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The Westside Warriors Mixtape

September 9th 2014

The Robert Hunter Cup will be played in Perth at Steel Blue Oval, Bassendean on the 25th of October and it will be the final one! Make sure you get down! Also get this free warriors mixtape by donating to our Make-a-Wish team here

September 26th 2013

RA The Rugged Man records at Shake Down Studio!

Cheers to Gav Bentley from Down Under Ground Events for the hook up!

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July 17th 2013

Shake Down Studio is finally complete!

Before:

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After: IMG_7362

STUDIO BUILD

This is a blog describing the process that we undertook to build my recording studio over 3 months in early 2013. My Dad and I built it ourselves in an existing building which was a car workshop behind my house. By no means is this a tutorial on the best way to build a studio, but more an in depth look at how we designed and constructed my studio, and the problems we encountered.

PREPARING THE ROOM

When we were originally looking at properties at the end of 2012 we already had in mind that I would use part of the property to work in as a recording studio. We found that most houses had either a decent space for a studio within the main residence of the house or had a smaller detached building behind the house. The problem with using a room within the house area is obviously noise carrying through the house as well as security because clients would have to walk through my house to get to my business. The problem with most external buildings is that they’re generally made as sheds and aren’t very “sound proof”. When we saw my property for the first time what appealed to me about the potential studio space was that it was an existing brick building, and also that it was used as a car workshop which meant there was sufficient power already run from the power box. The other benefit about using a car workshop is the pit. Once filled, it serves as the ultimate bass trap and prevents bass travelling outside of the room almost completely. It also had a sloped roof which is of great benefit acoustically. Our suspended ceiling matches the slope of the roof.

As you can see it needed a pretty good clean up. There were all kinds of fixtures dynabolted into the walls which needed removing.

As you can see it needed a pretty good clean up. There were all kinds of fixtures dynabolted into the walls which needed removing.

The Pit:

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Laying Bricks:

The Workshop had 2 giant sliding garage doors on the front and side. The side one was fine because that would become the office/storage for the studio, but a massive hole by the front door isn’t the best for sound proofing so we had to brick it up.

In order to brick the wall up we had to make the ground level. This was done with some concrete.

In order to brick the wall up we had to make the ground level. This was done with some concrete.

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The Wall

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Sealing The Gaps/Holes:

Before we put the stud walls up we made sure any leaks or gaps were sealed. Bunnings sell foam that is designed to fill the gaps of corrugated roofing and we used ‘No More Gaps’ to fill the remainder of the holes. Luckily we experienced a big storm and managed to find some leaks in the roof and in the outside window.

Corrugated roofs: Not so sound proof

Corrugated roofs: Not so sound proof

Cram the foam in and gunk it up real good with No More Gaps

Cram the foam in and gunk it up real good with No More Gaps

The outside window was sealed with bitumen and another window was placed outside of it.

The outside window was sealed with bitumen and another window was placed outside of it.

The roof had a couple of leaks so we ran some more flashing down it

The roof had a couple of leaks so we ran some more flashing down it

Stud Walls and Framing:

The framing was done fairly quickly. We separated the room into a control room, a recording room and an office. When I was in Adelaide last I sat down with DJ Flagrant who drew out a rough plan for me. rob shaker studio color

The room was basically 6 x 7 metres. The hyperlink diagram gives you the idea. We built the middle wall first, then the front wall, the recording room walls, and then the left and back control room walls. We decided to use 90 x 45mm H2 treated pine for the wall framing with 600mm spacing. The noggins (horizontal bits of timber that space the studs apart) were measured 1200mm from the top, then 1200mm from the bottom on every alternating stud. This was so we didn’t have to cut the insulation too much because they come in 1200mm standard lengths and also every second stud would have a noggin that would fix to the edge of a sheet of gyprock. Dad figured out the slope of the existing roof and made a formula to calculate the same slope for our walls.

2 important things regarding sound proofing when making a timber frame for a studio:

1) Make sure there is jointing foam (or other damping foam) between any structure resting against the existing building. i.e. floor joists and the bottom of stud walls.

2) There is conflicting information on this, but we advise not to dynabolt the structure to the ground. Limit the opportunity for sound to transfer as much as possible.

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The idea of building a stud wall inside an existing brick building is called a "room within a room" design. None of the walls, ceiling or floor are connected the outside structure. The void between the 2 structures is called a resilient channel which basically means there is little to no transfer of signal from one room to another. To maintain even spacing between the stud wall and existing wall we measured 90 mm spacers which we put between the 2 walls. Once the frames are finished the spacers are removed and structure once fixed to itself should be evenly spaced from the brick wall. Pictured here are some spacers as well as string tied behind the studs to prevent the insulation from moving once installed.

