Studio Rebuild - Treatment

Start your own studio thread here: Goals, plans, layouts, treatment, speakers, questions, queries, comments...
sk806
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Studio Rebuild - Treatment

#1

Postby sk806 » Thu, 2020-Sep-17, 10:56

Hi All,

I am entering the "final" stages of rebuilding a small project studio in a commercial building. As you can see, it is in an L shaped space. All exterior walls are concrete and facing outdoors or a stairwell, except the long wall along the hallway that leads to the entrance. I have finished framing, sheetrocking outside, caulking, insulating, HVAC, electric, wiring, etc., and am about to install windows and doors. The construction is inside-out, room within a room, made of 2x4s, 2 x 1/2 sheets of sheetrock with Green Glue on outside with insulation in spaces,, and Rockwool insulation between studs. The floor is just hardwood with a thin layer of vibration absorbing underlay, as the floors are almost 10" of concrete. The control room is about 17 x 13 x 9, the main live room is about 19 x 15 x 9, the amp room is about 12 x 10.5 x 9, and the office (built the same way) is about 10.5 x 10.5 x 9. I realize that the window in the back of the control rom is an odd choice, but it will be covered with a diffuser most of the time, and is only there because I have some situations where I will need to see in that room. Also, the double set of glass doors at the entrance are mandated by the building. I can get rid of the interior one, and probably will, but the outer one cannot be changed, hence the small "lobby" in the model.

I would like some advice on acoustic treatment. In general, I like a fairly tight control room, and a fairly lively live room. The amp room is small enough that I believe that I will need to keep it pretty dead just to control the sound, but I am willing to take advice on that. I left the amp room just a rectangle, as I am guessing that I will need to do some angling, trapping, etc. based on the acoustics. I record mainly my own work, but do have people come in for projects from time to time. Generally, I would have the drummer and the guitarists/bassists in the live room, with the amps in the amp room, and even the office. I record all types of musical, from quiet to quite loud.

I am reviewing the REW testing info, and will post my results when I can. In the meantime, any practical suggestions (e.g., something is dreadfully wrong and should be fixed before proceeding) welcome.

Again, I will try to post some pictures of the actual space, below. Thanks!

Steve


OSS_9_1_20.jpg



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Starlight
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#2

Postby Starlight » Thu, 2020-Sep-17, 12:06

Hello Steve and welcome to Stuart's forum. It sounds like you are well underway with your studio. Congratulations!

With regards testing the acoustics of the room, see How To Calibrate and Use REW To Test and Tune Your Room Acoustics

Just in case you didn't realise, your link is not publicly available. Perhaps add it to your post (or next post) or put it somewhere public and add a link here.



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Studio Rebuild - Treatment

#3

Postby sk806 » Thu, 2020-Sep-17, 12:37

Ok. Sorry about that. I’ll change it to public and I am reading the REW page. Thanks again.

Steve



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Studio Rebuild - Treatment

#4

Postby sk806 » Thu, 2020-Sep-17, 14:33

Having trouble with images, will post asap. Thanks!


Steve



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Studio Rebuild - Treatment

#5

Postby sk806 » Thu, 2020-Sep-17, 14:39

Ok. Think I got it...



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Soundman2020
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#6

Postby Soundman2020 » Thu, 2020-Sep-17, 15:59

Hi Steve, and Welcome to the forum! :thu: :)

It looks like you have done a pretty good job so far, with good sized rooms, and making good use of that strange-shaped space.

The construction is inside-out, room within a room, made of 2x4s, 2 1/2 sheets of sheetrock with Green Glue, and Rockwool insulation.
:thu: You should get pretty good isolation like that.

