It is every recording enthusiast's dream to have a studio where you can make as much noise as you like, work as late as you like, have as many musicians round as you like, and not be troubled by outside noise sources.
For most of us, this is a dream. I've lived that dream myself, but I got a bad case of cabin fever that ruined my inspiration. Nevertheless, everyone needs at least a place to record without annoying the neighbors.
For most of us, a recording studio at home is the only affordable solution. And even if you could afford to buy or rent suitable premises, it would burn a lot of money.
So where in the typical home environment would be a suitable place to record? Take a look round and explore some possibilities.
Done that? OK, you have either come to the conclusion that it would be great to live in a house rather than an apartment, or you already do live in a house, which is good.
In most houses there is a vast unused space right at the top – the attic or loft. Get a stepladder and take a look up there right now. The probability is that all there is up there is a lot of space, and a pile of useless junk from years gone by.
Now, this would seem on the surface to be ideal for a recording studio. And it would, if all the necessary conversion work was done. But there are so many matters that need attention in the typical attic or loft…
- The floor of the attic or loft will be noticeable by its absence. There isn't one!
- The joists, which support the ceilings below, upon which you can lay a floor, are not as strong as the rest of the house. It is common to build the floors of habitable rooms on wooden joists some 235 mm (nine inches) deep. The loft joists will only be around 100 mm (four inches) deep. This is enough to support one person using the attic for occasional storage. But if you go up there regularly you will soon find the ceilings below starting to crack.
- There is only a thin layer of tiles or slates between the inside of the attic and the outside world. This layer is full of air gaps and practically transparent to sound. You will be able to hear people talking in a normal voice outside the house.
These problems are far from insurmountable, but the cost is considerable. Putting new joists in is the main cost, then soundproofing the roof is going to add massively. As an indication, if you wanted to turn a typical house attic into a habitable room, not even a studio, then the cost would start in the region of £15,000 to have it done properly. Add extra soundproofing and you could be looking at twice that or more.
Do you still want a studio in the attic? Or maybe the garage would be a better bet…