Project Mancave

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pushedbutton
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Post 26 Jul 2021

I've been with my girlfriend for 2 years, we've be talking about moving in together but there's not really any room for my stuff in her house and she's doesn't really want to move.
What we're likely to do is expand on what she's got a little and build a little mancave in the back garden that I can use as a studio/gaming room. There's not a huge amount of room but we want to build it to last and be comfortable through the seasons. With me obviously being a professional musician with exacting requirements I'd like to make sure the acoustics are dampened as much as possible.
Budget wise it's not a millionaires potting shed but at the same time I want it to look good and do the job.
Just looking for some general ideas and points to consider at the moment. Feel free to chip in. This could take a while.
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guitfnky
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Post 26 Jul 2021

if you’re building from scratch for the express purpose of music, do some research on how to design for good room acoustics. it’ll probably be a little easier since you’re not converting an existing box-shaped room. you’ll need less treatment if you’ve got a well-designed room to start with.
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plaamook
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Post 26 Jul 2021

pushedbutton wrote:
26 Jul 2021
I've been with my girlfriend for 2 years, we've be talking about moving in together but there's not really any room for my stuff in her house and she's doesn't really want to move.
What we're likely to do is expand on what she's got a little and build a little mancave in the back garden that I can use as a studio/gaming room. There's not a huge amount of room but we want to build it to last and be comfortable through the seasons. With me obviously being a professional musician with exacting requirements I'd like to make sure the acoustics are dampened as much as possible.
Budget wise it's not a millionaires potting shed but at the same time I want it to look good and do the job.
Just looking for some general ideas and points to consider at the moment. Feel free to chip in. This could take a while.
Where do you live? What materials are you likely to use?
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You can check out my music here.
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EdwardKiy
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Post 26 Jul 2021

Use something like this (its free - https://planner5d.com/) to get a rough sketch of what you can get with the space you have. Plaamook asked the more important questions - based on your climate, you may be forced into certain types of materials/amount of insulation, which will define how much space you will get in the end, then add the space needed for sound diffusors or dampening on the inside. Also, if your garden is on the East or South side, you may want to think about planting some trees or create some shade otherwise so your small studio doesn't become a sauna during the summer etc and also think about fencing off from noise sources (roads/neighbours , , , )

The absolute best option is a "Room inside a room" (two walls with an air gap in-between) studio, which makes it sound proof, but that also happens to be the most expensive option, as well as taking up the most space; a log house has 40cm+ walls + space for diffusors/dampeners - things like these should be considered.

You can then check how it will look in a 3D tour, then based on that you can think if it's in your budget to get a proper project etc.

Best of luck!

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pushedbutton
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Post 26 Jul 2021

I'm in the UK so we get more cold winters than hot summers.
Not really committed to materials but wood and glass would be in keeping with the location. Don't really like plastic or sheet metal.
We probably will be looking at double walling for an air gap - at least for a recording booth if not the whole structure. The location is on the cooler side of the garden. Digging down for the foundations shouldn't be an issue.
@pushedbutton on twitter, add me, send me a message, but don't try to sell me stuff cos I'm skint.
Using Reason since version 3 and still never finished a song.

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DaveyG
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Post 27 Jul 2021

Some pointers, but expect this article to send you off down the rabbit hole:

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... oom-design

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raymondh
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Post 27 Jul 2021

A few random thoughts from my own experiences (more with home theatre than studios);
- There's a big difference between sound proofing and sound dampening. You can have one without the other, so when you look at materials that deliver one of these, don't assume it will deliver the other.
- You can over-dampen. If you are looking at wall panels that absorb sound (=dampening, not proofing), don't cover all four walls. If you kill the ambience, (1) it will psychologically sound awful and (2) you will find yourself playing music much louder without noticing it, thus hurting your ears.
- Angles are good. Avoid parallel walls if you can. A sloping [suspended?] ceiling also good. Just to help avoid those nasty reflections.
- Try to make the room vermin proof. You can pack sound-proofing insulation into all the cavities in the walls and ceilings and it is wonderful to start with, until a couple of years later where rats have taken up residence, moved all the insulation around and created air space. Sound is a bit like water, it finds its way through the weakest link in your system.

Good luck, and look forward to the pics once you're set up!

Sterioevo
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Post 27 Jul 2021

I have been through the process recently and built a studio in a shed, on a budget. And it works well for my purposes.

I referenced this book quite a bit - "Home Recording Studio : Build It Like the Pros" - by Rod Gervais, when planning.

