Author Topic: Building a music room  (Read 4030 times)

Offline springcreek

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Building a music room
« on: May 31, 2012, 10:07:09 PM »
Hi all

It has been a dream of mine for many years to build a room where the family and I could enjoy music together. As in many households my audio gear used to be in the main living room along with the TV, toys and was right next to our dinning room and kitchen. Great for background music, not so great for dedicated listening where you can let yourself go and enter the music. The volume I could listen at was always limited, not that I listen that loud, though as we all know there is a system dependant volume at which music happens, below which our emotions just aren't as engaged. And given I have kids, by the time I got to listen in the evening the music had to be turned down to radio levels. I mostly didn't listen through this period because I couldn't get into the music. My gear at the time didn't help  :(

I thought I'd share my journey since that point, hopefully it is informative or at least midly entertaining  :D

So we decided to build a music room as part of a general house extension. I read all I could on room acoustics and we looked for a builder that we were happy to work with and hopefully didn't think some of my plans were too crazy  :o I had a list of requirements that I wanted incorporated if possible. Most notably I didn't want a really small room and it had to be a nice space to be in with the family. If possible I wanted the dimensions to conform to Golden Ratio and I wanted to sound proof the room as much as possible. I wanted to be able to listen at a level that I found enjoyable without disturbing the family or waking the kids at night. I also wanted to screen outside noise as much as possible. From what I had read dedicated lines from the meter box were a good idea and to have them run in a different part of the roof to other wiring and electronics. I also wanted it to be kid friendly as I often do much of my listening with the kids (only time I get some days  ;D).

Lots of meetings with the builder and draftsman and a few sets of plans later we came up with a design, though not quite Golden Ratio, it was a good compromise given the space we had to work with, cost and overall house design. The room would be approximately 4m x 6m x 2.4m, though there would need to be a bulkhead on one side as to get the room width we needed to build right to the edge of the roof line. I wish I could have made bulkhead into a great big bass trap, but wife did not like the idea at all  :o. Not perfect dimensions (bigger and higher would have been better) but not too bad.

Well after the plans were finalised and approve and we had saved the cash we kicked off in mid 2009.

More to come including pics  ;D

« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 03:43:08 PM by springcreek »

Offline kajak12

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2012, 12:10:01 AM »
i will be keeping a close eye on this thread one lucky man you are
still discovering the link between electronics and audio reproduction.so much to learn and so little time

Offline treblid

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2012, 10:16:52 AM »
More pics... From the ground up, that must be really satisfying!!!

Offline springcreek

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2012, 12:37:01 PM »
Thanks guys  ;D Ceratinly a big investment in audio. The total budget for the extension would have been over $150K  :o

Soundproofing
The room was built on a separate slab from the rest of the house, though it is shared with the laundry, storage room and study. I looked at all the available sound proofing treatments and had discussions with various people who had used them in setting up both domestic audio and video rooms and studios. There were several good options, but due to convenience, cost and efficacy we chose Green Glue sandwiched between two layers of plasterboard. The Green Glue attenuates sound by converting it to heat and decouples both plasterboard sheets allowing for poor transmission of sound. The glue stays quite soft and gooey over time. http://www.ultrafonic.com.au/Shop/cat/1/pid/3/Sound-Proofing/Green-Glue-Noiseproofing-Compound.htm

I had investigated some of the more soundproof versions of plasterboard that are available now. Talking to a few people that built rooms using it had commented the rooms had a harder sound once these products were installed (I have not heard any myself). We also used insulation within the wall cavity and ceiling. I did want bass to escape to some degree and hopefully be attenuated in the process rather than being completely trapped within the room.

In order to ensure that the room was well soundproofed required sealing all available openings. To this end we needed to seal around lights, power outlets and wall switches with a special compound recommended by the importer of green glue. This required all the switches and outlets to be mounted on spacers that protruded about 5 cm into the room, compared to normal flush mounting.

The door that leads into the room and a second door that leads into the study were both solid core. Initially I tried sealing the outer door with cheap soft rubber made by Raven, which did not work that well. It attenuated the sound to some degree, but nowhere near as much as I had hoped. In the end I had to fork out for a dedicated acoustic door seal made by Raven. I comprises of a rubber seal that it permanently mounted in the normal door frame within its own aluminium frame. We used the accompanying Raven door seal that is attached to the bottom of the door and is activated when the door is closed. The mechanism drops a fairly substantial seal that is compressed against the floor. This worked very well. Total cost of the seal was around $300, well worth it. Only hassle is the mechanism when retracted does make a snapping noise, no matter how slowly I shut the door (and it can wake our baby!), though I can use the outer glass door it is late at night.
http://www.raven.com.au/domino/raven/ravenweb.nsf/e4e76a8b53a2e90de925734e0029390a/7750ef91e428c5b7e925734e002546fe!OpenDocument

For the glass window and sliding glass door we used heavy double glassing. I would have preferred to use VLam Hush by Viridian though it was out of our budget. The heavy double glassing works well for attenuation and insulation during those cold Canberra Winters.
http://www.viridianglass.com/Products/vlam-hush/default.aspx?ProductType=Specifier
I include these links not to advocate particular products, but in the interest of being helpful.

