monitirs could also double as a PA for jamming in that space. Where to begin?
     
  2. Pat Healy

    Pat Healy Member

    Messages:
    10,959
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Buy the book "Build It Like The Pros" by Rod Gervais, and check out the John Sayers forum at http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/index.php. I am in much the same situation as you are with regard to building a studio from the ground up, and these two resources have opened my eyes big-time.
     
  3. drfrankencopter

    drfrankencopter Member

    Messages:
    1,280
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    A few immediate points:
    1) 12X12 is a bad footprint from a mode distribution standpoint, and 12X12X8 will have a common divisor of 4, and will have a big modal peak correlating to that. There are 'golden' ratios for rectangular rooms that give fairly well balanced mode spacing.
    2) 144 square feet of floor space is not very much by the time you get a full band in there (and it becomes less by the time you add acoustic devices like absorbers, bass traps, and diffusers)
    3) Monitors for recording, and PA monitors serve two entirely divorced purposes, and would be designed from very different standpoints. PA monitors are designed for high volume, high directionality, and efficiency, whereas recording monitors are almost the exact opposite.
    4) Insulation does not make a room quiet, you need mass, and dead air to do that. What insulation does is helps tame/damp resonances.

    Cheers

    Kris
     
  4. dB

    dB Member

    Messages:
    3,791
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Way to rain on my parade.

    Just kidding...I apppreciate any help. I'll be fine with 150sf for my use, but what dimensions would be better? The ceiling height will be 8 or 9', that's a definite. What would be the ideal footprint? What's the formula for determining this?

    The insulation is to keep the noise from the neighbors, but I don't want to dampen the room. The most important thing is that the room be intimate and lively. What tyically makes a room "lively" in terms of materials and shape?
     
  5. Timmylikesthing

    Timmylikesthing Member

    Messages:
    489
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    www.johnlsayers.com

    www.realtraps.com


    Lively to me means Slightly reflective but with good even response.

    I'm not 100% sure on room ratios but I believe it is something like

    L = (1.9) x H
    W = (1.4) x H

    Now that's the only ratio I can remember off the top of my head. There are others.

    What may really suit you is perhaps an all in one recorder/daw. That way you don't have racks of stuff in the way.

    If keeping it away from the neighbors is the goal, what I'd first do is get a baseline measurement of the MAXIMUM volume you are gonna be. Get a dB meter from Radio Shack, organize a jam and take a few measurements. Then measure the volume outside wherever this new place is going to be. Those two will help you set your isolation goals.

    Good luck because this ain't easy,
    Tim
     
  6. ricoh

    ricoh Member

    Messages:
    1,199
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2004
    Location:
    surfside fla
    From practical experience a 12'x12' x8' room is a big box and untreated it will sound just like .......a big box. Parallel surfaces that are flat will cause problems so you need to address this. There are many ways to get a lively sound in the confines of your home. Putting distance mics in a stairwell or down the hall as an example. Sometimes I set up a PA on the source and put the speakers down in the living room and mic them from a distance and add that in to the mix to taste. www.gearslutz.com
    check out the acoustic, bass trap forum.
    Before deadening my room {13'x13'x8'} the drums always sounded boxy.
    I have yet to treat it properly with bass traps in the corners but it will be soon. Although some may argue this point .....I have found it much better to have a dead room for the drums than the big box. The drums sound way tighter and I can always add ambiance others ways. Recording other instruments may not be as much of a problem because of close micing etc.
     
  7. dB

    dB Member

    Messages:
    3,791
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    You're probably right about the all in one recorder. I used to have a Yamaha AW16G with a pair of JBL Eon's. I was able to use it as a mixer/PA, as well as recording individual tracks. It really was capable of doing everything I needed. The problem was that I hated the interface. The screen resolution was like using a computer from the 80's and everything involved scrolling through hundreds of menus to make what should have been simple adjustments.

    I would imagine there are computer programs out there now that are graphically and functionally easy to navigate.

    I am envisioning a bunch of mics all plugging into something that then plugs into a computer where it can be mixed, compressed, delayed, etc... And then it all can be recorded or go out to some powered monitors. I probably just described something very basic in the recording world, but I don't really know enough about components and brands for a set up like this.
     
  8. Timmylikesthing

    Timmylikesthing Member

    Messages:
    489
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    The roland stand alones have Computer monitor outputs.

    As for monitors, it's common knowledge amongst the recording community to use speakers intended for monitoring in a studio while occasionally checking the mix on different sources...

    IE JBL Eons, while nice speakers in the Live Sound and PA worlds are worse than the 5 inch KRK RP5's in some regards.

    As for the computer DAW set up, well you are right. A laptop with a firewire interface like the firepod would be adequate for your situation.

    The benefit of the stand alone unit is the sometimes necessary tactile aspect that people are used to coming from the world of live sound.

    Good luck,
    Tim
     

Share This Page