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OT: Sound proofing (please don't make me go back to the recording forum)


MIDIstruction
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Okay, so as it prepares to warm up here in Virginia I am preparing to start all of the house work I've been putting off on the grounds of it being too damn cold, and out of all of the projects on that list the only thing I'm really looking forward to is finishing my attic ..

Basically I'm planning on laying down some more sheets of plywood (better suggestions?) and setting up a drum kit and a few amps. Just a place to practice this spring (before it gets too hot up there) that's free and out of the way

The only problem is that I've gotten in trouble for causing too much noise in this neighborhood before, and before I start up again I want to make sure I've got the space as quiet as I can ..

Now, I don't want to bring this to the recording forum because I don't need any impractical advice. This isn't a studio, and so it doesn't need to be air-tight, I just need to diffuse as much sound as I can for as little as possible. I know many of you here have home-made soundproofing techniques for your own spaces and I was just wondering what's been most effective?

I'm starting to doubt the mattress and blanket route. I've been told setting up a wall of cinderblocks with tile on one side of each hole is pretty useful but I don't really want to put more weight on my ceiling than I already am by sticking a few dudes up there and playing loud music. I was recently told that horse mats from stables work very well, but I've yet to test it out ..

What do you guys think I should try?

Thanks again,

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Hey, I'm up in Alexandria, just on the other side of the river from DC... Owens-Corning 705 or a comparable compressed fiberglass insulation is a good way to go, I think. It's got really high bass absorbancy and won't take up huge amoutns of space. Getting your hands on it is the tricker part... seems you've often got to buy it by the truckload. I may have found a retailer that'll deliver it in smaller quantities, though probably still more than I'd use as I'm just doing spot-treatments for bass trapping in my recording space. If that's the case , I'll let you know - if you want to go that route and can't find a local distributer we could split up a shipment from this place... though I seem to recall there being a Norfolk dealer for OC products. (Let me know if you find someone there who's good!)

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Unfortunately, it's not as simple as horseblankets and mattresses. You're going to have to decide what level of "soundproofing" you are trying to accomplish, and then do a little research on your best options.

What I mean is - it's not too hard to block out the higher frequencies, but keeping the low freqs (drums and bass!) from escaping and making a racket is the big trick. Unless you're going to build a room-within-a-room up there, you're not going to stop much of that booming sound - and that's what your neighbors usually hear.

Why not let the neighbors who've had problems help you out? You can try a few inexpensive things, and then bring the band over and ask them if it's reasonable. Even if it's not very quiet, the fact that you asked them and had them actively listen might help them accept a reasonable level of noise.

I know that's not what you wanted to hear, but soundproofing really IS a major challenge.

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oh, and to elaborate on the fiberglass thing - you want it about 2" thick. To really help cut down bass, you want to line the walls with it - make a frame for it and leave a little space between it and the wall if possible, but do what ya gotta do. Like Dig says, you're not gonna soundPROOF the place without renovating, but there's a lot you can do to being it down to levels where all but the crankiest of neighbors should be placated. For those remaining, there are blowguns.

I've used the old matress and packing blanket route before, and they help, but I'd match it with some heavier absorbancy materials as well. Even cloth sofas are good, especially around corners - anything that's THICK and made of porous/semiporous material can help eat into bass, if in a slightly guerilla style.

check Ethan Winer's site.

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Being that it is in the up-stairs area makes it harder...I practice and record in the basement. It helps alot ....I used R-14 insulation, one layer of fiber board, one layer of carpet padding, and finally drywall. It also helps if you can have space between the layers. I have also used those office isolation walls with good results. You have to experiment...It would be kinda hard to mute down a loud rock or metal band. The drums seem the hardest to tone down to me, as well as the bass....Good luck! Or you can always just turn down a little, and give the drummer some brushes! :D

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Originally posted by Weatherbox



and have a good time installing that in the attic.



oh well. guess you're screwed, then.

