BRENT DANIELS

producer | composer | sound designer | recording artist

Studio Upgrades - 3D previz

Screen Shot 2012-08-20 at 8.25.26 PM

This week I began scoring the feature A Lonely Place For Dying.  I'm excited. I'm going to score and mix it in surround, so I needed to upgrade my studio from stereo monitoring to a 5.1 system.  

Currently I'm using two JBL LSR4328P speakers as my main monitors.   They're networkable via ethernet cables and in a surround setup they can automatically calculate  the appropriate delay time for all the speakers relative to the mix position, which is really cool.  So I picked up 3 more and the matching subwoofer and a ton of custom cable.  (BTW if any of you are looking for one killer guitar cable or a bunch of mic cables or whatever, I've been using Lava Cable, a custom cable shop, for all my cabling needs for the last couple years.  Mark Stoddard's got every kind of cable and connector on the planet over there, and runs a business with incredible customer service.  My order was a little behind because he was swamped due to the NAMM show and he hooked me up with some free upgrades including overnight shipping to meet my time frame.  Highly recommended!)

The room I'm isn't terribly huge, and that sub is going to cause some low end havoc so I sprung for some real treatment, which was long overdue anyway.  I ordered a bunch of bass traps from RealTraps, which I should get tomorrow.  I have a feeling I'm going to need more, but I'm going to see how it works out with what I ordered first, which is the Starter Kit.  I have a hunch I need a second one of those though, as it was designed with only 2 speakers in mind.

I snagged a second audio interface so I wouldn't lose any of my current outputs which are wired into a patchbay for my semimodular synth rig, two more Mackie Control extenders, a bunch of soft synths including Native Instruments Komplete 5/Kore 2 bundle, and a couple cases of Asahi.  Okay, that last one's not really studio related, but I have a hard time coming out of Trader Joe's without a bunch of beer.  ;)

When Daniel Lenz was here working on my music video with me for the single for ALPFD, we found it hard to get two chairs in front of my rig because I have a one inch thick bamboo chairmat (harvested from sustainable forests, fear not), and it's not wide enough.  The place I'm in is a rental and it's carpeted, and I need to be able to roll around my workspace unencumbered, so for a long time I've been unsuccessfully trying to find large laminate chair mats, or parquet would flooring solutions that I didn't have to make myself.  Justin Evans came up with a great idea -- portable dance floors!  Seriously. Way cheaper ($3 - $5 per square foot), portable, and available in different finishes.  And no I will not be using it for its intended purpose, ever.

A couple years ago when I was first designing my room I wanted to pre-visualize my space so I could make sure I could reach everything in my racks with ease.  And, frankly, I wanted to make sure it looked cool.  I had already one major piece of studio furniture (the desk, an Omnirax Force 40) and was planning on expanding that with a custom-built chassis to support an expanded mixer control surface, keyboard controller, and standard keyboard and mouse (which ended up working out really well), as well as a side rack for out-of-the-box effects processing.  I discovered Sketchup, another app acquired by and made free by our future overlords (Google), and was blown away.  I was able to reconstruct every element in my studio down to the millimeter.  Then I was able to build any piece of gear or furniture in 3D using published dimensions and images from the manufacturer's websites.  It worked out exceedingly well.  I updated my Sketchup model last week to drop in the center and rear speakers, some of the RealTrap MiniTraps, and the floor mat to check the sizes and placement before I purchased them.  If you're building a house, designing a room, or anything at all really, I highly recommend Sketchup.  It's really easy to use if you watch the short, included tutorials, and best of all it's free.  And except for a couple gear changes in the racks and the absence of detritus in the Sketchup model, it looks almost EXACTLY like my finshed room.

Check out some of the pics output from Sketchup, or better yet, download Sketchup here and download my model and have a look around the room.

UPDATE 02/03/09 It turns out James over at RealTraps is a Sketchup user as well, and has made components of their traps; he downloaded my Darkmatter model and dropped in the traps I'm getting as part of the Starter Kit in the appropriate places, which will work better than what I've got pictured here.  How cool is that?  Thanks James!  The model has been updated, so if you want some RealTrap components for your own studio model, re-download it.

UPDATE 02/12/09 The portable dance floor turned out to be no go on carpet - not enough support.  So I cut two pieces of 3/4" MDF into a 6' x 7' subfloor, and put the dance floor on that, and it worked perfectly.  My chair rolls around on it smoothly.

