Curtains for dampening live sound?
I have a small "rehearsal" studio in my apartment. It's actually a 2nd bedroom transformed into a jam room where I can record with 3 or 4 friends.
Small combo amps, some computer monitors for vocals, and some V drums that go through another small combo bass amp.
Things aren't overly-loud, but I feel like the room has a bit of echo/sharpness to it. The ceilings are about 10 feet high, and the room is probably 14x10 give or take a few inches. It also has carpeted floors.
I'm not looking to soundproof, I understand that is a major construction job. What I am looking to do is dampen the echo that bounces around the walls.
So I bought some giant heavy curtains to run along the walls. Two 100" wide x 84 tall for each side wall, and a 75" wide curtain for the far wall.
Anyone ever done this?
Here are the curtains
I didn’t look at the link but acoustic foam and traps are better, however curtains will dampen some of the highs in the room but not the bass standing waves.
EDIT: you're looking for "sound treatment" not "sound proofing" (google it). ;)
I didn't use curtains, I used moving pads (sometimes called moving blankets) from Harbor Freight. I think they were about 7 bucks a piece and about 6' x 7' in size. They are basically a thin quilt with a layer of padding in between.
I bought a grommet kit and put grommets at the corners and edge of the blankets to hang them from hooks on the wall. I *think* it helps but it hasn't been a panacea by any means. I was hoping it would stop the PA from feeding back so readily but it hasn't.
Bottom line: it can't hurt. Put the curtains up. It will probably make it more tolerable to play in there.
Building gobos/bass traps does not have to be a major construction job. A bundle of fiberglass sitting in each corner will help. If you feel up to it heres a guide with some simple ideas that will take you pretty far.
We always put up pieces of carpet to do exactly that. Playing in a concrete basement is really bad and it helped quite a bit.
I've been using some heavy velvet theater drapes for many years. I've got 6 panels - each is 5 ft wide and 10 ft tall. I've used them on walls before and they do a great dampening job. Right now I have them attached to some gobos that I made.
looks something like this;
Smarter option: First thing to do is carpet the floor. This does more than most acoustic treatments, professional or otherwise. Build bass traps for the corners, add mover's blankets at windows, preferably with some "mass" between the blanket and the glass, and then create sources of diffusion along the walls (real diffusion panels, bookcases, irregularities, etc.). You could do that "cheap" treatment for very little cost and end up with real results.
His drapes are lined and insulated. Hung in deep folds, a few inches out from the walls should help to dry out the room fairly well. If they're hung on rods in panels you can leave a few feet open here and there to fine tune the amount of "liveness" the room has. After that consider some foam blocks/bass traps for the corners and or wall to ceiling join.
Acoustic treatments: changing the sound, hopefully for the better inside the performance space.
Soundproofing: keeping sound from passing, no matter in or out, from one space to another.
Curtains will help reduce the reflections from the walls, the effect will vary according to the type of material and the gap between the curtain and the wall. Having the curtain flat against the wall will help attune high frequencies, increasing the gap will have a bigger effect and increase the frequency range afected. the air gap helps the curtain have a double damping effect, the sound waves are damped passing through the curtain then reflected off the wall through the curtain again, you would need to experement as to what works in that room. Do you have an eq that can be used to help with the feed back and give a bit more head room? unfortunatly so much changes as you experement with room damping, speaker and mic placement, it can take a while to get something thats working for you.
Ethan's traps are the way to go. Did miracles for me.
If you don't want to build anything but want to attenuate mid/high frequencies, you can do this with the 1" fiberglass board Ethan mentions. When I bought it from a reseller, it was $2.88 for a 2ft. x 4ft. section. I wrapped it with a porus material (weedblock from Home Depot) and put it on the walls and celing here and there. Works great, cheaper than carpet.
I'm also suggesting something on the walls... in an apartment setting we can compromise a little audio quality to have happy neighbors.
OPINION... let your neighbors know you're working on the situation.
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