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Acoustics in a warehouse

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Benjamin Stafford
Acoustics in a warehouse
on Aug 31, 2017 at 11:01:44 pm

Hello

My brother and I are planning to open a blackbox studio space in his warehouse. The purpose of the blackbox studio is to let artists perform live, record TV shows, etc... I am now helping him to research and get as much advice as possible regarding the acoustics. His warehouse is about 7500 sq. feet with a height of appr. 8,5 meters. The issue is that the warehouse walls are very thin and I believe they are made out of a metal-like material.

How can we turn this warehouse space into a proper facilitated studio. I've attached two pictures of the studio itself. We will paint everything in black.

The floor is basic concrete. What should we most definitely improve, what materials should we use? Are curtains an option? Please advice. I've also attached a picture of the desired outcome (except for the tribunes). We'd really like to know what the minimum budget should be to properly design the acoustics...

The images seemed not to appear in this post so here are the links...


Warehouse 1

https://ibb.co/doDcMk

Warehouse 2

https://ibb.co/jCOYu5

Studio

https://ibb.co/dfej1k


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Richard Crowley
Re: Acoustics in a warehouse
on Sep 2, 2017 at 3:02:44 am

Did you perform a noise survey of the neighborhood? All hours, all days? Hope it is a very quiet industrial area. Else it might be cheaper to look elsewhere vs. the cost of blocking noise incursion.

There are two major branches of sound treatment here.

1) Sound reduction coming from the outside. This simply requires mass. Lead sheets, double walls, masonry, or the mass of air between your studio and a distant noise source.

2) Internal sound mitigagion (primarily absorbing and/or breaking up internal reflections).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Recording audio without metering and monitoring is exactly like framing and focusing without looking at the viewfinder.


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Benjamin Stafford
Re: Acoustics in a warehouse
on Sep 2, 2017 at 2:54:58 pm

Hey Richard

Thank you for your response.
The site is located next to a freeway and there is a constant traffic from trucks coming in and out of the site.
What do you suggest that we do?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Acoustics in a warehouse
on Sep 2, 2017 at 3:55:13 pm

[Benjamin Stafford] "The site is located next to a freeway and there is a constant traffic from trucks coming in and out of the site.
What do you suggest that we do?"

1) Look for a more quiet location
2) Plan on spending 10s or 100s of thousands of dollars for sound mitigation.
3) Use it for a rehearsal/staging space only. Don't plan on recording anything there.
4) Attempt a revival of silent movies.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Recording audio without metering and monitoring is exactly like framing and focusing without looking at the viewfinder.


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Bruce Watson
Re: Acoustics in a warehouse
on Sep 2, 2017 at 3:24:39 pm
Last Edited By Bruce Watson on Sep 2, 2017 at 3:28:52 pm

[Benjamin Stafford] "My brother and I are planning to open a blackbox studio space in his warehouse. The purpose of the blackbox studio is to let artists perform live, record TV shows, etc... I am now helping him to research and get as much advice as possible regarding the acoustics. His warehouse is about 7500 sq. feet with a height of appr. 8,5 meters. The issue is that the warehouse walls are very thin and I believe they are made out of a metal-like material."

First thing you do is hire an acoustical engineer (or firm) to come out and talk to you both and make recommendations.

As Richard says, the problem splits into two major categories. Sound proofing (isolating the inside sounds from the outside sounds) is one. The other is acoustical treatment (controlling and improving the quality of the inside sound).

To put it in basic terms (more for me than you probably) you are trying to build a TV sound stage. You'll probably figure out soon that the exterior walls of the building are next to worthless beyond keeping weather out. You can improve them to a point (certainly insulating the walls / roof just to cut your HVAC bills, but also to reduce noise transmission), but in the end you'll probably end up also building the sound stage as a "building inside a building" with it's own separate walls and roof. Depending on your exterior noise situation (in particular, traffic rumble and industrial process rumble in the area) you may have to physically partition the concrete floor to separate it from the outside). Also know that HVAC systems make excellent noise transmission conduits so fully separate duct work is standard operating procedure, as is separate plumbing and lighting.

There are two excellent examples of this style of building just a few miles from my house. First is a TV studio that was build this way back in the late 1940s IIRC. They've been broadcasting the local news there ever since, with a little time out for a remodel about 20 years ago. The other is the local university music building. Three buildings inside the main building, sufficient that the entire marching band can hold a practice in one, and the entire 104 piece concert band can hold a practice in the adjoining one at the same time. I spent many happy hours in these rooms back in the 1970s and can affirm that they work as advertised. But I should point out that the floors for these rooms are also fully suspended on their own spring and damper systems. These rooms are *completely* isolated from the building they are in, and from each other. Probably overkill for what you need.

Problems like these are what makes an acoustical engineering consultant well worth the price. Much better to do it right the first time than to have to do it over. Just sayin'.


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Benjamin Stafford
Re: Acoustics in a warehouse
on Sep 5, 2017 at 11:22:02 pm

First and foremost, I'd like to thank all of the members for their contributions. I deeply appreciate any help and advice! I completely understand that talking to an acoustics engineer is a crucial factor to the success of this project. However, I'd like to be as informed as possible to avoid any improvements that are not necessary. From what I am reading I understand that the walls of this warehouse have no other purpose than keeping the rain outside. I am not sure about the floor. What I do see in some studio's is this type of floor: https://imgur.com/a/JTGSI I'd like to know what this type of floor is called and if it makes a huge difference with a concrete floor?

Another point is the "building in a building" idea. I like this idea. Are there any alternatives or is this the one that makes most sense in my case?


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Ty Ford
Re: Acoustics in a warehouse
on Sep 2, 2017 at 4:02:05 pm

Excellent (as usual) information from Richard and Bruce, Benjamin.

If you don't believe them, take a professional sound person with gear into the spaces and do a simple stand-up shot of one or two people. Then watch and listen in a properly treated studio environment.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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