Soundproofing my room

  • As temporary partitions they can reduce a substantial amount of mid and high-frequency spill and reflections, ...

    I never disagreed with this "in general" but I don't think, ZSchneidi is looking for an occasional, temporary solution in his small 3.6m x 2.5m room and I don't think these blankets will help him reduce the noise next door or the low mids and bass reflections substantially.


    Anyway, I tried to help the best I can and if the OP feels comfortable to try 4cm foams or blankets and takes the ridiculous sound treatment in Rabeas room serious … well, then I can't help any further ;)

  • Sorry Don.


    Thank you for the clarification, mate. ;)


    I never disagreed with this "in general" but I don't think, ZSchneidi is looking for an occasional, temporary solution in his small 3.6m x 2.5m room and I don't think these blankets will help him reduce the noise next door or the low mids and bass reflections substantially.

    Agreed Martin; I only sought to offer some uses for the blankets seeing as audiomitch brought them up.


    Anyway, I tried to help the best I can and if the OP feels comfortable to try 4cm foams or blankets and takes the ridiculous sound treatment in Rabeas room serious … well, then I can't help any further

    Please don't feel like your efforts are wasted, mate. It was good advice IMHO and even if the OP doesn't follow it, others who read the thread in future may well do so.

  • I made a bunch of frames which contain acoustic density rock wool a few years back and it made a massive difference to the sound in this small, refekective room. All I did was made wooden frames the sizes I wanted to snugly fit the rock wool slabs. Then covered with dense (but breathable) fabric.


    We live in a detached house so this was for me, not the neighbours! One of the guys I was in a band with had a custom room built above his garage for his drum kit / us lot to go and practice. He bought acoustic plasterboard etc as he was afraid of neighbour complaints. He did a reasonable job of keeping the sound in but, until I then told him about the rockwool panels I’d done at my place, the room was pretty much unusable..... really reflective so if I hit an E chord, his drum kit took off and pretty much played itself. Not good as my timing is iffy :)


    So as others have said, be careful about the sound proofing vs absorbing. The rockwool I used is in nice solid slabs so easy to handle. I managed to make an entire vocal wall, cover a crap electricity meter cupboard, do a ceiling / side walls / behind desk thing and the whole lot cost me around £200uk. Looks like an untidy version of the Batcave as I chose very dark material from Ikea :). It is not perfect but then again perfection would mean moving house which I cannot afford so, for the price, it was a great upgrade. I do all my music listening in there too - I like it that much.

  • Couldn't agree more but it seems like the suggestions of an ENG style field audio engineer is more popular than my suggestions based on 30 years of experience in studio environments (from home studios to large scale studios). :-)

    My post was honestly just meant as an addition to the conversation, not as a rebuttal or challenge. It's cheap enough to try, and it sounds like the OP is trying to convert a living space (with consideration to the wife) in to a useable music production space. Buy the blankets, and if it doesn't work out take them back! Probably the cheapest and most easily removed solution.


    As far as making the room too dull, the beauty of the "system" is that you can raise or lower, move closer or further, double up or single, etc.


    Trust me, it's not going to turn the room in to a anechoic chamber ;)


    And finally, don't diss ENG style field audio engineers! My most terrifying moments in my life were as a field engineer. When you're interviewing Clint Eastwood, or Jack Nicklaus, or President Clinton, or have high dollars riding on YOU getting the sound, there is just no such thing as failure. And usually in the worst possible conditions for technology and/or audio!


    I think I was scarred for life from too many years of that.


    Peace - honestly not trying to start anything, just sharing some of my experience.

  • While audiomitch certainly has a point for quick'n'easy temporary sound treatment, I don't think you want to do that as a permanent setup for your music room.;)


    Rockwool as suggested by sambrox is a working (and frequently used) solution as well with basically 2 potential downsides you should be aware of:
    1. You want to make sure that you handle and apply the rockwool in a way that prevents you from breathing rockwool dust! Take care about this, rockwool won't ever be friends with your lungs. :)
    2. In a closed environment, most rockwool materials suck humidity out of the air (hygroscopic). You'll be fine if you have a window and open it frequently. But in a closed room you would have to take care of a healthy humidity (e.g. by using a humidifier). Totally dry rooms are bad for your own health (mucous membranes and eyes) AND for your wood based instruments (guitars).


    Hey guys in the picture i send you the red panel above my monitor is basically that.
    A self made wood frame filled with Rockwool and cuvered with acoustic fabric. I know that i have to be carfull with handling Rockwool this stuff is annoying as fuck ;)
    But now its safe and i can guarantee room humidity by just open my windows.


