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dr funk

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Apr 21 17 12:31 PM

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After many years of waiting and hoping (and renting), it's finally happening!  I now own a small country cottage on around 2 acres with a detached, concrete block garage to the rear of the house, which is about to become my new studio.  The house, garden and garage are on a 0.5 acre plot, and the remaining 1.5 acres is a field with the septic tank and drainage/percolation area.

I've never done anything like this before, but I have some good friends on board, and they are 1) a builder, 2) an acoustician and 3) my brother, an audio installer!  So hopefully we can pull this off on a limited budget.  I also have a planning consultant/architectural technician who will be drawing up the plans and submitting them to the local council for approval.  We had an informal meeting with a county planner a couple of weeks ago, and we got verbal 'approval in principle' for the studio, so that's a good start.  The arch. tech. visited here a couple of days ago, and I'm now waiting to receive his first draft of the building shell drawing.

The internal floor space of the existing garage is 20' x 18', and the plan is for that to be the live room.  I'd like to be able to accomodate a 5 piece band for live tracking.  I know it will be tight in a 20' by 18' space, but that's what I have to work with.  Not many bands here want to track fully live anyway, so most of the time it would be rhythm section plus overdubs later.  There's enough space behind the garage to build a control room with the same dimensions (which will also house my synth collection), and behind that is the fence into the field.  There's enough space in the garden to build the rear room out sideways into the garden to provide a small lounge, toilet and kitchenette.  So the finished building will be an L shape.

There are a couple of challenges with the build, which are:

1)  The garage is 100' from the road.  It's a quiet country road, but it's used by cars, vans, tractors and an occasional truck.  I'm sitting in the kitchen as I type this, and the worst noise offenders by far are the tractors!  The road is quiet most of the time, but all it takes is one tractor to ruin a recording,  So my thought at the moment is to make the live room a 'room within a room' with a ventilation system, and leave the rest of the studio with natural ventilation and standard construction, apart from acoustic treatment in the control room.  As I already mentioned, the budget is very limited!

2)  The land rises behind the house and garage into the field, so it's either a massive amount of excavation to dig down to the current foundation level of the garage, or go with a stepped foundation for the new room.  My builder and arch. tech. are both in favour of the stepped foundation with a single roof line (pitched slate roof), and besides, I like the idea of a couple of steps up from the LR into the CR.  It also means a nice high roof and vaulted ceiling in the LR.  I've spent a bit of time reading posts on the John Sayers forum, and I found an interesting solution I hadn't thought of, which is the idea of double sliding doors with an air gap between the CR and LR.  I like that for a couple of reasons - it would eliminate the need for double doors plus a window, it would provide line of sight from CR to LR, and it would also solve the problem of walking up a couple of steps and having to pull a door.  If it has to be double doors, the only solution I can think of would be a sound lock, where you would walk up the steps and the LR door would open (push) into the sound lock, but that would eat up a lot of space in the CR.  My concern with sliding doors is whether enough isolation can be achieved.

If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Frank

Last Edited By: dr funk Apr 21 17 12:40 PM. Edited 1 time

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dr funk

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Apr 21 17 1:02 PM

One thing I forgot to mention - an iso booth would be great, but I have no idea how we could squeeze one in. I suppose the obvious thing would be to run some cabling to the lounge and use that as an iso room if needed. But then there's nowhere for the rest of the band to escape to when the guitarist decides that (s)he wants to have 'another shot at that solo'... :-D

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morespaceecho

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Apr 21 17 1:29 PM

dr funk wrote:

2)  The land rises behind the house and garage into the field, so it's either a massive amount of excavation to dig down to the current foundation level of the garage, or go with a stepped foundation for the new room.  

 
whatever you do, make double triple quadruple sure you have the drainage around the building sorted out. trust me, i have a building that floods! my build is more or less on hold until the french drain dudes get here, which will hopefully be next week. if i was your architect, right now i'd be inclined to make the foundation of the CR about 10 feet high:)

that's too bad about the tractors....the loudest thing is the slowest moving!

i think you will be ok without an iso booth. you can use the lounge if you need iso when tracking a full band, and in the case of your guitar soloist, you can put them in the tracking room so the band can use the lounge as a lounge. 

anyway congrats! looking forward to seeing some pix.

www.oldcolonymastering.com

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dr funk

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Apr 21 17 4:43 PM

Ouch, sorry to hear about the flooding, mse! Maybe I should go for a Studio On Stilts? :-)

Yep, the tractors are a PITA. Welcome to the countryside - piece and quiet, birds, fields and.. what the hell? Is an earthquake driving past my gate?

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morespaceecho

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Apr 21 17 5:27 PM

yeah, it's perfectly quiet here. except when it isn't! 

as far as the flooding, all i can say is my next studio after this one is going to be on a plateau in the desert.

seriously though, if your land is sloping down towards the house/studio....be careful!

www.oldcolonymastering.com

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dr funk

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Apr 21 17 6:31 PM

morespaceecho wrote:

seriously though, if your land is sloping down towards the house/studio....be careful!
 

Is that what's causing your flooding?

