Soundproof Like A Pro - No Putty PadsDec 11, 2023
I recently had a great long talk with the studio designer JH Brandt. Brandt has been designing recording studios for decades and he mentioned how he never uses putty pads to soundproof. I love the idea and wanted to share how to do it in this article.
1) Minimize holes in your soundproof shell
Now, I call this method a pro method because it requires that we build our studio room with an outer soundproof shell and an inner acoustic shell. The two systems work together to both isolate and treat acoustics at the same time.
This approach also allows us to hide our electrical behind the acoustic treatment and mount the electrical boxes and lights in the acoustic panel wall rather than the soundproof drywall.
Here is a picture of this in action in one of JH Brandt's designs.
Notice how the wall protrudes out from the door. This wall is made of lightweight wood and fabric with fiberglass batting behind it. It is not the soundproof wall. The electrical boxes can be framed directly into this fabric wall making it so you don't have to use putty pads.
2) How To Feed The Electrical In Your Room
The electrical should enter through the front of the room through an electrical conduit pipe. There is an added benefit to this design where the audio electrical and audio XLR cables can run side by side eliminating ground loops, but that is a discussion I will save for another article. In the photo below, again courtesy of JH Brandt's free resources on his website: https://jhbrandt.net/resources/.
In this photo the piping is coming in from the back of the room, but you could have your piping come in through the front wall. The key is to keep your soundproofing methods in tact when doing this. Run the pipe through the wall and use acoustic sealant where the pipe enters the drywall on each side.
To increase isolation you can have the pipe enter the outside wall then have the pipe run through the wall for a several feet before having it enter into the inside wall. This makes it so both holes do not face each other in the wall system.
Lastly, where the conduit enters the pipe you can seal up the opening around the wires with putty pad and acoustic caulk to reduce sound traveling through the pipe it self.
3) A Quick Note On Low Voltage Wiring
If you are using lights with low voltage wiring, meaning they use a transformer to drop the voltage from the standard 120V in the United States, then you will need to run the low voltage wiring separate from an electrical that is supplying audio. A good rule of thumb is to run the low voltage wiring on the ceiling opposite the audio line on the floor. If you must cross the wires at any point it should be at a 90 degree angle.
Attaching all of your electrical boxes to your inside acoustic wall is a great way to increase isolation in a control room or home studio room. This can also be done in live rooms, but you would need an acoustic plan that covers your electrical runs and boxes. This method is not for every design, but is one I am am using more and more with home studio designs.
“Resources.” John H. Brandt Acoustic Designs, jhbrandt.net/resources/.
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