I’ve got an opportunity to take over a flat in my building as a music & studio space. I’m in the process of sorting through how to best layout and use the space. So I thought it made sense to ask folks here for their thoughts.
I’m not looking to create a space like a commercially available studio. Rather an arts & musical oriented clubhouse - a playroom of sorts. A place for interactions and happy accidents.
Below are some floorplans showing the two orientations for locating the desk that I’m considering. The classic setup would be to use the bedroom as a Control Room. But I don’t really like that as it establishes a barrier between the desk and musicians - although I’m open to reconsidering. Also I can’t put a window between the rooms. That could be solved by video monitors - but that would also increase the separation.
My current faves are Facing the Room and Back to the Room. With the Back to the Room I’d be looking away from where the musicians are. But it would also be easy get up and join in. With Facing the Room I’d be facing the musicians and able to see them. Although that is partially blocked by the monitors - both audio and display. It would also be a little bit harder to get up and join in.
I think the desk orientation is the first key decision I need to make. But I’m interested in ideas on using the entire space. How to best use the bedroom area? I’m pretty sure a small guitar amp will find a home in the bathtub. Also looking forward to opening a kitchen cupboard to a bunch of mic cases instead of cereal boxes.
You say “studio space” but I don’t see anything about room treatment in your post. If you don’t want the space to sound, potentially, awful, how you treat that studio space, be it with furniture, rugs, drapes, or panels, is going to matter.
I’ll add that if your priority is to get as many people, and as much gear, into your flat as possible, while still leaving room for everyone to move around, you might want to consider using a portable recorder (e.g. Zoom, Tascam) to capture happy accidents instead of relying on that rather large workstation you have in your flat schematic. It looks that thing would consume a lot of precious floor space.
While acoustic treatment is super important, I have a fairly good sense what’s involved. In a way I’m kind of asking the opposite. Instead of “how do I make the space useable?” I’m asking “how can I best utilize this space?”
But bringing up acoustics is real helpful for figuring out the desk orientation. In any situation I’m probably going to need some treatment in the center and behind the plane of the monitor speakers about as far back as the sweet spot is in front. So that likely means gobos. In the Facing the Room orientation that means the gobo would block the view of the musicians - one of its major advantages. But with Back to the Room it would only block the view of the kitchen.
Well, I’m glad that worked anyway. I’m afraid, though, that I’m starting to reach.
I get the feeling you’re aiming for a certain music-production vibe that involves maintaining an unintimidating environment for the musicians. I can think of a zillion possible ways to do that, but I can’t think of a “right” way to do it. Sorry about that.
That’s a great way to describe it - except I think the bit about the right way. Seems to me there are any number of possible ways to get there. But I’m likely to only come up with a couple of those possibilities on my own. And that’s on a good day.
I’d use the kitchen Island as my workspace with a tall chair or stool. You’d be able to see in to the bed/isolation room too! Remove any cabinet doors for gear/computer storage! Mount your computer monitors low in front angled up. Put your audio monitors higher and further away near the walls on swivel so they can be aimed towards the control or performance space.
Honestly, you’re probably going to get a lot of the room sound in there. You’d need to pack it with deep, dense but soft-ish matter to dampen the sound along with angles to not get too many standing waves. So in terms of playing you’ll likely get a lot of room in the recording no matter what you do (because treating it a lot probably isn’t feasible - though maybe a thick carpet and something on the ceiling could help…+ bookshelves where you don’t have absorption panels)
In terms of just monitoring on speakers it’s likely going to be a bit of an issue regardless of what you do. It’s the room issue again, and if you move to the kitchen area you’re going to have an asymmetric setup. If you’re facing the room at the kitchen you’ll have different bounces on one side compared to the other which is an issue normally.
I don’t really have a solution to any of this other than “don’t overthink it”, because I think there will be issues regardless of what you do. Maybe something to consider is spending a bit on great headphones for monitoring / mixing. I suppose I’d also say that the Bedroom is better than the main room simply because you would at least not get competing early sounds from both speakers / early reflections and also direct sounds from the musicians since the latter wouldn’t occur (they’d bounce around and then through the door into the bedroom).
Beautiful space, indeed. From your description, it seems like you would like an informal and comfortable space. If that’s true, warm it up with upholstered seating that can help deaden the room while providing logical seating for those happy accidents. Consider changing the lamps to those whose color can be changed to provide meaningful ambience to set a mood. The kitchen cabinets island, and patio doors, themselves, provide large reflective surfaces so you may want to consider draping them. If you intend to do close-miking and direct inputs the ambient needs won’t be as great. The bedroom seems to lend itself to a mixing room, dedicated amp room, or even a vocal room. Looks like you have a lot of flexibility. Good luck!
So I got back recommendation from Auralex. Nothing really surprising. Their drawing is treating the transition from the living room into the kitchen like a wall & they don’t show the kitchen at all. So it took me a bit to sort out the orientation - the ProMax gobos at the bottom are directly in front of the kitchen island.
I think it makes sense to do the Living Room and then address the bedroom later on. I already have enough bass traps for the living room - assuming they can be relocated from where they are now without too much damage to them since they are glued in place.