Dallas, TX (April 24, 2006)–Dallas-area drummer and audio post engineer Scottie Richardson contracted studio designer Russ Berger of Russ Berger Design Group (RBDG) to help convert his garage into a practice space.
The combination of acoustical absorption materials, hard wood floors, pArtScience SpaceCouplers and the expertise of Russ Berger Design Group helped transform a portion of Scottie Richardson’s three-car garage into a proper rehearsal and recording space.Having worked with RBDG on previous projects at Fast Cuts Mix and Video Post & Transfer production studios, Richardson was familiar with RBDG’s ability to create acoustical designs that fit each client’s specific needs and budget. For this project, one bay of Richardson’s three-car garage was converted into a home studio. However, before beginning, the location posed several obstacles.
“The main problem with small rooms like Scottie’s garage,” Berger stated, “is that they are usually rendered too dead from the acoustical absorption materials that must be added to control room resonance and locally reacting reflective surfaces. Fortunately, we had at our disposal acoustical treatments specifically designed for this type of project.”
To help eliminate the “dead box” problem, SpaceCouplers (designed and manufactured by pArtScience for Auralex Acoustics) were installed to give the small space a “large sound.” Two coupled spaces are connected to the volume of the main room by 2 x 6 foot apertures. Each aperture is filled with three 2 x 2 foot SpaceCoupler diffusors. These diffusors make the room “live,” and also enhance the drum sound.
Scottie Richardson in front of a pArtScience SpaceCoupler which was installed to help to give his practice space a live sound.”I was just blown away by what the SpaceCouplers did for the room,” Richardson remarked. “I often take people over there, shut the lights off immediately and shut the door, and the space sounds so much bigger than it really is. With your eyes closed, you don’t realize it’s a 9×13 foot square space–you would think you were in a small hall. It’s not dead-sounding; it has air to it. The drums sound great in there.”
Unlike many of RBDG’s typical projects, where the main concern is protection from outside noise, the focus in Scottie’s room was keeping sounds from escaping. The only external noise significant enough to be factored into the design was the air conditioning compressors located outside along the wall of the room.
“There was a concern for noise leakage into the bedroom adjacent to the practice space,” Berger continued, “particularly during late night sessions hammering out the monkey beat. The shell construction and interior walls were designed with appropriate mass and sealed airtight to ensure adequate sound transmission loss.”
During the installation, Berger utilized 3.0 pcf glass fiber board covered with acoustically transparent stretched fabric on the walls and ceiling as the primary absorptive treatment. Behind these materials, decoupled wood and multiple layers of drywall were installed to assist in isolating the sound. Wood flooring was laid over a new concrete topping slab to help level the sloped garage floor and enhance the room’s sound quality.
Though the drum room is primarily being used as a place to practice and teach, the acoustical design allows the facility to serve as a recording studio as well. “After hearing the room’s incredible sound, I invested in some high-quality microphones and pre-amps,” said Richardson. “I’ve been recording projects for local houses of worship, drum loops and drum programming.”
Even with all the challenges this project posed, RBDG successfully created a studio that met Scottie’s needs and budget. “As someone who enjoys new challenges, I saw Scottie’s garage as a unique installation driving us to employ different approaches for meeting his special sonic requirements,” Berger concluded. “A successful studio is a careful blend of the function of the facility, having adequate space, limiting site issues, and meeting owner’s expectations and budget targets, as well as design and construction schedules. The overall goal of the project is to provide an optimal sound experience in the midst of all that, and we have reached this goal in Scottie’s studio.”
Russ Berger Design Group