We are presently building a dedicated room for The Poorhouse. The room will be about 16x9x8.5 with a natural-wood floor, vaulted ceiling and 4-ply 5/8-inch dry wall construction. The room is contained within an existing room which already features 2-ply 5/8-inch drywall construction and a slab floor.
Room status and description:
July 30, 2003
Measurements of typical existing noise revealed a fairly high (60 - 70db) A-weighted noise level. Our goal was a 35db room, our dream, 30db. Mission accomplishable.
July 30, 2003
What a mess! The room is being built in what was once a garage... this is only small sample of the crap which had to be removed.
August 2, 2003
A closed-cell foam gasket is used to seal what will be the junction between the wall frame and base of the new room and the existing slab. (Can you believe this is a picture of the same corner as above?!?!)
August 2, 2003
A decision was made to retain the functionality of the existing garage door, even though the automatic opener would be removed. As such, the room, after wall width is considered, will only be about 9 feet wide. My cat insisted on posing for the picture.
August 9, 2003
Wall segments had to be constructed seperately and the lifted into place in order to get the back-facing two sheets of dry wall in place. The largest wall and frame segments were 10 feet and weighed at least 500 pounds. Uprighting the walls (they were assembled on the floor) required two people and wasn't easy.
August 11, 2003
A solid weekend of work completed three walls and the outside frame. The walls are bolted together, so as not to touch the existing structure. There is about a 2-inch airgap between the new construction and existing walls.
August 16, 2003
Our next challenge was the ceiling. An A-frame design was chosen to avoid having a parallel ceiling as well as to give some additional volume to the room.
August 16, 2003
Interior drywall was also hung after insulating the entire room with 3.5-inch fiberglass. Dave's (lead singer of Submarinehead) son helps tap framing members into place. FYI, that electrical is rough-in -- there's no current in it.
August 19, 2003
Placing the top two layers of drywall on the ceiling was a whole new kind of pain. Here I am fastening the first sheet of firerock. There was between about 20 and 8 inches of crawl space. After three hours of crawling around and smelling drywall adhesive (used for the 2nd layer, mostly) I could hardly stand once I got down. My ribs and abs were also very, very sore the next day.
August 21, 2003
The room is starting to look like... a room. The lighting pictured here was eventually abandoned for a simple track lighting fixture. Notice the studs inside the drywall; these are there to secure the inside hanging panels, but also serve to seal the room even tighter.
August 25, 2003
The insulation was installed and final sheets of drywall hung in the interior of the room, which now sounds wonderful! The process of taping and finishing the drywall will take some time. Final refinements to the door will also present some challenges.
August 30, 2003
Electrical contractors have come and installed new circuits and surface mount controls. Taping is largely complete spare some small details. The walls have three coats of joint compound applied by roller. Unexpectedly, this softened the room's sound and shortened the reverb trail.
September 8, 2003
Interior paint is complete -- 4 coats! The HVAC ducting is installed, but registers have not been selected yet. Work on subfloor is just beginning. The acoustic isolation of the room is good, but the door remains the weak link. Those spots in the photo? *dust* It's going to be hell to really clean.
September 11, 2003
The subfloor is built on 2x4 joists spaced 12" o.c. with gaps filled with sand. The deck layer is 3/4-inch particle board. The pipe at the end of the room will direct through the finish floor and into reserve areas for running audio, video, keyboard and mouse lines to the computer housed in a rack outside the room.
September 11, 2003
The subfloor is complete!
September 15, 2003
The finish floor is 1x6 tounge-and-groove cedar installed at a 45-degree angle. The choice of cedar is at least interesting -- it's incredibly soft to be using as a floor. Much of the decision was driven by the cost of real hard wood -- $35 per 1x6x8 instead of $8. Still, the cedar looks great and certainly warmed the tone of the room, both visually and audibly.
September 18, 2003
A product called BRIWAX was used to finish the floors. Since it's wax based, when the unavoidable ding from guitar amps or bass drum spurs mark the floor the finish can easily be recovered with minimal work. The finish really brings out the red color of the cedar.
September 22, 2003
Baseboard and simple crown molding have been installed as well as trim work around the door and electrical fixtures. The molding will receive a finish coat of metallic paint, as will the door casing.
October 2, 2003
With construction complete, installation of the decor and equipment begins. The control side of the studio was treated with 4 and 8-inch thick 703 fiberglass treatments -- I like a dead front side. These are covered by a thin drape hung from the walls; it is a very striking look. Most of the cabling runs through the floor in reserved areas especially for the purpose.
October 6, 2003
The installation of the recording equipment is complete.
October 7, 2003
Though the room needs some tuning -- there's slap echo and other acoustical problems in the live end of the room -- it's absolutely as quiet as I could have dreamed. Some modest work on the door and HVAC will probably gain a db or two.
In the middle of the night, when the sound level is below what my meter can measure, one can hear the "sproooong" sound of the rebar in the slab by placing an ear close to the wall. During the middle of the day, when this measurement was taken, the loudest thing in the room is often one's shirt shifting or the noise generated by adjusting a knob.May the finish work continue.... not much left 16. Room Tuning 1. 1/3-Octave test tone measurements 2. Sweep tone measurements 3. Pink/white noise measurements 4. Impusle response measurements 5. Treatments as necessary