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Author Topic: Could this still be decent?  (Read 5316 times)

Bert Van Daele

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Could this still be decent?
« on: December 23, 2009, 08:51:51 am »

Hi,

I used to frequent this site a lot more formerly, went away for a while and now came back to see that the amount of information is just unbelievably valuable. Thumbs up for all those knowledgable, professional people helping amateur people like me.

Now, as I am currently in my own little studio-build project, I thought to give it a shot and see what you guys think of want I came up here, and maybe how I could improve upon it.

I have this small building in my backyard I want to use as my own private working space. I plan to do mainly pre-production work, piano practicing, and maybe some mixing work too. I have this crazy idea that I would like to prepare the room for 5.1 surround, as I am a kind of surround fan. I should maybe aDd that I have a main job as acoustical engineer developing surround sound systems and algorithms. So I do have a pretty good background in acoustics, though I find that my knowledge of room acoustics (and the practical solutions related to it) is still rather underdeveloped to be confident about what I 'brewed'.

Anyway, back to the project. The space I can use has a surface of 6m by 4.6m, so not really big. My original plan was to have two separate rooms (a main room for mixing and pre-production) and a small recording booth for small overdubs. The plan I had then looked like in the attached picture. Not all acoustical treatment I had in mind is shown, but I believe this would have been a nice solution.

I'll continue in a next part, as I would like to attach a second picture showing the current plan...

Grtz,
Bert
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Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2009, 09:01:04 am »

So. At a certain moment I get this magnificent opportunity to get a nice baby grand for very little money, an opportunity I could not miss as a semi-pro piano-player. But this meant I had to change things to be able to fit the piano in my studio too.

So, after a lot of contemplating, I decided to ditch the idea of the separate recording booth and create one big room. But I still want a decent mixing space and nice acoustics as well. So then I came up with the attached plan.

The abvious problem I see is surely the lack of perfect symmetry. What I had in mind as a solution was to build gobo's that could be placed in position when mixing, or even recording a vocal... But still, not ideal for LF, I guess.

I'm a bit stuck, and also eager to continue my build. Well, I guess I can at least go ahead building the L-shaped room itself, I hope?  Confused

What do you guys think? "STOOOOOP" or "Maybe, If you do this and that...".

What's not in the pic: the ceiling will be slightly angled too and I already have a very silent aircon installed.
I really wanted to go for an FTB design initially. The diffusers are not in the drawing yet either.

So, shoot, I'm eager to see you responses.

Many thanks in advance.

Regards,
Bert
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Ethan Winer

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2009, 11:50:59 am »

berrevd wrote on Wed, 23 December 2009 09:01

I decided to ditch the idea of the separate recording booth and create one big room.


Yes, it's always better to have one large room, rather than two rooms each too small to sound any good.

I don't understand why you don't just use all the space. Then you can setup the mix position symmetrically, which is very important. Put the speakers near a short wall firing the longer way down the room. Then put the piano behind the mix position.

--Ethan

Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2009, 02:21:45 pm »

Hi Ethan,

Thanks for your quick reply.

Ethan Winer wrote on Wed, 23 December 2009 17:50


I don't understand why you don't just use all the space. Then you can setup the mix position symmetrically, which is very important. Put the speakers near a short wall firing the longer way down the room. Then put the piano behind the mix position.


Yes, you're right, but I faced a couple of problems trying to figure out a good floorplan for that. It was not so clear in my pictures and I forgot to mention it in my messages  Embarassed , but the main hurdle is the presence of a window (1.1m x 0.8m) on one side, and two small windows (.6m x .4m) at the opposite side of the room. For the initial floorplan this was ideal, but in the new constellation this poses a lot of problems
a) to find a good spot for the center speaker and LCD-TV
b) not to loose too much space creating an FTB design (my original plan had walls with 12 degrees angles (+/- 6degrees))
c) to create symmetrical corners for the bass-traps AND use them for soffit-mounting
d) to place the surround speakers in the correct position: they just end up either in the middle of the room, or just too far from each other.

Unfortunately I don't have drawings of my attempts for such a layout anymore. Anyway, I've attached a drawing where the windows and doors are more clearly visible. You'll also notice the the 'big' window is not really in the middle of the wall...
BTW, the airco unit is hung at the ceiling just in front of the main entrance (with dimensions (incl. some ducting) W:1.2m L: 1.8m H:0.3m).

