acoustic and soundproofing solutions

Discussion in 'Acoustics (Live Room, ISO Booths)' started by Unregistered, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    hi, im a student studying music technology in Wales UK.
    im currently writing an essay and my task is to theoretically convert my bedroom into an studio production studio but concentrating on soundproofing and acoustically treating as the main topic.

    im looking for publications that refer to semi pro budget setups and techniques for sorting out my room. any good ones anyone knows of?

    also, anyone here ever done this?
    what's the most budget but effective way of reducing noise from an adjacent road? the only thing i can think of is building a new interior wall and packing it full of rock wool or a really dense carpet underly. But i do think building a new interior wall is a bit extreme for this project.

    any thoughts please fire away!


  2. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:

    The most effective way to reduce noise from an adjacent road... is to move.

    Carpet won't solve anything... to stop low frequency, one needs isolation and mass.

    The best sources I can suggest are; Rod Gervais's; Build It Like The Pros, Philip Newell's; Recording Studio Design and Alton Everest's; Master Handbook of Acoustics. These are some of, if not THE best resources for dealing with small acostic environments.

    In these books, you'll find that packing walls with rockwool is counter productive, how to properly deal with decoupling, flanking noise and proper building design for Room within a Room.
  3. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Thankyou for the reply.
    I have read Newells book and i understand a room within a room is the most effective method but i'm talking DIY low low budget here. To make the most of my room with a tiny budget rather than make it as good as it could possibly be with a high budget. Im not building a pro studio here just a small project semi/pro type setup. im guessing i have about 40dBSPL of noise currently i think replacing my single glazed window with a double and the putting another secondary window in behind it and a super dense curtain should get is down a fair bit but iv no idea by how much, i guess my target is going to be 30dBSPL which i know is still too loud but with my small budget i guess thats as good as its gunner get.
  4. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    Vashon Island, Washington
    Home Page:
    You might consider building a noise curtain OUTSIDE of the wall adjacent the road. Might be less expensive since it could be rough, and would not cut down on your room size. Place it half a foot or so away from the wall. Install a thick or double layer of plexiglass aligned with your window to let light in, ventilation will still be available via the half foot gap.

    Just one idea worth consideration.

  5. TimOBrien

    TimOBrien Active Member

    You can TREAT a room to correct audio shortcomings, but you cannot SOUNDPROOF without mass and lots of it.
    Ain't gonna happen in a bedroom.

    'Ya cannot beat the laws of physics, as Scotty used to say on Star Trek.....
  6. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    As a student... it's only to your advantage to actually do the work of getting your information together and postulate that into a plan of action.

    Then, bring that back here as a checksum for your conclusions.

    Without real world numbers, you already know - having read Newell's work, that we're only speculating.

    You might also ask the mods to move this down into Rod's forum...
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Boston, Massachusetts
    Home Page:
    i think in your essay you should include a paragraph or two dedicated to two commonly misunderstood vocabulary words. sound 'Treatment' and sound 'Isolation'. It is important to note the difference between the two. you should also explain that there is no such thing as 'soundproofing' and why it is not a term professionals use.
    Absorbtion coefficients of various materials will be immensely helpful, check out bob golds list. Also, Rod's very well written book comes w/ some useful calculation tools, which could be pretty impressive in a presentation, or for example rooms.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Being a student of audio, one of the primary things you learn is that it takes air to transmit sound. So if you can make your bedroom airtight, he'll stop a lot about offending sound right off the bat. But making your room airtight can make it quite atmospherically uncomfortable. So your HVAC distribution in your house will have to be augmented with numerous right angle turns with acoustically treated ductwork to keep your air-conditioning noise at a minimum. Of course, you really can't make your bedroom airtight, because it's a bedroom. And being an audio engineering student you must surely already realize that soundproofing & acoustics are two very different things that are not necessarily even related to one another. I've made great recordings in noisy rooms with great acoustics and great recordings in quiet rooms with lousy acoustics. In fact I don't give a damn about acoustics when it comes to popular music recording of any genre. I do care about acoustics when recording orchestral material. Otherwise it's all rock 'n roll to me and I like it, like it, yes I do (thanks to Billy Joel & the Rolling Stones).

