Studio Upgrade and Makeover Thread

Folkcafe

Active member
Hard to know what to call this thread other than its a chronicle or post mortem of the old build and the choices made then and now.

First the back story as to how the first build came about over 20 years ago. I had what I considered my dream job of sorts. I was working in a studio as what I called then a technical fireman. This was the internal studio for the marketing dept of a large audio company. The plan then was to modernize the facility and go the route of Sony and create a Label. So in addition to keeping all the old gear working, I spent most of my time studying and researching this new digital frontier. I took every course available internally on acoustics and even a course on audio measurement that involved work with an anechoic chamber.

Only problem was the overall plan was continually stalled in indecision. The company would spend money on hardware but not on the physical space. More than a bit frustrating for someone who wanted the chance to immerse themself in the study of studio building. The company was planning on hiring an experience designer for this but it would have been a huge chance to learn. Too bad, it was not to be as the label plan was canned along with yours truly. Let me know if you like stories as I've got a few good ones including how I met Bob Ludwig and got the chance to tour and review the design of his mastering studio.

So back to this project. I went looking for the oldest picture I could find. I was still shooting 35mm back then, so I didn't take anything during construction but I'll fill in the construction details and criteria considerations. I didn't even have real monitors at this point and so there is a pair of Boston Acoustics. I was working on programming multimedia presentations on a platform called Dataton at the time and bouncing board mixes to CD from the open mic shows I was doing sound for at the time. I had plans to expand to recording in the adjacent room.

studiodesk.JPG

Here is a screenshot of the overall layout. The control room shows the layout for either what is going to be bass traps or soffits (maybe both).

Studio Layout.png
The dimensions of the control room is 18'L x 12.5'W x 7'11'H. Next post will look back at construction and include some data from some of the newer calculators and my thoughts on how the attic ceilings correlate to calculators that are meant for box shaped rooms. Below is the last picture I took before I started tearing apart the layout.

Studio2020_01.jpg
Ok, not a ton of changes overall but first requirement of the new layout is to get away from this front wall. Desk is huge but very little work space as so much of it impractical.

Back to work as I should be working not typing.

Comments or questions welcome. If read down this far, let me know.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
How far away from the front wall do you intend to be ?
The answer and the question is how far will the room allow me to be? Right now the temp layout has it at 4' (122 cm) away from both back and side walls. I took apart the desk I had my old video editing computer in and have the rack under the mixer and am adding new legs to the desk top.

This is the desk I took apart
Monadnoc 002.jpg

This is the temporary layout. I'll need to finish up the legs and then wire up an amp and a pair of better monitors then test with REW. Then move, test and rinse and repeat.
Studio_05.jpg

I run a company that does commercial AV installations. Every so often we are at a job site where the existing furnishings are being tossed out. I collected these legs from a big conference room table. There is a channel on the post that you slip a thin panel and it covers the wiring going up the tables and dresses it up. Woodgrain doesn't match but the color of the panels do. These were too wide but you can cut the plywood in the middle to narrow them. I'll post up more picture as it goes along as well as details old and new.
 

Kingofpain678

Returned from the dead
I love that this is kind of going in the DIY route. I'm a hobbyist wood worker as well home recording guitarist and plan on making my own studio furniture hopefully soon(ish). this is fantastic. cant wait for more
 

TAE

All you have is now
Those are some sexy legs! I like the cables up the inside thing too! Man those would probably cost a bit of $$$. I really like the idea of hiding the cables in the legs. Keep us updated on the progress!
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Those are some sexy legs! I like the cables up the inside thing too! Man those would probably cost a bit of $$$. I really like the idea of hiding the cables in the legs. Keep us updated on the progress!
I still have 3 more sets of these as the table they were under was huge. Wish I had taken all the aluminum support extrusions and more hardware though. I've got another sheet of the cherry veneered plywood so thinking of making a new desk for my office seeing as I stole this one for the studio. Got a few detail photos. I'll retrieve them from my camera and post shortly (though just boring how details).

I'm starting to do some testing with REW before I decide on where the furniture finally lands and what I'll need for treatment.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Kept it really simple so no complicated frame around the console, just something to place it on with some rack space below. I used 1/4"-20 wood inserts I got at Amazon for $10 for 40. Drill, screw in with allen wrench and done. Same for the table legs. You can see I placed a piece of rigid insulation between the finish panel of the leg and plywood spanner. This is to keep the thin panel from resonating.Studio_07.jpg

Studio_08.jpg
Studio_09.jpg
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Ok, been a few weeks of research, studying and analysis and nearly got all the final designs. I also ripped out all the old treatment, emptied and started repainting the room. This week I started building the actual new treatment. What I came up with for treatment are a couple of solid budget solutions.

With the room emptied, it made sense to do the ceiling cloud first. In addition to wanting to keep costs down, I also was concerned about how much weight I was hanging over my head. What I ended up deciding on was building an 8ft by 8ft drop tile ceiling grid. Armstrong makes lightweight fiberglass ceiling tiles that are available at HomeDepot. I reached out to them and got the acoustic testing details and calculated the absorptive range in the Acoustic Modelling Porous panel calculator I compared two mineral wool products along with lighter OC R30 9 inch fiberglass. The mineral wool would be 1.87lb or 1.5lb per square foot vs .5lb for fiberglass. At less than a 3rd of the weight and half the cost, low density fiberglass beat out the denser Safe N Sound Rockwool down to 100hz at .75 reduction coefficient.

Screen Shot 03-07-21 at 08.55 PM.JPG

Here is the grid work.

grid.jpg

I am going to frame in the sides with fabric covered rigid fiberglass panels like this.

cloud-side.jpg

Next post, bass traps, the easy way.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Bass trapping made easy.

