How to DIY a Home Studio

Nurk2

Should you be practicing right now?
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
131
Hey Doug,

A few preliminary remarks....

- You can see pretty clearly, I'm new here, and this forum has a slightly different "vibe" than a lot of the boards I've participated on. There seems to be not a lot of the back-and-forth one typically sees in a lot of forums. I'm not looking to be antagonistic, so please don't misinterpret what I've written.

- Second, I have the utmost respect for the work you've done here. Not only does this project show great effort, imagination, and know-how, it also shows a commitment to follow through and see something to the end. Highest regards to you. Sincerely.

That said, as a "jobbing" musician, forgive me for sharing what's going through my mind as I read this thread (and like many others, I AM following this, and enjoying seeing your work):

Had you spent the time you've taken doing this work, working on music and recording instead, what would could you have accomplished by this point?

Put differently, it appears you have a lot of hours invested (40? 100? 200?). What could you have accomplished musically if that time had been spent practicing and recording?

That's my thought. In my mind, everything is a trade-off. If I'm at work, then I'm not spending time with my family. If I'm hanging out in front of the tube, then I'm not practicing. If I'm practicing, then I'm not working on the house....get it? You've made such an investment in TIME (we can never get time back), is the trade-off worth it?

This is literally the studio I worked out of for over a decade, to give you a sense of where my priorities lie!

uiF92eSl.jpg


Here's a PRS dude who appears to be working out of his garage!

https://forums.prsguitars.com/threads/nashville-session-man-with-his-prs.42989/
 
Last edited:

DougUSMC

Perpetual Practicer
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
856
Hey Doug,

A few preliminary remarks....

- You can see pretty clearly, I'm new here, and this forum has a slightly different "vibe" than a lot of the boards I've participated on. There seems to be not a lot of the back-and-forth one typically sees in a lot of forums. I'm not looking to be antagonistic, so please don't misinterpret what I've written.

- Second, I have the utmost respect for the work you've done here. Not only does this project show great effort, imagination, and know-how, it also shows a commitment to follow through and see something to the end. Highest regards to you. Sincerely.

That said, as a "jobbing" musician, forgive me for sharing what's going through my mind as I read this thread (and like many others, I AM following this, and enjoying seeing your work):

Had you spent the time you've taken doing this work, working on music and recording instead, what would could you have accomplished by this point?

Put differently, it appears you have a lot of hours invested (40? 100? 200?). What could you have accomplished musically if that time had been spent practicing and recording?

That's my thought. In my mind, everything is a trade-off. If I'm at work, then I'm not spending time with my family. If I'm hanging out in front of the tube, then I'm not practicing. If I'm practicing, then I'm not working on the house....get it? You've made such an investment in TIME (we can never get time back), is the trade-off worth it?

This is literally the studio I worked out of for over a decade, to give you a sense of where my priorities lie!

Hey Nurk, welcome to the forums! I appreciate you following my thread, the compliments, and taking the time to reply. I too belong to many forums, and understand that they each have their own personalities and quirks. Thank you for clarifying that you are only showing me your perspective, not trying to be antagonistic. I'll try to similarly explain where I'm coming from, and hopefully clarify some of the things that you may find different on this forum.

I am not a working musician, nor do I gig any more. I have previously worked and gigged musically, but that is no longer my profession. It is now something I do because I love music. I also have several other things I do for enjoyment (home improvement, woodworking, Home Theater enthusiast, motorcycles, etc), with varying degrees of capability in each. One of the things I really enjoy is when they cross over (home improvement > woodworking > music), such as in this project. Something else that is relevant is that we have several children, one older, two younger. The younger are more musically inclined than the older, and I think one will lean towards guitar while the other may have been lost to drums. :D

I understand making trade-offs, I think we all have to. If I'm riding my bikes, I'm not hanging with my family. If I work too many hours to provide, I'm spending less time with those I'm providing for. You are also correct in that I have many hours invested in this project, 50 to be exact. I'm an "OCD planner" type, so I have spreadsheets of materials purchases, orders of events, predecessor and successor tasks, etc. That's also something I actually enjoy doing.

Unfortunately, this is where our opinions part ways, and hopefully you can see it coming.

