Senior Thesis: Recording Studio Design

Here is a video walkthrough of the studio I designed.  The 3D model was designed in Google Sketchup and walkthrough was made using Screenflow and Final Cut Pro.

If you would rather look at pictures than watch the video, here you go…

Project Overview:

This was my college senior thesis project.  I decided to play the role of an acoustician and design a recording studio that was both practical and functional.  I started by doing extensive research into studio design and architectural acoustics.  Industry professionals were consulted about tips and things to consider.  I then began to draw up floor plans until I had one that pleased me.  I drafted the plan in AutoCAD and began to tweak it into many different versions, until the final one emerged.

A material spec sheet was made outlining all my building materials.  From there an RT60 was calculated at three frequencies for both the live and control rooms.  Further tweaks to the design and materials were made based on the results.  After a good RT60 was calculated I then calculated the axial, tangential, and oblique room modes.  The final step was to design and select room treatments to correct any issues with standing waves, bass resonance, and high reverberance.

The Floorplan:

Below is an image of the final floor plan

Final Floor-plan

The layout of the studio is based on much research in studio design and floor-plans.  I wanted to make a moderate sized project studio.  The live room, iso-booth, and control room are all rectangular because that shape makes predicting the sound behavior easier.  It is less difficult to calculate the room modes and RT60.  Since this studio is not being built anytime soon, I needed a design that I could predict and show more data for.  The main three rooms are floating on rubber decouplers and are separated by 2ft.  These rooms do not share floors or ventilation.  The 2ft spacing is so that someone can get in between to fix cabling.  The studio is designed with a room within a room system.  As shown from the floor-plan, there is one bug warehouse space and the smaller studio rooms are built within that larger space.  This is to further isolate the studio rooms from outside interference.

Building Materials:

Click the link below for the building materials and room treatments list

Material List

I chose to use engineered drywall for its higher STC rating.  There will be mass loaded vinyl sandwiched in between two pieces of drywall for further isolation.  The studs of the wall will be staggered off from each other so the two sides of the wall do not physically touch each other.  This is to eliminate sound resonating through the wood wall frame.

Instead of using a large fancy acoustic door for the entrances to the control and live rooms, I chose to use two standard heavy wood doors with rubber door seals.  In my discussions with industry professionals, I was told that using two standard doors with seals is cheaper and more effective than a special acoustic door.  This is in part due to the two doors creating a sound lock in between them.

RT60 and Room Modes:

Click the links for my RT60 and Room Mode data sheets

Control Room RT60

Live Room RT60

Room Modes

The RT60 shows that there is some low frequency build up.  This is to be expected with a rectangular room.  The room modes further confirm the low frequency issues.  This tells me that some sort of bass trapping will be necessary.

Room Treatments:

It is hard to figure out exact locations for room treatments before the room is built.  It is easier to wait till the room is built, then do testing and figure out what room treatments are best.  For the sake of this project, I decided to guesstimate where room treatments would be placed based on my knowledge of studios and the data collected.  Details of what treatments I chose are in the materials list posted above.

My choices for treatments were based on the frequency ranges they effect as well as their appearance.  Absorption is placed at early reflection points to isolate the listening position from any phase effects.  Ceiling clouds are placed in the control room and live room to help tame any vertical modes and standing waves.  Diffusion is used to breakup sound waves and scatter them around the room.  I decided to use wood and bamboo diffusors because they will add a rich quality to the rooms.

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