Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project



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Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby Dowi » Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:24 am

I am finalizing the last houseworks (basement painting, organizing the storage room with shelves etc) and once i am done with this the next step is to start working on the small room in the basement which is supposed to become the "music room".

I made a small project of the room, measured every cm of it, and been reading various articles, blogs, ILF posts, watched videos, etc..but i'm currently still trying to figure out what's the best insulation option for me - if building the room-in-a-room thing, or just put an extra drywall layer with rockwool inside, or use wood panels etc.. - so i'd be extremely happy to hear some first hand experiences and/or suggestions from other ilfers.

Some random data:
- It's a small room (9 square meters more or less), so i want to lose the less space possible.
- it's in a basement, and behind the 3 walls of the room there are respectively: neighbors basement, our garage, small aeration space (external wall).
- the fourth wall has to be build: it will divide the room from our storage space/stairs, and the access door will have to be part of it.
- above the room there's our neighbors kitchen, so i guess the ceiling and the walls would carry a lot of vibrations upwards if not properly isolated, which is the thing that worries me the most.
- All of the walls are made of concrete bricks and already have a thin drywall layer cover

My aim is to be able to play at with a small drum kit and mid-sized amp (not-deafening volumes) in here, and have a small desk where i can permanently leave the computer and audio interface etc., but i don't need to create a perfect sounding room for recording purposes, so bass traps etc are out of my plans atm.

Let's talk :snax:
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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby Pepsihillo » Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:54 am

Hi!

So, are you trying to limit the amount of noise getting out of the room, or improve the acoustics?

If you're trying to get the acoustics better, there's not an easier way to get a decent result than building corner bass traps for each corner. Most small rooms don't need anything else. You might even get away with building just two in adjacent corners or just by doing smaller ones only where the corner meets the ceiling and floor. By moving your gear in, the room will probably become so irregular that the higher frequencies get tamed, but bass frequencies will still bounce there freely, spreading their vomit-inducing, tone-killing reverb everywhere. So just make life harder for 'em and the acoustics will most definitely be OK.

If you're trying to insulate the room, everything gets a lot more tricky and expensive. You should definitely think about building a room within a room but if you're working with a tight budget the floor will be your biggest enemy when playing drums so I'd focus on isolating that. I'd also think about using heavy bitumen carpets (they smell awful but actually help stop sound waves) glued or hanging on the walls. Other than that rock wool and air works pretty good.

I'm currently building a small recording studio with a small band room and a control room into an office complex, so I've had to find ways to do both: Insulate the band room and improve the acoustics of the control room. This is what we've done:
- We got a hard rubber mat to cover the entire floor of the band room (to insulate the shockwaves caused by the drums and other instruments. Stuff like this: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=htt ... AdAAAAABAO)
- We covered the rubber mat with carpets to provide some extra insulation and kill some of the vertical echoes.
- We made corner bass traps into the band room and the control room from 100mm thick rock wool. We just built frames for them from wood and stacked two of them on top of each other in every corner. It killed enough of the bass reverb.
- We got some used acoustic panels (about 2 inches thick) and placed them pretty randomly on the walls on ear level to kill even more of the unwanted waves.
- We put some hooks on the walls pretty close to the ceiling, hung some rope on them and placed a few acoustic panels up there.
- We also hung some heavy molton stage curtains on the walls.

After that the unwanted echo and nasty acoustics were dead, and the leak of the drum set was reduced quite significantly. We still might glue some bitumen carpets on the door of the playing room because the door leaks the most noise from the room. The bitumen prevents the light door from vibrating and leaking so much sound.
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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby goroth » Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:50 pm

Woah.
Dowi wrote:Signal loss my a$$$$

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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby Pepsihillo » Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:10 am

goroth wrote:Woah.


Too much? :lol:

Maybe I should emphasize that this whole project cost us maybe 200-250 euros for the two rooms, so while it might sound like a lot, it's nothing too crazy.
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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby Dowi » Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:02 am

Hey, thanks for the detailed reply!

Yes, the main purpose is to insulate the room.
I totally forgot to mention the floor in my OP. I thought to just place some kind of heavy carpet on it cause it's already insulated, but i'm gonna take a deeper look at it. A friend of mine isolated the drums creating a small raising structure filled with sand, and it works really well considering everything, i might consider that solution too.

In our old rehearsal room we covered all the ceiling with bitumen carpets before covering it with bass traps and stuff, but it wasn't really worth it (i'm talking about 15 years ago or maybe more, so we were total newbies and things might have not been done properly).

Now what I want to figure out first is what's the minimum amount of space (air) I have to leave between the actual room walls, and the walls/ceiling of the room I want to build inside it. I want to lose the less space possible but at the same time I don't want to uild something not efficient.
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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby goroth » Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:44 pm

Pepsihillo wrote:
goroth wrote:Woah.


Too much? :lol:

Maybe I should emphasize that this whole project cost us maybe 200-250 euros for the two rooms, so while it might sound like a lot, it's nothing too crazy.

I guess no, not at all. It's just I've thought of proofing a small room I have at home and this made me realise that I'm never ever going to do that. :lol:
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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby coldbrightsunlight » Wed Apr 28, 2021 7:49 am

goroth wrote:
Pepsihillo wrote:
goroth wrote:Woah.


Too much? :lol:

Maybe I should emphasize that this whole project cost us maybe 200-250 euros for the two rooms, so while it might sound like a lot, it's nothing too crazy.

I guess no, not at all. It's just I've thought of proofing a small room I have at home and this made me realise that I'm never ever going to do that. :lol:

^^^^

Super impressed with the info. Would follow advice if I had a band sized room. :thumb:
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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby Pepsihillo » Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:54 am

I did way too much research on stuff like this, and we actually got okay results on our own space, so I thought I might keep on giving and list a few bullet points about stuff you can do in any budget.