Let me point out a couple of things that I believe you assumed that may not be correct:
- As a non-jobbing musician, I likely have different musical goals than you. I don't "work on music", I play it and enjoy it. I don't record other than for the fact that I find it helps me find areas that could use improvement, and the kids think it's cool so it helps keep them engaged.
- As a hobbyist of both music and home improvement, I may feel that building a music room IS working on music
- As someone with young children, making a music room we can spend hours in together IS working towards something that will improve family time.
- As someone that's been playing one musical instrument or another for 40+ years, I'm very capable of determining how much time I should spend on playing/recording/practicing. Taking that long of a musical history in perspective, 40, 100, 200 hours building a room is insignificant to my overall musical career.
- Just because this is a PRS forum doesn't mean that we're all musical elite here. It's Ok to be any of the following: gigging musician, weekend warrior, occasional player (myself), or complete newbie.
- I understand where you're coming from. I've *been* you, telling more junior musicians to stop reading about music, shopping for gear, studying theory and just PLAY. So I don't take it personally when you do, I can look back and see my younger self doing the same thing.

So, to answer your question: Spending the time working on this room I *have* accomplished something great. I *have* accomplished something musical - a place to enjoy making music with my family. If I'm practicing by myself, that's TIME that I'm not playing with my family. To me, the trade-off of not playing as much for a few weeks is more than worth it for the years we'll have to enjoy our music room.

Proofreading this before I post I understand it comes across a bit more harshly than I'm intending, but my attempts to soften it aren't working. Just believe me when I say that I'm only trying to help you understand how to see it from a different perspective.
Just to show that I'm being honest: I'm happy to help you fix up that studio of yours if you want the help. A little bit of effort and some very cheap DIY projects and we could clean that up in no time!
 

Nurk2

Should you be practicing right now?
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
131
H
So, to answer your question: Spending the time working on this room I *have* accomplished something great. I *have* accomplished something musical - a place to enjoy making music with my family. If I'm practicing by myself, that's TIME that I'm not playing with my family. To me, the trade-off of not playing as much for a few weeks is more than worth it for the years we'll have to enjoy our music room.

Doug - Thank you for sharing your perspective on this, and for taking my thoughts in the spirit in which they were offered. I felt that writing that was walking on sensitive ground, but this has been eating at me--in the back of mind--while I've been following along with your build. Now knowing what you've explained to me will help me appreciate it even more.

I picked up a quote a long time ago about "making art:" The medium (guitar, watercolors, clay, wood) is not the point. And, that most people hide behind "pillars." Pillars are fancy equipment, tools, and other things. That the creative impulse can be expressed without all the "things" (the toys, the gear).

Sometimes, I apply this quote to others negatively. Judgmentally.

So I see a guy lavishing all this time building a home studio, and all I'm thinking is, man, you don't need a fancy studio to make good music...

...and what you've helped me understand here, today, is that perhaps making music isn't always the point. That you had a vision and you are executing that vision, and that is the point. Thank you.

H
Just to show that I'm being honest: I'm happy to help you fix up that studio of yours if you want the help. A little bit of effort and some very cheap DIY projects and we could clean that up in no time!

Thanks for the kind offer, but we moved two years ago, and now I have a space that works for me.

FLbh6u9l.jpg


I suppose that it's not the greatest, but I can now have a full "pit" setup (acoustic, electric, switching, pedal board, amp, music stand and computer) without having to crawl into it like a pilot into a cockpit! The old place was tough, and because we have three musicians in the family, there were times when we were literally all going: studio, dining room, and living room. Good for learning focus and concentration when everyone's working on different music, but not the best for efficiency.

Additionally, now, the PA gear hand trucks, etc. are stored somewhere else, and we can load in/out directly though the garage without having to worry about the weather, etc. Luxury!

(All we need is for this crisis to pass and the work to return!)
 

RickP

Established 1960, Still Not Dead
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
4,369
Location
Gulf Coast of Texas
I finally got a minute to sit down and go post by post through this thread. WOW Doug! You killed it on this project, and put a lot of great thought and effort into every step. I'm really impressed. Having untaken some home projects over the years, I know there are a thousand and one things you didn't mention. Just a really great effort, and it is coming out super nice.

