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  • Practice space sound proofing

    Im sure that this has been brought up a lot, but i'm in the need of some info.

    Ok so my band has a practice space right now, but I'm lucky enough to be moving into a house with a basement. I want to make practicing in the basement sound "proof" because it will (in the long run) save rent at the practice space ($300/mo)

    the house next door is approx. 5ft away foundation to foundation.

    I am wondering what I can do (relatively cheap, maybe have 300-600 worth of funds) to "proof" the basement. Now by "proof" i don't mean NO sound come out of the room as is that is extremely expensive, but I'd like to keep as much of it inside the HOUSE as possible. The less sound that comes out of the house the better (don't need cops coming everytime we practice)

    is this practical on this type of budget? I will most likely be able to get my hands on a couple old mattresses and i'm ripping up a rug in the house which i can also use. so i think that will help no? My main concern is the bass that shakes the house. These bass traps that everyone talks about, will those help eliminate the shaking?

    The basement is partly refinished with wood panel walls (house was built in the 20's-30's) the part we would be using is concrete walls on three sides (although i could put up a wall if need be) theres a lot of heaters and oil tanks etc. down there. room is approx 25'x15'. there are 2 windows one on either side of the 25' wall.

    thanks for your help!!!
    Member of the Mesa/Boogie Mob


    The Regulars

  • #2
    is this practical on this type of budget?


    Not a chance. You would need 10 times the budget. Sound proofing is a much bigger job than most think it would be. You need alot of mass to block sound, and alot of space helps too.
    Listen...

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    • #3
      so is it possible to significantly reduce the sound that emits from the house with a few bass traps and matresses and a rug? or should i just bit the bullet and still pay for the practice space
      Member of the Mesa/Boogie Mob


      The Regulars

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      • #4
        so is it possible to significantly reduce the sound that emits from the house with a few bass traps and matresses and a rug? or should i just bit the bullet and still pay for the practice space



        Those things are meant for sound absorbtion, which is very different from sound proofing. Those materials absorb some of the sound and prevent them from being reflected back at you in the room, but the bulk of the sound still keeps on going through the walls. To sound proof, you would need to build thicker walls and really create a barrier for the sound.
        Listen...

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        • #5
          Those things are meant for sound absorbtion, which is very different from sound proofing. Those materials absorb some of the sound and prevent them from being reflected back at you in the room, but the bulk of the sound still keeps on going through the walls. To sound proof, you would need to build thicker walls and really create a barrier for the sound.


          Absolutely right. Absorbers will have a much greater effect on the sound within the room and nearly no effect on keeping sound inside of the room in, and outside noise / sounds out.

          If you wanted a rehersal space in your basement, you have to consider a lot of issues:

          1. How close are the neighbors, and how noise "sensitive" are they? I know people who practive in an untreated garage with the door open, and no one complains, because they practice in the daytime, and they're not silly-loud... and they're on good terms with their neighbors.

          2. How loud do you plan on playing?

          3. How much can you afford to spend?

          4. How much are you capable of doing yourself?

          To really do a basement right, you'd probably have to spend more than you have in mind... but OTOH, you have to consider the cost savings over the long haul if you don't have to pay for an outside rehersal studio. Over the course of a year, you're spending $3,600 for it, and IMO, that's more in line with what it may cost to do the basement conversion.

          To effectively block sound, two tools are mainly used - massive construction materials and trapped airspace. By "trapped", I mean airtight spaces between two barrier walls. You have to apply those materials around the whole room, top to bottom, and on every side. One weak link or surface and you are crippling the effectiveness. Sound doesn't travel well between materials of differing densities, but an open door can kill the effectiveness of a concrete bunker insofar as sound transmission. Additionally, mechanical coupling can also come back to bite you on the backside. If the walls of your basement are connected to the rest of your home, sound can travel through the shared wood beams and other construction materials and radiate into the other rooms of the house.