So lot's of extra difficulties. But I am still willing to consider different options you might think of. Though I would like to mention that I just started the framing of the walls yesterday (I already did the longest wall). So if serious changes are needed to the Inner Walls (as I call them, versus Acoustical Treatment) I would need to know that ASAP. Regarding the acoustical treatment, I still can do whatever would be best.

Maybe I should also ditch the idea of the soffit-mounted speakers? Or even the FTB-design?

Thanks a bunch again.

Regards,
Bert
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Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2009, 02:52:38 pm »

OK,
So I quickly put a sketch together for a possible plan with good symmetry in the listening position.

Here's the top plan.

(I'll continue in the next post.)
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Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2009, 02:57:58 pm »

And here's a 3D view showing my problem with the window and possible location for an LCD TV.

I think I put the surround speakers at 120deg, so putting them at 110deg would put them a little bit closer to the front (removing SR from the piano area), and a bit wider (so closer to the walls).

As it is here I cannot figure out a good way to create an FTB design while also soffit mounting my speakers. So, would it be a good idea to create something without the soffit mouting? What would you suggest?

Many thanks, again...

Regards,
Bert
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jimmyjazz

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2009, 10:26:50 pm »

Without analyzing the space for low frequency modal issues, I would absolutely agree that one big space is better as long as it doesn't compromise your workflow.  Sometimes, it's just not acceptable, and multiple smaller rooms, with all their flaws, make for a better business.  It's not all about acoustics.  (I wish it were!)
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Thomas Jouanjean

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2009, 05:57:51 am »

berrevd wrote on Wed, 23 December 2009 08:01


I really wanted to go for an FTB design initially. The diffusers are not in the drawing yet either.


Hey Bert,

If you want a FTB type design, then you should be speaking with my team, since we basically engineered it all... And it's far from easy to implement (especially since we're the only ones with the full data about the design process).

Since you are in Belgium, you can listen to a few of those rooms  since we have now a good amount of them there.

Contact Silvia Santaf
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Thomas Jouanjean
Northward Acoustics - Engineering and Designs
http://www.northwardacoustics.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Northward-Acoustics/1062876633 71

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bruno putzeys

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2009, 06:46:08 am »

I've still not worked out why you feel the windows are getting in the way - unless you want to use them, in which case a skylight might be the better alternative. Given the info I glean from your question I'd take the listening room (the right half portion from your second drawing), close off the 8th wall, rotate the whole thing so its long axis is along that of the room and scale it up to fit (= precisely what Ethan says).

Welcome BTW. I do recall your recommending this forum to me a long time ago and I could't quite figure out why you never turned up yourself Smile
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Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2009, 07:27:15 am »

Hey Bruno,

Nice to see you chime in too. It's been a while, eh. Maybe we should meet up some time again since I literally live only a couple of streets away from you (nearby 'het rond punt' in Rotselaar).

As for you remarks concerning the windows: yes, I really do want to use them. At work (you know where, A-building) I have to spend too much time in listening rooms without daylight and it can get depressing some times. So, when getting home and doing some work there I do want to have some view on the outside world...

But, in the meantime I have been trying some things out in Sketchup and had a look whether a setup like Ethan and you suggest would work. Attached you can find what I have at the moment.

I still see some issues, but maybe you, Thomas, Ethan, or anybode else have some ideas about them too.

1. Apart from the ceiling (above the listening position), there is no good way to add some diffusion to the back. Maybe that's not necessary at all, but still... The only area I see an available spot is in between the two small windows in the back, but I doubt that they will be very effective over there. Any thoughts?
2. I'm not sure I will have enough bass trapping in this design. Of course there will be the slanted ceiling too, but still...
3. There are some issues with the positioning of the airco-unit and its ducting (which were already installed, based on the initial plan). It's mainly a height thing where the ducts interfere with the supporting beams for the ceiling. Currently I designed my ceiling with a height of 2.7m (the total available height is 3.04m) and the ducts are a little less than .3m in diameter, so it's a nice puzzle to get everything in place. I might just get there when lowering he ceiling just a tad (45mm). I'm investigating this now.
4. The window is not exactly in the middle of the wall, but that's probabaly more a cosmetic issue than anything else. And yes, I'll have to put the center speaker smack in front of the window too, but I have seen big studios do the same thing, so this might get through the 'quality check' as is. Wink

Anyway, have a look at the sketchy plan and fire away.

