How to Soundproof a Room ? The world is a boisterous place, and a sound engineer should be pretty aware of this fact than anyone else. After all, you should record the intended sound and stop your professional condenser microphone from picking up all those distracting sounds outside.
Before getting into the job to understand how to soundproof a room for music recording, be fully aware that there is no shortcut to get this done. Once you have taken the plunge by investing in expensive recording studio equipment, there is no going back because you are expected to make great music and sound effects.
The Subtle Art of Sound Proofing
The term soundproofing is very straightforward. When you focus on this one aspect, your room will ensure the sounds you create inside using any instrument, even loud ones such as drum kit, don’t leak outside. The process will also ensure outside noise created by traffic, birds, animals, or construction work on the outside doesn’t disturb your recording sessions.
Here comes another important point that you should know to Soundproof a Room
There is a difference between soundproofing and the concept of acoustic treatment.
Soundproofing: Focuses on blocking out any noises that come from the outside and stops noise from leaking from your room not to disturb your neighbors.
Acoustic treatment is primarily a step that sound engineers and any place related to sound like a recording room, theater, posh hotels, and gyms should adopt to avoid sound from bouncing all across the room by using absorbing materials.
Soundproofing Basics #101
Build a Room within a Room
This is a concept that you should always register in your mind because most sound engineers and construction specialists follow it in when soundproofing any place. The idea of building a room within a room may sound very expensive, but you are not going to construct an exact room.
Rather, the idea should be applied at all points wherever possible. If you have a large room, you can consider creating a new wall that has minimal contact with the original wall using high-density concrete blocks in a parallel line. These blocks are predominantly used in shopping malls, apartments, and other large places to minimize lift noise sounds made on each floor by dampening the noise.
The internal concrete walls can also be attached to timber and plasterboard to seal the surface, besides ensuring the highest level of proofing even if a crack appears in the wall in the future.
Don’t Hide Your Power boards.
There is no shame in setting up a recording studio with wires running all around. The professional setup is never designed to be wireless like consumer products, as they may affect sound output. You can take steps such as using light-colored carpets to make it easy to spot black wires.
Similarly, trying to hide your powerboards and wires behind a fake wall, plasterboard setup is not ideal as they may affect acoustic. It will also cause a lot of nuisance if one of the plugs accidentally becomes lose or doesn’t produce the desired sound quality due to gaps in cable or disconnected cables. If you have a bad credit score then you should visit Creditrepairdetails.com. Avoid all these hassles by keeping them visible so that you can fix them immediately if needed.
If Not Parallel Walls, Create Floating Floors
It’s not that easy for beginners to create a room within a room as it involves a lot of work, and it can be more expensive at times. An alternative would be creating floating floors. The advantage you gain in this method is you don’t have to do it for the entire floor area. Instead, you can focus only on the area where you have your musical instruments placed.
In most cases, it will be less expensive and easy to implement because newcomers will always start with one or two instruments. Use wide wooden beams to place them on rubber u-boats to provide an even floor and neoprene strips wherever required. A cheaper alternative would be to use a platform below wooden sheets, and You can place your instrument or drum kit on top to secure them against vibration and acoustic problems.
Mix and Match Accessories Until You Achieve
While you might easily come across many guidelines on soundproofing and different materials to use, know that your room is different from every other place in the world. A wooden surface or a foam that works great for one person may not do the same in your room. Be open to experiment and mix and match all the accessories specified here until you find the best outcome.
Be ready to face some failures and frustrating moments because the setup may not immediately work out. Take a break and come back with a different item to use this time. Use foams, wood, and tapes to create unique soundproofing solutions that you can do without exceeding your budget. Remember that you don’t have to be one hundred percent perfect in your first attempt. It is okay to make mistakes, and you can do it better the next time.
4 Major Methods Used to Soundproof a Room for Music Recording
1. By adding mass
2. Damping vibrations
3. Decoupling the structures
4. Closing air gaps
Once you successfully understand and implement these four things in your room, the next ideal move to make it work on acoustic treatment to make the space as professional as it could get.
By Adding Mass
When you add more mass to the room, It ensures that sound waves doesn’t vibrate. You can do this by adding more materials to the wall and the surface. Use carpets, insulation, and other heavy materials to achieve this.
When sound hits these high mass and high-density materials, they are either reflected entirely back into the room or absorbed by the mass. In some cases, both these will happen to ensure that the sound created is secure and any outside noise doesn’t affect your recording session.
Most sound professionals consider long-term investments because once you have worked hard to soundproof one room, you can’t just leave the house as your time, money, and energy spent will be wasted. If you can stay in the place for long, consider creating a sheet block by creating drywall or multiple layers of drywall to insulate the sound.
Concrete walls have the highest sound insulation level, and other materials fill up the rest of the available spaces. You can know more about its capacity by using the Sound Transmission Class (STC) as the metrics. Any product with 40-50 is considered while below 30 is regarded as a poor insulator of sound.
Items that you could use for adding mass
Before you learn more about how to damping vibrations, here is a shocking reveal. You can work hard to use fiberglass, sheet block, and drywall to reduce noise. but vibrations are an entirely different story.
When sound waves are produced, they will find a way to creep those all these items. It finally reflect in your microphone through the microphone stand.
