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Discussion Starter #1
This is the construction of my studio, which started in late 2008...

We started with a 6 acre lot on a wooded hillside...

The big hole: In this pic, the land slopes downhill to the left. This was all carved out flat, since the basement is to be a walkout.


Rough Plumbing:


Concrete Slab: The commercial concrete crew installed post tension strands such as used in bridge construction.


Basement & Crawlspace Walls: As the basement walls were erected on the slab, the crawlspace under the front side of the building is defined and those walls erected.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Once framing began, they started on the walk-out basement walls, then started on the walls on the upper level - what they could get to (the garage walls). Those can be seen in the background of the first pic. In the second pic, I sat on this wall to get the next shot...

Basement Framing: This is where the studio's break room, kitchen, and office area will be. There will also be a couple of small booths installed in this section (near the foreman, standing with hands on hips, of course!). But most of this will be the "busy" area. Behind the foreman will be the major tracking rooms.


Drum Room Framing: Note the double framed walls around the octagon drum room. This is to keep the sound inside the building. The outer framing is 2X6; inner frames are 2X4. Gap is 12 inches between inner and outer wall surfaces. Not visible is the safe room; I call it "the vault". It is under the bare slab in the pic. The room is completely surrounded by poured concrete walls (and mostly underground). It is also covered by a poured concrete ceiling. All walls & ceiling contain 1/2" reebar, criss-crossing every 12 inches. A 200 pound steel door is installed with 3 locks. "Safe" from everyone but a direct military strike! The room also contains a bathroom w/ a shower, and will have a bed, tv, & communications set-up. This is, of course, all for my beautiful wife's approval. The REAL reason for this room is to track bass guitar! :whistling: They can crank that bass amp to any level they choose. (Will also double nicely as a Marshall stack room, as well.)
 

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Hi Eric!
All this is oh so cool!!! Did someone help you in the project stage? I would like to see the planimetry, if you have it (and want to share it, that is :) ). I'm always curious about how are the spaces are put together, for funcionality and comfort.

Cheers,
Marco
 

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Thanks, Marco.

The help I had, I have to give the credit accordingly:

1. Purdue University - Mechanical Engineering classes in acoustics
2. Alton F. Everest, author of the book "Master Handbook of Acoustics"
3. Cyril M. Harris, author of "Noise Control in Buildings"

Most of this is due to some formal, and mostly self - education. That, and a lot of planning and research before the construction. I also found some highly recommended framers willing to do things out of the ordinary. I made myself architect, general contractor, and "errand boy" for any construction contractor who needed anything out of the ordinary. And there were quite a few of those things!

I also did a lot of the "weird" work that most people just don't do, myself.

I have floor plans on another computer, which is presently down. Will have to wait a while before I can get to it....
 

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Wow Eric that is going to be wonderful!!! :gulp:

I want to hear, well, everything about your project (if you're ok to share, of course!) !!!


Please, more pics!!! :dancebanana:
 

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I've got no big secrets, guys! Perfectly willing to share what I know, which may not be as much as you think!

Subfloor: Here's a shot of the subfloor near the end of its installment. Subfloor is 1 inch thick. Floor trusses are 18" from top to bottom, set 16 inches on center. It's a very hefty floor, and heft will be needed! What's NOT shown: all plumbing paths through the subfloor are cut extra large to allow for padding around tubes. This keeps plumbing lines from passing vibrations into (and through) the structure. It was done with the heated floor tubing (next shot), as well as all "normal" plumbing passageways.


Heated Floor Tubes: Here you can see how the flooring was installed... 1/2 inch R-board (styrofoam insulation, sandwiched between breathable fiber cloth sheets) laid down first. All side walls of sill plates also covered, then all seams & cracks taped with duct tape to seal concrete from dripping through to subfloor. An insulated "bowl" is created in each room to hold the concrete. A steel grid is laid on top of this. Then high temperature pex tubing is tied to the grid in 1 foot proximity throughout each room. (Each room has its own separate run to the heater in the basement, and each also has its own thermostat.)


Concrete Flooring: All is covered with concrete. Note this is not gypcrete! Gypcrete is more like liquid and easier to pour in place with existing walls. Since this is new construction, with walls out of the way, I had the luxury of pouring regular concrete. Gypcrete has a tensile strength of 500 psi. This concrete is rated at 3000 psi - much better protection for those tubes from heavy piano legs, etc.
 

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Upstairs Framing Begins: The upstairs walls start going up.


Rear Shot of Framing: The same day, shot from the backyard - the walkout, where the studio office space faces.


Roof Trusses:
 

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I will be certain to include a table arrangement for tea, to meet your approval! I want to be sure to rate highly w/ you, Sir Jonathan! :R
Well, you never know who might pop round when there's a brew on......



The location looks lovely..6 acres ye say? Any other buildings on the property?
 

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****! :D Wouldn't that be cool?! Actually, I'm hoping our studio is graced by Joe Perry of Aerosmith some time soon! My engineer buddy is working as his guitar tech right now! In fact, what a dream come true if they ALL decided to stop in?!

> Any other buildings on the property?

No, sir. There are surrounding lots around the same size, each has a house on it - this is a wooded neighborhood. I'm actually getting away with this by building a "House" with a "private studio" built into it. So I must admit now, it's not ALL studio. We're going to be living there. But my wife is a musician and she's the studio manager. We won't be advertising as in the last studio, which should cut down the traffic. This spot is at the end of a 4 mile dead end road, 8 miles from town. Perfect, really.

