Posted: Jul 13, 2020
**Guest post written by Danny Mekonnen, a hardcore drummer and founder of deBObaND.
"It’s the dream of every musician and podcaster to have a soundproof room at their house. A soundproof room is absolutely crucial for home recording as you do not want outside noises ruining your recording while also making sure your recording does not ruin the day for people outside.
If you are a band that just started out, you most likely won't be able to afford to get a professional studio to record yourself at, thus a soundproof room at your home will be a much cheaper alternative.
While you cannot expect studio-grade acoustics, soundproofed rooms can actually be a good place to record, provided you put in the effort needed to properly soundproof it. If you want to have a recording session in your home, here is how to soundproof a room for home recording...
While your house might have many free rooms, it is crucial to choose the best room. If you can, choose a big room as this allows space for more musicians to play at the same time while actually helping you sound better. Also, it would be best to choose the room that is quietest and preferably has no neighbors close by. If you want to learn more about recording drums, or which drum set will be best for recording, then read on this drumming blog.
This will help you avoid outside noise while also making sure you don’t receive many complaints from neighbors. Also, choose a room with hard flooring like concrete as a carpeted floor can wear out soon and the carpets also tend to absorb high frequency, this will hurt your acoustics.
The low ceiling and parallel walls will also be an issue. An ideal room is large, has a high ceiling, and asymmetrical walls. While chances of you having an ideal room are less, do try to find the one that’s closest to it.
While an ideal room will go a long way in soundproofing, it alone cannot get the job done. The walls, the door, the windows, and even your vent can all be a source of noise, so it is crucial that you invest in sounding proofing your room further. While soundproofing a room is not cheap, it has become affordable over the years. Here are the basic steps you can follow to soundproof your room
Walls and ceilings are the main way through which sound enters your room from around the house. A ceiling can be especially noisy if you have someone living on the floor above. You can reduce the noise levels in your room by installing soundproofing materials and sound blockers. These are hard and heavy materials that reflect noise and are installed in walls and ceilings.
You can also install sound-absorbing materials, these will absorb sound and prevent it from bouncing all around the room, thus reducing outside noise while also improving the acoustics of the room. These are usually porous to the final layer on surfaces, thus they come in many different styles and colors. Finally, find the cracks in your drywalls and fill it with an acoustic sealant like caulk.
A normal room does not treat every frequenting the same, each frequency is going to get a different response. Thus every song you record and tune your test will bear the mark of your room, thus it is crucial to treat your walls and ceilings before you begin prepping for your recording session.
To begin you first need to choose an acoustic treatment method that is within your budget, there are plenty of options nowadays.
There are two approaches, diffusion and absorption. Materials like foam have absorptive properties and are excellent at absorbing high frequencies and thus reducing flutter echoes.
Multifaceted surfaces made of wood or plastic are used to diffuse sound, this is the process of scattering sound energy to improve the quality of sound and thus the acoustics. Before you start sticking foams on your wall, make sure you measure the walls and ceiling and that you have planned where you want to stick them.
The noise that you hear from rooms below are primarily airborne noises, such as noise from TV or the sound of people talking. You can reduce the amount of sound that travels through by increasing the mass of your floor.
If you have access to the room below, you can add a layer drywall to its ceiling, this will absorb quite a lot of the noise.
You can also buy mats from soundproofing companies and add them to the floor of your room. This extra layer that is not attached to your buildings structure will greatly reduce the noise that travels between floors.
It is best to use a solid door for a recording room as a hollow door will cause echoes. If your door has glass it is best to keep it covered during recording sessions as it too can disturb the acoustics.
The gaps around the door are also a passage for sound to get in and out of the room, so it is best to insulate it with a soundproofing seal. It is also important to add a door sweep as sound can escape from the space between the door and the floor. If you think a door sweep will ruin your aesthetics, there are now hidden door sweeps.
Use double panel windows with thick glasses if you could as these have great dampening effect. Use a good soundproofing sealant to properly insulate the inner frames. If you find any cracks on the window frame, you could use caulk to fill it.
You should invest in heavy sound absorbing drapes to cover your windows, these will work wonders in reducing noise level and improving acoustics. Use ceiling tracks to install your drapes as these have much smaller gaps than rods.
Even the smallest of hisses can be irritating during a recording session, so it is crucial that you cover every hole. If you are using window air conditioners, cover the gaps around the vent with caulk.
If your house has a central air conditioner with a noisy compressor, either remove the vent or turn it off while you record. Make sure that all your electrical outlets are sealed using foam gaskets. These are cheap and get the job done.
Noise from inside the room can be as detrimental as noise from outside the room. If you have furniture with glass or mirrors in your room, cover them up with a blanket before recording as they will vibrate.
You could also have a large irregularly shaped object as they are effective in diffusing sound. If your computer has noisy fans and hard drives, replace them with quieter fans and solid-state drives. If these are not an option, shift your computer to another room. You can use a long cable to drill holes into your walls to facilitate this.
If you properly follow all the previously said steps, you can greatly reduce the noise that goes in and out of your room. While you may not be able to achieve a completely soundproof room with a limited budget, you don’t really need it. For most purposes, a room that significantly reduces the noise is enough. If you ever feel your recording still seems to have noises, you can always edit it out using the software."
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