Using shock mounts is essential as they help suspend the microphone in the air. The concept of damping vibrations is done by allowing the sound to vibrate any material. The kinetic energy generated will be converted into heat, not to affect recording. Most professionals worldwide use caulk glue when building drywall, constructing the wall frames, and other areas.
Green Glue is a popular product, and you can also opt for other brands based on your convenience. The most significant difference between regular glue and special glue-like Liquid Nails is that they are capable of holding two frames together. They are tight but at the same time will dissipate vibrations. They will suck all bass vibrations created inside the room. It works great on a wide range of materials, including gypsum board, plywood, MDF, or drywall.
You can easily find many tutorials and help guidelines online. ‘It teach you how to apply the glue on flat surfaces. The guidelines suggest that you should use at least two glue tubes for 4 x 8 sheets of drywall. It is not a compulsion, and you can try to use a single tube as well to reduce the budget. While this absorbs any extra vibration generated. You should also take strong measures to ensure they are not generated in the first place by using decoupling methods.
Items that you could use for damping vibrations
Decoupling the structures
If you are already deep into the world of sound production, you would have probably purchased a studio monitor and using isolation pads to separate them from the base source. Decoupling is the process of reducing vibrations by minimizing or completely removing the contact points between two objects.
Whenever a vibration is generated in one of the items or on the floor, it gradually creeps into everything in contact with that space. Some of the things you could do and should do as part of decoupling the structures include:
- Isolating the structural layers whenever possible.
- Creating parallel double walls.
- Building a floating floor for all your equipment.
Creating a double wall or ceiling is very difficult, especially if you live in a rented apartment or shared your wall with other neighbors. Besides, the amount of time and money it takes to get these steps going is pretty high. Unless you will stay in the same place for years to come, it is not wise to invest in it.
The easiest and reliable way to achieve it is by using resilient channels and resilient sound clips to isolate the layers. Similarly, you can use U-boats for all your equipment, acting as a sound-absorbing layer and creating floating floors. A double wall is an optional choice that you can opt for if you have space, status_invalid_image_hash while using joist gasket tape to isolate studs is another way of decoupling the structures.
Items that you could use to decouple your structures
Closing Air Gaps
The final step on soundproof a room for music recording may sound trivial, but it is essential to close your room’s air gaps. This step is less time-consuming, not so expensive but make sure you don’t skip it at any cost. You would have probably made many gaps during construction and when installing soundproofing components in the room.
Many gaps are usually created when installing an air conditioner when creating gaps for routing your cables and setting up your equipment. There are some common tools used to fill these gaps and ensure the sound doesn’t leak outside or noise from the world doesn’t affect your recording sessions. They are very similar to the ones already used in insulation and acoustic treatment.
Acoustical caulk is a significant product in the list that can fill up all the gaps. Once they dry, they block it completely. Keep repeating it until all the cracks and small holes are fixed. You can use foam gaskets to seal gaps found near the air conditioner, plug points, windows, and doors. Another helpful accessory is automatic door bottoms which help block the space between the door and the floor.
Items that you could use to close air gaps
Inside Vs. Outside Noise
The world outside is noisy, but you can always record early in the morning or late in the night to avoid it. However, a persistent issue is a noise generated by your air conditioner, computer, and any other noisy equipment used inside the sound recording studio.
Computer fans generate the most noise, and they can be avoided by mixing a couple of techniques.
How to Soundproof/ Silence your Computer?
Changing the direction of the computer – Change the direction of the computer fans so that they don’t directly leak sound into the microphone
Changing the direction of the microphone – Irrespective of the number of microphones you have, keep them in a different direction to avoid fan noise absorption
Create distance between the equipment – When choosing a room for sound recording, always go for the biggest room available. It makes it easier for you to create space between computers and mics.
Use absorption materials: Computer CPUs can sometimes be kept inside wooden compartments or use acoustic foam to absorb the noise. Make sure not to overheat your CPU as it will spoil the components and may cause accidents.
Buy quiet fans and keep the room cool – A reliable way is to stop your PC from overheating, which you can do so by installing air conditioners in the room and buying quiet fans that aren’t as loud. Installing your PC in large CPU cabinets will also keep them as quiet as possible.
How to Reduce Noise Made by Air Conditioners?
Air conditioners are a chief source of the sound, and it is mandatory to keep them running at all times to keep the room cool.
Use an A/C sound dampener: You can quickly build your A/C sound dampener by using acoustic foam, plywood and place them in such a way that they only let the air pass through.
Choose the correct type of product – Central and split ACs are usually the most reliable, but installing them could be a hassle. They are kind of expensive, too, as central ACs require air ducts.
Block external sound: A lot of noise is produced from the outside that leaks through the gaps. Seal them and make sure noise reduction is at its best levels.
Final Thoughts on How to Soundproof a Room ?
A lot of sound engineers and music composers feel highly intimidated when it comes to this point. Knowing how to soundproof a room for music recording is the first step, but after that, you should be willing to spend the time, money and work hard to make it possible.
On average, the soundproof work could cost anywhere between $1000 to $2500, which leads to some skipping the process altogether. For best recording quality, it is mandatory to soundproof your recording room and give it much-needed acoustic treatment. When you have already made up your mind to succeed in the world of music and purchased some expensive sound equipment, DAW software, and microphones to get going, check out some of the feasible techniques to minimize noise for professional recording.