Setting up a home studio can certainly be economical in the long run (no need to rent spaces, pay for commute, etc.) but I’ll have to admit, it does come with its share of challenges. For instance, it takes quite some effort to soundproof a room, especially if you’re planning on soundproofing a room within a room. Luckily, I’ve done it all so I can be of quite some help. In this detailed guide, I’ll be providing you the complete rundown of how to soundproof a room within a room.
You should read this guide even if you’re not building a home studio yet. I know I’d definitely want to know this stuff if I were starting my career in music.
Ways To Soundproof A Room Within A Room
I hope, this list doesn’t overwhelm you too much at first glance because we’re only just getting started. I have mapped down a list of ways which you can use to soundproof your room. However, you’re free to skip whichever step you would like depending on your personal preference and the foundation of your house. You can also speak to a professional to brainstorm which ideas are better suited for you.
1. Assembling the Framing Setup
The wall framing is without a doubt the most important step when it comes to soundproofing. I highly recommend that you opt for a double wall system since that would ensure maximum noise reduction and isolation. For added measure, you can also add soundproofing clips to the equation.
Additionally, if your studio is in the basement, the foundation will be counted as one of the double walls. In this case, you would only have to set up a stud wall a couple of inches parting from the main foundation.
For improved isolation, you’re better off opting for deeper walls since it would guarantee more noise isolation. The increased depth results in higher air volume which contributes to better low-frequency isolation. I would highly recommend that you go with the deepest walls if you plan on adding multiple subwoofers.
2. Using Insulation
This is probably the most old school technique to minimize noise. When you compare it to the other old school techniques mentioned on this list, I will agree that it doesn’t quite achieve the same brilliant results, but that doesn’t mean it should be ruled out. Opt for fiberglass batts as filling and you won’t be disappointed. However, I would not recommend you go overboard and line up the cavity completely.
You can, of course, look up other insulation materials but make sure you don’t add more than six inches of it.
3. Adding a Floating Ceiling
Now adding a double wall is relatively easier but when it comes to the ceiling, you are certainly in for a challenge. In most cases, this would mean direct contact with the surface of the house above, and that can be tricky. While a double ceiling may be difficult to pull off, I suggest that you opt for floating ones instead.
This pretty much works using the same principal as floating walls. New ceiling joists are added between the pre-existing joists. The only downside is that opting for floating walls does not fit in well to accommodate mechanical aspects such as plumbing and ductwork. Hence, please don’t opt for the DIY route because it might end up costing you more than what you would have initially paid for.
4. Adding Hat Channels
This is another alternative to adding a double ceiling which would permanently alter the foundation of your house’s original layout. A clip system is relatively easier to install and will ensure that you don’t lose a lot of ceiling height.
5. Installing Drywall
Again, this is one of the oldest methods in the book, and it works pretty well for sound isolation. Two sheets of drywall ought to do the trick on the walls, and it will prove to have the most effective results in the decoupled system. For more mass, go with a 5/8″ options. As for the ceilings, you may notice better results if you opt for three sheets instead of the usual two. This might seem like a little ‘extra’ but trust me on this one, ceilings can be pretty hard to deal with when it comes to soundproofing hence you ought to give it all you can.
For the base, you might want to consider something like OSB or plywood. To top it all up, you can add drywall towards the end. Opting for plywood would allow you to insert a screw on the wall so that obviously increases functionality in the long run.
The thickness of the drywall ought to depend on several factors, but I would urge you mix ½ inch and 5/8 inch if you do not go with damping. If you will be damping the drywall, then I would recommend you skip mixing and simply opt for the heaviest drywall that you can get your hands on.
6. Damping the Drywall
This is another important step that should help finalize room construction. Dampening the drywall will play a critical role in reducing sound vibration, ensuring that the noise muffles down by the time it enters the room. There are plenty of commercial grade drywall options in the market however, these can be pretty expensive and don’t really do a very good job when it comes to sound isolation. You’re likely to experience better results if you opt for the standard drywall and then use Green Glue for dampening.
7. Fill in Air Gaps
This should likely be the final step for this entire process. Once you’re finished with the major stuff, ensure there aren’t any holes or cracks in the walls or ceilings. If you notice any, you might want to take immediate action to fill up the gaps since it would allow sound to sneak inside the room. For this purpose, you can use foam gaskets or acoustical caulk to seal the cracks and get rid of any gaps. Finding these annoying gaps may be difficult but it will certainly give you the finishing results that you want to achieve.