The idea of building a stud wall inside an existing brick building is called a “room within a room” design. None of the walls, ceiling or floor are connected to the outside structure. The void between the 2 structures is called a resilient channel which basically means there is little to no transfer of signal from one room to another. To maintain even spacing between the stud wall and existing wall we measured 90 mm spacers which we put between the 2 walls. Once the frames are finished the spacers are removed and structure once fixed to itself should be evenly spaced from the brick wall. Pictured here are some spacers as well as string tied behind the studs to prevent the insulation from moving once installed.

Insulation:

Before talking about the ceiling I’d like to explain the insulation. It is the most effective form of sound reduction in the walls, ceilings and floor, but there are many other elements of ‘sound proofing’ used in the room. The term ‘sound proof” is a bit of a crock anyway because nothing is really sound proof. All you can do is limit the transfer of sound as much as possible, hopefully to a level which is inaudible outside.

There are a few types of insulation: Some are made of fibreglass or glass wool, and mineral or rock wool. In other countries rock wool is the most commonly used type of insulation because its extremely effective for reducing sound and is fairly affordable. In Australia it is only available in industrial quantities and is fairly expensive and other types of insulation are preferred because they are safer to work with. Even so it’s extremely important to wear masks, glasses, gloves and long sleeve shirts when working with any insulation. If you do some research you can find the absorption coefficients of all of the different types of insulation. They all have similar acoustic and thermal properties, but some are slightly better at absorbing different frequencies. For this reason I chose to use both types of insulation for different applications:

Earthwool is available from bunnings and is a very affordable effective form of insulation. Perfect for in wall and ceiling applications. We used R2.5 90 x 1160 x 580mm for the walls which is Knauff's acoustic insulation, and R2.0 75 x 1160 x 460mm for ceilings and floors. It's not as thick and as effective as absorbing sound, but we limited the thickness of the insulation to gain some  more floor to ceiling height. Earthwool is a fibreglass hybrid.

Earthwool is available from bunnings and is a very affordable effective form of insulation. Perfect for in wall and ceiling/floor applications. We used R2.5 90 x 1160 x 580mm for the walls which is Knauff’s acoustic insulation, and R2.0 75 x 1160 x 460mm for ceilings and floors. It’s not as thick and as effective as absorbing sound, but we limited the thickness of the insulation to gain some more floor to ceiling height. Earthwool is a fibreglass hybrid.

Pictured here Bradford Soundscreen mineral wool hybrid (top) and Knauff Earthwool Acoustic Glasswool hybrid (bottom)

Pictured here Bradford Soundscreen mineral wool hybrid (top) and Knauff Earthwool Acoustic Glasswool hybrid (bottom)

Bradford Soundscreen is a much better choice to use for the acoustic panels because its a bit more rigid and can absorb lower frequencies. I made most of the broadband acoustic panels out of 75mm x 1200mm which was 460 and 580 mm wide Soundscreen and the bass traps were made out of the 110mm x 1200mm x 580mm stuff.

Bradford Soundscreen is a much better choice to use for the acoustic panels because its a bit more rigid and can absorb lower frequencies. I made most of the broadband acoustic panels out of 75mm x 1200mm which was 460 and 580 mm wide Soundscreen and the bass traps were made out of the 110mm x 1200mm x 580mm stuff.

It's important to remember when installing insulation to not compress the batts. The absorption works best when they are uncompressed so your joist and stud spacing is fairly important so that the batts form fit into place. It's time consuming to trim them when you have so many to install.

It’s important to remember when installing insulation to not compress the batts. The absorption works best when they are uncompressed so your joist and stud spacing is fairly important so that the batts form fit into place. It’s time consuming to trim them when you have so many to install.

The 2 doors to outside must also be stuffed with insulation.

The 2 doors to outside must also be stuffed with insulation.

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Suspended Ceiling:

The suspended ceiling is suspended by the stud wall and is not attached to the existing ceiling. For the ceiling joists we decided to use 120 x 45mm H2 pine which was simply suspended on the wall frame at 450mm spacing. The ceiling is angled down towards the speaker end of the control room to reduce reflections so we had to take care when resting the joists on the wall frame that they retained their angle. IMG_6733 IMG_6734 IMG_6735

There were some existing joists to support the roof so we were careful to avoid them to maintain the resilient channel.

There were some existing joists to support the roof so we were careful to avoid them to maintain the resilient channel.

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Furring channels

Furring channels

Me cutting furring channels with an angle grinder.

Me cutting furring channels with an angle grinder.

Furring channels

Furring channels

These little buggers are called "Resilimounts". They are about 8 bucks each and most studio need hundreds of them. They are used to attach the furring channels to which attach to the ceiling and wall gyprock and work as suspension and help in limiting the transfer of sound from one surface to another.