I realize that the window in the back of the control rom is an odd choice, but it will be covered with a diffuser most of the time, and is only there because I have some situations where I will need to see in that room.
With 17' length, your room is probably long enough to be able to use a diffuser back there. Many small control rooms aren't really big enough to be able to use diffusers, since you need about ten feet between the face of the diffuser and your ears to be out of the "danger" zone, where the diffuse field is not properly smooth and even, but you seem to have enough space to do that. I imagine you are going to do some type of "diffuser on wheels", that you can move over to one side of the room when you are nor doing critical listening, then wheel back when you are mixing/mastering? That can certainly work. Of course, the room won't be accurate when the diffuser is wheeled off to one side, but that's likely fine for typical tracking sessions. One suggestion here: I'd really recommend going with a Tim Perry style "Leanfuser" for the rear of your room. I've had good success with those: I've taken his concept and adapted it to a few different rooms, and it works well. In your case, you could probably build it in two "halves", split down the middle, with each half on its own set of wheels, then still keep some semblance of symmetry by having each "half" wheeled off to a similar position on the sides, symmetrically. You might even be able to use those "halves" creatively in the tracking room...
Also, the double set of glass doors at the entrance are mandated by the building, and cannot be changed, hence the small "lobby" in the model.
That's fine! And you might even be able to use that space as a third iso-booth for some overflow situations. The acoustics would be pretty lousy in there, but the space itself is still usable. For example, in a pinch you could put the bass player in there, or the keyboard player (if you can fit a keyboard in there): those are not acosutic instruments, so you don't need to mic them, and the musicians can listen on headphones.... Not ideal at all, but still usable! So you might want to put in a few connection jacks in that area, just in case.

In general, I like a fairly tight control room, and a fairly lively live room.
For the control room, the optimal acoustic response is specified in several documents, such as ITU BS.1116-3 and EBU Tech.3276. You can find both of those here: Useful reference documents for designing and building a studio

The basic concept for control rooms is: neutral. Transparent. Not there. In other words, the control room itself cannot have any effect on the direct sound from the speakers. It must allow that direct sound to reach your ears, and ONLY the direct sound. Nothing else. The room must not add anything to the direct sound, nor take anything away from it: just transmit the sound cleanly, absolutely unaltered, from the speakers to your eras. It's very obvious, when you think about it! It's one of those "Duh! Of Course!" moments for many first-time studio builders. That is, indeed, the entire purpose for even having a control room at all: so you can hear the speakers, only the speakers, and nothing but the speakers, and you can hear them "pristinely". It's easy to see, and easy to say, but not so easy to achieve in practice. And that's what those documents are all about: setting the acoustic specifications for the speakers and the room, telling you how it should be for the best possible critical listening... but they don't really tell you HOW to achieve that! They just tell you what the goal is, without revealing the details of how to get there.

The amp room is small enough that I believe that I will need to keep it pretty dead just to control the sound, but I am willing to take advice on that.
If you only ever plan to use that as an isolation booth for your amps and cabs, then that might be an option, but even then you'd probably want to leave it a bit brighter than "totally dead". That gives you more options with mic'ing those amps, as you can then go for some "room sound", or "ambiance", in addition to just having a close-mic stuck up against the grill. With a pleasant sounding room, you can have a second mic further out, then blend those together in the mix, to get a "fuller" or "warmer" sound, that is more natural than trying to do the same with a plugin or reverb box. You could even go the whole nine yards, and make the acoustic response variable, like this: What is variable acoustics? How do I do that? giving you an even broader range of acoustic response, with greater flexibility for different situations. For example, if you ever wanted to track brass, other large wind instruments, or large strings, such as cello or even violin, or maybe sax, then you could use that room as an instrument iso booth, adjusting the variable panels, the instrument location, and the mic location, to get whatever sound it is that you are looking for. A well designed set of variable panels can give you very dead and dry with one arrangement very bright with another setup, or perhaps diffuse... and a large range in between, for intermediate positions. The possibilities are endless. And once again, a natural room sound usually beats a "canned" sound from a plugin or black box. It's also more pleasant for the musician, to play in a room that has some life and character in it. I do realize that this room is basically just meant to be an amp iso booth, and that you have a better, larger live room too, but I'm thinking more for the occasions where you need to track several things at once, and want some acoustic separation. I would even suggest putting a small patch panel in your green room, so you can use that one too, as yet another "booth", for musicians with non-acoustic instruments. That would give you a potential 5-room studio, if you count the mini lobby and the green room. That's pretty neat, when you have to track a large band all at once!

Just a suggestion, of course!

