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building a home studio...

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by sloppysubs, Jan 17, 2005.


  1. sloppysubs

    sloppysubs

    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    there is a possibility that i may be moving to a house with a basement. if that happens i have the oppurtunity to turn it into a home studio. question is what would i need to do that besides an abundance of cash? it does have to have a vocal booth or anything of that kind. just need monitors, cans, mics, stands, mixing board and... well whatever else. so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know. thanks
     
  2. Hows about a computer-based home studio? It doesn't really take mondo amounts of cash to get really going. You can get software and interfaces at reasonable prices, and if you have a decent soundcard and a good amount of RAM on yer computer, you're halfway there.

    Check a thread about this posted on today about i/o interfaces for like 99 bucks... and software like Logic or Reason or Tracktion are sorta cheap money, and have alot of built in features and patch bundles, and alot of track capacity.... then all you would technically need is a few good, standard mics like 58's & 57's (or cheaper mimic pcs like the Behringer 58 copies that can be had 3 for 60 bucks on Musician's Firend), a cool set of active monitors (like Tapco s5, or Behringeer truth active monitors...)...you could be into a pretty decent home studio for around 1000 bucks, all told, or possibly way less.

    I say this because I've been researching quite abit because I'm getting ready to do the same exact thing, and I have no discernable basement....
     
  3. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Don't forget about acceptable ratios for room acoustics! It just drives me nuts when I hear of someone building a studio where they had to put in walls, and didn't consider the acoustics!! It costs absolutely zero-dollars more to put a wall this way or that by a couple feet - or sometimes INCHES - the room ratios make a huge difference!

    I wrote an easy to use Excel program that lets you browse ratios by inputting various length, width and height dimensions, and pick one that doesn't pile the modes up too bad by looking at a modal distribution graph that very simply and graphically shows you the modes that will result for your inputted dimensions. Even (or in some cases "ESPECIALLY") if TWO of the dimensions are already set (ceilng height, at least, is usually already unchangeable), placing that third dimension correctly can be all the difference (like when other musicians will say "why do YOUR recordings sound so GOOD?") - I'm tellin' ya, Man.

    This application also calculates reverb-time approximations based on area and absorbtive coefficient of wall surfaces, if you want to REALLY do it right.

    I was a technician before I was an aspiring musical artist.

    I'll be pleased to dig it up and send it to anyone who's interested. It sure worked good for our band's basement studio! It's hard to believe that a room with a 7-1/2 foot cieling can sound so good!

    I just recently posted a pic on another thread:
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=13489
    It doesn't look like much, but dang have we made some great-sounding distant-miked tracks in there!

    Joe
     
  4. I'd love to see that info. Definitely. I'm working with a 10 x 11 ft. room with 9' ceilings. Essentially square. I imagine there's going to be issues...
     
  5. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Hm. Not the worst I've ever seen, I guess. that pileup around 50Hz looks a little nasty, but after that, looks pretty GOOD, actually! You could use a some sort of resonator to squash that one - they're not very expensive to build, really.

    How do I send an attachment to you?

    Joe
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Joe I'd absolutely LOVE to have a play with that Exel program. I'd be eternally grateful if you could email the attachment to me:

    petebass@optusnet.com.au

    Can you see any reason why it wouldn't also work for Live music venues?
     
  7. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Hello!

    The simple calculations are valid for any room with adjacent walls that are close to parallel.

    Even if the walls are canted, then the average dimension will still be a good approximation. As I understand it, the idea that some have that says 'parallel surfaces are bad, and splayed walls are good' is not so simply true - a room of any shape still has modes just the same; the advantage of a rectangular room (besides the obvious ease of design and construction) is that its the BEST shape for preventing sound waves from becoming 'focused' to certain areas in the room. When the angle between all the walls are are square, you not only get the most even and predictable distribution of sound pressure in the room, but modal calculations are simple and accurate. The only real disadvantage of parallel surfaces is flutter-reflections, and this are simply controlled by generally alternating the absorbtive panels to be 'wall across from panel, panel across from wall'; the absorbtive panels are necessary anyway to control reverb time.

