Facilities

Just a quick tour of my recording facility….

I built this studio in the basement of my home. I’m quite proud of it since I did the construction entirely on my own. Started with a bare, unfinished basement. Concrete walls and floor, open rafter ceiling, one large room. Designed it, made up the plans, chose all the materials, and built it. I did have some assistance carrying some materials (drywall mostly) into the house, and my friend Jim helped me lift the ceiling assembly I built into place because at 12′ x 14′ it was simply to large and unwieldy to lift and guide into place myself, but other than that it was ALL me. It took several months of my evenings and weekends. Its two rooms (currently) One isolation room and the control room. I do hope to add another space at some future date. The isolation room is 100% decoupled from the surrounding structure. A free-standing room within a room. Additionally, the inner walls are decoupled from the framing. I used 5/8″ drywall, 1×6 studs, homasote sound deadening board, resilient channel, and rock wool insulation. The window in between the isolation room and the control room is built using 2 panes of 3/8″ plate glass. They are set at angles to each other (not parallel) to prevent any reverberation build-up between the two panes, and they are both sealed so the airspace in between the two panes is completely airtight. The sound-proofing is highly effective and I can record with no worry at all of capturing any sounds that I dont want. A fringe benefit is that I can literally practice as loud as I want while my wife watches TV upstairs undisturbed 🙂

I have a ventilation system with a silent in-line fan and two large sound baffles at both the inlet and outlet so I get good fresh air without compromising the sound-proofing.

The control room is also very well insulated for sound, although not to quite the same extent as the isolation room.

Here is a video clip of the building process from beginning to end, and also some audio tracks of the band I’m in “SplitStream“. Just some cover tunes that were recorded here.

The Evolution of a Man Cave for Musicians

Right now I’ll just show photo’s of the facility and equipment and talk a bit about them.

Here is my “command module” 🙂

Computer has 3.2 GHz, six-core i7, 16 Gigs of memory, 500 Gig SSD boot drive and a pair of terabyte SAS drives so it has ample power to record with pretty much any number of tracks, effects, and plugins as I could want, and super-fast I/O so there’s no read/write bottleneck. Latency is super low.

The audio interface is a MOTU 24I/O. A really sweet interface with 24 input channels and 24 output channels.I mostly use Cubase Pro 8.0 as my DAW, but I also have DP8, and Reaper.

No need to name the Midi controller there. Its fairly self evident 😉

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From another angle. The painting on my wall there is called “Heading towards the light”, an original oil on canvas by my good friend Loren Fidalgo.

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Patch bay for the MOTU 24I/O and my power conditioner in my home made MDF rack 🙂

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Isolation room. The Les Paul guitar is one of my own builds, as is the unfinished one to its right, and the Strat body too. The board on the floor is a Boss GT-100 which I connect to my amp using the “4 cable” method.

All the acoustic treatments are home made. The wall panels are Owens Corning 703 panels in a rectangle frame covered with burlap. The bass traps in the corners are filled with stacked Rock Wool triangles in a frame covered in burlap.

The monitor stands, like the ones in the control room are made with PVC, toilet flanges, and MDF, and filled with sand and painted black.

The lions share of the money invested in a studio should be the electronic gear. Mixing board, interface, and microphones, etc. You can save a LOT of money making these other things yourself leaving you more to work with when buying gear….

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Passable monitors in the isolation room. M-Audio BX8D2. I wouldnt mix with them, but they are more than adequate for practicing, accompaniment, playback, etc.

The small mixer here is used mostly to mix whats in the headphones when recording so whoever is playing can control their own monitor mix. The laptop is mostly used by me when I’m recording myself and theres nobody to run the control room. Using an app called VNC I can control the computer in the control room from in here.

The snake on the floor has 20 input channels and 8 returns and connects through the side wall, around the outside, and then in through the side wall of the control room and into the mixing board. the large cable is sealed airtight wherever it passes through the wall keeping the sound proofing 100% intact.

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The ubiquitous Marshall half-stack 🙂

JVM410H 100 watt head (tube)

 

 

and a Marshall 1960A 4×12 cabinet,

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Cool angle. The monitors I use for mixing are Yamaha HS80M’s. They are paired with a Yamaha HS8S 150 watt sub woffer to fill out the bottom end, Hmm. That SM57 in the other room seems to be pointed straight down. I cant remember what I was doing…

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The board is a Midas Venice F24. Its a bad-ass board with beautiful preamps, and in addition to 24 tracks of high quality analog I/O, it also features up to 32 input / 32 output 24-Bit FireWire digital audio.

Click this image to see the full res image…

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Heres a mess of cables 🙂

 

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Drum kit miked up for recording a demo for my band.

Of course when I say “my band” I mean that its the band I’m in. My buddy Jim gets the credit for putting this motley bunch of old head bangers together and providing a space for us to rehearse.

I track everything individually until I add the other room since the isolation room isnt large enough to hold an entire band. Well, actually it could, but when you add in all the instruments, amps, cables, mic’s etc it simply wouldnt be a good acoustic environment, not to mention cramped…

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My current compliment of microphones.

 

Rode K2 large diaphragm condenser tube microphone. This is my best vocal mic.

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A pair of Rode NT5 small diaphragm condensers

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A pair of Avantone CK1 small diaphragm condensers.

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Now for some dynamic mics. The ubiquitous Shure SM57’s (instruments mics), a Shure Beta52a (kick), and a Shure Beta58a (live vocal mic)

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