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morespaceecho

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Apr 21 17 8:25 PM

well, our yard is generally running downhill from the front of the house and the studio towards the back yard. but the area right around the perimeter of the studio building is sloping in a bit. bad! so i'm having guys come and put in french drains along the long walls, draining into the back yard, well away from the building. and they'll regrade a bit as well.

also the studio's a concrete slab, and the floor/wall seams are all shitty and need to be sealed up. the landscape guy said once the drains are in it should be fine and "you probably don't even need to seal those". i'm like...good to know, i'm still going to seal them like crazy!

anyway i am hardly an expert, i don't have any idea what your property is actually like, and i'm for sure overly paranoid about water, but you don't need me to tell you it runs downhill.

www.oldcolonymastering.com

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silvertone

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Apr 22 17 6:06 AM

Get the Acoustic Handbook, it will answer a lot of questions on building a studio.

With the stepped building and having a slope behind it, YOU WILL NEED a French drain around that to daylight water away. I've put them around every house and studio I've built as I am on a mountain side as well. All my houses and studios stay bone dry. I learned about French drains when I built houses in Northern California, every house would flood and slide down the canyon if you didn't have these in place. That soil does not percolate!

They are a piece of cake to design and build.

Heating and AC, so important, I can't stress this enough. Temperatures change quickly with 5 people and equipment in the room. Also many musicians are not the most hygienic people you encounter... the room can get quite "ripe" without proper ventilation/HVAC system.

Room within a room might not help if your slab is sitting on bedrock, subsonic frequencies travel through no matter what. That said, they are easily rolled off.

18x20 is plenty of space, cozy but doable. Sounds like fun. Congrats.

Silvertone Mastering, celebrating 28 years in business.

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scullyfan

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Apr 22 17 8:12 AM

silvertone wrote:

Heating and AC, so important, I can't stress this enough. Temperatures change quickly with 5 people and equipment in the room. Also many musicians are not the most hygienic people you encounter... the room can get quite "ripe" without proper ventilation/HVAC system.

 


This is SO true...

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spiritwalker

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Apr 22 17 11:03 PM

Congrats my friend!

I look forward to going back there sometime and visiting you again.

Take these folks advice and make sure on the drainage.

OK it's cold here

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dr funk

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Apr 23 17 10:53 AM

Thanks everyone! Larry, regarding drainage, the good news is that there is already an open drain between my field and my neighbour's property, which runs under the road and connects to a nearby river. I haven't investigated it fully, but I can see a pipe coming out from under my neighbour's garden, emptying into the open drain near the road. So it looks like we will just have to dig a trench across the field, and the studio french drain can empty into the existing drain.

Point taken about heating and AC! My previous setup was just a couple of rooms in a rented house, and if we needed ventilation, we opened doors or windows. That house was also in the countryside, but it was a really quiet area, and the house was set back quite a distance from the road. This is a whole other can of worms, being closer to the road, and the road being noisier.

I don't think the garage slab is sitting on bedrock, but I can't be sure. Any thoughts on the idea of trying to isolate the live room as much as possible, and not being too fussy about the control room? I have no problem with the occasional rumble of a tractor while I'm mixing, if it keeps the cost down to the point where this can actually be built within the limited budget.

At the moment, I think the way to go is to keep it simple - CR/LR only, and forget about an iso booth/sound lock. Those sliding doors look good, Kyle. Thanks for the link. I will probably have to look for a more local alternative though, as I'm in Ireland.

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weedywet

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Apr 23 17 12:30 PM

I'm using double sliding doors (from that company) in the studio I'm currently consulting on. 

they work  well and save some space when used instead of a control room window (a Hidley innovation he first used at The Manor)

 

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maarvold

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Apr 23 17 1:32 PM

dr funk wrote:
...Point taken about ...AC! 

There is a formula defining how much a human body will heat up [x] amount of space in [y] time.  It can be a real impediment to getting good performances if the performers aren't reasonably comfortable in their playing environment... especially if there's time pressure.  

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dr funk

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Apr 23 17 3:24 PM

Thanks guys. WW, any idea of the cost of the sliding doors? I can't find any price info on their website. There is some info for windows and steel doors, but not sliding doors.

I imagine shipping cost to Ireland might be a deal breaker though...

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silvertone

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Apr 24 17 5:58 AM

dr funk wrote:
Thanks guys. WW, any idea of the cost of the sliding doors? I can't find any price info on their website. There is some info for windows and steel doors, but not sliding doors.

I imagine shipping cost to Ireland might be a deal breaker though...

You should be able to get similar there.  Thing about sliding glass doors is they are pretty much built how you would do a control room window ( but without the slant to direct reflections.  Easy enough, just put a theater curtain over it and close it when you're mixing... piece of cake.

Good about being able to tie the French drain into the storm outlet that exists.

You should float your floor anyway, standing on concrete kills the back.  I put down the neoprene U dampeners and the set 2x4 sleepers onto them, from there 5/8 t&g plywood, then the finish floors.  In between the sleepers I ran radiant floor heat.  Great way to heat a space.  Then I got a mini split system to deal with the AC.

