The 6th Evolution of The Street Factory

I had moved to the far Northwest corner of Chicago, at the border of Niles and Chicago. My family and I moved into a home that had been divided into a two flat. The 1st floor became our home – the second floor became an apartment we rented out and I had the entire lower level to do with what I wanted. No more six foot ceilings.

There were a few problems. First, the lower level was totally raw – except for a free-standing shower stall smack dab in the middle of the room- really strange….. Next, there was only rough plumbing. No electrical outlets and finally, no walls or ceilings. Once again, I would have a chance to build a studio from the ground up. This time, having graduated from the “School of Hard Knocks”, I hired acoustical contractors to help build the studio. The studio would be three rooms plus: a live room for tracking, an isolation room for Vocal Over-Dubs and a comfortable control room.

OK, First things First. Out with that shower stall! As a matter of fact, out with everything that was down there. Glass Block windows replaced the old windows. The ceiling was mostly exposed joists, with a small amount of drywall covering one section. Everything was torn out and thrown away. Even that poor, misplaced shower stall.

Another room within a room was built. The walls were constructed as designed, with staggered double 2X4’s, two layers of Drywall de-coupled by resilient channel strips. The walls were insulted with 4″ of Owens Corning 705 and finished with beautiful, recycled tongue and grove pine paneling. The ceiling was done also according to design: Acoustic Insulation filled the joists and the ceiling was sealed with PROSPEC VINYL BARRIER. Drywall was hung from RC strips and covered in an aesthetically pleasing sound absorbent material.

Next up was the Control Room and its’ entrance. The walls were built along similar lines as the other walls; the wall were de-coupled and the door frame and jamb were also de-coupled. Borrowing from some of the things that worked in the previous studio, I carpeted the upper half of the wall in two sections in the control room, after creating an air gap between the wall and the carpet. I even re-cycled some of the carpet from the old studio. I wasn’t going to let all of those materials go to waste. Finally, The all-important glass panels were custom made to size by a local building supply contractor. Double paned, angled glass, with a gas-filled air space between each piece, sealed at all exposed points. Two panels provide clear sight lines between the control room and the tracking room. AAAHHHH, now things were coming together…….

The electrical circuits were wired into their own separate circuits from all of the other pre-existing circuits in the building and each outlet in the studio was fitted with specially grounded, isolated, and filtered outlets. Each of those outlets power separate banks of TRIPP LITE ISOBAR ULTRA Surge protector/EMI/RFI filtered outlets. The power was regulated and clean; no more annoying ground loops and only some occasional electrical weirdness.

The tie-lines and microphone break out boxes were pre-cut before the last bass traps were fitted and provided all the access necessary to run cables throughout the studio.

Last up were the doors and door jambs, and a TEF analysis of the rooms. Nothing new here with the doors; solid core oak with double jambs and full rubber sealant around the entire framing. The control room door is where I got sentimental, if not downright economically practical.

Back in Bridgeport, I had to have a custom door built because the ceiling was so low. LEE LUMBER, located here in Chicago, constructed a solid Birch door with a double hang jamb set. It was extra wide, VERY, VERY HEAVY & QUITE EXPENSIVE. So, I took the door with me and had it installed as the entrance to the control room. Yup, very thoughtful & utilitarian of me…………….

Only one problem, the door is only 5 feet 7″ inches tall!!!! Well, the door works great and serves it purpose just fine, but almost EVERYONE had hit their head on it at one time or another…….

The final touches were acoustical treatment. The rooms were analyzed with a TEF Techron Analyzer and a mixture of 4″ SONEX PANELS, 4″ PYRAMID FOAM PANELS, 12″ DEEP WEDGE PANELS and AURALEX LENRD BASS TRAPS provided a good balance of absorbency & diffusion. The rooms were not perfect, but they sounded very good and I learned to live with some of the acoustic anomalies as time went on.

In answer to the question, “can you ever have too much gear?” My answer is YES. I have learned the hard way. To see what i mean go to the GEAR section. I had more guitars, amps, mics, rack gear, software, stomp boxes and other gear than I cold ever possibly use. Yes, there was one more move in sight. Next up, The Street Factory moves to the suburbs!

O2R 96 V2 5th Evolution 2 5th Evolution 4 5th Evolution 5

5th Evolution 6 5th Evolution 3 5th Evolution 8 5th Evolution 7

5th Evolution 9 5th Evolution 10 02R 15 Neve 1084 Modules