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The pitfalls of having shop walls shared with rehearsal studio next door

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  • The pitfalls of having shop walls shared with rehearsal studio next door

    My shop space at CenterStaging, LLC in Burbank, CA is the reclaimed space of what had been six closets, whose common walls were removed years before I came aboard in 2009. It's now a 33ft by 10ft by 10ft ceiling, and one corner of the shop is common with what amounts to a control room for the large rehearsal studio next door. When there's a client next door, I can hear kick drum and bass quite well, though substantially attenuated. As one of the normal tasks in assessing the problems of gear in for service, whether it's a combo amp or an amp head, once I know it will power up successfuly without self-destruction, I'll connect the shop speaker (Ampeg SVT115-HLF bass spkr) if a head, or with it's speakers connected if a combo amp and first go thru the controls using its' self-noise as a source to listen to each of the controls to spot the obvious noisy pots & switches, then I'll connect my burst pink noise source (GenRad 1382 Noise Gen & GenRad 1396B Tone Burst Gen followed by an HP 353A Xfmr-isolated Step Attenuator) to the amp channels and give a listen to the amp & it's functions. Moderate levels....90dB SPL or more to get an idea of what issues I have.

    Tuesday there was a client in this building (three rehearsal studios), and I had just started listening to the Fender Twin Amp whose front panel PCB assembly I had to extract to remove the Ch 1 Gain control to clean/lubricate, now back in the cabinet having verified all was still working after the surgery, and was not yet hearing the Reverb signal when someone from the client walked into the shop to tell me to cease making noise. He told me they were recording next door, and not only was the test signal noise bothering them, but that they were also getting electronic interference that he was claiming was coming from me. I can believe the acoustic noise claim, but this is the first time I've ever been accused of producing electrical interference. I didn't get into a discussion with him about that. It was more about being told to cease doing my work for the day, since I had several combo amps that were to follow this Twin Amp.

    Across the street from our location in Burbank is the Airport Runway, and you can hear the commercial jets LF rumble in the building, as well as their jet noise during takeoff. The Rehearsal Studio walls are NOT built to obtain Recording Studio isolation. They ARE sound-proofed to a reasonable degree, though if the double doors of any of the studios are not closed, sounds from the two closest to me echo in the 80ft hallway.

    Our Building Maintenance supervisor, who also has his shop just on the other side of the width of this building from me came over about five minutes later and asked me to cease working for the day, since this paying client had precedence to the rehearsal space and was demanding no interference from my activities. I reluctantly shut down, packed up and left for the day, loosing a day's wages over that. And, thinking to myself, I hoped the Airport's noise bothered them. Good thing they weren't here today, as the City of Burbank has the street outside all torn up, with large Cat Trench Digging equipment hard at work, making a hell of a racket. Like to see the client go tell them to cease and go away.

    In the past, I've had to put up with clients choosing to use the hallway space right outside my door for video interviews, and complain about my being there. I somewhat view such location decisions similar to setting up for a remote shoot right outside an automotive service center and then complain about the sounds from the Air Tools being used!
    Last edited by nevetslab; 02-13-2020, 07:47 PM.
    Logic is an organized way of going wrong with confidence

  • #2
    I work out of my garage, and I am technically in a commercial zone. Best of both worlds.
    It's weird, because it WAS working fine.....

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    • #3
      Originally posted by nevetslab View Post
      Good thing they weren't here today, as the City of Burbank has the street outside all torn up, with large Cat Trench Digging equipment hard at work, making a hell of a racket. Like to see the client go tell them to cease and go away.
      Yah, let'em go over to the airport runway and try to get 'em to hush up too. It's not as if there aren't a number of perfectly good studios within a short drive - whoever's doing this "recording" must be an awful cheapskate, besides being a dumb s#!+.

      FWIW I was in attendance for a while 25 years ago when Natalie Merchant was recording her soon-to-be-hit album Tiger Lily at Clubhouse Studio when they were located in a tumbledown warehouse close by the railroad tracks. She was cutting part of the first track "San Andreas Fault" - the quiet "woooh woooh wooooh" opening vocals - when the take was scuttled by Amtrak sending an express up the track, only about 75 feet away. So loud there might as well not have been a wall between the studio & the tracks. No worries, we all took it in stride. Bit of a laugh, wind back the tape, have another go, it became a hit. Which is a lot more than your half-baked interlopers at CenterStaging will get.

      Let ambience be your friend.

      Now let's hear from master knob twister Eddie Kramer: "During the recording of "Black Country Woman" we decided to place Jimmy and John Paul outside in order to record their acoustic guitars with no acoustical room interference. When Robert sang his lead vocal we tried to capture the same sound. However just as he was about to sing, an airplane droned overhead. On the final mix both my comment (paraphrased) "Er, what about that Airplane…?"and his terse reply "Na, leave it in…" are preserved for posterity on the album. -- Eddie Kramer"

      Those geeks just don't appreciate what you might be doing for them nevets. Phooey on them. Let's hope they wrap it up and go away toot sweet so you can get back to work.
      Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Randall View Post
        I work out of my garage, and I am technically in a commercial zone. Best of both worlds.
        downside is, now "they" know where you live
        If I have a 50% chance of guessing the right answer, I guess wrong 80% of the time.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
          Yah, let'em go over to the airport runway and try to get 'em to hush up too. It's not as if there aren't a number of perfectly good studios within a short drive - whoever's doing this "recording" must be an awful cheapskate, besides being a dumb s#!+.