And thanks again....

Oh, and have yourself a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too!

Regards,
Bert
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Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2009, 07:37:59 am »

Hi Thomas,

Thomas Jouanjean wrote on Thu, 24 December 2009 11:57


If you want a FTB type design, then you should be speaking with my team, since we basically engineered it all... And it's far from easy to implement (especially since we're the only ones with the full data about the design process).



Well, I probably should have said 'an FTB-like design' then.  Razz

Quote:


Since you are in Belgium, you can listen to a few of those rooms  since we have now a good amount of them there.



I am very interested indeed.

Quote:


Contact Silvia Santaf
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Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2009, 07:40:58 am »

OK,

Here is a picture showing the off-center position of the window and the center speaker positioned in front of the window.

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Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2009, 07:43:45 am »

Oh, and if it wasn't clear enough yet: I do intend to go for this new design. It does offer some advantages I simply cannot ignore (symmetry, more space...)
So, I will be thinking it through a lot the coming days, I guess...

Regards,
Bert
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Thomas Jouanjean

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2009, 08:05:05 am »

berrevd wrote on Thu, 24 December 2009 06:37


Just one quick question in the meantime. If you look to the plan attached to my reply to Bruno, do you think I can already go ahead building the outer walls? That would gain me quite some time already...


I think that in your case, you should design yourself a proper CR (shaped and properly implemented) in this room, but maybe try to get the RT a bit higer than usual, or better have Gobos stored somewhere else in the building that you can use to get the RT time a bit higher when recording your piano.

That would allow you to:

- Have a good CR to work in (fully symmetrical, with a good response)

- Still be able to record a piano with a good quality (a good CR should not influence the sound too much and getting a little more RT in "recording mode" will bring more life to the recording)

Of course the piano will be 'in the way' but you can survive this Smile

Right now, what I see in your plans is that the lack of symmetry in the back WILL be a problem (uneven bass trapping and energy management in the room). You should also consider more space for treatment everywhere. It will take more than you think.

What you can do now is just build the outer shell (soundproofing) to follow the existing room shape. Then work on your inner shell shape etc.
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Thomas Jouanjean
Northward Acoustics - Engineering and Designs
http://www.northwardacoustics.com
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Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2009, 09:08:01 am »

Hi Thomas,

Many thanks for the reply. I really appreciate it.

Yes, you're right, I should start with the beginning: the outer shell as you call it.

I'll try to maximize the dimensions of this soundproofing shell to the maximum, but there are some practical hurdles that don't allow me to just follow the perimeter of the inside of the building.
I'll post a picture of the back of the space as soon as possible to show the difficulties I have to make this 100% symmetrical in this area.

Kind regards,
Bert
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Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2009, 10:45:20 am »

Well, I've tried to maximize the available space as much as possible by squeezing the hall to a the minimum.

The result can be seen here:

http://home.scarlet.be/~bd085856/PSW/PlanB Top InnerWalls_v2.png

The thing is: I really, really need SOME space in the hallway since the doo is going to the outside, so it will be a place to get wet coats off and such... Plus, I will also have the electrical fuse box (or how is this correctly called in English) over there.
And last but not least, I also need to be able to access the airco units filter for cleaning from there.

So, taking these things in consideration, the plan above is what I truly believe to be using the maximum foorprint while still fullfiling the requirements described above. However, one major drawback is that I can only fit ONE door then, so no double wall isolation there. A second door would simply not open fully... So I was wondering whether this could still be a valid option???

Anyway, starting from there, I already tried to get an idea of how the acoustical treatment could look like. The intermediate result looks like this:

http://home.scarlet.be/~bd085856/PSW/PlanB Top Acoustics_v2.png

The Good: it's a lot bigger, there is more room for bass-trapping (especially in the back), it has almost perfect symmetry (the back might never get perfect due to the piano and such...).
The Bad: I still have a problem opening up the leftmost window. But maybe that doesn't need to be a problem at all.
And th elack of perfect symmertry in the back, of course.

Here's is a picture showing the speakers and piano as well:

http://home.scarlet.be/~bd085856/PSW/PlanB Top_v2.png

Anyway. I would be very glad with any input from you guys now. Am I on the right track or still far from it? What still terribly wrong, etc... Maybe let's concentrate on the Soundproofing first, since that's the one being built now...

Many thanks.

