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Jam room from the ground up...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by SpankBass, Jul 31, 2004.

  1. I have a nice big open space in my backyard that is empty except for my mom's failed attempts at gardening, so I was planning on building a sound dampening jam room from the ground up. I am building it with recording in mind, but I don't have the funds for recording equipment, especially after I buy all the materials I need to build a structure AND do some sound dampening.

    I know a bit about actually building a structure, and I do have some neighbors that know their way around it and can help out. I also know a little bit about sound dampening, and I have plenty of text books about recording studios that have info for me.

    I should be able to get a fairly decent jam room out of this, seeing as I don't have to work around an existing structure, I can just build everything however big I want, and whatever shape I want, and I can build it from the ground up with sound dampening in mind.

    I've been told that I will probably end up spending $1000 on just building the structure, and i expect another $700-$1000 for sound dampening materials (I haven't decided what I want to go with yet).

    So anyone have any advice? Anyone else ever attempted a project like this? Any helpful links? Thanks!

    PS 16'' x 10'' x 8'' sounds about right. Most materials come precut to those sizes, so that would make it easy on me, and that should give me plent of room for jam area, control room, and storage. I will draw up a plan soon, I need to do more research.
  2. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Moved to Misc.
  3. It'll cost more than that, we built a little barn for my granddad a few years ago maybe 10 by 8 by 8 and it cost like 2-3000 canadian. But that did have shingles and siding too I guess. Anyway, my room is about 16' wide and that does have quite a bit of room, not sure if 16 by 10 would be big enough to fit drum kit, bass amp, guitar amps, bassist drummer, guitarists, microphones, (insert any other members) then another space for you to put recording and such equipment, you know? I really wouldn't know, but I think what you should do? Is set everything up where it would be if the building was there, then mark off the dimensions that will take up, then you absolutely know you have room and know how much it will cost and everything!
  4. I still haven't researched it too much or drawn up any plans yet, I just wanted to post the idea on TB to see if I can get some thoughts and ideas on it while I am still researching and planning.
  5. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    If you want it soundproofed, dig a big hole and put it underground.
  6. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Thats one way to do it, also - just a lot of work...

    16"X10"X8" - for a doll house thats ok, but for a recording room?
    Ok i know you meant ' not ", but this still wont be enough.
    And you may want to thermo-insulate it so things wont get damaged in winter.
    Fiber-glass/glass wool (which is the correct word?) or rock wool is both thermo-insulating and sound-absobing, but you will still need something extra to absorb the rest that it couldnt
  7. better off building a bunker then a house. for the cost of sound proofing an above ground room you could pour a bunker out of concrete and have money left over.
    And by the way your demensions are way too small 20x14 minimum or you might as well be building a closet.

    Also if you build in partialy inderground you can alsways put a rec-room above with a bathroom.
  8. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    I have been party to several attempts at building "sound-proof" rooms for studios. The first thing that needs to be done is to realize that there is no such thing as a "sound-proof" room. What you get is a room that has every sound-escape avenue insulated to the maximum. A friend converted his garage into a studio and the construction costs alone were in $5,000-$10,000 range. Sound insulation is best done by building a "room-within-a-room" structure with an eighteen-inch air gap between sound insulated walls. You may want to look at a structure by a company known as the Shed Shop. They do great custom enclosures that can be built upon.
  9. folmeister is right, to do it right you have to worry about vibration as well, you have to do things like float the floor, etc. it is very difficult and expensive.

    I had a thin lead sheet encasing my practice room, plus double insulation between me and my neighbor (I was in a duplex), I even had some foam/vinyl/foam sheets covering the walls, but it didn't help nearly as much as I thought. I spent about $5k on that. :crying:
  10. I understand that there really is no such thing as sound proof, unless you have a bunch of money, that's why I said sound dampening. I also am primarily doing this just as a jam room more than a recording studio, but the recording part MAY come in later if I feel that I have the funds.

    So here is some advice I've gotten so far:

    16"x10"x8" won't work, I better try using feet ;), but even then 16'x10'x8' would still be too small?

    A 20'x14'x8' deep hole doesn't sound like something that would be too fun to dig, but I will keep it in mind if it turns out to be more practical than sound dampening an above ground structure.

    I'm not worried about weather conditions in winter, as I live in Southern California. Weather is something that happens to other people.

