Basement rehearsal studio... need advice...

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Basement rehearsal studio... need advice...

Postby bobethomas » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:56 pm

I will be extremely grateful for any and all help, suggestions, ideas, insights that anyone can offer on how I should proceed with my basement rehearsal studio...
Thanks very very much!!

Okay, I've done a bunch of research reading books on studio design, and have spent weeks on the forums and reading articles on the internet, but after several weeks of reading and planning, I realize that I still have no clear idea what to do. Here is the situation, first in general, and then with relevant details below.

Studio space to prepare: Basement Rehearsal Studio
- Concrete floor, walls and ceiling (see diagram)

Purpose: Rehearse tap dancing, Cajon, sax and tenor horns with microphones and audio processing, both hardware and software, and be able to use monitors while working

In the studio space:
- I'll be tap dancing and playing Cajon, saxophone and tenor horn (not at the same time) w amplification, sometimes I'll be recording into a looper and everything will have audio processing (VST and hardware) in rehearsal as I hope it will be during my the shows
- I'll NOT be recording in the studio space except as part of rehearsal / practice (including looper work)
- I want to be able to hear the audio processing of the tap dancing, sax and tenor horn playing while rehearsing, live and without having feedback through my monitors
- I have a decent wireless in-ear monitor, but I dislike wearing it for hours at a time when working on new pieces and/or rehearsing
- sound pickup is through two AT8937 shotgun microphones (highly directional)
- mics must be positioned on the floor for good pickup without feedback when tap dancing on the wooden floor
- I'm using a Shure SM57 microphone for the sax and tenor horn pickup
- Hardware includes GSP1101, Behringer LX1-B (V-amp rack), GP155, Digitech Timebender, Digitech Synth Pedal, various pedals including reverb etc.
- Software for live work includes Ableton Live with various effects and plug-ins, also using loops triggered with various midi devices including FCB1010, wireless midi keyboards, etc

- I'll be mixing (with Cubase and perhaps also with Harris MixBus 2) for shows, solo live performance with original music performed in small and medium theaters
- playback in the theaters will be either through a computer using my own on-stage mixers
- on the shows I'll be plugged either into my own active loudspeakers or using theater in-house sound systems of varying quality (I'm working in Germany, so the tech is usually medium to high quality)
- most often the music will playback in small black-box or medium theater/halls through some kind of active loudspeakers
- in shows I'll be adjusting to the space using a rackmount digital EQ with various pre-sets to anticipate typical theater acoustical problems
- NOTE: while the music is playing during my shows, there is almost always something else happening when it's playing (tap dancing that is amplified and processed, eccentric/comedic dancing, pseudo-mime, etc)
- my tracks are primarily composed using samples (mostly Kontakt sample libraries, incl Kirk Hunter Orchestra, Zero-G Spiritoso), VST devices incl CthuluArpeggiator, and loops (mostly Zero-G))

For the mixing sessions in my basement studio I'll be mixing using:
- M-Audio Studiophile DSM3 nearfield monitor
- in conjunction with a) Audio-Technica ATHM50S headphones and b) Focusrite Saffire Pro24 VRM (virtual room modeling) and soon either c) Beyerdynamic DT770 or DT880 Pro headphones
- I'll also be using a Focusrite Saffire Pro24 DSP with VRM (virtual room modeling)to test for different spaces

Summary: I am more concerned with having...

- a relatively dead room in which I can rehearse without feedback problems
- I want to hear the tap dancing with audio processing (picked up by shotgun mics) through the monitors and perhaps also a set of active loudspeakers
- and for the reasons above, having the perfect mixing studio is not so important (and which seems unlikely if not impossible, given the limitations of the basement space I'll be working in))

- We've been thinking that we would build two walls set approx. 8cm / 3 inches away from the original wall, the new walls with metal or wooden studs floor-to-ceiling filled with 7cm / 3 inch Rockwool and one or both of the new walls built slightly angled in reference to the original wall
- We'll put 4cm / 1-1/2in rockwool on the ceiling over the tap floor area.
- We'll put stand-alone bass traps on the floor and bass traps in the corners where the walls meet the ceiling.

Questions that are immediately pressing:
- Should we use plasterboard, heavy fabric or something else to cover/finish the room-side of the second walls we're building that are filled with rockwool?
- What should we finish the ceiling with (over the 2“ rockwool)?
- Is it better to build standalone walls that are attached at specific points to the concrete walls for stability, or should we make the second walls permanent and build them out from the original concrete walls (leaving the air gap of course)?
- Question: I live in Germany and there seem to be two types of rockwool: pressed and loose, the pressed only going up to 4cm and the loose up to 10+ cm...?? Have I understood this correctly, that there are two types of rockwool?

Cellar Rehearsal Room
Walls, floor and ceiling are solid concrete..
ceiling height 2.25m / 7.4 ft
5.5m / 18.5 ft wide
3m / 10 ft + 5m / 16.4t on long wall (with 30cm indent)
a door on left, then 4.75m / 15.6 ft wide

See PDF at

Where to position 2 shotgun microphones around/on the tap floor?
Where to position the active monitors?
Where to position sound absorbing walls, insulated ceiling, and what to cover them with?

Thanks again, Bob Thomas
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:18 pm

Re: Basement rehearsal studio... need advice...

Postby Scott R. Foster » Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:16 pm

I wouldn't build any new walls - they just make the room volume smaller for no benefit.

Instead I'd put very thick [150mm minimum] panels across the diagonals of all vertical corners, then I'd checkerboard thick [100mm minimum] mineral fiber panels across all the walls and ceilings until the loudest lowest sound I expected to happen in the studio had a ring time under .5 seconds [based on just listening].

Look in the FAQ section under room treatment entries for instructions on how to make corner treatments and wall/ceiling panels.
Scott R. Foster
Posts: 3854
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 12:41 pm
Location: Jacksonville, FL USA

Re: Basement rehearsal studio... need advice...

Postby bobethomas » Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:48 pm

Thanks for the answer... here is what we're currently thinking (and it seems to fit with your ideas)..

Build panels that are about 3' wide by 6' filled with 100mm rockwool (they would extend nearly from floor to ceiling)
- Hang the panels from the ceiling so that they are inclined slightly forwards (maybe 6" from the wall at base and 8-12" from the wall at the ceiling).
- We'd put these panels along the two walls that are on either side of the tap floor.

In the corners do what you suggested (our original plan was less ambitious, but I think you're right in your suggestion) and build panels with 120-150mm rockwool in them that fit across the corners from floor to ceiling.

In addition we'll put a layer of rockwool on the ceiling over the tap floor, which is about half the room.

Add to that some bass traps on stands that we'd position around the room according to what seems to work best.

Does that sound about right to you? I think it's along the lines of what you're recommending, but if I've missed something (which is very likely), I'd be grateful for your thoughts and corrections.

Thanks much for your suggestions - I hope I understood them correctly, and if not, I really really hope you'll take a minute to put me back on the right path.

Thanks very very much!
Bob T
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:18 pm

Re: Basement rehearsal studio... need advice...

Postby Scott R. Foster » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:35 am

Sounds good on paper!

Not sure about the stands unless you want to be able to use them elsewhere it might be a lot easier to just hang em on the walls.
Scott R. Foster
Posts: 3854
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 12:41 pm
Location: Jacksonville, FL USA

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