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How to Build a Soundproof Studio

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by deepBassie, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. I want to build a studio on my property. Not an addition to my house but a seperate, nearby structure. My main concern is soundproofing so my neighbors do not hear the band (rock, loud) whatsoever. Other than pouring the concrete foundation, I plan on doing all the work myself (framing, plumbing, electrical, etc) . I'm trying to figure out the best way to create soundproof walls, windows, ventilation, etc. Any advice as to which soundproofing method works best or where I might find detailed construction information?
  2. portlandguy


    Feb 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I have no help to offer but am very interested in what you find out!
  3. heyHermano


    Jul 1, 2008
    Too much to cover here, but see if you can get your hands on a copy of "recording studio design" by Philip Newell which is put out by Focal Press. It gives a good overview of some standard practices for both sound isolation (keeping noise out/in) and room treatment (making the room sound good to you). It's good that you're starting from scratch, as a well planned space can be quite cheap compared to retro-fitting an existing room...
  4. randysmojo


    Jan 14, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I don't know if it's worth a try, or if this was some guys acid trip idea, but a guy I used to hang out with said when he built a studio in California, he poured the slab in a few separate pieces with about a half inch rubber padding in between each section. It wasn't to sound proof, but to better isolate so vibrations from the floor did not get into the control room/recording gear as much. I imagine it might help with keeping sound waves from transferring in the floor to the outer walls as well, but it seems like a lot of work for probably not that much of an effect. He did do a lot of drugs back then!
  5. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    Building a proper sound-isolating building is not something that can be done by collecting a few opinions from a musician forum. It's a highly technical and exact process were any deviation from the optimum design can prove disastrous to your results.

    Search online for step by step instructions from knowledgeable, respected sources and thoroughly plan out your entire project before you begin so you know what you're getting into, particularly the money side of it, as you can get into some serious expense with even the most modest of designs.

    I recommend this book to start with:

  6. +1 You'll probably be quite surprised at the construction lengths you have to go through to achieve real soundproofing.

    You can also check out http://www.gearslutz.com/board/studio-building-acoustics/ - that's the big boys recording forum. There's tons of information on soundproofing.
  7. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Can you build it underground?

    I'd have to say that everyone seems to be catching on to IEMs, and if you don't generate the sound in the first place you'll have a lot less trouble trying to soundproof.

    You can put the money you save into feng shui:)
  8. Hey thanks for the information, gents. From the few hours of research that I've done, you are spot on about the price tag associated with a project like this. So far I've found that a concrete floor is essential as no vibes will survive concrete & earth. A common practice seems to be the use of double-walls (a room within a room, if you will) which prevent sound vibrations from reaching the exterior wall of the structure itself. Air ventilation techniques point towards the use of baffled ducts (I'm skeptical about how effective these are) but there seems to be many varieties to choose from. Soundproof windows seem readily available but not cheap by any means. I'll do my best to figure out which of the various options give the best performance. Gots my homeworks to do, that's for sure.
  9. Probably the most effective soundproofing option available. I live on flat land so it would really have to be a deep, large pit and I'm not sure how to handle water ingress, plumbing issues, building permits and other things related to underground dwellings. Wouldn't an underground studio be cool though?
  10. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    Some very basic construction info - One of the most important things is that the inner and outer are not connected. You put down a 2 x 6 plate, and with the outer 2x4 studs on the outer edge and the inner ones on the inner edge. That way the vibration of the inner and outer walls cannot be transferred. You put 2 layers of heavy sheet rock on the inside, with the seams staggered, and you put the green acoustic glue between them. A LOT of attention has to be paid to the door! Heavy with double rubber seals all around - maybe a double door. You also need to get an A/C guy that knows how to do studios to do your HVAC so sound is not transmitted through the ductwork. You might have the control room and studio on different slabs. Also - read the books - this is just a basic intro and there is a lot to know. You really want to do it right the first time.
  11. ^ Seems to be a solid technique. Using the "room within a room" approach, this will be the construction method I use for the inner room (jam room). Theoretically, very little vibration should make it through the inner walls. I then plan on futher seperating (no contact) the inner walls from the exterior walls of the building by roughly 6-inches or so; maybe leave this 6-inch dead space empty (air filled) or perhaps fill it with fiberglass insulation?
  12. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Id' say combination fiberglass and air gap. Fiberglass will transmit sound. Common problem in townhomes. Most now have fiberglass and an air gap.

    Keep ventilation in mind. The references above point ways to keep this quiet and effective.

    You are very lucky to have the right spot, and the time to build a studio. Lucky Pup! :D
  13. goldenglory18

    goldenglory18 Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Amateur. Take my advice for its resale value.
    If a build thread gets started, you must post the link here.

    I'm super interested and even more jealous.....
  14. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    Try this:


    This is a recording studio design forum with a TON of info run by a professional studio designer that has built or advised on studios around the world. It's intimidating but very useful.

    I hope this helps anyone interested in this topic.
  15. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    If possible the exterior walls should be concrete block.
  16. prd004


    Dec 3, 2010
    It's all about the floor. Floating floors are more important than walls. They both matter, but most people who attempt this themselves put all the effort and resources in the walls, ignore the floor and the room is not soundproof.
  17. Construction won't be cheap. You'll have to build doubled exterior studed walls with a 1" gap between them, heavily insulate those walls, and use felt panels on the interior walls before the drywall. Exterior windows will have to be dual paned with heavy window coverings on the inside. Exterior doors will each need their own foyer with a second door into the sound area. Ceilings will need to be built like the exterior wall except you can get away with smaller wood dimensions to mount the felt/drywall comination by using clips, but a gap needs to be there nonetheless. Of course, R30 insulation throughout.

    A regular concrete floor/foundation is fine but you would need to build a flooring framework on top of the floor in the sound area (2x6 minimum) and fill the entire framework with sand before screwing in the T&G subfloor panels.

    Then there's the interior finish. Plush carpet, sound absorption panels, studio foam panels throughout with corner foam panels. Watch out about putting carpet on walls. The carpet's UL flame spread listing needs to be checked before installation. Installing a flame spread listing that's too high can get you killed and/or will land you and the carpet installer in jail!

    If you have the money, go for it. Wish I could.
  18. Greetings,

    Looks like a ton of good info already. I'll get you hooked up with a local friend that built a studio within the last couple of years..just as you describe.

    One thing I can say is that he has it built partially underground...I would say roughly 40% . I know in conversation he put a lot of thought into the windows/glass and room isolation on the inside. Basically he has 0% bleed from one room to the next..including into the control room...this with acoustic drums. 0% bleed to the outside as well.

    I know the floors are concrete with some cool paint/stamping so they dont look blah and has a few rugs . His is set up in wings...basically guitar and vocals swing to the side with drums and bass setup directly in front...4 rooms total.

    Here's a youtube of a band recording there..


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