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Soundproofing and Ventilation in a UK Garage Home Studio - Please Help!!!

Discussion in 'Room Acoustics / Isolation / Treatment' started by Drew B, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. Drew B

    Drew B Active Member

    Good Evening All and Hi from the UK


    First of all may i say thanks for looking at this thread and any information shared will be greatly received.

    I came across this website after purchasing Mr Gervais excellent book and before i decided to post a new thread i searched after some info i required but couldn't seem to find what i'm looking for so here goes. Get yourself a strong coffee before reading on.


    To construct a combination room for music production, mixing/mastering and dj mixes ideally to a good soundproof and acoustic standard.


    Looking to spend around £2500 - maybe more depending on the improvement.


    Ideally looking up to around 100db but only have the capability to do this as i won't be able to produce/mix/master at this level for a long enough time.


    • The room will be constructed inside a single brick garage, this has an apex roof which is supported by beams and on top of the beams the space is used for storage.
    • The front half of the garage will be used for storage and gym equipment and the rear half for the studio.
    • The garage door is a metal up and over door which cannot be bricked up or removed due to planning issues.
    • The flooring is a solid concrete base
    • The size of the room for the studio before any construction begins.
    • Width 284cm (9'4")
    • Length 281cm (9'2")
    • Height to beams 231cm (7'7")

    • I know one of the main issues I'll have to deal with is the garage door so looking at building a double wall with a considerable air gap but any other ideas will be appreciated.
    • I've been looking into soundproofing for a while now and there is so much information out but for me Its a choice between a room within a room or using resilient channels and genie clips system.
    • I'm also contemplating using 1 or 2inch celotex on the walls which is a foil backed insulation straight on the walls prior to the build just to keep the heat in the garage.
    Room In A Room
    • I understand building a room within a room decouples the build from the main structure so roughly how much of an air gap would you leave.
    • I have planned on using 100mm rockwool, is this too much also i know it sounds silly as its all new to me but if you place the rockwool between the stud wall then what stops it falling out the rear into the gap between the room and structure. Do you have to place anything like strapping.
    Resilient Channel System
    • This seems a really good idea due to the amount of space it saves. This will be used also on the ceiling and to do this I will need to create a stud wall and fill between the studs with acoustic mineral wool and insulate the studs against the wall with isolation strips to stop vibration from traveling through the timber studs or build away from the main structure to create an air gap. This version also uses our Genie Clips with Resiliant bars and adds a layer of 4mm Mute Barrier mat between two standard plaster boards for extra sound insulation.
    • genie_clip_on_wall.jpg

    • The downsides with this are firstly cost compared to room in a room. If you build the room against the main structure wall and the rockwool goes against this then surely it will get damp.
    • Another thing I don't quite understand why you also build it away from the main structure with an air gap as surely the rubber genie clips also decouple the walls.
    I know there is alot here so any information to say which do you think would work the best or any previous experience using these would be of great help.


    Just a quick question do you have to use air con in an air tight studio?? Can the below be used with just a standard heater during cold spells.

    I'm asking for alot here and hopefuly with all the experience and knowledge on this forum some of the questions will be asked.

    Thanks again

  2. Drew B

    Drew B Active Member

    Do I need to include anymore information, there have been alot of views but no replies - not even bad ones!!

    I'm looking to start this in the next month or so and really stuck upto this point.

    Many Thanks

  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    What you are asking for is very specialized. Those of us who haven't chimed in aren't intentionally ignoring you, Drew... it's just that this forum has professionals in many different aspects of audio; mixing, tracking, computers, mastering, etc., and because we are professionals in certain specific areas, we respect you - and the acoustics experts here - enough to not just comment for the sake of commenting. No one wants to lead you astray with bad advice. ;)

    There are a few people on this forum who do know about this stuff, and some who are experts... (I'm not one of them) and perhaps they haven't commented simply because they haven't seen your post yet.
  4. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    as you're in the uk - there's an ancient sound on sound topic that covers some of the pitfalls - it's from 1995! When I was building one in a college on a very tight budget. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995_articles/apr95/schoolstudio.html

    Since then, I've not made these mistakes again - and they're very easy ones to do!

    The key feature is mass - so when space is tight, my cladding now has plasterboard/insulation board and MDF layers. I've also standardised on the MDF as the inside layer laid horizontally - with the joints disguised by timber strip. Another strip, a 13A socket spaced is then added mainly because it looks nice.