I've done my own soundproofing as well as for others and believe me, what I say is true, especially if you're above ground. In that case, you'll basically have to build a room within a room or your going to be broadcasting your sound all across the neighborhood. Most of the suggestions in this thread so far have been for sound insulation , not soundproofing. Sound insulation is for acoustical treatment, soundproofing is for keeping soundwaves from escaping a particular enviroment.

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Yup... when I started recording for my demo we tried everything... mattresses, bass catches, all that {censored}. At the end of the day the beats were still leaking through and we finally gave in and admitted that unless the room was properly reinforced to begin with, wasn't no way that bitch was going to quiet down.

When I go to cut my next tracks I'm using a home studio with double doors, double window and all that {censored}. I can crank the bass and not piss off the peeps outside.

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Thank you guys for the advice and resources. I've got a bit to look into now ..

Before anyone starts touting the sonic facts of life an important thing to consider is that I, and most of the other humans I associate with, have a capacity for restraint. I understand this isn't going to be sound proof, but I don't find that truth very daunting. Basically, I want to get the attic as quiet as I can, and then play accordingly. That is, if somehow I make a breakthrough and the attic only lets out some bass murmurs, then I will play at a volume that will keep those murmurs to a minimum. If I fail, as some of you are suggesting I will, well at least I'll have some of my gear out of my bedroom, living room, guest room, dining room, kitchen, shed, and car, and I'll probably still play, but much much quieter ..

I will make this work the best that it possibly can work without renovating, and I'd like to field some more ideas (materials/techniques) on how I may go about that.

I'm going to go take some measurments. Thanks again dudes.

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We practice in my cinderblock-walled basement in a 1/2 duplex. Years ago I went to Home Depot, bought a dozen 3'x2' Armstrong ceiling tiles and a couple of tubes of Liquid Nails. Glued 'em right to the cinder blocks leaving a 4" space between each tile. Neighbors said the sound level was cut in half.
Soundproofing on the cheap & lightwieght too.

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Originally posted by FLYING V 83

We practice in my cinderblock-walled basement in a 1/2 duplex. Years ago I went to Home Depot, bought a dozen 3'x2' Armstrong ceiling tiles and a couple of tubes of Liquid Nails. Glued 'em right to the cinder blocks leaving a 4" space between each tile. Neighbors said the sound level was cut in half.

Soundproofing on the cheap & lightwieght too.



You must have been the one who gave me that suggestion the last time I was asking around about this. The cinderblock method seems like one of my best bets volume reduction-wise, but "lightweight"? I'm pretty sure that if I stack up a wall of cinderblocks in my attic, it's going to eventually collapse through my cieling, don't you think?

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Ignore ALL advice about mattresses and Owens Corning 703 fiberglass. As spoonie g said, that will help with sound treatment. It will make the bass less boomy, and the overall frequencies flatter inside the room. It will do nothing to cut down on the noise level outside the attic.

NOTHING short of airtight mass (room within a room) will stop sound from escaping.

It sounds like floating a floor and building a room within a room is not a practical thing for you. In that case I would abandon hopes of rocking out in the attic.

There are several other (less sexy) options:
A smaller drum kit played with blasticks or brushes only and guitar amps turned down.
OR
Rent a rehearsal space elsewhere
OR
An electronic drum kit with amp simulators (Line 6 Pods) everyone wearing headphones.

All of those options will cost you far less than building a room within a room.

I realise this is NOT what you hoped to hear but Sound Treatment and Sound Proofing are entirely different things that are often confused.

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Originally posted by MBET

Ignore ALL advice about mattresses and Owens Corning 703 fiberglass. As spoonie g said, that will help with sound treatment. It will make the bass less boomy, and the overall frequencies flatter inside the room. It will do nothing to cut down on the noise level outside the attic.


NOTHING short of airtight mass (room within a room) will stop sound from escaping.


