Are you looking to improve your practice room or home studio by soundproofing it? This is an excellent idea for several reasons, especially if you plan to record music in the space. Soundproofing your practice room or recording studio can transform a simple room in your house into a musical oasis. Imagine being able to play guitar or drums as loud as you want without disturbing your neighbors.
In this article, I will go over how to soundproof your practice room, what materials you might need, and the difference between soundproofing and acoustics.
Why soundproof your recording studio?
Soundproofing can effectively reduce noise coming in and out of a room, but it can be expensive. Is it worth it?
Prevent noise complaints
If you practice loudly with your tube amp turned up to 11 or a drumset blasting, your neighbors will inevitably complain. Creating a soundproof practice room blocks noise from escaping, keeping you and your neighbors happy.
Minimize outside noise from disrupting your recordings
If you plan to record music in the practice room, you don’t want outside noise to enter the room when you are in the middle of recording a track. Soundproofing your space prevents sound from leaving the room and blocks noise from coming in.
Improve the sound quality of your space
While improving sound quality is more of an acoustical issue than a soundproofing one, soundproofing and acoustics go hand in hand when it comes to a recording studio. Acoustical treatments improve sound quality by reducing reverb and echo. Acoustic panels soften the reflective surfaces on your walls, making your music sound better and your recordings come out more clearly.
Are soundproofing and acoustics the same thing?
Soundproofing and acoustics are entirely different, although they are both used in recording studios and practice rooms.
Soundproofing is when you block sound from leaving or entering a room. This generally involves adding density to the walls and sealing up any holes and penetrations.
Acoustics in a room involves sound absorption to reduce reverb and echo as sound waves bounce back and forth between walls. This process typically uses acoustic panels.
Things to keep in mind when soundproofing a music room
- Low frequency sound is harder to block so if you play bass guitar in the room often you’ll need denser materials.
- Placing your guitar and bass amps directly on the floor or against a wall may cause the speakers to vibrate against the barrier and noise will pass to the adjacent rooms.
- Placing acoustic foam inside the bass drum will also help to dampen the sound.
How to soundproof a recording studio
There are two main principles to follow when it comes to soundproofing:
- Add density to barriers
- Seal up any gaps and holes
Soundproofing the door
Doors let out a lot of sound because there are physical gaps between the actual door and the doorframe. The best way to seal up these gaps is to install a door seal kit that closes the gaps around the door. Check out the Sound Lock Door Seal Kit from Second Skin Audio. This product also has a rubber drop-down seal at the bottom of the door, which prevents sound from passing through the gap.
You should also ensure that the door to your practice room is a solid-core door. Hollow core doors are not dense enough to block sound and are pretty much impossible to soundproof; you are better off replacing the door with a solid-core door.
If you are looking for a professional-level soundproof door for your recording studio, I recommend looking at the Sound Lock Soundproof Door. This heavy-duty door is built specifically for soundproofing purposes and has an insane level of noise reduction.
Soundproofing the walls
If you have roommates or live in a shared living space, you’ll definitely want to soundproof the walls of your practice room or recording studio. While the walls are better at blocking sound than the door, most walls are not designed to block loud music, so they need to be improved.
The most effective way to soundproof your walls is to add another layer of drywall. For soundproofing purposes, always use ⅝” drywall as opposed to ½” because the latter is just not as good at blocking sound. You’ll also want to place acoustical sealant caulk around the perimeter of the existing drywall before placing the second sheet. Add a layer of Green Glue between the two layers for added performance. Once the second sheet is placed, add more acoustical sealant caulk to the perimeter of the wall.
Soundproofing the floor
If you are a drummer, you will definitely want to look into adding some sort of treatment to the floor of your practice room. If your drumset or amplifier is placed directly on the floor, the vibration from the low end frequencies may vibrate the floor and travel to other rooms in the house. If you are not located on the first floor of a home, you may also consider soundproofing the floor to prevent loud noises from traveling through the floor to the rooms below. If you have downstairs neighbors, this can really piss them off.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to install a rubber soundproof underlayment beneath the flooring. Sound from a drumset can easily travel through the floor, especially if you have hardwood or tile floors. Even replacing a hard floor with carpet can decrease the amount of vibrations in the floor.
I recommend using UnderBlock Rubber Floor Underlayment, which is one of the highest-performing floor soundproofing solutions on the market.
You don’t necessarily need to place a floor underlayment under the entire floor. If the drum set is the main issue you can place a rug or a thick carpet under the drums. There are also specifically designed mats to place underneath drumsets that will dampen the vibrations.
Soundproofing the windows
If there are windows in your recording studio, you will need to add soundproofing materials to them. Otherwise, the sound is definitely going to travel in and out of the room, as windows are a weak point when it comes to sound.
If you only plan to use the room to play or record music, your best bet is to eliminate the window entirely. You can cover the window with a sheet of mass-loaded vinyl, which is an incredibly dense and effective soundproofing product.
If you want to keep the window, you can use a window insert to add density and improve its soundproofing ability. I recommend using the Fantastic Frame Soundproof Window Insert. This product is super easy to install and allows you to take out the insert and use the window when needed.
Once you have successfully soundproofed your recording studio, add some acoustic panels to make the room sound better. There are tons of acoustical panel options available, from super affordable DIY products to custom-made panels that can blend into any setting.
Check out Second Skin Audio’s acoustic panel options to see which type works best for your situation.
Whatever you choose, the basic rule for the most effective acoustics setup is to install the panels on around 40% of your wall. So, if you have 400 square feet of wall space in your practice room and each panel is 8 square feet, you’ll need 20 panels evenly spaced around your room for the best results.
Building a soundproof recording studio in your home is no easy task. But once you have completed it, you can reap the benefits of having a high-quality recording studio in your own home! With so many musicians self-producing their albums nowadays, you never know what could be next for you!
How loud is a drumset?
Drumsets are very loud. Each individual part of the set varies in decibels from some being only around 90 decibels to larger crash cymbals being as loud as 130 decibels!
How loud is a guitar amp?
How loud a guitar amp depends on the type of amp, how many watts it is, and how loud you turn it up. A fully distorted tube amp can generally be as loud as 120 decibels, but they can obviously be turned down to a much lower volume.
How loud is a bass amp?
Bass amps are typically around 200W to 400W. These amps range in decibels depending on the power, type of amp, and how close you are to the amp, but a powerful bass amp can be as loud as 100 decibels.