Before the weekend I had received the two new 1920 x 1080 displays so I spent a couple of evenings getting them set up with the DAW. Yes, I had also got the audio machine connected into the system after having swapped the graphics cards from my test machine. I still haven't tested the DAW connected to the older Samsung 1920 x 1200 display but I wanted to see how things worked out with two lower resolution displays - all-in-all the clarity is extremely good considering how cheap these displays are I might well stick with them.

I did have to upgrade the shelf inside the airlock as the 6 mm plywood was not up to the job of supporting a computer box - I had some 20 mm ply which is much stronger. Another slight issue cropped up: I actually mounted the shelf a fair bit higher than I had actually planned and found that my long USB cables that run under the floor were too short!!!! I had plenty of slack in the room but hadn't left enough inside.

OK, this was a good test as I had always planned that I could gain access to the under floor cabling in the future. It only involves lifting three rows of laminate and rolling back the underlay to gain access and it probably only took me 20 minutes to do entire job and happy to be able to do it without any headaches. 

Having progressed to a certain stage I wanted to get some speakers set up to get a feel for the sound in the room as well as the kind of isolation I can expect. Bear in mind I haven't fully sealed up the outer door frame completely. I had my old Alesis Monitor Ones packed away so I got these out along with mu Samson Servo 170 amp and set them up on some temporary speaker stands. I then connected this up to the DAW outputs.

With a bit of messing with cables and connectors I had sound in the studio for the first time. After playing for a few seconds I could hear a problem that could not be down to the room. After messing with the pan controls it was clear that there was an issue from one of the channels as the left speaker was severely lacking in high frequency. To cut a long story short, it turns out that one of the tweeters is faulty on the left Monitor :-(  They hadn't been used for a few years but I don't know if the problem existed before then. I still need to swap the tweeters over to confirm the problem lay with the tweeter and not the crossover.

In the mean I wanted to get something positive out of this so I ran some material up through the system at reasonably high volume to check the isolation. Well...I have to say that I am suitably impressed with the results :-)  this is truly amazing and I think far better than I had imagined.  With the inner door closed I could hear clearly what was being played but with the outer (not quite fully sealed) door closed the drop was amazing and I could barely hear anything without putting my ear right up against the door. The outer door makes the world of difference!

OK, back to the monitor. It turns out that Alesis no longer keep spares for the M1 so I have made an enquiry with a well known speaker maker in the UK (Wilmslow Audio) to see if they have an equivalent to replace the original. No reply as of yet but I want to at least try and get these working in the mean time before buying the new active monitors (possibly the Adam A7X).


I had bought a few downlight fittings from ebay so I thought I might as well put a couple of these up.  I had left an opening in the ceiling cloud which currently accommodates a temporary bulkhead light. The idea is to fill this with a small piece of plasterboard with a couple of openings for two downlights. I have a few off-cuts of plasterboard so I cut one to size and made two holes ready for the downlights. I had to add three additional timber supports into the void to support the edges of the plasterboard, at the sides and in the centre. I then wired the existing supply cable into a junction box screwed into the ceiling and wired the two supplies to the lights here. All pretty straight forward and once the panel was screwed into position with the light inserted I turned the power back on and all worked well.

I have also the option of adding up to three additional downlights at the back of the room but having turned these two 35w halogens on I'm not sure I'm goint to need them - these appear to provide ample light and in fact I might well replace the basic light switch with a dimmer.

I have to decide on how to finish off the plasterboard and conceal the screws but for now it at least looks a lot better than my ad-hoc bulkhead.

Photo beforehand:

Photo after (to follow):

Monday 5th

I wanted to do a bit of testing of the cabling between the computer and the room itself. If you have read earlier posts you'l know the computer will reside in the airlock and connected by cables under the floor. I will be making a desk but I wanted something temporary just to check it out so I made use of some steel from a disassembled office desk attaching a scrap piece of timber between the legs and adding a back brace to stop it wobbling. I placed a piece of MDF on the top  to give a decent size surface. This worked out pretty well and provides enough space for a couple of monitors (screens), keyboard, mouse etc. I also made a small shelf in the airlock for the PC box to sit on.

I have a spare computer to use for testing purposes which I placed on the shelf and connected all of the cabling up. The space is very tight but it fits in there quite nicely actually. I hooked up my 24" monitor to one of the DVI cables in the room and fired up the system. All good and it even runs at the full 1920 x 1200 native resolution of the display even on the long cables. I had issues with this on my DAW when I tested a while back and I could only seem to get it working reliably at 1920 x 1080. Great news - so I'll probably put this graphics card in the DAW when I try it again.

I have just ordered a couple of 24" 1920 x 1080 displays so I might use the original 1920 x 1200 along with one of the newer ones side-by-side. But I'll do some further testing these arrive to see what combination works best with Cubase 7, Wavelab 8, HALion 5 etc.

Tuesday 6th

I had the day off from work today as it is my daughter's 7th birthday and I had a bit of time to do some further checks, for example connecting up the homeplugs between the studio and the house's CAT6 network, which worked a treat. I do have CAT5 cables running into the house but I haven't got these connected into the home network yet so this will be fine for the time being.

OK, so the task this weekend: lay the laminate flooring.

I started with the easy job: laying the underlay. I had a roll left over from a room from the house when we had the extension built and I always had it set aside for this job. All pretty easy and only took a couple of full lengths off the roll and one half length. This has a foil top to it which resulted in quite a funky looking effect. See photo below.

The next conundrum to solve: check whether there was enough laminate to cover the area sufficiently. As mentioned earlier this was taken up from an existing room and had obviously been cut to suit that room. I pretty much knew there was enough m2 but having been cut to various lengths and some having had the tongue and groove end chopped off to fit the original room I had to be sure the lengths would work in my room.

I had initially thought of just ploughing on picking pieces up and laying as I found them but very quickly realised this could have proved disastrous. In the end I spent Saturday afternoon laying each piece out and choosing it's position just like a jigsaw puzzle. Some lengths were slightly damaged so I was also swapping them out for the best ones. This definitely paid off and I was able to cover the entire area with pretty well perfect pieces. This left me with Sunday to actually fit the floor.

It required a lot of pieces cut to various shapes and sizes so and I made sure my work bench was clear and the circular saw was mounted on my ad-hoc table. In fact I started trying to cut the lengths up to the fence (I should say 40 x 40 mm length of timber clamped to the work surface) but this would have proven time consuming. In the end I just drew lines and cut everything by eye freehand. This worked out a dream and most of the cuts were reasonably straight.

The floor went down really well and I was actually very pleased with the result :-)

Photos to prove it:

Just a short entry today. I finished all of the panels for the electrical and network cables tonight. All good and hopefully I'll get the laminate flooring fitted at the weekend.