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I was thinking of having my home studio in a basement, who here has done same thing and how much noise gets out? I just don't wanna record and have police called on me.


kmetal Wed, 12/26/2012 - 22:21

i have. in a typical finished basement the construction (1/2"drywall 2x4) you'll be able to blast a typical pair of computer speakers w/ no worries. What i can only assume here is an stc 30 rating. stc ratings are based on voice frequencies, and are'nt of much use for music, cuz music is usually full range.

in my old bedroom studio i had my friend go upstairs, and i held a radio shack db meter. i put the music on and turned it up, he stomped the floor when he could hear it, right around 35db to me in a mix position. what you have to take into account is whether or not the disturbed has there own sound going, like a tv. this will allow you more volume, during those times, but bass levels are gonna be pretty much just as obtrusive.

in a basement studio (2 layers 1/2" drywall) i very very un-scientifically tested out, i played some metal (lamb of god) music, which pretty much is pinned in the frequency range and has almost no dynamics, @ 85db. same meter in the listen position. i went upstairs, walked around, and the meter read between 35-40db. so it was a very rough 30db reduction.

depending on your zoning laws, and whether or not you have a full band or just speakers going, makes the difference, so does how close your neighbors are. if they are upstairs, or a half mile away. drummers, half stacks, bass stacks, are eligible candidates to get cops involved, in typical residential areas around here in new bedford mass, a populated city. after 9pm

as an aside- i'm good friends w/ my neighbors, and i used to jam my 150w mesa triple rectifier full stack, at full blast in my basement. concrete foundation, 2x4 framed wood floors. my neighbor told me one day when we were "chillin out", 'dude i could feel your amp shaking my room'. not mad, just factual. mind you, this went thru his 2x4+1/2", 6" concrete foundation, (rough) 15' of dirt (which is awsome for iso), another 6" foundation, and another typical 2x4+1/2"drywall.

That amp vibrated the floor so much it felt like i was flying, i lost sense of the physical boundary. yeah real loud. so it depends on what your playing. i don't "bang out" like that anymore, but is was fun that summer. so thats my general experience.

BobbyRose23 Wed, 12/26/2012 - 22:54

Thanks for the reply I am going to plug in with guitars and use amp simulation. I was worried bout drums and I am only going to record in afternoons. I will mix at night with a pair of studio monitors. I am trying to purchase a house that basement is fully underground and brick, not the bi level that half of it has doors and windows in the back! I don't think I will have a problem but I wanna be more safe then sorry!

simman Tue, 01/01/2013 - 16:59

Don’t just measure the SPL of sound emanating from the location also measure sound entering the location from the outside as well (background noise in the basement). If you are by a busy road car or truck noise could be a problem. Lawn guys make a lot of noise too.

Another thing to remember 80-85db is average “recommended”play back/mix volume level; however, a set of acoustic drums with a banger behind the kit will easily produce at least 110-112db

How close is your closest neighbor? Figure out the loudest sources you will be dealing with (i.e., full band at volume) and measure the SPL near their house. If you can’t physically measure it you can calculate loss over distance to estimate the SPL.

Last thing to remember is studio construction is nothing like the standrd construction methods used to build houses.

RemyRAD Wed, 01/02/2013 - 17:25

I've had a basement studio since I was 12 years old. And having a basement studio really depends on what kind of meaning home studio means? Home as in your bedroom in an apartment building? Home as in the basement of your condo/townhouse/rowhouse/semi detached/duplex? Or a home as in the basement of your single-family dwelling with neighbors that are at least 15 feet on either side of you? 150 feet on either side of you? 1500 feet on either side of you? And is this home as in old-fashioned civil defense style bomb shelter? Or a home as in brick façade face with aluminum siding, Styrofoam and plasterboard, with nothing on the back of your house except a sliding glass door?

