Soundproof a Music Studio Like a Pro – Complete Guide


A man making music in a music studio

If you are a musician or you want to be, then you should know that the only road to becoming good in creating music is to practice every single day. Therefore, there is one important thing you should think about – how to soundproof a music studio in the best way possible. Worry no more, here you will find out everything you need to know.

First, I would say that if you decide to have it at home it is important to have it soundproofed, but in reality, no matter where your music studio it always should be soundproofed. After all, you don’t want some outside noises to interrupt your inspiration and intervene in your music recording.

What’s more, I might be wrong, but when people picture a music studio in their head they always think about a small room covered with acoustic isolation, right? Music studios themselves are a symbol of soundproofed spaces.

Nevertheless, what you might not know is that there are a few different methods of how you can soundproof your music studio regardless of whether it is at your home or not. If you are looking to do it by yourself and save some money then here is everything you need to know.

Adding mass as a way to soundproof the music studio

The most popular way to soundproof a music studio is simply to add mass. So what does this mean? Well, it means that you should make the walls thicker and denser in order to avoid them to be easily vibrated by sound wave energy. Wondering how you can do that? Here are a few ways:

Acoustic paddings

1. Apply wall paddings

When people decide to add mass by applying wall paddings, they more often decide to go with acoustic wedge-style wall panels that can absorb high and low frequencies equally good. Their main purpose is to provide a good response to sound. They usually come with adhesive peels so you can attach them to the wall easily. Nevertheless, the most important thing you should know about wall paddings is that there are a few different types. Hence, there are a few different ways how to install it as well.

Let’s take a look at each one of these:

Hook-and-Loop Strips

You could install some of the wall paddings with the help of hook-and-loop tape. Remember to place it horizontally or vertically on the back of the pads so it could face the wall. It is best if you use a tape measure and a carpenter’s level to make the size of the tape match the size of the padding. After you finish that you should then place the strips and the padding using the tape, which should be self-adhesive on the back, and gently press the padding against the wall. That’s it, you are good!

Two-way tape

This is very similar to the hook-and-loop tape works, therefore, all you should do here is just place the two-way tape on either the wall or the back of the padding. The next step is to remove the protective coating on the tape and gently press the pads on the wall. Take note that you should purchase this type of tape according to the type of wall you have. To learn more about that check out the video below.

                   

Slot-mounts

You should check if your paddings have already slot-mounts on their back because some of them do come with them. There might be some differences in terms of the exact placement and type of screws required so just follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. However, remember that screws are required if you want to install paddings using slot-mounts. For this, you might use a tape measure, a pencil, and a drill in order to measure for, place the screws and then attach the pads.

OSB-Backed

What you should know about OSB-backed padding is that it is not as flexible as the previous mounting methods. The reason is that it is meant to be there permanently until you decide to renovate it. Thus, it means that you should use glue on the surface of the wall and press the OSB backing into it. Other ways you can apply it is with a caulking gun, screws and a drill.

2. Build a thicker wall to soundproof your music studioBuilding a wall

This method takes more work, but it is still a good option of adding mass in order to soundproof your music studio. Remember, if you decide to build a thicker wall is to choose thicker drywall not less than 1.6 cm as it can absorb the noise better. In addition, for even better soundproofing you can still add some other soundproofing barrier on the inside of the studio.

There is also a way to make your existing wall thicker. You can build a wall frame, attach it to the wall and the existing studs, cover it with an additional layer of drywall and then repaint it again. To learn more about making an existing wall thicker, check out this article.

Try decoupling structures and music equipment to soundproof your music studioMusic equipment

In case you are not very familiar with what decoupling is, let’s first define it. So what exactly decoupling is about? Decoupling refers to the separation of the wall surfaces and equipment from the outer boundaries of the room which is usually where sound vibrations are transmitted. Thus, in order to eliminate them, you should first eliminate the shaking of the equipment.

If you don’t have the luxury of building new walls and then install insulation and soundproofing materials, this is certainly a viable choice. And if you decide to try this, here is your little guide:

1. Make air gaps

In case your inner wall components are not glued together then it’s the best for you to used Whisper clips and channels as you couldn’t use an acoustic sealant to tie the walls and ceilings together.

The advantage of doing this is that it isolates the structural layers, providing air gaps that prevent out the bass waves from going straight from the frame to the drywall and into the studio, and vice versa.

What’s more, you could still use Whisper Clips and channels even if you have already lined the wall with solid fiberglass and used an acoustic sealant to install drywall. It will help you to create a secondary wall to reach high soundproofing or “floating” effect. What’s more, this is believed to double the elimination of sounds and vibrations.

