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Thread: Studio Build Documentation

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    Maybe I wasn't clear earlier...all my gear gets powered from a single balanced power box...and not the house wall outlets.
    IOW...the box is plugged into a dedicated 20A outlet...and then it distributes power to all my gear...so everything is grounded back at the box.

    TBH...the article you linked to is pretty confusing to follow with all that "Zero Loop" stuff and the diagrams. In a nutshell, what you want is a "star grounded" system, where all gear is grounded back to a single point...my balanced power distribution box. The whole purpose of the balance power box is that it eliminates those voltage differences and creates clean power.

    Also...I totally don't understand his logic of running the power lines 100% parallel and in such close proximity to his audio lines...???...at least that's how it appears in the drawing and the images of the conduit installation. That was always considered a bad idea and if you must run parallel, you need to keep a good 2' distance between them. I have always kept my audio lines away from power lines when I had to run them parallel, with only the occasional crossing points where they need to meet at the gear. That's something I learned a long time ago...so his "keep them close" thing doesn't follow that at all.
    He says that you "collapse the loop" by simply bringing audio lines as close as possible to electric lines...Huh???
    I feel like there's a whole page of detailed info that is missing in that explanation, and it really makes little sense to me.
    If anyone can interpret what he is actually talking about...please post up...but for now, I'm following my star grounding and keeping the audio and power lines well apart.

    This will be my third, more involved, studio wiring setup...and I've always followed the star grounding system to the best of my ability...and actually, this will be probably the most cleanest yet, since I am able to run my own distribution lines, rather than having to make do with house wiring.
    I've not ever had any real ground loop issues on the whole. Sometimes with a guitar amp and pedal, you get something weird, but it's usually fixable at the source...otherwise, my console, rack gear, and recording equipment have always run dead quiet.
    Sometimes it's down to an individual piece of gear and how it was wired internally with the signal ground and chassis ground...but that too was an individual case that could be fixed.
    With this new studio, I will be rewiring at least 60% of my patchbays with new cable...so there is where extra attention is needed, since I'm going to be re-soldering a lot of connection points.
    You are very clear.
    Just trying to be helpful Miroslav.
    If you are a stickler for code compliance note that symmetrical power is not code compliant for domestic use.
    Would also think anything after that would not be up to code.
    Great when it works until it doesn't.
    FYI for all.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch View Post
    You are very clear.
    Just trying to be helpful Miroslav.
    If you are a stickler for code compliance note that symmetrical power is not code compliant for domestic use.
    Would also think anything after that would not be up to code.
    Great when it works until it doesn't.
    FYI for all.
    I appreciate the help...I just thought maybe you misunderstood me earlier.

    Also...I am NOT wiring the main or sub house panels for balanced/symmetrical use. Doing that...is what would not be compliant for domestic use.

    What I am doing is using a balanced power box (Furman IT 20) that simply plugs into one of two studio dedicated 20A outlets...and then from there I run my balanced power distribution for gear either by plugging it directly into the Furman or using the receptacles I mentioned above for more distant needs, rather than running extension cords from the Furman, like I've done in my smaller studio space...but now I'm going to permanently install "extensions" using those receptacles.

    I've been using the balanced power unit for a few years now...works great...I have two of them, one as a back-up or if I need a second 20A source for those very rare times when I have a lot of things powered up simultaneously.

    It is a lot easier and simpler to do things this way...rather than attempt to rewire the house panels for specific studio needs. All I ask of my electrician is that my two dedicated 20A lines are done as needed...and then he can wire the code-required outlets and lighting and all that, how he normally does it.

  3. #93
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    DAY 41

    Today most of the asphalt shingles went on the roof...there's only about a 4-5' strip on the longer roof that is left to be done tomorrow, which is good, because then Mon/Tue we have rain coming.
    I didn't get a chance to take the pictures until it was almost dark...so they're not as clear, but you can still see the roof progress.
    Hoping that tomorrow they will also do the rest of the sheeting on the remaining wall, and close of the gable on the one side, since the roof will only take about 1-2 hours to finish.
    Then on Wed/Thur after the rain, I think my windows will be going on in...and I think also attention will be turned to getting the bathroom roof also sealed and finished, and I know the contractor wants to get that back door installed (hasn't even been ordered yet)...so they can have a completely sealed room& bathroom, allowing the use of some space heaters to warm things up...which I'm also waiting for before I start running my audio lines and other stuff. Kinda hard working on that stuff with gloves...and without them, the fingers get stiff real fast when it's below 30 degrees.







