“The Vault,” one of our newly renovated editing suites, got its name from its previous managers who used it as a vault for campus maps. And boy, was it a sight in those days… I don’t have any photos of the room at its earliest stage, but here’s how the space looked back when we initially prepped the space for painting.

Since we regularly record narration for university videos, Dave gave me some wherewithal to give the studio an edge towards being recording-friendly.

Conventional options for sound treatment were out of the budget, so we had to think beyond a quick $1k investment in Owens-Corning foam. Turns out the old mattress that had been sitting in my garage had a use after all, along with the room’s old carpeting, and a lot of basic black felt from JoAnn’s that came at about $3/yard. Fortunately for us, OSU surplus is right around the corner and they were more than happy to pawn off some old cubicle walls they had lying around. With a little help from a stud finder and a staple gun, we had a really inexpensive (and effective!) alternative for absorption panels.

I somehow managed to sell Justin and Darryl on the idea of suspending the two largest panels from the ceiling, so they helped me devise a plan to mount them up and wire a lighting system to go on top of them. Lucky for us that Darryl’s pretty handy with a soldering iron, so we cut up some cheap plastic molding from the hardware store and stuck on the most inexpensive LED strips we could find.

The cubicle panels weren’t quite enough to curb the reflective nature of the rest of the ceiling. I wanted to preserve the reflectiveness of the floor to satisfy a few recording nerdisms, but there was just too much metallic “bounce” lingering for me to be happy. Another thing I had lying around was a memory-foam mattress topper, so I cut the pieces down into uniform squares, which then needed some frames.

Another point for the scavengers. University facilities buildings have an excess of old palettes that they’re more than happy to part with. Throw in some elbow grease, repurposed hardware from the cubicle panel extras, and more felt and we had enough DIY absorption panels and bass traps to get the room’s frequency response more than flat enough to record in.

So there you have it. A fully kitted-out and record-ready editing suite for a hundred bucks or so. Doubles as a futuristic lunchtime chill space. #score