I left the amp room just a rectangle, as I am guessing that I will need to do some angling, trapping, etc. based on the acoustics.
The supposed need for angles is a myth! I cover that here: Angled walls: What are they for? Do you need them? That's mostly about control rooms, but also applies to live rooms. Basically: angling walls, or even surfaces within a room, does nothing at all to deal with the acoustic problems in the room. What it DOES do, is make the room smaller, and therefore WORSE, acoustically. There is nothing at all wrong with a rectangular room, that is then treated as needed to get the response under control.

My question at the moment is: how do I proceed with testing the acoustics of the rooms. I imagine that I need some idea of what I am working with before I start with resonators, traps, etc. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Starlight already pointed you to the REW tutorial, so that should help you with the testing. That is mostly about using REW to test/tune control rooms, but some of it is applicable to live rooms.

But before you can do that in your control room, you first need to get the layout settled. Sometimes called "geometry", that refers to the geometric relationship between the speakers, the mix position, and the room itself. I talk a bit about the famous "equilateral triangle" method for doing that, here: Speaker setup, and the equilateral triangle That might help you to work on your initial layout. There's also the "walking mic" test procedure, that can help you find the optimal location for your mix position, and it's not hard to do the same thing the other way around, "walking" your speakers a bit to find the best location for them. This is a slow, tedious, boring, process! Lots of minor twiddling and tweaking mic and speaker locations, mountains of REW tests, but it is guaranteed to point you to the best possible geometry for your room... then, based on the final REW test once you have that geometry located, you can start on the design for the room treatment. Everything you need to know will be in that final REW test (OK, maybe not "everything", but at least all of the major stuff).

The only additional comment I'd add here, is a very strong recommendation that you consider flush-mounting (a.k.a. "soffit mounting") your speakers. That is, without any doubt, the single biggest and best thing you can do for any control room. Flush mounting your speakers totally eliminates or greatly reduces the gross artifacts associated with having speakers in a room. It removes them from the room, thus also removing the main artifacts. That would be the number one recommendation.

#2 recommendation: minimize your desk. Right now, you are showing a large desk very close to the front wall. Large desks have a significant negative effect on room acoustics. Make it as small, as low profile, and as "acoustically transparent" as you possibly can. This thread might help you a bit with that: The Soundman M1 studio desk.

Overall, it looks like you have a nice place there, with strong potential. I think it can be very good, with careful layout and treatment.


- Stuart -



sk806
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Studio Rebuild - Treatment

#7

Postby sk806 » Thu, 2020-Sep-17, 16:04

Thanks, Stuart! I remember you from the Sayers forum and am glad we’re back I touch!

I will read through all of these comments/suggestions and links in depth and post if I have any questions. So excited to start on the acoustics part (well, obviously that went into design, as well). Very tired of straight isolation and HVAC work. :)

Also, I got a picture of the model up if you didn’t see it before. Although, you saw the desk size, so you probably did. :)

Steve



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#8

Postby sk806 » Sun, 2020-Sep-20, 10:10

Thanks for all the great info. I have learned quite a bit. My follow up questions are below.

The only additional comment I'd add here, is a very strong recommendation that you consider flush-mounting (a.k.a. "soffit mounting") your speakers. That is, without any doubt, the single biggest and best thing you can do for any control room. Flush mounting your speakers totally eliminates or greatly reduces the gross artifacts associated with having speakers in a room. It removes them from the room, thus also removing the main artifacts. That would be the number one recommendation


Ok. I have been struggling with this decision for a while now. See, I have Focal Twin6’s and I really like them. I do not think they can be effectively soffit mounted. I was thinking of selling these and getting the Focal Solo6’s, which, I understand are very similar in their performance and can be soffit mounted. I guess my question is, and think I know the answer (yes): is it worth doing the speaker switch just to have a soffit mount setup? I had a set of Genelecs soffit mounted in my very first studio (lost to a flood in 2011 :( ), and it was, I admit amazing. Because I want to finish sometime this decade, for now, can I can do the Soffit mount framing based on the Solo6’s, and, if I decide not to make the switch, just fill them with appropriate insulation and save them for later?

