Before we get properly into this, let’s just clarify that this article is about home studio soundproofing for DJs, producers, serious audiophiles.
It’s not about improving room acoustics. That’s an entirely different thing.
One other thing we should cover early, is that fully soundproofing a room at home is hard…
…it’s really hard!
But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to try and pull it off!
What we’re going to cover here, goes all the way from making a few quick, easy and inexpensive changes, in order to decrease the amount of sound that leaves your room…
…all the way to trying to fully soundproof your room.
It’s up to you to decide where you want to aim.
Let’s crack on!..
How to Soundproof a Home Studio
As you work through your home studio soundproofing project, keep in mind that effective soundproofing is basically achieved by adding mass and air gaps.
Adding mass is important because the denser a material is, the harder it is for sound energy to transfer through it.
Adding air gaps between walls, floors and ceilings is important because they effectively absorb low-frequency sound energy…something that materials don’t tend to do all that well.
5 Quick Wins for Sound Reduction
Let’s get into this home studio soundproofing post by looking at those real easy changes you can make, that will all help reduce the level of sound escaping from your room.
These will not give you a fully soundproof room.
But they will make life a little better for your housemates and neighbours!
1. Put Your Speakers on Rigid Spiked Stands
If you currently have your speakers either mounted on walls, or sitting on selves, or on some kid of desk, you are pumping out sound vibrations that are totally unnecessary.
Easy to deal with.
Put your speakers on rigid spiked stands.
These will keep the speakers totally rigid and therefore massively reduce the amount of sound vibration that is transferred to the floor.
2. Carpet Your Floor
Now this sounds pretty expensive doesn’t it?
Well, it doesn’t have to be!
You’re going to do it yourself of course.
To keep it inexpensive, put down the thickest underlay you can get your hands on, and the cheapest carpet you can buy on top.
It’s not about carpet quality, it’s about how much you can soften the floor to reduce vibrations, and how easily sound bounces off it.
3. Sort Out Your Door
Your door and the space around it and the door frame, are going to be two of the biggest offenders when it comes to exactly where is letting out the most sound.
Let’s look at a few quick wins that’ll make a difference:
- Fit a door gasket to seal gaps – Sound amplifies as it moves through gaps, making this one a necessity. Fairly easy to install and it’ll have a decent impact on how much sound is leaving your room.
- Fit a door-sweep – Door-sweeps are essential for closing the gap between the bottom of your door, and the floor. Fitting a door-sweep to the bottom of your door will impede sound from leaking out.
- Fit Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) – MLV fitted to your door will significantly reduce the noise that can pass through your door. It’s not going to look really beautiful, and it’s a bit fiddly to do, but it is well worth the trouble.
Just in case you can’t imagine what MLV looks like, or in case you’re having trouble getting to sleep at night…
…the image above of three rolls of MLV should help you out on both counts.
Thank me later!
4. Fill Gaps with an Acoustic Sealant
Fill every little gap you can find; gaps around electrical sockets, pipes, door frames…if you can find it, you can fill it!
A good way to find gaps is to completely darken you room and to look for wherever light is coming in.
5. Fit Drywall Panels
We are starting to stray a little bit away from ‘quick’ wins with this one. But, if you have thin walls, you are going to have to deal with them in some way…
…and this is just about the cheapest and easiest way!
You can fit drywall panels in double layers, and if you apply something like Green Glue Noise-proofing Compound in between the layers, you should get some pretty big soundproofing gains!
Well, we’ve probably got just about as far as we can with quick wins.
Time to get a bit more involved.
How to Soundproof a Home Studio…for Bigger Gains on a Bigger Budget!
Now we’re entering into a whole new world.
A world where budget constraints, time constraints, and household disruption mean nothing to us.
We just want a fully soundproofed room where we can DJ, produce…and do whatever the hell else we want to do in there at full volume…
…without being moaned at on the regular!
5 Steps to a Soundproofed Room
Before we start, I just want to clarify, that if this is the route you’re going down…
…I highly recommend you get a professional in.
This is not weekend DIY enthusiast type stuff!
1. Construct a Floating Floor
Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up.
Constructing a floating floor is probably the most favoured approach of those totally committed to achieving full soundproofing.
The idea is just the same regardless of whether you’re dealing with an upstairs room with wooden floorboards, or a basement room with a concrete floor.
Adding a floating floor involves adding an extra layer of flooring that is decoupled from your existing floor.
It is a lot of work, but it’s also the most effective way of soundproofing your floor.
2. Decouple and Isolate Your Walls
The next thing you will need to do is decouple and isolate your walls.
It’s another big step, but hey, we’re not messing about here!
To do a really proper job you are going to be sacrificing a few inches all around, so it’s not going to be great if you’re already working from a broom-cupboard!
Essentially this is adding a second wall…
…made of acoustic drywall sheets and soundproofing materials, sat slightly in front of your existing wall to create an all important air gap.
For best soundproofing results this new second wall should be built on top of the new floating floor, and should be built with a staggered stud configuration.
At this stage, I’m sure you’ve realised, that you’re basically building a room within your existing room.
Complicated stuff for sure, and if you can sort this out without calling in professional help, you are much more skilled than I am.
Complicated, time consuming, expensive…but you’re going to get world-class soundproofing.
I wonder if you can guess what we need to do next?
3. Construct a Floating Ceiling
Well of course, after all the work already undertaken, there would be little point in leaving the ceiling as is.
Constructing a floating ceiling is probably the trickiest part of this whole project.
It is theoretically the same method as for the walls…adding a new acoustic drywall ceiling slightly beneath your existing ceiling, not forgetting to leave a small air gap.
This is a difficult job, and I would strongly recommend getting an experienced professional in.
4. Deal with Doors and Windows
I hope you haven’t completely burnt through your project’s budget yet…
…because we’re about to go into spending overdrive.
Doors and windows are often already soundproof rated. Which is going to make your selection process a whole lot easier.
It’s well worth putting in some serious time finding the best available doors and windows for your budget.
A popular choice amongst those who go all-in when soundproofing their home studio, is to hang two doors on the same door jamb, back-to-back, again separated by a small air gap.
5. Fill Gaps with an Acoustic Sealant
As you work through your soundproofing project, make sure you seal all gaps with an acoustic sealant as you come across them.
And if something needs gluing along the way, use Green Glue Noise-proofing Compound or a product of similar quality.
Wrapping it Up!
“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly”.
This common saying is definitely true when it comes to a home studio soundproofing project.
Decide on what level of soundproofing you want to achieve, and fully commit to getting there.
Every little detail will help. Do not skimp if you don’t need to!