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Building a studio from scratch

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For the first time in my life, I am in a position to have my own dedicated studio space. Up until now I've had to share a space with somebody who doesn't do music stuff (so I can't treat the space) and also I haven't had access to it at all times. Right now I'm sharing with my wife who uses the space for her office as a real estate appraiser for ~8 hours per day.


I'm moving into a house, and I have space in the backyard to build a dedicated studio building. Some family members have agreed to help me build the thing, so I really only have to pay for materials. I have some plans for the acoustic treatment (mainly how to build those myself), but nothing set in stone yet.

The purpose of this studio will be mostly for recording brass instruments (primarily French horn). I am wanting to treat the space with this in mind. It'll most likely be a 19'x13' space. I can make it smaller, but not bigger. I would prefer not to make it smaller, as small spaces are not only harder to play in for brass instruments, but also make the sound less than desirable, and harder to work with (especially with horn).

Does anybody have any things I should consider, any advice, etc? Has anybody built a studio from the ground up and can offer things they learned? Are there any quality of life or convenience things that I should consider?

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I have no personal experience with ground-up construction, but know a few basics about acoustics that may help some.

First thing, consider using cement flooring (rather than plyboard) and cinderblock filled with sand for walls, rather than your more typical wood frame + siding/drywall/corrugate approach to sheds and so forth. More mass = less vibration, and helps isolate sound much better. Not sure about what an equivalent roofing solution would be on this scale.

If possible, avoid 90 degree angles in the interior space, which make standing waves easier to accumulate. Doesn’t have to be drastic, a slight trapezoid or parallelogram shape should help.

Lastly, maybe consider going windowless, or otherwise use double (or triple?) panes. Again, for sound isolation. Might be overkill depending on if your neighbors are decent and you actually have some reasonable space between one another. I’m operating from the assumption that neither are true.

That’s all I got. Good luck man, this will be a hell of an undertaking, but will feel awesome when you finish it!

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I will say that in Texas, cement is the default, and in this case, I don't think the city of Midland will allow it without a cement base. So that is a check.

Cinderblock filled with sand is not something I've considered, as I didn't know that was an option. But I will definitely look into it, especially in regards to how it works with unusual geometry.

The windowless thing was something I was aiming to do, but I'm a bit hesitant. I may have a single window that's really thick, just for sunlight purposes. Don't want my space to be THAT isolated form the rest of the world now.

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