How to Build a Soundproof Room (For Musicians and Dummies)

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If you are anything like me, you just want a place to play your music, jam with your band, mix, etc without your neighbors calling the police.
The solution is to soundproof your studio or room so that when you are playing music, the sound is minimal to persons outside of this room.
Soundproofing a room will also allow less sound to come INSIDE the room, but more importantly will allow less sound to go OUT of the room.
Now, I didn't know much about buildings and carpentry before i started this project, but doing the project allowed me to learn much more, and I want to pass that knowledge on to you to help you avoid the many mistakes I made.
Me, I'm a musician.
Ask me anything about music, and I can answer...
carpentry or building, not so much, but I knew I wanted a soundproof studio so as not to bother my neighbors while mixing or having a session.
In researching the web, I found tons of advanced procedures for building for professional builders, but not much for the building amateur, so I decided to write a basic guide for those of us with minimal building skills.
Note: Before I started this project, I didn't even know that drywall is the same as sheet rock!!! Let me teach you so you avoid the hurdles I had to overcome...
Even if you have never touched a hammer in your life, after reading this tutorial, you will be able to build a basic soundproof room so you can jam to your heart's content.
OK, so let's get started...
We will be soundproofing a studio that is 1 room with an iso booth(An iso booth is a room built with soundproofing to record vocalists, guitarists, etc.
) We also built this room, and I will elaborate on another article.
The Walls have plywood facing out and that's it.
The ceiling has a slanting roof with an attic, which we will be covering totally.
Our goal is to soundproof the room so that sound does not enter into the room, nor does sound escape the room.
Tools You will need the following tools: 1)T-Ruler (This is a builder's tool that looks like a silver ruler shaped like a T.
This is used to cut straight drywall).
Highly recommended, as I did not have one at the beginning of my project, and was a problem.
2) Box Razor (Normally used to open boxes, also called a "Box Cutter) 3) Drywall (Need to measure enough to cover all 4 walls and ceilings) 4) Caulk (Any type will do...
there are special kinds, but any kind will do, depending on your budget) 5) Electric Screwdriver 6) Drywall screws (Many!!!) 7) Carpet 8) Insulation (There are many types, but to keep it simple, we will be using "The Pink Stuff" 9) Staple Gun 10) Safety Gloves 11) Goggles II.
Steps What we will be doing is basically creating a wall with our drywall, then covering the drywall with carpet and then treating the wall.
Now, your room may be different from mine, but the concept is the same.
I was fortunate to already have plywood on the outside of my room, so the only thing we had to do was insulate in between the 2x4s, and cover with drywall, then cover the drywall with carpet.
Insulation - The 1st step was to insulate in between the 2x4s with regular insulation (You know, the pink stuff).
You will want to insulate the entire room, which could be a little expensive, depending on the size of the room.
I went to Home Depot, and got my insulation.
It cost about $11 per roll, and I purchased 10 rolls.
Insulation is very easy to work with.
Make sure to wear gloves as well as goggles as the particles from the insulation fly everywhere, and some people are allergic to it if it touches their skin.
Measure the piece you need, and then cut the insulation with a sharp razor...
Watch your fingers!!! To make sure the insulation stays up on the wall, I used a staple gun to staple it to the plywood, which is facing outward.
Drywall - I was a little intimidated by drywall before beginning this project, but no more!!! Drywall is very easy to work with once you get the hang on it, and pretty inexpensive at $8.
00 per sheet.
Make sure you get the thickest you can find...
I used the 5/8 as opposed to the 1/2 because it is thicker.
First, measure the size you will need.
To save time, try to put up as many full sheets as you can, then start measuring and cutting the drywall.
A brief note on cutting with a razor blade: Be sure to keep your hands out the way when cutting.
I was amazed I didn't slice my finger off because I always made sure to always be aware where my fingers were in relation to the blade.
To be on the safe side, always wear safety gloves before cutting.
Now to the fun part - Cutting...
Once you have your measurements, then place your sheet rock on the floor, white side up, making sure it is level.
Start with the length, and using your T-Ruler to cut a straight line, draw a straight line with a pencil down the drywall.
Then begin cutting with your razor down the line you just drew.
Now, you are only trying to cut 1/3 of the way through with a straight line.
Once you cut 1/3 of the way through, stand the drywall up, and it should bend backwards toward the brown side.
once it bends, simply cut down the brown side to to make a total cut.
Then take the piece you just cut and screw it to the plywood, making sure to use plenty of screws.
I had a buddy help me, especially with the ceiling.
We covered each wall as well as the ceiling before adding the carpet.
Carpet - Carpet is really easy to work with, and helps to keep sound inside the room and from coming in the room.
How? Well, not to get too scientific, sound is considered a "wave".
Your goal is to dilute this "wave" as much as possible by providing resistance to the "wave" as it travels through each wall.
Now, with the carpet, as with the sheet rock, make sure it is thick..
the thicker the better.
I used a staple gun to staple the carpet to the drywall before treating the walls.
Treatment - Again, without getting too technical..
treating a wall is different from a sound barrier in the sense that you treat a wall to make the "wave" sound better.
There are many ways to treat a wall...
There are absorbers and diffusers that you can purchase.
It really depends on your room.
We won't got into treating a wall in this article in depth as there are so many variables.
For our room, we simply added bass diffusers in each corner to reduce bass and low frequencies as this is the most common problem area.
We also added absorbers and diffusers to the main mix wall as well as the main listening wall.
That's it!!! Play a little music, and make sure no one can hear! Increase the volume until it is a good volume for you as well as for your neighbors.
I sure noticed a major difference once I finished this project.
It decreased the sound volume around 35%.
If you want to add an additional sound barrier, after adding the 1st layer of drywall, add caulk (Any type caulk will do), and then cover with another layer of drywall, and then cover both layers of drywall with the carpet.
This increases the sound barrier by up to 29% more.
I, however, ran over budget, and could only afford one layer, however, I did notice a sizable difference, and can now hold sessions at a nice volume.
Conclusion: There are many reasons why you would want to soundproof a room.
Many of us are musicians, or just music lovers and not builders, so I thought I would try and help those of us that are struggling with this issue.
Hopefully this helps you along your musical journey or whatever journey you are on to enjoy a soundproof room.
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