So we've moved, Again. That makes three residences in one year. We sold our house in the spring, moved into an apartment while we waited for the perfect house, and prices to come down in the fall, then moved again. This house comes with a separate residence located above the garage. With a little renovation, it would make the perfect listening studio.
The Studio "Before".
As I've mentioned before, the space in which your audio system resides is foundational to the performance of any of the gear you put in it. If you don't optimize that space, you will never get the most out of your system. Optimizing your listening space does not always require major renovation. They can have minimal aesthetic impact on your room (if that is a concern).
If you ignore these foundational principles, you may find yourself spending much more rotating components, tweaks and audio bandaids in and out of your system than you would just by doing these three things.
- Clean power - This starts at the breaker box. Your audio system needs it's own, dedicated 20 amp circuit. This helps with current delivery, and minimizes the electronic noise of the other appliances in your home on your system. It doesn't eliminate it, but it does help.
- An Acoustically Optimized Room - The goal here is to eliminate uneven absorption and diffusion of audio frequencies, and to ensure that the reflected sound does not destructively interfere with the direct radiated sound of your loudspeakers. Ideally you want to acoustically eliminate the effects of the room and hear only what is coming from the loudspeakers.
- Thoughtful speaker placement - Where a speaker looks good and where it may sound good are often at odds with one another according to many an audiophile partner. If your room is multi-use and shared with others this may require some compromise. There are many different ways to go about placing your speakers in a room for best sound. Experiment with one, and see what a difference it can make.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's go back to the studio. As you can see from the photos above and below this was once an apartment, complete with kitchenette, full bathroom, and even a laundry room. There was a Murphy bed along the west wall as well. The dimensions of the main space are approximately 15' x 20'. A decent size for a listening room. The laundry room was in the way however, and had to go. This required removing 2 walls, some plumbing and some electrical.
The Murphy bed along the west wall, and the laundry room on the southwest corner had to go...
I started the renovation by removing the Murphy bed, laundry room, and washer/dryer. If you are ever doing a renovation, YouTube is your friend. If only I would have consulted it before disassembling the Murphy bed... Oh well, it came out eventually.
Shortly after wall removal came the electrical. I wanted a dedicated circuit for the audio system, so I had to open up the walls on the south end of the room in order for my electrician to run the 10awg Audience Hidden Treasure in-wall wire.
My electrician installed new outlet boxes and firmly affixed them to studs. I was also able to place multiple DMT Qubes along the wire and in the boxes. I am having a combination of Furutech GTX-D NCF AC receptacles, and Audience's new AC receptacle in for now. I will break them all in, and then test one against the other.
At the breaker box, I will use a standard 20 amp breaker for now while I wait for Audience to release their new breaker. In addition I placed a half sheet of Stillpoints ERS inside the front door of the breaker, and more DMT Qubes were placed inside the panel by my electrician.
Step 1 of the foundation is nearly in place. I have a dedicated line, 20 amp circuit, high quality 10 awg wire and high quality electrical outlets installed. Oh yes, and of course a few tweaks along the way.
Above you see the bare walls now covered up, and ready for repair, texture, and paint. I am painting the entire room, and having the floors repaired and refinished. Part 2 of this series will cover the next foundational element: acoustic treatments. Look for it in January.