Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blood Sweat and Mostly Tears

By the way this is Kory

My original draft of this post was over 3 written pages long without pictures. I’ll try and condense it all into a readable length. I’ve never invested so much of myself into anything so it’s hard to know what to leave out.

When I started building the studio I was planning on giving a shout out by name to everyone that helped and how they contributed. Well, this was a bigger undertaking than expected and needed a lot more help than expected. Almost everyone I know helped out in some way. So if you lifted heavy stuff, built anything, babysat so we could get stuff done or helped in any way, I want you to know how much I appreciate your help. This has been my dream for a long time now, and it’s finally real, and you helped with that. I sincerely thank you.

There are some shout outs that I have to give, because I just can’t say thank you enough. If you are not mentioned by name it doesn’t mean I’m not eternally grateful for your help.

This was all possible because of my beautiful wife and my parents. My poor mom and dad put up with years and years of noise. Given that neither of them are a fan of loud noises, this was a big deal. I was not quiet about any of it. My mom supported me and helped me believe in myself and my music. Amy has been/is unbelievably supportive in this endeavor, and without her, I probably would have quit a long time ago. She has been so patient in not seeing me for a couple years because I spent every spare minute and holiday building. My dad was absolutely indispensible in building the studio. He helped me meet my acoustic ideals with reality. He’s spent so many hours on building this. I physically couldn’t have done it without him. My brother Kurt hooked me up time and time again and saved me more money than I’d like to mention here. His craftsmanship on building the studio desk was awesome. Amy’s dad laid the carpet for us in the piano room and office, as well as putting in the floors in our laundry room. Thanks again to everyone who helped.

The short and skinny of this is, after going to school for Recording Engineering, no one in Utah would hire anyone without at least 5 years experience in a studio. One of the bigger studios in Salt Lake said that I could fill an internship if I could wait 6 months and work for free. That would have been fine except we were newly married and I needed a paying job. So Amy and I decided we would need to start our own studio.

We eventually bought a house with the intention to convert the basement into a studio. We didn't want it to be like some kid recording in his bedroom. We wanted a real professional studio. That was a MUCH bigger project than we expected. We weren’t able to leave much of anything in the basement. We had to move almost every pipe, the walls were all useless and crooked. We gutted the whole thing.

This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Ever. I had been planning out the studio since I was in school and had to make some changes to accommodate the smaller space we had to work with. I designed it after some of the million dollar studios out there, and for the most part, was able to stay true to the same materials and design of those studios, just on a smaller scale.

Some before pictures: Mind you these are after months of cleaning the place up. The piles of trash were as tall as a person.

I’m trying not to make this overly technical and boring. But if you see the studio, you don’t see just how much work went into building it. You see a wall, but not the 6 layers beneath it that nearly killed me. My blood sweat and tears were literally in every room of our studio.

To build sound proof rooms you build a room within a room and it should touch the outside room as little as possible. Where they do touch, you use decoupling devices or materials.

We started on the ceiling. To get rid of as much sound from upstairs as possible we filled between the joists with soundproofing insulation (rock wool), then covered it with soundboard.

We then covered the soundboard in soundproof rubber which also acts as a decoupler. (This rubber is more soundproof than lead). After that there are metal strips called r-channel that hang the next layers an inch or so down from the previous layers. This is a big soundproofing technique because air gaps stop sound, as well as the metal absorbs a lot of the vibrations so it doesn’t go through the next layers. (Vibrations=sound). On that we hung 1.25” Drywall. This was no small feat because each 4x8 sheet weighed over 200 lbs. Luckily I had my brothers and dad as well as my brothers drywall lift to help with that. Thanks Steve for the lift! We also put acoustic calk in all the cracks between each sheet. The rubber was awful also because each roll weighed around 140lbs so gravity wasn’t a fan of me putting it on a ceiling.

Next were the floors. To get rid of outside rumble, and not having the height to float the floors we had to do a virtual float. We put a layer of soundproof rubber over the floors and sealed the joints with acoustic sealant.

Then we put the subfloor down and then built the walls.

All the walls for the studio are double walls, except between the sound room and the control room, that’s a triple wall. All the walls are decoupled from each other and have at least an inch gap in between. The studio walls are all steel studs. They weren’t as fast as using wood, but they were so much nicer and straighter when it was done. The studs were filled with the same rock wool and r-channel as the ceiling. Then 5/8” drywall. We then covered all the walls with the rubber and covered that with ½” drywall. All the walls were also decoupled from the floor and ceiling with an additional layer of rubber on top and bottom of the steel studs.

Amy and Kyle helped me a ton with getting the rubber on the walls. It was not fun to do.

This is our wall construction: Steel studs filled with rock wool, rc channel, 5/8" sheetrock, 1/8" rubber, 1/2" sheetrock

Last were the hardwood floors. I liked doing that with my dad and brother Kurt. They were meticulous and it turned out really nice and I learned a ton.

All of the electrical was run on the surface of the walls so I only had 1 hole where the electrical came in. Fewer holes = more soundproof.

Another shout out to my dad, he custom built all the doors for the studio. (which is a lot because with double walls comes double doors). He even donated 2 of the doors. Not only that, he custom cut all the other doors for the office and such, and put a new outside door through 14 inches of concrete to get the piano down the stairs.

