The months of research, problem-solving, and back-breaking groundwork eventually paid off and there’s finally a fully-built, and rather lovely studio build! I definitely wouldn’t want to do it all over again any time soon, but it was worth all the blood, sweat, stress, and occasional despair.
As soon as the final-fix crew had packed up, I began the arduous task of transferring-in all the furniture, instruments, and gear. I’d just completed a large production and was therefore able to prioritise the teaching/recording area in order to ensure continuity of service to all my students. As soon as that was all in and functioning, I then cracked-on with the studio end. Luckily, despite it being the middle of November, I had a rare window of dry weather which I was immensely grateful for.
The building itself features graphite-coloured fascias, hardware, UPVC doors/windows, and composite decking. Coupled with the beautiful cedar cladding it’s really quite striking.
It’s a fantastic space, and already proving to be a joy to work in. Having worked and studied in some pretty grim places in years past, it’s a healthy reminder of just how great an impact the aesthetics and feel of a building or space can have.
I was concerned that my rather utilitarian choice of all white walls/ceiling and light-grey laminate flooring may appear a little clinical and enclosed. The need to prioritise acoustics over anything else meant that the only way light could enter was through the double UPVC door and adjoining full-length window immediately to the side (all of which feature 6mm laminated acoustic double glazing). And then there’d be all the black acoustic panels which certainly have the monopoly on wall space; I feared it’d be dark and gloomy despite all the planned interior lighting. My concerns have since been laid to rest however, as inside, it feels even larger than it appears from the outside, and in no way imposing; simply private, secluded, and spacious. It’s a regular tardis.
Speaking of acoustics, I was concerned at how well I’d be able to temper the incredibly bright, ringing reverberation that I’d been presented with whilst clicking my fingers in the empty space. Make that VERY concerned. Neigh, VERY VERY concerned. The addition of the furniture made an expected and welcome difference however, and it was already becoming almost bearable for general conversation (almost). I began installing two broadband acoustic panels at the teaching end, and that tempered the upper mid-range a little. The bulk of the acoustic panels were of course to be at the first-reflection points at the studio-end however. I symmetrically installed two corner bass-traps, four scattered bass-trap tubes, six broadband panels, and then added four rigid membrane panels on stand-offs to temper just the higher-frequencies. Result? Absolute transformation:
All I had to hand to capture the original acoustics was my phone, and so I used the same device to record the post-treatment audio. The phone was held at a 1m distance from source in both recordings, and I’m standing in roughly the same position in the room. Bare in mind that the ‘before’ audio was captured with an entirely empty room, so we’re also hearing the not-inconsiderable affect that furniture and general ‘stuff’ have on a room’s acoustics.
This was all done by ear, and I’m looking forward to analyzing the room properly, but my ears tell me I’m very close. There’s still plenty of liveliness, though I am curious what a little diffusion on the rear wall could offer. As I expected, I’ll need to get some treatment on the ceiling at the first-reflection point. The same goes at the rear-end just to compensate for the hard surfaces and openness of the teaching/recording area. The sloping ceiling does appear to have a positive bearing on the low end however, but I’ll reserve real judgement until I can properly blast some white noise in there and see some waterfall graphs of what’s really going on.
I managed to capture the entire build process from foundation installation to completion in the form of a time-lapse video which you can see below. Here’s to the studio being filled to the brim with sound, noise, music, and laughter for many years to come.