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Classy grey sound damping for apartment?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by MattZilla, Mar 11, 2016.


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  1. MattZilla

    MattZilla

    Jun 26, 2013
    CNY
    tl;dr
    I want to cover my walls in flat (not eggcrate) grey material from crown molding down to the floor boards for sound damping and good looks. What are my options and where do I find them?

    back out on my own, but now as an adult who cares how things look, and also about abstaining from being a nuisance to the neighbors. I remember seeing in a thread a couple of years ago a basspic which also showed some ~12"*12"*1" pieces of what appeared to me as thin-framed grey cloth grills fixed somewhat randomly to the walls. They were probably foam, but they looked like 90's Crate grill cloth. They looked great through my laptop's screen and I have been thinking of those ever since. My interior designer suggested grey paint when she first glanced at my mahogany-hued floors and doors, and my stuff which would be out (marlboro-red bike, bubinga bass, sunburst guitar, Haida fish painting, old brown concert poster, other warm-colored odds and ends), and we really can't think of a better idea. Pretty sure it'll be sick.

    Now I think that just completely covering the walls with this classy soundfoamclothwhatever will, in addition to raising the listening/recording fidelity of the room and minimizing bleed to the neighbors, make eventual moving out easier as I'd only have to spot clean adhesive rather than re-white the walls.

    What materials should I be considering?

    Is there a sonic benefit to only using a few (randomly-placed to my eyes) squares rather than covering whole walls?

    Thanks in advance guys and gals!
     
  2. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Wait, think this through a little more. What about neighbors above and below you?
     
    MattZilla likes this.
  3. MattZilla

    MattZilla

    Jun 26, 2013
    CNY
    Hi @sissy kathy, I considered my noisier hobby when choosing the location of my apartment- It's an 1800's carriage house well outside of the city limits. I'm in the servant's/driver's quarters. Above me is sky, below me is my furnace/water heater, a very modest wood shop, and storage. :)

    I am actually a liiiittle more considerate irl than some of my tb posting may indicate: I have no intent of firing up the b15 when the sun is down. Also, I have no delusions of soundproofing, just making myself less intrusive on my closer neighbor's dinners... there's not much that I can do about the antique weighted windows.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  4. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Well if you're just trying to mitigate it a little, I understand a just few of those foam panels can cut the sound by about 50%. I'm no sound engineer though. I think you'd have better luck asking this question in the 'Recording Gear and Equipment' forum.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  5. MattZilla

    MattZilla

    Jun 26, 2013
    CNY
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  6. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Full stop. A foam panel that can cut sound by about 50% does not exist. Never has.

    @MattZilla
    Your goals and your approach are not aligned. You said you wanted to generate damping. In acoustics, dampening is the process of converting acoustic energy into thermal energy. It's one of the three basic tenants of sound isolation (decoupling, mass, dampening). Foam does not provide a means of dampening. To dampen you would use a product like Green Glue, commonly sandwiched between two sheets of drywall. Various types of foam, and even more specifically, insulation, are used for acoustic treatments. Acoustic treatment and sound isolation are two completely different tasks.

    If you do what you're describing here is what will happen: The acoustics inside the room will become very boxy, which is a common descriptor for the sound when high end and upper midrange are muffled while leaving lower midrange, upper bass in particular, and actual low end untreated. You'll kill flutter echo in the more directional (i.e. higher) frequencies. The room will be generally less reverberant. Assuming it's normal wall construction (wooden studs with the bay's filled with insulation and covered in a sheet 1/4" to 5/8" drywall, which will net you an STC rating of about 38) then a lot of the mids and highs are already sufficiently isolated from the outside world, and the same can be said about those frequencies inside of your space (sound isolation works equally in both directions). The lower frequencies will pass through all of that quite readily. Of serious concern is that depending on the type of material used you'll also be creating a major fire hazard. This is a big drawback to people using egg crate. It provides zero acoustic benefit and makes your room a fire marshall's worst nightmare.

    What is your intended purpose for this space? (Solo bass, full band, live drums, mixing, tracking quiet vocals, etc.)
    What is your desired level of sound isolation?
    What are your acoustic treatment goals? (Dead flat, kill reverberance, get control of the low end, etc.)

    And most importantly...

    What's your budget?
     
    Timi and ddnidd1 like this.
  7. MattZilla

    MattZilla

    Jun 26, 2013
    CNY
    holy awesome response @silky smoove!

    It actually sounds pretty good in here to my untrained, tinnitus-addled ears. It didn't take much effort at the eq in front of my old reciever to get it sounding close enough to theater-quality.

    priority list in order:
    1) minimize/eliminate my neighborhood nuisance-footprint when enjoying anything noisy... solo practice, recording, playback, tv/movies
    2) (so stupid, so so very stupid) have a unique visible wall surface
    3) make sound reproduction ?somehow? better

    bass is escaping moreso than other frequencies, but I can hear all of it fairly well outside when I have my system not even on half tilt. Re-amping old di recorded bass with the amp sitting in the corner aimed away from the road, I can hear it at the sidewalk enough to know that it's there and probably making its way into at least two neighbors' livingrooms. This is my foremost concern. I know that this is no place to be hosting artsy band rehearsals or recording sessions in the evening or early night without adding so much sound isolation structure as to make the space unlivable.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  8. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I might have missed this, but is this a place you own, or are you renting?

    You didn't mention your budget. It's important because your primary goal is sound isolation, which is not at all cheap if you want to see real results.
     
