How thick should my walls be, should I float my floors (and if so, how), why is two leaf mass-air-mass design important, etc.

Moderators: Aaronw, sharward

Senior Member
Posts: 6976
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2003 11:11 am
Location: West Coast, USA


Post by knightfly »

- - - Welcome to the Recording Studio Design and Construction forum! - - -

If you are in the process of planning the construction of a recording studio, this forum contains a wealth of information that will help you, along with many knowledgeable members who can offer you advice with your project.

Before you post any questions or comments, please take a few moments to follow these steps - keep in mind that any print in bold type means we need you to pay attention - We didn't just randomly bold things unless we considered them important. If you are not willing to follow these simple rules, please do not post at all, but you are still welcome to read all you want.

Here is what we ask that you do BEFORE POSTING:
(Updated Spring 2015 by soundman2020)

Many newcomers neglect to supply the information asked for in this document. Therefore, we have decided not to answer ANYONE who doesn't comply. This is not arrogance on our part, it's based on TIME - it takes us much longer to help someone who doesn't even bother to read and study the links mentioned here and to follow these simple instructions. We simply do not HAVE that much time (never did). We are all unpaid volunteers here, doing this because we want to help. So we have no choice but to only help those who pay attention and show that they really do want help. We will only help members who put in the effort to read and comply with these rules.

This means:
No location in your profile = no answer.
No attempt at providing room details = no answer.
(If you try, and we need more, we'll ask.)

The effort you put into your question(s), we will put into our answers.

We are sorry it has to be like this, but that's the way it is. Bottom line is this - if you are willing to put in the effort, then so are we. Take a look at some of the recent threads, and you'll see that, for members who follow these simple rules, we really do put in a tremendous effort to replying as completely as we can. And members who don't even bother to fill in their profile normally get no response at all! If you get no response to your first post, then this is the most likely reason. And if you DID get a response when you had not filled in your profile location, you better go buy a lottery ticket immediately, because that type of luck does not last...

We have also been getting a lot of spammers on the forum lately, some disguising their posts quite cleverly: But they don't last more than a few minutes, so if that's why you are here, you are out of luck. Things that will get you banned instantly: profanity, abuse, personal attacks, and posting any type of spam at all. That includes if you made something and want to sell it to forum members! If you think you have something that would benefit forum members, and want to offer it for sale, FIRST CONTACT JOHN BY PM AND ASK FOR HIS OK! This does not apply to things like: you have a few tubes of Green Glue left over that you want to sell, or a few sheets of drywall, 703, door seals, backer rod, or other materials that you bought too much of for your project, and want to get rid of. It is OK to put a brief post on the forum mentioning that you have those available.

Also, if all you post is a rough, hand-drawn diagram of your room and say "Design my studio for me".... well, that's not going to happen. That's not what this forum is about. This is a self-help forum, where you can learn how to do that yourself, and we will help you learn. We will do our best to help people who spend the time to get as far as they can by themselves, but if you expect someone here to design your entire studio for free, then you are in the wrong place. If you really do need a complete design and cannot do it yourself at all, for whatever reason, then some of the moderators and administrators do offer studio design services outside of the forum, for a fee. If that's what you want, then please contact one of us by PM for a private quote.

There are only a dozen simple rules: (OK, maybe a few more than a dozen...)

01) First, before you do anything else, Review the REFERENCE area -


This is the closest thing we have to a FAQ ("Frequently Asked Questions") resource on the forum at the moment. Many common questions are covered there, and it is required reading in terms of our being able to help you with your project.

02) Use the search feature to look for threads that may contain the answer to your question. There is a wide variety of projects represented in this forum -- everything from relatively low-budget residential rehearsal rooms to full-scale, world-class, professional recording studios. If your searches return too many results, try multiple terms with "Search for all terms" enabled.

If those efforts do not lead you to the answers you need, you are welcome to post your questions on the forum.

03) Edit your profile to include your location. This is very important, because this forum is a worldwide resource, and as such, material costs and availability vary widely, as do building code requirements. For example, masonry is cheaper than gypsum in some parts of the globe, whereas it's the exact opposite in other regions. We're not asking for your address or credit card number: just a country and city will do. Nothing says "I didn't bother to read or follow these instructions" like leaving your profile location blank! :x This does NOT mean that you should just mention your location in a post at some point, or in the title of your thread, or put it in your signature: It means that you need to fill it in in your PROFILE. If you don't get any replies to your posts, then check to make sure that your location is filled in properly IN YOUR USER PROFILE.

