Steven Wilson – Recording Studio

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The birth of our unique Grid Diffuser in this futuristic barn conversion-come-recording studio.


Project Details

Client: Steven Wilson

Year: 2020

Concept: Complete recording studio design and build, from acoustic treatment to interior design

Steven Wilson Studio

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.

The Need For A Professional Music Studio

The events of 2020 left many record producers and music professionals at odds, as the pandemic put a stop to, well, everything. 

For the first time, creatives had all this undirected creativity and no way of harnessing it. As a result, many artists decided to convert areas of their property into comprehensive music recording spaces, allowing them to fulfil their recording commitments without the restrictions that the lockdown had put in place.

At the height of the pandemic, Sound Zero was approached by composer, producer and musician, Steven Wilson, to help create a submersive space which combined the technical proficiency of a Dolby Atmos equipped professional music studio and the convenience of working from home.

One-Of-A-Kind Professional 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, Steven’s space needed complete 360-degree sound. This meant that every aspect of the room had to serve an acoustic function and be carefully considered from the first consultation.

By partnering with Sound Zero’s technical consultant, Steven was assisted from the very beginning, including the design and site visit stages. Within these early consultation meetings, we highlighted the need to acoustically counter the high ceilings, curved lines and linear spaces as key considerations.

Steven Wilson Studio

Choosing The Right Equipment For A Professional Recording Studio

For this project, we partnered with our friends over at Funky Junk to select only the right professional recording equipment for the project. This included:

  • Full Genelec Dolby Atmos-ready monitoring system
  • Complete wiring & connectivity
  • Dolby Atmos accreditation & calibration

Combined with perfectly engineered acoustics, this equipment allowed Steven to work confidentally and  efficiently within the space.

From the start, Steven explained one of his key requirements was complete access to all of his instruments, at any instance. 

To provide complete flexibility Sound Zero worked closely with Steven to create a circular workflow that all revolved around a central mixing/arranging position. All of the instruments were permanently hardwired into the recording interface and the microphones were strategically placed around the room to allow Steven to record acoustic instruments at the touch of a button.

Music Studio Design & Implementing Grid Diffusers 

One of the most pertinent aspects of this project was the development of our now-popular grid diffuser. Like 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; one of the core features of the room that Steven wanted to leave untouched. Unfortunately in a critical listening space, reflections caused by the solid materials which make up the ceiling span need to be tamed.  Traditionally this is achieved by a series of panels that are acoustically absorbent which float over the listening position. 

With the grid approach, we managed to maintain that great sense of height with a clear line of sight to the ceiling, whilst also controlling those unwanted reflections. The series of angled fins that make up the grids reflect the unwanted high-frequencies away from the listening position, maintaining a sense of clarity without the need for covering or blocking the ceiling from view.

Steven Wilson Studio
Steven Wilson Studio

Using The Professional Recording Space

What We Learned From This Music Studio Design And Build

Achieving the final result didn’t just happen overnight. 

We went through five revisions before we landed on the concept that you see today.

The render below (left) demonstrates the process we undertook to arrive at the end result.

Steven Wilson Studio
Steven Wilson Studio

Choosing The Right Materials For Your Recording Studio

Quite often, the initial concepts don’t come to fruition.

During the consultation process with Steven, many materials were discussed to ascertain not only the perfect acoustics but also the perfect aesthetic.

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.

Thus, his space became affectionately known as the ‘stormtrooper room’.

Taking Music Production Studios To The Next Level 

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 work with pine slats to craft beautiful linear curves in their designs.

This led us to incorporate the brilliant-white slat work, concealing the acoustic treatment behind it, whilst acting as a high-functioning bass trap.

This, combined with ceiling lights and complementary light tones, made for a recording studio-come-barn-conversion that looked anything but boring.

Steven Wilson Studio

Your Professional Music Studio Design Consultants

Do you have a recording studio that needs a revamp? Or are you looking at creating your own professional music studio from the ground up?

From design through to installation – and even selecting the right recording equipment, Sound Zero can ensure that your studio becomes a creative oasis, allowing you to work in ultimate acoustic comfort.

Have any questions about Music Studio design? Speak to a Sound Zero expert today.

Speak to us about improving your acoustic environment

If you’d like to talk to one of our experts, either give us a call on 020 3984 2000, email us or fill out the form and we'll get back to you ASAP.