Music rooms are a generic term often referring to a variety of venues, from a band room in a school, to a choir rehearsal room in a church, to a radio station voice over booth, to a home musician rehearsing in the basement or garage. In every case, sound becomes a problem if the perimeter wall and ceiling surfaces can”t hold the noise to within, or if the quality of what”s being produced is poor due to interior room acoustic issues. Regardless of the type of music room being targeted for a soundproofing treatment, the application steps remain the same.
Step 1: Isolate the Room
Your first goal is to deaden the noise bleeding in or out of the room. This can be accomplished with the use of a thin sound barrier vinyl membrane called mass loaded vinyl, and some layering techniques that can be applied to finished wall or ceiling surfaces, or for new builds. The goal is to disconnect how the surfaces are structurally framed, and line them with additional weight. This will impede the walls ability to accept vibration and force the collapse of the wave inside the assembly. Note that stuffing the wall cavities full of batting insulation will do little to combat sound bleed, remember that density and disconnection will deliver your room protection.
Step 2: Enhance Interior Room Acoustics
Once your room is properly insulated against sound transmission, your second step is to surface mount materials within the room that will serve to absorb the sound wave reflections. By capturing echo, you clean out the background noise, which in turn will deliver greater clarity to original sound. The crisp tones you seek to produce, whether they be for recording, rehearsing, performing or broadcasting, will surface once you begin to control the unwanted sound reflections in the room that will otherwise blur your original sound signals.
Sound panel options are many in the field of sound proofing. Your selections will vary from acoustic foam to cloth wrapped sound panels. Remember during your selection process that thicker material will outperform thinner material at the bass end. If your sound source is a loud drumset, get 3-4″ thick foam, but if your sound source is vocals in a voice over booth, scale back to the 2″ thick material and save on cost. The same for cloth wrapped panels, get 2″ thick if there are bass tones in the room, and 1″ thick if human voice is your primary sound source.
Remember, sound panels do not block the noise from escaping the room, they serve only to absorb unwelcome echoes traveling back into the room as the sound waves reflect off the perimeter wall, floor and ceiling surfaces.
Coverage. With the sound barrier treatment identified in step 1, you will want 100% coverage of any surface that separates your music room from adjoining areas. Even the walls that aren’t common to an adjoining room should be treated if budgets allow. Remember, all structural connection points to the music room will grab vibrations and travel like an electrical current throughout your structure, delivering noise to rooms you seek to protect.
With the sound absorbing panel treatment, you do not need 100% coverage. For most music rooms, target 50% wall coverage and place those panels as you wish throughout the room and let them do their work. Location is less important, quantities installed are the key to the success of your treatment. If you are a drummer, bump the coverage up to 70% for a more aggressive result.
We hope that these three steps outlined here will help deliver a more user friendly and effective music room for you!
NetWell Noise Control supplies a variety of soundproofing treatments and related acoustical products for noise reduction and enhanced room acoustics. Free acoustical consulting for sound treatments in most any residential, commercial or industrial venue.