          Those geeks just don't appreciate what you might be doing for them nevets. Phooey on them. Let's hope they wrap it up and go away toot sweet so you can get back to work.
          Thankfully, they were gone when I got back in yesterday morning. I was expecting to hear chastizing from management. I suppose that's still to come, since I"m in need of my paycheck. The only sensible thing was to make myself scarce, and let them complain further about interference, while it wasn't from me. Now, one more amp to do (Ampeg SVT-VR) and its back to the other building to resume Loudspeaker cabinet preventative maintenance, which I've come to enjoy. Nobody has done any of this to any extent for the past eleven years, so, based on what I've found already, there's plenty of work to do, provided they don't halt the work. Replacing loudspeakers is a lot more $$$ than replacing power tubes!
          Logic is an organized way of going wrong with confidence

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          • #6
            Originally posted by nevetslab View Post
            I was expecting to hear chastizing from management. I suppose that's still to come, since I"m in need of my paycheck. The only sensible thing was to make myself scarce, and let them complain further about interference, while it wasn't from me.
            I can only hope mgmt has half the horse sense you have, they'll know the "recording artistes" are full of baloney expecting to have studio-quiet rooms to record in. And if the "artistes" complained about noises you had no fault in making, double phooey on them - maybe they grated on mgmt's nerves enough, somebody might have 'splained to them "what you rock stars really need is $tudio time, go find one & record a hit!" Hah, whatever that gets you these days... 29 cents from Spoddify? Whoopie-doos!
            Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.

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            • #7
              Low freq does carry.

              I have to put up with the son cranking EDM through a few Crown 1000 watt amps into a wall of speakers.

              The voltage throbs to the beat.

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              • #8
                I'm not sure what your arrangement is with the building owners, but if you are giving some kind of payment for the use of your space, then you need to be compensated for financial loss due to unavailability of the space. Like, "I can go home, if you want to refund the day's rent". At the absolute minimum, they should be able to give you advance notice for occasions like this.
                I guess if this is the only time it's happened, then chances are it won't happen again. But if it's going to become an issue, you need to be compensated.
                "Everything is better with a tube. I have a customer with an all-tube pacemaker. His heartbeat is steady, reassuring and dependable, not like a modern heartbeat. And if it goes wrong he can fix it himself. You can't do that with SMD." - Mick Bailey

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                • #9
                  But it was the Sammy Hagar cover band!! They just wanted to get there promo recordings to get some gigs. 😊
                  When the going gets weird... The weird turn pro!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by g1 View Post
                    I'm not sure what your arrangement is with the building owners, but if you are giving some kind of payment for the use of your space, then you need to be compensated for financial loss due to unavailability of the space. Like, "I can go home, if you want to refund the day's rent". At the absolute minimum, they should be able to give you advance notice for occasions like this.
                    I guess if this is the only time it's happened, then chances are it won't happen again. But if it's going to become an issue, you need to be compensated.
                    This was the first time I've had to pack up and leave. I trade 20 hrs of labor for the shop space every month. When there's no work in a given month, that has put the financial squeeze on me big time. That had gotten so bad I was six months behind in meeting the 20 hr/month shop space/labor exchange and nearly bankrupt me. That owed labor was dropped, and that accrued owed labor hasn't happened again. I've had to deal with angry clients discovering they were adjacent to a repair shop, but this was the first time I found it necessary to leave....quite reluctantly, of course. If this becomes a new 'standard', then I will have to be compensated.

                    In many ways, I like being at the new building where all of the rental equipment got moved to, along with the administration staff. Here, it does get lonely being isolated in the long narrow shop space. It would make sense for them to allocate suitable space at the new building to set up the shop. There is space that could be tasked to that purpose. If it were enclosed, I'd also request a small acoustical isolation booth to put amps/speakers in so you could crank to stage levels without bothering everyone. They already have that problem in the Guitar Dept when their staff is doing their best to see if a piece of gear needed for a rental works or not. There is a lot of staff over there, so if nothing else, you're not totally isolated from humanity. Though few people have any clue how I know what I know and what all the trick gear on the bench does.....and how is it I'm still alive from not electrocuting myself all these years.

                    Seems like every day, being the only visible person delivery truck drivers and lost clients find, and are trying to make a delivery again to this building, half the time English is a second language, and all they have is their paperwork with this address, and don't want to know about the fact that shipping and receiving is NOT here. Lost clients trying to find where Jimmy Smith can be found, all I can do is say....I believe you. Usually stops them cold in their tracks, then have to direct them to one of the studio doors where there's a phone number for the Studio Supervisor who would only know where a client is, though doubtful where their desired person is. There's not ONE person in this building now who works for CenterStaging. I'm just contract labor...not an employee. Kills me every time I have to tell a client or associate to a client that there's no longer anyone here to help them. I'm constantly being shown their source of info on their smart phone, which clearly shows this address, and still does if you Google CenterStaging. You STILL don't find the new address for the Administration/Rental building without having to do a search. Wish management would fix that! There's not even signs out front on both sides of the street to indicate visually (that can be read from a car window) what studios are in what building. Everybody comes to this building, front door being locked, they come around to the back and I'm the first open door with a human being in it. Daily entertainment for me. Do you know where the bathroom is? Answer: Yes.
                    Last edited by nevetslab; 02-14-2020, 06:15 PM.
                    Logic is an organized way of going wrong with confidence

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