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"Soundproofing" a room in your house...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by zachoff, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. So, I'm finishing my basement and I have a room reserved for my gear. Going to be playing, practicing, maybe rehearsing, and recording in there and need advice.

    1) I don't have much of a budget.
    2) I doesn't need it to be pro.
    3) I need it to be effective.

    I've heard of people spraying shredded newspaper between the joists in the ceiling for soundproofing the ceiling. Sounds like a fire waiting to happen. At the very least I'll insulate the ceiling and walls, but with what? Also, what is a good practice for covering your windows?
  2. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    Your best bet is to completely seal off the window. If it's airtight, it's going to help. Double walls. Dynamat, spray foam.
  3. JehuJava

    JehuJava Bass Frequency Technician

    Oct 15, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Dense, soft materials: carpet, carpet padding, moving pads, quilts, etc. I've seen someone use a mattress for insulating a door.
  4. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    #1's and #3 on your list are pretty much mutually exclusive. The heavy, dense material needed to control the low frequencies that are the real issue aren't ever cheap. Building frame panels out of a material like SBM5 soundproofing mat with another layer of soft insulation to kill the slap is one fairly effective way and you can take it with you when you leave.
  5. I won't say I don't have some money to work with... A couple thousand in the grand scheme of things is probably about right. Just wondering what you guys think is the cheapest, most effective way to do it.
  6. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    I just did a big soundproofing job turning a warehouse into a soundstage for a TV series. Because the building owner wouldn't allow anything at all permanent like spray-foam the SBM5/fiberglass insulation combo was the most cost effective solution. The stuff we used was around $300 for a 25'x4' roll. Not sure of the price for the insulation…I didn't spec the job or do the buying, just hung it.

    I did spec an apartment I had a couple of years ago at around $10K for 700sf floor and ceiling included to build a dead space. For $2k you can do a real lot of damage. I'm certainly no expert on the subject but some hours online and a few more at the library and I got a pretty good idea of the basic principles and materials available. The reason I like the idea of making panels is they can be re-used in different spaces.
  7. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    You're going to have to establish a budget. Double Sheetrock will do a lot for you but
    the entire project will get pricey. Sonex or Auralex foam will also work for you but again, you're going to have to spend some money. Furniture blankets...like the thick U Haul type will work, so will matress foam from the Army Navy store. Shredded newspaper isn't going to do much...neither will apple or egg crate dividers.

    Double Rock is your best option. Foam over double rock is even better.
  8. Seal everything off as much as possible. Use dense material. A room within a room with dense material between works very well. Crates, insulation, newspaper, matresses, etc, will do little to nothing for you other than possibly making it sound better INSIDE the room by reducing reflection.
  9. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Important point raised by baba there - what is your main reason doing this? "Sound proofing" can mean different things depending on your answer. Are you trying to modify just the internal acoustic properties of the room itself (to make it better for recording and monitoring), or trying to isolate the room so minimum sound gets out to the rest of the house or outside? Two completely different jobs involved there, one fairly easy and low budget, the other one much more difficult and costly.
  10. Exactly. If it's the latter, here's all you need to know:

  11. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Soundproofing is impossible.

    Sound reduction (aka: sound mitigation) is possible. How much reduction depends on how much you modify the building design and what materials you use - which of course translates into money.

    You need to Google "how to soundproof a room" and make compromises in what you find based on budget.


    Hopefully you have no walls and no ceilings installed yet...you will want to offset the studs so there is no physical connection between both sides of the sheetrock, and seal the ceiling and insulate heavily. When it really comes down to it, NOTHING will complete stop bass waves - they move walls.

    And the #1 goal you should have in mind is to eliminate all air gaps and all air exchange between the room in question and the rest of the house. EVERY air gap allows noise to be transferred. Since you don't want a hermetically sealed room, you will have to compromise on air gaps as well...for instance, you will want heat ducts in the room, which will allow sound to transfer through the heat ducts to the rest of the house. I suppose you could build trap doors over the heat ducts to shut them off, but that seems silly.
  12. Trying to minimize my neighbors hearing my practice routines and/or fairly low-volume rehearsals. The room isn't really big enough to be super echo-y... It's about 150sq ft. The recording I do will be mostly for myself and my bandmates... Nothing pro.
  13. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    It's not so much a question of being "echo-ey", more about standing waves effectively EQing the sound that gets to your ears in different parts of the room and the ways this can influence recording and even more so monitoring. Still, for hobbyist stuff this is likely to be a minor issue. You can learn a lot by listening to your mixes in different settings - through your recording monitors, through headphones, in your car et cetera. Always good practice.

    Anyway, as far as the room isolation goes - my best recommendation is take a bottle of nice wine round to the neighbours just before a practice occasionally, smile sweetly and say "We're going to be making a little music for an hour or two, I hope you don't mind." Always worked well for me, and cheaper overall than major restructure of the house. ;)
  14. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 3, 2021

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