  4. #94
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    DAY 42

    Today my main roof was finished... ...and most of the smaller, bathroom roof work was completed, they just need to put down the shingles.
    Also the gable was closed of on that same side. There's still the long, window side wall that needs to get sheeting and the top of the gable on the other side, and then comes the siding. One of my windows came in the wrong size...so that has to get returned/swapped out, but not a big deal, and it kinda works out OK, since we can use that window opening as a temporary door to bring in the sub-floor wood and other things. It's easier than going through my front door and then having to make a 90-degree turn through a second door (what will be my studio door).

    I should be meeting with the plumber, electrician and HVAC guys hopefully this coming week to finalize some details...and it looks like I'll be putting in the sub-floor sooner than later. It just makes more sense to get it done now, rather than as the last thing prior to the hardwood.
    I'm also getting my plans laid out for the lighting, and my audio lines and audio power distribution. Looks like I will end up going under the sub-floor with the audio lines...and the power distro will be through the walls. It's really the easiest, and best/shortest route for the audio lines...plus it will keep them far away from any power lines in the walls.
    Still a lot of details to get under control...but the roof and basic shell completion was/is a big phase of the project. Once we move to inside work, it will be somewhat easier and more under out control...instead of the weather (it's getting colder and colder...).






  5. #95
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    How are you going to be heating/cooling the studio?
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
    My Bandcamp site: http://mikebirchmusic.bandcamp.com

  6. #96
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    Awesome stuff here, man. Love the details.

    In reference to the previous page's about posts power/audio/wiring layouts...I'm with you in terms of the 90 degree electrical runs. As far as I know, that helps create buzz because voltages running perpendicular create RF interference, no? So I am confused as well.

    One other thing: if you've got all that Mogami laying around and would rather have snakes (as one of your previous posts pointed out, you'd rather run snakes and have short individual cable runs instead of a bunch of long cables running to wall boxes), just make them yourself if you are of the DIY ilk and have the time. Most pre-built snakes are fairly limited in terms of options for obvious reasons (gotta keep those margins high!), and custom snakes are stupid expensive. So if you do it yourself, you not only guarantee build and connection quality, you'll also be able to ensure the quality of the wires themselves AND still be able to customize the crap out of it.

    I have a friend who is the singer/songwriter in a fairly well-known, popular band that recently won a few Grammys, had hit singles, did big tours, all that (no name-dropping!), so the funds are fairly ample for him right now. I recently went down to visit and see his new digs; he put in a pretty dope studio, just in terms of the design and build alone: not a parallel wall or ceiling anywhere in the entire place; the control room is shaped like a horn in that the front wall is 9' tall and the back is 12'.

    He bought an old farm property with a few buildings about 100 yards from the main house; he renovated one of the barns out there. He was still in the process of outfitting it with gear when I got down there, and he did something I thought was really brilliant: instead of hopping online and looking for custom snakes, wall boxes, even acoustic treatment, etc., he called up the monitor engineer and the stage builder from his touring crew and hired them to build everything for him, to spec. Really nice rolling baffles and beautiful custom diffusors in the control room. The front and back walls in the live room are that uneven stone veneer; I thought that was a great idea. I watched the monitor dude (who has a master's in electrical engineering) build these crazy custom snake boxes with some sort of custom cable system that can be extended up to 500ft in some cases, and he build a different one for each different area of the studio.

    So for example, the smaller snake boxes he built for the amp iso rooms all had Countryman DI's BUILT RIGHT INTO THEM. I've done work in probably 25 different pro studios over the years, mainly in Chicago but also in NYC, L.A., Nashville, Orlando, and Toronto, among others, and I'd never seen anything like that before. I didn't have time to get into the details of how he did it, but my mind reeled with the convenience of it. He also had built-in the headphone monitoring system's feed into each snake such that it would only require two short cables from the snake to the monitoring unit to get 32 tracks of custom headphone mixing. At each snake. And there were eight.

