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Construction

SONIC ROCKET CONSTRUCTION

In the beginning

When we first acquired the space in the Summer of 2013 the previous owner who was a cabinet maker was using the space as a workshop.  Aside from a crudely partitioned restroom, the space was one large room.

This was exactly what we were looking for when we started our search for a new space. One Sunday afternoon we saw an ad for an open house. We called the real estate agent and even though we had gotten the open house date wrong she showed us the property. As it turns out, what she had to show was not at all what we had in mind. Undaunted, the agent asked for more information and took our contact information promising not to bother unless she had something that met our requirements.

True to her word, we did not hear another peep until she called us and told us about a place in Fallbrook that she thought we would like.  We jumped in the car and headed North on I-15 past the impressive Rainbow Bridge to Fallbrook. When we saw the property we fell in love at first sight. The home was a Midcentury Modern classic designed by one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin students.  Kitchen and bedrooms flank either side of a huge great room with glass facing a beautiful swimming pool.  Across the yard stood an impressive 1500 sq ft workshop crying out to be my new studio.

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The design phase

Summer of 2013 the previous owner who was a cabinet maker was using the space as a workshop.  Aside from a crudely partitioned restroom, the space was one large room.

This was exactly what we were looking for when we started our search for a new space. One Sunday afternoon we saw an ad for an open house. We called the real estate agent and even though we had gotten the open house date wrong she showed us the property. As it turns out, what she had to show was not at all what we had in mind. Undaunted, the agent asked for more information and took our contact information promising not to bother unless she had something that met our requirements.

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Framing

Summer of 2013 the previous owner who was a cabinet maker was using the space as a workshop.  Aside from a crudely partitioned restroom, the space was one large room.

This was exactly what we were looking for when we started our search for a new space. One Sunday afternoon we saw an ad for an open house. We called the real estate agent and even though we had gotten the open house date wrong she showed us the property. As it turns out, what she had to show was not at all what we had in mind. Undaunted, the agent asked for more information and took our contact information promising not to bother unless she had something that met our requirements.

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The great thing about the rough construction phase is the nearly immediate gratification.  Things go from being a big saw dust filled mess to something that really allows you to picture the actual space very quickly.

Most of the walls were up by the end of 2013 and the whole place had that delicious Douglas Fir new construction smell.

Already by this time the few friends that knew what I was up to started asking “When do you think you’ll have it finished?”  I never could give them a straight answer but fortunately I do come from a family of building contractors so I knew going into the project the two universal truths of building 1-It’s gonna take longer than you think and 2-It’s gonna cost more than you think.  As it turned out… Both were true for my project.

I guess they always are.

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Drywall, plumbing, electrical & flooring

Once you get the walls all up its easy to get all excited and think you’re almost done. Believe me, nothing could be further from the truth.

The electrical presented a major challenge right away. The sub panel was up way too high and needed to be moved to the space that would become the equipment closet.  I hired an electrician to do the panel move, but I ran all the wiring in the studio laying it out to keep the lighting and utility circuits completely isolated from those which would service audio equipment.

There is enough 5/8″ drywall in this studio to do a small apartment complex.  All the walls and ceilings have two layers independently taped and separated by a layer of green acoustic glue. All the angles and crevices made sanding and prepping the surfaces costly and time consuming.

The core changes to the plumbing were adding a water heater, moving the lavatory, and raising the waste up to accommodate the raised floor.

The subfloor is built from 2×6 lumber isolated from the cement shop floor by rubber “uboats”.  About a mile of conduit was installed to hold the various audio connecting cables. The whole assembly was topped with two layers of 3/4″ plywood separated by green acoustic glue.

Although a bit out of sequence here a do need to add the air conditioning and recycling system.  Two complete ductless air conditioning systems were installed at a cost of >$10k.  Even though I still trimble at the cost, this was absolutely essential as it is lacking at so many local studios. Comfort is a necessary luxury when it comes to doing your best work in the recording studio.

