Musicians are creative, inspiring, dedicated ... and very, very noisy... I know this from experience, when I was younger, I was saxophonist and had also a part in a band. Practice makes perfect so they say, and if you’re living in a small space, chances are your neighbors are well aware of that. Luckily, soundproofing a room is an easy and cheap DIY project, or if preferred, we (Appease Builders Co.) can help you do it professionally.
Before you get started with your soundproofing, think about what room you’re practicing in. Avoid areas with shared walls and, if possible, avoid setting up beneath your neighbor’s bedroom. Once you’ve selected the perfect space, here are a few soundproofing tips we hope will help.
Step One: Find and Fill Gaps
Scan your room for gaps in doors and window frames. A lot of sound escapes through these tiny gaps, so it’s a good idea to install a door sweep on both the inside and the outside of the door. Sealing gaps will help reduce sound travel. You should also take care to cover your windows. Consider hanging thick curtains or sealing leaks with a budget-friendly foam weather stripping or professional-grade acoustic sealant. As a final touch, you should line your heating and cooling ducts with soundproofing duct liner to further reduce noise.
Step Two: Reduce Reflection
Sound, like light, reflects. It will bounce off of any number of surfaces in your room, which will propel your notes and beats pretty far. If your room has wood floors or granite counter-tops, or even just plain old walls, your sound will reverberate through the room, hitting surfaces repeatedly until it runs out of energy. Soundproof against reflection with carpeting or thick rugs. You might consider hanging some material from the walls. Additionally, there are many kinds of soundproofing materials available, which we will discuss shortly. These could be costly options, yet very effective. You can install soundproof curtains around the perimeter of the room, tack up vinyl or install acoustic insulation. Avoid cheap alternatives, such as adding mattresses or egg crates; these are ugly and ineffective.
Step Three: Modify Your Space
Being a good neighbor means you might have to make a few compromises. In addition to avoiding shared walls, consider adding a false ceiling and replacing hollow doors with solid, heavy core ones. If it’s an option, consider moving your musical melodies to your garage or an outdoor shed.
Setting Up a Simple Studio in a Small Space
If you’re willing to go the extra mile, it’s not too complicated to transform your unused guest room into a simple recording studio. Along with our other soundproofing tips, focus on acoustic treatment options. These will ensure that the music that stays in the room sounds the best. Below are a few more tips to help keep your sound just right.
• Eliminate feedback from electrical equipment by putting items like amps as far away from microphones as possible.
• Don’t eradicate all sound reflection: Leave a few spots open and treat them with diffusers. This preserves the natural frequency of your music.
• Think about high and low-end absorption: Most of your reflection treatments tackle high-frequency reflections. Install a few bass traps to dampen the sound for lower frequencies.
• Plan for power: Make sure that you have plenty of outlets available that are the proper wattage.
• Think seasonally: Will the sound of the AC clicking on in the middle of the summer ruin your sound?
• Plan your space: Be sure to arrange your studio to accommodate the number of musicians who could be playing at one time in the space. Planning will make it easier to map out and organize recording sessions.
• Optimize equipment: Is your equipment the right size for your space? You can use digital instruments to keep clutter to a minimum and, when appropriate, try using compact equipment.
A professional alternative
Remember when I said we would share another option with you, well this option is yes a bit more expensive and yes probably a bit more technical to do, yet the results will be impressive. So earlier we talked about reflection, how sound reflects off walls until it dies or better said loses its momentum. Well, I will share with you a product sold at big box hardware stores called QuietRock®. QuietRock® is a Gypsum or Drywall product that is unique because of how it is manufactured. This product is a simple concept to understand. You have two 1/4 sheets of drywall and a special adhesive in the middle that prevents sound from penetrating. Then to avoid music/sound from finding another path, there's a special putty for the outlets and a sealant for perimeters of the walls to avoid noise leaks. Installation by Appease Builders Co.
Ideal sound solution over existing drywall or in new construction
QuietRock 500 is a multi-layer engineered drywall panel made of gypsum and viscoelastic sound-absorbing polymers
Installs like standard drywall, requiring no special tools
1/2-in QuietRock delivers STC ratings of 47-52 depending on wall assembly
Outperforms other sound damping methods, including insulation, soundboard, and resilient channel
QuietRock is the professionals choice for acoustic walls in residential and commercial applications
Special thanks and Editorial Credit