These little buggers are called “Resilimounts”. They are about 8 bucks each and most studios need hundreds of them. They are used to attach the furring channels to which attach to the ceiling and wall gyprock and work as suspension and help in limiting the transfer of sound from one surface to another.

Massive thanks to my Dad Ken who bought the ceiling for my birthday.

Massive thanks to my Dad Ken who bought the ceiling for my birthday.

Ceiling Gyprock:

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We used a ceiling lift to install the ceiling sheets of Gyrpock.

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We put about 1200 plaster board screws into this studio. Fortunately we could use the same screws fr the furring channel as the studs. Add about 1500 timber screws and I reckon it probably won't collapse.

We put about 1200 plaster board screws into this studio. Fortunately we could use the same screws for the furring channel as the studs. Add a couple of thousand timber screws and I reckon it probably won’t collapse.

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The ceiling seems a whole lot lower now! 13mm Gyprock + Furring channel + Resilimount + 110mm joists + 100mm void = almost 40 cm lower.

The ceiling seems a whole lot lower now! 13mm Gyprock + Furring channel + Resilimount + 110mm joists + 100mm void = almost 40 cm lower.

The recording room ceiling was installed flush against the joists with no resilient mount or furring channel. We decided to give the room higher ceilings for better acoustics and to allow for people standing in the recoding room as apposed to sitting in the control room.

The recording room ceiling was installed flush against the joists with no resilient mount or furring channel. We decided to give the room higher ceilings for better acoustics and to allow for people standing in the recording room as opposed to sitting in the control room.

Floating Floor:

The flooring timber consists of 70 x 35mm H2 treated pine resting on zipped jointing foam. The jointing foam acts as a dampener and plays a huge part in the reduction of sound transfer. We spaced the joists 450mm apart with the noggins 1200mm apart to allow for the insulation. 75 x 480 x 1160mm R 2.0 Knauff Earthwool was used with 19mm ‘Tongue In Groove’ particle board laid on top of it. It’s really important to not fasten the joists to the existing floor and instead screw nail them on angles into the bottom of the stud walls.

The jointing foam has to be glued to the bottom of the joists before laying them. We used "Ultranails".. Horrible stuff, but amazingly strong construction glue.

The jointing foam has to be glued to the bottom of the joists before laying them. We used “Ultranails”.. Horrible stuff, but amazingly strong construction glue.

We used 450mm noggins every 1200mm to ensure the joists were parallel. Clamping them helps when screwing them in.

We used 450mm noggins every 1200mm to ensure the joists were parallel. Clamping them helps when screwing them in.

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Laying Cables:

At this point we ran the cables through the walls and floor. We chiselled grooves out of the tops of the joists to allow for the power and signal cables, making sure that they were never intersecting or running close to each other. I ran a 8 x XLR loom from where the desk would be in the control room to the recording room and fashioned a mount out of spare H2 pine for the stage box. I also ran 2 XLRs under the floor from where the desk would be to the right side of the room where the turntable setup would be. The power and light cables were run from where the existing mixed circuit entered the room in the recording room behind the stud walls. To reduce sound transfer through the ceiling, the lights are fixed to the walls except for in the recording room.

Power and signal cables should be run no where near each other.

Power and signal cables should be run no where near each other.

We had to put a sheet of TNG down to avoid falling into the pit.

We had to put a sheet of TNG down to avoid falling into the pit.

The mount I made for the stage box in the recording room

The mount I made for the stage box in the recording room

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This is what the stagebox looks like after plastering and painting. I think the stained Tasmanian Oak beading is a nice touch.

This is what the stagebox looks like after plastering and painting. I think the stained Tasmanian Oak beading is a nice touch.

Once the insulation was placed and the cables were run we installed the 'Tongue in Groove' 19mm particle board. I must have used a thousand timber screws in the floor being careful to avoid where cables were.

Once the insulation was placed and the cables were run we installed the ‘Tongue in Groove’ 19mm particle board. I must have used a thousand timber screws in the floor and was extra careful to avoid where the cables were.

Wall Gyprock:

For all of the walls we used 2 layers of Gyprock. The first layer was 13mm Supaceil and the 2nd layer was 10mm. We used something called ‘Quiet Glue’ which is a viscoelastic glue used between the layers and acts as another form of damping to reduce sound transfer. It’s an amazing adhesive which has to be seen to be believed and is quite expensive. We used $600 worth just for the control room. The most popular brand is called ‘Green Glue’ and is slightly more expensive, but they essentially do the same thing. There are 2 benefits of the glue: It retains the sound inside the room and prevents transfer through the walls to outsude. For more information on the glue click here.

Cutting Gyprock is easy. After it's measured you cut the front of with a Stanley knife, then simply snap if and cut the back.