As far as the time you're spending versus playing, take it from someone who used to make do and then finally made a proper music space. It's worth it! You will create, enjoy, and be inspired by having a dedicated space. I wish I had done it many years before I did. The whole process of learning, practicing, and advancing your craft will benefit from every screw you've driven!

Kudos to you, my friend. You're doing it right!
 

DougUSMC

Perpetual Practicer
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
856
Doug - Thank you for sharing your perspective on this, and for taking my thoughts in the spirit in which they were offered. I felt that writing that was walking on sensitive ground, but this has been eating at me--in the back of mind--while I've been following along with your build. Now knowing what you've explained to me will help me appreciate it even more.

I picked up a quote a long time ago about "making art:" The medium (guitar, watercolors, clay, wood) is not the point. And, that most people hide behind "pillars." Pillars are fancy equipment, tools, and other things. That the creative impulse can be expressed without all the "things" (the toys, the gear).

Sometimes, I apply this quote to others negatively. Judgmentally.

So I see a guy lavishing all this time building a home studio, and all I'm thinking is, man, you don't need a fancy studio to make good music...

...and what you've helped me understand here, today, is that perhaps making music isn't always the point. That you had a vision and you are executing that vision, and that is the point. Thank you.



Thanks for the kind offer, but we moved two years ago, and now I have a space that works for me.


I suppose that it's not the greatest, but I can now have a full "pit" setup (acoustic, electric, switching, pedal board, amp, music stand and computer) without having to crawl into it like a pilot into a cockpit! The old place was tough, and because we have three musicians in the family, there were times when we were literally all going: studio, dining room, and living room. Good for learning focus and concentration when everyone's working on different music, but not the best for efficiency.

Additionally, now, the PA gear hand trucks, etc. are stored somewhere else, and we can load in/out directly though the garage without having to worry about the weather, etc. Luxury!

(All we need is for this crisis to pass and the work to return!)

Hey, I dig it, we're all at different places. Like I said, I've been the guy saying "Quit researching ONE MORE Fretboard Learning video, and just play!" in the past, so I can see how what I'm doing looks that way. My real goal is to make a space that I can have two guitars and a (hopefully not) drum kit all set up and playing at the same time. I had a thread a few weeks ago asking for studio gear advice as well, and that's why you see me building it into the nook here. I'm all about making a lasting space that we can dig for years coming, and FINALLY having a dedicated wall to hang my 20 years of guitars doesn't suck either. :D

I like the new space, it looks cool AND very utilitarian to accomplish things. I'm going for the same thing, though more on the "looks" end since I don't worry about moving gear in and out.

I finally got a minute to sit down and go post by post through this thread. WOW Doug! You killed it on this project, and put a lot of great thought and effort into every step. I'm really impressed. Having untaken some home projects over the years, I know there are a thousand and one things you didn't mention. Just a really great effort, and it is coming out super nice.

As far as the time you're spending versus playing, take it from someone who used to make do and then finally made a proper music space. It's worth it! You will create, enjoy, and be inspired by having a dedicated space. I wish I had done it many years before I did. The whole process of learning, practicing, and advancing your craft will benefit from every screw you've driven!

Kudos to you, my friend. You're doing it right!

Thanks Rick, I appreciate the compliments!

For anyone else reading through, catching up, or considering a reply: I really DO want to hear your thoughts! I've thought through many of the opportunities and challenges of this room, but in no WAY to I believe I've thought of everything! If you have any great ideas / lessons learned, please share!!

Now I'm going down to paint (again), so hopefully more pics this afternoon.
 

Nurk2

Should you be practicing right now?
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
131
For any that aren't aware, the pictures above the sofa are actually printed on Acoustically Transparent fabric. They're then stretched over 4" deep wooden frames, which are overlaid on Owens Corning 703 (or equivalent) insulation. They're the DIY version of starting the treatments for the room I'm not sure which image to go with, so I figured I'd throw it out for a vote.
Please keep in mind that I do plan to ask permission before using. (As well as the highest resolution copy I can get) :D

Option 1:


Option 2:


Option 3:
6EeU5fF.jpg


You could probably guess where I would come down on this (my studio wall):


BlRQbeol.jpg
 

DougUSMC

Perpetual Practicer
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
856
Very cool day today, starting to get items knocked out that will bring me closer to the finish line. I got all of the painting on the walls and ceilings completed, except for a couple of touch ups that will wait until the final construction is done. The only thing left to paint is trim, which won't happen for a while. After that, it was on to more electrical. I installed about a kajillion outlets, finished in some ceiling lights, and prepped for the wiring by the desk.