The net result is a well soundproofed room that allows me to play music at satisfying levels without disturbing the family, though I donít play loud rock and orchestral music late at night. And you would never know it has been done, so it fits with our aesthetic criteria. ;D

More to come including pics.


« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 10:31:59 PM by springcreek »

Offline zenelectro

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2012, 06:40:29 PM »
Thanks guys  ;D Ceratinly a big investment in audio. The total budget for the extension would have been over $150K  :o

Soundproofing
The room was built on a separate slab from the rest of the house, though it is shared with the laundry, storage room and study. I looked at all the available sound proofing treatments and had discussions with various people who had used them in setting up both domestic audio and video rooms and studios. There were several good options, but due to convenience, cost and efficacy we chose Green Glue sandwiched between two layers of plasterboard. The Green Glue attenuates sound by converting it to heat and decouples both plasterboard sheets allowing for poor transmission of sound. The glue stays quite soft and gooey over time. http://www.ultrafonic.com.au/Shop/cat/1/pid/3/Sound-Proofing/Green-Glue-Noiseproofing-Compound.htm

I had investigated some of the more soundproof versions of plasterboard that are available now. Talking to a few people that built rooms using it had commented the rooms had a harder sound once these products were installed (I have not heard any myself). We also used insulation within the wall cavity and ceiling. I did want bass to escape to some degree and hopefully be attenuated in the process rather than being completely trapped within the room.

In order to ensure that the room was well soundproofed required sealing all available openings. To this end we needed to seal around lights, power outlets and wall switches with a special compound recommended by the importer of green glue. This required all the switches and outlets to be mounted on spacers that protruded about 5 cm into the room, compared to normal flush mounting.

The door that leads into the room and a second door that leads into the study were both solid core. Initially I tried sealing the outer door with cheap soft rubber made by Raven, which did not work that well. It attenuated the sound to some degree, but nowhere near as much as I had hoped. In the end I had to fork out for a dedicated acoustic door seal made by Raven. I comprises of a rubber seal that it permanently mounted in the normal door frame within its own aluminium frame. We used the accompanying Raven door seal that is attached to the bottom of the door and is activated when the door is closed. The mechanism drops a fairly substantial seal that is compressed against the floor. This worked very well. Total cost of the seal was around $300, well worth it. Only hassle is the mechanism when retracted does make a snapping noise, no matter how slowly I shut the door (and it can wake our baby!), though I can use the outer glass door it is late at night.
http://www.raven.com.au/domino/raven/ravenweb.nsf/e4e76a8b53a2e90de925734e0029390a/7750ef91e428c5b7e925734e002546fe!OpenDocument

For the glass window and sliding glass door we used heavy double glassing. I would have preferred to use VLam Hush by Viridian though it was out of our budget. The heavy double glassing works well for attenuation and insulation during those cold Canberra Winters.
http://www.viridianglass.com/Products/vlam-hush/default.aspx?ProductType=Specifier
I include these links not to advocate particular products, but in the interest of being helpful.

The net result is a well soundproofed room that allows me to play music at satisfying levels without disturbing the family, though I donít play loud rock and orchestral music late at night. And you would never know it has been done, so it fits with our aesthetic criteria. ;D

More to come including pics.


Springcreek,

Sounds awesome! :) :)

As it appears you have found in your research, there is no magic bullet with soundproofing. You need isolation, mass and absorption.

If you want ideas, just look at recording studios - they go to extremes.   

One of my clients owns a rehearsal studio with 8 rooms. At peak hour, all full with bands going full throttle - that's a lot of noise
to isolate. Cost is also a huge consideration, so most of them use layers of gyprock - looks like you are on the right track.

The 2.4m ceiling is a -really- good idea. 

I'm converting my garage to a listening / live playing room. It certainly won't be nearly as comprehensive as yours but it's at the right end of the house and
noise is not a problem. Also 6m x 6m helps. Eventually I'll build a separate kit bungalow or something equivalent.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Z


Offline springcreek

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2012, 10:20:47 PM »
Thanks Terry  ;D

It's been a long journey, but well worth it. Sounds like you are starting one yourself...hope it goes well  8)

I can only imagine the power drain with 8 studio rooms going at once!

Offline springcreek

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2012, 10:31:06 PM »
Some pics

Offline springcreek

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2012, 10:37:03 PM »
Some more construction pics

Offline springcreek

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2012, 10:41:10 PM »
Internals

Offline springcreek

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2012, 10:45:39 PM »
Feature wall and gas fireplace being installed.