Being on a budget does compromise some of the more detailed designs but there are always ways to achieve the desired result if you think outside the box - with materials and methods.

As a rule of thumb if you can soundproof the room for 85db you can do mixing work at any time and not disturb others, and not get fatigued after extended periods. Obviously vocal booths and instruments require more investment if you want to be able crank these at times when other people are sleeping and what not. Building a room within a room, and separating structural elements with sound absorbing materials, is a good approach for this.

Happy to discuss and add to the conversation.

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plaamook
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Location: Abajo del mar...

Post 27 Jul 2021

Ok. In that case I’d look into building a shed basically out of timber frame and insulate the hell out of it, ceiling walls and floor. Double plasterboard the interior with green glue (google it) in between layers. Since you’re not butting up against anything you don’t need to think in terms of floating ceilings and so on.
Unless you really need to drive the hell out of your system (like a club) but within reason the double plasterboard should do it on the cheap.

I only built one studio for a chap to a professional spec from an acoustic engineer in the U.K. Based on all that I learned from that, that’s my recommendation.
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plaamook
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Post 27 Jul 2021

Mind you, what I said above it to do with sound proofing not internal acoustics.
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You can check out my music here.
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Sterioevo
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Post 27 Jul 2021

Yes I did the green glue thing. But I have saved on the proprietary costs by using silicone at $2/tube rather than Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound at $40/tube.

And I did the room within a room. I built a timber stud frame sitting on a yellow tongue chipboard flooring. This sits on a slab and has no direct contact with the shed that is made of timber and corrugated iron. I put blanket on the ceiling (parking sided insulation used in roofing. I sheeted the outside of the walls and have left the inside framing exposed - space is a premium and the suds interfere with elections. I have used some soundproofing dampeners on the walls.

The room is oddly shaped with an angled skillion roof, with a sort of cavity shaped space with a reverse cycle A/C in the wall. It is a good idea to interfere with box shapes and ratios if possible.

I have done some room analysis with a reference mic (presonus) and discovered some problem frequency areas.

On a seperate occasion I used flooring on walls and stuck carpet which was effective in terms of density and deadening the room.

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selig
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Post 28 Jul 2021

I just converted a garage into my studio space over the past year. My conditions: no neighbors closer than 1/4 mile, existing wood frame construction on slab foundation, exposed rafters to a pitched roof. Concerns - isolation is not a major concern, but I went with 5/8” drywall and spray foam insulation all around. We also consolidated the rafters into beams by moving every 2 rafters over to join with the third to become exposed “beams”. Floor was leveled and hardwood installed. I didn’t install double windows or doors because isolation is not a concern - my neighbors can’t bother me and I can’t bother them. Still, I can blast music and you can barely hear it in the house 20’ away connected by a breezeway so I can go between studio and house without rain/snow issues. I typically don’t blast music at loud levels, but I do have my full drum kit and guitar amps that are well contained to levels that work in this rural setting.
Happy to answer specific questions about build, dimensions, treatments, etc.
Selig Audio, LLC

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pushedbutton
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Post 28 Jul 2021

Thanks everyone for the feedback, I'll be getting something built from scratch but all your ideas will help me to decide on the design. interesting idea to avoid straight lines, I've got about 16" x 8" to play with so a rectangular shape would make the most of the space but if I can make it more of a capsule design that might be fun too.
@pushedbutton on twitter, add me, send me a message, but don't try to sell me stuff cos I'm skint.
Using Reason since version 3 and still never finished a song.

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plaamook
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Post 28 Jul 2021

Sterioevo wrote:
27 Jul 2021
Yes I did the green glue thing. But I have saved on the proprietary costs by using silicone at $2/tube rather than Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound at $40/tube.
Im not sure about the silicone. I questioned the green glue as well at the time but I behaves very differently to silicone. It’s not just green silicone for sure.
I’ve nothing to compare it to. I just followed the spec from a very highly regarded acoustic chap who swore by it and everything worked very well, but this was in a middle floor flat with a sprung ceiling and floor.
In the U.K. it’s only about £13 a tube so not that bad for a small space.
If there are no neighbours close by it might make sense to seek lite alternatives. Dunno.
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raymondh
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Post 28 Jul 2021

selig wrote:
28 Jul 2021
I just converted a garage into my studio space over the past year. My conditions: no neighbors closer than 1/4 mile, existing wood frame construction on slab foundation, exposed rafters to a pitched roof. Concerns - isolation is not a major concern, but I went with 5/8” drywall and spray foam insulation all around. We also consolidated the rafters into beams by moving every 2 rafters over to join with the third to become exposed “beams”. Floor was leveled and hardwood installed. I didn’t install double windows or doors because isolation is not a concern - my neighbors can’t bother me and I can’t bother them. Still, I can blast music and you can barely hear it in the house 20’ away connected by a breezeway so I can go between studio and house without rain/snow issues. I typically don’t blast music at loud levels, but I do have my full drum kit and guitar amps that are well contained to levels that work in this rural setting.
Happy to answer specific questions about build, dimensions, treatments, etc.
And it looks absolutely incredible!

