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Building/Equipping new studio
Old 12th December 2002
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
RSMITH123's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Building/Equipping new studio


OK, You may have seen me asking stupid questions around the forums but for good reason. I am closer than ever to being given the task of building a studio from ground up (funds en route).

The desire of the person charging me with this huge task is to have a place people will want to come from around the "States". This is aimed at a market which is proliferated by "decent" to a few well equipped studios.

I am planning on PTHD as a platform. I also have formed some opinions on gear, monitors, mics, layout, etc. Being that I am usually a lurker here, I haven't posted too much but daily follow the threads here so I know the caliber of people and the depth of knowledge available here. (wipe my nose) grudge

I'd like to ask a question of you guys. What (gear/mic selection/layout/atmosphere/qualities) ideas does anyone have that would make a studio someplace YOU would want to record in?

Granted, I may not have a 300,000 SSL or Neve at the start but surely there are other things that can go a long way.

I am even appreciative of warnings with things not to do.

Thanks in advance.
Old 12th December 2002
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
RSMITH123's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Something else,
When someone wants to record a Classic Marshall sound, what halfstack setup could be used? JCM800 and Cab? or ?
Old 12th December 2002
  #3
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
a 45, screw those 800's. or better yet, get an Orange head and cabinet.

as for the studio... if you dont go down the equipment lure path... make sure you get the VIBE right. vibe to me is more important than equipment. it affects performance which is more important than gear.
Old 12th December 2002
  #4
Lives for gear
 
atticus's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I agree with the vibe theory. If it doesn't feel good it won't matter what gear you have.
Old 12th December 2002
  #5
Lives for gear
 
5down1up's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
space , daylight maybe some fresh air ( especially if you work with a 6 piece reggea band ) .
a seperated room where you can lock up all the "not playing" musicians , otherwise you gonna have a nerve breakdown very soon .
a special rack where you can put any gear in thats noisy ( computers , hds , interfaces ) .
that noisefloor can get on your nervs very easily .
place the stuff you have to work with close to you . its pain in the ass running to a rack which is 100 feet away and try adjusting something . you might figure out , thats not it when you come back to your speakers .
a good communication solution if you have a recording room .
a window is great for the visual communication . so is some good talkback gear . ( imho one of the most important things )
the holy grail is a good chair and a ergonomic design for your daw ( if not your neck will suffer sooner or later ) .
a " worldclass " screen and your eyes will say " thank you " ( next thing i am gonna get <ouuutch that hurts> )

a good hand for the volume pots , " it sounds better when its loud "



heh

and a lot more ...
Old 13th December 2002
  #6
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
My advice (besides agreeing on the vibe) would be to look at other studios in your market and see what they have. Try to match them or do better. And if you really don't have a clue you probably shouldn't be opening a commercial studio. Well, at least someone will get the gear cheap at the auction... Picking gear is a personal and client driven thing. What works for me and my clients ain't gonna work for someone doing hip-hop or classical.

Best of luck,
Old 13th December 2002
  #7
Lives for gear
 
groundcontrol's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
DAYLIGHT! grggt ooops... Ditto the vibe thing. Also, a small machine room to put noisy stuff, multiformat (1/4+XLR-M+XLRF) patch panels at strategic places in the CR to take care of rental gear, musician's synths, etc. Good sightline communication and talkback/listenback setup's a must! Easy access/loading for the band's gear. If you're gonna have a lot of session musicians/singers coming in and out (ad production for ex.), EASY parking! Is it a tracking, a mixing studio? Plan in consequence... In any case, good acoustics!

Oh yeah, in *my* case: nice neighborhood with cafes, restos, nightlife to help break in getting OUT of the studio a couple times a day.

Just some quick thoughts. Good luck!
Old 13th December 2002
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
RSMITH123's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks for the info so far. I wouldn’t have put as much thought into the feel or vibe until now and the importance of vibe that you guys have expressed certainly helps, Thanks!

My experience has been with 2 studios in the Houston area. One was a mid range, which was under equipped to an extent and small, especially in the control room. The second was “Sunrise Sound Studios” which is one of or THE best in the Houston area.

SUNRISE

I’m including a link so you can see what I have been exposed to. If you check the link, you will see that Sunrise has an SSL, good gear, Mix+/Apogee, Good Mics, and a good amount of space. The drawback for my tastes has been how dark everything is. I see many smaller studios on line that are the same way and it makes me wonder if this is want everyone wants.

I also have visited some of the design sites and looked at some other larger studios like Joe Egan’s studio. It seems classy and is much brighter than some. His was actually a Mix cover one month.

So here (above) is my experience, not a lot. A bunch of you guys live and work in the musical Mecca’s of the world: LA, NYC, London, Nashville, and some own their own. This is why I am asking you.

I realize that my question was a little generic and greatly resembles a Newbie quest for knowledge. I seem at times to err on the side of too little info as I don’t want to bore anyone. However, I am as serious as a heart attack and this assignment may bring me close to one, if not from the stress, then maybe from the excitement. I certainly am not a newbie or ignorant but I am humble enough to admit that my experience pales to most of yours. And due to the lack of experience, I have no one here in houston to rely on for key advice. However, finding this forum and others like it have been a godsend. I have nailed down most system components and many setup questions have been answered.

Having bored you to tears by now, please allow me to restate my question:

If you were building from scratch, what qualities or even key gear would you insist on?

Ex: “Lots of light, I’m sick of dark rooms”, “Better have a VOXBOX”, “Leather couch”, “I love birch”, etc.

