Home Soundproof Garage - Garage Conversion Stage 1 Soundproof a Room Stage 1 Part 1
Soundproof a Room Stage 1 Part 1

The problems

When building a music practice room, the most important problem to be solved is stopping sound from escaping. If your practice space leaks sound like water through a sieve, then this will annoy the neighbours and eventually cause them to call the police!

This problem is one that musicians (and drummers in particular) continually face, and one that drummer's neighbours continually complain about!

In addition, there is a secondary problem that needs to be addressed; namely, controlling the sound that remains inside the room. Therefore, the following two problems must be addressed:
  1. Preventing sound escaping from the room
  2. Controlling the reverberation of sound that remains in the room

    What does the term "sound-proof" really mean?

For a room to be described as "sound-proof", it must provide what is known as an acoustically isolated environment. This means that the room is constructed in such a way that the level of sound transmitted through the walls, floor and ceiling to the outside environment is so low that it is of no practical significance.

Here are a couple of contrasting examples:

If you are listening to the radio whilst sitting in a tent, then everyone outside the tent will hear exactly what you're listening to because to all intents (sic!) and purposes, the walls of the tent are transparent to sound. This sound transmission process is two-way. People outside can hear the radio playing inside the tent - just as well as you can hear what's going on outside. Practical experience tells us quite clearly that setting up your drums inside a tent is not going to help contain the sound!

On the other hand, if you build an underground bunker whose walls, floor and ceiling are made from concrete one metre thick, then it is quite obvious that no significant amount of sound will travel in either direction through the room's boundaries.

You'll be pleased to know that I did not sound proof my garage by building one metre thick concrete walls! Instead I used a design that is easy to construct and, whilst not a effective as solid concrete, is perfectly acceptable for the job at hand. This means that some sound will be allowed to escape from the room, but not enough to be considered annoying.

This then leads to the question "How much sound should be allowed to leak out of a room before it can no longer be called sound-proof?"


What we're really saying is "How sound proof is sound-proof?"

controlling sound volume level neighbours

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Articles by this Author:

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The floor and walls of the inner room can easily be isolated from the concrete garage floor by putting down a 25mm (1") layer of polystyrene sheet. Despite being polystyrene, this material is very strong...
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Reverberation Time As was mentioned above, one of the key properties of a room's acoustical performance is the length of time it takes for the sound energy to die away. We need to add some more detail...
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Flutter Echo As something of a technical aside, this stage of the construction is very useful for demonstrating (and then fixing) a very annoying problem in acoustics. This problem is known as Flutter...
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So we're done then? NO! You've only solved one problem! Sound proofing your room will keep everyone outside the room happy, because you have stopped sound escaping and therefore annoying everyone....
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