2. Isolation pads make a great option

Well, this is an easy one. All you should do is just to get isolation foam pads and place them under the speakers and the other sound equipment you may have. Why? Because when you play they easily produce vibrations that can be transmitted across surfaces and create disturbance in your recording process.

3. Install a floating floor system

If you want to soundproof the floor effectively then install a drywall layer in order to make an air gape among the layers. Moreover, you can also consider installing thick soundproofing mats so you can completely float the floor.

Take a look at the video below to see how it all looks like.

       

Damping noise to enhance music studio soundproofing

No matter which method you choose to soundproof your music video, it is simply impossible to completely eliminate vibrations. Why? Well, it’s because the vibration can surpass the wooden frame, the dry walls and go back to the microphone stand which ultimately could result in a bad music recording experience. And that’s not the goal, right?

Well, to avoid this, you should try damping. It will help you to eliminate the noise and slow down the vibrations. Just as there are a few ways to add mass, there are also a few ways to achieve damping noises and vibrations.

Try acoustical caulk glueAcoustical caulk glue

Acoustical caulk glue makes a great way soundproof a music studio. Keep in mind that you could apply it when building your wall frames and installing dry walls. To fill the small gaps around the walls and windows you can also use a normal caulk as it would help you to enhance the soundproofing.

The best thing about acoustical caulk glue is that it is considered to be the most effective way to soundproof music studios. In addition, it is also great because some caulks are super easy to clean and paint especially the ones that are water-based.

Make sure to fill the air gaps

You may think that having some small air gaps here and there it’s not a big deal when soundproofing your music studio, but let me tell you straight away – it indeed is a big deal. You might actually be surprised how much noise can get in and out from small air gaps and give your audio recording a whole new sound.  And that’s why you need to make sure to fill the air gaps, especially between the door and the floor. Here is how you do that:

1. Soundproof the door and insert a door sweepDoor in a soundproofed music studio

You may soundproof absolutely everything in your music studio except the door and still, it won’t work as it should be. What I am trying to say here is that soundproofing the door of your music studio is not something you should let it slide. So how do you do that?

For this, you will need to buy acoustical interlocking tiles. Once you got them, you may need to install them to your door utilizing screws, staples, or glue, based on which type of tiles they are. Acoustic tiles come in various levels of noise reduction, so select the highest one for the most effective protection. After installing them, ensure sure they are safe or they could fall off with the door movement.

Another choice is to buy and add rubber floor tiles to the back of your door. However, keep in mind the t they are not as effective as acoustical interlocking tiles.

And now, how to fill the gaps?

Insert a door sweep. If you want to save some money, just get along a horizontal pillow which would be easy to be placed underneath your door – this should help you to close the gap between the floor and the door. Nevertheless, if you can afford it then it’s best if you buy a door sweep which serves to fill the air gap with rubber. Make sure it to be dense enough so it can truly get its job done.

To learn more, just go through my article on soundproofing a door. That is the most comprehensive guide you will find on the internet. Here is the link.

2. Fill the other gaps with foam gaskets

Another very simple thing to do when soundproofing your music studio is to spot the air gaps and fill them up with foam gaskets. Here is the Amazon link for a quick and easy to use option.

Build a room within a room might be the best way to soundproof a music studio

Room within a room concept to soundproof a music studio

Soundproofing a music studio often is achieved with the room within a room concept. To say, you should create a different area within the original building with limited contact. If the space permits, build a new wall of high-density concrete blocks internally, placed on a thin neoprene so that the blocks are not directly placed on the surface.

Connect them to the outside walls using acoustic wall tiles and, after the original roof has been soundproofed using mineral wool placed among the beams and a few layers of plasterboard supported on a resilient channel, do exactly the same thing once again on a second roof built on a new inner wall.

This is believed to be one of the most powerful methods to soundproof a music studio, but there are also some disadvantages. First of all, it can be very costly because you will need to buy all the materials and even hire someone to build it if you do not have the skills to build walls by yourself. Secondly, even if you decide to do it by yourself, it still will be a very complex and difficult project. And last, but not least, it will make you choose between your space and good soundproofing as it does take some extra space compared to other soundproofing methods.

So before making any rushing decision think good about your budget, time, space and needs and then decide whether it’s the best for you or not.

Extra tips you may also need when soundproofing your music studio

Here, the most asked question is:

How to keep off your computer noises away from your recordings?

There are a few different ways on how to keep computer noises away from your recordings. Building a two-room music studio, buying a laptop stand and Isobox are definitely the things that could do the job. 

