Basement studio/drum room advice needed

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ScotcH
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Basement studio/drum room advice needed

#1

Postby ScotcH » Mon, 2020-Nov-16, 22:32

Hello! My first post here ... First off, I am absolutely blown away by the amount of information here, and the willingness to share it. The fact that all questions, regardless of being advanced, basic, or repetitive appear to be professionally handled and discussed ... it's just ... wow. Thank you!

I am a rock drummer, and producer/mixer/recoding engineer (in my own band, lol). In other words, I like to play loud, and play with a DAW to record our noise making. Not a professional in either job, but it sure is a fun hobby. I also build and race cars ... totally different, but the footwork is sometimes similar :D

Anyway, I am about to start my basement drum/jam room and sometimes recording studio. I have read a crapload of articles, and watched a tonne of vids. I think I have a good base (and I'm a pretty good study), but need some help to wade through the bullshit and the MANY options. I'm also pretty good with sketchup, so I plan to mock up everything before construction.

Attached are a couple of photos of the virgin space as it sits right now (just finished gutting it). It's ~quarter of the basement. Here are the specs:

1. Concrete block on 2 walls, 2x6 stud walls on other 2 walls, concrete floor (on grade)
2. 21' x 13', 90" floor to ceiling joists
3. 1 36" door opening, 1 36" window
4. HVAC pipes to upstairs floor run in the joists (3x)
5. Some HVAC piping in the space (see image). This can't easily be moved, so will be boxed in.
6. Floor above is 5/8" diagonal planks, 5/8" OSB, and 3/4" engineered hardwood.

20201115_151008.jpg


20201115_151019.jpg


Now the primary goals, in order:
1. Drum/jam room first and foremost
2. Sound isolation for rest of house. It's a very open house, and I want to stay married :lol:
3. Sound treatment for volume control. We are a rock band, but lately been using IEM for jamming ... so the loudest thing is the drums, though occasionally we'd like to let loose
4. Recording room, maybe mixing. I mix in headphones now, and have gotten quite used to it, so a "mixing room" is low priority
5. Sound isolation escaping to outside the house is low on priority (I've been playing in there for 10 years already with minimal sound proofing!)

Expectations:
1. I don't need it to be silent outside the room, but above the space is the living room, would like to easily be able to watch TV at reasonable volume with drums going full blast
2. Have some money to spend, but not cubic dollars ... let's say $10k max for complete job of that single room start to finish.

My current approach and thinking:
1. Since this is Canada, the whole basement will be insulated for comfort. The plan is 1.5" rigid foam against the exterior walls, sealed for vapour/moisture. In the studio that means the 2 exterior walls. Against the 1.5" rigid foam, 2x4 25g metal studs, 24" OC, rockwool insulation, 1 sheet of 5/8" quiterock or similar soundproofing drywall.
2. For the interior walls, existing 2x6 walls will be filled with pink batt insulation, 5/8" drywall on outside (rest of basement side)
3. Second 2x4 25g 24" OC metal stud wall spaced 1" from existing wall, again filled with pink batt. 1 sheet of 5/8 quietrock
4. ceiling: Fill joists (9.25") with insulation, iso clips and hat channel, with 1 layer of 5/8" quietrock.
5. isolation and caulking in all corners.
6. double door system with good seals. Window needs to remain for egress, likely use a MLV blanket or similar removable "plug" in the window hole.
7. Surface mount electrical and lighting to minimize holes. One main conduit coming in (3x 15A circuits)

Now on to my Questions:
1. I'm not sure about HVAC. If I use the house HVAC without crazy mufflers will it defeat the entire system and other work? I can add a mini-split if house HVAC is a bad idea, but I'd rather not. There are already 2 ducts into the room, and 1 return. Are these workable at all?
2. Is doing the double wall on the interior partition overkill for my goals? Would clips/hat channel and 1 or 2 layers of 5/8" quietrock on the existing studs achieve acceptable results (and save a few inches)?
3. What are the recommendations for floor? I was thinking a ~5mm vinyl plank floor, with rugs as needed to dampen
4. The room dimension are decent according to calculators, no major issues with modes I think? I will of course be doing some acoustic treatments. Suggestions for approach here? I do have plenty of mics, including measurement mics I can use. Bass traps and rockwool absorbers for sure, but I need to learn more here.

