Mark's Studio Build Diary - The Construction Phase

Post and discuss acoustic topics, Studio design, construction, and soundproofing here

Postby Bob » Mon Jul 12, 2004 8:10 pm

When are you going to cover the backs of the doors?
Regards
Bob Golds
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Postby MarkEdmonds » Mon Jul 12, 2004 9:45 pm

I'll probably work on that in parallel with the fan enclosure. Unfortunately, I need to keep the outside of two of the doors "domestic" as they face the conventional side of the house. This means I will probably line the studio side of the doors with compressed RW3 but this will mean mounting a frame on the doors and they might be original so 100 years old and that would be a shame.
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Postby Bob » Mon Jul 12, 2004 9:53 pm

How about portable corner traps at the doors. That way you wouldn't have to fasten anything. Might be a fire escape hazard though.
On feet, or on wheels, or on piano hinge on the wall.
Regards
Bob Golds
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Postby MarkEdmonds » Sat Jul 17, 2004 9:37 pm

Bob - yes portable corner traps on castors is something I've considered and I bought enough RW3 to cover this. However, at the moment it is looking unlikely due to space - there wouldn't be anywhere to put them when out of position - penalty of a small room.

Other news:

Been visiting an acquaintance of mine who said, why don't you come over and help me test some new hi-fi equipment? Normally, that prospect gives me the instant urge to vomit. I just can't stand "listening to hi-fi". It is one of the biggest yawns in the universe.

However, I accepted because I thought it would be interesting to hear the system in the light of me chasing round in circles getting my own sound balanced and also, his system is "hi end" (~40K sterling all in). How would it compare to my Lynx/Mackie/treated room combination?

Sometimes, telling someone that their fancy system sounds crap is like telling proud new parents they have an ugly baby but it had to be done. I did my best to convince him to ditch this new 5K CD player and spend it on treatment but my advice wasn't well received.

Anyway, back home earlier this evening to try out my own latest tweak. I've got a new rug on 21 day approval and this is currently lying in the middle of the room in the work area. It is only 2 metres square but it weighs a ton - a seriously heavy and thick rug which is what I felt the room needed to sort out the problems with the laminate floor.

I'm not going to count my chickens before they fart but I really think it works and I might have the balance I was looking for now. I've been listening with the volume right up so the Mackie overload leds were lighting and it still sounded clean, tidy, accurate and easy to listen to. I know that is too loud but it is fun to do once in an while.

The big lesson from all of this has to be: be afraid of laminate floors, be very afraid!. Maybe solid wood floors don't have the same characteristics but if anyone is considering a domestic grade laminate floor for their room, STOP!

To repeat, if there is one thing that has to be learnt from all I've done so far, that is:

A laminate floor can seriously SPAMMER up your sound


Over and out.

Mark
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Postby Bob » Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:02 pm

For the doors.
The piano hinge idea was instead of a super chunk, just to build a four sided frame 4" thick the hight of the door and perhaps an inch off the ground and an inch down from the top with 4" of rockwool in it. The top and bottom plate are parallel to the floor and ceiling, but the side plates are 45 degrees (room side larger than door side). The room side would get the piano hinge attached to this 'absorber door', and the other side would be mounted to one of those wall rockwool supports you currently have.
You'd put a little pull handle on 'absorber door' the inside of the room on the opposite side of the piano hinge.
Use a bit of wire (90"?) as a diagonal stiffiner and leveler.

Operation:
When outside the room and the wood door is opened the 'absorber door' would just swing out of the way.
When inside the room, to get out, you just swing the 'absorber door' out of the way against the wall. That way it only occupies 45" x 4" of floor space.
The symetrical other wood door to your room I assume isn't used that much (closet?), so the corresponding 'absorber door' would usually be left in the closed position.

If you don't have 45" of wall anywhere on either side of the door, then you could do two half absorber doors (like the swing doors to an old west saloon).

Hmm, do you have two doors in your room, or three?
http://www.bobgolds.com/TrapMark/home.htm
Regards
Bob Golds
"The only thing we regret in life is the love we failed to give."
"Be a rapturist -- the backward of a terrorist. Commit random acts of senseless kindness, whenever possible" - Jake Stonebender
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Postby MarkEdmonds » Mon Jul 19, 2004 9:14 pm

Hi there Bob,

Thanks for your thoughts on the absorber doors! I'm not going to rule this option out at present but the more I look at the room layout and envisage how it will look with a second full size keyboard and a guitar area, the more I wonder if how the space is going to work out.

