Musician, singer, songwriter and record producer, Steven Wilson, approached us with a challenge: to turn his converted barn into a Dolby Atmos, fully-submersive recording space.
2020 left many record producers at a loose end as lockdown put a stop to, well, everything. With all this creativity and no way of harnessing it, many artists decided to convert areas of their property into fully working recording spaces, allowing them to fulfil their recording commitments without the restrictions that lockdown had put in place.
And Steven Wilson was no exception.
This was no ordinary recording space
Building a studio in a space that wasn’t originally intended for that purpose is always a challenge, but when you throw a barn conversion into the mix, you’re almost certainly going to have to think outside of the box.
Instead of a standard room configuration, this space had complete 360-degree sound. This meant that every aspect of the room had to serve an acoustic function.
High ceilings, curved lines and linear spaces are all things that needed close consideration.
Selecting the right equipment
We partnered with our friends over at Funky Junk to select only the right equipment for the project. This included:
- Full Genelec atmos ready monitoring system
- Complete wiring & connectivity.
- Dolby atmos accreditation & calibration
Combined, this allowed Steven to work efficiently within the space. One of his key requirements was complete access to all of his instruments at any instance. To enable complete flexibility we helped Steven to create a circular workflow that all revolved around a central mixing/arranging position. All of the instruments were to be permanently hardwired into the recording interface and the microphones scattered around the room strategically allowed Steven to record acoustic instruments at the touch of a button.
The birth of the ceiling grid diffuser
One of the most pertinent aspects of this project was the development of our now-popular grid diffuser. Like with most great things, it was born out of the need to fulfil an aim specific to the client at the time.
The converted building was graced with a barn-like high ceiling; it’s one of the core features of the room that Steven wanted to try not to disturb. Unfortunately in a critical listening space, reflections caused by the solid materials which make up the ceiling span need to be tamed, this is traditionally by a series of panels that are acoustically absorbent that float over the listening position. With our grid approach, we managed to maintain that great sense of height whilst also controlling those unwanted reflections. The series of angled fins that make up the grids reflect the unwanted high-frequency sound away from the listening position, maintaining a sense of clarity without the need for covering or blocking the ceiling from view.
The saying, ‘nothing good comes out of your comfort zone’ springs to mind.
Here’s a video of Steven Wilson recoding in his new space
Perfection doesn’t always happen the first time round…
Achieving the final result didn’t just happen overnight. We went through five revisions before we landed on a concept that you see today.
The renders below demonstrate the process we undertook to arrive at the end result.
The material that didn’t make the cut
Quite often, the initial concepts don’t come into fruition.
Initially, Steven wanted his recording studio to be laden with acoustic cork, but then later decided that a more futuristic aesthetic was more in-keeping with his style.
And thus, his space became affectionately known as the ‘storm trooper room’.
This futuristic aesthetic set the precedent for the rest of the décor, with the wall that was inspired by Scandinavian architect, ELINDERsTEN ARKITEKTER, who typically works with pine slats to craft beautiful linear curves in their designs.
This led us to incorporate brilliant white slat work, concealing the acoustic treatment behind it, acting as a high-functioning bass trap.
This, combined with ceiling lights and complementary light tones, made for a recording studio-come-garage-conversion that looked anything but boring.
Get in touch
Do you have a recording studio that needs a revamp? Or perhaps you want to design a space from scratch…
Whatever your needs, Sound Zero has you covered.
From design through to installation – to selecting recoding equipment, we ensure that your studio becomes a creative oasis, allowing you to work in ultimate acoustic comfort.
Get in touch today to discuss your needs further.