          I'll assume for now that there is no issues with water seepage in your basement...

          In order to effectively soundproof your basement, you'd want to seal those window openings and then build a "room within a room". This room should be "floated" on neoprene blocks, and a new floor built on top of that. New walls and celings (well insullated with fiberglas) would be built on top of the new floor. They must NOT touch the existing walls / ceilings. They should be massive walls, otherwise they will resonate and transmit the sound; much as a acoustic guitar top resonates sound. The cheapest way to do this is probably with multiple layers of drywall / sheetrock. Two layers (one of 1/2", one of 5/8") is good, three are better. Alternate the layers so that the first one is installed vertically, the second horizontally, and the third vertical again. Make sure you get everything airtight... properly tape and mud the seams of each layer, and caulk around the top and bottom and any holes or gaps. THEN you can install some corner bass traps and other absorbers so that it sounds better within the room.

          That would probably be enough to keep the neighbors happy, assuming you're not planning on having Alex Van Halen over, and you're not using a 5K Watt PA in there. You still might get complaints from your wife if you have a 6 day old baby sleeping upstairs.

          Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the fact is that nearly always, the only effective ways to block sound require more than a $600 budget.
          **********

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          • #6
            what about going digital, obviously there would me minimal audible noise next door, but whats the start up on something like that and what would i need?
            Member of the Mesa/Boogie Mob


            The Regulars

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            • #7
              I think going with an electronic drumset would be the first step. The loudness of the drums tends to be the limiting factor in how quiet you can play most of the time. Then you can use a PA system or maybe even a practice amp to amplify the drum sounds. If you turn everyone else's amps down and try to keep a good balance in the room at a moderate volume, this might be enough for your needs. If you want to go all out, you could get a small mixer and some amp modelers like a Line 6 POD as well. Then you could either run everyone into the mixer and use the PA to amplify all at once, or get a headphone amp and run the same or seperate mixes for headphone monitoring.

              Your tone will probably not be the greatest, but if you can get past that for practicing and continue using amps for shows then it should work out.
              Prying open my third eye.

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              • #8
                I am wondering what I can do (relatively cheap, maybe have 300-600 worth of funds) to "proof" the basement.


                Nothing.

                Either turn down or move somewhere else. Sorry. It sucks.

                Brandon
                Home Recording Sound Card Wizard - Audio Interface Reviews

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                • #9
                  Any ideas for choice of flooring for the basement, especially if it is to serve double duty as a practice space/bedroom?

                  I hate carpet but an architect I spoke to felt carpet was the best choice, because it dampens the sound more and there's the usual concern over water possibly leaking into the basement (which I will attempt to address by using a shovel to adjust the outdoor grading, then consulting a landscape architect down the road).

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                  • #10
                    Bump (see flooring question above)

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                    • #11
                      I just finished a new laminate floor in my studio and though I would show where my three piece practices.



                      I usually don't use the amps after my two boys go to bed. We don't crank them too loud even when we do use them. It's an 8' cieling and the room is approx. 16'x13'



                      The Yahmaha kit has been a great investment. It is the DTXtreme III special. It has a great hi-hat which operates like a conventional hi-hat. Good cymbal pads. By no means a "drummer's delight" but it allows us to rehearse in volumes that are mild to near silent if we use the head phone amp.
                      Wife and two boys can watch tv comfortably, and boys have slept through many a rehearsal.


                      We (guitar and bass) can go direct if need be via PODs or via computer.


                      I also enjoy this rehearsal space because set up time is non-existent. Bassist brings his bass, and drummer brings sticks. Come in sit down - bam -rehearsal time is rehearsing rather than lugging in/out, setting up etc.


                      Also the quieter arrangement allows us to hear each other more clearly as well as flaws in playing. We can record any take in a matter of a couple of minutes of patching in the correct cables.

                      Anyway good luck.