The alternative I am looking at is to use heavy drapes over the door areas instead of absorber panels. This has the advantage that they can be pushed aside and take up virtually no space and I can mount them independent of the door, thus not damaging them if they are originals. The disadvantage of course is that a heavy drape is not as effective as RW3.

Other things going on:

Where is my bass going?!

I fitted a rack bolt to a warped door (front left corner) this evening. That door was previously loose and acting as a nice sound board - now it closes super tight. This, coupled with the effect of the extra damping on the floor with the new rug, means I am losing bass by having two resonant areas damped. I wouldn't call the sound bass deficient but it is definitely bass-challenged to use a PC term. I suspect I will have to live with this as positioning a sub woofer is going to be a fun job, especially with the limited space (even if I could justify buying one).

Choosing the fabric finishing.

Initial thoughts on this. I am going to start looking for fabric to cover the RW3 frames but I am concerned about the acoustic properties of the fabric options. What I want is something similar to that used on domestic speaker grills. It also needs to be acoustically inert if possible so to test this, I was wondering if this would be valid:

1. Make a small frame and wrap the fabric over it to the tension level it would be when on the walls.
2. Position the frame in front of the speakers and listen and test with ETF.
3. Compare the results with no fabric in front.

Would this be a valid technique? Are there any other standard tests for making sure you select the right type of fabric for the job? Appreciate any suggestions here folks.

Thanks...
Mark
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Postby Scott R. Foster » Mon Jul 19, 2004 9:57 pm

For a sub on a budget.... these kits are a pretty good deal IMO.

http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage.cfm ... lter=mkiii


For fabric - just about anything you can breath through will work fine. Flammability, cost and aesthetics might be you best basis for choosing. There are spray on products fire retardents if you the fabric you like has no such treatment and that bothers you.

For mounting perhaps just get an electric upholsters stapler and bang it up. Then cover the seams and stapled edges with a painted or stained trim boards put up with a pin gun.
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Postby Steve Orion UK » Mon Jul 19, 2004 10:54 pm

Have you tried Dunelm Mill or al-Murad for fabric? I think they have nationwide stores, or maybe just yorkshire?
just a thought - steve
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Postby Paul Woodlock » Tue Jul 20, 2004 12:32 am

Steve Orion UK wrote:Have you tried Dunelm Mill or al-Murad for fabric? I think they have nationwide stores, or maybe just yorkshire?
just a thought - steve


Greetings

There's a Dunelm Shop in Huntingdon, just down the A1. Woman is into dressmaking and took me there once. I got a huge roll of cloth for £20, which is at least 4m wide and probably around 50m long, in their 'sale box'

I'm probably gonna use some of it in my studio. but Idon't liek the colur any more so I'll probably dye it first.


Mark. Fire retardent sprays and humans do NOT mix. Toxic stuff. Buy the cloth pre-treated. You'll still be contaminated by these carcinogens, but not as much as spraying it from a can.


Paul :)
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Postby Scott R. Foster » Tue Jul 20, 2004 2:57 am

Fire retardent sprays and humans do NOT mix.


http://www.flameseal.com/fabdescN.htm

Sodium Bromide and Boric Acid?

Sounds pretty benign to me... I think as long as he doesn't chew on the drapes too often he'll be OK. The sassafras in a glass of rootbeer is probably more toxic.

In any event, its better than catching on fire IMO.

PS: You can make this stuff at home.
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Postby MarkEdmonds » Wed Jul 21, 2004 6:39 pm

Hi All,

Thanks for all the continued replies...

On the sub-woofer idea, I am going to try a basic domestic unit as long as I can get one on approval. Those ones you linked Scott look pretty good but going through the import procedures doesn't appeal to me.

The model I've got lined up is the "Pro 50" made by these people: http://www.mjacoustics.co.uk/

At a pinch, I could afford two of them for proper stereo placement. What is the general rule with subs in studios? Definitely stereo or isn't it worth it?

On to fabrics. I doubt very much I will treat the fabric with some fire retardant! Never even occured to me! I think given the quantity of wood in the room that if there was a fire, it would take hold in the main structure and any fabric treatment would be powerless to combat it. I'll get a fire extinguisher and smoke alarm but nothing more.

I have three basic methods for fabric mounting that I plan to use.

First is simply stapling to the wood frames and covering the staples with beading held in with panel pins. Simple and quick I expect but not best for appearance.

