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My daughter's bedroom ... turned into a small home recording studio. Building the Definite Home Studio (Episode 1: Preparation)

So there's how it all started.

My daughter is a student in Italy for a couple of years now. I decided to sacrifice one of her (two) rooms and turn it into a small recording studio. 

Quoting my favorite cartoon character, Dexter: "it was such a wonderful day for science..."

The bedroom had to be divided into a recording booth (for recording acoustic / electric guitar and voice) and mixing room, with appropriate sound insulation and absorbtion. Existing furniture and equipment made the task even more difficult. The space was so tiny that every centimeter counted.

First came the measurements. A couple of weeks were lost for reading a pile of books on acoustics and studio design. I changed several concepts before the final project drawings were ready.... Some words of wisdom and valuable advises came from our local musicians' forum. Some confusion as well... but the snowball had started rolling and there was no stop ahead :)

Final concept (which as will be seen was not followed strictly): reflecting front wall (actually a window), RFZ (reflection free zones) in ceiling and side walls, basstraps wherever possible.

The house I am living in is of massive construction, brick external walls with 10cm. mineral wool insulation. On top of the room is my second floor. Underneath is a neighbour, but the floor construction includes >60cm. of different mineral wools, some part of the room's floating floor, another under the slab and yet another part in his falce ceiling. I know, I am an insulation freak and I have been dealing for years with mineral wools and acoustics, worth to mention it ...

Project start: 06.11.2014

Here's how the room looked like in the beginning:

Autocad drawing of the existing room .

See for yourself that every centimeter (or inch) counts...





Final design, plan and cross sections:           

Recording booth on the right. Mixing desk on the left. "Room-in-the-room" concept.

Green panels are bass traps... eventually some were made, some not due to lack of space.











... and some Sketchup 3D concepts:

Recap after first project phase:

- a small room will always be a small room. It has neither the shape, nor the space to make a really good and balanced recording (or mixing) place... so live with that and go on;

- read as much as you can. I would sincerelly recommend two books in particular: Recording Studio Design (by Philip Newell) and Home Recording Studio (by Rod Gervais). Also go to John Sayers Recording Forum and read, read, read...

- get the REW measuring software. It's nice, tidy and FREE... buy a budget measuring mic, a Behringer ECM8000 will do. Have at hand a dB meter. They are relatively cheap and can be sourced from Ebay or elsewhere.

- THINK and DO YOUR MATH before you start. This will save you time, money and angry shouting.

- last but not least, do not underestimate the power of the Dark Side :) It will not go fully as expected. And you will loose more time and money than planned, and you will shout angrily every now and then, That's cool and normal :)

--- END OF EPISODE 1 ---