    As i said earlier i'm not a sound engineer so i might have lower expectations from the end result. I just need to understand what kind of treatment is
    just waste of time and money and what may actually work.


    How about full coverage ? If i have wall of lets say 3,5m x 2,5m do i have to treat the full wall surface ?
    I think that single panels won't have any effect because the sound could travel through the wall at untreated surfaces right ?


    So whatever i end up doing i assume that i have to cover 100% of the walls surface ?


    Ok bitumen not directly onto the wall sounds plausible i read about this a while ago.


    So another idea i have a while back was to build custom panels like shown below.
    These would be basically wooden panels decoupled from the wall. so i have a lil air gab and heavy material so absord lower frequencies.
    But i don't know how much material is really needed to kill the lower frequencies effectively. sure thick foam but i would rather bet my money
    on more heavier bitumen or that kind of stuff to do the job.

  • Seems like you don't mind to invest a bit more if you're already considering full wall treatment. You can do that, of course. And if you've already worked with rockwool, you can use this as well even though it's really nasty to work with, hehe. Again, don't make it less than 10cm! But if you decide to treat the entire wall, then you should make sure you don't kill ALL of the reflections.
    Reflections are necessary for a good room sound, the worst thing that could happen is a dead, anechoic room. To tackle this problem, you could use acoustic wood panels on top of your rockwool/basotect/bitumen construction: See this image search link to get the idea what panels I'm talking about:
    https://www.google.de/search?q…anel&source=lnms&tbm=isch

  • Seems like you don't mind to invest a bit more if you're already considering full wall treatment. You can do that, of course. And if you've already worked with rockwool, you can use this as well even though it's really nasty to work with, hehe. Again, don't make it less than 10cm! But if you decide to treat the entire wall, then you should make sure you don't kill ALL of the reflections.
    Reflections are necessary for a good room sound, the worst thing that could happen is a dead, anechoic room. To tackle this problem, you could use acoustic wood panels on top of your rockwool/basotect/bitumen construction: See this image search link to get the idea what panels I'm talking about:
    https://www.google.de/search?q…anel&source=lnms&tbm=isch

    Yeah that is good to mention. I often heard about rooms that were treated so good it was actually weird or annoying to be in them.
    I guess even with this one wall fully treated i would still have enough reflective surfaces in the room. Like shelfs etc.
    And i have the intention to build myself wooden diffusors for the wall directly behind me. So that i don't kill to much of the reflection.


    In the end i will be a a thing of balancing sound proofing this one wall and still get a good room acoustic.

  • You could hang a couple of nice picture frames (with pictures... maybe of your Kemper) on that wall.


    Just be sure to place them in spots that don't reflect the monitors' direct sound to your listening position - i.e. the mirror trick.

  • Basically you can’t soundproof that room to isolate the noise from your neighbors without building a room within a room and lots of mass. Unfortunately lots of people confuse isolation (sound proofing) with acoustic treatment (improving the quality of sound INSIDE the room). No amount of accoustic foam or any other treatment will make ANY difference to the sound reaching your neighbours. Used properly it will definitely improve the sound inside the room for you x but it will make ZERO difference to the sound escaping from the room.


    Sound travels in two ways airborne and structurally. If there is any part of your room touching your neighbours wall sound will find a way throught it. If there is ANY air gap in your roo. Sound will find a way out. The best thing you can do is find a copy of Rod Gervais book on building a home studio - its like the bible for home studio building.

  • This is simply not true. You can't achieve perfect isolation but you can reduce the sound considerably.

    unfortunately it is exactly true. Isolation is only ever as good as the weakest link. Sound simply goes round the treatment and travels through the wall. It’s a common misconception that you can reduce sound transmission by partial treatment. You CAN massively improve the sound in the room but it is a complete waste of time and money to try and achieve isolation by partially “soundproofing” the room. You are correct that even properly isolating the room with a suspended MAM structure still won’t provide total isolation but unfortunately it is the only way to even reduce it partially

  • unfortunately it is exactly true. Isolation is only ever as good as the weakest link. Sound simply goes round the treatment and travels through the wall. It’s a common misconception that you can reduce sound transmission by partial treatment. You CAN massively improve the sound in the room but it is a complete waste of time and money to try and achieve isolation by partially “soundproofing” the room. You are correct that even properly isolating the room with a suspended MAM structure still won’t provide total isolation but unfortunately it is the only way to even reduce it partially

    I can't proof you wrong and i have no intentions to do so but keep in mind that i have the situation that i must asure that the whole construction is reversible.
    I live in a rented flat so i need to have the chance to clear the room to the state i had before.