And if your answer is yes or your answer is no, it still shouldn't matter. There are some great sampled digital, playable drum sets that make as much noise as a rubber practice pad. And there are these things you can get called voice booths. Guess what? You can put a guitar amplifier with a microphone in there and close the door. You don't even have to be in there with it. And then between 10 AM and 10 PM, you can generally make as much noise as you want (12 AM Friday and Saturday) before the cops have anything to say about you recording your band. And if ya feel real sensitive about people hearing you squawk out your vocals, you don't have to think outside the box. And so basically, they are a room within a room and they keep the sound from escaping. Just remember to try and avoid subwoofers as much as possible. Take the bass guitar on a nice active DI. And you'll be good to go. And you've spent $1500 on the booth. And $1500 on a nice digital drum set. And then your entire studio is portable and you don't have to trash or modify your living environment by much. Because it's still a home. Then you do not need to fundamentally change that. Fundamentally, I detest the sound of vocal booths. After all, all it is is an assimilable ISO booth. Some are actually large enough for two announcers or two singers. And with that, it's large enough for a laptop style control room. And if you were a percussionist, he'd be practicing your instrument every couple of days anyhow for a couple of hours a day. And your studio will make far less noise than that.

Of course, outside foot traffic will shut you down quick if your local ordinances don't allow a working business and a residential only area. This happened recently with numerous folks and millionaires in and around Nashville area. And a lot of beautiful expensive homes studios were shut down completely. Every different locale has their own codes. But aside from that, in Hammond Indiana, there must already be a lot of loud music playing all over the place? So make sure whatever you do, that you have a B-3 and a Leslie also in that room. It would be un-American not to. Then I heard that Indiana is rife with white supremacists and American Nazis'? So you shouldn't have any problems with the good old fashion down home American grown and built home recordin' stud hi Ho. Especially if you have a Bushmaster and a US military 45 hanging on your wall... right? You bet!

Now that's an American home studio home right pard'ner?
Mx. Remy Ann David

anonymous Fri, 01/04/2013 - 05:29

Your main problem is probably going to be more of sound coming in than going out.

Yes... live drums and Marshall stacks can piss off your neighbors no matter what time of day you record... mothers will have babies sleeping, there are those people that work night jobs and don't get home and to bed until 7 am...

Most of the time, if the noise is within reason, you'll be okay with the cops... they may show up and give you a warning because, well, because they have to if a complaint is filed. Depending on your neighborhood, your locality's noise ordinances... and how well you get along with your neighbors, will depend on how patient people are with you.

But your bigger problem is gonna be those winter days where every neighbor up and down your block fires up the Toro snowblower, or in the fall, they dig out the Black and Decker Leaf Blowers, and in the spring and summer, it'll be stereophonic lawnmowers... actually, more like surround sound lawn mowers. LOL Nice weather will have kids outside yelling, with parents yelling at the kids who are yelling, LOL...

That doesn't include the kid next door who decides that he wants to play power wars with you, so he cranks up his Metallica while he's washing his car, nor does it include trucks of all types, UPS, FedEx, Snow Plows, well.. you get the idea.

Pick and choose your times, keep your volumes moderate, and do a lot of virtual-type recording using sampled drums, guitar emulators, synths.... that pretty much leaves your vocals... and as long as you don't mind the snow blower accompaniment on the lead vocal track, you'll be fine. ;)

BobbyRose23 Sat, 01/05/2013 - 08:17

They only live mic recording I am doing is drums and vocals. I am going to direct in the guitars and bass, I am aware of all that noise and not to mention my child who is 5 weeks old and loves screaming bloody murder when he is hungry! I was just wondering about recording in basement, I used to practice in florida in a garage. Now living in Indiana I was wondering if basement would make life easier haha.

anonymous Sat, 01/05/2013 - 08:31

BobbyRose23, post: 398630 wrote: They only live mic recording I am doing is drums and vocals. I am going to direct in the guitars and bass, I am aware of all that noise and not to mention my child who is 5 weeks old and loves screaming bloody murder when he is hungry! I was just wondering about recording in basement, I used to practice in florida in a garage. Now living in Indiana I was wondering if basement would make life easier haha.

Well technically, you can record anywhere, Bobby....

If you have a PC/Mac, an audio I/O, a decent mic and a source to record, you could technically do that in a broom closet, if you wanted to.

