Has anyone built a studio using prefab buildings?

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atavacron
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Has anyone built a studio using prefab buildings?

Post by atavacron » Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:39 am

I've spent tons of time building my live/work warehouse into a studio. Now that I'm looking at buying a building, it occurs to me that it might be more affordable to buy land and put some prefab housing on it - though a light industrial style insulated shed might work best as a studio skeleton. Has anyone done this and had a passably isolated live room & control room come out of it? What type of prefab would I be looking for? I'm assuming that due to size, I'll want to have one building for the live room & control room & iso booth, one bathroom/shower type outbuilding, and a third building for living space.
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Post by JWL » Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:41 pm

The main things to consider are first, how effective will they be at containing sound (keeping outside sound out and inside sound in). Second, are they of a size/shape to not ruin the quality of sound? Square buildings, for example, will be hard to make sound good.

But depending on how important these factors are I could see them working for some applications, particularly in rural areas (where noise is less of an issue).

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Post by atavacron » Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:45 pm

This will probably be in West Oakland. I'd be looking for a main building with a 16' clear height and a peak or pitched roof and would probably be building angled interior walls.
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Post by floid » Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:54 pm

By prefab i assume you mean metal? There's two basic types i know of: Quonset hut and variants, and the ones with a beam frame. I lived/ recorded in the latter type for several years and, they're drafty by design, the insulation is a little of nothing, and even heavy gauge sheet metal hasn't got a hell of a lot to it. I never did get the thing as quiet as i wanted, but then too i was always broke and cheaping around.

Later i looked into buying one of the hut types. Couldn't find a contractor in my area who would do the slab work, because of how tight the tolerances have to be for everything to go together right.

But this isn't to say don't do it. See how easy/ cost effective sealing the leaf will be. Examine insulation options. See how much it'll cost for the hull, compared to other options.

You might look into Insulated Concrete Form buildings - they typically cost only marginally more than wood frame, are much more efficient, and 6 inches of concrete is a great start on soundproofing.
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Post by Recording Engineer » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:08 am

Insulated Concrete Form is what I was thinking too... Seems like a great starting-point. By the way, seems like your current studio is pretty nice! Would love to see it in person! I'm in Sacramento.

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Post by Flight Feathers » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:09 am

I built my studio in a prefab residential detached garage that is in my backyard. The garage is 20x22, I build the studio in one of the garage bays. The other half is still for garagy stuff.

The garage itself is traditional stick built, I say prefab because they built most of it off site, drove in the pieces on a trailer, and assembled on site. They showed up at 7am and were done by 3pm. The slab was done 2 weeks prior.

I built a set of decoupled interior walls, so it is a traditional room within a room construction. I can be playing in there with a full 5 piece band, LOUD, and the neighbors don't hear a thing. They can't be more than 100ft away.
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Post by drumsound » Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:09 am

I assume doing like Flight mentions is the way to go. Build decoupled rooms within the structure and you'd be golden. I've often though if I ever had to build from the ground up, a simple cinder block or other prefab structure would be the way to go.

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Post by cgarges » Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:25 pm

I would think that a pre-fab structure would actually cost more than just buying the materials and going at it yourself. I considered doing that for isolation booths for a while, but decided against it for a number of reasons. I don't think it would be impossible, but there are a number of obstacles to overcome to do it correctly and I think it would just be silly from a cost perspective.

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Post by kevin206 » Sat Jul 18, 2015 6:09 pm

My studio space is a metal pre-fab garage. Approximately 24'x35', 9' walls peaking to 14' or 15', built on a concrete slab. I decided to leave my space as a single large room instead of building out rooms. It's basically a metal carport with metal sides.

It went up quickly, but I still had to do some finishing on the inside that took a while. If I had to do it over, I would build it as a concrete block building or more like a pole barn. The sound isn't really well contained. The walls just don't have enough mass. It's not really a problem where it's located. The ceilings were also hard to insulate. I had to contract it out, and I usually do all those type of things myself.

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Post by ott0bot » Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:31 pm

kevin206 wrote:My studio space is a metal pre-fab garage. Approximately 24'x35', 9' walls peaking to 14' or 15', built on a concrete slab. I decided to leave my space as a single large room instead of building out rooms. It's basically a metal carport with metal sides.

It went up quickly, but I still had to do some finishing on the inside that took a while. If I had to do it over, I would build it as a concrete block building or more like a pole barn. The sound isn't really well contained. The walls just don't have enough mass. It's not really a problem where it's located. The ceilings were also hard to insulate. I had to contract it out, and I usually do all those type of things myself.
I know another guy in here had a prefab metal shed built too, and he used a ton of expanding spray-foam insulation. with enough of it, the sound isolation increased and the surface made a somewhat natural deflection/absorbsion for low end. it looks like it's covered in ice, and I suppose it could be painted too. probably was a bit pricey, stuff isn't super cheap.

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Post by timcoalman » Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:42 pm

ott0bot wrote:
kevin206 wrote:My studio space is a metal pre-fab garage. Approximately 24'x35', 9' walls peaking to 14' or 15', built on a concrete slab. I decided to leave my space as a single large room instead of building out rooms. It's basically a metal carport with metal sides.

It went up quickly, but I still had to do some finishing on the inside that took a while. If I had to do it over, I would build it as a concrete block building or more like a pole barn. The sound isn't really well contained. The walls just don't have enough mass. It's not really a problem where it's located. The ceilings were also hard to insulate. I had to contract it out, and I usually do all those type of things myself.
I know another guy in here had a prefab metal shed built too, and he used a ton of expanding spray-foam insulation. with enough of it, the sound isolation increased and the surface made a somewhat natural deflection/absorbsion for low end. it looks like it's covered in ice, and I suppose it could be painted too. probably was a bit pricey, stuff isn't super cheap.
The expanding foam shows up often on This Old House. I could watch them apply it for hours - spraying on the semi liquid form to begin chemical proces, immediately expanding exponentially to fill as dense insulation. (A good R-Value as well, relative to traditional pink cotton candy rolls.) Overall it seems begging for use as a practical effect in a science fiction film.

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Post by kevin206 » Sun Oct 04, 2015 6:13 am

ott0bot wrote:
kevin206 wrote:My studio space is a metal pre-fab garage. Approximately 24'x35', 9' walls peaking to 14' or 15', built on a concrete slab. I decided to leave my space as a single large room instead of building out rooms. It's basically a metal carport with metal sides.

It went up quickly, but I still had to do some finishing on the inside that took a while. If I had to do it over, I would build it as a concrete block building or more like a pole barn. The sound isn't really well contained. The walls just don't have enough mass. It's not really a problem where it's located. The ceilings were also hard to insulate. I had to contract it out, and I usually do all those type of things myself.
I know another guy in here had a prefab metal shed built too, and he used a ton of expanding spray-foam insulation. with enough of it, the sound isolation increased and the surface made a somewhat natural deflection/absorbsion for low end. it looks like it's covered in ice, and I suppose it could be painted too. probably was a bit pricey, stuff isn't super cheap.
Expanding foam was what I really wanted in my situation. I checked with insulation contractors in my area and only found one with any experience. They weren't interested in doing my project with the expanding foam because the project was just too small for them to make a profit. Apparently that stuff comes in 55 gallon drums and is a two part mix. Anything unused doesn't have much of a shelf life. My option was to pay for way more material than I needed or wait until they were doing an industrial job and let me tap onto the end.

In the end, they used an industrial fiberglass bonded to white vinyl. It looks like a big pillow all over my ceiling.

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