Soundproofing is crucial for any recording studio, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Instead of hiring a contractor and breaking down the walls, flooring, and ceilings, there are far more affordable options to accomplish similar results at a fraction of the cost.
This article will teach you what soundproofing and acoustic treatment are, why they are important, and how to do them effectively so you can have the cleanest audio possible.
What are soundproofing and acoustic treatment?
Soundproofing and acoustic treatment are sometimes used interchangeably, but they have different meanings.
Soundproofing is the practice of preventing sound from entering and departing an area. Acoustic treatment suppresses reverberations and echoes to improve the sound quality within a place. Acoustic panels can be used during the acoustic treatment process to minimize reverberations and divert echoes to produce an appropriate location for sound recording.
Why should you soundproof a recording space?
Studio soundproofing is essential for producing high-quality recordings for several reasons.
1. To reduce outside noise
Soundproofing keeps outside noises from disturbing a recording, so you don’t have to worry about planes, car horns, people, loud weather, animals, etc.
2. To reduce internal noise
It’s not just outside noises that may disrupt a recording session; disturbances within your recording studio can also damage a session. For example, soundproofing dampens noise from air conditioning and heating systems, computer fans, keyboard clicks, recording equipment, etc.
3. Echo reduction
Some soundproofing materials reduce echoes inside restricted spaces.
4. To generate professional-quality sound
Whether you’re recording music, a voice-over, or videotaping an acting audition, you want to keep undesired noises out of the mix. To be a professional, you must sound like a professional. And soundproofing can help you get the highest quality audio.
How to soundproof a recording studio
Follow these steps to properly soundproof your recording studio.
Select an appropriate location
Your equipment is useless unless you have a good recording place. While you may not have a free existing room that you can completely transform into a recording studio, you may have a closet or other tiny area that might be cleared out. Of course, a small room might limit your movement, but if you’re starting, it’ll suffice.
Your priority should be silence. Avoid sharing a wall with a bathroom, laundry, or kitchen, all of which have noisy appliances. Outside noise might also degrade your recordings. Use a room with no windows if possible. If your recording space has a window, use high-density foam tape, acoustic putty, or acoustic caulk to seal it firmly.
The ideal approach to outfitting your space is acoustic foam tiles, sound absorption panels, and bass traps (acoustic energy absorbers designed to dampen low-frequency sound energy).
Most home improvement retailers have cork, rubber, and foam panel insulation. In addition, less expensive measures, such as draping thick blankets or heavy drapes on walls and corners, can help reduce echo and boom.
Mattresses and sofas can even be pushed up against walls to absorb sound waves and keep them from bouncing. Clothes and linens work the same way—keep them far away from you, so you don’t brush up against them and generate more noise. Finally, seal your electrical outlets with foam gaskets to prevent sound from entering through air gaps.
Make changes to your door to reduce noise
When it comes to doors, heavier is preferable; if yours is hollow, spray insulation can fill it. Install a door sweep on each side of the door to close the air gap between the door and the floor.
Install thick carpets or build a floating floor
Laying down thick carpets or rugs on the floor will also help. You may generally locate them for a low price at a thrift store, or you can even persuade a carpet business to give you miscuts, scraps, or sample squares. However, building a floating floor that filters sound waves are a more effective solution that requires expert assistance (or some advanced building know-how).
The simplest technique to build a floating floor is to install a new layer of flooring that is disconnected from your existing floor using hard rubber pucks or floor floaters. Floating your existing floor is more difficult and expensive. In addition, it involves accessing the joists beneath your sub-flooring, which isn’t always possible.
Finish your walls with a second layer of drywall lined with sheet blocks
You’re prepared to engage experienced construction help if your walls are drywall. You can afford to sacrifice a few inches of space around the room; consider adding a second layer of drywall to create a sound isolation barrier.
Install sheets of mass-loaded vinyl or sheet block on the inside of the new layer of drywall, leaving an air gap between the two walls. The sheet block and the second wall prevent sound waves from passing through your barriers.
If you want even more tips and insights, watch this video called The Best Sound Treatment Method for A Home Studio from the Zak Kincaid YouTube Channel.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about audio treatment and soundproofing your studio.
How can I soundproof my studio cheaply?
Heavy blankets and quilts are the most inexpensive way to soundproof a wall depending on the noise source; place blankets over the walls, doors, or windows to silence them.
How do professionals soundproof a room?
Professionals wrap the walls in thick blankets, movers’ pads, tapestries, quilts, etc. Sound can be absorbed by almost any soft material, though thicker materials are preferable. Sound-absorbing panels can be attached to the walls and, if necessary, the ceiling if you don’t mind giving the room an industrial appearance.
Pros also tend to have floating floors that filter sound waves more effectively. However, this can be very expensive.
How do you soundproof an apartment for recording?
A concrete or brick wall is a must if you’re still looking for a place to live. Quite a bit of noise is kept out by walls of this type. If you need better insulation in your walls, you could put it in Rockwool. You might want to put your studio’s monitors and mix desks up against the wall that gives you views of the street outside your apartment.
Soundproofing your room may not be possible in some cases, and if it’s the case, you can use different techniques to make the space quieter.
This article covered what soundproofing and acoustic treatment are, why its important, and how to do it effectively. Here are some key takeaways:
- Acoustic treatment is acoustic treatment, which includes the acoustic materials that absorb sound.
- Soundproofing typically involves creating a barrier to separate one part of an environment from another (opposite sides of a wall or ceiling) by adding acoustic material between them.
- You can use acoustic panels and foam to provide soundproofing, saving the equipment from damaging noise.
- Absorption is the most basic method used to soundproof a room. Generally, absorption involves re-purposing standard materials such as drywall, carpeting, and couch cushions.
- A home studio is a studio that people use to record music.
- Home recording is very popular.
So, are you acoustically treated? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? And what do you think of my list? Let me know in the comments section below (I read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on home recording. Thanks for reading, and don’t stop making music.