Acoustic improvement:
There are four things you should focus on:
- Room modes: Simply put this means what your room is tuned to. Certain soundwaves will bounce off your walls at the same point of the wave, then converge back in the middle and start amplifying themselves. This causes terrible distorting reverb especially in the bass frequencies. Basically the smaller and more cubical your room is the worse the reverb caused by room modes gets. You fix room modes by making your room more irregular and by slowing down sound waves so that they bounce back in different points of the wave. This means soft, pourous stuff on the walls (especially the corners where two or three planes meet) and diffusors that bounce soundwaves in different directions so that they don't converge and get louder. Anything with a hard surface can be a diffusor, for example bookshelves filled with different size books are great diffusors that also absorb some sound waves.
- Vibrating echo: This means the reverb that comes from two hard surfaces vibrating together. This can really mess up your recordings and make it unbearable for you or your neighbors. The most common example is your drumset vibrating via the floor to the entire building. The basic principle to prevent vibrating echo is quite simple: Isolate the vibrating surfaces. Use stuff that doesn't transfer a lot of vibrations, like heavy carpets, sand or rubber.
- Acoustic decay: If you snap your fingers, how long will the snap bounce in your room. In our band room, the decay times were over ten seconds, especially in the lower register. It can get pretty vomit-inducing. You shouldn't kill all of the decay because it is very disorienting, but you should aim to lower it. Professional studio recording rooms have a decay of about 0,2-0,5 seconds but that requires a lot of tweaking. Decay times go down the same way you treat room modes.
- First reflections: First reflections mean that when you have a speaker, most of the sound comes out straight from the driver but some of it goes everywhere else. If you haven't treated your room the reflections from sides and above will hit your ears at slighlty different times than the sound coming out of the speaker driver, and this can muddy the tone coming to you as a listener, making mixing and listening harder. It's worse if the speakers are not in the middle of the room and reflections come to your ears at different times. Best way to treat this is to place speakers as middle in the room as possible and by treating the spots where reflections hit the walls and the ceiling and bounce back at your listening post. You can use a mirror to assess this or try to think like making a billiards shot from your head to the speaker with one bounce off each wall and ceiling (this was surprisingly hard to explain in English, hope you got it :D).

Do you have to spend a million dollars and 100 hours to do all of this? Absolutely no! But every little thing you do thinking about these will make your room better to record and listen in.
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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby Pepsihillo » Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:54 am

EDIT: Sorry for the double!
Last edited by Pepsihillo on Mon May 03, 2021 3:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby goroth » Sat May 01, 2021 2:16 am

Room modes: My rehearsal room with my band fucks up the bass and treble enormously. It is so bad. Anything that sounds good in there is bound to sound whack in any other room.
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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby coldbrightsunlight » Sun May 02, 2021 5:20 am

It is a terrible room :lol:
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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby Dowi » Mon May 03, 2021 4:31 am

Super useful infos here Pepsihillo.
I am taking notes, specially regarding the vibrating echo and room reverb adjustments, thanks a lot.
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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby manymanyhaha » Thu May 06, 2021 1:45 pm

Dowi wrote:
Now what I want to figure out first is what's the minimum amount of space (air) I have to leave between the actual room walls, and the walls/ceiling of the room I want to build inside it. I want to lose the less space possible but at the same time I don't want to uild something not efficient.
:idk:


Definitely some great info above but to this question, my understanding is that there is no minimum size of the air gap necessary, for insulation purposes. For that purpose, the air gap is mostly to mitigate vibration so as long as nothing is touching, mission accomplished.

There is some worry about what the two partitions on either side of the gap are made of and how thick they are. I'm going by memory here but if I recall correctly, if they are exactly the same thickness and same material, that can be a problem. What you want is for them to be different.

I did my thesis on recording studio building a long time ago and haven't really brushed up on it in awhile so if someone says that is incorrect, that would be the first time today that is true. It's a new day, there is still time. :lol:
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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby Dowi » Fri May 07, 2021 8:25 am

manymanyhaha wrote:
Dowi wrote:
Now what I want to figure out first is what's the minimum amount of space (air) I have to leave between the actual room walls, and the walls/ceiling of the room I want to build inside it. I want to lose the less space possible but at the same time I don't want to uild something not efficient.
:idk:


Definitely some great info above but to this question, my understanding is that there is no minimum size of the air gap necessary, for insulation purposes. For that purpose, the air gap is mostly to mitigate vibration so as long as nothing is touching, mission accomplished.

There is some worry about what the two partitions on either side of the gap are made of and how thick they are. I'm going by memory here but if I recall correctly, if they are exactly the same thickness and same material, that can be a problem. What you want is for them to be different.

I did my thesis on recording studio building a long time ago and haven't really brushed up on it in awhile so if someone says that is incorrect, that would be the first time today that is true. It's a new day, there is still time. :lol:


:lol:
That's an useful information, thanks a lot. It seems that what you say is right, this week I went through a bunch more articles and learned a bit more on what I should - but mostly SHOULDN'T do.

I'm getting more and more convinced that this project is gonna be harder than I thought, but at the same time I am determined to do it the best I can.
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Re: Small Studio / Rehearsal Space Project

Postby goroth » Sun May 09, 2021 1:29 am

I'm gonna wade in here with knowledge that is potentially made up, but with regard to the gap the air is not doing anything. What you are aiming at is mechanical separation of the room within the room. As a medium air does just fine transmitting sound.
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