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BRICKYARD'S
STUDIO & MUSIC SHOP

PETERSFIELD, HAMPSHIRE

How to Build a Recording Studio

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Introduction

Building a new recording studio can be an exciting and challenging undertaking. Whether you’re a musician, producer, or sound engineer, creating a space that meets your needs and expectations is essential for achieving high-quality recordings. However, designing and constructing a studio requires careful planning and execution, as there are numerous elements to consider. From acoustic treatment to electrical wiring and equipment installation, creating a suitable environment for recording can be a daunting task. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the depth required to build a recording studio, looking at some of the common challenges you might face along the way. So, whether you’re starting from scratch or revamping an existing space, come along as we explore the exciting world of building a recording studio with Brickyard Studios.

Fitting the Studio Window​

Firstly, we started with the cutting the hole for the window, which involves measuring and marking out the dimensions of the opening, before using a saw to make the cut. Once the hole has been cut, the frame is put in place, secured to the surrounding structure with screws or nails. The frame should be level and plumb to ensure the glass will fit properly. The glass is then set into the frame and held in place by glazing putty or a rubber gasket. Finally, trim or molding is added to the exterior and interior of the frame to finish the installation. It is important to take proper safety precautions when cutting and handling glass.

Soundproofing the Live Room.

To begin, a building a timber stud wall structure frame, measure and mark the wall’s position on the floor and ceiling with chalk. Cut the timber studs to size and lay them out on the floor, measuring and marking intervals for the noggins or braces that will hold the wall together. Nail the noggins in place perpendicular to the studs, making sure they are level and flush with the wall. Lift the first stud vertically into place and secure it to the floor and ceiling with brackets or screws.

Repeat this process for each stud, making sure they are spaced evenly apart and are plumb using a spirit level and string line. Once all the studs are fixed, seal up any gaps between the studs and any surrounding walls or ceiling with insulation. Finally, fix plasterboard or drywall sheets onto the frame, after which the wall can be finished with tape, joint filler and paint, or wallpaper.

Filling stud wall cavities with rockwool insulation is a common method for improving the energy efficiency of a building. Rockwool insulation is made of spun volcanic rock fibers, which provide excellent thermal insulation, soundproofing, and fire resistance. To fill the cavities, first ensure the wall cavity is clean and dry. Wearing gloves and a dust mask, insert the rock wool insulation batts into the cavity.

The batts should be slightly larger than the cavity, so they fit snugly and do not leave gaps. Use a serrated knife to cut the batt to size and ensure the rockwool insulation is fitted tightly around any obstructions, such as pipes or electrical wires, to maintain thermal performance. It’s important to handle rockwool insulation with care, as it can irritate skin and eyes. Once the cavities are filled, the wall can be sealed to prevent air leakage and improve insulation performance.

Fitting acoustic plasterboard to a stud wall is an effective way to reduce sound transmission between rooms. To improve its effectiveness, adding mass loaded vinyl on top of the plasterboard will help to further block out sound. This vinyl layer was cut to fit the wall and tacked onto the plasterboard. For additional soundproofing, another layer of 15mm acoustic plasterboard was added on top of the vinyl layer. This creates a “sandwich” effect, with the vinyl layer providing mass and the plasterboard layers providing dampening.

The extra plasterboard layer should be screwed onto the studs, with the joints offset from the previous layer to reduce sound transmission. Finally, seal all gaps with acoustic sealant to prevent sound from seeping through. Overall, fitting acoustic plasterboard, mass loaded vinyl, and an extra layer of plasterboard, combined with sealing significantly reduced the sound transmission between rooms and to the outside of the building.

The painting of plaster board is a necessary step in finishing the walls of a room. The plaster board must be clean and free of dust and debris before applying the primer and paint. The priming process will help the paint adhere properly and ensure the finished product lasts for years to come. Adding skirting board and dado rail with architrave around the window and door frames is an optional but an aesthetically pleasing touch. Skirting board will protect the bottom of the walls from furniture and foot traffic.

Dado rail, when installed at about half the height of the room, adds visual interest and can be used as a divider between different types or colours of wall coverings. Architrave is used to frame the window and door frames. It is a decorative feature that can be painted or stained to match the skirting board and dado rail. All of these finishing touches give a room a polished, professional look.

The Control Room.

Building a control room for a recording studio requires careful planning and attention to acoustics. The control room is where the sound engineer sits while recording and mixing music. Firstly, the room should be spacious and have a neutral shape to minimise natural resonance. The walls must be soundproof with thick acoustic foam panels to reduce outside noise and echo. Make sure to get a door and window that seals tight if soundproofing cannot be done on the walls. The ceiling should also have acoustic tiles. Furnishings such as mixing desks, speakers, and computer monitors should be placed in the appropriate positions for proper sound mixing. Finally, it’s important to install adequate air conditioning and ventilation systems to prevent the control room from overheating, as electronic equipment tends to generate a lot of heat.

Acoustic Treatment.

Acoustic treatment is essential for creating a good sound environment in a recording studio. Acoustic panels, made of materials such as fibreglass or mineral wool, are a popular choice for treating the sound quality of a room. Compared to foam squares which are also lightweight and easier to install, acoustic panels have a more dense construction, which helps to trap sound waves and reduce echoes and reflections. Acoustic panels also come in various sizes, thicknesses, and shapes to provide versatility and customisation that fits the acoustical needs of the room. Not only do acoustic panels provide better sound quality in a recording studio, but they also add aesthetic appeal with various design options available. So, while it may be tempting to go for the cheaper and easier option of foam squares, the overall effectiveness of acoustic panels makes them a better choice for acoustic treatment in a recording studio.

Soundproofing the Loft/Attic

Insulating an attic or loft with roll out insulation can be an effective way to soundproof a recording studio from external noise. Roll out insulation is convenient to install since it can be laid down quickly. Unlike other forms of insulation such as blown-in insulation, roll out insulation is particularly relevant for soundproofing because it can expand to fill any gaps when installed between rafters.

Another benefit of using roll out insulation is that it is dense and therefore more effective at reducing sound transfer. Its thickness helps it deaden sound waves that may try to penetrate the ceiling. Additionally, roll out insulation is affordable and can be easily purchased in large quantities.

Overall, roll out insulation can be a cost-effective way to soundproof an attic or loft above a recording studio, and when properly installed, can significantly reduce external noise.

What Materials?

  • 4 x 2 2.4M Timber Struts
  • 4 x 2 4.8M Timber Struts
  • 15mm Acoustic Plasterboard
  • 2mm Mass Loaded Vinyl
  • Acoustic Sealant
  • 100mm 1200 x 600 Rockwool Slabs
  • 50mm 1200 x 600 Rockwool slabs
  • 150mm Thick Insulation Rolls
  • Dado Rail
  • Skirting
  • Architrave

In Conclusion.

To conclude, building a recording studio may come with its own set of difficulties and challenges, but it is certainly worth it in terms of its rewards and benefits. Having a recording studio can provide a space for artists to create, produce and develop their music or projects, as well as an opportunity for musicians to market their music. They can also become a source of income that can payback the investment made in building. Additionally, having a personal recording studio can hold an important status symbol for a music producer as they maintain complete creative autonomy. Despite the difficulties faced during the process of building a studio, once the hard work is done, the possibilities for creative expression and artistic fulfilment are incredible. Thus building a recording studio is a worthwhile investment for music enthusiasts and professionals alike.

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