                      Cost assesment:
                      Yamaha ele. kit - $1100 (though now the new model is out and I would bet you can grab one much cheaper)

                      the headphone amp for silent and direct playing was pretty cheap as well - about $100
                      I assume you have or can get a small PA for vox.
                      the DI for guitar and bass can be bought reasonably cheap. I am using the older POD equipment - $50 each.
                      <
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                      GEAR
                      Carvin AE-185; Carvin Homemade solid body; BHG 33 year anniversary edition; Yamaha Pacifica 921; Peavey Cirrus 5 string bass; Carvin MTS 3200; Carvin G212 cab; Marshall Master Lead Combo; Hughes and Kettner Blu15 Ashdown MAG300 head; Ashdown 410 cab
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                      • #12
                        Simplest/cheapest way:

                        Electronic drumset.
                        Pods on the guitars/bass.
                        Run everything through a mixer.
                        Headphones on everyone.
                        Tim O'Brien

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                        • #13
                          Nice pics, Crossways! You don't have any problems with dampness on that wood laminate flooring? I never considered laminate flooring before and will look into that.

                          The last 4-piece I played in was pretty loud (bass/vox, acoustic drum kit, guitar, and me on 2nd guitar/keyboard) and rehearsed in a basement with zero soundproofing. The house belonged to the drummer's mother. Neither the drummer nor his mom ever mentioned complaints from the neighbors. We were loud enough to not be able to hear knocking on the door, but if anyone was really disturbed they could have walked maybe 5 feet to the right of the door and banged on one of the basement windows. We believe we got away with our volume because we always stopped around 9pm, 9:30 at the very latest.

                          After I bought my own house, I became more concerned with soundproofing because it's an "end-unit townhouse" that shares a wall with another "end-unit" townhouse. The aforementioned architect, however, says the party walls in our neighborhood tend to have very good sound isolation from the neighbor on the other side of the wall. I got the Rod Gervais book and have been reading/rereading it since but I suspect I may not have to do more that replace one old-school basement window with a modern double-pane one. The other is going to be replaced with a door, but I think the usual storm door + main door combo should be sufficient. I do share a chimney with the neighbor - for venting our furnaces, though. Another architect that I spoke to thought that rerouting some of my HVAC ducts may be necessary to get them in position for decoupling.

                          The electronic drum idea sound like a good one. As I recall, the only thing I found lacking is good snare brush sounds, but that can be solved by adding a real snare to the kit and only playing it with brushes.

                          Thanks!

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                          • #14

                            We believe we got away with our volume because we always stopped around 9pm, 9:30 at the very latest.


                            Yeah, I hear you. We used to practice in a church. The walls were untreated block, with 2 windows in the back on the 3rd floor. We were LOUD. Never got a complaint until the one time we practiced past 9:30pm. The lady that complained made avery nice call to the church and said, we usually stopped by 9:30pm and she didn't mind that, but she had to work in the morning. We obliged her ever since.
                            <
                            www.crimsontruth.com
                            www.gotricities.com/thebuzz
                            www.christianmusicianforum.com
                            GEAR
                            Carvin AE-185; Carvin Homemade solid body; BHG 33 year anniversary edition; Yamaha Pacifica 921; Peavey Cirrus 5 string bass; Carvin MTS 3200; Carvin G212 cab; Marshall Master Lead Combo; Hughes and Kettner Blu15 Ashdown MAG300 head; Ashdown 410 cab
                            SEEKING Fender "the STRAT" c. 1982
                            preferably no mods; absolutely no mods to wiring

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                            • #15
                              Simplest/cheapest way:

                              Electronic drumset.
                              Pods on the guitars/bass.
                              Run everything through a mixer.
                              Headphones on everyone.


                              That'd be infinitely cheaper than trying to soundproof.

                              Anyway, Mrbrown49 and others answered the rest quite adequately. Those things mentioned are for sound absorption, definitely not soundproofing. These two things are frequently confused.
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