Sterioevo
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Post 28 Jul 2021

plaamook wrote:
28 Jul 2021

Im not sure about the silicone. I questioned the green glue as well at the time but I behaves very differently to silicone. It’s not just green silicone for sure.
I’ve nothing to compare it to. I just followed the spec from a very highly regarded acoustic chap who swore by it and everything worked very well, but this was in a middle floor flat with a sprung ceiling and floor.
In the U.K. it’s only about £13 a tube so not that bad for a small space.
If there are no neighbours close by it might make sense to seek lite alternatives. Dunno.
One of the main considerations when glueing sheets together is to create sealed air pockets that trap the sound, This can be achieved effectively with silicone, and the hardware store happened to have boxes on sale - I used 60 tubes of silicone overall (I also made sections of framing that I siliconed together, rather than tape joining the sheets - which happens to be another green glue product). With a background in building this was an easy decision for me to make. And it is a recognised alternative.
In my experiences when looking into the detailed specifications of products and their performance, I found that in many cases the marketed benefits were relatively small in the bigger scheme of things. Have a look at the performance of gyprock/drywall sheeting as compared acoustic/sound check sheeting. From memory it performed around 10% better, but the price differential was more than 40% - Products may be different in your location. https://www.soundblock.com.au/document/download/8
Budget was the limiting factor in my case.

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plaamook
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Location: Abajo del mar...

Post 28 Jul 2021

Sterioevo wrote:
28 Jul 2021
plaamook wrote:
28 Jul 2021

Im not sure about the silicone. I questioned the green glue as well at the time but I behaves very differently to silicone. It’s not just green silicone for sure.
I’ve nothing to compare it to. I just followed the spec from a very highly regarded acoustic chap who swore by it and everything worked very well, but this was in a middle floor flat with a sprung ceiling and floor.
In the U.K. it’s only about £13 a tube so not that bad for a small space.
If there are no neighbours close by it might make sense to seek lite alternatives. Dunno.
One of the main considerations when glueing sheets together is to create sealed air pockets that trap the sound, This can be achieved effectively with silicone, and the hardware store happened to have boxes on sale - I used 60 tubes of silicone overall (I also made sections of framing that I siliconed together, rather than tape joining the sheets - which happens to be another green glue product). With a background in building this was an easy decision for me to make. And it is a recognised alternative.
In my experiences when looking into the detailed specifications of products and their performance, I found that in many cases the marketed benefits were relatively small in the bigger scheme of things. Have a look at the performance of gyprock/drywall sheeting as compared acoustic/sound check sheeting. From memory it performed around 10% better, but the price differential was more than 40% - Products may be different in your location. https://www.soundblock.com.au/document/download/8
Budget was the limiting factor in my case.
I’m sure your right.
I just wasn’t sure whether there was an aspect of the green gunk that provided a bit more bounce or something. It doesn’t dry as hard as silicone, it stays way more gummy. So much so I was concerned about getting any kind of decent finish over the top of it. But, they decided to sell up five years later and convert the room back so they called me in to remove it all and when I got there it all still looked great. Didn’t crack out etc.
I hated the stuff to be perfectly honest but that was the job.
Also there was a lot of money being thrown around so no one was that bothered about cheaper alternatives but I’m sure there’s a few ways of going about it all.
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You can check out my music here.
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selig
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Post 29 Jul 2021

pushedbutton wrote:
28 Jul 2021
Thanks everyone for the feedback, I'll be getting something built from scratch but all your ideas will help me to decide on the design. interesting idea to avoid straight lines, I've got about 16" x 8" to play with so a rectangular shape would make the most of the space but if I can make it more of a capsule design that might be fun too.
Random tips…
100% build a rectangle - angled walls are complex and easier to get it wrong, both in the calculation phase and in the constructions phase - plus it will add to the overall expense even if you get it 100% right (a which would likely require hiring someone to do the math). Rectangles make the math and the solutions much easier and make the most of a small space. Leave room in the budget for acoustic treatments- important!.
Decide if you need isolation or just one big room (I went with one big room, no regrets).
Avoid multiples such as 8x16, especially if your ceiling height is also 8’!
Check out sites like this that allow you to enter room dimensions and compare results.
https://amcoustics.com/tools/amroc?l=16 ... ue&r60=0.6
Selig Audio, LLC