Next up is much more work but would look better. Build frames from beading and wrap them in fabric before panel pining to the RW3 frames. This way, I can get a seamless finish but is it worth the extra work?

Final option is for big areas such as the ceiling where it will be impossible to do in one fabric sheet and where I don't want to end up with a checker-board appearance. This method is to staple the fabric to the frames as usual but for the beading to cover the staples, the beading itself will be wrapped in the fabric, probably by glueing before being pined over the main fabric covering.

The fabric covering is going to define the character of the room so I want it well done. I'm hopefully going to live with this room for a few years and I don't want any cutting corners which will niggle me down the road.

Thanks for the fabric shop suggestions. This is one area I am completely clueless on so all ideas welcome! Need to get this sorted quickly though as I am hoping to start on this early August.

MArk
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Postby MarkEdmonds » Wed Jul 28, 2004 8:38 pm

An update on what has been going on.

Two things basically, lots of listening and testing in preparation for getting ready for the final decoration stage of the room.

By and large, I am very happy with the sound quality. Good recordings sound great and crap recordings sound crap which is how it should be. Everything is there in the way I want it except low bass extension but hopefully, I can fix that with a sub.

However, I am noticing strange ear effects from time to time so have been testing other things to see if I can get rid of them.

The ear effects are two things:

1. On high transient sounds which stop quickly, I can almost feel my ears adjusting to get used to the sudden change in pressure. It is like a viscous diaphragm being allowed to stablise. Difficult to describe! Anyway, my diagnosis is something related to the dry room. In a wetter room, the change in pressure wouldn't be so great so the ears have an easier time adjusting.

2. Due to a left ear problem I developed at a Slade gig over 20 years ago, I sometimes get thumping sounds in my left ear. Normally, this hardly ever happens but some music in the studio room can cause the left ear to go thumping within a few seconds. I really don't like this. If I don't get this problem with normal listening, why do I get it here? Well, again I am going to assume it is due to the dry room and all the sound coming from the front. That doesn't really make sense as the sound will bounce around down the ear before it hits the drum but I can't think of anything else.

Anyway, I decided to experiment by making the room more reflective. Not wanting to spend any money unless I know it works, I've used anything I had lying around - wood, cardboard, acrylic coated cork and polystyrene. It is arranged as shown here:

Image
Image

(I'll explain the super-imposed white box in a moment)

Crude stuff! But it does seem to improve the overall ambience so I have ordered a box of 36 Auralex DST-R to apply to the rear wall, rear half of side walls, rear section of ceiling and partial covering of the wall to ceiling traps as shown in those photos. The room doesn't need much diffusion so hopefully this will work out - suck it and see and at least the DST-Rs don't break the bank if something goes badly wrong.

On to the white box - this is where the piano has to go. The box is fairly accurate for size. The wall is the rear wall directly behind the listening position which means a big reflective surface. I am concerned about this but I have no other position to put it. Unfortunately, the new Kawai CAs are still not available and wont be until September now which means I am going to go ahead and balance the room before the piano gets put in. I don't want to do it that way but I really want to get the room finished now and there are still lots of little fiddly jobs to be done.

A little lesson for formulating studio build time perhaps:

If basic construction time = x then time to tune the room = 10x.

This means if for example, Paul takes two years to build his studio, he will take 20 years to get the acoustic perfect!! OK, I know it wont be like that you get the drift!

Mark
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Postby MarkEdmonds » Sat Jul 31, 2004 9:13 pm

Greetings to all

:bang My first sermon for the day: never underestimate a job which you might think is simple.

I have made a planning mistake that is going to cost me extra work.

This is all to do with the fabric covering of the RW3 frames. I have found somewhere selling dyed hessian at a reasonable price - about 2GBP per square yard and all being well, I should have a 50m roll delivered next week.

However, I haven't been able to find anywhere selling dyed hessian in widths wider than 36 inches. The problem with this is that for most of the room, it wont be wide enough to cover the frames without having to run multiple strips. :bang

Multiple strips means problems joining along the lengths. :bang

This means that for all the walls, I have to construct holding frames for the fabric, wrap the fabric and then mount those frames on to the existing RW3 frames. :bang

To get the holding frames on the wall mounted frames, I have to have wood on the wall frames at the right spacing. I don't :( because I didn't design the wall frames to provide 36" interval mounting points. :bang

Consequently, the job of attaching the fabric which I thought was going to be a simple staple job is now turning out to be:

:bang Add extra supports in the wall frames to mount the fabric frames.

