Soundproofing a room - Does it actually work?

Soundproofing a room - Does it actually work?

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Discussion

Calza

Original Poster:

1,795 posts

98 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
Looking at options when I move in with my partner, who is a musician.We both WFH and some places don't have a garden big enough for an outdoor studio.

Her main weapons of choice are a piano and her voice (soprano). As you can imagine it gets very loud.

I've googled it to death but can't get a conclusion - is it actually possible to soundproof an internal room enough that if someone is belting out an aria, the rest of the house is workable? (It would be a more modern house so no solid walls).

Appreciate a lot of space will be lost in the room to second layers and insulation etc.

Evoluzione

9,377 posts

226 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
To do it properly you would have to measure her Db level and research what Db levels are created from other things and your resilience to them.
Then get the manufacturers spec on the sound deadening and see how much they reduce it by. Gyproc resilient bar would be a good one to start off your research with.

Where I used to live was a large chunk of common land right in the middle of the village, sometimes you'd see a lone bagpiper stood in the middle of it puffing and squealing away, quite a thing to see and hear!

LooneyTunes

5,695 posts

141 months

Tuesday 2nd August
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Looking at similar in order to isolate home office from the adjacent gym.

The architects have specified a British Gypsum "GypWall QUIET" system ( https://www.gyproc.ie/sites/default/files/GypWall%... ) to provide additional attenuation/isolation from the existing brick wall. There will also be an acoustic door between the two. Will know in a few months if it all works!

AIUI, a large part of the battle is making sure there are no gaps with even things like sockets having the potential to allow sound leakage. When I've had partition walls installed offices there has been a very noticeable difference when the ceiling void has also been properly soundproofed.

Equus

14,471 posts

84 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
Calza said:
...is it actually possible to soundproof an internal room enough that if someone is belting out an aria, the rest of the house is workable? (It would be a more modern house so no solid walls).
Of course it depends on what you consider to be 'workable' sound levels for the rest of the house, but yes, there are specialist solutions available that can cope with almost any sound level, at a price, and if you can tolerate the thickness

You probably need to take specialist advice, though, depending on what you're trying to achieve. For example; you might be interested in being able to record the music in which case internal reverberation as well as well as sound insulation from the rest of the house will be important. But conversely, your wife may hate this... they took us inside a BBC recording studio when I was at University and the effect was disturbingly weird... there are no echoes at all, so your own voice sounds completely different and strangely dead (but apparently it gives them a very pure sound recording to which they can then add as much reverberation as they like, electronically... so you can have a singer in a little, sound insulated box in Sheffield and make her sound as though she's singing at Sydney Opera House).

Try talking to specialists like these guys

Drumroll

3,333 posts

103 months

Tuesday 2nd August
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A lad I used to work in soundproofed a room, so he could play his music loudly. The biggest problem he had was actually getting airflow through the room.

pquinn

4,945 posts

29 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
Need to know the frequencies and levels then at least you can make a start and working out what you need, also how much space and money do you have to play with.

Anything can be soundproofed, the only question is whether you can implement what's needed.

Last little bit I did at home used a few different things including a load of melamine foam, certainly took the edge off but not quite silent.

Calza

Original Poster:

1,795 posts

98 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
She is a soprano so higher frequencies and I've measured her once (on my phone) at around 107dB!

thebraketester

13,121 posts

121 months

Tuesday 2nd August
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Anything's possible. It all depends on what your budget is to as what soundproofing is possible.


Collectingbrass

1,792 posts

178 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
Calza said:
Looking at options when I move in with my partner, who is a musician.We both WFH and some places don't have a garden big enough for an outdoor studio.

Her main weapons of choice are a piano and her voice (soprano). As you can imagine it gets very loud.

I've googled it to death but can't get a conclusion - is it actually possible to soundproof an internal room enough that if someone is belting out an aria, the rest of the house is workable? (It would be a more modern house so no solid walls).

Appreciate a lot of space will be lost in the room to second layers and insulation etc.
You need an architect specialising in acoustics to really answer the question, but in essence the answer depends on the depth of your pockets. You could go as far as build a sound proof box within the room, but that would be £££. Could she use an electronic piano with headphones and you go for a run when she is having a warble?

timbob

2,031 posts

235 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
Beware of the difference between sound proofing a room and acoustic treatment within a room.

There are a great many things that people see as “soundproofing” - foam egg box panels on a wall, bass traps in the corners, acoustic panels here, thick curtains there… All these do is alter the sound inside the room, generally by absorbing the high frequencies within the space and making it sound terrible and boxy. I’ve been to many “soundproofed” rehearsal studios, recording studios and expensive university music departments - all the rooms are full of foam and sound terrible, and you can still hear bass and drums thundering down every corridor…

To actually soundproof a room - that is, to have a “normal” sound within it, and to not hear anything outside, you need depth and mass. Big thick walls (meters thick) filled with lead would be ideal… Anything else is a compromise of wallet vs soundproofivity.

In reality, a floating room built out of studwork within a domestic room, ply lined out and insulated with as much space as you can get away with or someheavy and high density material (rock wool??) will be your best bet if you actually want a room that approaches being anywhere near soundproofed.

biggiles

1,388 posts

208 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
Anything is possible with enough budget, but if you're looking for a solution where you can't hear her, it will be ludicrously expensive.

