Planning on building a studio? It is always exciting to finally build a room to your specifications and needs. Sometimes due to that excitement, we forget we need to be a quazi-architect and contractor to keep everything on task. Here are 5 steps to keeping your studio build moving forward.
Always do as much planning as possible. Sounds trivial right? Remember this is a big task and because of it, trivial things can be forgotten such as ordering cable to go through the walls. Or we forgot to leave a hole to run cable through it. Or “it’s a good thing we ordered all this stuff in early. Hey wait, where are the U-boats” on the day you are suppose to be floating the floor. Mistakes like this can cause a week delay and your construction crew will not be happy.
Become your own expert in acoustic installation. Even if you have never done installation, the ability to read up about it or get expert consulting is possible. Then you are able to relay this information to the construction team. Remember, contractors do not build sound tight studios every day. The process is not the same as building a regular room and much detail must be taken into consideration to ensure proper sound isolation throughout the studio.
Walk through these steps before your contractor starts so they know what they are in for and there are no surprises. If he asked something you can’t answer, you will at least have some time to research and get back to them.
Always watch your contractor and make sure they are dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s. In construction, there is many ways to approach how they build. There are many ways to fix issues that are structurally sound, but might not be good for acoustic isolation. These strict confinements are not day to day practices for them. If you are not overseeing the work closely, it can be easy for you to miss what they did because it is sealed behind the wall. No one at that point would know the amount of degradation that has been caused to the isolation.
Add 30% headroom to your budget for the unexpected. If you have ever built a house, you know there are always things that creep up and cost more money. If you are able to add 30% to the budget, this will allow for those issues to be taken care of. And if for some amazing chance that you do not go over budget, you can always implement more studio gear that was originally forced to the wish list.
Make sure the equipment you are installing likes to get along with each other. If you are waiting till the last minute to figure out your cable requirements for your monitor controller, you might have done yourself a disservice. Changing one item on your must-have list might make your other equipment, like a monitor controller, no longer a valid choice. This can cause a whole snowball effect of how all your pieces of studio gear will come together.
Hopefully this will not affect any structure changes, but it will definitely cause cable changes, I/O changes etc… Make sure you chart out your system on paper with all the ins and outs you would use on a daily basis and make sure it works. It is really easy to have a system all figured out and go, “Oh, what about the headphones. I do not have enough outputs to feed the headphone amp.” Yikes!