In order to achieve this, we need a team of immense ability, a system cannot be built as one unless there is seamless integration of services and structures, we can only have such seamless integration if everyone has understanding of how it all has to go together. Everything must be done in the right order, at the right time, under the right conditions, by the right people. If each service is delivered by a fragmented group of independent separate workers we don’t have the ability to fully integrate all the services as required. Worse still, if each service is installed by people who have never installed their services in such a tightly integrated package before, such as a local subcontractor, we find that they have no time to learn how things should be done and simply default to their every day methods which are more often than not, inadequate for our needs.
To achieve the best results we have a team with many decades of training and experience in all of the fields required to construct a fully integrated recording studio.
One significant advantage in this is related to the time it takes to build such a studio. Overall construction times can almost be halved in comparison to that with a team of good professional subcontractors, and if we compare to lesser experienced subcontractors we have seen examples ourselves where our teams have completed similar results, of higher standard, in less than one fifth the time of an independently contracted team of local workers.
Let us take the example of fitting a simple studio door in a floated acoustic wooden stud wall. Every common builder has fitted a door in a partition wall, they will all approach fitting one of our doors in the same way as they always do. What will happen each time is that door will not open properly, they will then go back and spend up to five times as much time as they took to fit the door in fine-tuning the door to work properly. The door will continue to fail to work properly in the future, and in a final attempt to fix the door they will destroy the acoustic properties of the room.
Well first of all, the room is commonly floated on a flexible isolating layer in the floor. Yes, the floor is flexible. Then the wall that the door has to be installed in is also purposely flexible so as to absorb sound and have the correct resonances, and finally the door itself is going to weigh about 100kg for isolation purposes. In any terms this is a challenge to correctly engineer, but to properly engineer this issue, we have to know first how we need to do things, there can be no general instruction as each application has minor differences. Only having experience of this issue in many circumstances allows us to properly engineer the situation. The process often starts in how we lay the floor in the first place, how we arrange the studs in the wall and how we apply strategic bracing in the room as a whole. If the door is in the middle of a wall, in a corner, in a tall wall, in a bass trap, or near an internal wall all have profound effects on the way we approach fitting that door. Our experience allows us to evaluate all the on-site conditions that will affect the installation of the door that are not known to anyone at the design stage, or would be often overlooked by general contractors. With our team, our doors are only ever installed once, and always work as planned. Many times, it can be too late to properly resolve the issues once they become obvious as it would require going back and re-building floors and walls to add correct support. Sadly, some general contractors frequently resort to destroying the acoustic isolation by fixing the door frame to the building structure for strength and therefore ruin all the isolation work they did.
The reality of the situation is that we have expert specialist teams who have a vast amount of experience in what we do. It is a serious mistake to look at what we are doing and think “oh they are builders” or “oh they are carpenters” and that a carpenter or builder could do what we do. A carpenter or builder could make something that looks like what we build, but in almost every subtle way it would fail to achieve what we achieve.
Our team are incredibly multi-disciplined people. Some of our carpenters are also able to professionally re-construct the insides of mixing consoles at component levels, beautifully paint the furniture, set-up and program studio automation systems, accurately calculate the electrical loads, calculate grounding path impedances, test the data networks, and do the stonework of the feature walls. These are not “builders” they are exceptionally talented multi-function studio building experts of the highest calibre. This is how we deliver a fully integrated, world class, studio facility that just simply works without problems in record time, on budget, every time.
In addition to the correct design, it is essential to have the correct team to build that design. It is only when we have both of these things that we can deliver the results we do.
Unlike most studio designers and builders, we deliver a fully integrated product. All of our studios have fully engineered and fully integrated systems, everything from the sound isolation, acoustic control, equipment furniture, and decoration right down to specialist audio electrical systems, data systems, ventilation, and safety systems are all specifically engineered in-house in order to ensure optimum performance.
As our background is with the great pioneering studio builders of the 1970’s and 1980’s our concepts come from the time where a recording studio would employ a whole team of world-leading experts just to operate the studio. Many studios had entire dedicated teams who were there to ensure everything worked, and if something was needed that hadn’t yet been invented they simply went and invented it. At those times, everything was bespoke, everything was carefully engineered .
We still hold the firm, proven, belief that in order to guarantee optimum results the studio must be designed and built as one single system. Every aspect must be built with consideration to every other aspect, everything must work as one.
We have examples where projects have been completed for more than twice the cost of the specialist team and the end result being significantly worse than we would expect. None of this through incompetence, but simply a typical case of over simplified expectations of others in what is involved, and the inefficiencies of everyone learning something new while trying to deliver a product.
In many ways to the layperson our methods and concepts look oddly familiar, and this often raises the question of “how hard can it be?”. It is only when we look closer we see that each task is slightly more specialised than it immediately appears, and that we have some unique challenges specific to our requirements that turn a seemingly simple task into an immensely difficult task for anyone not aware of how we have spent years perfecting our methods.
In the construction of a studio there are hundreds of times that such issues arise. Ventilation engineers creating acoustic transmission paths, and noisy systems. Electricians perforating acoustic isolation structures, changing seemingly excessive cable specifications to “normal” cable specifications, or inappropriately routing cables. Data installers not carefully routing cables as specified. Security systems installers passing noisy interfering cables in sensitive areas or placing sensors where they will be obstructed in use. Without the correct experience to get everything right first time each minor error simply compounds the delays and costs and each contractor, then demanding more money, passes the blame to the designer who in their false expert opinion “Doesn’t know what they are doing” despite the fact that the contractor has never built a studio before.
On larger projects where the workload is higher we work with more, narrower disciplined, contractors who’s areas of expertise are better utilised, while maintaining some of our wider skilled workers as team leaders. On a smaller project it is prohibitively expensive to contract in such quantities of specialists, and that is where our vast investment in having such a widely talented team is so valuable, we are able to maintain the high degree of seamless integration and all the efficiencies it brings, while providing an efficient and skilled workforce.
In so many cases, it is vastly more expensive to use cheaper local workers than to use the skilled efficient teams we have, sometimes many times higher in price.
Julius Newell Acoustic Engineering (Unip)Lda
VAT PT 514142928
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