Cutting Gyprock is easy. After it’s measured you cut the front of it with a Stanley knife, then simply snap it and cut the back.

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We used 2400 x 1200mm sheets of Gyprock because they are fairly easy to handle. We used some off cuts as spacers above the floor and used plaster screws to fix them into the studs and noggins where possible. The butt edges always should meet on a stud, but a butt joint can be used where they don't. This is where an off cut of Gyprock is glued behind where 2 sheets meet. The Recessed edges run on the long sides of the sheets and get filled with plaster so there's no need for butt joints.

We used 2400 x 1200mm sheets of Gyprock because they are fairly easy to handle. We used some off cuts as spacers above the floor and used plaster screws to fix them into the studs and noggins where possible. The butt edges always should meet on a stud, but a butt joint can be used where they don’t. This is where an off cut of Gyprock is glued behind where 2 sheets meet. The Recessed edges run on the long sides of the sheets and get filled with plaster so there’s no need for butt joints.

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Made in the US and is pretty expensive stuff. It never sets, but is extremely strong. A poor lizard died a horrible death in the construction of the studio in a puddle of Quiet Glue. Poor guy.

Made in the US and is pretty expensive stuff. It never sets, but is extremely strong. A poor lizard died a horrible death in the construction of the studio in a puddle of Quiet Glue. Poor guy.

The glue must be applied to the 2nd layer of Gyprock with random 'squiggles' and is only fixed on the edges of the sheet to allow the sheet to flex. It's also a good idea to fix the 2nd layer of Gyprock the opposite way of the 1st.

The glue must be applied to the 2nd layer of Gyprock with random ‘squiggles’ and is only fixed on the edges of the sheet to allow the sheet to flex. It’s also a good idea to fix the 2nd layer of Gyprock the opposite way of the 1st.

You can see the thickness of the walls.

You can see the thickness of the walls.

IMG_7004 IMG_7034Quiet Glue dripping from in between the 2 layers of Gyprock.

Quiet Glue dripping from in between the 2 layers of Gyprock.

Plastering:


My least favourite part of the whole process was definitely the plastering. I have mates who are plasterers and they offered to come in and do it, but because Dad and I were keen to build the studio entirely by ourselves we decided to give it a shot. It turned out quite well, but what took us a week to do would have probably been done in a day and most likely to a higher standard by a mate. So the basic idea is to apply 3 layers of plaster where the Gyprock sheets meet each other and then sand them down to be flat so that there was no noticeable joins. There’s actually quite a lot of skill involved to do it well.

1st layer

1st layer

3rd layer

3rd layer

Smoothing out cornice cement from around the cornice.

Smoothing out cornice cement from around the cornice.

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Painting and Railing:

I’m partly colour blind so I trusted my girlfriend Coz and my Mum to pick the colour scheme. They went with a navy blueish colour and a earthy red. It looks good i’m told. It was just before painting that I also had to mount rails on the walls. These were to hang the acoustic panels on once made. I screwed the horizontal rails in the studs every 600mm where I thought i’d hang the panels. I had to do a lot of acoustic testing before I knew exactly where to hang the panels which is why I decided on using railing. I could move the panels as needed. We used velcro on top of the rails to fix them to the panels which you will see later on.

The railing went up after plastering. We used 19mm thick primed MDF fixed into the studs.

The railing went up after plastering. We used 19mm thick primed MDF fixed into the studs.

The recording room railing.

The recording room railing.

After railing we painted the ceiling and walls with undercoat. We'd already hung one of the doors at this stage.

After railing we painted the ceiling and walls with undercoat. We’d already hung one of the doors at this stage.

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Here's the room painted. At this stage i'd already started making acoustic panels (pictured right).

Here’s the room painted. At this stage i’d already started making acoustic panels (pictured right).

With lighting and power in.

With lighting and power in.

Windows:

There are 2 windows in the studio. The window to outside and the one through to the recording room. A lot of modern studios don’t have a window between the control room and recording rooms because it’s much more cost effective and better acoustically to use a video camera system. Never the less i’ve always imagined a big window in my dream studio so that’s what we designed. Double glazed windows for studios are very different to thermal double glazed windows. It is much better to get glass cut and make them from scratch yourself. The good folks at Balcatta glass really looked after me on the glass we got. It was 12mm with laminate which is about as thick as you can get and we needed 4 panels of it.

This is the template we used to construct a our windows. We changed a few things, but the basic idea is the same.

This is the template we used to construct our windows. We changed a few things, but the basic idea is the same.

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We used 185mm pine for the window frame and 19mm quad around the edges

We used 185mm pine for the window frame and 19mm quad around the edges

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Next was the beading which is Tasmanian Oak because it's slightly stronger. The window beading has to be cut EXACTLY to the right size for the limit sound transfer. As per the diagram I installed the beading so that both panes of glass are at offset angles vertically and horizontally.