    Your biggest problem is the ceiling because plasterboard and MDF weighs quite a bit, and in a garage, you can't get above to seal it properly - so I now produce the ceiling in pre-made panels - usually 1.2m wide. You can make sure these are properly sealed to prevent air gaps, then you pop them up from underneath, and use tube adhesive on the edges. Then I finish the last MDF layer off from inside, secure the plasterboard overlaps the top plates. I work from home, and had my own garage here extended to 3 times the original length, and the up and over door give access to a bit of storage space, then I have two rooms. A drum kit playing full tilt can just be heard late at night when it's silent outside, but at a really low level - nothing anyone would ever notice. If you are a modest DIY'er it's easy to do - but you do need an inner room within the room. Coupling to the brick structure in any way is bad news!
  5. Drew B

    Drew B Active Member

    Thanks for your reply Donny Air(y)

    Yeah I understand that the info i'm after is specialized and not everyone may have an idea what i'm waffling on about but most of all i know you are all very busy in what you do.

    I hope you don't think it came across the wrong way. I just wrote the previous message incase i missed off some vital info as i know if all the required details are not there then its hard for people to give an honest answer.

    Thanks again

  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    No not at all... You need to bump your own posts here once in awhile because there are always so many new threads and topics popping up. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has read your post... it's just that those of us who have expertise in other areas of audio aren't going to lead you astray - or disrespect the other acoustics experts here - by posting something that we aren't knowledgeable in, or taking a "guess". ;)
  7. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    The posts are coming too quick now!

    You will need a method to get stale air out. 200mm ducting and duct fans on the exhaust works - BUT you need to build a labyrinth lined with either acoustic foam or loft insulation to stop sound getting in or out. This saps the efficiency, so a 100mm duct has to run at full speed and makes too much noise.

    In my own studios here what did concern me was fire. Sound proof studios are great, but they stop you smelling smoke too, and I can't hear my burglar alarm if the doors are shut. As my escape route is through one room, into the next, and then to a corridor - the prospect of a fire in the corridor did worry me - so in the end room, the wall separating the studio from the up and over door is build a little differently. An entire stud is missing, and there is just one horizontal noggin at 1.2m. The studs are 600mm centred, so I have a weak area. This area also has just plasterboard/insulation board/plasterboard layers (12mm). The mockup I did allowed me that I can kick through it fairly easily - giving me an exit route. The studio is for my own use, and I rarely have strangers, so I can work with this. If I was having regular clients in, then a proper fire exit door on the inner and out shell would do, but is another of those compromises.

    The biggest sound leakage problem comes from cables puncturing panels - and don't even think of piercing the ceiling for downlighters!
  8. Drew B

    Drew B Active Member

    Thank you very much Paulears(y)

    Yeah i can't keep up with all the info now. The article will make some good reading and the advice will helps load - can't believe you did all that in 10weeks!!

    I haven't really though about MDF, i've heard it mentioned before but never gave it a second thought.

    I was hoping the acoustic vents would do the trick but realistically i need some sort of circulation for the air.

    I haven't really thought about a fire as its just me and possibly someone else, as for sound leakage for lighting/electrical what would you recommend. I was going to run electrics in some plastic conduit and for lighting was just going to seal any holes with acoustic sealant!

  9. Drew B

    Drew B Active Member

    Its a bit cheeky but I'll have to remember to bump ;), thanks for the advice and all the best.(y)
  10. Drew B

    Drew B Active Member

    Coupling to the brick structure in any way is bad news - This is what i thought and thats what confuses me (along with pretty much everything else)

    The resilient bar with the genie clip system decouplers the stud wall away from the main structure to stop vibration passing through. This system can be used either using rubber isolation strips which would attach to the studs and then between the studs and main brick structure or create an air gap/room in a room and use this setup.... but surely you are decoupling the walls twice by building an air gap/room in a room and genie clip system!?!?!?!?
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I'm pretty sure that if you were in business - in the "open to the public commercial" sense - where you had a steady and regular traffic of clientele, you would very likely have to meet certain criteria anyway, and provide those things you mentioned to meet the regional construction and fire codes. Of course, this would depend on your regional zoning and commercial codes.