I thought about building modular frames and wrapping it all in fabric but the thought of matching the angles and all the work just didn't have much appeal. So I went the picture frame route. Ripped a couple of 2x4's in half, marked out the depth with my laser and framed it in. I kept the height to standard width for acoustic fabric. Surface is going to get a layer of poly batting material stapled to the frame to keep the fibers in place and will cover the entire span with Guilford of Maine acoustic fabric. Got to head out and pick up another pack of insulation.

Update.jpg

Bass trap is 2ft deep 12.5ft wide. Framing is simple in concept and easy to remove with minimal wall patching.

Here is the absorption coefficient chart. .75 @ 40hz. Material costs less than $250.

Screen Shot 03-08-21 at 07.32 AM.JPG
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Front and rear built and wrapped in poly batting to keep the fibers in. The front traps are stand alone and on a riser for cabling access. All will be covered in Guilfords of Maine fabric once I make some color decisions.frame.jpgfront-trap.jpg


roomfront.jpgbackcovered.jpg
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Spent most of the last week analyzing the low bass issues of the room. The odd shape room is presenting quite a challenge even with the addition of a ceiling cloud and 2ft deep bass traps. So took extensive acoustic measurements in order to come up with the rest of the treatment plan.
Measure.jpg

And the problem looks like this. Deep null created by a combination of additional corners from the ceiling and the angle right at monitor placement.
Left-ReDo-2.jpg

Up to 14db down after 90Hz around 125Hz and worse at around160Hz. A whole bunch more testing and eventually got to a suitable baseline to build on. Still lots of bare wall and plenty of corner areas left to treat but with just bass traps and ceiling cloud I'm at something workable.

Listening-Position.jpg

This with a bit more focus on remaining corner areas, should get me out of the more difficult pressure region. As you solve issues with lower frequencies, the related octaves will often settle as well.

I had hoped to not go as deep as this but am ending up building 12inch deep absorptive panels that will start at the top of the front bass traps, continue along the ceiling edge and back down at the rear. Ordered fabric and Z clips and started building panels this weekend. These are ceiling panels that will be suspended upside down so I wanted them as light as possible. Construction is 3/4 inch strips with 3/4 x 1-1/2 inch corners and middle brace using thin luan plywood strips in the back to attach the Z-clips and also brace the frame. Each weighs about 5lbs before poly batting and fabric. It is all fastened together using crown staples. Quick and easy build with air nailers. Fabric arrives mid week.

Ultralight_01.jpg
Ultralight_03.jpg
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Productive weekend. Got the 4 ceiling and two front angled ceiling frames done. Have started wrapping them up in poly batting. Z-clips arrive tomorrow and hopefully fabric comes in Thursday or Friday. Fabric got a down grade as the yardage got too expensive. Found some good density burlap in various colors for cheap. It is what I used last time and it lasted 20+ years.

stack2.jpg
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
Yeah, Guilfords prices are pretty high. I used burlap for my first batch of traps - cleaned out the local Walmart's inventory! It smells when new, but that quickly dissipates.
You'll definitely have to watch that 350-500Hz null area when mixing.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Yeah, Guilfords prices are pretty high. I used burlap for my first batch of traps - cleaned out the local Walmart's inventory! It smells when new, but that quickly dissipates.
You'll definitely have to watch that 350-500Hz null area when mixing.
I'm only at bassline with rear and front traps along with a center ceiling cloud. So no wall treatment at all yet. This next series of traps should take care of the trouble the ceiling angles and corners are creating. I then still have side walls and reflection points to deal with. The hard part was leveling out the lower frequencies to get where I am now. That null is the next big challenge. Next round of measurements hopefully will reveal more insight after these are installed.

I found an online place in Chicago that specializes in burlap. They had 60" wide in a ton of colors. Burlapfabric.com They had some close out colors for $1.99 a yard. Order a lot and shipping gets expensive as it is pretty heavy weight burlap. Supposed to be low odor. We'll see. This is my second time around with it. Better weather is here so I can leave the windows open to air it out. Same with the fiberglass when you first open the package.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
This covers all the corners. Still have the front and rear angled ceiling along with the sides to treat. Getting closer to my goal at the low end but still have a floor bounce issue at 120Hz creating a bit of a null. Hoping the front wall treatment will get me closer. Just a bit more and I'll be at +/-2db in the low frequencies.

CRfront.jpg


ceilingtraps.jpg
 

keganheiss

New member
Looking great! Your angled front wall may be a pain when it comes to acoustics (I have the same situation), but the important thing is that it makes your room look like a spaceship cockpit. :-) That's OC R30 in all your traps?
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Looking great! Your angled front wall may be a pain when it comes to acoustics (I have the same situation), but the important thing is that it makes your room look like a spaceship cockpit. :-) That's OC R30 in all your traps?
The two front corners are R38 sideways for 2ft deep. Same for the entire back wall bass trap. The flat part of the ceiling is R38 12 inches deep. The angled front units are R30 9-1/2 inches deep. Ceiling cloud is R30 behind fiberglass acoustic tile. I built an 8ft wide absorber that is R38 but tapers towards the monitors. In the back there is R30 absorbers above the bass traps that I built this weekend but still need to stuff them and cover. Fabric arrives tomorrow. Biggest tip I have for anyone doing panels is to sort out the Z-clips before you stuff the frames.

slope-trap.jpg
frames.jpg

40-inch-frames.jpg
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Better shot of both front and rear. I just stuffed the frames and popped them up on the wall in back and just place 3 in between the monitors. Took a bunch of acoustic measurements figuring out the effectiveness of the rear ceiling treatment as well as the front.

Front01.jpg

Back01.jpg
 
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