Screen Shot 2012-08-20 at 8.25.43 PM

Screen Shot 2012-08-20 at 8.26.05 PM

Screen Shot 2012-08-20 at 8.26.36 PM

This week I began scoring the feature A Lonely Place For Dying.  I'm excited. I'm going to score and mix it in surround, so I needed to upgrade my studio from stereo monitoring to a 5.1 system.  

Currently I'm using two JBL LSR4328P speakers as my main monitors.   They're networkable via ethernet cables and in a surround setup they can automatically calculate  the appropriate delay time for all the speakers relative to the mix position, which is really cool.  So I picked up 3 more and the matching subwoofer and a ton of custom cable.  (BTW if any of you are looking for one killer guitar cable or a bunch of mic cables or whatever, I've been using Lava Cable, a custom cable shop, for all my cabling needs for the last couple years.  Mark Stoddard's got every kind of cable and connector on the planet over there, and runs a business with incredible customer service.  My order was a little behind because he was swamped due to the NAMM show and he hooked me up with some free upgrades including overnight shipping to meet my time frame.  Highly recommended!)

The room I'm isn't terribly huge, and that sub is going to cause some low end havoc so I sprung for some real treatment, which was long overdue anyway.  I ordered a bunch of bass traps from RealTraps, which I should get tomorrow.  I have a feeling I'm going to need more, but I'm going to see how it works out with what I ordered first, which is the Starter Kit.  I have a hunch I need a second one of those though, as it was designed with only 2 speakers in mind.

I snagged a second audio interface so I wouldn't lose any of my current outputs which are wired into a patchbay for my semimodular synth rig, two more Mackie Control extenders, a bunch of soft synths including Native Instruments Komplete 5/Kore 2 bundle, and a couple cases of Asahi.  Okay, that last one's not really studio related, but I have a hard time coming out of Trader Joe's without a bunch of beer.  ;)

When Daniel Lenz was here working on my music video with me for the single for ALPFD, we found it hard to get two chairs in front of my rig because I have a one inch thick bamboo chairmat (harvested from sustainable forests, fear not), and it's not wide enough.  The place I'm in is a rental and it's carpeted, and I need to be able to roll around my workspace unencumbered, so for a long time I've been unsuccessfully trying to find large laminate chair mats, or parquet would flooring solutions that I didn't have to make myself.  Justin Evans came up with a great idea -- portable dance floors!  Seriously. Way cheaper ($3 - $5 per square foot), portable, and available in different finishes.  And no I will not be using it for its intended purpose, ever.

A couple years ago when I was first designing my room I wanted to pre-visualize my space so I could make sure I could reach everything in my racks with ease.  And, frankly, I wanted to make sure it looked cool.  I had already one major piece of studio furniture (the desk, an Omnirax Force 40) and was planning on expanding that with a custom-built chassis to support an expanded mixer control surface, keyboard controller, and standard keyboard and mouse (which ended up working out really well), as well as a side rack for out-of-the-box effects processing.  I discovered Sketchup, another app acquired by and made free by our future overlords (Google), and was blown away.  I was able to reconstruct every element in my studio down to the millimeter.  Then I was able to build any piece of gear or furniture in 3D using published dimensions and images from the manufacturer's websites.  It worked out exceedingly well.  I updated my Sketchup model last week to drop in the center and rear speakers, some of the RealTrap MiniTraps, and the floor mat to check the sizes and placement before I purchased them.  If you're building a house, designing a room, or anything at all really, I highly recommend Sketchup.  It's really easy to use if you watch the short, included tutorials, and best of all it's free.  And except for a couple gear changes in the racks and the absence of detritus in the Sketchup model, it looks almost EXACTLY like my finshed room.

Check out some of the pics output from Sketchup, or better yet, download Sketchup here and download my model and have a look around the room.

UPDATE 02/03/09 It turns out James over at RealTraps is a Sketchup user as well, and has made components of their traps; he downloaded my Darkmatter model and dropped in the traps I'm getting as part of the Starter Kit in the appropriate places, which will work better than what I've got pictured here.  How cool is that?  Thanks James!  The model has been updated, so if you want some RealTrap components for your own studio model, re-download it.

UPDATE 02/12/09 The portable dance floor turned out to be no go on carpet - not enough support.  So I cut two pieces of 3/4" MDF into a 6' x 7' subfloor, and put the dance floor on that, and it worked perfectly.  My chair rolls around on it smoothly.










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