Designing a Sound Stage for recording

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I have been propositioned by my friend to design and build a sound stage for a small A/V company that specializes in commercials and websites. I have looked around for any info on designing and requirements for one but i am coming up with nothing really. I really want to do this project but if i come up with nothing then im coming up blank.

Do you have any suggestions on stuff to read and look at for this project? Point me in the right direction?

It will be used mostly for just sound effects and voices.

Thanks for any help.
Hey ccdoggy, here's a book I found on ebay. I haven't bought it yet, but I'm thinking about it. I imagine that a lot of it gets pretty complicated mathematically, but if you look towards the end of the listing of the table of contents, they have a section about room treatment. This would be the most applicable to what you are doing.

ebay item # 300203932787

Some basic things that come to mind are that it would be nice if you could build a room that is double contained, with the inner walls, floor and ceiling separated from the outer. I.E. separate framing for each wall, separated by a few inches. Insulate between the walls and make the walls out of different materials, this will minimize the amount of outside noise that gets into to the room. You also have to decide if they want a live room or dead room, this will help determine what kind of treatment you need for inside the room. The separate framing is a bit extreme, but it's how you make a really quiet sound booth.

Peace and good luck,

Hello ccdoggy, glad to help with what little I know. I think getting a book like the one listed will provide a lot of information. There are other books out there on the subject of acoustics, most of them are written as text books for college level courses. Reading the sections on room treatments will give you some ideas about what type of materials to use for construction, and also help you figure out how in depth you want to get. The big question is what is the planned use of the sound stage, and what is the budget available. Once you know this, you can think about how sound proofed it needs to be, how "live" it needs to be, etc. I don't have much practical experience, but I will offer the little knowledge I do have. If you have anymore questions, drop another post. Also, please post with your progress, it's nice to see how things turn out. We can all learn from each others experiences.



P.S. spzzzzkt, thanks for the links, they have info I'm interested in!:)
check out this recording forum - it is very active, basically a diy site like diyAudio.

They should have lots of information - scroll down to the 'studio building..' forum.

You didn't really specify your goals. You want a stage for people to perform on? Will they be recorded? There are different requirements for each.

My main requirement for both performing or recording is good room acoustics. Larger rooms are better (almost critical in some cases), wall to wall carpet is bad - but you need some absorption (furniture, natural fiber area rugs...)
In my experience, when setting up to record, the first thing I look at is the basic room structure (dimensions, wall materials, is it quiet?), what sounds I will be recording (loud or quiet), and what the end product is supposed to 'sound' like. The main question here is, 'is the room large enough'. Small rooms produce recording that sound like they were made in small rooms, and don't generally sound natural (there are two 'camps' on room acoustic in recording -- modern equipment (computers) will allow you to fake a large room with reverb effects, if you record in a very 'dead' room (lots of absorption); the other camp is more traditional, not having computer effects, and requires a larger room to sound decent - I subscribe to the latter, I'm kind of a purist). I like not having to fuss with things too much.

I wouldn't try and record drums, ensembles, or other loud/large bodied sounds in a small room. It just doesn't work well. Voices and quieter sound effects can be done in a small room.

The next question is how to 'tune' the room - basically being strategic/smart about sound absorption/diffusion. This takes some practice and using ones ears, but people generally use some amount of absorption to lessen the sonic signature of the room (especially small rooms). You have to make sure to use a material that absorbs evenly across the frequency range - the diy method is to use compressed fiber glass several inches thick, place on walls every so often.

The next big question is the recording setup - most people use computers to record to, because they are cheaper, more flexible, and lower maintenance - although there are decent stand-alone options that are more fool-proof. A big question is how many channels you need, and what level of quality you want in the end (more money for better electronics and better end product). You'll need microphones and preamps, at least. Plus miscellaneous stuff, like stands. Here is where you really need to anticipate how you will be recording - live or with overdubbing; mono, stereo or multiple mic'ing.

Probably the biggest question is budget. All this stuff takes a lot of time and money. The other big hurdle is learning how to use everything, and keep it running smooth so as to not bother whoever you're recording.
Thanks for the info, the room will be for recording voices and random sounds for TV ads, online sites and content, and for side project videos.

Not sure about the budget or what they really want out of it, just that me friend asked me if i was interested in doing something like that for them.

If i do the project I will for sure post images and details of the build. It shouldent be too hard as its a basement that really has nothing in it.
It sounds like fun - I love setting stuff like that up. In the beginning, a stand alone recorder is the easiest to use and understand - but their recording quality is not the highest. But that can be accommodated for with good mics, room acoustics and proper use (which is a relief). Starting from scratch, if they aren't willing to budget about a couple grand, I'd worry that the results won't be all that great, because you'd be cutting a lot of corners - depends on the desired quality and number of simultaneous tracks that you want to record (could be lower). Knowing what you're doing has a big impact to, so expect to have to work through a learning curve..

Go for it!
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