Studio Construction


     Hi! My name is David. I am the owner, engineer, designer and builder (with help) of Mossy Rock Recording Studio. I thank you for visiting our site. Often I am asked about the transformation. For those interested in studio construction, I thought I would share what I did to convert part of a house into a professional audio recording studio.

     For starters, the builder wouldn’t let me have the floor plans to the house itself so I dug out my old drafting gear and went to Miller Blueprint for a tabletop drafting board and things I was missing. I measured out the rooms, drew floor plans and construction details for my new additions, and calculated the surface area of the rooms and the new  additions.

After much research on different construction methods from the internet, my audio magazine collection and books, I decided how the studio was to be built.

First, I had an electrician come out and add power outlets to what was going to become the control room. As to the construction, I went with a single contractor who either did the work himself, sometimes with a helper (I did some of the work, but most of it was on him) or he would hire contractors for the other stuff (sheetrock and glass). Gregg Martin (The Ground Up) spared me the chore of screening contractors for each step I wanted done professionally.

Before construction began the interior doors, baseboards, light fixtures, and carpet and padding was removed. Now the fun begins.

The framing for additions was next. This is where the construction detail drawings I drafted came in handy so everybody knew exactly how I wanted it built. The center room was an open den so an interior entryway had to be built to isolate the studio visually and sonically. I had the framing done in such a way that the wall is thicker than a regular wall and is inner lined with mass loaded vinyl (1/8” thick, 1 lb. per sq./ft.)  and stuffed with carpet padding. To further isolate sound I did what I’ve heard termed as “sound lock doors”. Two solid core wood doors spaced apart for an air gap, hinges on opposite sides so doors swing opposite of each other, and weather stripped to seal the whole thing. I had the same thing done to entryway to the drum room.

On the isolation booth, the walls are angled at 45 degrees in respect to the other walls in the room so sound isn’t bouncing back and forth against parallel walls. For the walls of the isolation booth, I had the 2x4 studs turned and staggered from one edge to the other of the top and bottom 2x4 plates so I could intertwine mass loaded vinyl in between the studs. Carpet padding was then stapled to the vinyl in the walls.

Mass loaded vinyl was attached to the bare floor and the existing painted and textured sheetrock on the ceiling and walls of all 3 rooms and isolation booth. To create an air gap between the vinyl and new sheetrock, 1x2’s were screwed to the walls and ceiling (where the studs are) but horizontally to hold the new sheetrock.

I had window openings cut into two of the existing walls so I had a straight line of sight from the control room through the main tracking room to the drum room for visual cues. Gregg made a frame for the two panes of thick glass spaced apart. The frame in the iso booth has the inside pane angled down for sound reflections.

When researching, I found several ways to create a floating floor for controlling vibrations. The method I went with was dense carpet padding (not the normal cheap stuff) on the loaded vinyl, sheets of osb plywood were laid on top and linked together with little channel things, then padding and office grade carpet. In order for the floor to truly “float” the plywood was not nailed or screwed to the original floor. Also, a space was left between the plywood and the walls and thresholds.

For the house windows, rather than walling them in, I had Gregg construct layered removable panels. I also had Gregg construct a drum riser that could be removed if necessary. After the trim work, I painted the walls black and covered the inside of the iso booth with stylishly shaped burgundy acoustical foam from Auralex. I also cut pieces of foam core board to glue to the backs of squares of acoustical foam and the diffusers so I could hang them up like pictures. I didn’t like the idea of gluing to the walls. Since the lighting fixtures were removed, the lighting is all floor and desk lamps and spotlight night lights. When the lights are off, you can’t see your hand in front of your face whether it’s day or night. The point was to create an environment separate from the outside world free from outside light and sound. I also wanted to make the studio appearance a stark contrast to the house. To get into the studio, guests have to go through the house so I often get “wow” from people’s first visit.

I frequently get asked about what was done to create the studio so I thought I would put this on the Mossy Rock Recording site.