The window was a huge pain with layer after layer. The wall it went in was almost 18 in. thick. I think I used 3 or 4 of the giant tubes af acoustic caulking to seal all the different layers.

Lastly we put in all auralex acoustic treatment.

For the microphone lines I used the best cable in the world – Canare cable, and Neutrik connectors. It took 1000 feet of cable and hundreds of connectors to wire up the studio, but you can access any signal from anywhere and I love that, I’m in signal routing heaven! What I thought was going to be a day soldering everything together ended up taking weeks because there were so many connections. Another shout out to Stewart at Sweetwater who hooked me up with some awesome gear and helping me find the right stuff. I’m so excited to be done with this part and now I can start recording again!

The desk my brother Kurt, dad and I built

Finished pictures I know most of them are blurry and the coloring is bad, but you get the idea.

The piano room

Testing the studio out on my beautiful nieces and radical nephew

I left all the important decisions to Producer Axel


Emily said...

Wow! I had no clue how much work went into building the studio. Congrats on finishing! I'm extremely impressed.

Kelli and/or Kyle said...

That is pretty impressive. Really overwhelming. I'm so glad for all of you that it's done! Remember when you said the window was a pain (get it, pane) ha ha. Just helping you maximize your pun potential. Sorry I didn't really help much. I offered to watch Axel a couple times...yeah, I'm a loser. But you're pretty great! And way to try to outdo Rainey in blog length. I've got one to give her a run for her money myself!

Kyle said...

It's beautiful.

Amy said...

This really is a condensed version, each part of the studio could have its own post with all the detail care and perfection that went into this. While I was building babies he was building our studio. It really is beautiful he did a fabulous job, if I do say so myself. The first week we finished it we would just go down their and sit because it is the nicest place in our whole house. But like Kory said we really couldn't have done it alone, and had a lot of help from family and heavenly father. Now to get some business in there, so spread the word!

Steve and Sheri Nelson said...

I am amazed! That is so much hard work and I am impressed that you stuck to it and had such great vision. What a talented family! I can't wait for you guys to see your business grow and continue to see the fruits of your labor!

Judd & Leslie Zimmerman said...

That is a LOT of work. We gutted and remodeled our whole house over the last 3 years, and after seeing this, I am glad that we didn't have to do anything too technical... My tiny brain couldn't handle it. Looks great!!

Keri said...

what an awesome thing to see your dream come true. thanks for sharing it with us, I enjoyed reading it and had to hold back tears. Congrats. Love you.

KaSs MiLeS said...

i really love your flooring, its so pretty. and i also love your paint colors in the piano room. Not that you don't deserve a medal, but your wife does for her patience. i certainly would have killed you. I don't do well with construction projects. Our kitchen took a month and i was in tears on more than one occasion. Granted I was pregnant, but still.
Congratulations on your studio. So happy its done for you guys!! Your upstairs seems so much bigger now too! its' like a present for you and a present for amy! :)

Sarah said...

Wow - that is amazing! So much dedication and hard work!! I don't know how you did it but I'm so glad you're done and now you can live your dream!

Jess~ca said...

It really is soooo awesome!! It is such an amazing difference to look at how it was before and now it looks incredible down there! Congrats on finishing and prayers for business to come your way :) you and amy deserve it. Good work!

Katie Smith said...

Kory! So freakin' awesome! SO excited for you! Congrats on all your hardwork. :)

Melonius said...

ah, you make it look so easy!

rain said...

Your studio really is beautiful. I couldn't believe the difference between the two times I'd seen it...I remember first seeing your basement, and it reminded me of the setting of a SAW movie. Scary and dark, and maybe people would be easily chopped up there. (I know that's really, REALLY rude, but I thought it). And now it's beyond beautiful. It's somewhere I would love to go sit and be, as well. In fact, it smells great,too...brand new and of precious materials. I won't lie, if it were mine, I'd do something REALLY lame and record myself doing covers of my favorite songs, rather than let anyone else use it. Because I wouldn't want anyone messing anything up.
I can't believe how well it turned out. It's completely professional and inviting.

Jasper and Stephanie Stevenson said...

That is such an amazing before and after ! good job it looks great !

Jessie Eyre said...

Hut the well.
That's all I have to say.

That's incredible.

Now I wish even more I didn't hide my piano books when I was little.

Jeff said...

I was thinking that it didn't seem that long ago that you started this but seeing all the work that went into it it really has been a long time coming. It looks amazing and I have to give you credit for taking before pictures (I always forget to do that). I'm also so glad that you posted pictures of the finished studio. I've been telling everyone that you've been building it and now I can show them.

Kory said...

Thanks everyone! @Keri, I feel the same way. @Kelli, thanks for the added pun. @Jess & Rainey, the before was awful. You felt like you had to wear a hasmat suit when you went down there, and you had to wear shoes or I'm sure you would die of something you stepped on. @Jeff, None of the before pictures were actually before. Most of them were in the middle, but still looked bad enough to show as before pictures. @Everyone else, thanks again!

etta said...
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maida said...

Your studio is so awesome, I'm proud of you for hanging in there and sticking to your dream. I hope it is truly successful.

Kory said...

Thanks mom.

LeRae said...

OMG Kory you did such a great job with the place. It's amazing!!!
You are one talented guy~