Room within a room construction is the way to go.  You can buy rolls of soundblock and wrap the whole outside but then you will have to side over that again.  

I use this company quite quite a bit for supplies. http://www.acousticsfirst.com/
There must be a similar company in Ireland. 

My slab was poured separate for control room vs. live room, I isolated both when I did the forms, unfortunately both sit on bedrock so that did very little to help.  That said, I built this to be a listening environment and not necessarily a traditional recording studio. 

I love building studios as it as it combines all the skills I've learned throughout my life.  Design, carpentry, studio acoustics, interior design, painting, tiling, etc... Should have really gone into that business as well.  I can (and have) even build any custom furniture, desks or racks for the place. Fun.

One last thing, throughs and runs (for cables from CR to studio), make them bigger than you think.  Put in more than one.  Think things out on where you want stuff placed long before you drive your first nail.  It will help you in the long run. 

Enjoy and have fun... it's a learning experience.

Silvertone Mastering, celebrating 28 years in business.

www.silvertonemastering.com

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silvertone

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Apr 24 17 6:02 AM

One last thing the best place to put radiant floor heat is in the actual slab itself but since my building was already done I had to put insulation down in between the sleepers and then staple the runs to the bottom of the 2 x 4's that were standing on the edge (the sleepers). Even though I have 3 1/2 inches I'm still cautious anytime I have to drive a nail down through the floor anywhere. I always make sure to locate a floor Joyce first.

Silvertone Mastering, celebrating 28 years in business.

www.silvertonemastering.com

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weedywet

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Apr 24 17 12:12 PM

dr funk wrote:
Thanks guys. WW, any idea of the cost of the sliding doors? I can't find any price info on their website. There is some info for windows and steel doors, but not sliding doors.

I imagine shipping cost to Ireland might be a deal breaker though...

pricey

you can do it with 'regualr' Home Depot patio dorrs, but not with as MUCH isolation

I think a 6 ft double door was about $5000

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dr funk

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Apr 24 17 6:31 PM

Ah, that is pricey alright - certainly with my budget. Those doors delivered to Ireland may end up costing twice that when freight and import duty/VAT is taken into account.

I spoke with my acoustician friend a short time ago, and he gave me a crash course in acoustic terminology.  I didn't realise that the STC rating standard is primarily used in the US, while in Europe, Rw is more commonly used. A quick search for acoustic doors replacing 'STC' with 'Rw' has opened up more options from UK and European suppliers.

Larry, thanks for the great info. Would you have any idea of a rough ballpark cost of a floating floor for a 20x18 room? I had assumed that it was likely to be way out of my price range, but maybve I'll be pleasantly surprised!

The radiant underfloor heating sounds great, but I think I'll probably have to just go with standard radiators in a effort to keep costs down.

Last Edited By: dr funk Apr 24 17 9:57 PM. Edited 1 time.

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dr funk

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Apr 24 17 9:54 PM

I started to research mini split AC systems, and discovered heat pumps! Is anyone here using a mini split heat pump (e.g. Mitsubishi Mr Slim) for both cooling and heating? My plan was to upgrade the oil-fired boiler for the house (located in an outdoor shed between the house and garage) to a high efficiency condenser boiler, with the studio as a second zone with wall mounted radiators in each room. This is the type of central heating system used in the vast majority of houses in Ireland.

As I need AC in the CR and LR anyway, if a mini split heat pump could do cooling AND heating, that would eliminate all the extra plumbing and radiators in the studio.

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silvertone

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Apr 25 17 6:24 AM

dr funk wrote:
I started to research mini split AC systems, and discovered heat pumps! Is anyone here using a mini split heat pump (e.g. Mitsubishi Mr Slim) for both cooling and heating? My plan was to upgrade the oil-fired boiler for the house (located in an outdoor shed between the house and garage) to a high efficiency condenser boiler, with the studio as a second zone with wall mounted radiators in each room. This is the type of central heating system used in the vast majority of houses in Ireland.

As I need AC in the CR and LR anyway, if a mini split heat pump could do cooling AND heating, that would eliminate all the extra plumbing and radiators in the studio.

They all pretty much come with the heat pump now. I should have mentioned that.  Use to be an option but manufactures weren't selling enough so they made it standard.  This is a good thing really.  Mice ate through the ribbon cables in my outside condenser last year.  I managed to solder them but who knows for how long.  Once it goes my HVAC guy tells me I have to buy a new one... and they all come with the heat pump. 

As for the flooring, I'd say under 1000.00 in cost easily.  2x4 16" on center, 2x4's framing the perimeter, so around 38 10' 2x4's, rigid insulation for in between and 12 sheets of 5/8 tongue and groove flooring.  A few rolls of glue.  That's it. The 2x's can be laid on their side or stood up.  The 2x4's must be pressure treated as well because of the moisture in the concrete.  Putting down a plastic moister barrier would be good as well. But a PITA to work on.  You slide all over.  Ha ha

Good luck.  Have fun!

Silvertone Mastering, celebrating 28 years in business.

www.silvertonemastering.com

Last Edited By: silvertone Apr 25 17 7:04 AM. Edited 1 time.

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