    I know that in the past ten years, here where I live in the Akron, Ohio area, all new construction for commercial use structures larger than 1200 sq. ft must provide fire walls to separate certain sections of the structure, unless the structure is constructed as one big room. If you have an existing structure, built before the code came into play, then you aren't breaking any laws, but your insurance premiums will be much higher than those structures that do have these in place.

    Back when I had my real studio, as the construction crew was busting out walls in the warehouse I had rented, I had them put doorways in that were wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, and I also had a ramp built on to a rear entrance door.
    I knew that there was a regional code that would have stipulated that I do this anyway, but truthfully, I didn't mind, just because it was the right thing to do. When you have family members who are disabled and getting around with wheelchairs, you're more sensitive to these things than you might otherwise be. ;)
  12. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    The resilient rubber in itself offers some decoupling, but there remains a physical connection. I've not used these myself, but I can see the speed and simplicity. My reason for not wishing to try it out are that you are left with the problem of what to do with the ceiling. With a stud work construction, you are presented with a flat top - even if you have cut the size down to 50mm rather 75mm that is strong enough to support a heavy roof - which needs to be just as good as the walls! The soundproofing in the diagram relies on a fill of sealant as the only barrier and it's nowhere near enough! Since my first one in 1995, I've done 8 in total, and each one has been better than the last, but often with less overall materials and mass. I learned that there is no point in having excellent walls with a poorly performing roof, or windows, or rubbish doors.

    I'm not a proper carpenter, so have discovered lots of ways to get around my poor carpentry - as in discovering proper heavy fire doors without panels work really well as a sound barrier - if you make a perfect seal - and fitting a door to a 'hole' is nowhere near close enough to work, unless you are brilliant at measuring and cutting. My trick, that I use every time now is to attach the fire door to the vertical part of the door frame on the hinge side, and then the bottom, top and closing side are put in afterwards, to make sure the gaps are small all around and precisely the same. I then fit neoprene to the closing strips and fix them in place with the door closed. That way you can compress the foam, make the seal and it fits perfectly. A real carpenter wouldn't need to do it this way - there would be planing and trimming, then they'd fit the door!

    A few more tips - MDF can be sanded and painted easily, but it takes a while for the smell (the formaldehyde resin) to stop smelling. I never use plasterboard on the inner surfaces because it damages far too easily. MDF, when secured to the studs is also strong enough to take screws, so you can put up brackets and shelves without needing to find studs.

    Don't be temped to use 6mm MDF on the ceiling to save weight - over a year or so, it sags between the joists! garage studios need to be built as they go, but larger projects can benefit from panellised construction that you can build on the ground and then erect and fix.

    Windows - I've got windows from my recording room to the room next door. Don't do frames - most are very leaky, sound wise. Buy multiple double glazed panels in safety glass, mount them into the holes and then use ordinary timber to seal them in. never had issues with this technique - BUT - make sure you clean them before you stick them in. discovering a fingerprint on one bit of glass afterwards is annoying for ever!

    If you have space above, which I've had on a few of mine, then uprate the joists, and put chipboard on top and use for storage - like a loft conversion.
  13. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Actually the biggest leakage is windows and doors. There have been studies done on cables and penetration even if offset, the loose is negligible...frequency specific. Better to offset the boxes from one side of an isolated assembly to the other wall to degenerate the path that sound travels on...a well known item in reduction of sound penetration.
  14. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    We will have to differ here. Clearly a poorly fitting door that has an air path has a sound path too, but unless there are gaps, the sound transmission through a medium like glass with an air gap, and doors is nowhere near the problem that real gaps are. Staggered cable routes through panels vs straight line paths do make a difference - but my point was that it's the gap that causes a problem. If sealed proper, performance is usually good enough - but an unsealed gap - even a small one - like a 10mm holes with two cables squeezed through, leaving a gap, even when the two cables and hole are tight, leaks badly enough to compromise the effort put into the rest of the room.When you have achieved decent reduction levels, then you can hear differences in the door types, but when you've used better ones and the leakage is even lower, the tiny things can conspire against you!

    My favourite example was when I'd worked really hard on having a drum proof room - and it performed excellently - so good that a visit from the fire officer revealed a serious problem. Nobody in the studio would hear if the fire alarm was sounding, so a flashing repeater was needed inside. The idiots who installed it drilled a 10mm hole through the wall, and the MI cable was 6.5mm. They sealed the inside and outside skins with a blob of tube sealer of some kind - so no actual air gap, but a microphone outside being moved around pinpointed the leakage to that hole. The solution was making the hole bigger, and then filling the gap with epoxy which restored the walls performance. Silicone, or whatever the sealer was didn't cut it at all.
  15. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    "the sound transmission through a medium like glass with an air gap, and doors is nowhere near the problem that real gaps are."

