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Home Studio's - Basement Studio In Progress - Ceiling Question

Warrior

Power User
I'm closing on a new house today and will be building my new home studio in the basement. The basement has 9' ceilings and we'll be finishing the entire basement.
A portion will be my studio and I've started designing it and am working through that with advice from folks on the John Sayers forum.

This is my second studio so I'm taking some lessons learned from the first one and applying it here. I'm not really concerned with isolation as most of what I record is direct to DAW. When I need to track vocals, etc with a mic, I can control the environment so outside noise isn't an issue.

It's going to basically be one room so no separate live room, etc.

One thing I'm trying to figure out how to deal with is the ceiling. Not so much for treatment or decoupling but for aesthetics. We've decided to paint the ceilings instead of drywalling them. 1) to lower cost and 2) to get an industrial vibe going.

In my studio, I've been advised to put insulation in the space between the floor joists and then cover the ceiling with fabric. Then put a piece of trim over each seem.

I was wondering if anyone here has done this and if so:

1) How's it working out?
2) Do you have pictures you could share?

I'll start posting pics of my plans and build so maybe this will turn into a studio build diary and discussion.
 

Admin M@

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
I don't like the industrial ceiling idea. I'd put in a proper acoustic ceiling when creating a serious listening environment. Talk to an expert about it.

As for stuffing the ceiling with rockwool (which is what I presume you mean by insulation) I know it's supposedly safe(r) but I'd want more than fabric between me and that stuff if it were hanging over my head. I find it nasty and irritating. I imagine two things having the potential to dislodge rockwool dust: 1) any thumps on the floor overhead 2) pumping audio in the studio.

One nice thing about a project like this though is that if you plan well you can do the work in stages (years in my case) and spare redundant expenses. Start with the painted ceiling. It won't be unbearable. Then plan for and add some proper sound treatment.
 

Warrior

Power User
I don't like the industrial ceiling idea. I'd put in a proper acoustic ceiling when creating a serious listening environment. Talk to an expert about it.
When you say "proper acoustic ceiling", are you referring to a drop ceiling of acoustic panels or speaking in general terms to include drywall with proper treatments?

I will definitely talk to an expert - good advice.

As for stuffing the ceiling with rockwool (which is what I presume you mean by insulation) I know it's supposedly safe(r) but I'd want more than fabric between me and that stuff if it were hanging over my head. I find it nasty and irritating. I imagine two things having the potential to dislodge rockwool dust: 1) any thumps on the floor overhead 2) pumping audio in the studio.
Not "rockwool" necessarily but insulation such as the pink fluffy stuff with a paper backing. Not really sure yet though at this point in my investigations.

One nice thing about a project like this though is that if you plan well you can do the work in stages (years in my case) and spare redundant expenses. Start with the painted ceiling. It won't be unbearable. Then plan for and add some proper sound treatment.
Not a bad idea either. I saved the treatments from my previous studio to repurpose so I could use them as I complete the plan.
 

GlennO

Experienced
Not "rockwool" necessarily but insulation such as the pink fluffy stuff with a paper backing. Not really sure yet though at this point in my investigations.
Both rockwool and what you're describing, fiberglass, are non-toxic. But, Matt is right, the fibers can get loose and if you breath them they can irritate your throat and lungs. The backing is just there to hold the batting to the ceiling. To prevent any loose fibers from floating around the room, you should cover it with something more substantial.
 

Sleestak

Power User
You could also start with by painting the ceiling and adding some "clouds" as diffusers. In our rehearsal studio, we have a fairly high ceiling with the joists exposed. It looks cool, but was acoustically unacceptable. I built four 4x8 diffusion panels that are just 6 inch strips of wood(as the frame), which contain full sheets of corning sound-rated insulation, wrapped the entire things in burlap, and hung them from the ceiling with a 2 inch air gap above them. They don't shed fibers, and it makes a huge difference in the room.
 