Although in that case, Tom Lord Alge or George Martin isn't gonna lose any sleep over the competition, ;) LOL

It's all about your expectations. You're certainly not the first person to have a basement studio, (and I'm widening the definition of "basement" studio to also include attics, garages and spare bedrooms as well... LOL) and you certainly won't be the last... many, if not all of the pro's here, started out that way at some point, at least until studio income or other budgetary advantages allowed us to move into better spaces.

The other thing, and I believe this was already mentioned, is that you may have to be very careful of parking and traffic if you are dealing with setting up a studio for hire.

All it takes is for one pricky neighbor with too much time on their hands, to call the cops, the cops then call zoning, and pretty soon you're receiving a cease and desist letter in your mailbox from the city because yours is a residential area and not zoned for light commercial work.... all it would take would be one person, just one client, to park too close to a neighbor's driveway or curb/yard to have that complaint filed.

LOL... ask me how I know... ;)

BobbyRose23 Sat, 01/05/2013 - 08:54

How do you know? Lmfao it's more for my own use to just make music with friends. But I understand what your saying. But ill make sure I talk to my neighbors before I do anything to see not only what their family's schedule is but see if they have an other concerns about it. Not to mention my own family's schedule!

anonymous Sat, 01/05/2013 - 08:57

BobbyRose23, post: 398634 wrote: How do you know? Lmfao it's more for my own use to just make music with friends. But I understand what your saying. But ill make sure I talk to my neighbors before I do anything to see not only what their family's schedule is but see if they have an other concerns about it. Not to mention my own family's schedule!

Probably the absolute best place for you to start. ;)

For all you know, the guy five houses down is the Chief of Police and he's also a budding guitar player that would love to cut a few tracks. ;)

Just sayin'...


kmetal Mon, 01/07/2013 - 02:07

drums are your most consideration. a kit gets pretty loud in rock, but it's not to difficult to keep them tolerable from neighbors. as you contain sound pressure, it gets "louder" in the room itself, and less loud outside. outside sounds are relevant, but in certain setups. i recorded 30ft from an interstate, acoustic gtr, w/ a condenser (414). during a pause there is a clear whooosh of a truck. they could not hear me.

when db levels like drums start matching outside db levels, this becomes less of a concern. basics, i'd just say build as big of a rectangular room that kept the band comfortable. keep to your basics of iso construction (basement is usualy decent w/ concrete floors), some 2x's and some drywall and caulking. a few layers of drywall all-around, sealed, will be fine a kick drum is not as loud as a mesa triple rec in the low end. if you were using bass amps/subs, well it'd be different. but a bass drum ain't gonna shake a foundation much.

as far as from the baby, you gotta keep the music room's ceiling independent of the basements floor joists. the only practical version otherwise, was when the sleeping rooms were 2nd story, and the 1st level acted as a buffer zone. even then, the cost/benefit anyalisis always made sense to just make a true room-in-a-room. theres a whole forum about this at RO. i'm just stating some fundementals that have proven very true to me obver the past 6 years.

if you picture a big shoe box, w/ 3 layers of drywall left, right,top, concrete bottom, you'll likely be ok. it's more detailed than that as far as framing, and caulking, but thats a nice basic start. big airtight rectangle. add air condition/ventilation, and some frequency absorbtion. your room is quiet, and sounds decent. i'm keeping a very simplified pov, to a very complicated, and deep aspect.

BobRogers Mon, 01/07/2013 - 04:22

Making friends with your neighbors is a good idea (for more reasons than running a studio.) But in addition, you should buy a digital sound pressure level (SPL) meter at Radio Shack (about $50). Set up some speakers in your basement and play some music at about 93dB at the listening position. (This is louder than you should mix at, but we're looking for an upper bound.) Keep the music playing while you wander around outside with the meter. Then turn the music off and measure the background noise. Measure the background noise at different times of day - particularly when the street sounds are the loudest. This can be really valuable information in a dispute. I've never had one with my neighbors, but if I do it will help that I know that under those conditions the SPL level at the property line is less than 2dB more than the background noise from the highway, and that if you do the test on a quiet morning the meter will spike when a nearby bird chirps. Good luck.


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