    If you have the skills to do it and patience to source the parts, it's brilliant stuff. And you can customize them for your own space's needs. Just sayin'!

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbphotos View Post
    How are you going to be heating/cooling the studio?
    The cooling will be from a mini split AC unit...we just have to see what to do about the bathroom/foyer area, as I would like to have cooling running through there too, otherwise they will be a hot zone in-between my studio and the rest of the house. I'm waiting for the HVAC guy to come and look at the build, and to tell us if it would be easier to run a duct from my existing central AC for the bathroom/foyer (my preference) or get a mini split that can also use ducts, and feed a small one off the studio into the bathroom/foyer. Either option has some complexity bringing the duct to them...but I would rather have the mini split solely for the studio.

    The heat is a little different...the studio will have hot water baseboard on just the one window wall, added as a 3rd zone from my furnace, and the mini split will also include a heat pump, so I can chose which to use, depending on the temps outside, since the mini split heat pump isn't very effective when temps get into the teens.
    The bathroom/foyer will also have hot water baseboard added, and that will be tied to my 1st zone in the house, which is my upstairs living area...and that's also why it would make sense for the AC to be tied to that same central air that covers my house.



    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Don't! View Post
    .

    If you have the skills to do it and patience to source the parts, it's brilliant stuff. And you can customize them for your own space's needs. Just sayin'!
    Making snakes isn't a problem...I've done more soldering and wiring than I care to remember.
    The decision is really about how "clean" I want to keep things. With wall plates and running the cable under the floor and into the walls...it's very clean.
    Having a snake(s) across the floor...not as much...but it's the easier way to go, and faster...since I still need to solder the Mogami to the wall plates connectors, and also at the other end for interfacing with preamps.
    At this point I'm not buying any ready-made snakes...so it's just a question of what I want to do with the Mogami multi-channel cable...and I'm not yet decided on that. As clean as the wall plates would be...it's also a whole bunch of wall plates on the walls...which is a pretty permanent thing. I mean, yeah, they can be removed at some point down the road if no longer needed, and the walls patched...but I'm also considering that the less holes I need to make in the walls, the better for the long run.
    This was never meant to be a commercial studio build...so the new studio space is more than just a studio...and in time, when I get to a point where I no longer have the motivation and interest to record (hopefully not until well into old age)...I would like the room to be a nice space for other interests too.

    Along those lines of thinking (not too many permanent wall/floor holes)...I am also reconsidering how I want to set up my studio racks. Initially I was pretty set on creating that typical 4-5 slanted rack setup directly behind the mix position, like you see in many studios...since that is the ideal location for rack gear when mixing, because you can just roll back in your chair, and pretty much stay in the mix sweet spot while you adjust something in the racks behind you.
    So I was going to do a more permanent rack installation, with audio cables and power coming up from under the floor...which really didn't appeal to me.
    Now I'm thinking more about just having a longer "umbilical" connection from the console to the racks...and with the racks on wheels, which they already are, I can roll them into any position I want during tracking or mixing, since I am often recording on my own, so being able to "spin" the racks around so I can see them, would be great...and when not needed, just roll them back against the wall on the console side, leaving the central floor area wide open, if I want.
    It would take about 15' of umbilical from the console to the racks, that would be easily folded behind the racks when they were up against the wall.

    That said...the umbilical cabling would be the same thing as snakes on the floor to the back of the room (regardless if I made my own or bought them)...so there's that "keep it clean" thing again.
    On the other hand...it may not be as big a deal as it seems. I can lay studio snakes along the perimeter when needed, out of the way for the most part... and any kind of umbilical cables from the console to the racks behind me, would only create a small "watch your step" situation, and not something that would be messy.

    Believe me...I've had multiple options running through my head these days, but as I get closer to it...something will just make the most sense, and then that will be it, and I will live with my choices.
    I'm still going to run my power distribution through the walls...I already bought the wall plates, so no turning back. My only thought is the power for the racks, if they will be rolling around...but I can set it up so that a single power chord will feed all of them, and just run that separate from the audio umbilical cables.

    The idea of more flexibility really appeals to me...but it will come at the price by not having that real clean in-wall/in floor permanent installation...though maybe not such a big price.
    Last edited by miroslav; 12-09-2019 at 12:34.