    I can offer much more advice to anyone who's interested. Other areas that can really make a difference is absorbtive panel construction and distribution, considering frequency-dependent absorbtion properties of materials, constructing 'polys', sound-proofing a room (keeping outside noises out), making plenums for forced air heat ducts to keep noise from coming through the climate control system -- things like that. Oh - I can tell you one word of wisdom that I forgot about when I designed our studio: DON'T USE A NOISY, FAN-COOLED AMP FOR THE MONITORS - duh..

    I think one area that's important to tap into some amount of acoustics knowledge and experience for is the issue of optimizing a limited budget. It's easy to spend too much money and effort on one area that ends up being majorly swamped anyway by an issue that wasn't thought-through or adequetly budgeted for!

    I'm thrilled with the room that we came up with for our band studio pictured in the above post. Just last night I was practicing performing Folsum Prison Blues by tapping the bassline and chords on the bass, and singing the vocal. At the last minute I decided to record what I was doing for study, and to play for a guy at work who I know loves Johnny. We didn't have the studio rack hooked-up because we had pulled it for a gig, and I didn't even feel like connecting the condenser mic, so I just plugged an old SM-58 directly into the recorder, bending the goose-neck to point sort-of toward the bass amp from where-she-stood (NO consideration of a sweet-spot for the mic or its height or distance from anything), cranked the crappy preamp up all the way on the recorder (the mic preamps on that thing sure are weak! I had to 'normalize' the level up several-dB before I burned it to CD), stood three or four feet from the mic (the amp was about 10ft away), and just sang and played it all monaural into that one dynamic mic. I just very quickly tweeked the EQ, and added a little reverb to 'master' it for the CD-dump. I listen to it back today and think "Dang: it's all in the room!". Ever tried recording something greater than 3-4 feet away in an average living room? -it almost always sounds awfully-awful!

    Talk to y'all soon,

    Joe
     
  8. Are you just trying to get something to mess around with for personal use or are you looking for good sounding results? There are a ton of options...
     
  9. sloppysubs

    sloppysubs

    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    somethign for a band to do decent quality demos on. i dont need all the hocus pocus. just something for good demo quality that will allow me and a band to accrately represent the music.
     
  10. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Hello!

    To all you who requested a copy of my studio design application - sorry for the delay. before I ship it out I want to get a chance to go over it and clean it up a tad. If I don't lock-down the formulas and stuff like that, you could maka a wrong move with mouse or keyboard, and change or delete a formula; that could propagate through the whole thing and screw-up who-knows-what!

    I'll get on it soon. Anybody else want a copy? It's just straight Microsoft Excel - no VB coding or add-ins or anything, just regular, standard, built-in Excel functions in regular cell formulas.

    Uhhh... ZonMeister: Were you refering to me when you said "...dont need all the hocus pocus"? You want to 'accurately represent the music on decent quality demos', right? Notice that I didn't bring up equipment - folks sometimes spend even rediculous amounts of money on gear, and get just off-sounding recordings out of it because the room colors everything. Of course you can (very-) close-mic everything to generally, but not completely exclude the room, but it sure is nice to have the convenience and versatility of an acoustically-reasonable (not perfect, even far from perfect! I just mean 'reasonable'.) room. I'm tellin' ya: in this little room of ours you can just put a mic anywhere, a source anywhere, and it'll sound fine - take a little time to find the best source and mic locations, and oh-BABY. Give me an $80 cassette deck, two Radio Schlock PZMs, and my little room, and I'll maybe whip out a recording that'll surprise you.

    I mean.. by general usage "hocus-pokus" could be taken as 'illusion' or 'deception' or quackery of some sort - know what I mean?

    Joe
     
  11. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

     
  12. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
     
  13. msquared

    msquared

    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I'd like a copy too, please.
     
  14. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
  15. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    Joe P

    I'd like a copy too please.