Ok ... all for now. Please feel free to critique my approach, or shout if I'm totally off my rocker, and I genuinely am super grateful to have this resource available! In the meantime, I'll keep reading and educating myself (and oggling some seriously cool studio builds!)



Jag94
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Basement studio/drum room advice needed

#2

Postby Jag94 » Wed, 2020-Nov-18, 20:46

ScotcH wrote:Source of the post Hello! My first post here ... First off, I am absolutely blown away by the amount of information here, and the willingness to share it. The fact that all questions, regardless of being advanced, basic, or repetitive appear to be professionally handled and discussed ... it's just ... wow. Thank you!


Hi ScotcH! Yes, this place is a gold mine for information, and Stuart has created an incredible forum with resources and also with good people who are very knowledgeable and willing to help out wherever they can. I've learned so much, and I'm sure you will too!

Anyway, I am about to start my basement drum/jam room and sometimes recording studio. I have read a crapload of articles, and watched a tonne of vids. I think I have a good base (and I'm a pretty good study), but need some help to wade through the bullshit and the MANY options. I'm also pretty good with sketchup, so I plan to mock up everything before construction.


Be careful with youtube videos. There is a TON of misleading, and straight up bad information there. You're already 10 steps ahead of most people being that you're here. You will get real world, data driven information used by people who have done, and are currently doing what you're trying to do. It's great that you're good with sketchup! You are going to use it extensively for the next year while you design and build your room.

Also, Rod Gervais' book "Home Recording Studio; Build It Like The Pros" is an absolute must have. Most of the information you'll get from the forums comes directly from that book.


2. Sound isolation for rest of house. It's a very open house, and I want to stay married :lol:

5. Sound isolation escaping to outside the house is low on priority (I've been playing in there for 10 years already with minimal sound proofing!)

Expectations:
1. I don't need it to be silent outside the room, but above the space is the living room, would like to easily be able to watch TV at reasonable volume with drums going full blast
2. Have some money to spend, but not cubic dollars ... let's say $10k max for complete job of that single room start to finish.



So, unfortunately it's going to be tough to isolate from the rest of your house, while not isolating for the outside, or vise versa. If the sound can get outside, it can get to your house. If it can get in your house, it can get outside. So if you want to isolate the drum room from the living room, you basically need to isolate the entire room - which will give you the added benefit of also isolating from the outside world.

Your budget amount is tough to comment on because it's going to depend on your specific needs. There's a good chance you're going to go over that 10k though ;)

First thing to do is set your drums up in that basement and play. Play like you're on stage at Wembly Stadium. While you're doing that, have a friend/bandmate/wife walk around the house and your property with a sound meter set to C weighted to get an accurate reading of how loud your drums really are. You can't know how much isolation you need until you know what kind of levels you're dealing with first.

My current approach and thinking:
1. Since this is Canada, the whole basement will be insulated for comfort. The plan is 1.5" rigid foam against the exterior walls, sealed for vapour/moisture. In the studio that means the 2 exterior walls. Against the 1.5" rigid foam, 2x4 25g metal studs, 24" OC, rockwool insulation, 1 sheet of 5/8" quiterock or similar soundproofing drywall.


Be careful here, what you described would be creating a 3-leaf wall. It would be helpful if you created a sketchup of your idea so we can see what you're describing. I might just be not understanding what you're saying. I apologize for the language barrier. You Canadians talk funny sometimes. :lol:

Also, why would you use rigid foam here? Is that standard in your area? What type of rigid foam are you talking about?

2. For the interior walls, existing 2x6 walls will be filled with pink batt insulation, 5/8" drywall on outside (rest of basement side)
3. Second 2x4 25g 24" OC metal stud wall spaced 1" from existing wall, again filled with pink batt. 1 sheet of 5/8 quietrock
4. ceiling: Fill joists (9.25") with insulation, iso clips and hat channel, with 1 layer of 5/8" quietrock.


Pink fluffy is some of the best stuff to use for isolation of low frequencies. So get lots of it! ha. Quietrock may be unnecessary. There are several thicknesses of it, and also different levels of it's density. Not all of it is the same. So you have to be careful you're reading the specs of the type of quietrock you intend to buy and use. Also, quietrock is significantly more expensive than standard 5/8" Type X fire rated drywall. 5/8" type x drywall is some of the best isolation for the money you can get. It could actually be cheaper to put 2-3 layers of regular drywall than it is to install one layer of quietrock, and you will likely get far better isolation from the 2-3 layers of regular drywall. Only downside is it's more time consuming to install. But if you need isolation, and are on a low budget, the standard stuff is the best.