Next was the beading which is Tasmanian Oak because it’s slightly stronger. The window beading has to be cut EXACTLY to the right size to limit sound transfer. As per the diagram I installed the beading so that both panes of glass are at offset angles vertically and horizontally.

After the beading was fixed we stained the frame and siliconed the joins. We used rubber seals to place either side of the 12mm laminate glass and then fixed more pre stained beading to the other side of the panes of glass. In between the panes I glued red felt and also sprinkled the obligatory silica crystals. If you've ever been to a studio and seen silica crystals or beads in the window and wondered what they are for - it's to absorb moisture.

After the beading was fixed we stained the frame and siliconed the joins. We used rubber seals to place either side of the 12mm laminate glass and then fixed more pre stained beading to the other side of the panes of glass. In between the panes I glued red felt and also sprinkled the obligatory silica crystals. If you’ve ever been to a studio and seen silica crystals or beads in the window and wondered what they are for – it’s to absorb moisture.

These windows are completely sound proof and look great.

These windows are completely sound proof and look great.

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The external window was a bit more difficult because we could only measure the outside pane of glass and had to make an educated guess of the dimensions of the inside pane. This was because we only had access from inside. The inside pane was very tight, but we managed to get it in by hammering the tight corner with a rubber mallet. It was a true testament to how thick and strong the glass was. We used 285mm pine and tasmanian oak for beading and the framing which was again stained with satin cedar.

The external window was a bit more difficult because we could only measure the outside pane of glass and had to make an educated guess of the dimensions of the inside pane. This was because we only had access from inside. The inside pane was very tight, but we managed to get it in by hammering the tight corner with a rubber mallet. It was a true testament to how thick and strong the glass was. We used 285mm pine for the frame and tasmanian oak for beading and which was again stained with satin cedar.

Again red felt was glued in between the panes.

Again red felt was glued in between the panes.

Silica crystals and second pane in.

Silica crystals and second pane in.

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The finished product.

The finished product.

Doors:

Sound proofing doors is a fair bit more difficult than windows. Lots of different methods are used to limit the transfer of sound. There are 3 doors in my studio, and we used different seals for every door. The door from the recording room to the control room was certainly the most difficult and we ended up taking it off and reinforcing it with more solid timber to achieve as little sound transfer as possible.

We used a solid piece of finger jointed pine then added a 15mm sheet of marine ply which we glued on with Ultranails. The 45mm total thickness is as thick as you can go to be able to use with a standard door handle. It was triple hinge hung because it was a seriously heavy door. We used a few types of different woods as pictured here all stained. Meranti was used for the door jamb, pine for the door stop, and tasmanian oak for the beading.

We used a solid piece of finger jointed pine then added a 15mm sheet of marine ply which we glued on with Ultranails. The 45mm total thickness is as thick as you can go to be able to use with a standard door handle. It was triple hinge hung because it was a seriously heavy door. We used a few types of different woods as pictured here all stained. Meranti was used for the door jamb, pine for the door stop, and tasmanian oak for the beading.

This is the door front the control room before I hung a bass trap on it.

This is the door from the control room before I hung a bass trap on it.

We originally fixed a handle and a ball bearing latch (commonly used for cupboards), but found that the door wasn;t staying shut after all of the seals were fixed so we then installed a proper door handle. The acoustic seals are attached to the door stop and create an air tight seal once the door is closed.

We originally fixed a handle and a ball bearing latch (commonly used for cupboards), but found that the door wasn’t staying shut after all of the seals were fixed so we then installed a proper door handle. The acoustic seals are attached to the door stop and create an air tight seal once the door is closed.

We also attached skirting around the outsides of the door to further seal gaps to prevent sound trasfer. At the bottom of the door I glued some foam to seal any air gaps at the bottom.

We also attached skirting around the outsides of the door to further seal gaps to prevent sound transfer. At the bottom of the door I glued some foam to seal any air gaps.

The outside door jamb was fixed when we bricked that wall up. It's Jarrah and was raw bolted into the existing and new wall.

The outside door jamb was fixed when we bricked the wall up. It’s Jarrah and was raw bolted into the existing and new wall.

We fixed a 'Super Pine' sleeper above the door jamb to block up the gap.

We fixed a ‘Super Pine’ sleeper above the door jamb to block up the gap.

I then used a polyurethane permanently elastic sealant to seal up all of the cracks around the door.

I then used a polyurethane permanently elastic sealant to seal up all of the cracks around the door.

The internal door jamb was fixed on the ground when we made that stud wall.

The internal door jamb was fixed on the ground when we made the last stud wall.