04) Start your first post with an overview of your goals and where you are in the process... Research? Planning? Construction already underway? Finished, and wanna know why it doesn't work? :cry:

05) HOW LOUD are you, and how quiet do you need to be? How picky/loud are your neighbors? How close? This cannot be subjective, and must be objective, in terms of real decibels, measured with a proper sound level meter. Saying "I wanna play rock music loud and my neighbors are close" is no use at all. So you will need to buy something like the Radio Shack Sound Level Meter, or any other good sound level meter (Eg: Extech, Galaxy). They are not expensive. For about US$ 75 to US$ 100 you can get a good one on eBay or Amazon.com. But be warned: Stay away from the cheap US$ 25 Chinese meters... Most of those are garbage.

If you're recording/mixing music you should be using a sound level meter ALWAYS, so it's not a waste of money. For music at typical mix levels, set your meter to use "C" weighting, and "slow" response. The human ear has no way of "measuring" ABSOLUTE sound levels; it just adapts to what's there, and calls that "normal" - so if you keep raising the volume, pretty soon you're mixing at 110 dB, ruining your hearing and neighbor "atta-boy" points, etc - the SPL meter helps you keep levels constant and safe.

For all other tests, the authorities virtually ALWAYS use A weighting, and (I think) slow response. So for compliance, use "A" weighting measurements.

06) Include as much detail as possible about the existing construction. Having details about the anatomy of your existing floor, walls, and ceiling is critical. In your searches of the forum, you'll likely find examples of the kinds of details that are needed, and you'll see that the quality and timeliness of the advice given are affected by the level of detail provided.

By "detail", I mean enough detail so I might be able to go buy materials and actually BUILD a nearly identical version of your construction; things like type of material, size of framing if it's visible, style of construction - without that level of detail we can't recommend much of anything. We need to understand what you have in order to help you.

07) Please don't tell us you want to float your floor if you are building on an upper level - this is almost always impractical, and ALWAYS will require a QUALIFIED LOCAL STRUCTURAL ENGINEER to verify that it will be safe.

08) Remember that acoustics is THREE DIMENSIONAL, not two - when you give dimensions, we need Length, Width, and Height. We also need to know about any non-parallel features of the room.

09) Include drawings of what you're describing if at all possible. They do not need to be professional or perfectly to scale, but they do need to account for the necessary details. Cropping your drawing will allow you to make the important parts larger and more legible without increasing the overall size. See next...

10) Re-size all photos, drawings, pictures, graphs, and other images as necessary to keep the size BETWEEN 700 and 750 pixels wide - otherwise it's either too small to see the details, or it forces people to scroll sideways to read every line of text. :x

If you must link to pictures OFF this site, please make sure THOSE pix aren't oversized either - it causes the SAME PROBLEM.

11) Please post ALL pictures directly to this forum instead of linking to them; There are far too many cases here on the forum, in older threads, of pictures that are no longer visible because the off-site link moved, closed down, went out of business, or disappeared for unknown reasons. When new members want to read and learn from those old threads, they can't follow things because the pictures are no longer there. Posting your pictures HERE ensures that others get the help YOU got; thanks...

12) Do not posting L-O-N-G links - long links will also cause people to scroll sideways to read every line of text - here is the trick to avoid that, please use it for long links -
I keep a word file on my desktop with the above line, then cut and paste everything ahead of LINK into my post, then the long LINK, then close the brackets as shown, then type what shows on screen (TextYouActuallySee), then close with the bracketed [URL] - for me it's just easier to use cut/paste. However you do it, please do it.

13) Group your actual questions last, at the end of your post, and put each question in its own paragraph. This makes it easier to respond to each of your questions.

14) What is your Budget? Without knowing this, we have no idea if we are wasting our breath suggesting things that you cannot afford, or just as bad, not suggesting useful things that you can afford. Saying that your budget is "small", "REALLY tight", "reasonable", etc, is no use whatever. Comments like "under $500", "prefer to keep it under $2,000 but can go more if necessary", "$5,000-$10,000 MAXIMUM", will give us a clue for realistic suggestions.

...and finally...

15) Please be patient. Questions are answered in the order received (oldest first), so "bumping" your post might actually delay a reply. It may take a week or longer for a response, since there are lots of questions all the time, and not too many people able to respond. But you won't be forgotten! If you care to ask an additional question, or provide more information before you receive a response, we recommend editing your post instead of bumping, as that will allow you to retain your position in the queue. However, if you don't get a response after two weeks, then feel free to "bump" your thread, or contact one of the moderators by PM to ask if there is something wrong.

Again, we welcome you to the forum, and good luck with your project!
Last edited by knightfly on Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:50 am, edited 14 times in total.
John Sayers
Site Admin
Posts: 5462
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2003 12:46 pm
Location: Australia

Post by John Sayers »

May I add one important factor to Steve's requests.

I frequently create a design for members only to be told, "oh - that door only goes to the bathroom", or "there's a pole in the middle of this room I forgot to mention".

Please, sit down and analyse your room totally before you post a plan and INCLUDE all the info on the room.

I'll be much more inclined to pursue a great design with you if you do ;)