Johns Park Studio is near Exbourne, just north of Okehampton in West Devon, and is within the grounds of a Grade 2 listed property dating back to at least 1750. It's within easy reach of all parts of Devon via main roads such as the A30, A386 and A3072.
The studio was built during 2016/2017 and opened in August 2017. It was conceived as a home cinema and was constructed on the footprint of an old 'warehouse' that had seen better days. The site is next to the A3072 which makes loading/unloading equipment very easy. There's plenty of parking too.
We had to keep road noise very low and that led us to build thick walls on a heavy duty floor pad and with a heavyweight roof. It follows that, if you stop noise getting in then you're probably stopping noise getting out too, keeping the neighbours happy. Pretty soon that led to us to the recording studio concept and my love of music took over. The cinema idea has not been forgotten however and we often host film shows here, including of my own films.
All internal walls are faced with 'resilient' cladding mounted on rubber blocks (see picture) that absorb acoustic energy before it ever reaches the concrete structure. This particularly suppresses the bass frequencies that plague most recording spaces. So, you'll not see any bass traps in this studio! And that saved a lot of cost!
We have designed the layout to ensure that the control room and the studio are as far from the road as possible. A lobby, a loo and a kitchen are roadside along at last half of the building, helping to isolate things even more. And the building is dug into a slope, making it 1 metre underground at the top end. That helps too!
This is acoustically treated to create the 'right' sound. All medium-sized rooms have a bass problem because low frequencies (their wavelength can be 6 metres or more) gather in the corners (particularly the tri-corners where walls join ceilings), and 'standing waves' are set up that 'colour' everything else. Resilient walls, and the addition of corner bass traps have ensured that the KRK monitors work at their best. The sound image is now transparent and there's 'nothing' behind the monitors. A sub-woofer sitting under the desk can be switched in if you really want to hear those big EDM sounds.
LIVE AND DRY SPACES
The recording space is divided into live and dry areas, separated by acoustic curtains and an isolation 'wall' that can dived the spaces.
The dry area has side curtains and acoustic panels to control reflections, making it ideal for acoustic work such as vocals, VOs, guitars, violins, etc., especially when digital effects are going to be added. Notice the egg cartons below? I added them for fun since a) they were kindly donated by a friend and b) everyone always tells me that studios need them. Actually, they do work!
The live end has diffusion panels on side walls and ceiling to 'lighten up' the space. This makes the space seem much bigger and 'lighter', creating the right conditions for a more 'open' sound that's ideal for drums (especially cymbals), choirs etc. It's also good for acoustic work when a live sound is preferred.
The 'isolation 'wall' is an acoustic screen with window that concertinas' out from either side wall. It is fitted with more diffusers, plus absorbers to deaden low frequencies. Drums sound great now, and other acoustic instruments (e.g. violins) are enhanced. It means we can handle more or less anything you can throw at us. But, as always, your musical content dictates how a session is handled.
Just know that there's plenty of flexibility at Johns Park Studio.
Details of the resilient walls (left) and acoustic panels, including the famous egg boxes. Bottom right are some of the diffusion panels in the live end of the studio. These scatter acoustic energy to create an airier, 'larger', space. Part of the isolation wall can be seen folded away, bottom right pic.
The studio is connected by a short staircase to an old but solid garage that has been sited on this property for 40+ years. It has been turned into a Green Room where you can chill out between takes. It has some musical 'toys' and two practise amps, plus music memorabilia that I've picked up over the years. I might even put up my best Tar Barrel pictures in due course ... but that's another story.
Artist Lynne Reeves (see below) has painted a mural in the Green Room to add a touch of fun.