Studio in a Backyard Shed?

So, my family has just bought a house on an acre of land and there's a shed out back. It's about 10X12 feet and I want to build a studio in it. I found this drawing. But I haven't a clue what I'm doing. I don't even know enough to ask questions.

I plan on recording my guitars (and maybe bass) through the record out on my amp into a Yamaha interface. I was thinking for vocals I'd get one of those isolation boxes you put your head in. At first I'll program drums but may buy an electric kit down the road if I think I need it.

Any advice welcome.Studio.jpg
 

ecc83

Well-known member
If it is a 'proper' shed i.e. wooden walls then you are effectively sitting in the acre except for the higher mid and high frequencies, plus at bass frequencies the boards will rattle like **** taking off at various frequencies. If made of concrete slabs probably OK but that is still a very small space.
The other caveat is, check the roof is not asbestos. Safe enough if left alone and for popping in and out of for garden tools but I would not want to spend hours in that environment shaking the building mixing!

Dave.
 
If it is a 'proper' shed i.e. wooden walls then you are effectively sitting in the acre except for the higher mid and high frequencies, plus at bass frequencies the boards will rattle like **** taking off at various frequencies. If made of concrete slabs probably OK but that is still a very small space.
The other caveat is, check the roof is not asbestos. Safe enough if left alone and for popping in and out of for garden tools but I would not want to spend hours in that environment shaking the building mixing!

Dave.
If you treat the walls, floor and ceiling properly, what difference does the size of the space matter?
 

ecc83

Well-known member
If you treat the walls, floor and ceiling properly, what difference does the size of the space matter?
Trust me, when it comes to acoustics, size matters! Yes, you can bass trap the living ***t out of a small room but then where do you put the kit and sit?!

If you want to go ahead buy two sets of really good headphones. One closed back, one open.



Dave.
 
Trust me, when it comes to acoustics, size matters! Yes, you can bass trap the living ***t out of a small room but then where do you put the kit and sit?!

If you want to go ahead buy two sets of really good headphones. One closed back, one open.



Dave.
Okay, midi drums only.

As I understand it (and I probably don't) you can build a room as live as possible and damp it down as needed with blankets and such or build it as dead as possible and add reverb later. I thought I'd go for the latter.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
You've done what lots do - know the basics but misinterpret them. That plan does look like it has most of the major points in it - the lack of paralle walls and soffit mounted speakers (which can be really good, or horrible - depending on the speakers) but it will be very cosy - so cosy that even finding space for a door will be tricky. Sound treatment can do wonders for keeping the sound neutral inside, but birds, planes, didtant traffic if you have them will be there. How much? Depends on where you are. This is what Dave is thinking - a light weight structure is very far away from sound proof, even if your sound treatment makes the sound inside pleasant. Studios need massto provide isolation at least one heavy, thick skin and often another inside, eating away at your space. The cost for studios in timber, sheet materials and insulation probably means you could build a new shed like structure much bigger - one capable of holding two people comfortably for example. You are right in that a dead room can be treated electronically to sound biger, but theyre often not nice to work in. The sensory deprivation thing. Small radio studios often had this high absorbtion but limited cubic space - theyre unpleasant to work in, especially if there is no fresh air. Cooling small spaces can be very noisy.

The reality is that it's workable, but potentially flawed. Some sheds don't even have solid enough foundations to support the weight of the wall and ceiling sheet material. If the ceiling has to be supported by the probable tiny timber in a shed roof, can it take the load? carrying the load onto the floor is the same - can the floor support it? Sheds are rarely structurally built? A concrete slab and decent sized timber might be needed?

The plan you have would be quite nice, modified to creat a totally separate inner room within the space, and scaled up so two people could have space to work. Non-parallel walls are great, but really eat into the area.

That all said, I've done rooms that size and they've been OK, but just a couple of mic stands and you are cramped. There's amps, guitars, computers and other junk to go in too?
 