    Anyone else have any ideas for me?
  11. Just went outside and measured and marked how big I wanted it. What the hell was I thinking when I said 16'x10'?
    I agree 20'x14' should be minimum, but I may make it bigger if I feel it is practical.

    I really am thinking about diggin a big hole and putting it in there, anyone have any links with more info on how I would do that? I want to compare the price and workload to do that and the price and workload to build an above ground structure.

    I hope my mom is going to be ok with this, I've been telling her "When I move out, you have a storage shed!" How am I going to tell her that she may have a bomb shelter. :p
  12. I would be worried about earthquakes??
  13. Unless you’re a contractor you’re not going to be able to do this with your buddies on the weekend if you plan on building into the ground. Digging the hole is no big deal you can rent a backhoe with a driver for it for around 400$ a day where I live and they could dig that kind of hole easy. Pouring walls with rebar would most likely be out of the average persons ability and would be expensive. You would be better off building CBS walls with structural columns. You don’t have to put the whole thing underground you could build down say 6 feet and then mound the extra dirt up the walls so it looks like a real bunker.
    Honestly this type of construction is most likely out of your league and would cause problems with inspectors and such. There is a lot of stuff like drainage and moisture barriers that you’re not going to get right unless you know what you are doing.
    The easiest way to go would be to build a wood frame building and then build false walls inside with a big gap in between filled with sound deadening stuff. The tricky part there is to make sure you don’t turn the whole building into one big speaker.
    It really depends on your situation, depending on the size of your backyard you might not need to go that all out. How far away are the people you are trying not to annoy?
  14. Thanks for that info Mike. The people I am not trying to annoy are 20ft away. They actually don't mind too much if we play in my garage, and that has no sound dampening material. But I can only play in my garage when my mom is not home, because that is where she parks, and she doesn't want to hear us that loud.

    Thats where the jam room idea came up.

    So basically, I am not looking for something 100% pro-quality sound proof, as most people in my area don't mind too much that we are a bit loud (my next door neighbor actually likes our music!), I am building this more for convienience to me and courtesy to the people that live with me. Just a simple shack with some sound dampening measures would work great.
  15. All the comments are good...Even doing it yourself, I think the cost will be at least $50 per square foot.

    Also, most places have building codes that must be met with a structure of any size. You'll need a building permit too. And let's not forget insurance.

    California is very strict on building codes now, everything must meet earthquake requirements. Certain things must be done by licensed professionals.

    Underground structures have their own problems, such as waterproofing and drainage.

    Not meaning to dampen your enthusiasm, but there's some real-world issues here.
  16. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    I dont think this is a viable idea. You can build a practice place. Yes, but it cost alot to make it code and to make it sound proof.

    If you do this and want something soundproof then cement/concrete walls or block. Take some styrofoam sheets and glue them to the inside walls of the block.
  17. Like I said, I'm not looking for soundproof, I'm looking for sound reduction, as sound proof would cost too much money.

    And don't worry about letting me know whether or not this idea is practical, that's the whole reason why I posted this thread! I wasn't aware that permits were needed for a small structure, but i will look into it.
  18. There is a simple way to get very very close to "soundproof" without a lot of guessing and without a lot expense for damping and insulation.

    The idea is to build a box within a box. Soundwaves require air to move through. Whatever makes the sound, makes the air move and that's what we hear. If you stand on the outside of a room you can hear whats happening inside because the walls vibrate and that vibrates the air just outside the room and that's what you hear.

    If you build another room around the inner room, the vibrating walls of the inner room don't have enough kinetic energy to vibrate the air between the walls AND the outer wall - hence, near sound proofedness!
  19. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    20x18x9 is good
  20. Hambone, how much room between the walls do you think I will need?

    A friend of mine is doing something similar, he's converting a shack in his backyard to semi-soundproof. He pretty much just tore down the existing inner wall, nailed something I think he called resilliant wall channels to the studs, and is now in the process of hanging the drywall on the channels. There is about 6 inchens of dead air between the inner drywall and the outter wooden wall. I'm not sure how effective it is yet, as he isn't done.

    Folmeister says 18 inches, but he also said 18" between sound insulated walls, which tells me that I may need more room than that (as does my friend) as I don't know if I am going to be stuffing to many egg crates or foam in the walls.

    What would you suggest Hammy, and do you think it is a project that can be handled by someone with nothing more than limited structural technology knowledge and the internet? Of course my next door neighbor pretty much does this stuff for a living (structures, not soundproofing) but I don't want to call on his help too often.