Drum Recording Room Question

WayneWickman

Senior Member
I recently moved to a new construction house and am lovin' having the entire unfinished basement as my studio. The acoustics are great, just me and my kit in a 1700 sq ft concrete box. Great natural reverb, when I distant mic I can almost get that "levee" sound. But....all good things must come to an end. No matter how hard I try I can't get the wife to let me have the whole basement. So in the end I get a 15X17' drum/recording room to do what I wish. My question; Does anyone have any references, books, links, anything to get the most out of this room? I'm starting from scratch so basically anything is possible. Some ideas I have so far...Make my walls 2X6" and insulate the hell out of it, including ceiling. I'm a wood guy so I would like hardwood floors, oriental rug for the kit. I would like to do tongue and groove wood walls or paneling but that might be too reflective for such a small room; but I could overcome that by using acoustic panels. Currently for most applications I close mic my kit.
Any direction would be much appreciated.
Wayne

attached is my current studio....
 

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DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I've done this twice (although neither was a basement).
The 1st time didn't work out so well for me.

The 2nd time I read these two books:

Home Recording Studio: Build it Like the Pros by Rod Gervais
It's long, lots of technical jargon, and some of it will go over your head, but it's full of good info.

and
KEEP THE PEACE! THE MUSICIAN'S GUIDE TO SOUNDPROOFING by Mark Parsons, which is more straightforward, and also written geared to drummers.

Some of the info in the two books contradicts each other, and neither book accommodates every circumstance you might encounter, but none the less, I read both books several times over when building my studio.

Good news is both books cover building in a basement.

I also ended up using products made by Quite Solution, which are expensive, but do the job really well.
http://www.quietsolution.com/
 

Concrete Pete

Senior Member
Hey Wayne,

I'm a licensed General Contractor, and am not as LUCKY as you to have that basement--yeah, jealous as hell!
Here's what I suggest, from both a cost-effective, and sound-effective perspective.

The basement looks like it's all poured-in-place concrete, unless it's cinderblock walls that have been plastered. (stuccoed) Obviously, the ceiling joists are wood- looks like 2x8's, with probably 5/8" or 3/4" plywood subflooring above.

I would suggest using a corner of the basement- that will utilize 2 concrete walls, so you only have to frame and sheet 2 walls, plus a door. Use 2x8 studs 16" on center for the walls, insulate the walls with r-30 batts, covered by 5/8" drywall. For the "ceiling", use styrofoam panels to fill between the joists (if available) or r-30 batts, followed by doubled sheets of 5/8" drywall. No need to "mud & tape" unless you want to. use a solid core door, (must be wide enough to bring drums in & out, like 34" or 36" wide) and cut the bottom of the door within 1/4" of the concrete floor, installing a rubber sweep on the bottom. For flooring, I'd use regular density foam carpet padding, and medium priced carpet, or a rug. (Glue-down) To secure the bottom sills, just shoot them down with a Hilti--no real need to hammerdrill and bolt with red heads.

On the outside of the walls, one (or 2 if you like) thickness of 5/8" drywall, probably want to tape, mud, and texture/finish it.

Don't forget a few other things--maybe wiring a receptacle into the room (or a proper extension cord), possibly a vent, and always make the room bigger than you think you need!

Hope that helps,
C. P.
 

Brundlefly

Senior Member
Are you looking to build an isolated room or just one that sounds good... or both? If all you want is a good standing room, then I recommend visiting the Auralex site and using their personalized room analysis service. Otherwise...

Biggest problem I see with your plan is the size you quoted relative to the placement of those support poles. They are surely closer to those walls than either 15 or 17 feet (judging from that picture) and you aren't going to want to build around them. So you might have less room than you think.

Also, looks like ceiling height is at a premium too, which means that you may not want to float your floor. If that is the case, then you will want to stay even further from those supports to prevent structural leakage into the upstairs. You may want to dig up the structural plans and see about cutting spacers into the concrete between your new room and those supports. Concrete is a good material, but it's not perfect. Those poles, however, are problematic.

Be sure to seal that concrete well before you begin and go with an anti-mold underlayment. And ventilation will be a must down there. Moisture + drums = :(

As far as the walls, door and other interesting details go, this thread has all the links to the coverage of the room I'm building now, which was mentioned below. Similar circumstances: concrete slab to build on, not much ceiling height, similar size, biggest issue is controlling structural leakage into the living space upstairs.
 

WayneWickman

Senior Member
Great input! Thanks to all who contributed, I'm excited to get going. Some follow up comments...

That Julian Love blog is crazy....he is going 100%, all out. I wish him all the best.

Thanks Pete, I was going to do 2X6" but now considering 2X8" upon your comments. Still hesitant on the drywall ceiling. I was burned on my old house with drywall ceiling. Running clean wiring for 5.1 sound was a nightmare. Would like to suspend, any acoustic ceiling tiles you recommend?

Brundlefly..Great info. My room is going to the corner, directly left of the picture. You can see the taped off area, a little. Definately more sound quality orientated than isolation. My neighbors are a non factor and my wife is tolerant; within reason, just not too late. I monitor humidity 24/7, always between 50-55%.

Thanks Again,
W
 

Brundlefly

Senior Member
Thanks Pete, I was going to do 2X6" but now considering 2X8" upon your comments. Still hesitant on the drywall ceiling. I was burned on my old house with drywall ceiling. Running clean wiring for 5.1 sound was a nightmare. Would like to suspend, any acoustic ceiling tiles you recommend?
W
If isolation isn't important, then you might want to consider not doing a ceiling at all. The current configuration of the ceiling is probably the largest contributor to the sound quality being good in there. Once you make the ceiling flat again, you're going to to introduce more nodes that have to be controlled by more materials. It might be better to simply couple the ceiling space as it is (everything above 8') with the lower portion of the room (everything below 8'). Granted, this will probably be more expensive than a drop ceiling and a bunch of foam, but I'll bet it will sound better for drums.
 
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