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pushedbutton
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Location: Lancashire, UK

Post 29 Jul 2021

selig wrote:
29 Jul 2021

Random tips…
100% build a rectangle - angled walls are complex and easier to get it wrong, both in the calculation phase and in the constructions phase - plus it will add to the overall expense even if you get it 100% right (a which would likely require hiring someone to do the math). Rectangles make the math and the solutions much easier and make the most of a small space. Leave room in the budget for acoustic treatments- important!.
Decide if you need isolation or just one big room (I went with one big room, no regrets).
Avoid multiples such as 8x16, especially if your ceiling height is also 8’!
Check out sites like this that allow you to enter room dimensions and compare results.
https://amcoustics.com/tools/amroc?l=16 ... ue&r60=0.6
OK Thanks.
To be real I would just need a place to record vocals, that can be a box the size of a shower cubicle, that's where I'd like some dead air. The rest of the place can less aggressively dampened - as long as it's not annoying the neighbours. Chances are if it's got double glazed windows and doors and it built to withstand an all year round climate I don't think I'll need to go to great lengths to treat the rest of the room.
I had a look at that tool and tried to take the 'bolt area' into consideration. Perhaps a well sealed partition wall between the work space and the vocal booth would help me to achieve a 3.5ft(l) by 5ft(W) by 7.5(h) vocal booth and if i had a slightly higher than standard ceiling I could have a room that is 12ft(l) by 6ft(w) by 8.3ft(h) with a little space for storage next to the booth.
I am I right in assuming that when you start filling the room with soft furnishings and various pieces of equipment all these calculations go out of the window? :)
@pushedbutton on twitter, add me, send me a message, but don't try to sell me stuff cos I'm skint.
Using Reason since version 3 and still never finished a song.

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selig
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Post 29 Jul 2021

pushedbutton wrote:
29 Jul 2021
selig wrote:
29 Jul 2021

Random tips…
100% build a rectangle - angled walls are complex and easier to get it wrong, both in the calculation phase and in the constructions phase - plus it will add to the overall expense even if you get it 100% right (a which would likely require hiring someone to do the math). Rectangles make the math and the solutions much easier and make the most of a small space. Leave room in the budget for acoustic treatments- important!.
Decide if you need isolation or just one big room (I went with one big room, no regrets).
Avoid multiples such as 8x16, especially if your ceiling height is also 8’!
Check out sites like this that allow you to enter room dimensions and compare results.
https://amcoustics.com/tools/amroc?l=16 ... ue&r60=0.6
OK Thanks.
To be real I would just need a place to record vocals, that can be a box the size of a shower cubicle, that's where I'd like some dead air. The rest of the place can less aggressively dampened - as long as it's not annoying the neighbours. Chances are if it's got double glazed windows and doors and it built to withstand an all year round climate I don't think I'll need to go to great lengths to treat the rest of the room.
I had a look at that tool and tried to take the 'bolt area' into consideration. Perhaps a well sealed partition wall between the work space and the vocal booth would help me to achieve a 3.5ft(l) by 5ft(W) by 7.5(h) vocal booth and if i had a slightly higher than standard ceiling I could have a room that is 12ft(l) by 6ft(w) by 8.3ft(h) with a little space for storage next to the booth.
I am I right in assuming that when you start filling the room with soft furnishings and various pieces of equipment all these calculations go out of the window? :)
Adding furnishings adds diffusion and absorption (a studio sofa is handy for that, or a bed!), both of which do more good than bad. A totally empty room is probably the worst case, unless you are building a live echo chamber of course…
Quick question - do you work alone? If so, ditch the vocal booth and just treat a corner of the room - the dimensions you're talking about are going to feel small. Or at least see if you can get more than 8' wide, at least 10' would be very handy - and I'm assuming you're talking internal measurements here?
Selig Audio, LLC

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pushedbutton
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Post 29 Jul 2021

I know it's going to be a bit of a squeeze to get the booth in there but my GF has a good voice so I'd like to work with her. Perhaps I can do some sort of folding box design to have it spread flat against the wall when it's movie night.