More on the weekend...off to a record fair in the morning with Hedulfa  ;D

Offline springcreek

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2012, 10:01:15 PM »
Power supply
As mentioned I wanted to have seperate power lines running into the room. Our electrician suggested replacing our existing panel with a much more up to date system that he thought would provide better power and greater flexibility. We had it replaced, which ceratinly looks nicer than the original, though who knows if it made any difference to the power supply, positive or negative. We had two 10 amp lines put in that run from the mains board though a different part of the roof to existing lines and terminate in good quality power outlets. As I like low powered amps (2.5w at the moment) I didn't feel the need to have higher amperage lines put in, though to be safe I had heavier gauge copper lines run so if I need to up the amperage it would be an easy upgrade at the box...simply replace the existing trip switch with a higher rated version. I run front end compenents on one line and amps on the other. Another piece of advice we were given was to use single high quality outlets that had no switches. We had four of these installed. I was also advised by a few people to run a high quality external groud next to the music room, though our electrician refused to do this as he was unsure if it would meet Australian standards.

As I had all this done when the room was being constructed I could not tell if any of these things made a substantial difference. I have good noise free power and even though I run valves and high sensitivity speakers the system is dead quiet. Not a murmer even if I stick my ear next to the compression driver when the system is turned right up, which is satisfying. I hope the system is as quiet when I move to directly heated triodes and build a new valve phonostage. I have thought of getting a large transformer added to add additional filtering, though at this stage I'm an happy to wait given how the system sounds.

The only practical issue I have is that having no power switch on the mains is fine when the component has a power switch. My CD played has been moded to bypass the power switch, so now I have to plug in and unplug every day. No biggy, but a pain in the bum.

Cheers, Andy

Pic of the room with my previous Audio Nirvana speakers.

More to come on room treatment  ;D



« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 10:09:27 PM by springcreek »

Offline springcreek

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2012, 09:55:50 PM »
Hi guys

Sorry I haven't finished the post yet, I've had computer issues  ;D

As mentioned in the last post the last thing to do with the room is to treat it. This is hopefully where I tap into some of the wisdom on the Kdac forum  ;) I want to go fairly softly here as the room sound pretty good as is. For the rear of the room I have a large bookcase that is randomly stacked with various goodies at the top, with records and CDs down below. At the moment I am happy with this treatment for the rear wall.

For the front I am about to build some diffusor/absorbers from lightly curved ply with random holes drilled through it and filled behind with Polymax Absorb http://www.polymaxinsulation.com.au/acoustic_specialised_projects.html which is non irritant and works well from 125hz to 4000hz. The upper frequencies will be partly diffused by the curved board and partly absorbed into the holes and polymax within. I can mount the pannels slightly off the wall. Dimensions are not yet fixed, but something like 500mm wide and 1000mm long. I am looking to build three of these to hang on the wall and play with positioning to see what sounds best. They will be covered in cloth of my wifes choice  ;) They should look quite nice. I ordered polymax a few months! ago, but as its a small order I'm getting jerked around a bit. :(

As for the rest of the room, well I have glass down much of one side which I usually take care of with timber blinds, which work well. I like wood and natural products. I can also easily adjust the angle of the timber slats so they are all facing about 45 degrees from vertical, which I'm guessing acts as a diffusor to some degree. I can pull some heavy curtains across, but I don't want to kill off the natural ambience of the room. I am not that worried about side reflection points that much as my Goodman's are quite directional and I toe them in quite a bit.

Floor is covered in short carpet. I really wanted a nice hardwood floor, but it was out of our budget, maybe next time. I love the tone of wood!

The last thing to do is sort out the bass. Given it's a medium sized room there is only so much bass I can fit in  :D I do find the Goodman's set of a room mode on some material. Not measured it, but I certainly hear it. I did try lifting the speaker cabinets off the floor a little to reduce bass output. That certainly stoped the isues to a large degree, but it killed the magic as well. I really get moved when a system has a rich, coherent and weighty sound through the midbass. Raising the speakers reduced this effect so I dropped them down again. My wife does not want large ugly bass traps in the room (what wife does?). So the plan is to build some nice lamps (see pics) with the bass traps built into them. The idea here is to create a 300mm to 400mm thick block of Polymax that runs most of the way up the lamp, with the light in between sections. These can then be placed into the corners behind the speakers, which I am hoping will tackle the bass issue - won't know until I try  ;) 

Love to know your thoughts  8)

Cheers, Andy

Offline treblid

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2012, 10:22:07 AM »
Lovely lovely room & setup!!! ^_^

As for drilling holes into the curved ply, I'm pretty sure there is a special pattern one can do to get best results apparently. I can't remember what that pattern is called now, but hopefully others can point out... Read it somewhere on the Internet a while back...


Offline omodo

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2012, 11:03:37 AM »
agreed, the room looks great Andy  :D

or you can buy it pre-drilled, slotted, etc 8) http://australply.com.au/pdf/Value-Added%20brochure.pdf

I like the look of the Shoji style floor lamps, a pretty novel way to hide the treatment ;D

Offline springcreek

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Re: Building a music room
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2012, 01:12:36 PM »
Cool thanks guys  ;D

Yes I can't remember the pattern either...will need to do some more research.

Damian...the Austral stuff looks great...will get some prices.

Yes love the look of those lamps  8)  should add a nice touch to the room, both aesthetically and acoustically

Cheers, Andy