You've done what lots do - know the basics but misinterpret them. That plan does look like it has most of the major points in it - the lack of paralle walls and soffit mounted speakers (which can be really good, or horrible - depending on the speakers) but it will be very cosy - so cosy that even finding space for a door will be tricky. Sound treatment can do wonders for keeping the sound neutral inside, but birds, planes, didtant traffic if you have them will be there. How much? Depends on where you are. This is what Dave is thinking - a light weight structure is very far away from sound proof, even if your sound treatment makes the sound inside pleasant. Studios need massto provide isolation at least one heavy, thick skin and often another inside, eating away at your space. The cost for studios in timber, sheet materials and insulation probably means you could build a new shed like structure much bigger - one capable of holding two people comfortably for example. You are right in that a dead room can be treated electronically to sound biger, but theyre often not nice to work in. The sensory deprivation thing. Small radio studios often had this high absorbtion but limited cubic space - theyre unpleasant to work in, especially if there is no fresh air. Cooling small spaces can be very noisy.

The reality is that it's workable, but potentially flawed. Some sheds don't even have solid enough foundations to support the weight of the wall and ceiling sheet material. If the ceiling has to be supported by the probable tiny timber in a shed roof, can it take the load? carrying the load onto the floor is the same - can the floor support it? Sheds are rarely structurally built? A concrete slab and decent sized timber might be needed?

The plan you have would be quite nice, modified to creat a totally separate inner room within the space, and scaled up so two people could have space to work. Non-parallel walls are great, but really eat into the area.

That all said, I've done rooms that size and they've been OK, but just a couple of mic stands and you are cramped. There's amps, guitars, computers and other junk to go in too?
Here is a satellite image of my house, circled in red. The shed in back is circled in yellow. As you can see, there ain't much in the area. But I'll be doing 95% of my recording direct so who cares how loud my chickens are?
 

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Ed Fones

Well-known member
Here is a satellite image of my house, circled in red. The shed in back is circled in yellow. As you can see, there ain't much in the area. But I'll be doing 95% of my recording direct so who cares how loud my chickens are?
If you know it all, then why did you come here wasting time with your questions?

Noise travels. The first thing you do is try and isolate your recording space.
 
If you know it all, then why did you come here wasting time with your questions?

Noise travels. The first thing you do is try and isolate your recording space.
I know nothing. So, I'm asking questions and trying to discuss the answers to understand clearly. Is this a problem?
 

Ed Fones

Well-known member
I know nothing. So, I'm asking questions and trying to discuss the answers to understand clearly. Is this a problem?
Rob who works in the business and really knows his stuff told you you need to insulate from outside noises first, then treat your room. You replied by saying 'who cares how loud your chickens are.'

Tis up to you. Nature sounds are nice, even crowing chickens. Lawn mowers possibly. 737's over head and even military aircraft are appealing to some. Dogs barking can be annoying though.
 
Rob who works in the business and really knows his stuff told you you need to insulate from outside noises first, then treat your room. You replied by saying 'who cares how loud your chickens are.'

Tis up to you. Nature sounds are nice, even crowing chickens. Lawn mowers possibly. 737's over head and even military aircraft are appealing to some. Dogs barking can be annoying though.
Again, if 95% of what I record is direct why does outside noise matter? This is a real question. It seems to me that it wouldn't matter. But, as I said, I know nothing about this. So, will it matter?
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
seriously - if you want to record direct, then wasting space on a fancy design is probably unnecessary. If you want to annoy the neighbours with late night bass, then treatment only is fine. Personally, I prefer to work in a studio that is isolated from the world as much as possible. I have two - the one at home is no problem playing my bass at midnight. Outside it's just, barely just audible. The office studio sounds nice but the distant trains can be heard and worse, because I'm used to them, I don't notice them until it is too late. 10' x 13' is cosy. Perfectly workable, but very much a one-person show. Not a problem, but the dambn thing will lak sound out and in. If that's fine, away you go. I mentioned soffit mount speaker mounting. It brings up the bass response quite a lot, so you may need to equalise this out or your mixes might be bass light.