Remember that you may do everything right for preventing noise coming in and out of your music studio, but what do you do when the noise is coming from the inside? This question confused you, didn’t it?  Let’s clear it up, your computer inside your music studio also creates noises – that’s what I was referring to. Now the big question is how to keep off your computer noises away from your music recordings?

Here are a few simple methods.

1. Decide between one room and two rooms

Soundproofed music studio with two rooms

Speaking of rooms here is another thing that you could consider when soundproofing a music studio – should it be one room or two?

It might sound logical that a recording studio requires two rooms, one to record in and one to listen back in. However, often it may be safer for certain musicians to work in the same space as the instruments and the technical equipment like your computer.

One solution, in this case, is to use a second screen monitor in the living room and use a portable keyboard and mouse to manage items. This way, every room can be tailored to its full capacity and it also will prevent unwanted noises interrupting your recording process.

Again, this method also depends on your budget and time, but it still could be a great way to enable the soundproofing of your music studio to the fullest.

2. Buy a laptop standLaptop stand

Assuming that you are using a laptop and not a static computer, here are my suggestions to buy a laptop stand. However, even if you do use a static computer, check out this FLEXISPOT Stand Up Desk Converter that could be used for both, static computers and laptops.

The reason why you need a computer/laptop stand is that when computers get hot, the fans work harder and therefore, produce more noise. So a perfect way to keep your machine cool is to use a laptop stand that raises the machine from the table and allows air to circulate below. The fan always works harder from time to time but not almost as often if you have a stand.  And given the affordable price of an item like this, it’s well worthwhile.

3. Buy an IsoboxProfessional Isobox

The Isobox is s a cutting-edge solution that addresses a range of issues not covered by regular studio solutions. It has a soundproof enclosure that protects against overheating with a quiet cooling fan and an alarm that warns you in case of any problems.

The Isobox is particularly popular in premium studios, and it could be the perfect option for those who can afford it as it definitely could be pricey.

Make a maximum acoustic separation between your microphone and your computer

I have to warn you that this might not completely solve the issue, but it still could reduce the noise. It is a way cheaper solution compared to the Isobox and you might want to use it in combination with the laptop stand.

What you should do here is the following:

  • Make a distance between your computer and your microphone so try putting them on different ends of the room.
  • Use reflection filters. They are super good in the absorption of noise that usually would reach the rear-facing sides of the microphone. What’s more, they could also absorb some of the direct sounds from the singer.
  • Buy a cardioids microphone. These microphones are picking up high-gain sounds from the front and sides but badly from the rear. Cardioid microphones pick-up directional sound is approximately heart-shaped in nature.
  •  Buy dynamic microphones. Those are microphones that serve to convert sound into an electrical signal by electromagnetism. In addition, they are less sensitive to the high-frequency sound of computers.

Remember to soundproof the windowsStudio with windows

It is easy to believe that covering windows is the only alternative when soundproofing a music studio. Nevertheless, a mixture of a single double glazed unit without any opening windows and a sheet of acoustic glass would perform great if you mount it and seal it correctly. I have written a complete article on soundproofing the windows. Give it a read for more information about it. Here’s the link.

A good tip, do not try to brick out the windows! Remember, you will be spending a lot of time in your music studio and you do not want it to be a depressing environment for you. That is where art comes from, don’t forget!

Do not try to hide the cables

People think that they should cover electric and lighting cables with the plasterboard walls. Nevertheless, taking out the plug sockets would ruin your specially made soundproofing. Instead, it is best that all equipment be surface mounted using pipe or trunking. Additionally, you can create also another area for lighting, sockets, and electricity with the help of timber and plasterboard.

Use vinyl as a soundproofing material

Making use of mass loaded vinyl (MLV) is a simple way to reduce the volume of noise flowing from the doors, ceilings, and walls of your music studio. The coating is designed especially for noise reduction. Hence, when correctly applied, it eliminates up to 30 dB of sound in just one sheet. This comes in four-foot rolls that you can conveniently position on your walls or on your floors. This will help to reduce the propagation of sound across these surfaces. This one is good on Amazon.

Therefore, if you’re trying to stop the noise from coming into your music studio from the other places in your house, add MLV within your wall and floor to get the best performance. When you’re looking for a less invasive solution, hang it on all your walls and spread it on the floor.

This is a cheap option and a very simple one so you can use it in combination with other options.

Concluding notes

Soundproofing a music studio is not an easy job, but it is definitely worth it as, I have already previously said, that’s where art comes from. Hopefully, this guide will make your job easier. Just remember, soundproofing is all about adding mass and fixing gaps that allow the sound to escape. Fix that and you are all set to record your music! Good luck!

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