4 Essential Sound Proofing Tips
Yup, Brooklyn Music Factory is finally trying to get it right. That is, we are taking our first swing at building a truly sound proofed room from the ground up. And yes, we are trying to raise $30,000 to complete it. Go here now to help. WE NEED YOUR HELP. I actually did yell that last sentence (mostly because everyone tells me that I need to scream for help even louder than I generally do.)
Dozens of people ask every year, ‘how do you control sound and not bother the neighbors?’ Well, I have learned an enormous amount about controlling sound over the first five years at Brooklyn Music Factory. Here are the 4 essential sound proofing tips:
- Putting egg cartons on the walls will not solve your problems!!
Sound travels through walls because the walls resonate and transmit the sound. Egg cartons do nothing to stop that. Sorry. There are basically two key elements to controlling sound: Mass + Air. What this means is that the thicker the wall (ex. we are using 1/2″ + 5/8″ dry wall + 1/8″ heavy vinyl sheeting for all walls) the better it is at slowing down the sound waves. PLUS you need some kind of separation (air) between your wall and the wall of your neighbor (see the picture below that Orlando, our builder is referencing). This is a simple version of a Room within a Room. Think of it like your building a box (that is your outer wall or existing room) and inside that box, you are going to build another box (your new ultimate drum room!).
In one of our band studios, we did not have the space to build a whole new room inside the existing room, so we just added another layer of sheet rock + blew in some insulation in the existing wall. Worked really pretty well and was not that complicated. Take a look at a sketch of a thick wall below. This is the wall we are building:
The easiest way to think about air is that between the two walls, you want about 4 inches of nothing. And the air provides the one key ingredient: separation. One wall is NOT touching the other wall. Sound needs something to transmit through and if the walls are touching its happy, but if it has to travel through 4 inches of air to get to the next wall, it’s a whole lot less happy.
3. Building a sound proof (or very quiet) room does not require lots of fancy sound proofing materials. My brother built 99% of his world-class studio in Nashville using materials from Home Depot. All the fancy foam you see hanging on the walls in photos of studios is the last thing you need to be worried about when trying to keep the neighbors happy. Our Ultimate Drum Studio is gonna actually cost us about only $3-5,000 in materials (at most). The labor adds up though.
4. Details matter!! You can absolutely follow a simple guide for building your basement jam room or even a super quite jam space in your apartment (I once visited a party on the upper west side where the dining room had been converted into a full band studio & we jammed at 3am without waking up the neighbors below). BUT you have got to stay with the contractor the whole way. Make absolutely sure they are not cutting any corners. For example, you need to caulk absolutely every crevice and stagger the seams of the dry wall so they don’t line up. Also, instead of building a thick wall of all 5/8″ thick dry wall, you need to insist that your builder uses two different thicknesses. Why? Because sound resonates each one differently and therefore will not pass from one to the next as easily. Details! Check out the sketch for our floating floor: Not much there, but I’ve highlighted the essentials.
Bottom line is that sound proofing is way less scary than it may first appear. I strongly encourage all of you to stop by and get a tour of our finished Ultimate Drum Teaching & Recording studio. Thing is, we still need $24,000 to get to the point that before I can give you that tour. Thanks for reading and thanks for helping us build this thing!