My Simple Soundproofing Method
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I don't know about you, but life can be pretty stressful and chaotic. When I build and design soundproof home recording studios I try to make my job as easy as possible. This means eliminating as many decisions as possible and focusing on the overall goal of creating a quiet space that is enjoyable to work in.
What I find is many people in our community and even clients of mine tend to overcomplicate the process. I think a lot of this stems from a fear that if they don't look at every option on the market in depth then their hard earned dollars will be wasted on a studio that does not live up to the high expectations they have in their mind.
In this article I want to focus on what matters in studio design and what is mostly a waste of time. Let's dive in!
1) Don't buy into the hype
There are so many soundproofing products that claim to help you eliminate noise. Some you might run into are:
- Green Glue
- Mass Loaded Vinyl
- SilentFX Drywall
- Carpet Glue
- Soundproof boats
- Soundproof mats of all kinds
- Soundproof Curtains
- Soundproof underlayments of varying kinds
- Soundproofing Clips (that cost way more than most)
- Soundproof Booths like Whisper Rooms or Soundbricks
And the list goes on and on. No wonder most of us spend hours, months and even years thinking about how to design a soundproof home recording studio without ever really moving forward with building it.
The truth is, you can build a great soundproof home recording studio without any of the materials I listed above. Here is how.
2) Start With A Concrete Slab
You can float a floor, but it is not as effective or easy as simply starting with a concrete slab. Concrete is excellent at stopping sound, so I always recommend building your soundproof home recording studio on top of an existing slab or pouring a new one.
3) Use A Double Wall System
If you want some rock solid soundproofing then use a double wall system. This involves two layers of 5/8" drywall on either side of your wall with a 1" airgap and regular cheap insulation in the wall cavity. Simple! Easy!
If you are really short on space you can use a system of acoustic clips and hat channels to decouple your drywall from your wall, but it does make things a bit more complicated.
4) Use A Hat Channel System For Your Ceiling
When I design studio, I almost always use a decoupled hat channel system on my ceilings. This means using special acoustic clips and metal furring channel attached to your ceiling rafters. You then drill the two layers of 5/8" drywall to your hat channels and wallah, you are done. Easy!
5) Use a mini split system for your heating and cooling
There are many ways to heat and cool a room, but my favorite design is to use a Mr. Cool mini split DIY kit. This allow you or your contractor to install the unit yourself, which saves thousands of dollars. I also love how quiet and efficient these units are.
6) Use and ERV or HRV and Baffle Box for Fresh Air
Yup, the mini split will not bring in fresh air into your air tight room. So, we need a seperate system to give you nice quality fresh air. I like using and ERV or HRV (depending on the climate) to bring in fresh air and pull out stale air from your studio.
I run my ventilation lines through a baffle box which makes it so you can't hear the air noise or any noise transfer between your room and the outside.
Don't sweat the details and don't get lost in tone of soundproofing supplies. In my designs, the only true soundproofing supplies you need are acoustic clips for your hat channels and acoustic clips to help as sway braces for your inner walls. If you need more soundproofing add more mass. That means use 3-4 layers of type x 5/8" drywall instead of two. Simple, easy and straightforward. Don't overcomplicate something that is by nature very complicated to begin with.