|Defibrillator Studios (early incarnation)||
DESCRIPTION OF A STUDIO by Chris
GO TO: The making of a studio
Although our home studio is not yet quite complete, we now have most of the equipment we need to get started with the recording of our first album. This is going to take some time, of course, while we get to grips with the equipment and software. Currently (June 2009) we are waiting for the people from Yamaha to come back and sort out some of the (mainly electrical) issues that were not dealt with properly at the time of construction.
Apple Mac Pro recording computer
Auralex acoustic treatment (LENRD bass traps & Max Wall acoustic panels)
Avalon VT-737SP pre-amp. Download a PDF file of the Users Manual here.
Digidesign Pro Tools HD 2 Accel recording system (version 7.3.1)
Digidesign Control 24 mixer/controller
Digidesign 192 I/O interface
Digidesign Midi I/O
Engl Sovereign 100 1 x 12" combo guitar amp
ExPro power cables
Fostex NF-1A near field powered monitors
Furman Three AR-1215J Power Conditioners
Hear Technologies Hearback studio monitoring hub and mini-mixers
Ivie Spectrum analyzer
Monstercables (all audio cables in the studio are Monster)
Neumann U87 condenser mic
Phil Jones P1 bass pre-amp
Roland TD-20K virtual drum kit
Second Staff Two sound suppression racks
Sennheiser Matched pair MKH 800 condenser mics
Universal Audio Two 6176 tube pre-amps
Digidesign's Pro Tools HD recording software
IK Multimedia's Amplitube 2 (guitar processing), CRS (Classik Studio Reverb), Ampeg SVX (bass processing), T-Racks
MOTU's Electric Keys 50 vintage keyboards
Sonic Reality's Ocean Way Drums Platinum Edition
Yamaha Motif ES8 synthesizer
Gibson Les Paul electric guitar
Gretsch Country Club semi-acoustic
Martin D-45 acoustic
Moog minimoog Voyager monophonic synth
Fender Precision bass
Violins: Yamaha electric, acoustic
|When Mari and I knew we would be moving into her parents’ old home – which we did in October 2006 – we took the opportunity to turn one of the rooms into a home recording studio. Mari’s mother had been using this room to teach piano in, and it seemed like the perfect candidate. It would serve a double purpose: Mari could teach the violin there, and the band could use it for rehearsing and recording.||Before work starts|
The work gets underway
|This photo shows the room before work started, with some of the panels that the team from Yamaha delivered. There was a huge stack of construction materials piled up in our front hall for a few days, and I wondered how they were ever going to get it all in the room! This became clear when everything was finished, and the room had shrunk considerably in size! This was due not only to the sound-proofing materials themselves, but also to the empty spaces built in between the various layers of board and absorption materials. All in all, a thickness of 22 cm at the walls, and a whopping 52 cm at the window were required to create the 40 dB of isolation that this top-of-the-line version of Yamaha’s Avitecs room would provide.|
|It took Yamaha about a week of solid work to complete the room. They started work October 4th, the day before we moved, and put the finishing touches to it on the 13th. The soundproofing itself added 40 dB of isolation to the original structure, which Yamaha measured, before work began, at about 18 dB. Thus, the studio provides about 58 dB of sound isolation in total. Add a couple of dB for the distance from the outside wall of the studio and our neighbours’ back gardens, and I should say we have a good 60 dB of isolation from guitar amp to ear drum.||Double door||Yamaha’s team at work|
|Walls and window||The Yamaha team||
Of course everyone involved – friends, families and Yamaha –were all concerned about sound leaking from inside the studio to the outside; nightmare visions of neighbours being woken up at 3:00 in the morning by Chris’s screaming guitar!
I, on the other hand, was far more concerned to make sure no sound from the outside world would be able to leak intothe studio and taint my precious recordings! We shall see how that pans out once recording begins!
Then I began trawling the internet for a desk I could use to put my mixer on. Various companies make specialized furniture specifically for mid-and top-end equipment, but these things are either very expensive or very big… or both, of course! The desk for Digidesign’s Control 24 is about $3,000. Plus, the thing is huge!. And, lacking wheels, it can’t be easily moved about. I needed something I could shift around – move away from the wall while mixing, and move it back again to leave a bit of space for Mari to teach violin in.
So I got on the internet, and very soon located a bunch of furniture builders/carpenters in Tokorozawa. I made a plan with detailed dimensions of the kind of thing I was looking for, and sent it to some of these companies for an estimate. Some of the estimates were comparable in price with the specialize studio furniture, but in the end I managed to get my table made for half the cost of the dedicated studio furniture. Plus, I was able to get exactly what I wanted. This included wheels, a sliding tray for the keyboard, and an overhead shelf for the monitor speakers and computer screen.
|Custom-built mixer table|
|Control 24 pre-amp/mixer/controller||
I did first consider trying to find a piece of office furniture to meet my needs, and after spending many hours online, I did manage to find a table that almost perfected matched what I was looking for. Except for one problem…. it was made of metal. It is better to avoid having metal furniture in a recording studio, because it vibrates, and if you happen to play something loud at just the resonant frequency of a large metal panel, you could have a serious recording problem!
So it had to be wood, and eventually realized I would have to have something made. Kuichi Mokkou did a pretty good job, and although the finish left a little to be desired, I am very pleased with the finished article.
|Next, Rock On Pro had my two sound isolation racks delivered. Occupying about twice the size that the equipment on its own occupies, my little studio suddenly became significantly smaller! Then you can imagine my dismay to discover that these things (I had to get two in order to preserve the symmetry of the room and keep things as low as possible; it’s better not to let things get taller than one meter) were made of metal! After all the trouble I had gone to with the table!||One of two sound isolation racks|
Rock On Pro team
making the connections
|In the first week of September, 2007, Azusawa-san and Maeda-san from Rock On Pro in Shibuya, Tokyo, came round with the rest of my equipment to install it and make the basic connections. It took them nearly five hours to install the rack equipment and make the basic connections between the mixer, the 192 I/O and MIDI I/O, etc.|
|A short time after that, the internal acoustic treatment material that I ordered from Auralex’s representative in Japan, Escorp, arrived, and with that – apart from a little tweaking here and there that still remains to be done – Defibrillator Studios was, and is, complete. Since the studio only occupies one room, I guess it should be called Defibrillator Studio, but somehow it sounds more majestic in the plural!||Messrs. Azusawa & Maeda of Rock On|
Computer Monitor Screen Cradle/font>
External hard disc drive stand
Guitar amp cart
Computer keyboard height raiser
Rack unit spacers
|Defibrillator Studios (almost complete)|