To clarify the 3.5ft(l) by 5ft(W) by 7.5(h) vocal booth wouldn't be inside the 12ft(l) by 6ft(w) by 8.3ft(h) room, they would both just about fit in 16ft by 8ft, but I will see about squeezing a larger footprint out of the project, maybe an L shaped protrusion for the booth.
@pushedbutton on twitter, add me, send me a message, but don't try to sell me stuff cos I'm skint.
Using Reason since version 3 and still never finished a song.

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selig
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Post 31 Jul 2021

pushedbutton wrote:
29 Jul 2021
I know it's going to be a bit of a squeeze to get the booth in there but my GF has a good voice so I'd like to work with her. Perhaps I can do some sort of folding box design to have it spread flat against the wall when it's movie night.

To clarify the 3.5ft(l) by 5ft(W) by 7.5(h) vocal booth wouldn't be inside the 12ft(l) by 6ft(w) by 8.3ft(h) room, they would both just about fit in 16ft by 8ft, but I will see about squeezing a larger footprint out of the project, maybe an L shaped protrusion for the booth.
What you may come up against with a booth that small is installing treatments to deal with it sounding boxy. Take away 6-12” for treatments and you’ll have a dead “coffin” for vocals. In every studio I’ve ever worked at, final vocals were always recorded in the main room or even in the control room. Booths were only used during tracking…
I do vocals “out on the floor” at my studio as well, using a few standing baffles to control sound if they are even needed. Being able to see each other, and talk to each other directly (if you can’t hear the mic, for example) is very helpful for vocals. Even in my 20x30ish room I didn’t feel I had the space or the need for a booth! Just grab some phones and record!
Issues:
Building a booth that doesn’t feel or sound claustrophobic at those sizes is difficult if not impossible, cost can exceed benefits, having a booth that’s not 100% useful not only costs you in $$ but you also give up valuable space when you consider walls and treatments, you’re not likely to hear an improvement with the booth over the main space and in fact it’s will very likely sound worse, and it certainly won’t make the vocalist feel too excited to record in a dark dead closet.
My bottom line - save your money (and headaches) don’t build the booth and put that money towards the main space which will probably eat up any extra cash anyway (the nature of construction)!
Selig Audio, LLC

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raymondh
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Post 31 Jul 2021

selig wrote:
31 Jul 2021
pushedbutton wrote:
29 Jul 2021
I know it's going to be a bit of a squeeze to get the booth in there but my GF has a good voice so I'd like to work with her. Perhaps I can do some sort of folding box design to have it spread flat against the wall when it's movie night.

To clarify the 3.5ft(l) by 5ft(W) by 7.5(h) vocal booth wouldn't be inside the 12ft(l) by 6ft(w) by 8.3ft(h) room, they would both just about fit in 16ft by 8ft, but I will see about squeezing a larger footprint out of the project, maybe an L shaped protrusion for the booth.
What you may come up against with a booth that small is installing treatments to deal with it sounding boxy. Take away 6-12” for treatments and you’ll have a dead “coffin” for vocals. In every studio I’ve ever worked at, final vocals were always recorded in the main room or even in the control room. Booths were only used during tracking…
I do vocals “out on the floor” at my studio as well, using a few standing baffles to control sound if they are even needed. Being able to see each other, and talk to each other directly (if you can’t hear the mic, for example) is very helpful for vocals. Even in my 20x30ish room I didn’t feel I had the space or the need for a booth! Just grab some phones and record!
Issues:
Building a booth that doesn’t feel or sound claustrophobic at those sizes is difficult if not impossible, cost can exceed benefits, having a booth that’s not 100% useful not only costs you in $$ but you also give up valuable space when you consider walls and treatments, you’re not likely to hear an improvement with the booth over the main space and in fact it’s will very likely sound worse, and it certainly won’t make the vocalist feel too excited to record in a dark dead closet.
My bottom line - save your money (and headaches) don’t build the booth and put that money towards the main space which will probably eat up any extra cash anyway (the nature of construction)!
Haha the problem is real! Check this out...


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motuscott
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Post 31 Jul 2021

!00% silicon caulk stays flexible after it dries.
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bitley
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Post 31 Jul 2021

Isn't rebuilding a house more complex and stressful than getting a readily made kit for a small separate unit you might place a short walk from her house? Another solution (if you have a company?) would perhaps be to rent an office / studio in the nearby surroundings. As such it'd also be a company property & perhaps better "going to the work" than "hiding in the attic" :-)

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