RevDrucifer

Inspired
Man, I don’t know if you’ve ever worked with fiberglass insulation, but I deal with it almost daily at work and spend half my day’s cursing it. It’s like having multiple micro pieces of glass stuck in your skin. Not enough to cause a lot of pain, but enough to send you to the sink every 10 minutes washing with hot then cold water to try to get it out of your skin. Whatever you go with, make sure that crap isn’t going to fall out.
 

Warrior

Power User
I'm heading this advice, thank you.
Admin M@, when you say "talk to an expert", are you referring to the folks at GIK Acoustics or Ready Acoustics or are you suggesting hiring a local professional?
 

1poorplayer

Power User
If this is your basement , I would suggest you use a drop ceiling , first and foremost. Having access to floor joists and under the above floor comes in pretty handy if you ever renovate or run into problems with electric , plumbing , heating , etc. Shitrock doesn’t make this area very accessible.
I would avoid having plumbing overhead period , but close enough to consider tapping into for a “ basement/studio bathroom”. Build your room with no parallel walls or at least minimum. There’s a ton of great info out there.
I too have lived this.
If you can be picky about the area you use for your studio , choose one which will have the least activity above. ( not the living room or your master bedroom ) - where you’re wife will hear your “noise”. If you have a utility room , where there’s a furnace, I would strongly consider a wall for an acoustic barrier to negate the low frequency rumble theses things create.
Lastly , ventilation. Before it’s too late , and you’ve finished your room and come to realize just how much heat comes off from a stack of UA Apollo units and most other heat generating devices , throw in some ducts for air exchange.
This is all my 2 cents. You probably know all of this , since this is your second studio , but maybe I mentioned one thing that may help.
Good luck , and enjoy the designing !
 

Warrior

Power User
Please consider ventilation.. It sounds like superfluous admin but will seriously mitigate health risks.
Definitely. Thank you.

If this is your basement , I would suggest you use a drop ceiling , first and foremost. Having access to floor joists and under the above floor comes in pretty handy if you ever renovate or run into problems with electric , plumbing , heating , etc. Shitrock doesn’t make this area very accessible.
I have been considering this as well. One thing I want to be able to do is install photo/video lighting and rigging and probably change things as needed. Having an open or drop ceiling would accommodate this.

I would avoid having plumbing overhead period , but close enough to consider tapping into for a “ basement/studio bathroom”. Build your room with no parallel walls or at least minimum. There’s a ton of great info out there.
This is unavoidable for me but not bad. There's a bathroom above but it will not get much use. The basement is plummbed for a full bath - which I will be installing. I am working on the design - at a minimum - with the John Sayer's forum community, GIK Acoustics and Ready Acoustics. There will be parallel walls but I will be following the rules for room size to minimize room modes, etc.

If you can be picky about the area you use for your studio , choose one which will have the least activity above. ( not the living room or your master bedroom ) - where you’re wife will hear your “noise”. If you have a utility room , where there’s a furnace, I would strongly consider a wall for an acoustic barrier to negate the low frequency rumble theses things create.
Lastly , ventilation. Before it’s too late , and you’ve finished your room and come to realize just how much heat comes off from a stack of UA Apollo units and most other heat generating devices , throw in some ducts for air exchange.
This is all my 2 cents. You probably know all of this , since this is your second studio , but maybe I mentioned one thing that may help.
Good luck , and enjoy the designing !
The area of the basement I'm choosing for the studio is because of the egress window. This will allow me to identify that room as a "bedroom" if we ever decide to sell. Luckily, it's just my wife and I most of the time. Kids are out of the house. The room above will be my wife's office. Even if there is traffic, I can control it of needed for any mic recording. Most of my work is direct to DAW and VI's.

Will definitely be insulating the interior walls where needed to minimize noise. Will also be installing return and supply ducts.

I appreciate any and all input and advice. Even if it's something I already know. There's always something to be learned from someone elses point of view, experiences, etc.

Thank you for taking the time to respond!
 
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