I did refrain from listing details so I wouldn’t put anyone to sleep. If anyone is feeling froggy and wants to see what’s what and give some advice, let me know.

I am definitely over my head but able to handle the challenge and any kind words are appreciated.

Thanks
Robert


Light, space, sightline communication, quality talkback system, easy access/parking, machine room, list and map of local amenties, lounge, outboard rack close-by, comfy chair, strategic patch panels, good computer monitor.

These are excellent and sometimes overlooked details. Thanks!!
Old 13th December 2002
  #9
Lives for gear
 
hollywood_steve's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
stuff you need

A big live room, really big, even bigger than that. With every 12 year old in America destined to have a HD pro tools rig in his bedroom within two years, the only thing a studio has going for it are features that no one has at home. And except for a few billionaires, few people have concert hall size live rooms in their bedroom studio.

If I was starting a commercial studio (meant to support me), I would spend 80% of my budget on the room. Make it the only room anyone considers in your local area for tracking. Hell, make it so special that people fly in from all over the place just to hear themselves burp in that astounding acoustical space. No home studio will ever take that away from you.

steve
[email protected]
Old 13th December 2002
  #10
Lives for gear
 
atticus's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: stuff you need

Quote:
Originally posted by hollywood_steve
A big live room, really big, even bigger than that. With every 12 year old in America destined to have a HD pro tools rig in his bedroom within two years, the only thing a studio has going for it are features that no one has at home. And except for a few billionaires, few people have concert hall size live rooms in their bedroom studio.

If I was starting a commercial studio (meant to support me), I would spend 80% of my budget on the room. Make it the only room anyone considers in your local area for tracking. Hell, make it so special that people fly in from all over the place just to hear themselves burp in that astounding acoustical space. No home studio will ever take that away from you.

steve
[email protected]
Best advice I've head in awhile. Good show!
Old 14th December 2002
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
RSMITH123's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Wow, I'll have to agree.

Have you seen the live room photo's of Egan Media? If so what do you think?

Egan Media Photos

When you say big room, do you mean twice this size and does anyone know if you can do the same acoustical treatment as in this size room or does anything BIG need to be treated as a live room only?
Old 14th December 2002
  #12
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Re: Building/Equipping new studio

Quote:
Originally posted by RSMITH123

Granted, I may not have a 300,000 SSL or Neve at the start but surely there are other things that can go a long way.

I am even appreciative of warnings with things not to do.

Thanks in advance.
No SSL or Neve?

I am in NYC, what would attract me to go to Texas to work on a DAW?


Are there kickbacks involved?

heh
Old 14th December 2002
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Steve Smith's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by RSMITH123
Wow, I'll have to agree.

Have you seen the live room photo's of Egan Media? If so what do you think?

Egan Media Photos

When you say big room, do you mean twice this size and does anyone know if you can do the same acoustical treatment as in this size room or does anything BIG need to be treated as a live room only?
You are in Texas, it is barely long distance for you to call Russ Berger Design. It is very important that you call him ( or some other designer) to make the room right. And I mean better then right.. Remember, ****ty room + phnominal gear still sounds like a ****ty room..
Old 14th December 2002
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
My advice is to send me the money because I know how to spend it.

Seriously though, get the acoustics right. Great monitoring will never hurt you. The studio business is one of listening, and it blows my mind that studios will spend thousands on mic pres and neglect the fact that their monitoring environment is lying to them. How do they know what those mic pres sound like? The advice to build a machine room is good and should be taken to heart. If you are doing Pro Tools, might I suggest that you look into projection for the display rather than a standard computer monitor. The acoustical advantages of this are great and it really cuts down on the clutter in the control room. If you spend some time getting nice sounding acoustical spaces for tracking you will be able to sell that to musicians that are most certainly being tempted to track in budget studios. Remember that clients understand vibe, not gear.
Old 15th December 2002
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
LA,

> it blows my mind that studios will spend thousands on mic pres and neglect the fact that their monitoring environment is lying to them. <

No kidding! This is the single biggest point I have been making for many years.

--Ethan
Old 15th December 2002
  #16
layout/atmosphere/qualities

I designed my studio so that at no time is a client or myself able to see a 'bare light bulb'... So if you look up, look down, look anywhere - (including the CR window, you aren't dazzled by glare...... from a spotlight or a reflection)

Fresh air i/o (it's just as important as air con)

Air con situated in the right place, (often the best place for the wall unit / themostat is OPPOSITE where all the hot gear is...)

Gear access, get to the back of stuff easy.

Old 16th December 2002
  #17
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
There are some realy cool tips out here ........ keep em coming ....





I would like to emphasize the importance of accoustics once more ..... make sure that you know what your room sounds like. There's nothing worse then a control room you can not rely blindly on ..... meaning that what you hear in there doesn't screw you when you take the recordings to the outside world
Old 16th December 2002
  #18
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by C.Lambrechts
... There's nothing worse then a control room you can not rely blindly on .....
There is ONE thing worse which is a control room or studio that you can't breathe in!
Old 16th December 2002
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
RSMITH123's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks guys, these are great tips. I greatly appreciate it. BTW, if you haven't seen the site for Russ Berger, it's a must see!

Russ Berger

Steve, thanks for the tip on above.

Patchwerks and some others look incredible.



Here's another question for any interested:
I see many places are using 5.1 systems, usually Genelecs. A lot that do this don't put additional soffit big speaker monitors up, although some still do, of course. Being that I know of know one that claims to mix on the big speakers and that a good set of genelecs will turn up loud enough, what are they good for? Is a VIBE thing to impress clients or ?
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