Some alternatives are an electric piano for her (good ones are very good, have volume controls and headphone sockets) and decent noise-cancelling headphones for you. The microphones on noise-cancelling headphones are very good now, if you are in separate rooms your colleagues may not hear much on calls.

Calza

Original Poster:

1,795 posts

98 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
timbob said:
Beware of the difference between sound proofing a room and acoustic treatment within a room.

There are a great many things that people see as “soundproofing” - foam egg box panels on a wall, bass traps in the corners, acoustic panels here, thick curtains there… All these do is alter the sound inside the room, generally by absorbing the high frequencies within the space and making it sound terrible and boxy. I’ve been to many “soundproofed” rehearsal studios, recording studios and expensive university music departments - all the rooms are full of foam and sound terrible, and you can still hear bass and drums thundering down every corridor…

To actually soundproof a room - that is, to have a “normal” sound within it, and to not hear anything outside, you need depth and mass. Big thick walls (meters thick) filled with lead would be ideal… Anything else is a compromise of wallet vs soundproofivity.

In reality, a floating room built out of studwork within a domestic room, ply lined out and insulated with as much space as you can get away with or someheavy and high density material (rock wool??) will be your best bet if you actually want a room that approaches being anywhere near soundproofed.
It's more about stopping sound going out, rather than sound coming in!

Calza

Original Poster:

1,795 posts

98 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
biggiles said:
Anything is possible with enough budget, but if you're looking for a solution where you can't hear her, it will be ludicrously expensive.

Some alternatives are an electric piano for her (good ones are very good, have volume controls and headphone sockets) and decent noise-cancelling headphones for you. The microphones on noise-cancelling headphones are very good now, if you are in separate rooms your colleagues may not hear much on calls.
Yep, £300 headphones may be the answer!

TGCOTF-dewey

3,432 posts

38 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
As well as soundproofing... Anyone recommend some lotion... and a basket?

sjg

7,270 posts

248 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
The reductoclip systems are meant to be good - isolates from existing wall, then usually a sandwich of acoustic plasterboard with tecsound in between. Sold at https://www.soundproofingstore.co.uk/

DIY example: https://youtu.be/F_brIL4DwDQ

They claim around 60db for their best / thickest systems for walls, floors, ceiling so belting out 107db would be down to 47db, although windows and doors will be the problem then.

Gosforth Handyman on youtube also has a lot of DIY soundproofing stuff, mostly to reduce the noises of drums.

Jaguar steve

8,764 posts

193 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
TGCOTF-dewey said:
As well as soundproofing... Anyone recommend some lotion... and a basket?
Sure.. biggrin



OutInTheShed

2,922 posts

9 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
Our house is fairly similar in internal layout to our neighbours, same brick shell different internal stud walls.

Our stud walls and 1st floor are packed with some kind of vermiculite (?) insulation, it escapes if you disturb electrical fittings.
Internal block walls are also dry lined both sides with plasterboard.

Sound transmission from room to room is very much lower in our house than the neighbours.
If we're in rooms which don't share a common wall we can't hear each other at all, if the doors are shut.

To be fair, neither of us has perfect hearing.
If I were still working, I would expect to tell people how many dB of loss we have, but I have to admit I've no idea.
And I think my wife is more Alto than Soprano, but now I'm really getting out of my depth technically! :-)

I would imagine noise cancelling headphones would be cheaper to retrofit though!

I believe Mr Burwen, one of the audio Gods, once said you need a 1kW amp to reproduce the sound of his wife playing a piano?

Diderot

5,358 posts

175 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
My wife is an opera singer, so I share your pain!

To properly soundproof (as opposed to acoustically treat) a room, though you'd need to do both ideally, will be expensive, but it can obviously be done. You'll need to build a room within the original room which is isolated from the main structure and stuff that full of rockwool or similar. It'll also need aircon because it will need to be as airtight as possible. You'll need an acoustic door, you'll also need to consider the windows too. Ideally too you'd have a lobby between the new room within a room and the original entry point, and both would have acoustic doors.

One of the other considerations is that she will probably hate singing and playing in it as it will be too dry in terms of ambience, so the room would ideally be large enough to give some kind of reasonable RT60 time.

What are the dimensions of the room?

wombleh

1,507 posts

105 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
A mate had a prefab studio room put together in his garage, like a separate room within the room. Ran his 100W Marshall and an acoustic drum kit in there without annoying the neighbours. Not sure he has much left in the way of hearing though.

Calza

Original Poster:

1,795 posts

98 months

Tuesday 2nd August
quotequote all
Diderot said:
My wife is an opera singer, so I share your pain!

To properly soundproof (as opposed to acoustically treat) a room, though you'd need to do both ideally, will be expensive, but it can obviously be done. You'll need to build a room within the original room which is isolated from the main structure and stuff that full of rockwool or similar. It'll also need aircon because it will need to be as airtight as possible. You'll need an acoustic door, you'll also need to consider the windows too. Ideally too you'd have a lobby between the new room within a room and the original entry point, and both would have acoustic doors.

One of the other considerations is that she will probably hate singing and playing in it as it will be too dry in terms of ambience, so the room would ideally be large enough to give some kind of reasonable RT60 time.

What are the dimensions of the room?
We're just looking at houses and I'm keeping options open.

A posh shed in the garden sounds much more likely at this rate, especially as it doesn't need to be the same level of soundproofing!