Zone Recording: Studio Upgrade

Hello readers. It has been quite a busy two months. I have totally redone "Brainworks" Studio, which is my home project studio. I plan on sharing some of the problems that I encountered while changing the setup and design of it. And there were many!

The whole reason it started was I had an engineer come down from the Armoury Studio in Vancouver, Canada to help me to get a great kick drum sound. My problem was that it never sounded cool. He told me that I had my studio set in the wrong direction.

Here is a 'before' photo of the studio.


The studio was set in a rectangular room. It was placed at the end of one side of the room the width way and not the length way. The engineer said that I should turn it so that it was length way to get more bass, and also to have an easier time with the bass.

Well, I did just that. Holy crap. What a lot of work. It seemed easy enough. I figured that I would do a few changes to the walls with acoustic padding. Strangely enough, a company in Canada hired me to do some mp3 samples for their new TONEBONE pedals (great distortion pedals, but that is another column). Anyway, they make this studio acoustic padding. Perfect time to do some type of bartering.

Before I installed the foam, I had set up the studio on how I wanted it to look I had some cheap padding that was left over, and just put it up haphazardly.

It looked great in there. I could not wait to get working again with the new design. Please remember this is before I installed the primacoustic materials.

There I was with my favorite CD in hand and ready to listen in the new way with better bass...

Well, it sounded horrible... just horrible! I could not believe it. My heart sunk into my chest and I had no idea what was wrong. I called the Armoury to ask for a great acoustic design guy named John Vertasic. He has worked with many people including Metallica, Bob Rock and others. He lives in Vancouver and I asked him to come down and tell me what the hell was wrong. He came and told me all of the problems.

First off, I had a new studio desk that my cool brother Paul had given me.

You will see in the following pictures of what I had to do to it. Apparently it was holding all kinds of bass in it because it could not escape from behind the walls and speakers.

He told me to drill 2" holes underneath the desk so the bass could escape. It was getting caught and had nowhere to go.

The second problem was that my speakers were now working too hard because I had taken them away from the wall as you could see from the original picture. They were now about 2 feet from the wall. He told me I needed to get a sub-woofer to help with the bass.


The next thing was to get the Primacoustic acoustic studio setup installed in the studio. I had wicked bass problems. I needed to get that under control.

He told me to get the Australis Corner Trap and also the Europa Flutter Wall. I also needed to pad the ceiling and the sidewalls with more of high frequency foam.

Now I was on a mission. I knew what had to be done and had the contacts to get all the stuff. I took two days off to get the studio back in shape. As you can see from the 'after' pictures it has changed quite a bit from the original.




Once all the new padding was installed I was actually scared to listen to anything because of all the work that was done. I know that sounds strange, but you have no idea what a job it was. I brought John back to assess the new changes. He and I were pleasantly shocked at the incredible change that had occurred. The combination of the sub-woofer, holes cut in the desk, and the Primacoustic padding worked a miracle.

I am now onto making music again.

All this for a kick drum... I should have just triggered it!

May the tone be with you.

David Martone is a guitarist from Vancouver, Canada who has released seven solo CDs which showcase his musical diversity and brilliant guitarmanship.

His 2007 CD is entitled "When The Aliens Come", which features a progressive sound incorporating jazz, rock, fusion and metal influences.

David Martone