    So a room in a room isn't even on the table. This would be simply total overkill for what im gaining from it.
    Again i don't have huge amounts of noise in my room. No amps no drums or screaming people. Ok maybe me when im gaming but besides that ...
    So i don't need to over engineer things.
    I saw drummers on youtube that built them selfs primitive isolations pads for their drum you reduce the sound emissions to their neighbors flats.
    this was mainly to decouple the drums mechanically. they didn't even sound proof by any means. And they had quite some success.


    You are right that air travels via air and material. So i assume that i have to minimize the whole area which can transport sound waves.
    And again i don't need 100% isolation in ever spectrum.

  • Ok, so let's discuss this topic a bit :)


    1. Sound waves can't travel "around" anything in the first place. They either travel straight through something or they are reflected or they are absorbed … or a combination of these three.


    2. Every effort to absorb energy of sound waves reduces the "volume" that goes straight through the absorber. If you hold a 10cm thick piece of acoustic foam right in front of your head while "looking" at a sound source, it will reduce the direct sound but you will still have lots of reflections e.g. from surrounding walls, floor, ceiling, of course. So the perceived impact of the absorption of the direct sound is pretty small.


    3. If you e.g. completely cover a wall with a hypothetically "perfect" absorber, no energy is induced into the wall so the wall can't transmit any sound. If you cover only 50% of the wall with this "perfect" absorber, you reduced the energy going into the wall by 50% which mathematically means a reduction of 6dB.


    4. If you, at the same time, absorb sound waves in other places of the room as well, you automatically reduce the reflections that might hit the wall in question even further. And it's very well possible to achieve a real world noise reduction behind the wall of 10dB - 15dB even with only 50% of the wall covered with (thick and effective) absorbers. But for obvious reasons it requires you to not only use absorbers for the first reflections in the listening spot but also make sure that first reflections towards the wall are reduced considerably.


    5. Apart from discussing the impact of first reflections, it's also very effective to reduce the direct sound waves (if possible). As a simple example, think of the popular ClearSonic amp or drums shields. They are pure reflective devices, don't absorb any meaningful amount of energy. But they have a huge impact because they can be used to reflect the sound waves towards absorbing materials. This stupidly simple plexiglass reflectors easily reduce the energy behind them by 10dB. In your theory, they should not make any difference because you believe in the myth that sound waves just travel "around" them.


    6. As another example of effective noise reduction without perfect isolation: You might have seen the movable absorbers used in bigger studios to "separate" sections of a band or even a (mostly smaller) orchestra. Compared to the overall room size they can be considered too small and ineffective. But interestingly they're not ineffective. They do achive a pretty good level of separation while the band members can still sit together and do a live recording.


    Bottomline: You can achieve something even without complete coverage. It's only a matter of how much you want/need to reduce sound. But stating that foam or any other materials won't have ANY impact unless there's full coverage is just wrong. And for now I think I spare us discussing the frequency-dependent effect of dB reduction. That would make for another topic.

  • I totally understand what you are saying. That's why I my point was really that as you can't achieve significant isolation improvements without room in room structures you would be better not even trying to achieve isolation and simply direct your efforts towards making the sound in the room as good as possible. You will get maximum bang for your buck that way.


    I knew that isolation wasn't ever going to be viable in my space so I decided to ignore it and focus on treatment and positioning within the room. The result is a great listening space where I can play, record and mix as long as there is no one else in. Otherwise headphone rule!


    My room is pretty near a flat frequency response (as near as I am ever going to get in the space I have to work with - clearly it's not Abbey Road ;-) ) However, my wife and neighbours can still clearly hear what I am playing through one floor up and one room across. I guarantee you I will be playing quieter in my room than you do in yours. I can still hear some acoustic string noise over the the speaker sound in order to get low enough for the neigbours and wife not to hear. :-( I've measured it and I think the attenuation between the level in the room (with a loop of a solo guitar playing through the monitors at about 80db was around 30db which is basically about what you would expect from our old building regulations without any attempt at isolation.


    As others have said, you don't want to cover the entire space with absorption. Probably no more than half as a rule of thumb but where you place it REALLY matters. It looks like you already have plenty of isolation materials. So rather than spend more money buying more you would probably get better results repositioning what you have.

  • @lightbox I don't think I am disagreeing as much as it appears. I typed that response quickly while on a dog walk and the hounds dogs were playing in a field. My terminology could definitely have been better ;-)


    I am not trying to be a smart arse of score points and freely admit to being an well read/versed amateur in a field that literally is like rocket science. You appear to have considerable experience and professional knowledge which is way beyond my level.


    I do understand the basic principles and even a fair bit beyond that having spend sonsiderable time trying to digest Alton Everets Masters Handbook of Acoustic but I freely admit I struggled with a lot of it.