:bang :bang Build all the fabric frames and wrap.

:bang :bang :bang Mount the fabric frames.

Somewhat annoyed with myself for not thinking of this right at the beginning.

Sermon number 2: Plan the design through right to the last detail and don't assume something will work out on the night.

Sermon number 3: It is probably worth sourcing your fabric before construction starts so you know what you are playing with and how the spacing will work out.

Oh well...

Mark :bang
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Postby Scott R. Foster » Sat Jul 31, 2004 11:54 pm

Keep shopping... you may have to dye fabric to get the color you like, but fabrics typically come on rolls 36", 48" and even 56" in width.
SRF
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Postby Paul Woodlock » Sun Aug 01, 2004 12:11 am

MarkEdmonds wrote:....

This means if for example, Paul takes two years to build his studio, he will take 20 years to get the acoustic perfect!!

OK, I know it wont be like that you get the drift!

Mark


That's a conservative estimate. :)

Paul
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Postby Eric.Desart » Sun Aug 01, 2004 12:19 am

Hi Mark,

In those smileys are also smiles (think they got their name from that).
With this rate we need an ER (saw this abbreviation on TV).

:-) (see: a smile)

Eric

PS: as usual don't listen to me.
Image
divinely-inspired
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Postby MarkEdmonds » Sun Aug 01, 2004 3:37 pm

Especially for Eric, I'll start with a :-) :-) :-) !

Today's topic is constructing fabric frames.

These frames are going to be wrapped with the final fabric selection (Scott - I'm still shopping around but I am planning for 36" width) and then mounted on the RW3 holding frames.

The concept is a piece of cake but the only problem I can see is getting the right angles correct. Is there a recognised technique for getting perfect right angles when you are using long thin strips of wood? The only solution I have at the moment is to buy a mitre clamp. If anyone knows of a simple clever way which involves minimal outlay, I'd be grateful to hear it.

When it comes to stapling the fabric, I have the option of a manual or powered stapler. I've done my final calculations now and I have to build 30 frames and staple 60metres of fabric. 60metres of fabric means stapling on all edges of course so that translates to probably 150m fabric length for stapling. This tends to favour a powered tool. However, I have no experience of these tools, both manual or powered. Therefore, I was wondering if there are any known good and bad points for each type. Has anyone been through this decision process before and have any advice on powered or manual staplers?

For mounting the fabric frames on the RW3 frames, I am simply going to use brass screws in screw cups as that will give a reasonable appearance.

As always, I am asking loads of questions without offering much in return but any feedback on the fabric topic will be gratefully received.

Mark :)
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Postby Bob » Sun Aug 01, 2004 4:00 pm

In the Home Theatre world, the most common material manufacturuer is Guilford of Maine They make lots of cloth that's either speaker cloth grade, or almost acoustically transparent. And all of it fire proof.

One technique for mounting fabric is to lay it out on the floor, and place a batten (1" x 0.25" x 4' piece of wood) at an edge of the fabric and staple the fabric to that. Then you wrap the fabric 180 degrees so you have a clean edge. Then, standing under the fabric, you nail the batten to the wall (staples facing the wall, fabric draped over the top).

For the other three sides you staple the fabric to wall supports. And then cover the staples with wood trim.
Regards
Bob Golds
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"Be a rapturist -- the backward of a terrorist. Commit random acts of senseless kindness, whenever possible" - Jake Stonebender
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Postby Paul Woodlock » Sun Aug 01, 2004 11:26 pm

MarkEdmonds wrote:Especially for Eric, I'll start with a :-) :-) :-) !

Today's topic is constructing fabric frames.

These frames are going to be wrapped with the final fabric selection (Scott - I'm still shopping around but I am planning for 36" width) and then mounted on the RW3 holding frames.

The concept is a piece of cake but the only problem I can see is getting the right angles correct. Is there a recognised technique for getting perfect right angles when you are using long thin strips of wood? The only solution I have at the moment is to buy a mitre clamp. If anyone knows of a simple clever way which involves minimal outlay, I'd be grateful to hear it.


Greetings Mark

I have experience of making cloth covered frames, so here goes...

1] I'd make 4 x right angled jigs...

using piece of 300mm square mdf, and fixing 2 fences at right angles to each other.


2] Cut the frame pieces with 45 deg ends ( Picture frame style )

3] glue the 45deg mitred ends of the 'frame' lay them in position, and place a freshly built tightly around each corner.

