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"I'm constructing a home recording studio - do you have any recommendations?"

A Record-Producer.com visitor who is building a home recording studio asks for advice about construction, soundproofing and ventilation.

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Hello David,

I am currently in the process of remodeling my home and will be incorporating a very small home recording studio. The dimensions are 8' x 12' x 6'6" ceiling height. The floor will be concrete and the walls are 8" thick.

Are there any recommendations you may have while I'm still in the construction phase of the project. Any advice you have for this small home studio would be greatly appreciated.

I've only just found your website, but what I've seen so far is very cool.

Thanks again,
Greg Noriega
San Diego, California


Greg,

The first thing I notice here is that the ceiling height is very low. Anyone who is 6' tall might think they will fit comfortably within a 6' 6" ceiling height, but in reality they will feel as though they are about to bump their head at any moment.

And anyone playing a guitar standing up with a strap will be forever bumping the headstock on the ceiling when they put it on or take it off.

Worse than that, you will have to apply acoustic treatment to the ceiling rather than leave it as a hard reflective surface.

You need this to be as thin as possible, so a combination of a high density mineral wool layer covered by a think rubbery membrane will be a good compromise.

You might also be able to get away with just covering the main problem area, which is the part of the ceiling above the space between where you sit to mix and the monitors. This will cause a nasty reflection if left untreated.

Also, you need to think about cable paths. Obviously you need to get electricity in, and you might have other requirements for cabling. Use a duct or conduit that is about twice as wide as you need (you'll always want to add something later) and 'pug' it (no 'l'!) with tightly compressed mineral wool. If you don't do this, it will leak sound.

Now the big one - ventilation...

This is a bigger topic than I can deal with here. Basically you need to make sure you can get enough fresh air, which depends on the number of people that will occupy the space.

Then you need to use a quiet fan (an axial rather than a radial fan) and lag the ducts with mineral wool on the exit, and proprietary non-dusty absorbent tiles on the intake. Include a large absorbent-surfaced plenum between the room and the fan to slow down the air flow and give noise from the fan a chance to be absorbed.

You may want to add air conditioning too to keep the room cool. Note that air conditioning does not necessarily provide ventilation.

Is that enough to think about for now?

David Mellor

By David Mellor Saturday July 16, 2005
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