  8. #98
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    Ha, funny you mention "umbilical cables," as that's exactly how the control room in the studio I was talking about yesterday works:

    All the cabling in the control room runs under the subfloor (they actually suspended the entire control room from the freakin' roof beams; none of the walls, floor, or ceiling touches the actual barn building, and there is enough room under the subfloor for an engineer to crawl around down there if necessary), and they have snakes running from the console and the built-in patch bays there (he sourced an AMAZING '70s era quad Neve 24-channel board and added a mid-80's SSL5000 48 channel side section with like 400 TT-size patch points. The Neve even has Flying Faders, which I still love despite some obsolescence).

    However, they run these snakes UNDER the floor. They just left a lot of extra cable down there on some sort of spool system they modded. It was explained to me like one of those circular objects you see mounted to the wall in workshops or auto repair shops for extension cords or air hoses, where you can pull out as much length as you need and use it and then it reels itself back in. That seems a little fancy and over the top to me, when you could just manually feed the snake cables by hand.

    If you don't/won't have space under the floor to do this, you could always just run some smaller PVC around the edges of the room on the floor and contain your snake cables in them. Personally, I don't mind having snake cables running across a room, especially a live room; I think that looks much better than a bunch of loose cables running to the wall. Also, if you use snakes, I would not connect them to wall plates; that's just more expense. I'd just build a pass-through in the wall between the live room and control room and run the snake cable through it and then terminate it at a patch bay. You save money and time that way: no purchasing wall plates, no soldering them, and no patching up holes in the future when you decide you no longer need the wall plates. One method I've seen in use all over North America to avoid having the snake cable coming up off the floor and into a pass-through inches above the floor is to run it into a floor pass-through connected to PVC; makes it easy to feed the cable through and when it's not in use, there are plates made to cover such holes.

    As you probably can tell, I'm a total DIYer; having been a professional musician for over half of my life, and a poor one at that ("poor" meaning financially, not my musicianship...haha), I find I have more time than money.

  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Don't! View Post
    Personally, I don't mind having snake cables running across a room, especially a live room; I think that looks much better than a bunch of loose cables running to the wall. Also, if you use snakes, I would not connect them to wall plates; that's just more expense. I'd just build a pass-through in the wall between the live room and control room and run the snake cable through it and then terminate it at a patch bay.
    Yes...I'm probably going to go that route...just turn my bulk Mogami multi-channel cable into a snake with either pigtails or a box at the one end and pigtails at my console/patchbay end. It's long enough that I can run it along the wall and out of the way if I want...or just to any spot in the room.
    Yeah, when not in use I will have about 50' of cable rolled up in the corner somewhere...but I really wasn't enthusiastic about running it into the walls and having all kind of wall plates. As it is, I will already have a bunch of AC outlets that are required by code....then another handful or more of additional specialty receptacles that I will be using for my actual audio gear power...so adding more plates for the audio signals wouldn't have been esthetically pleasing, plus the more receptacles/wall plates, the harder for me to do my final wall treatments. I would be having to do a lot of cutting around all that, and watching where I put panels and other things if I had audio jacks on the walls.


    So your friend with the farm house/barn studio...I guess if he can afford a vintage Neve, he can build whatever he wants...but why bother with all the raised/floated floors, etc...if he's out there with acres of land and no one around? What I mean is, the need for absolute decoupling and noise suppression isn't really necessary if you don't have anyone or any noise near you.
    I guess though if he has a multi-room studio, then it might be something to do, decouple the control room from the other rooms.
    It's nice when you have the really big $$$ to do whatever you want. I mean really...a vintage Neve.

    In my situation...I don't have a dedicated control room. I didn't need one or want one....it's just one big room.
    It's one thing if you're doing a commercial studio...but for more of a private studio where often it might be just me recording...having to go back-n-forth between a live room and control room would be a major PITA...plus I didn't want to split up my space. It's gloriously large as it is...if I may gloat a bit.

  10. #100
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    Well - your build has made me decide to revamp my studio when I get home in the new year. Two rooms become one. It means not too much work, but your projects kicked me of my backside. trivial compared to yours, but the right direction.

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