How to build a rehearsal studio with photo’s
Being involved in music is something we’ve always done. We’ve done everything from running open mics, to recording with big name producers. The only drawback to working in the music industry is the tired smelly rehearsal rooms you have to frequent.
It was Christmas 2018 we decided to do something about this. After a discussion about following your dreams we started a business plan to see if it would be a viable project. Things stepped up a notch in January 2019 when we found out the rehearsal room we relied on was closing. Our plan secured funding for the build and the race was on to find a suitable location.
At this time the news was filled with stories of businesses going bust because of Brexit. We thought it would be easy to find an industrial unit away from neighbours with enough room and easy parking but no. The high street may be dead but industry is booming. Having spent many days and nights driving around every industrial estate in a 30 mile range we eventually found our spot. An old bearing factory near Tedburn, Exeter.
With it being just an open plan space with no soundproofing we knew building work was necessary but we couldn’t afford to employ real builders. Thanks to the internet we found tutorials on everything from the strength of materials required to how to plaster. After watching many sometimes contradictory YouTube videos, we set to work. The floor plan was marked out with masking tape and the first batch of timber was delivered from a local sawmill.
Walls quickly went up. To keep things as isolated as possible each room has its own walls. No two walls ever touch. Each room also has its own ceiling not connected to any other. Every wall and ceiling has two layers of thick plasterboard to keep the sound in as well as enormous amounts of fluffy insulation in between.
The windows were boarded up as was one roller shutter door. Every crack and hole leading to the outside was filled. This did lead to one problem. How would you breathe? Baffle boxes had to be made to allow air to travel but not sound. These are connected to a quiet fan to move stale air out and draw fresh air into each room.
By now things were taking shape. We used a “real” electrician to make sure things were safe. He used all new wiring for each room, installed led lighting and new smoke detectors.
Each room was fitted with double fire doors to minimise sound leakage and paint went on.
It was starting to look like a studio now but more work had to go into making it sound good. Thick absorbers were made with Rockwool and cotton framed in wood and hung on the wall. These help stop the reflections we hear as slap back echo. Being thick they work on lower frequencies too. We are happy with the room sound now. It’s not too dead or too lively. Just about right.
16 channel looms were fitted in each room to allow use as a recording studio. The local band Haytor have already tried these out. We have a small control room almost ready for use.
The other thing we wanted was a space musicians could hang out away from the practice room. Luckily the unit came with a kitchen area where we have installed a fridge for cold drinks and a kettle for free tea and coffee.
Its been a hard few months but definitely worth the effort. We’ve already filmed a few videos in the large room that look great. The use of grey allows us to change the colour with light.
If you are looking for somewhere to rehearse or record a video in Exeter please get in touch. https://www.brazensound.studio/