#2 recommendation: minimize your desk. Right now, you are showing a large desk very close to the front wall. Large desks have a significant negative effect on room acoustics. Make it as small, as low profile, and as "acoustically transparent" as you possibly can. This thread might help you a bit with that: The Soundman M1 studio desk.


I have an Argosy Dual 15, it is 94’ wide, 50” deep and 36” high. Is your design much smaller? I like the openings in the sides, etc., but am curious as to how much smaller it is. I have been thinking of building my own desk for years, as the factory made ones always have at least one thing I can’t stand about them.

Thanks for any and all input. One last question: should I post pictures of the build here, or start a separate thread over on the construction thread? Thanks!

Steve



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Studio Rebuild - Treatment

#9

Postby ericwisgikl » Thu, 2020-Sep-24, 00:13

Hi Steve!

sk806 wrote:Source of the post I have Focal Twin6’s and I really like them. I do not think they can be effectively soffit mounted. I was thinking of selling these and getting the Focal Solo6’s, which, I understand are very similar in their performance and can be soffit mounted.


I like Focal monitors very much too, but I don't see why Twin6's could not be effectively flush mounted. In fact, I think they perfectly could be.

Also, I like Twin6's more than Solo6's. They sound like from the same family, but not the same at all. The Solo6's have a boomier low end, and doesn't that reach deep into low cut.

Cheers,

Eric



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#10

Postby sk806 » Thu, 2020-Sep-24, 08:26

Hmmm. Interesting. I will look further into this. It would be great not to have to switch from monitors I really like.

Thanks.

Steve



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#11

Postby lostandfound » Fri, 2020-Sep-25, 17:41

Hi Steve and Eric,
we are currently implementing a new control room with Stuart support.

The system will be 5.1 (maybe 2) .. with LR Focal Twin 6Be and Center, RL and RR Focal Solo 6Be. I had previously asked Focal about the use of this system and they have assured me that the system thus organized (including one or two SUBs) is correctly implemented.
About the "soffit" mounting they sent me a diagram that I am attaching.
I add that the Focal Twin 6 Be can be mounted vertically having the foresight to keep the tweeters facing outwards.
I hope I was useful, a warm greeting to all of you.

Lucio
Attachments
Focal-soffit mounting.pdf
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Focal-soffit mounting.pdf
(110.12 KiB) Downloaded 136 times



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#12

Postby sk806 » Fri, 2020-Sep-25, 19:45

Wow! Thanks so much! I will definitely check it out. I love these monitors, and also want to go soffit. This is perfect!

Thanks again.

Steve



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#13

Postby Soundman2020 » Sun, 2020-Sep-27, 14:51

Ok. I have been struggling with this decision for a while now. See, I have Focal Twin6’s and I really like them. I do not think they can be effectively soffit mounted.
I agree with Eric and Lucio! There's no reason why the Focal Twins can't be soffit mounted.... which we are doing in Lucio's room, actually!

Even the Trios can be soffit mounted...
FRKCA-US-Focal-Trios-Soffit-Mounted.jpg
And then perform fantastically... Frequency response
FRKCA-US-REW-FR-12..22k--1..12--FINAL.png
Take a close look at the scale on that graph: Yes, it really does show flat response from 12 Hz to 22 kHz, within +/-3.4 dB (which would be +/- 2 dB if it wasn't for that darned 1.5 dB dip at 900 Hz, which you can't even hear!)

Low-end and mid-low waterfall plot (12 Hz to 500 Hz):
FRKCA-US-REW-WF-12..500--1..12.png

But I have to admit, I cheated a bit with that graph: it is smoothed to 1/12th octave. So, in the interest of "full disclosure", here is the unsmoothed version (1/48 octave):
FRKCA-US-REW--WF--12..500--1..48.png
.
However, real room specs call for only very low res 1/3 octave smoothing, so let's look at that too:
FRKCA-US-REW--WF-12..500--1..3.png

Ahh, what the hell: Might as well go the whole nine yards, and show the FULL SPECTRUM waterfall plot (12 Hz to 22 kHz), smoothed to 1/3 octave:
FRKCA-US-REW--WF-12..20k--1..3.png
(Actually, that's not really "full spectrum", but rather "even more than full spectrum". Normal human hearing is typically listed at 20 Hz to 20 Khz, so a range from 12 Hz to 22 kHz is extending down almost an entire octave below the bottom of the human hearing spectrum, as well as pushing up 2,000 Hz above the top end. And yes, there really are subs that get down to 12 Hz without breaking the bank, and tweeters that don't freak out above 10 kHz, like some cheap ones do.)