It sounds like floating a floor and building a room within a room is not a practical thing for you. In that case I would abandon hopes of rocking out in the attic.


There are several other (less sexy) options:

A smaller drum kit played with blasticks or brushes only and guitar amps turned down.

OR

Rent a rehearsal space elsewhere

OR

An electronic drum kit with amp simulators (Line 6 Pods) everyone wearing headphones.


All of those options will cost you far less than building a room within a room.


I realise this is NOT what you hoped to hear but Sound Treatment and Sound Proofing are entirely different things that are often confused.



No, I'm not ignoring all advice about mattresses and Owens Corning 703 because that's the advice I specifically requested, whereas the "sound treatment isn't sound proofing go get a rehearsal space" is something I've already been told about 30 times in more or less the same exact way. I understand your position, but my position is that I'm going to try the best I can, hope for good results, and accept what works and what does not work.

So please continue with the mattresses and Owens Corning 703 nonsense. Thanks.

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Originally posted by MIDIstruction



You must have been the one who gave me that suggestion the last time I was asking around about this. The cinderblock method seems like one of my best bets volume reduction-wise, but "lightweight"? I'm pretty sure that if I stack up a wall of cinderblocks in my attic, it's going to eventually collapse through my cieling, don't you think?



You misunderstand me. My basement has bare cinderblock walls, I didn't "add" them to kill sound! I added the ceiling tiles to the existing walls to kill the sound and it works.
Just glue the ceiling tiles to your existing walls.

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Now, I don't want to bring this to the recording forum because I don't need any impractical advice. This isn't a studio, and so it doesn't need to be air-tight, I just need to diffuse as much sound as I can for as little as possible. I know many of you here have home-made soundproofing techniques for your own spaces and I was just wondering what's been most effective?


Well, I think you're going to have a very difficult time of it, to be honest. :(

First of all, there's a difference between soundproofing (keeping inside sounds in, and outside sounds out) and sound / acoustical treatment (making the sound inside the room better / more acurate). The problem with your statement above is the "I don't want to make it airtight" comment. Unfortunately, if it isn't airtight, soundproofing is compromised.

Soundproofing requires mass, physical decoupling and trapped airspaces. Low frequency sounds are especially difficult to deal with - that means bass and kick drum sounds are likely to travel and bother the neighbors. As well as the other people inside the same house you're in.

Unfortunately, the methods used to deal with these problems are neither cheap or unobtrusive. Tossing down a couple more layers of plywood on the floor, or more sheetrock on the walls may help a little, but the floor is still going to be mechanically coupled to the rest of the building, and people downstairs are still likely to hear you even with that in place. Putting down some neoprene pads and building a new floor on top of that will do what you want insofar as mechanical decoupling of the floor from the existing house structure (check out the U-Boats at www.auralex.com ), and if you build a new wall / ceiling on top of that new "floated" floor, essentially creating a "room within a room", you can do some significant improvements in terms of reducing noise that will escape the room, but that's neither cheap or easy. But IMO, it's better to be honest about it than to give you advice that won't work to the degree you need it to. That's just money and effort wasted.

Unfortunately, there's no getting around the laws of acoustical physics. :(
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Originally posted by gregovertone

cheap ass bass reduction method.



build a drum riser, and bass amp/cab riser. place them on top of hockey pucks. at the corners, and the center of wood lengths.


works surprisingly well at reducing vibrations.



i think this is a good advice. it is about some soundproofing from the attic from one house towards the other houses, so not to the people above the practice room. make sure that if there are windows in the attic. that they dont let any sound through.
and people most of the time only shake their heads when they hear some bass comin through in the distance, but when they hear a full band at the same level they get annoyed quicker.

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Sound proofing = a sealed space with an outer shell that doesn't resonate/vibrate
from the sounds inside.

Very hard to achieve.


Acoustic treatment for improving the
sound in a given location = generally speaking, easy.

Getting good, full bandwith acoustics in a small room = impossible.

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