    See I do not even know what that means. I do not know what it is you do but I will list a short resume. I have been in construction since I was 17 years of age...I am now 56 and still in the same business. I have been involved in sound acoustics since 1996 (you do the math). Rod Gervais hand picked me to monitor this forum.

    I have no understanding of how it is that a structure could be built and have "gaps"...you follow me here? If you have gaps then you have a bigger problem and that is your trades persons are not doing the job correctly.

    So while you might suggest that gaps are highest on your list of deterioration to the transmission loss of a room my thinking is that you have people that do not do their job properly.

    The seals on a door are one thing, but even that does not correct the deficit. The issue is simple. Mass. You have to have mass and if you have a wall assembly that has a transmission loss capable of containing 130dB Drums and you have a door or a piece of glass that is not spec'ed to that level....then the gaps are not as much an issue as the required mass that does not exist.

    If you are giving us an example of how you guys build, or rather how poorly, than there is not much more you can say in support of your story.

    "The idiots who installed it drilled a 10mm hole through the wall, and the MI cable was 6.5mm."

    If you were part of this then you have to own it. Anyone at acoustics 101 level knows silicone is not to be used on anything.
  16. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Sorry I thought it quite obvious. If you look at a typical room construction with sheet material on timber studs and joists, normal building techniques rely on visual finish. The joint between wall and ceiling is typical. Sheet material onto the vertical timber, then the ceiling panel is matched up and fixed. Where the ceiling sheet touches the walls, there is nothing above it, and this area frequently leaks. It often looks good from inside, but if you go up on top of the joists, tiny gaps that let light through are evident. On walls, it's easy to overlap the area to keep integrity, but this is tricky on the roof. My current practice is to build the ceilings as panels, totally sealed and then these are placed already formed, onto the top plates of the walls. No leaks. My comment on the windows is that double glazed panels do perform worse than layered walls with higher mass, but a heavy wall with a tiny gap wrecks all that effort. Experience shows that in a studio construction, some extra work may be pointless if you do not alter normal construction methods. An extra layer of 12mm sheet is expensive, and making sure the weak points are sorted could easily work better! Ventilation, electrics and working around awkward angles all need great care, far more important than wasting budget on extra mass. If your room is a perfect seal at the danger points, then you can get the benefit of extra mass.

    The idiots who drilled the hole in my example were out of my control - by this time the rooms were in use. General contractors can not be expected to understand acoustics. Why have a pop at me, we both agree, don't we? Surely the entire point is that general construction techniques don't always work for sound?
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    "Coupling to the brick structure in any way is bad news ..."

    Can you explain why? ( I'm not being a smart ass here. I'm sincerely curious).
  18. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Coupling the internal to the external can be quite destructive to impact noise reduction - so things like low frequencies from kick drums, or the physical 'hitting' of drum kits and the pedalling of pianos can travel to the outside skin and be radiated quite plainly. Equally noises from outside get in. Something as innocent as a piece of timber used as a temporary support for the internal stud work when being built, but not removed can spoil the project overall. The second one I built had this problem. I followed the good bits from my first, yet this similar one defiantly leaked the thud of the kick drum - the second one was quite useable, but in this case I couldn't find a leak. When I demolished it I found the three short pieces of timber. Another studio I looked at had a dart board on the other side of the brick skin, with the room within a room around 75mm away - and inside the studio the thumps of the darts landing were clearly audible. This was traced to the ceiling being top surfaced with chipboard and used for storage. The user noticed that there was a gap - so he filled it with more chipboard right to the brick, and removing this stopped the clunks coming through.
  19. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    What do you mean as far as damaging too easily, do you mean transporting or installing it?
  20. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    In use. Somebody pushes a bass cab into the wall, or scores a huge groove as they drag a mic stand by. Plasterboard in a home environment is fine, but looking at the door frames you can see huge gouges and in one studio I did in college, the knobs sticking out of the back of the office type chairs left big grooves in the plasterboard. I cymbal stand knocked over is like a knife to plasterboard. Swapping the outer layer to MDF at least 12mm adds mass and it's tough. You can also attach things like guitar hangers very simply.

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