All of that in a rather small control room (13.4 square meters, 144 square feet), that also happens to be square! :shock: :!: 12' 7" wide, 12' 7" long.

And all of that from a pair of soffit-mounted Focal Trios, together with a sub... and a few tricks :)

So, I'd say that yes, Focals can perform well when properly flush mounted, and when the room is properly treated. OK, so those are Trios, not Twins, but Twins should be able to get similar results. One word of caution: the above results were achieved after months of tweaking the acoustic treatment of the room, and weeks of very careful digital tuning, including the addition of a sub, with very careful positioning and orientation of the sub. It's not something you can get to over-night, or on the first try! It might not even be possible to achieve such flat results in other rooms and with other speakers or on a very tight budget (as they say in car commercials: "Your millage may vary"), but you should still be able to get very good results with careful design, careful construction, careful room tuning, and careful digital tuning. And a lot of patience! Note the name of that graph: the "T150" part means that this was test number 150. Figure that each test takes a couple of hours to analyze and plan the next step, then maybe a few hours to a day (or more in some cases) to actually implement that step, and you can see that this result does not happen fast...

I guess my question is, and think I know the answer (yes): is it worth doing the speaker switch just to have a soffit mount setup?
You can soffit-mount pretty much any decent speaker, with few exceptions. The only ones that really cannot be soffit mounted, are those that have drivers on the side, top, or bottom, or have very weird shapes that would be complicated to support inside the soffit. Apart from that, the vast majority of speakers are fair game for soffit-mounting. (Dipoles, electrostatics, and other exotic things, are probably also not good candidates...)

I had a set of Genelecs soffit mounted in my very first studio (lost to a flood in 2011 :( ), and it was, I admit amazing.
Wow! That's sad about the flood part! That must have been terrible!

But yes, I have no doubt that Genelecs in soffits do sound amazing: I say this a lot, but it is true: soffit-mounting is probably the single best thing you can do for any speaker, in any room, with very few exceptions.

I have an Argosy Dual 15, it is 94’ wide, 50” deep and 36” high. Is your design much smaller? I like the openings in the sides, etc., but am curious as to how much smaller it is. I have been thinking of building my own desk for years, as the factory made ones always have at least one thing I can’t stand about them.
That's the neat thing about that design: it can be re-sized fairly easily to fit most rooms and most consoles. The design itself is somewhat "modular", and the desk surface dimensions can be modified: You could spread the "leg" modules further apart, or bring them closer together, and also extend or shrink the work surface, to accommodate most typical consoles and setups found in contemporary project studios / home studios / pro studios.

One last question: should I post pictures of the build here, or start a separate thread over on the construction thread? Thanks!
You can do both! :) Please go ahead and start a thread over in "Construction", with photos of progress so far, and with a link back to this thread. Then also link from this one, over to there, to keep it all tied together, for future reference.


- Stuart -



sk806
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Studio Rebuild - Treatment

#14

Postby sk806 » Mon, 2020-Sep-28, 13:12

Thanks, Stuart. Those responses look amazing! I look forward to the challenge of getting the Twin6's to achieve something hopefully similar in my control room.

I will post the construction pics in the other forum and link back here. I had a VERy large amount of demo debris and other materials removed this weekend, so hopefully I can get some shots that show the space and what I've done so far to good effect.

I sent you a PM about the desk and other issues. I look forward to hearing from you.


Best,

Steve



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#15

Postby Soundman2020 » Mon, 2020-Sep-28, 13:42

sk806 wrote:Source of the post I sent you a PM about the desk and other issues. I look forward to hearing from you.
I just replied to your PM: Let's get the ball rolling! :) :thu:


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