How To Soundproof Your Home Theater

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I typically design home recording studios, but a home theater uses the exact same principles for isolation. In this article I will go over my favorite, floor, wall, ceiling and door designs for a home theater. 


1) Pick The Room Size

Now a home theater is not a recording studio, but room acoustics are still very important. You want to hear the dialogue in your favorite movie and you want the bass to hit crips and hard without a lot of mud. 

The best way to ensure you have a great starting place for room acoustics is to get some favorable room dimensions right off the bat. To do this I recommend starting with the Sepmeyer Ratios, but also using a tool called AMROC that is free to use online. 

I have a great video that goes in depth on room ratios and how to use the tools here:

The main thing is to not get overwhelmed by room ratios, but see if you can use them to your advantage when designing the floor plan and ceiling height of your proposed theater. 


2) Build On A Concrete Slab

When you build in a basement or garage or new addition with a concrete slab you don't have to do anything to soundproof the floor. This is a huge cost saver. Concrete is super heavy and concrete in the earth gives you plenty of isolation for a home theater. For this reason I would never build a home theater on a wood deck on the first or second floor of a house. It just isn't the right place for a soundproof home theater. 


3) Use A Double Wall System 

Next your walls should be two 2x4 walls with a 1" air gap between them. The walls should each have some owens corning pink insulation in them and should have 2-4 layers of 5/8" type X drywall on them. If the outside wall is your concrete basement wall then simply build a new wall at least 1" from the existing concrete wall. Below is a diagram of a typical double wall system. 



4) Use A Decoupled Ceiling 

The best option for your ceiling is to decouple the drywall from your existing ceiling joists. If you have the room to lose some ceiling height you could frame a new ceiling off your inside wall of the double wall system, but this is usually not the case in most homes where ceiling height is limited. For this reason, I recommend using acoustic clips like the I-B1 Clips, Whisper Clips, or Hush Frame Rafts attached to the ceiling joists and then attaching furring channel to those clips. You then will hang 2-4 layers of 5/8" drywall from those clips. 

***NOTE*** How much drywall should you use? For a home theater I would recommend 3-4 layers of drywall because of the low sub woofer bass. Low frequencies require more mass so use as much drywall as you can afford. 


5) Soundproof Door Design 

Ideally, your home theater would have only one door since soundproof doors are expensive. I recommend using a communicating door system where you have one door on each side of your double wall system. The key with your doors is that they are heavy and air tight. I have a great video that goes in depth into my soundproof door design here:

I recommend using solid core doors and then adding mass to them using 3/4" plywood. Then I recommend buying acoustic seals that will surround all four sides of each of your soundproof doors. This way your doors will be as soundproof as your walls and you will not have a weak point in your home theater where sound can come in or out. 



I hope this article gave you a starting point from which to dive deeper into what it takes to properly soundproof a home theater. If you are serious about designing your theater right the first time than sign up for my soundproofing workshop below or jump on a soundproof clarity call with me on my home page