Without further ado, the pics:

Entry, you can see all the outlets are up, and painting is finished. The only thing left to do here is install the door and trim it out. Which can't happen until the stupid door shows up. In weeks. Stupid COVID...

3Shtwum.jpg


Same view, but from the inside. All that's left to do here is install a couple more dimmers for the last 2 circuits, which will happen as soon as they're delivered. Stupid COVID...
EVYi2N5.jpg


The built in settled in nice and snug. I really like the way it fits there, JUST beyond the door's swing range. All that's left to do here is trim it in, as soon as I get a chance to rip down some Sapele.
aIkb1iw.jpg


The nook is in good shape, coming together nicely. I still need to finish the outlets on the left wall, and install the drop lights as soon as they show up (yup, stupid COVID). The only other thing to do is decide if I'm going to do a walllpaper accent wall or fir it up and put some reclaimed lumber to cover those washer and dryer hookups.
E2e2z3g.jpg


Last is the safe corner. You can see the eyeballs' wiring hanging down, ready for the lights to go up. Other than that, you can see that all the outlets and faceplates on the wall to the left are black, to hopefully blend in when the wallpaper goes up here. The last thing this corner really needs is the Ditra and tiles redone. There's actually a bunch of tiles that need to be replaced throughout the room. The only thing holding that up is me having the chance to hit a couple of tile shops, to see who can match the one I saved. Stupid COVID...
1mk8Qyt.jpg


Now the pano views, but first, two things:
1) The cut-ins aren't bad like they look here, that's shaky phone camera pano, not shaky paintbrush :D
2) The plan for tomorrow is to get those pipe holes mudded over and the access panel up. That way we'll be ready for the wallpaper, which will show this weekened, with any luck...
CLk7TSM.jpg


bM3Kul3.jpg


I have a good bunch of things to do over the weekend, including a couple of good woodworking projects. I'm hoping those tide me over for a bit, becuase after those I'll be in a holding pattern for a few weeks. I have an order in w/a blacksmith for shelving and desk items, which will hopefully be here in another week or so. I can't do baseboard and trims until the doors go up, which I'm waiting on. I can't finalize the flooring until I can get tile ordered. I need my dimmers and lights to finish the electrical, and the wallpaper and string swings to finish the guitar wall.

I understand that the current crisis is impacting people far more seriously than my little project, so please don't take my joking as disrespectful. We've been fortunate so far though, and I just haven't been this mad at the virus since PRS Exp 2020 was cancelled... ;)
 

DougUSMC

Perpetual Practicer
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
856
Today was about rounding the corner from "construction stuff" to "finish work".

First thing, the switching was wrapped up. I may add a couple more dimmers, but baring that we went from this:
e4njvqh.jpg


To this:
VD7U2ZE.jpg


I also added a new Edison bulb hanging lamp:
LcYuvRG.jpg


And installed the eye balls that will point at the String Swings (when they get here...). These suckers are BRIGHT!! They're already angled at the wall, but I may need to figure out a way to hood them as well.
uWqmTE5.jpg


Other than that it was just prepping the guitar wall for the wall paper (which showed up today!!) by mudding the holes and getting the access panel fitted in place. In case anyone is wondering, staring at mud doesn't help it dry more quickly, so you can get the second coat on same day...
eiPLJzc.jpg


Lastly, pulling nails and cutting old caulking, in the hopes of reusing the door trim...
848xRc8.jpg


That's all for tonight. I'm hoping to get a couple of shots tomorrow of a completed wallpaper job on the guitar wall, and some trim back up!
 

mookyshoots

Mom always told me I was special
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
285
Location
The Land of Lincoln
I've really enjoyed following this project, especially how fast it's come together. All I've managed over the last month has been changing the strings on most of my guitars once, putting on 5 lbs and spending way too much time on Reverb.
 