5. isolation and caulking in all corners.
6. double door system with good seals. Window needs to remain for egress, likely use a MLV blanket or similar removable "plug" in the window hole.
7. Surface mount electrical and lighting to minimize holes. One main conduit coming in (3x 15A circuits)


This all sounds good. But pay very close attention to caulking the perimeter. Rods book goes into great detail about this.
I would personally add a few more circuits, and also upgrade them to 20A circuits. But that will be dependent on what you have available in your main panel.

Now on to my Questions:
1. I'm not sure about HVAC. If I use the house HVAC without crazy mufflers will it defeat the entire system and other work? I can add a mini-split if house HVAC is a bad idea, but I'd rather not. There are already 2 ducts into the room, and 1 return. Are these workable at all?

HVAC is typically the most difficult aspect of the build. again, it will be helpful to see how you plan on having the room laid out in sketchup, including where you have current ducting from the house.

2. Is doing the double wall on the interior partition overkill for my goals? Would clips/hat channel and 1 or 2 layers of 5/8" quietrock on the existing studs achieve acceptable results (and save a few inches)?


This is up to you and how much isolation you need. A room-in-a-room will give you more isolation if done properly than clips/hat channel. More layers of drywall will give you more isolation. You need to first determine how much isolation you need, then you can make these decisions.

3. What are the recommendations for floor? I was thinking a ~5mm vinyl plank floor, with rugs as needed to dampen


Vinyl planks are great. Just make sure you put a moisture barrier on top of the concrete, and a suitable subfloor. I would go at least 8mm on the flooring. Thicker the better. I wouldn't worry about the rugs if you're treating the room well.

I'm sure others will chime in here to give their two cents as well. The best thing you can do right now is get some audio tests done, and start building your existing basement in sketchup. Welcome to the forum!



ScotcH
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Location: Ottawa, ON Canada

Basement studio/drum room advice needed

#3

Postby ScotcH » Wed, 2020-Nov-18, 23:41

Jag94 wrote:Source of the post Be careful with youtube videos. There is a TON of misleading, and straight up bad information there.


Oh yeah, no worries. I have a pretty good bullshit meter (AcousticFields, lol), and rarely take info from a single source as gospel. Rod's book is on order already!

Jag94 wrote:Source of the post First thing to do is set your drums up in that basement and play. Play like you're on stage at Wembly Stadium. While you're doing that, have a friend/bandmate/wife walk around the house and your property with a sound meter set to C weighted to get an accurate reading of how loud your drums really are. You can't know how much isolation you need until you know what kind of levels you're dealing with first.


SPL meter on order as well. The problem with this test is that currently there are NO walls in the basement, and the stairs to the upper level are open ... there is no door. So essentially, that's like 110db+ in the rest of the basement! A bit less on the main level since there is a floor in the way, but very easy air flow in the stairs. I'll do the test, and I plan to also record at various points in the house after each step in the construction ... just because, for documentation, and some real world results to share.

Jag94 wrote:Source of the post Be careful here, what you described would be creating a 3-leaf wall. It would be helpful if you created a sketchup of your idea so we can see what you're describing. I might just be not understanding what you're saying. I apologize for the language barrier. You Canadians talk funny sometimes.

Also, why would you use rigid foam here? Is that standard in your area? What type of rigid foam are you talking about?


See this super quick exterior wall mockup:
block-wall.png


The rigid foam (XPS panels) are attached to the blockwall, and sealed at all seams. This creates a moisture barrier against the block. Then we build the stud wall and insulate, then drywall. That's common basement wall build in northern (snow) climates. It provides a thermal barrier and vapour barrier in one. Help control moisture getting to the insulated warm walls.

However, I just watched this vid from John Brandt (bullshit meter is satisfied, as I've seen his name come up a lot with usually well received advice): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2tlnNWR7QQ

In it he states that drywall with small air gap on block walls can actually be worse than nothing at all. I get it (but don't fully understand it ... yet). He also says block wall is ~55 STC by itself, and that's likely what I'm aiming for ... maybe 60. So the spaced wall

In any case, more to review and learn.

