Studio; Ceiling height and acoustics?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Ricochet, Mar 26, 2020 at 10:07 AM.

  1. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Asking for a friend. Lets say he’s having a house build. The office/music room space is 6x4.5m(19.7x15.7-ish feet).
    Does it matter for acoustics if the ceiling height is 2.75m or 3.5m? I’m inclined to believe bigger is better but really not sure?
     
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  2. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    The taller the better, mostly. A low ceiling would give earlier sound reflections. Try to avoid parallel surfaces (kind of hard to do in a typical home). It's a good idea to have sound deadening materials dispersed throughout the room, at least on three opposite surfaces. Portable sound deadening panels can be most helpful. Acoustics are far more important than many think. Even when close miking instruments, the mikes will pickup the room's sound as well. Think about when you walk into an empty room before the furniture is moved in, how bright and sharp the sound is. Then, think of how it changed after the carpet, drapes, and furniture is moved in. You can get more changes in sound by acoustics than thru EQ changes.
    The science of acoustics is something that I find fascinating. There are three aspects at work in acoustics---reflective (hard walls and other surfaces), absorptive (heavy drapes, carpeting, etc.), and dispersive (irregular surfaces that break up sound waves). Simply, bigger is better. Eliminate parallel surfaces, add sound absorptive materials, and experiment to find out what works best for you. Above all, have fun with it.
     
  3. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Thanks very much! I’m assuming a wooden flooring and/or carpet would be preferable over concrete or tiling?
    Is there a tipping point where balancing reflection, absorption or dispersive traits towards either is counterproductive? Say would an all(top to bottom) carpeted room be ideal or just sound dead?
     
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  4. TubeLife

    TubeLife Gretschie

    Age:
    43
    216
    Jan 23, 2020
    Chicagoland
    You definitely do not want a dead room. It’s no fun and not really enjoyable to play instruments in. I finished my basement and I built it using soundproofing techniques and materials. It’s a 25’ x 30’ room with two 8x5 area rugs and that’s it. The rest is vinyl plank flooring over concrete for the floors and double drywall and Green Glue for all walls and ceilings. All the pictures in the room are acoustic panels, 9 total and each panel is 4’ x 2’ x 4”. It’s a good balance of liveliness and deadening. Tons of info out there to be had. Best of luck!

    As to the ceiling height, there are room node calculators out there to help determining good dimensions for rooms. As an example the worse case is a 10’x10’x10’ which is a cube and is not good for acoustics.
     
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  5. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    I have a friend who is a bit of an oddball. he's been on TV building everything from Tree houses to DIY odd "houses". His own home has a central room that is circular and kinda domed ceiling. It's probably a 20 ft diameter room and at least 15 ft high. If you are sitting in that room you can hear every nuance in the room. If someone is whispering on the other side of the room you can hear it clear as day. It's very odd to be in that room. Drives me crazy... too much noise/input to be comfortable... but you could put 5 acoustic players around the perimeter and they could each hear each other perfectly.
     
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  6. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Country Gent

    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    You don't want carpeting on the floor. Carpeting will help deaden the room sound. Just any flooring is good. The reason is, that your sound will bounce off the ceilings and the walls. What's more important are ceiling and wall treatments to prevent sound from bouncing around. There are to different things:
    Soundproofing. Or sound treatment. I would not go floor to wall carpeting.
    There is an app that will give you incredible advice, hours and hours of lessons for free "Sound Gym" It's free. You will find all kinds of advice on room treatment, recording, Mic placement. Check it out. It's a lot of fun. It's an app.
     
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  7. GlenP

    GlenP Synchromatic

    617
    Jul 23, 2019
    WA
    Our neighborhood pool, which is closed now, puts up a bubble in the winter months. The acoustics in that domed tent are pretty crazy, like that round room mentioned above, you can hear folks from across the pool like they were right next to you. Acoustics is a fun topic, the size of the room and distance between walls determine what frequencies are reinforced. Like the different sizes of organ pipes, for example.
     
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  8. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I'd also say not to totally deaden the room. A mix booth or announcer's booth should be dead, but a room where you're making music should be somewhat live. Like I said---I'd deaden three opposite surfaces--two walls and floor---and to not totally deaden them. Movable panels are really helpful. A mix of reflective, absorptive, and diffusive is what you're after. Diffusers are just multiple irregular reflective surfaces that scatter the sound.

    The floor is another issue. A wooden floor will have a resonant area underneath, and a concrete floor will be much brighter. You also want to consider filling wall voids, interior as well as exterior, with a sound deadening material (cellulose insulation is best) to avoid sound transference out of and into the room. Exterior windows can be a problem, hence heavy curtains can be your friend. Loud outside noises can easily penetrate a room---cars, sirens, aircraft, motorcycles, etc.

    Avoid fluorescent lights and dimmers like the plague (or the virus). LEDs are the way to go anymore. Try to get totally isolated AC lines for the room, or at least a power conditioner. HVAC can be an issue as well. Proper studios are double walled with a dead air space between them, and have heavy sets of doors.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 2:28 PM
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  9. Scott Fraser

    Scott Fraser Country Gent

    Jan 14, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Actually, some carpeting is very good to have, especially with a non-sloped ceiling. Get some area rugs you can move around as needed. Acoustic guitars sound good recorded on a hardwood floor, but vocals do better recorded on a carpet.
     