8. Add a Floating Floor
We talked about some of the major ways to soundproof your room but we are not nearly done yet. If you’re willing to go the extra mile and want to make the most out of your efforts, consider adding a floating floor.
The simplest way to soundproof a small space within a room is to build a solid-concrete wall. Remember, the room must be self-contained. If you want this space to be incredibly effective, have it built on a floating floor. It will have better results if it is not in contact with the shell of your house.
9. Use Wooden Frames
This is another method that is better suited for smaller spaces especially if you not have to worry about excess noise from your surroundings. Talk to a professional and they will surely be able to guide you better about the dimensions of wooden frames that will need to be used. The wooden frame will have to be set on the floating floor. Additionally, ensure that the ceiling joist is fixed to the wall frames so that it maximizes noise reduction.
10. Use Neoprene Strips
Another way is to support the walls on neoprene strips instead of directing laying it out on the floating floor. These strips will function almost like a vacuum in between which should further help minimize noise. However, I would not recommend this method if the floor experiences a lot of impact vibrations from other areas of the house. This will compromise the kind the result you are trying to achieve.
Terminologies to Familiarize Yourself With
You’re bound to come across similar terminologies when you’re looking up and researching on how to soundproof your room. In my quest to impart knowledge about everything related to home recording and gear, I also aim to minimize confusion as much as possible. Here are the most primary terms that are used when it comes to soundproofing your space:
Now what happens is that when two surfaces are directly in contact, sound vibrations are able to bounce around as much as they want with each other. This does not help with reducing noise and can aggravate the situation.
In simpler terms, decoupling is a process that involves using materials to prevent sound vibrations from making regular contact. For this purpose, you can use materials such as pliable rubber or other dense materials.
Examples of decoupling include building double walls, floating floors, isolating studs and layers. Usually, a combination of these techniques is used to achieve better results. But of course, that completely depends on how much work you’re willing to put in and what your budget is.
This is another well-known method that’s used for soundproofing, and it works by converting kinetic energy into heat. For this purpose, I highly suggest you get yourself a bottle of green glue. I’ve mentioned it at the end of this post too. Green glue is among the most well-known damping compounds out there which means it does a pretty good job in soundproofing.
The compound is used between two panels (usually drywall but you can also use plywood and other materials). This will allow you to create a solid barrier inside the enclosed room. You can use it on the walls, ceilings and even on the doors if you’re serious about eliminating noise. This should also help with reducing echo.
Now here’s another phrase that you’re going to come across a lot when you’re doing research. Adding mass prevents sound waves from going on a frenzy, and this helps with the soundproofing. To do this, you’ll have to use dense materials that will build a thick layer. And while you may feel tempted to carry the weight of this entire project on your shoulders, I would suggest you reach out to a professional.
But Before You Get Started
Jumping on a new project can be exciting but you don’t want to get too carried away now do you. Before you get started, ensure you don’t have any vents in the space. This can be highly possible if you’re soundproofing a room within a room in your very home. AC vents can end up doing a considerable amount of damage so make sure you get rid of those too if you want your tracks to sound amazing.
So… Can I DIY?
You can, obviously. But I would highly recommend you focus on more important stuff like your music. There are many low-key ways to soundproof your room, this ensures hanging blankets and other thick layers on the walls none of those methods would alter the foundation of your home. When it comes to working on the structure of your house, you’re better off calling a professional to help you out. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t research. Talk to some of your buddies who are in the home recording business and seek help.
You’d probably also want to call them in when the work is being done.
If You’re Still Not Convinced You Should Do This
Right now, I’m sure you’re thinking, why go through all this trouble in the first place. But if you’re hell-bent on recording some great music, you’ll come to realize that this is absolutely necessary. Soundproofing a room ensures that your tracks don’t pick up traffic noise from the streets. It’s always a good idea to soundproof a small area within a room since it might results in better isolation. You can also go with this method if you’re not completely satisfied with the simple soundproofing methods that you have already taken for your home studio.
I had quite a lot of fun writing this guide so I hope you enjoyed reading this guide too and found it useful. I can understand that home recording isn’t easy (check out these budget laptops for music production) but using these actionable tips to soundproof your space should certainly make things easier.
Is there something you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you!
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