Anyone who likes to make music knows the problem: the sound is bad and the neighbor is annoyed again. But what can you do? Quite simple: make the music room soundproof. In this article we’ll give you a few advices how to soundproof a studio or you home music room.
If you have the talent to play one or even several instruments, you can consider yourself really lucky. If the instrument, such as the saxophone, the guitar or the drums, can then also be played at home, then that is of course the ultimate. However, not every musical instrument can be turned up or down with a controller. On the contrary, acoustic musical instruments have a basic volume that can hardly be influenced. This is also the reason why most neighbors ring the doorbell after a certain time and ask to turn down the music. This is not only annoying for the neighbor, but of course for you as well.
But that’s not the only problem. If you are really passionate about music, you will quickly hear it at home: the music resounds throughout the room, the tones are too shrill and the piece of music itself just sounds off. It is not your way of playing that is to blame. It’s the room in which you play the musical instrument. Bare walls, parquet or laminate flooring, and maybe even a high ceiling – it’s all poison for the music. If you value good sound and stress-free interaction with neighbors, you should therefore soundproof your music room. Our tips tell you how to do it.
Protection against interference from inside and outside
The first consideration is, of course, the protection of one’s own studio space, especially the recording rooms, from outside immissions. Particularly important is the inclusion of structure-borne sound transmission emanating from sources that may be further away in the building or even outside the building, such as air-conditioning compressors or nearby railroad lines. The maximum permissible sound pressure levels for studio rooms are usually not specified in the form of cumulative sound pressure levels, but are specified in spectral form by limit curves that are not to be exceeded.
How to make your music room soundproof
Attach foam to the walls and ceiling:
First of all, you should know that sound travels through the air and through bodies such as the ceiling, walls, and even heating pipes – so it can be heard directly by your neighbors. To prevent this, it is advisable to install foam mats (also called acoustic mats) on the walls and ceiling. These usually have pyramid-shaped knobs that prevent sound from “bouncing” off the wall and being reflected back. In addition, the foam mats ensure that the sounds are not as shrill, hollow or tinny.
It is advisable to order the preferred foam online, because acoustic or nap foam is often only available in hardware stores – and usually in a drab shade of gray. Online retailers, on the other hand, offer the foam not only in different thicknesses and shapes, but also in many different colors. This way, you can perfectly match the mats to your music room in terms of color.
Lay carpet on the floor
Parquet, lamiat and linoleum are slippery and, like bare walls, cause sound to hit hard and bounce back. You can prevent this by installing thick carpet in your music room. This is even important if you are making good use of an unused basement room and turning it into a music room. If someone else lives under you, then impact sound mats (as with laminate) or anti-vibration mats (as with washing machines) still belong under the carpet.
Put drums on a pedestal or drum carpet
If you own an acoustic or electronic drum set and practice a lot at home, then purchasing a pedestal can also make sense. This is because a pedestal ensures that knocking or beating noises are no longer transmitted across the floor. However, you can also build this pedestal yourself at a reasonable price.
Alternatively, you are also well advised with a so-called drum carpet. This is thick, resistant and also soundproof. The neighbors who live below you will be grateful.
What thickness should the acoustic foam in the recording studio have and how much do I need?
To ensure that you also attenuate the right frequencies, the thickness of the panels and the quantity is quite crucial. It is true that the thicker you choose the foam, the lower frequencies will be damped.
For higher frequencies acoustic foams with thicknesses from 3cm to 5cm are suitable. For lower frequencies, it should be 7cm to 10cm or more. Also note that pyramid foams or dimpled foams, at the same thickness, always absorb less than planar foams.
With flat foams you absorb more broadband – with pyramids or nubs mainly in the higher frequency range – even if you use especially thick pyramids or nubs. If you have problems in the recording studio mainly in the mid/higher frequency range, pyramids and nubs are equally suitable – here you have to decide which shape you like better. Pyramids are often preferred, however, because they blend into each other virtually without a seam – with nubs you can always see an offset at the edges.
The more you clad, the quieter the room will be, as more sound waves will also be swallowed in the respective frequency range. You can use either the ceiling or the walls as well as both mixed. If you line 100% of the surfaces, the room will be anechoic and you will no longer have reverberation in the studio. This is intentional for some recording studios if you want to add natural effects afterwards to the then “dry” recording – with professional software this is possible. Many recording studios, however, opt for a middle ground. In the hi-fi studio, on the other hand, you don’t completely disguise everything. Here, of course, the invidiual taste plays a big role.