When the wall went up we  had to clamp the door jambs together before we fixed them to make sure they lined up.

When the wall went up we had to clamp the door jambs together before we fixed them to make sure they lined up.

The Jarrah and metal door jambs side by side.

The Jarrah and metal door jambs side by side.

With insulation installed.

With insulation installed.

I saved a packet on doors by buying marked down ones from Bunnings. I bought the display model of this door for $97 down from $201. It's solid and has small windows.

I saved a packet on doors by buying marked down ones from Bunnings. I bought the display model of this door for $97 down from $201. It’s solid and has small windows.

My girlfriend bought this one for me for the internal door. It's fibreglass and double glazed and was $99 down from $334!

My girlfriend bought this one for me for the internal door. It’s fibreglass and double glazed and was $99 down from $334!

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Internal door hung.

Internal door hung.

Both doors hung. They were painted the same colour red as the walls.

Both doors hung. They were painted the same colour red as the walls.

I put more red felt on some jointing foam to hide the insulation. I siliconed the cracks after Dad varnished the Jarrah door jamb, and installed acoustic seals on the stops.

I put more red felt on some jointing foam to hide the insulation. I siliconed the cracks after Dad varnished the Jarrah door jamb, and installed acoustic seals on the stops.

The bottom of internal door as a hinged seal on it which activates when the door is closed and seals any gaps below the door.

The bottom of the internal door has a hinged seal on it which activates when the door is closed and seals any gaps below the door.

I fixed skirting around the back of the internal door again to seal any cracks. We went a bit crazy with stained beading and skirting, but I think it all looks fantastic.

I fixed skirting around the back of the internal door again to seal any cracks. We went a bit crazy with stained beading and skirting, but I think it all looks fantastic.

Laminate Flooring and Carpet Tiles:

If you’ve ever gone to Bunnings and walked past the flooring section you’ll often see laminate flooring on sale for what ever reason. You can imagine how many times we went to Bunnings over 3 months and I always kept an eye out for a good deal. We got some great flooring at a steal of a price and laid it in about a day and a half. It was called “spotted gum” or something. The carpet tiles for the recording room were ‘a steal’ too.

"Simply slides in and clicks down into place".. Never the case, but once we got the hang of it, it wasn't too bad. We used an underlay on top of TNG panels then the laminate on top.

“Simply slides in and clicks down into place”.. Never the case, but once we got the hang of it, it wasn’t too bad. We used an underlay on top of TNG panels then the laminate on top.

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Once we got to the power and loom we used a whole saw to poke the cables through.

Once we got to the power and loom we used a whole saw to poke the cables through.

For the first time it looks like a room.

For the first time it looks like a room.

The carpet tiles in the recording room. I have a circular piece of carpet in front of the mic that helps 'shufflers' stand still

The carpet tiles in the recording room. I have a circular piece of carpet in front of the mic that helps ‘shufflers’ stand still

The smallest steps in the world. From the control room to the recording room

The smallest steps in the world. From the control room to the recording room

For the skirting we chose once again finger jointed pine stained Cedar Satin.

For the skirting we chose once again finger jointed pine stained Cedar Satin.

Electrics, Lighting & Ventilation:

We used 4 'up/down' lights in the control room all mounted 250mm from the ceiling on each wall. We tilted the lights sideway on the side walls to outline the acoustic panels.

We used 4 ‘up/down’ lights in the control room all mounted 250mm from the ceiling on each wall. We tilted the lights sideway on the side walls to outline the acoustic panels.

The lights were left upright on the front and back walls.

The lights were left upright on the front and back walls.

We also added a vent in the back right section of the control room which feeds from the office so that I don't suffocate.

We also added a vent in the back right section of the control room which feeds from the office so that I don’t suffocate.

A relatively flat bathroom style light was used in the recording room. This was to once again accommodate for tall people.

A relatively flat bathroom style light was used in the recording room. This was to once again accommodate for tall people.

The stage box in the recording room sits in between to acoustic panels next to the power. I've put a thermostat in there for summer.

The stage box in the recording room sits in between 2 acoustic panels next to the power. I’ve put a thermostat in there for summer.

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The Office/ Storage:

The room behind the recording room is my office/ storage space. It’s not too exciting, but here’s a photo anyway.

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Acoustic Panels and Skyline Diffuser:

You’ve seen a few shots already with the acoustic panels in view and you might be wondering about them. Most of the construction regarding sound proofing we’d done up to this stage was to prevent the sound getting outside the building. The acoustic panels and Skyline Diffuser are designed to make the room sound ‘balanced’ and to remove resonant frequencies. In total I made almost 40 acoustic devices for both rooms. I made several different types of acoustic panels designed to target certain frequencies in certain areas of the room.

