Audio A & Stage Update

By John Lux

It’s been two weeks since I did a detailed update on the Audio A & Stage construction so here’s where we’re at. This has definitely been a different construction process than we had for the rest of the building back in February & March. For the original build out we drew it out and if we got to a point where something wasn’t really working, we just changed it on the fly. For the audio build out, it is such a precise design and was put together so scientifically, that it has to be built exactly the way it was designed or the acoustics will be altered. In the original build out if we needed to move a door a couple inches, no big deal. For audio, when we found out we needed to move a door, we needed to move a cinder block wall so we didn’t have the move the door. In the original build out if the builder could find a material a little cheaper then great, save some money. In the audio build out, if the builder could find 5 materials cheaper, too bad, the room was designed knowing the exact make up of the materials spec’d.

If you look at the new walls built for the new Audio A they are almost as long as my arm from shoulder to finger tips. The obvious question is WHY?!?! When we first started the process our acoustic designer came here and did all kinds of measurements to determine how much material and air was needed to get the appropriate acoustics for what we were trying to accomplish. Building inside an existing building is good because a lot of the building stuff is already done but at the same time it’s bad because you’re stuck with what you have. So in order to achieve the acoustics and sound isolation we need, it was scientifically determined that we needed X layers of materials for the walls. The east side wall includes a double layer dry wall that already existed. Then the new wall includes 3 layers of 5/8″ drywall then 2 layers of 5/8″ sound board on top of 6″ of insulation. The west side wall includes 5 layers of 5/8″ drywall, 2 layers of 5/8″ sound board, 6″ of insulation plus 2 inches of air. The back wall of the room has 3 layers of 5/8″ drywall then 2 layers of 5/8″ sound board on top of 6″ of insulation. Then the back also has 24″ of airspace with sound absorbing insulation hanging inside the 24″. All of these walls will then have the framed soft walls. Every time they put another layer up all of the seams are also caulked so there’s no sound seepage through the walls and when one layer goes up the next has the seams off set so none of the seams line up which would possibly allow sound to seep through. Each time a layer goes up we look at each other and say “is that it?” and thus far it has not been, they keep adding layers but we think we’re all done. Next up is the soft walls. They begin being framed up today then once they are framed the fabric gets stretched over the frames to give the room a finished look.

Speaking of fabric, our designed gave us renderings a couple months back of what the room will look like. The room looks great in the renderings but it was all one color. We didn’t know if we could change it so we were ecstatic to find out we could add more color. For the front of the room we chose black fabric. Our thinking behind that was that the projection screen needs to be the focal point of the front of the room. We want the rest of the room to sort of go off in to infinity. We didn’t want someone looking at the screen but having their eye caught by the walls around the screen. The ceiling gave us a similar concern so we went with a dark gray for the stairs of the ceiling. The back, however, is where we could lighten things up and add color. Under the chair rail, we went with a lighter textured gray and above the chair rail and on the ceiling in back we went with a bright bold red. From day one in the building we wanted to have some red but in the rest of the building we couldn’t make it work so we were happy to be able to incorporate some red in Audio A. Then there are multiple client workstations in the room. In the front of the room we went with a textured middle gray for the counter tops. In the back we went with a textured black. We think the back workstations in black will look really good with the red and gray fabric around it. For the flooring, the back of the room has a raised platform for clients. We matched the edit suites in the building by going with the same color and design that we previously chose. Then for the main floor of Audio A we went with a wood planking in a Honey Oak finish. For those who have been in our building in the lobby and lounge we have dark brown wood planking. It’s a great look and is very durable so we went with the same material but different color in audio.

On the stage side, we will be repainting the cyc so it’s a clean white. Then the new wall on the stage will also be white. We have the extra large, extra think rug that was on our old stage so that will be on the floor. Then we have gray fabric fiberglass panels that will hang on the non-shooting walls on the stage to help the acoustics. In addition, as part of the Audio A build out we are having some 6 ft. custom mobile sound baffles being built that will be positioned in the room depending on what we’re recording. Beyond that, it will be trial and error testing the acoustics. Once the construction is over we will do some recording, take it in to our acoustical measuring devices and determine what other acoustic tricks we need to do for shooting and recording. We have done some internal recording in there already even with the Stage in construction disarray and the sound is good so we are very confident that when we’re done doing what we’re planning the sound will be excellent on the stage as well.

So there you go. That’s the update. Things are coming along very well. A little slower than we had hoped for but when designing such a precise room it’s better to be accurate than fast. We have done 3 webisodes on the audio process as well as lots of construction photos. You can see them all on our new home website

November 4, 2009|Archive|

About the Author: John Lux

As COO of IDEAS, John manages the day-to-day operations of the company. He is a category expert in studio production and is responsible for bringing advanced digital media technology to IDEAS.

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