Building the booth... Prologue - the calm before the Store

As I recently admitted to another VU member, I have a major character flaw when it comes to projects. I have to gather as much information as I possibly can muster before making decisions. That can sound like a good thing, but (as my poor wife will attest) the coffee table soon fills up with printouts and brochures, scribbled notes and sooo many bookmarks that managing them alone becomes part of the project. Out of this mess (usually) comes a plan of attack, a list of compromises and a bit of a "bang-for-buck" feel for what I am going to end up with. I don't have unlimited funds so I need to be a bit restrained (sometimes physically) from just buying the best I can find (Bad e-bay, Bad! Bad!) and trying to "stage" the project so that I can get some return on the investment as soon as possible and preferably before the credit card bills arrive.

I mentioned in my last post that I had come to a point where I wanted... no, needed a better recording environment for both my imaginary VO career and for producing a new series of "Meditation" podcasts/CDs for my friends at Talk Affects. So let's start trolling the net...
I soon found some very active "Home Studio" and recording sites. Some were far more welcoming to us newbies than others, not mentioning any names, but you can soon get an idea of the moral tone of a place by reading the group's reaction to people's first posts. I joined a number of these forums, but posted on very few for fear of being told to "JUST USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION #@!!-HEAD" I know I am ignorant - but I am not dumb, and I react badly to being shouted at. But for all the hostility, there is much to be learned by just reading quietly and keeping a low profile.
Other sites showed more tolerance, but interestingly the above advice about using the Search Button proved to be remarkably useful. I also purchased a couple of books "Build it like the Pros" by Rod Gervais and "Accoustic Design for the Home Studio" by Mitch Gallagher. Great books and well worth buying if just for the pictures and Mitch's story about the chickens (yet another reason not to use egg-cartons).

To cut to the chase, this is what I ended up with as broad parameters;
Isolation - STC of 60db or better (after all, isolation was why I started this whole process)
Location - I have a large garage which will fit a 1.8m x 2.4m x 2.25m (6ft x 8ft x 7ft) box
Construction - Two layers of fire-rated plasterboard over steel studs (Rondo Quiet Studs) with as much Green Glue as I can afford.
Insulation - Fletcher/Pink Sonno Batts
Floor - Concrete pad poured directly onto existing (not very level) concrete floor of the garage
HVAC - None (It will have a door ok?)
Lighting - DC low voltage (I am thinking seriously about sticking a solar panel on the roof)
Acoustic Treatment - Some foam, but mainly DIY rigid Fibreglass Insulation panels
Budget - TBA

One site I found would not even talk to you if you could not produce drawings to show what you were building. The weapon of choice being the free version of Google Sketchup. Great I thought - another learning curve, but in fairness it is a very easy to use package (although frustrating like all new programs at first) and I ended up with some really useful models/plans.

Next: See what's on the slab (in just seven days, I can make you a boooooooth)*


*Ok so seven days is an exaggeration - I just wanted the Rocky reference :-)

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