Right before I went to sleep last night I was in bed reading the Tape-op forum on my iPhone. There was an interesting discussion about using Costco sheds as isolation rooms. It seems I am always building a new project studio and without a doubt the most difficult problem in the process is sound isolation and treatment. Truthfully, if you have a large budget there’s no real issue at all (Isn’t that always the case?). The best way to do the job right is build a room in a room, fill it with bass traps, absorption and diffusion. If you do it correctly and also want it to look pretty your talking about a $30,000+ job.
Considering a Whisper Room or Vocal Booth brand room will run you $8,000 or more for any decent size could a Costco Shed for $2,000 be a real alternative? My own opinion is probably no. By the time you add the additional sound proofing you would need to bring it on par with something like a Whisper Room or proper built room in a room I think your price will be high enough it won’t be worth it. To top it off it’s going to certainly be ugly and in many cases it will smell like rubber, plastic and resin.
So what do you think? Is there a certain Costco or BJs or Home Depot pre-fabricated shed that could do the trick?
Read the Tape-op thread: Costco prefab storage shed..instant studio
If your creating a project studio your probably focused on what microphone pre-amps and keyboard controllers to buy. But before you head to your local synthesizer shop you should be considering sound treatment. I have had several different studio spaces and I always had the same speaker set up. In each room the sound was drastically different. The same set of speakers that sounded bass light in one room sounded like bass monsters in another. I always had some sort of amateur hock sound treatment set up like cheap foam on the walls and carpeting. That stuff really doesn’t work to create an even nice sounding room. The reason I was able to mix in those rooms is I took time to learn each room and always took my mixes to other studios, cars and boomboxes for tests and adjustments.
When I opened my new recording studio in Berlin I did things the right way. I hired an ex-employee from the Fraunhofer Institute (the German company who created the MP3). He tested the room with special mics and software, designed proper treatment and then had builders come in and create my space. They installed sound proofing, a new wall and door, bass traps, diffusion, and a ceiling cloud. You can see photos of the entire building process and the finished studio: click here
There are a lot of companies out there providing products to help you treat your studio. Auralex, Primacoustic and Real Traps are the most well known. I would consider Real Traps first for a few reasons. They have the best specifications for treating your room and they look professional. I don’t want dayglow orange foam pyramids on my wall. In the video above you can see where the money your spending is going. I have a suspicion that the foam products come with a huge mark up.
If your on a tight budget you can build your own bass traps with Rock Wool. In fact, another nice thing about Real Traps is Ethan Winer the owner shows you just how to do that on his website. That shows you what kind of person he is considering he also sells them. There is also another company called Ready Acoustics that offer fabric sleeves for Rock Wool that can get you into a room of Bass Trapping for a low price.
Have you invested in some sound treatment for your own studio?