EDIT
it's that 5% on the recording side - fair enough that's rare for you to be using mics, but a friend had a studio where he had a Yamaha electronic kit. You could hear him playing it quite a way away. I think for me, I'd want to keep my recordings private. Sound leakage can cause all sorts of issues if you have a change of neighbour.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
In my OP I said I'd use an isolation box.

Like this.
That is not an "isolation box" it is a "reflection filter" and probably not a good one. RFs are designed to keep room reflections out of microphones not prevent ingress and egress of the primary sound.

I am sorry friend but you are, WTGR ignorant but seem to keep challenging those here who are experts. I am not one in the studio field. My expertise such as it is in in electronics and especially valve equipment but I have been hanging around audio forums for over ten years and I have absorbed a bit form the gurus like Rob. I confess I had not thought of external noises. I kitted out a bedroom for my son for recording. Bit bigger than your shed and brick walls. It does not sound too bad but he could only record acoustic guitar after midnight, foxes and dogs permitting! LOT of retakes!
Electric guitar was loud enough with a 57 at the speaker and bass was DI'ed split from an amp for zero latency monitoring.

Good luck.

Dave.
 
Beautiful...............Go for it. I have never heard of any backing singers called Rhode Island Reds or Light Sussex before though. Original and may even work.

I am not sure it would isolate your recording from outside noises.
As I asked before, if it isolates from the inside out won't it also isolate from the outside in? does isolation only work one way?
 

Ed Fones

Well-known member
As I asked before, if it isolates from the inside out won't it also isolate from the outside in? does isolation only work one way?
As Rob explained early. You need to isolate your recording space from outside noises. Look at any recording studio. They all do this because they do not want outside noise on the recordings.

Your vocal box is as far as I know just making sure no reverb can enter the mic from behind and from the sides. You could do the same with a duvet over your head. But neither of them is going to stop outside noises bleeding through and being recorded by your mic. A truck or passing car. Train. Planes. Dogs. Kids. Tractors. Quads. Animals. And of course laying hens. These all need isolating from your recording space.

There you have the first thing you should do.
 
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That is not an "isolation box" it is a "reflection filter" and probably not a good one. RFs are designed to keep room reflections out of microphones not prevent ingress and egress of the primary sound.

I am sorry friend but you are, WTGR ignorant but seem to keep challenging those here who are experts. I am not one in the studio field. My expertise such as it is in in electronics and especially valve equipment but I have been hanging around audio forums for over ten years and I have absorbed a bit form the gurus like Rob. I confess I had not thought of external noises. I kitted out a bedroom for my son for recording. Bit bigger than your shed and brick walls. It does not sound too bad but he could only record acoustic guitar after midnight, foxes and dogs permitting! LOT of retakes!
Electric guitar was loud enough with a 57 at the speaker and bass was DI'ed split from an amp for zero latency monitoring.

Good luck.

Dave.
Yes! I am ignorant! I know nothing about this. I'm not trying to challenge anyone. I'm trying to understand.

I'm a 60-year-old truck driver that's played guitar for 45 years and I'm pretty damn good at it. As I look forward to retirement, I'd like to do more with my music. I am confused by all this modern equipment and only want to learn.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I bought one of these.
Mic screen
To be honest, it's well made, heavy and rather pointless. I wanted to record some stuff in the office studio that has external noises - notably a railway crossing with beeping warning and the trains. It's just a layer of perforated metal and foam, and made minimal difference. You can hear the effect is produces, but frankly maybe I expected more? Minimal impact down low, as you'd expect but some top end removal as outside noise goes through it. It works, after a fashion, but the thing is that singing or speaking into it is a bit oppressive and worse, it blocks vision, so a script or words doesn't work, and seeing the computer monitor is impossible too. Great idea for a project, but after the first use, it's back in the box.
 
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