  9. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1

    Jan 17, 2009
    N.H.
    How about panels with carpet?
     
  10. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    He's interested in isolation, especially in the low end. No panel or carpet will do anything for that unfortunately.
     
  11. MattZilla

    MattZilla

    Jun 26, 2013
    CNY
    one billion dollars. what is the secret sauce, @silky smoove?
     
  12. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    In that case hire the world's top studio designers and in the meantime go for a spin on your mega yacht.
     
    DiabolusInMusic and MattZilla like this.
  13. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    One thing to try is to lift the cabinet and put it closer to your ears. Then you don't have to play as loud.
    I do good with headphones/earbuds and room simulation plugins, aka reverb.
     
  14. MattZilla

    MattZilla

    Jun 26, 2013
    CNY
    rofl @silky smoove! Sadly, it's only a super yacht till I get my tax return.

    Come on dude, you can type three paragraphs on why what I was thinking of wouldn't work but not one paragraph or a couple of links giving me some food for thought on what would?

    I'm a lifer. Regardless of my current residence or budget, this is knowledge which I intend to implement throughout my days on this planet.

    Please, shoot me some info on good/better/best if you can.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
  15. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    If I don't know whether or not you own or rent, and what your budget it is I can't give you any real recommendations. The solutions will vary drastically depending on those answers. There are no "one paragraph" or "couple of links" answers in this field. Nothing is one size fits all.

    What is so difficult about providing the necessary information to give you a useful answer?
     
  16. MattZilla

    MattZilla

    Jun 26, 2013
    CNY
    You clearly don't loathe typing. Master Shake, do you only help if you can live vicariously through your tb pupils with immediacy and swiftness? No offence to anyone else here, and not trying to stroke you up, you seem to be the most knowledgable source here. Please help me. Please forgive any snarkiness, you seem too intelligent for me to treat with kid gloves (to have to put extra thought into how to come off as not-an-a-hole, I'm really pretty nice in person).

    I've never heard of someone owning an apartment. rent- no structural modifications to the building are a happening.

    Also as mentioned, it's a carriage house.

    the usable space is appx. 18*13*7', total space is about 18*22*7'

    again, circa 1880's, so some/much of it may not be modern sheetrock... it looks pretty lumpy all over.

    My lease is up in July, I may renew, I may be moving out of state depending on who buys me and where they want to stick me. It's a beautiful place at an excellent price for a bachelor to be adding significantly to his retirement fund, I'd prefer to stay right here for a half decade or so. I took a year to do manual labor to work my college fat off and am only now applying to jobs in my intended career path, so my current budget is miniscule compared to what I feel safe in expecting in a year from now. Should I be forced to move, I expect to stick with a similarly sized space.

    I'd like to first experience the '98 hyundai accent of sound isolation whilst stuck here sending out CV's to be able to better appreciate the '16 F150 of s.i. when the time comes.

    -What is the minimum budget I should even be considering to have any noticeable effect?

    - what physical items ought that budget go towards?

    - how ought it be implemented?

    - what would be the ideal budget for an ideal removable s.i. system?

    - what would the general idea of that ideal for-the-neighbors system entail?
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
  17. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    With no physical modifications allowed your only real options, irrespective of budget, are to use headphones, or simply turn down your amp's volume. There's no add-on form of sound isolation that actually works. None. Doesn't exist. You can decouple the walls (room-inside-a-room construction, or Whisper Clips and resilient channel, both of which require you to tear down the existing drywall and start from the studs), add mass (typically done by adding additional sheets of drywall), or dampen (done by adding a dampening agent like Green Glue in between two sources of mass). Ideally you would do all three. Again, if you can't modify the structure then you're already fighting a losing battle.

    The only thing I can even come up with would be hanging some rails on the ceiling about an inch off the walls, and purchasing a ton of mass loaded vinyl with curtain eyelets. You'd run the MLV through the rails so you had a large curtain encasing the perimeter of the room in a source of limp mass. You'd still have to address the ceiling and the floors (sound isolation is only as effective as the weakest points in the isolation perimeter). All told I imagine this would cost several hundred dollars and would only be minimally effective. It would also look and smell terrible, would interfere any time you wanted to access a power outlet or light switch, would require all rail to be drilled into studs due to the weight of the MLV, and would prevent the installation of any acoustic treatments if you decided to do that down the road.
     
  18. MattZilla

    MattZilla

    Jun 26, 2013
    CNY
    no sarcasm- this was the answer that I was looking for. Thank you for your patience and effort, @silky smoove!

    a band I subbed on keys for tried the mlv tent thing for recording their drummer to then overdub the rest in later. Either that method sucks, their engineer sucks, or I have been very lucky working with live rooms thus far.

    I recall reading another thread where a fellow went through all of the room-inside-a-room in an otherwise unused room of his house. Wish I'd "watched" it to hear his results. I still crave studio-drum sound for some of my demos... le sigh. Someday.
     
  19. ofajen

    ofajen

    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    So you are the only inhabitant of the building you are in? The neighbors are in a separate structure very close by? How much separation? Or did I misinterpret and you share a wall or connection to the neighbors?

    Unfortunately, either way, there is essentially nothing to be done that will not require major modifications to the building you are in, so you need to minimize the sound you generate.

    Otto
     
  20. ofajen

    ofajen

    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    My experience is that you can record good tracks even in an untreated room if you have enough Studio Traps and use the Quick Sound Field setup. However, this is not a cheap option, nor will it do much about transmitted sound leaving the space.

    Otto
     

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