Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

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Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Rokas108 »

I am not sure where to ask this question so I will pop it down here for now.

I just received some amazing news and got a place for free which I could use as a music studio. The area is basically out in the woods and is underground. It is built out of thick walls so sound basically doesn't come through at all. The area is also quite large. About 8.5 meters in length, 5.7 meters wide and 2.5 meters tall. So If I am correct this leaves me with some nice options.

However this is where the dilemma starts. I am not sure what studio room layout I should choose. Should I go and have a single control room or should I make a live room aswell. What room Isolation approach I should use given my location etc.

I was wondering to call an Acoustic service to maybe help me with my room planing, but I saw many people doing it on their own reaching good results. I am also a bit trained on treating Acoustic problems since I have had Acoustic lessons during my university years. So this might be something I could do on my own? If so are there any good reads which could put me on the right track? If you have any thoughts or ideas let me know, they are very welcomed :thumbup:

Here are some pics of the location to give you a better of my room situation:
Image
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by James Perrett »

One big question is what sort of recording are you doing? Are you recording bands or is this going to be a personal space filled with keyboards (or something else)? How do you like to work?
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Rokas108 »

I usually record bands, till this moment I just had a small room where I recorded separate band members one at a time which is what I usually do. I recorded with head phones on and without the monitors being on because of mic bleed in the same room. As for drums I always use a vst or record them somewhere else with enough space, I hope with this new space I will be able to do live drums here. As for style I mainly do folk, acoustic and rock music. Not so much on Keyboards and such. I guess what I would like to have ideally is a Control room and a separate Live room basically have one space fit for mixing and the other one fit for recording.I usually record one instrument at a time so I am not expecting that I will be able to record a whole band all at once but if there is a nice compromise in having a nice control/recording hybrid room I am willing to give it a go. I am just not sure what would be a better all rounder solution.
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Uncle Freddie »

I have nothing to add regarding acoustics and design, but I did want to say this: you should test the space for radon, which could be accumulating since it is underground. I don't know if this is even an issue in the UK, but here in the States it gets a lot of attention.

You can call a professional to do the testing, or buy a test detection kit from Amazon. Lastly, for ongoing level observation, I keep a battery powered radon detector with a digital readout that just stays in my basement.

Best regards,
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Rokas108 »

Wow I have never thought about Radon before, Its thee first time I hear it can be an issue actually. Will need to read up on that, thanks for heads up
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Now if this was my space, I wouldn't separate it up - but that's because I'd be mostly recording me and/or my band so would want everything to hand.

But if you're mostly recording other people it might be worth thinking about a control room.
Either way, I'd recommend getting a copy of this book* https://www.amazon.co.uk/Home-Recording ... 143545717X and sitting down with a few nice cups of tea and doing your homework before doing anything else.
On the positive side, we're talking about treatment not proofing, which is much easier, but even so, it's good to know what you're doing.

* Originally recommended by Hugh, thanks again! :thumbup:
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Rokas108 »

Thanks Drew, as always your advice is great :) I am still thinking about about a hybrid ( One Room ) set up as well since I do record my self two, The only thing that does bother me is how to find a balance for recording and a mixing spot if you have a one room setup. I know that it is possible to both have a live end for recording and a dead end for mixing in a room. So at least at the moment I am leaning more towards that, I guess I will have to spend a fair bit penny on treatment tho :D
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Drew Stephenson »

A single-room space will be much cheaper to do. Yes you'll need a lot of treatment, but you'd need that with a two-room space too and you'd need to do a lot of work to create and effectively isolated control room.
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Rokas108 »

Also its a bigger room so standing waves are going to be a little less of an issue :)
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Sam Spoons »

What a fantastic space :clap:

My take is that if you are mostly recording paying clients having a separate control room may look more 'professional' but it seems a shame to break up such a great room. If you do, pay attention to where the partitions go to avoid the new room dimensions being equal to or multiples of another i.e. if you split the 8.5m length into 5m and 3.5 the bigger room will have a floor to ceiling dimension half that of it's new width resulting in exaggerated standing waves.

But if it was mine and I was recording mates bands and my own I would keep the large single space (which avoids the multiples issue) and go for a live end/dead end setup.
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Martin Walker »

Sam Spoons wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 2:10 pm What a fantastic space :clap:

But if it was mine and I was recording mates bands and my own I would keep the large single space (which avoids the multiples issue) and go for a live end/dead end setup.

I totally agree - you are a lucky man Rokas108 8-)

I too would try to keep this a single large space, but you don't necessarily have to design in separate live and dead ends - it would remain more versatile if you use moveable gobos, so you can alter the acoustics as and when you need.

My only concern with a single space would be getting enough separation while monitoring (using headphones obviously) during performances.

EDIT: on looking at your photos again, one possible alternative occurs, and that is to build a tiny control room with a triple-glazed window between those two brick columns.
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Martin Walker wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 9:10 pm EDIT: on looking at your photos again, one possible alternative occurs, and that is to build a tiny control room with a triple-glazed window between those two brick columns.

I'm not sure a tiny control room would add a lot of value really. You'd end up having to listen on headphones or move into the main room for critical listening anyway.
You also have to start thinking about air-replacement quite quickly with very small rooms.
I reckon...
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Martin Walker »

Yep, you're probably right Drew - I just saw those two pillars and the smallish space behind them, and could visualise that area cordoned off.
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by James Perrett »

Martin Walker wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 9:10 pm EDIT: on looking at your photos again, one possible alternative occurs, and that is to build a tiny control room with a triple-glazed window between those two brick columns.

Rather than build a tiny control room, how about a small booth for those times when you need to do a separate critical overdub or you want to be able to crank an amp up painfully loud. My last two studios have had booths that have been just about large enough for a drumkit or for two people to play in and I've found it really useful.
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Rokas108 »

Thank you for all your responses guys, I really appreciate it. I came to conclusion that I will keep this as a single room after reading your comments. I forgot to mention that there is another small room next to this one which is just behind the second pillar in the first photo. It is just big enough for a medium size vocal or amp room. So adding a small both like James mentioned seems like a nice idea :)

The Idea of having a speaker arrangement in between those pillar sound like a nice idea. I think it would be easier to make it a dead space using the pillar structures as well while keeping the usable space of the room somewhat symmetrical. My only concern is the wall opposite the pillars. While it is the same thick wall it is covered with wood planks about 1-2 cm thick. There is a gap between the wall and the planks, it is only about 2 cm deep and 40 cm wide between each frame which holds the planks, but I am a thinking will the planks start to act sort of as a membrane oscillating sound? I still have the ability to fill those gaps up with something if need be.
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Re: Building a Control/Live room, Where should I start?

Post by Drew Stephenson »

They could cause resonance problems, easy enough to drill a series of small holes and fill with expanding foam then paint over the holes.
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