    Yep, I hear you on the perspex shields mounted on mic stands, those little suckers definitely took some of the pain out of standing right in front of a 5 piece horn section for 20+ years.


    What I was trying to convey is that, sound does indeed travel "round" our attempts at isolation by means of structural transmission. In reality it travels along things in straight lines but the end result is it ends up on the other side of the absorption because the absorption only stopped the airborne sound. Even though the sound energy in the room may have been reduced by 10db - 15db at specific frequencies the sound resulting from transmition would largly be from direct sound or only after first order reflexion and the materials on the other side could even amplify the transmitted sound. A badly fitted bare wooden floor could conceivably act like an acoustic guitar soundboard on the wife/neighbour side and nullify the effect of the reduction in the studio.


    Also, even 10cm of Rockwool is only effective to low mid type frequencies. The neighbours are much more likely to be bothered by the low frequencies.


    Once again, I take your points and apologise if I seemed to be trying to start an argument. I was only trying to stop the OP wasting money in areas that will still not yield the results he is hoping for. It would be far better to focus efforts on the sound in the room and ignore any attempt at "soundproofing" if there is a benefit treat it as a happy side effect rather than the target. When it comes to isolation I still believe you need to do it right or not at all - anything else is like trying to get the misses a little bit pregnant ;-)

  • @ZSchneidi you asked for example for inspiration. Here is my room. It's not perfect and it definitely doesn't provide any sound proofing but it is a joy to listen in. It is also a mess just now as there is too much junk deposited in it (including the cushions from the garden furniture which are not there for any sound treatment purposes ;-) ) There is another bale of Rockwool behind the desk too.
    IMG_5335.jpg


    IMG_6476.jpg


  • Also, even 10cm of Rockwool is only effective to low mid type frequencies. The neighbours are much more likely to be bothered by the low frequencies.

    Yep, that's true and that's the reason I told ZSchneidi a couple of times with exclamation marks that he should use 10cm or more. ;-) The picture he had posted showing some sandwich construction certainly will help further.


    Now since you mentioned the lack of effectiveness in the lows and low mids ... I try to briefly explain how the problem is less dramatic than most think at first sight: You might even be able to try it on your own using your studio equipment and studio monitors.


    Make e.g. a 2kHz sine wave and play it relatively loud. Now reduce the gain in e.g. 10 dB steps and see when the sine wave can barely be heard.
    Now make a 70Hz sine wave, play it with same volume you started the 2kHz with and take down the gain in 10dB steps again and see when the sound is almost gone.


    If you did this properly, then you will have noticed that (as an example) had to take down the 2kHz by 40-50dB while the 70Hz might have been almost gone at 20-30dB gain reduction. What has happened? Our ears are way less sensitive to low frequencies than to mid frequencies. Nature has been pretty smart to make us most sensitive in the frequency range we typically use most when we talk.
    What does this mean for us and the current topic? You don't have to achieve the same "technical" absorbtion level in the low frequencies. It doesn't matter that the lows aren't equally reduced. Of course they should get reduced as well but it's not necessary to have a perfectly linear noise reduction across the entire audible spectrum.


    What helps us as well ... I guess we're talking mostly guitars and we're also talking nearfield studio monitors. So neither the guitar nor the studio monitors create a whole lot of crazy low frequency rumble anyway. It would be a totally different story in a band practice room with real kickdrum and a murderous bass amp, of course. :-D

  • 2k ; -58db but it's getting drowned out by my tinitus way before that point ;-)


    70hz ; -39db



    Equal loudness curves rock :-)



    The other thing that hasn't been mentioned anywhere so far and which I think merit focussing on the in the room treatment is bass trapping. Admittedly with limited space and only Rockwool as your friend it's going to be hard to anything magical but every bit helps.


    As the room is quite small the listening position is likely to be very close to the center of the room. This is going to put the ears right around the worst place in the room for modal interference. In my room I have floor to ceiling super chunks in two corners and masses of Rockwool in every other available space to minimise low frequency interference. I have also been very careful to put the listening position in the best spot I can find. I would suggest the OP plays a sine wave at multiple frequencies and walks around the room. Without adequate treatment there will be spots where certain frequencies almost disappear and others where they multiply. Spending as much effort and money controlling those is the best use of resources. If it also cuts down some sound escaping that's a bonus.


    It's a little off topic but......


    I have seen many posts where people complain about profiles being thin or muddy or boomy in certain circumstances and they blame it on the equipment and/or the profiles. While this is undoubtedly a part of the problem I would suggest that 9/10 times the issue is unsatisfactory treatment in the room. Most home players and recordists would be better advised to spend £1,000 on Rockwool and other treatments than a new set of monitors or FRFR cab.