Studio Build Part 1 – Planning Blueleaf Recording Studio

The Grand re-opening of Blueleaf Recording Studio is on the horizon.  This series will document the process of designing and building a new studio space for audio mixing and recording.  Hopefully it’ll provide some useful information for anyone else taking the DIY approach to acoustics…

After reading extensively about acoustics for a few weeks and researching the various options available to me to treat my room, it became apparent I was going to have to re-arrange my room.  First I drew up a plan, taking into account the theoretical “ideal” listening position along the short wall, at 38% the depth of the longest wall equidistance from the short walls.  I then planned the space around this ideal listening position with some flexibility in mind.   All the drawing was done to scale so I was able to experiment with the layout of the room seeing what would fit where. I placed treatment in all the usual spots, taking care of as many power-corners as possible given the room shape restrictions.  I then planed for additional panels around the room which could be hung or removed to give variable levels of dampening for recording sessions.

Click the images to see larger versions.

Studio Room Plan Studio Room Plan No Cloud

I order to get my listening position central it was necessary to move my control desk infant of the window which overlooks our garden.  This sparked some ideas for a desk design to make the studio look sleek and for my control room equipment to be arranged more ergonomically for mixing.  I came up with some plans to accommodate my current equipment as well as having plenty of space for any future outboard purpose.  Like the room plan this one went through several versions until i settled on a design which was both accommodating and flexible as well as being easy to build and almost waste free!  I was able to cut the whole thing out of one standard sized sheet of ply or mdf.  Again I did all the drawings to scale to work what would fit where.

Desk-Front-ViewDesk-Cuts Desk-Plan

Feel, as much as acoustics is important to me.  So many studios go for the “Clean and clinical” vibe but I always find white walls and smart wood an unproductive atmosphere.  I think colour, strange objects and a homely atmosphere proud better creative results.  I moved the furniture around and hung up large sheets where I planned to put the acoustic treatment.  This gave me a feel for what the room would be like in this arrangement when it was done.  I didn’t want to make my room feel to small but at the same time wanted to maximise my bass trap size to get those low frequencies.  I had to make a few compromises where doors and windows (and the stove on the fireplace) were concerned, but after having things arranged a few different ways in this room I was pleased with my current plan.  Speakers were more central, everything more ergonomic around the listening position and PA speakers better placed for band practice and jams.

Pinned up treatment and testing the feel

Pinned up treatment before drilling – testing the feel at a band practice

I got myself a Behringer ECM8000 measurement microphone and downloaded Room EQ Wizard.  I took some measurements of each speaker separately and both speakers together to see what I was up against.  Considering the awkwardness of my room I was pleasantly surprised.  To make more space in the room the control desk had to move back from the ideal 38% position, so I took measurements in 6″ increments back towards the wall.  Moving too far increased the peaks and throughs in the frequency response but I was able to move it back to around 30% without any severe effects showing up in REW.


Next up the building begins and we put the plans to the test…

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