BMiller

New Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
498
Location
QCA Iowa
Nice! I really have enjoyed watching this project develop. I would have added more network drops though!
 

DougUSMC

Perpetual Practicer
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
856
I've really enjoyed following this project, especially how fast it's come together. All I've managed over the last month has been changing the strings on most of my guitars once, putting on 5 lbs and spending way too much time on Reverb.
Lol, I hear you. I've been on a really good month stretch of getting back in shape. I'd gotten lazy since the youngest was born, jumping from the 180s to about 222. I started slowly getting my miles back up in September of 19, and have had really good results. I *should* have started the Disney Star Wars Half Marathon about an hour ago this morning, having MADE my goal weight of "less than 190". As of yesterday morning I'm down 35 lbs, to 197. :D
As for reverb, guilty as well. Most of my cash expenditure has been at Home Depot, but I'm already thinking about gear to add to the finished room. The only thing saving me is the fact that a lot of stuff is selling off my watchlist, before I get a chance to bid.

Nice! I really have enjoyed watching this project develop. I would have added more network drops though!
Thanks! There are already two in the room: 1 in the studio nook and one in the opposite corner on the black painted wall. I set the whole house up for Google Wifi last year, and really only added those two in case I do high bandwidth streaming in the room. Two jacks should cover me, especially since I'll throw an 8 port gig switch under the desk. :D

Bangin’!
Thanks, much appreciated!
 

DougUSMC

Perpetual Practicer
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
856
There's definitely a skill involved in hanging wallpaper, one that I don't possess. Still, after about 30 mins per sheet (with about 8 sheets up) I think it came out pretty well.

I'm a huge fan of how it looks!
NM6FEWN.jpg


Some tile and a bit of baseboard & quarter round, and this wall is ready for primetime!! Let's see how long it takes for the string swings to get here...
IuOjpI2.jpg


For the record: that black wallpaper soaks in the light, so I'm glad the gimbals are so bright!
 

BMiller

New Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
498
Location
QCA Iowa
Thanks! There are already two in the room: 1 in the studio nook and one in the opposite corner on the black painted wall. I set the whole house up for Google Wifi last year, and really only added those two in case I do high bandwidth streaming in the room. Two jacks should cover me, especially since I'll throw an 8 port gig switch under the desk. :D

Only two in that room? Man....not enough!! Hahaha.....

As part of my day job, I design and implement WAN networks. Every possible network device location gets at least two drops. If two are known to be needed, then it will be four. I do not like having random switches in the field unless necessary. Plus, if a drop has an issue, you can always use a spare until properly remedied. In my house, I put 2-4 at every location that I think that I, or a future owner, might want a connection. At the headend in the basement, the first and second floors both have a dedicated 24 port patch panel and Gig switch. Cameras are on their own patch panel and POE switch. This feeds into a dedicated stand alone router/firewall that then attaches to the cable modem. Gig down, 100M up.....moving to fiber symmetrical Gig up/down in May. For Wifi, I have 3 Ubiquti WAPs. These are Enterprise grade (same as my switches) and I have full house and property covered. My setup is based off of one that I designed for a medium sized business.....it's awesome. Speed tests on this computer hit above 950M down. Wireless is maxing at 330M or so down.....with 350M being the max on WiFi anyways. I am running out of space on my switches as we keep remodeling, so looking to upgrade to 48 port managed so that I don't have to rely upon my router to handle VLANS.

You might ask why we need this type of network at home.....or why you might. For me, My wife and I have 3 boys that hit the network hard. Downloading and uploading files to various servers (they like to program and create content). Games, video streams, constant audio streams for music. They chew up a lot of bandwidth. At the same time, I have an IP phone for work and have to participate in video conferences as well. Never mind my online collaborations, sessions, and uploading and downloading of large files. Wife doesn't do a lot like we do, but when she wants to take a break from everything and watch something, well, for the benefit of us all she should have no issues with buffering due to our activity. At high peak times in our house, we can utilize 70%+ of our bandwidth. Forgot to mention that I also run a Cloud server as well as a few other servers for various things.

Nonetheless.....you need more drops. And I would do something different than Google WiFi for your house if you can.
 
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