    We are just finishing up our studio - so it's a little late to be moving walls and all that, but it would be interesting to see where our really bad buildups are. We had 2 producers telling us different ways we should do things, so we kind of took bits of what they both had to say and applied it to our own ideas. We're way over budget and way behind schedule but it's nice to see that it's almost done. I'm bored so I'll babble a bit. We started with a work shed sort of place - the back and front walls are 28 feet long and the 2 side walls are both about 20 feet. It was just a concrete slab with what looked like a barn on the inside - no finished walls at all - which was a good thing. We insulated every wall with R13 and the A-frame ceiling with R19. Then we hung 5/8 drywall for the ceiling and made it the standard 8 feet. For the walls we used Auralex sheetblok on top of the insulation but under the first layer of 1/2 drywall. There is a neighbor somewhat close - so for the 2 most important walls we hung resilient channel on top of all that and then added another helping of 1/2 drywall on the channel! So we have well treated walls and then about a 2 inch gap of air and then another "wall" in the most important places. It should be pretty darn quiet outside. We were going to build a regular drum room, but we wanted to keep it feeling "live". The drums are on the back wall in the right corner and the control room is on the back wall in the left corner if that makes sense. We made 2 little half walls to sort of box the drummer in but still allow him to see everybody and be seen from the control room. Also every place there was a corner we framed up little 45 degree angles so it looks pretty custom/slick. We ran snakes through the walls and have xlr plates in the drum "room" and in the main "area". We ended up blocking out a window and puttin in a big A/C unit in another window. We took out the existing garage door and put in a small glass sliding door for loading of gear and whatever else (it does have a regular door too). Looking back we could have made the control room a little bigger, but oh well - It's still big enough to do vocals and acoustic instruments in there. We've just finished with primer everywhere and the first coat of paint. Then all that's really left is putting in the glass, another coat of paint and framing around the doors...then putting in carpet...then putting up lots of foam ;) Whew, we started all this in October if you can believe it! It seemed to go in spurts the whole way - needless to say we are very antsy to get in there and start playing/recording. We'll be using a Ramsa/Panasonic DA7 as our main board into a G5 - yeehaw.
     
  16. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Joe, we need progress pics :)
     
  17. sloppysubs

    sloppysubs

    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    sorry joe, that was for nicoli. he asked what i wanted a studio for.

    um however im definately interested in what youve go to show.
     
  18. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    OK, All -

    I finished redying the Mode modeller, and sent a copy to Pete and Baba - They're the only two who actually posted an email address; I don't know how to send an attachment otherwise.

    Here's a copy of the letter I sent:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Greetings -

    Here it is - I finally got it ready to go.

    I suppose now I should write up page of instructions to post. Remind me, or I might not get it done - in the meantime, post any questions about its operation, or how to interpret the results or whatever, to the 'building a home studio' thread.

    I was going to erase all the notes and data that I had in it, but then I thought that it might be instructive as an example of how one might use it. I don't think many of the specs or values are really for our studio - probably just odd exerimental stuff or troubleshooting tests or something. Don't forget to delete stuff that isn't in your design model!


    Hey Pete: Since you're the Moderator, can you see that a copy of this gets to the others who asked for it on the thread? I don't know if there's a way for me to send an attachment without a regular email address.

    These are the participants who asked for a copy (besides you and baba, who posted your addresses):

    Mon Rominee
    Passinwind
    msquared
    Muzique Fann

    There's also zongeek -
    He said that he was "interested in what you've got to show". I'm being specific with that because I don't want you to end-up sending an 'unsolicited' file to him. I think I can gather from this statement that he wants a copy.

    Talk with y'all soon -

    Joe
     
  19. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    First of all Joe, thanks for emailing me the excel file. Ill have a play with it later.

    To the guys named here who didn't list their email address - some of you have email addresses in your profiles, some of you haven't. Either way, I can't send attachments via the Talkbass email client. Worse still, I can't actually "see" you email addresses. All I can do it click on a link that says "Send email to xyz" and TB sends you the email while keeping your email details private.

    So If you want a copy, and you don't want to post your email addresses in this thread, you're going to have to email me direct at Petebass@optusnet.com.au. All I have to do then is reply with the excel attachment. Don't worry, I promise not to give your email addresses out to anyone.
     
  20. lowendgod

    lowendgod

    Feb 25, 2004
    Yakima, WA.