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A challenge for the crew

One of the biggest construction challenges was building the soffit to house the Urei a Time Align speakers in the live room.  The design called for something that would allow them to sit in floating boxes at exactly the right angles so they would sound right for listeners in the live room.

I hand sketched a few drawings and showed them to construction guru Greg Peterson.  He looked them over and for a split second gave me a look that said “You’ve got to be kidding…” But quickly got over it and scratched his head, asked some great questions, and proceeded to start laying it out on the floor beneath where it would be installed.

It truly is an engineering feat!  I am not exaggerating when I say there is not a single 90 degree cut in the whole thing.

Once complete I was delighted!  The soffit came out exactly as I had imagined.  Again, I think this would have stumped a less experienced builder but Greg (with plenty of help from Ricky) figured it out.

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Stone, hardwire, fabric & fiberglass

Even after the plumbing, electrical, drywall and drywall was done a double dipped boatload of work remained.

First was the stone veneer wall in the control room.  I estimated the amount of material needed and added 10% for good measure.  I picked this up in Santa Ana in my small pickup. It was a very heavy load so my truck groaned all the way back home.  I hired Ricky Snover to install it. The job took >40 hrs to complete and was extremely tedious. As usual, Ricky did a superb job.

Using Masonite and cotton waste felt, a built and hung all the wave guide panels in front of 10″ of denim insulation and a layer of 1lb per sq ft mass loaded vinyl.  Getting that MLV hung was a death defying feat on its own.

The design called for many cloth covered panels which I built and covered using the highest quality low cost labor available (my wife).

When it came time to install the hardwood laminate flooring I turned once again to Ricky Snover who knocked it out in about a week.

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Awesome place operated by awesome people; if you want your material to sound top notch, consider coming here!Sam

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This place is amazing, beautiful studio, great engineers, great equipment, great price, and just all around an amazing experience. Thanks yallSam Iam

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Just recorded bass&percussion tracks there today, great studio,Shea is a great engineer, very pro, very productive session, thanks Sonic-Rocket, looking forwardPedro Baez

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These guys are absolutely fantastic to work with and they produce great material! Working with Shea and James was a pleasure and I also had a lot of fun. They mic'd my setup like champs and created art with me. If you wanna go to a cool place with cool people and produce cool music, sonic rocket is the place to be! This is my new go to place for getting concepts out of my head and on to a file...Thanks guys!!!Blake N

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Best recording studio in the area. Same can be said for its engineer, Shea Thompson!Craig Johnson

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Sonic Rocket blew my expectations away. The studio is stocked with all of the most professional gear you could ask for. Shea, the chief engineer, made the experience very worth while. He is very easy to work with, and really helped us refine the song we brought to record. Cash was very accommodating and offered a lot of great input to our music to get the best mix we could get. Overall beautiful studio and excellent staff. Wouldn't even waste my time looking for somewhere better.Hayden Webb

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I had many experiences here here at this studio and not one of them was dull! I've had a blast making music here. The staff here is beyond phenomenal and more than willing to help and share collaborative ideas. I'll definitely be returning time and time again to record here!Angel Mendez

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One of the best recording experiences I've ever had in my entire professional career. The studio itself is top notch, and equipped with an amazing array of microphones, DAWs, and equipment. Everything was new, clean, and well kept. The location was in a beautiful private secluded part of Fallbrook- I felt like I was on a music retreat. In my opinion the best part of working at Sonic Rocket were the people. Engineer was efficient, quick, supportive, and really made me feel like he was giving his full care and attention to what we were producing Simply one of the best experiences I have ever had making music. Highly recommended for any level of musician or budget. A+JAYA Raise

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Nice legit studio that's close to home with a nice atmosphere ! Great prices for the San Diego area as well!!BYG803

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Excellent ambiance knowledgeable people in the countryMichael H

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Great Studio.Bobby Magee

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Love it.Jennelle Woods

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Love it.Jennelle Woods

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Five Stars!Timothy Nosser

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Five Stars!Jan Bugaiski

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Five Stars!Renia

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