    So the only thing I'd really be concerned about in your bedroom are standing waves from parallel walls and how to utilize downward expansion sometimes erroneously referred to as gating. So do you really want to rebuild your bedroom at an unreal cost or learn how to use downward expanders in hardware form or software? Maybe you should let me talk to your instructors since I believe they are guiding you in an unrealistic direction? Mass is the key along with a suspended room within a room. But even when you take things to those multimillion dollar construction techniques, you'll still be recording low frequencies subway noise as has been recorded in NYC. There are plenty ahead recordings that include sub sonic information from the finest studios & broadcast networks since the beginning of recorded sound. In fact, downward expansion not only tightens up your sound but can actually help to control & modify undesirable acoustic environments. I think learning how to make good recordings in compromised acoustical environments is more important than learning how to create a proper acoustic environment in a bedroom. Bedrooms really don't have acoustics, except bad. So does the term making a silk purse from a sow's ear make any kind of definitive sense to you? Of course that's something I specialize in doing. Generally, when people have acoustic problems in their recording environment, I've frequently told them to accentuate & work the lousy acoustical situation as an integral part of the characteristic tonality. Bad acoustics only sound bad if you want to make them sound bad. The way you improve your bedroom sound will be more in how you understand your equipment & mixing technique than worrying about " soundproofing" your bedroom. You might want to think about recording in your bedroom not as a studio environment but as an "on location" recording environment. When recording in on location environments, the environment is totally out of your control. It's more important to learn how to work it then trying to improve or eliminate a problem that is not solvable from a practical standpoint. But then again, only a recording studio is one of the most impractical things in the world.

    I realize that this reply doesn't really address what you are looking to accomplish. As other posters indicated, you need loads of mass to control noise & plenty of junk on your walls so as to create diffusion. And of course you want to do this on a $200 US budget? Right? Too much money? Maybe you should take the money you are wasting on schooling & purchase yourself a nice little noise gate/downward expander? This would be better than paying for flawed schooling. But if you want that piece of paper to prove to people you have learned a plethora of useless information that's both costly & impractical, go ahead.

    Noise gates R us
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:

    This is without a doubt, one of the most profound, wise, true and obvious statements I've ever read concerning the craft of recording and mixing.


    Almost anyone can make an acceptable recording in a great environment... such as a studio. However, the vast majority of recordings are made in the real world of imperfect rooms. The craft of recording, while based upon science, still takes the skill of listening and logically determining what is acceptable in terms of the signal being recorded.
  10. Space

    Space Distinguished Member

    looking for publications

    Building a recording studio or Home Theater - Education not Speculation
  11. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Cincinnati, OH
    Home Page:
    Remy, you make a great point about treating poor acoustic environments as "on-location" recordings.

    In the changeover from the old spot to the new spot, I had to record 3 songs in a client's rehearsal space.
    The room was a decent size (20'x20'x15', roughly), but covered in carpet.
    All tracks but vocals were recorded live together in the same room.
    To my usual standards, it was less than ideal.

    I came out w/ some really good sounding tracks.
    In fact, I often find that I make better recordings when "under the gun".
    The live sessions @ my old space are proof of that.

    Heck, I still think some of best work was my first multi-track session EVER. We knocked out 24 songs in 24 hours, and stuck all sorts of rag-tag gobos/doors/carpets up to get some isolation. I even used cheap chinese condensers, and a pair of ribbons that are worth maybe $75 resale.

    I still maintain the BAND had a lot to do with the quality of the recordings, but Mx. Remy has me confirming the value of going commando and just getting it done.
  12. Space

    Space Distinguished Member

    "(20'x20'x15', roughly), but covered in carpet."

    Square....and covered in carpet :)
  13. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Boston, Massachusetts
    Home Page:
    Well said Remy! (can't say it better)
    A DBX 166xl goes alot further than 200 worth of sheetrock would in my un-isolated, physically coupled, RFZ bedroom. living 40' from the highway, i appreciate the magic of an 18 wheeler passing by during a dramatic pause in a demo.
    That said, i stress mic placement and well tuned instruments, opposed to these, over-mis-engineered, spreadsheet looking mixes/am-masters coming out of spare rooms. Heck i'm even dissapointed w/ most of the high budget stuff, lately.
    When you approach a pro level of acoustics, i think generally it becomes decent v.s great recordings. Although gimmie 10 minutes @ sterling sound, and i bet i can destroy a great mix...I'd be lucky to figure out how to turn on the rig w/out help.
    I wish schools would focus on how to coach a good performance, what to listen for, what a crappy arrangement is, ect. Why are engineers forced to become computer techs? i'm not even in school, just low man on a todem pole! Thank goodness for the experience of the people from years prior to DAW bullocks! Yes, DAW's, not going away, very useful and convienient, but it takes more than that.
    Very expensive schools (120k for berkley boston) give you a piece of paper, an intership you didn't earn/beg for, and a bunch of Ctrl-?'s, while avoiding the old 'let's try that agian.' or my favorite 'that was the one'.
    The best room treatment you can get is great musicians playing in it.
  14. laemmle

    laemmle Active Member

    Halifax, N.S.
    that's a tough one for sure. the responses to this thread are spot on. once you get into multitracking the problem's just going to pile up too.
    madmax makes a good point. we all work with what we have. no harm in trying to make it better.

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