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The Sound Criminals Studio

The Sound Criminals have been hard at work over the winter renovating their rehearsal space and converting it into a recording/rehearsal studio. The Sound Criminals studio is built in the live room of an old recording studio. You can find out all about the design, building and progress of it on this page.


Latest Build Updates
12th March 2010 - We are so close to completion now. In fact it is complete apart from just a few things that we need to save up for, such as acoustic treatment, the control room windows and a bit more gear. We have now finished the building and have painted it and put some carpet down. Woo hoo!

8th March 2010 - Strings & Stu have been hard at work again today. We've been doing some more filling and plastering in the control room, and have half built the bench seat at the back. We're just about ready to start chucking some paint about!

7th March 2010 - We had a major breakthrough today, when we installed the desk in the control room. It's made out of some kitchen work top that Stu had hiding away in his garage. It's spanned between 3 walls so it has no legs to save space. It did involve cutting the angles of the walls into it which was a bit confusing, but amazingly we just about managed it! Now we're off to the pub.

3rd March 2010 - Well Stu, Stix & Strings have come to the realisation that none of us can plaster to save our lives. We've been slapping it every where today. We could claim that we intentionally went for the rustic cottage look, and that the uneven surfaces are done on purpose to defuse high frequency sounds, but that would just be a complete lie.



The early stages of the studio build. The door and window to the old control room (which is now a drum studio) have now been blocked off by an inner wall.

Damp & Rotten
When we first moved in during the summer, the place was a disaster zone. It had suffered from major damp for many years, everything was rotting, damp and smelling, and it was full of old stuff that was being stored there.

The first thing we had to do was fix the roof upstairs as it's an old iron roof that's full of holes. We hatched a cunning plan to build a simple roof out of thick polly sheet inside the original roof so it would catch all the drips and send them out through the eves - it actually works! Next we had to pull up the damp, rotting, wooden floor, and pull down the plasterboard ceiling sheets that were hanging and broken, and the fibreglass insulation. We also had to reconnect the power to next door, and get some lighting sorted out.

We rehearsed regularly in our stripped out room, with the constant wiring of the dehumidifier. We decided that we'd put a new ceiling up and floor down, and gradually started thinking about turning it into a small studio as well, as our guitarist (Strings) is an experienced recording and mixing engineer. Strings' design for a recording/rehearsal studio in our limited space seemed simple enough at first, but as with any project like this it ended up being more complicated, expensive and time consuming than we had thought.

The Design
Strings' design brief was to convert a reasonably small space (half of an old recording studio) into a full recording/rehearsing studio with a control room and live room, and do it on a microscopic budget. It also had to be fairly easy to build as we would have to build it our selves, and none of us are builders!


Strings' design visualisation


Strings' design visualisation to check that we could fit a killer whale in the studio just in case we ever needed to.

The band want to do conventional multitracking recordings, but also record their rehearsals live. Space was very limited so the design incorporated a compact control room in one corner, surrounded by an L shaped live area. The live area will have a dead end and a live end.


Stu screwing something

The control room is a very important part of any recording studio. It houses most of the recording equipment and is used for monitoring and mixing. It needs to have reasonable sound isolation from the live room. Getting a high level of sound isolation requires expensive materials that take up space and building techniques such as floating floors, walls and ceilings, and that wasn't an option for us. In any case, extreme isolation is normally not really needed. So we compromised on this in order to keep within our budget. The walls our built as two partition walls, one inside the other, that come in contact with each other in as few places as possible to reduce sound transmission. They are stuffed with Rockwool to reduce mid and high frequency sound, and are covered in high density plasterboard to reduce the mid to low end sounds. The walls are angled to help reduce parallel surfaces that cause reverberations and standing waves. The angled walls also help increase space inside and outside the control room. Two quadruple glazed windows, and a door will help to block sound while allowing access.


Control room door viewed through the main studio door


Sound block boards fitted to the outside of the control room.
The wall box and loom have been installed.


Inside the control room - lots of Rockwool!


Ceiling beam covered and low energy lights fitted


Control room during demo recording - no windows yet, and the door doesn't close, but we get by.


Mixing our first demo tracks in the unfinished control room. There is no acoustic treatment in the control room yet which makes mixing very difficult!


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