Jag94 wrote:Source of the post Pink fluffy is some of the best stuff to use for isolation of low frequencies. So get lots of it! ha. Quietrock may be unnecessary. There are several thicknesses of it, and also different levels of it's density. Not all of it is the same. So you have to be careful you're reading the specs of the type of quietrock you intend to buy and use. Also, quietrock is significantly more expensive than standard 5/8" Type X fire rated drywall. 5/8" type x drywall is some of the best isolation for the money you can get. It could actually be cheaper to put 2-3 layers of regular drywall than it is to install one layer of quietrock, and you will likely get far better isolation from the 2-3 layers of regular drywall. Only downside is it's more time consuming to install. But if you need isolation, and are on a low budget, the standard stuff is the best.


That all makes sense. I'm thinking of the QuietRock mostly to save space ... but 2x 5/8" typeX might be the way to go. I don't mind the extra labour ... that's the "free" part of this build, lol

Thanks for your input so far, and the warm welcome.



Jag94
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Basement studio/drum room advice needed

#4

Postby Jag94 » Thu, 2020-Nov-19, 15:34

ScotcH wrote:See this super quick exterior wall mockup:
block-wall.png

The rigid foam (XPS panels) are attached to the blockwall, and sealed at all seams. This creates a moisture barrier against the block. Then we build the stud wall and insulate, then drywall. That's common basement wall build in northern (snow) climates. It provides a thermal barrier and vapour barrier in one. Help control moisture getting to the insulated warm walls.

However, I just watched this vid from John Brandt (bullshit meter is satisfied, as I've seen his name come up a lot with usually well received advice): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2tlnNWR7QQ

In it he states that drywall with small air gap on block walls can actually be worse than nothing at all. I get it (but don't fully understand it ... yet). He also says block wall is ~55 STC by itself, and that's likely what I'm aiming for ... maybe 60. So the spaced wall



The pink in the photo is the XPS panels? Then you're building a framed wall with insulation and drywall. Then you're going to build another interior frame for the "inner" room of the "room in a room"?

That's 3 leafs. That's bad. Your block wall is great for sound isolation. You just need to seal it with proper concrete sealing paint, which will also help with moisture control. You could add mass to the concrete, but you don't want to build a frame, and put the drywall on the studs that face the inside of the room. That's how you'll get a 3 leaf system. If you build an inside-out wall, so that the drywall butts up against the XPS panels... now we're talkin. That's a 2 leaf system with added mass, insulation, moisture barrier, and you used up the exact same amount of space.



SoWhat
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Basement studio/drum room advice needed

#5

Postby SoWhat » Thu, 2020-Nov-19, 15:56

Greetings ScotcH,

Jag94 is giving you excellent advice, so I will just add this. If the HVAC ductwork (both outlet and return) is easily accessible, you could build silencers between the outer leaf and inner leaf, reconnect the ducts and save buckets of cash. One of the biggest issues with studio HVAC is fresh air (breathing is always good), and the house system will provide that. If you go with a mini-split, you'll also need an ERV or HRV to supply fresh air, as your inner leaf will be completely sealed off and mini-splits do not provide the ventilation you need.

Do remember what Jag94 has cautioned you about where three leaves are concerned (very bad indeed). That, and get Rod's book (and read it thoroughly). You should also check out the "Myths" thread on this site!

All the best,

Paul



ScotcH
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Basement studio/drum room advice needed

#6

Postby ScotcH » Thu, 2020-Nov-19, 17:51

Jag94 wrote:Source of the post The pink in the photo is the XPS panels? Then you're building a framed wall with insulation and drywall. Then you're going to build another interior frame for the "inner" room of the "room in a room"?


I think there is a misunderstanding ... I was not planning a second framing and drywall. So the total would: block, xps planel, stud frame, drywall. That's it, the drywall is the inside of the studio. Would that not be a 2 leaf?

But, I do like the idea of the drywall against the rigid insulation, effectively adding to the blockwall mass and isolation properties (which appears to be around 45-55 STC by itself, if I'm not mistaken). Then the framing against the drywall could actually be used for a huge absorption wall (with plywood baffled panels as needed to "tune"). I'm getting ahead of myself perhaps.

Over the weekend I will build the sketchup design of what I'm thinking and post up for critique.

SoWhat wrote:Source of the post One of the biggest issues with studio HVAC is fresh air (breathing is always good), and the house system will provide that.


