The Studio Build

Everywhere around the world people tell stories about how the Universe began and how humans came into being. Scholars, namely anthropologists and ethnologists, call these tales “creation myths” or “origin stories.”  Some origin stories are based on real people and events, while others are based on more imaginative accounts. Everything about our origin story is real.  All too real…

Origin Road started out in 2017 as SoundLab Studios, a rehearsal and event space in Sherwood Park, Alberta.  Here is how it all started…

Darryl: “Hey Christine!  We should build a rehearsal studio that our band can rehearse in and we can invite other bands to come in and rehearse.  How hard could that be to have a few soundproof rooms and some great audio gear?…”

Christine: “That would be cool.  Let’s do it!”

… 18 months later …

Darryl: “OK, so that was a year of searching for the right space to build in and 6 months to build, using enough 2x4s and 2x8s to build a house, 11,000 square feet of drywall, 100 bundles of insulation, 350 tubes of green glue, 30 gallons of paint, 20 solid core doors, 20 automatic door bottoms, 18 custom made HVAC baffle boxes, 120 custom built acoustic panels, and 275 carpet squares.  I think we are done!…”

Christine: “Don’t forget the t-bar ceiling, couches, drum kits, microphones, mic stands, cables, guitar stands, mixers, speakers, tables, and chairs.”

Darryl: “Oh yeah”

Christine: “And the rashes from the insulation, and green glue on everything, and building the reception desk, and carpel tunnel syndrome, and taking down 5000 square feet of t-bar ceiling, and …”

Darryl: “OK!  But we’re done now.”

Christine: “Welllll…”

… 6 months earlier…

We won’t bore you with the long process of looking at commercial spaces to find something that fit our budget, our sound requirements, minimal neighbours to annoy, our space needs, and our desire to have all of the rooms on the ground floor.   We finally found it and we are ready to build.  We have been planning and designing the space for the last 12 months and now we have the space to make it happen.  Before we get into the specifics of the studio build, if you are thinking of building your own rehearsal/recording space, here are a few quick things we learned:

  1. Sound treatment and sound proofing are very different things.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that if you throw up a few acoustic panels you will do anything to soundproof your space.  Sound treatment is about making things sound good in the room where you want the sound.  Sound proofing is about reducing the sound that gets from where you want the sound to where you don’t want the sound.
  2. There is no such thing as soundproof.  At least not unless you have the budget of Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson.  The best you can do is to reduce the amount of sound bleed from room to room.  Don’t get me wrong, you can do a lot to reduce sound transmission, and we have, but it did not come cheap, and it is not 100% soundproof.
  3. Insulation gets everywhere no matter how well you cover your body.

The Design

Our design goals were:

  1. A clean, comfortable space where people would feel safe and cosy
  2. Minimize sound bleed from room to room
  3. Excellent acoustic treatment in each room to make the musicians sound their best
  4. Convenient load in/out by having large hallways, large doors, and being on ground level
  5. Good audio equipment in each room
  6. Lots of parking for customers in a location they felt safe entering and leaving our space at night

The Build

It took us about 6 months to build out the space to what it is today.  Here is what those 6 months looked like.

Next: Expansion Into Retail and Covid 19

Look for our next installment of Our Origin Story to see how we expanded our business in 2020 and how Covid 19 got in the way of the expansion plans.