Regards,
Bert
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bruno putzeys

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2009, 12:15:23 pm »

Not to go off on a tangent but I suddenly wondered: has anyone got experience combining soffit-mounted front channels with freestanding surrounds?
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Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2009, 01:13:01 pm »

Well, I personally have experienced it at the Galaxy Studios. The API room over there has soffit mounted mains in the front and free standing surround speakers. So, if it works for Ronald Prent, it can't be bad, can it?
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bruno putzeys

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2009, 01:37:55 pm »

Been there a few times but he always had 5 identical custom KRK speakers tethered to the desk using just-long-enough cables Very Happy. But then I believe that you visited there some 2 years earlier.

The reason I was asking is because it could give you some more room. Thomas, what do you think of such a thing? Room acoustics isn't my gig (as anyone who's been to my place will attest Sad)
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Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2009, 02:20:18 pm »

Yes, he indeed has the KRKs as near-/mid-fields. But there are also the big Genelecs the room was originally designed for by Eric Desart and Prof. Vermeir.

Oh, and I was lucky enough to do more than just a visit there: I did a 6 month internship (end 2005/begin 2006). A superb time where I really learned a lot. A pity the time was not right to get a better position over there.

BUT.. to come to my room design: I have tried what this would bring but had two problems in finding a good design:
1. the wish for the central window eliminated the space for the center speaker
2. due to the angles and speaker distances in a soffit wall design, the room  became actually quite small (read: not very wide).

And on the other hand, I have this new idea that NOT doing the soffit-thing gives me more freedom for changing speakers when needed, etc...

However, if Thomas or anybody else has good ideas to do it otherwise, I am still very open to suggestions...

Many thanks indeed.

Regards,
Bert
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Thomas Jouanjean

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2009, 05:51:31 pm »

Looking at the drawings, you're in the 'right direction'. A few comments I would have is that you still under estimate the space treatment will eat up. I also think there are maybe other ways of dealing with the entrance.

The shape you give to the room makes sense only as a 'visual finish'. Maybe you can give us more info about what is behind those walls/fabric?

The common mistake I see in a lot of DIY studios is that they indeed look like shaped rooms but once you dig it's all wrong behind. So they don't work.

You can virtually give any looks to a room, what matters is what's 'behind the scene'. A lot of people would be surprised!

Give me a call tomorrow morning, we can chat a bit about your project. I'm too lazy to type a long post  Very Happy

Bruno - I have to call you too soon Smile
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Thomas Jouanjean
Northward Acoustics - Engineering and Designs
http://www.northwardacoustics.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Northward-Acoustics/1062876633 71

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Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2009, 02:40:50 am »

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for the offer. I will call you for sure...  Very Happy

But just to already give a quick answer: the drawing indeed doesn't show the 'behind-the-scene' treatment, yet. I first wanted to make sure that I had the dimensions and shape of my room right, especially the soundproofing, with the speaker setup and piano in mind.
Some more 'finetuning' will definitely be necessary...  Smile  

You may expect my call somewhere this morning to discuss this further.  Very Happy

Cheers,
Bert
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Datcha

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2010, 05:37:38 pm »

Bert,

I have a one room setup myself for some time now.
It's a CR-type room with a small grand in it,
so it is very similar to what you have in mind.

I can testify that you can get excellent results in it.
I've recorded many vocals, acoustic guitars & the piano without any problems.

Although background noise from an AC-unit, computers or HD's,
can be a bit of a challenge when recording multiple layers of acoustic sources, you can deal with that using an iso-box for example.

In fact the room has been working so well for me,
that I didn't renovate a adjacent room yet.

I should state that I do use other studio's regularly for recording more complex sessions.

Good luck with the project!

Frank Duch
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Cheers,

FD

Bert Van Daele

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Re: Could this still be decent?
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2010, 09:36:58 am »

Hi Frank,

Thanks for the support.

Yes, I now am also convinced that going to one bigger room will be a far better solution than two really small rooms.
The only thing I am still a bit struggling with is the find the best 'marriage' between building the best CR I can fit in the building, while still foreseeing all the space needed for my piano and equipment. Also, integrating the windows in the design is a pain, but I believe I am getting there.

During the holidays I have been thinking a lot about changing the room to a completely new design and turning everything 90 degrees.. I will post a picture of what I have in mind later on... Still trying out some stuff...

Thanks for the heads up!

Grtz,
Bert
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