Absolutely, that (and space) are my primary "pros" for using the house HVAC. And yes, Rod's book arrived this morning ... already getting creases in it :)



Jag94
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Basement studio/drum room advice needed

#7

Postby Jag94 » Thu, 2020-Nov-19, 18:25

ScotcH wrote:
I think there is a misunderstanding ... I was not planning a second framing and drywall. So the total would: block, xps planel, stud frame, drywall. That's it, the drywall is the inside of the studio. Would that not be a 2 leaf?

But, I do like the idea of the drywall against the rigid insulation, effectively adding to the blockwall mass and isolation properties (which appears to be around 45-55 STC by itself, if I'm not mistaken). Then the framing against the drywall could actually be used for a huge absorption wall (with plywood baffled panels as needed to "tune"). I'm getting ahead of myself perhaps.



Ahh, yes, I misunderstood. But you now have a different issue. If you built it like that, your inside drywall would not be decoupled from the block. Block, XPS panel, stud frame, drywall is all connected. So yes you have 2 leafs, but there is no decoupling. If you used clip/hat channel on the studs, that would decouple the drywall from the rest of it, and save space compared to building a completely separate frame.

If you built an inside out wall to add mass to the block wall, you now only have a single leaf! You'd then need to either build another inside out wall (so you could have your absorption wall), or use clip/hat channel to decouple drywall from the studs. I think it's best to go ahead and build your full sketchup model, then we could look at it with more detail and come up with a plan that works best for your room and your budget.



SoWhat
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Basement studio/drum room advice needed

#8

Postby SoWhat » Thu, 2020-Nov-19, 23:38

2. 21' x 13', 90" floor to ceiling joists


Since you are looking to avoid sound going into your living room above, you might want to strongly consider a true room-in-a-room design. Best isolation for the buck (you can use 2x4s for the inner leaf). It would net you a 19' x 11' space, although you might want to use channel for the ceiling to preserve as much height as possible.



ScotcH
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Basement studio/drum room advice needed

#9

Postby ScotcH » Sun, 2020-Nov-22, 04:06

Alright, here is where I'm at now:
basement-west 3d.png


basement-west elevation.png


Using this link as a rough guide (any comment on this source?) : https://www.tsib.org/files/STC_IIC_Ratings.pdf

Outside block wall (which I found out is actually 10" think) we have:
10" block, 1.5" foam panel, 5/8" drywall
STC 45-55 (ref 1.4.2.3.1.1). I realize this is 1 leaf. Not sure what the gypsum adds to this, but it's required for fire code obviously.

Inside wall (center of basement) we have:
5/8" gyp, 2x6 framing, 1" air gap, 2x4 framing, 5/8" gyp, 5/8" gyp
STC 61 (ref 1.2.4.5.5.4)

Ceiling we have:
3/4" engineered hardwood plank, 5/8" OSB, 5/8" plank, 2x8 joists, iso clip+hat channel, 5/8" gyp, 5/8" gyp
STC ~45-55 (2.1.2.2.1.5 is close, but additional 5/8 gyp, iso clips, and 3/4" hardwood should increase this)

Assuming HVAC and piping is properly taken care of, does this seem reasonable starting point?

Options:
1. Add green glue between drywall layers
2. Replace 5/8 type X gyp with 5/8 quietrock silentFX or similar
3. Use metal studs on interior wall inner leaf



ScotcH
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Basement studio/drum room advice needed

#10

Postby ScotcH » Wed, 2020-Nov-25, 03:14

A lot more reading, and lot more thinking ... here is version 2:

- Decouple the inside framing from the joists
- "inside-out" walls on block walls, with air gap (comments on this? Should I add loose pink stuff?)

wall cross section2.jpg



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Starlight
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Basement studio/drum room advice needed

#11

Postby Starlight » Thu, 2020-Nov-26, 07:34

Hello ScotcH. Your version 2 picture looks good because the inner room looks to be decoupled. Sitting solid on the floor will not be a problem because the floor is on mother earth, or as the Americans term it, "Slab on grade," which insulates.

All the air gaps between the existing room and the inner room will give you improved isolation and a lower resonant frequency if you fill them with light, fluffy insulation. This assumes that you will be completing the wall that will extend the existing walls to enclose the space. The inner room's walls work with the outer room's walls and the filled space inbetween as a MAM (Mass-Air-Mass) system, even though the insulation in the air space acts as a spring.

It looks good and it looks like you are heading in the right direction.




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