To make the panels we need a whole bunch of timber for the frames, insulation of various types and fabric to cover them. Very basically the more rigid and thicker the insulation the better it can absorb lower frequencies. For this reason I chose 110mm mineral wool for the bass traps with 120 x 35mm pine to frame it. This made them very heavy so they needed to be mounted securely. Again it’s important not to compress the insulation when fitting it into the frame or stretching the fabric over it to prevent its absorption effectiveness. For the fabric I chose hessian as it’s acoustically transparent. You can also use burlap which is popular and cheap, but slightly messier. 2 of the bass traps were mounted in a walkway and on a door so I used calico instead of hessian so that people wouldn’t brush past the panels and get residual hessian on them. Calico is not as acoustically transparent, but still works effectively for bass traps because low frequencies will fairly easily travel through cloth. Another popular alternative is microsuede. My mum helped out a lot stretching and stapling the fabric over the panels so cheers ma! The other traps all contained 75mm thick insulation so I used 75 x 19mm pine pickets commonly used for fences and gates – They’re cheaper and lighter than using construction timber, but some of the taller panels either needed support or slightly thicker frames.

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The first panel I made was a bass trap. The frame is made of 120 x 35mm pine. I cut the lengths at roughly 1200 x 600mm and cut a piece of hessian slightly bigger.

The first panel I made was a bass trap. The frame is made of 120 x 35mm pine. I cut the lengths at roughly 1200 x 600mm and cut a piece of hessian slightly bigger.

Once the insulation is in I cut a piece of hessian for the back of the panel then stapled the front fabric on by stretching it tight around the back of the panel and stapling bit by bit.

Once the insulation is in I cut a piece of hessian for the back of the panel then stapled the front fabric on by stretching it tight around the back of the panel and stapling bit by bit.

First panel done.

First panel done.

These are broadband traps designed to target a large range of frequencies. I used 75mm mineral wool and made different shaped panels to fit the room. Most of them were either 1200 x 600mm or 1500 x 450mm.

These are broadband traps designed to target a large range of frequencies. I used 75mm mineral wool and made different shaped panels to fit the room. Most of them were either 1200 x 600mm or 1500 x 450mm.

I used a few different natural colours of hessian to complement the room.

I used a few different natural colours of hessian to complement the room.

Pictured here some 600 x 300 panels using glass wool and a 1200 x 450 panel containing mineral wool. The smaller ones were used for targeting the higher frequencies in the recording room. Rippled foam like 'Sonex' may look good in studios, but does no where near the job of these panels at making your room sound good.

Pictured here some 600 x 300 panels using glass wool and a 1200 x 450 panel containing mineral wool. The smaller ones were used for targeting the higher frequencies in the recording room. Rippled foam like ‘Sonex’ may look good in studios, but does no where near the job of these panels at making your room sound good.

You can save money by buying rolls of insulation, but you can only by semirigid or softer insulation in rolls.

You can save money by buying rolls of insulation, but you can only buy semi-rigid or softer insulation in rolls.

Another giant bass trap.

Another giant bass trap.

The bass trap for the door had to have a gap for the door handle.

The bass trap for the door had to have a gap for the door handle.

I mounted railing to the door and the panel and stuck velcro to the top and bottom of it.

I mounted railing to the door and the panel and stuck velcro to the top and bottom of it.

This door must weigh a now

This door must weigh a ton now

Acoustic panels in the recording room

Acoustic panels in the recording room

The diffuser and my combination panels.

The diffuser and my combination panels.

The velcro and railing system we used for hanging the panels.

The velcro and railing system we used for hanging the panels.

photo 3Skyline or Schroeder’s Diffuser:

This is a 3 dimensional quadratic diffuser. It uses a prime number formula to scatter the primary reflections in the room and are commonly placed behind the listening position. After installing mine the average decay time in the room was halved with no extra treatment. For more information on them click here.

You can get free software to work out what size timber you'll need and how long to cut each length. Type in the frequency range you'd like to target and you're on your way

You can get free software to work out what size timber you’ll need and how long to cut each length. Type in the frequency range you’d like to target and you’re on your way.

I had to make 262 cuts very accurately for the diffuser.

I had to make 262 cuts very accurately for the diffuser.

The formula

The formula

half way done

half way done

The diffuser mounted above my ginger friend.

The diffuser mounted above my ginger friend.

Next to the diffuser I mounted some 300 x 300mm acoustic panels and acoustic foam. Again the foam does little to anything lower than sibilant frequencies, but it looks good.

Next to the diffuser I mounted some 300 x 300mm acoustic panels and acoustic foam. As I mentioned before, the foam is of no benefit to anything lower than sibilant frequencies, but it looks good.