  10. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Country Gent

    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    I have hardwood. Some carpeting on walls. I will be replacing those with sound reflectors to dampen sound to prevent bouncing back through a mic
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 5:25 PM
    Ricochet likes this.
  11. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    54
    Oct 18, 2015
    Germany
    Hard to give you a good advice, Rich.
    Building acoustically nice sounding rooms is a highly regarded profession. There are experts around that demand a lot of money for it and usually it is worth to ask help from them.

    What sounds nice to someone who wants o do piano-recordings might not be nice for someone who wants to record some loud rock.

    From my experience it is always very helpful to use some larger dampening elements that you can move around as @wabash slim suggested.
    If a room is acoustically dead you have to re-do things.
    A dampening element is easily built, moved or brought out of the room if it dampens too much.
     
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  12. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    When I built mine, I did a 3'/12' pitched vaulted ceiling over 9' walls. Double drywall with Green Glue. Industrial carpet on the concrete slab floor. Made my own bass traps with 2'x4' x 2"Owens Corning fiberglass panels. The double drywall & Green Glue is to keep the sound away from the neighbors, works very well. The panels are to treat the sound of the room. Walls are insulated with regular old 3" fiberglass batts between the studs, and roof has 6" fiberglass batts between the trusses.
    The room is approx 17'x24'. Did bass traps floor to ceiling in two corners(2 panels stacked), and one panel in the upper corners at the other end where I needed the extra space for amps. Hung one panel on each 17' wall.
    Room sounds great, not dead at all, but I got rid of a bunch of boomy low end standing waves.

    For your slightly smaller room, I'd vault the ceiling if I could, and hang one 2'x4'x2" bass trap in each upper corner. If you'u can't do a vault then I'd consider suspending a couple of 2'x4'x1" panels 6" or so from the ceiling, Maybe put one 2'x4'x1" panel on two opposing walls, or a 2'x2'x1" panel on each wall. But the bass traps in the corners is most important IMO. You could probably get away without carpet, but I would want a rug for the drum set and runners to keep mic cables and such from under foot.
    Keep your windows to a minimum in # and size. You can see one of the 1'x8' double pane stationary windows I found a deal on at the building supply because some lady ordered them special and changed her mind. I have 2 of them for light and privacy.
    If there is an exterior door, use a solid metal insulated one with no window. For interior doors I recc a solid wooden one instead of hollow core. If there is a common wall with the rest of the house, I'd insulate it with reg 3" batts in addition to to the double drywall.
     

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    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 4:42 PM
  13. Thread title definitely caught my eye . . . and lovin' the responses !

    We have been in the process of getting a "storeroom" designed and it has been getting built - slowly - since the summer.

    But I expect this room will double as my practice room as well.

    Ceiling is sloped in one direction - peak is 16 ft - but, it is essentially about 14 ft along one wall - and the floor dimensions of this storeroom are asymmetrical as well - none of the four walls are parallel. Jus' think of it as a "trapezoid/rhombus (slanted rectangle) thing.
    It really is derived from my dear ole grandmother's home - and a room that was called the"pantry" which was box shaped but seemed 20 ft high off the kitchen, and lined with shelves. Grandpa and her's home was a very old house with stucco/ or plaster interior, and a very tiny yard with an alley in back.

    Mostly wood and nice double pane "solar gain" windows on a couple of our "storeroom" walls - but thick all straight vertical 2x6 stud walls will deaden outside and interior walls sound - one wall that is 8 ft tall would be shelves and maybe a "loft" (?) on the sloped ceiling walls ? I dunno yet.

    I will stay tuned to this thread for sure !
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 7:28 PM
  14. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Anything that breaks up parallel surfaces will help. The shelves can help as well because the things you keep on them can both absorb and disperse some of the sound in the room.
     
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  15. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    Agree. Having no parallel surface is like ideal. A few 2'x'2'x1" panels to scatter around as needed and you're probably set for a great sounding room.
     
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  16. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    They built a theater in France where the ceiling and walls were covered in triangular columns/panels called periactoids. One side was reflective, one absorptive, and the third dispersive. The acoustics of the auditorium was totally controllable---to the point, with the push of a button, a thunderous crescendo could be reduced to a whisper.

    Ideal acoustic music venues, like Carnegie Hall, are long, thin, and have high ceilings. Older halls, meant primarily for lectures, are wide and shallow. Acoustics are a specialized science.
     
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  17. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Sounds cool. That is indeed why auditoriums, etc. are built with domes.
     
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  18. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Most are built with domes more as an architectural lighting technique than for sound quality. Most have diffused edge lighting. The sound quality is usually not conducive to the acoustics as it focuses sound to one point. The great chandeliers in theaters would diffuse sound, so they actually had a purpose. There's a domed area in Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry where if two people stand in opposite corners and whisper, they can hear the other person clearly.
     
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