The entire building encloses about 4000 sq ft + 3-1/2 car garage. 2430 sq ft of the upstairs is living space. The remaining 370 sq ft - of the upstairs (octagon) - is the control room, which will actually double as an acoustic tracking room - I'll be keeping the piano in there, as well as track strings, acoustic guitar, etc.

The trend in a lot of areas seems to be going toward a multiple purpose control room, as long as you can make it a quiet room. This is because the room should be a decently sized, which works well for tracking, as well. Furthermore, I don't practice a lot of what Nashville does... I use studio musicians whenever I can- they save me time, and the clients money. However, some of the bands insist on playing the songs themselves, whether I re-arrange the music or not. I allow for this, as long as they understand the possible consequences (more time, more expense). Therefore, I set up the "band leaders" in the control room during tracking - their guitars somewhere else - so they can hear how the music is tracking. In other words, I allow them to have a hand in producing their own work. I really don't like taking the music away from the artists strictly for the sake of "commercial compatibility".

So the downstairs is for the louder instruments and is sealed from the control room by 25 inches of hardwood, concrete, styrafoam, fiberbard, cellulose insulation, and 2 layers of drywall. Instead of big windows for communication, we'll be using large, flat screen monitoring, split between musicians in their perspective rooms. This also doubles as a good security system.

This also gives me the nice option of mixing the projects in the upstairs living space when the band and office workers are long gone, enjoying the deck and wilderness, without having to leave my living space: The control room comes right off the living room / dining / kitchen, which is one large area.... By the way, with the possibility of tracking orchestral music, this "big room" with a 20 ft tall (vaulted ceiling) rock wall is right outside my control room door. Although it functions primarily as our living area, I call the the "Hall". More pictures will reveal what I'm talking about....
 

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Hi Eric, Thats going to be an amazing setup! The location of your place will be well suited to recording as I would imagine that its very quiet. Do you have a backup generator? given the somewhat remote location power disruptions would be something to be a little more frequent.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hey, Tony, excellent question. That, in fact, was one of our biggest fears during the discussion over the property. We do lose power lines out here due to snow, ice, and electrical storms.

In fact, we do have a 23KW natural gas, water cooled generator. It has all the automatic start-up connections for the moment power is lost, starting up within about 5 -10 seconds, then switching into the grid in about 30 secs. It's set up to run the whole building, but it has a "smart" relay which drops certain circuits should the load become too large. Heating and the kitchen are circuits 1 and 2. Of course, all the circuits of the studio are the next in line in importance and should never get dropped! There are 16 "primaries" that stay connected. All secondaries are pushed out to the auxiliary line that can be done without, if need be.

I have toroidal isolation transformers connected in-line between the power (commercial or generator) and all circuits in the control and tracking rooms, lights not included. (All lighting wired separately.)

The 30 sec power glitch will be covered by battery back-up. I haven't bought that equipment yet, but I'll be getting just enough battery to fill a 90 second worst case gap under a full load.

The generator is on a concrete pad, sitting on a vibration absorber pad, and covered by a brick shed, fully insulated. Ventilation has proven tricky - at this point, I still have to leave the door open when the thing runs or it overheats. Planning to run the engine coolant lines through the wall to the outside and build a stand to mount the radiator and fans on. This way, I can shut that door and run the thing while recording and never know our power lines went down.

..... at least :whistling: that's the idea!

It's relatively quiet with the door closed, but relatively loud with the door open, despite the claims that this is a very "quiet" generator. I'm very glad to built a shed around it. Just have to do some tweaking to get sufficient ventilation - the 6 computer fans blowing air through the shed through quiet box filters just doesn't provide enough air yet. The shed's interior quickly heats up to about 120-130 degrees F, at which the thing shuts itself off. :foottap:
.... which is good, if you don't want to start a fire!

The exhaust, of course, goes straight outside via insulated exhaust pipe.
 

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Eric, You really thought this through. Congrats!
I agree with you about the generator noise and heat we have an 8 cylinder natural gas Generator here at work that I have to test run once a month and its gets HOT quickly if the ventilation dampers dont open properly, In the summer I usually fix them wide open and dont allow the damper motors to close them.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Please have patience through this. A lot of this construction is not necessarily audio - specific. But the building is certainly designed around the fact that it is to be acoustically sound. Most of the materials during the basic construction are no different than most modern houses...

Fleshing out the Structure: From the rear, the full height of the building stands out.


Siding: The skin goes on.


Deck:


Deck and Siding Complete:


Main Hall: Now we get to the interior. The rock wall acts as a natural diffuser, albeit not nearly as efficient as a well designed diffuser. Aesthetically, however, rock walls are hard to beat. And the room is large enough that it "doesn't hurt" the room to have one solid rock wall.


Note the steel beam holding the rocks up. There is another such beam across the left side just under the floor. All are supported by vertical steel columns which are in turn, shunted to the concrete basement walls and footings. The wall weighs about 4 tons, and acts as a great sound deterrent (for nominal loudness levels). (By itself, a rock wall is by no means a sufficient soundproof wall. See Perspectives in Control for Multiple Frequency Regions for proper control methods.)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
There is about a 50 ft length of space downstairs for the studio office area, the width varies roughly from 15 ft to 30 ft in different sections. The ceiling above (18 inches deep) contained the oversized pex water lines and was filled with blow-in insulation. The walls were fitted with 6 inch fiberglas batts. In the picture, the area to the left is to become the lounge, and behind us will be offices for administration and graphics artists. The water heater is to be contained in a room and a very small kitchenette created close by.
Office Area:


Upstairs Drywall Begins:


Main Hall: The ceiling here is about 20 feet.


Control Room: This room is shaped a lot like an oversized gazebo; ceiling is about 18 ft.
 
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