4] Tie a piece of strong nylon string around the outside of all 4 'jigs', and use a piece of dowel, or length of something ( Spare screwdriver? ) to wrap aruodn the string, turning it to tighten up hte string. Which will hold the whole construction together while the glue dries. Overnight.

5] While your tightneing the string, check the 2 diagonal dimensions are the same for squareness.

6] For rectangular frames you might find you need bracing in the middle, to avoid the stretching of the cloth warping the frame. Which it WILL! You'll be suprised how tight you have to pull the cloth over the frame to get it to look smooth. Set the bracing back from the ront face of the frame by 2 or 3mm to avoid any non flatness of the frame when mounted causing the bracing to crease the cloth when stretched. What size wood are you thinking of using for the frames?

Alternatively you can make the frames non 45 degree mitred. ( Like a 2 stud wall instead of like a picture frame ). If you do this I would put 45 bracing inside each corner ( the longer the brace the better ) to hold it all square. Again set the 45 deg bracing back a couple of mm to avoid contact with the cloth


When it comes to stapling the fabric, I have the option of a manual or powered stapler. I've done my final calculations now and I have to build 30 frames and staple 60metres of fabric. 60metres of fabric means stapling on all edges of course so that translates to probably 150m fabric length for stapling. This tends to favour a powered tool. However, I have no experience of these tools, both manual or powered. Therefore, I was wondering if there are any known good and bad points for each type. Has anyone been through this decision process before and have any advice on powered or manual staplers?


Get a powered stapler!!! ( you can then lend it to me whne I get to my interior finishing :) - I'm serious :) )

A powered stapler is a must if your gonna be doing that much. I did about a third of what your doing once, and my hands hurt like SPAMMER afterwards using a manual staple gun. You will need a staple every 20mm on the back of the frame to get a decent looking cloth stretch with the weav in reasonable straight lines.
The trick when pulling the cloth over the frames to staple round the back, is not to put all the staples in at once. Staple every 200mm or so to get the tension right across the whole frame and the weave straight. And then staple again every 100mm, again pulling the cloth to straighten up the weave. And then staple every 50mm, etc, you get the drift.

So don't rush the stapling job. it's easy to get lax, and make the whole thing look crap.


For mounting the fabric frames on the RW3 frames, I am simply going to use brass screws in screw cups as that will give a reasonable appearance.


URGGHHHH!!! You have to be kidding right! Visible Screws??! And brass Cups! Even worse.

Aw Mark, don't settle for tackyness just because it's easy.

Glue strips of velcro on the back of the frames and use that. This will mean no unsightly fixings. YEAH!!!! ( btw - My learned carpenter friend Jonathan said to me the other day when we were talking about the interior of my studio..."I DON'T want too see any screws!" ) :)

What also looks good is to leave about a 6mm gap between adjacent cloth frames, and paint the supporting frame matt black before velcroing the cloth frames. This gives the surfaces some relief

Oh and the other good thing about Velcro is you can quickly remove a frame in case you need to access something behind.

As always, I am asking loads of questions without offering much in return but any feedback on the fabric topic will be gratefully received.

Mark :)



Mark, the knowledge you are gaining now will enable you to give back to the group eventually. When I was a newbie, I was all questions, but now I feel qualified to at least answer some simple questions the group gets.

I'll also have a wealth of practical experience to give back to the group ( which is growing in the diary daily :) ) one I've finished the place. As will you.

Looking cool mate. Make the place as cool as you possibly can. After all you gotta live in there for the next few years. :)......... and NO visible screws!!! :) :)


Paul :)
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Postby Bob » Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:37 am

Mark

I don't know how big your speaker baffles are, but I stumbled across this a few minutes ago

knightfly wrote
Barefoot put forth a comment on this size requirement some time back, and I've never been able to find it again - something to the effect of a minimum distance (in all directions, but NOT centered)from the woofer of 4 or 5 woofer diameters for a minimum baffle size. As I interpreted that statement, it would mean a baffle that extends FLAT in the EXACT same plane as the front of the speaker box for at least 4 times the woofer diameter in all 4 directions. IOW, if you had speakers with 8" woofers, the baffle should be flat for at least 32" in a radius from the woofer, but assymetrical (more flat space on successive sides, so that any artifacts from the edge of the extended baffle do NOT reinforce each other at the same frequency)
Regards
Bob Golds
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"Be a rapturist -- the backward of a terrorist. Commit random acts of senseless kindness, whenever possible" - Jake Stonebender
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