The traps in action with Nick Sheppard (Formerly from The Clash) and Charlie Bucket in the first session of Shake Down Studio.

The traps in action with Nick Sheppard (Formerly from The Clash) and Charlie Bucket in the first session of Shake Down Studio.

The traps in action again absorbing some Mr Grevis masters with Dazastah in the drivers seat.

The traps in action again absorbing some Mr Grevis masters with Dazastah in the drivers seat.

Room Testing and Moving in:

After i’d made all the panels I had to acoustically test the room. To do this I downloaded a program called ‘Room EQ Wizard’ which allows you to see graphs of your room’s frequency response. You do this by setting up an omni cardioid small capsule condenser mic in the primary listening position which should be 38.1% down the length of the room. Your monitors should be placed at equal distance from the mic and from each other (equilateral triangle).photo-1

I won’t get into the software too much because it can get quite in depth, but you can get a frequency response of your room as well as a ‘waterfall graph’ which adds a decay time variable. The software sends a full range frequency sweep signal which the microphone picks up and records into your computer and allows the software to process the information. From this you can move the panels where needed to absorb the resonant frequencies in the room. A useful tip is to get someone with a mirror to walk around the room whilst you sit in the listening position. When you can see the reflection of your speakers in the mirror it’s generally a good place to put a broadband panel. This is only a guide however and you should really test the room and move the panel left and right to achieve the ideal placement of your panels. For very troublesome specific frequencies you can make or buy a ‘Helmholtz Resonator’.

The room should be tested ideally with nothing init, but unfortunately you need to put the equipment in the room to test it and of course a desk to put the equipment on. After the initial test move in the equipment and furniture which will remain in the room permanently and test the room again. Then start testing with acoustic treatment in the room one panel at a time. Start with the diffuser, then the panels behind and next to the speakers and finally treat the rest of the room as needed. I had a problem frequency at 180 hz and some harmonics of it which we removed with our bass traps.

The room should be tested ideally with nothing in it, but unfortunately you need to put the equipment in the room to test it and of course a desk to put the equipment on. After the initial test move in the equipment and furniture which will remain in the room permanently and test the room again. Then start testing with acoustic treatment in the room one panel at a time. Start with the diffuser, then the panels behind and next to the speakers and finally treat the rest of the room as needed. I had a problem frequency at 180 hz and some harmonics of it which we removed with our bass traps.

When adding a subwoofer into the monitoring equation it's sometimes difficult to know the best place in the room for it. I still test for this by ear: Put the sub on a crate in your listening position and crawl around the floor to find the 'sweet spot' for bass. This doesn't mean where bass is the loudest, but the most accurate. Once this place has been found place your subwoofer there.

When adding a subwoofer into the monitoring equation it’s sometimes difficult to know the best place in the room for it. I still test for this by ear: Put the sub on a crate in your listening position and crawl around the floor to find the ‘sweet spot’ for bass. This doesn’t mean where bass is the loudest, but the most accurate. Once this place has been found place your subwoofer there.

Room test with just furniture and diffuser.

Room test with just furniture and diffuser.

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The Final Product:

Boom!

Boom!

Congratulations on reading it all (if you did). I apologise for any grammar and spelling errors, but i’m pretty exhausted after typing this all out and I can’t really be bothered proof reading it. Hopefully you gained some knowledge from this which might help you make your own studio space better or to design a new one. Before I go i’d like to give a massive thanks to my parents. Mum for stretching the fabric over the acoustic panels and especially Dad for helping me and teaching me. Cheers!

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————————————————————————————————————————————————-

February 7th 2013

The lads from Rhythm & Poetry interviewed me for Goonbag Radio a couple of days ago. It goes for 50 odd mins and there’s a whole bunch of nonsense, but it’s good for a laugh if you have a spare hour.

October 24th 2012

Beatfire.com just interviewed me about making beats. It’s probably one of my favourite interviews because the questions were quite specific. Have a read!

http://www.beatfire.net/production-blog/rob-shaker/

September 4th 2012

What up peeps and peepettes! On Saturday night I won the esteemed Beat Down competition held by Rae and Speekeasy. I’ve entered it every year since its inception in 08 and have come 2nd a few times to Ta-ku. Massive thanks to all that came down and supported and huge props to all the beatmakers who entered. Check out the reviews below.

http://nomanslandwa.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/rob-shaker-bd-1-5/

http://www.elfa.com.au/about-us/latest-news/rob-shaker-wins-beat-down-5.html

http://colosoul.com.au/colosoul_2.0/?p=12556

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3 Responses to “BLOG”

  1. Nathan Constable July 22, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    Awesome job mate, looks dope!

  2. T-Bone July 22, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    Fascinating Shaker! Lot of hard work and learning I bet. Wishing you all the best and every success with your new beat factory.

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