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AC?Final Voyage

The Project Studio Part VIII By JD Mars
In the last episode, I began to deal with a particular situation. A reader did write in and question why someone would want to pursue such a course of action, and I welcome the feedback. I've stated myself that room air conditioners are not designed to do anything other than cool a single area in a straightforward fashion. In the case of the room that was described last week, there are no other options. This is a rental unit on the second floor.

There is an existing wall unit, so there's no immediate need to put one in. On the other hand, if I wanted to upgrade the current unit, the building would most likely allow me to do so. It may even be possible to remove the upgraded unit if I were to move, and replace it with the current unit. Still, a wall unit is the only show in town.

So, what's a project studio guy to do? I have to build a vocal booth if I'm to do any kind of live overdubs. Obviously, I'll never have enough real estate bandwidth to do live drums or a band, so vocal or solo instrument overdubs are the most I can do. I could leave the AC wall unit exposed to the room, and put some kind of fan that draws air from the main room into the vocal booth, but I'd still have some noise issues. I could buy one of those pre-fab vocal booths with a ventilation system built in, but for the price of one of those I could build my proposed enclosure, which also eliminates the noise problem in the control room. So, rigging something up with the wall unit may be the only road I can take.

There aren't a lot of specs that accompany this type of AC unit, so some guesswork is in order. Again, they're not designed to push air in the manner that a central air conditioning unit would. It was during a discussion with an home AC specialist at Sears that the salesman suggested that I enhance the airflow with fans. Sears offers some good products with good service, by the way, and in my area the salespeople are extremely well-informed.

Getting Down
There are a number of books on studio construction. "How to Build a Small Budget Recording Studio, From Scratch ... with 12 Tested Designs (Second Edition)," is written by F. Alton Everest and Mike Shea, and is available on Amazon.com. Several methods of wall construction are covered, plus ways to add some additional sound buffering when constructing ducts for air conditioning. When dealing with a central air conditioning unit, consulting a professional is the only way I would advise going. Building permits have to be obtained (in most states), and an installation that is approved of or designed by those installing it is the only way that you will have some recourse if things don't work properly.

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Related Keywords:project studio, bandwidth, vocal booth, control room

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