Recording Studio Soundproofing Techniques

recording studio soundproofing techniques

Can’t think of ways to transform an ordinary home setup into a professional studio?

You can start by learning the best recording studio soundproofing techniques.

With these up your sleeve, you can create the perfect room for voice acting, podcasting, and music production.

While they may seem a bit challenging to do, knowing the proper steps and having the correct mindset will do the trick.

Why Should I Soundproof My Room?

To the average person, the primary advantage of soundproofing a room is that it can make audio recordings sound better.

How you achieve this will depend on a couple of things.

Here are the top reasons why soundproofing should be on your list when designing your studio:

Reduced Echoing

Undoubtedly, soundproofing a room also means you’ll be drastically reducing the amount of echo.

Soundproofing dampens the sound instead of dealing with doubled vocal tracks or a hollow feel to your songs.

Not only will it improve your recordings, but it will also raise the clarity of all captured audio.

Minimized Outside Distractions

When you’re working in your studio, the last thing you’ll want is to have your mic pick up outside distractions.

Especially when working at home, there are too many environmental noises to clean out of your recorded audio.

From barking dogs to your neighbor’s lawnmower, soundproofing can make a world of difference.

Reduced Inside Noises

Besides keeping outside distractions from your tracks, soundproofing also prevents sounds from leaking out of your studio.

This point is important when you want to listen to your tracks at a louder volume.

Basically, you’ll be able to keep all of the details of your recording session within the studio.

When you install soundproofing, you’ll also prevent things inside your studio from affecting your recordings.

For example, air conditioners, clicking keyboards, and the sound of running recording equipment will be eliminated.

Professional-Quality Sound

The general audio quality is considerably different when listening to a recording made in an untreated bedroom versus a treated studio.

When you install soundproofing, you’ll have a natural professional feel to the audio in your tracks.

Recording Studio Soundproofing Techniques: 4 Methods

When you decide that soundproofing your recording studio is the next step, it’s essential to know what type of soundproofing you need.

There are four primary tricks that people use, which are:

1. Damping

Sound damping is designed to help remove vibrations within your studio.

By taking away vibrational energy, vibrations cannot emit sound waves that can affect audio quality.

2. Absorption

Absorption is the most popular form of soundproofing, as it’s specifically designed to trap soundwaves.

When making music, the materials you add to your walls will absorb and hold the soundwaves, preventing echoing.

3. Decoupling

As a more advanced method of soundproofing, many professionals also consider decoupling.

With this, you’ll use soundproofing to create a separation between the open space and your walls.

This process stops sounds from being transmitted between two structures.

4. Filling Gaps

If you have a recording box within your studio, filling gaps is something you must consider.

The premise is that you’ll be filling the gaps in a structure to prevent sound waves from passing through.

It’s essentially soundproofing within soundproofing for added protection.

samples of recording studio soundproofing techniques

How To Soundproof a Recording Studio

Now that you have a general idea of the four most popular methods for soundproofing, it’s time to get started.

In this guide, we’ll go through the products you’ll need to create your own DIY professional recording environment.

Damping

Damping is a unique method of soundproofing because it relates primarily to physics.

The idea is to take the kinetic energy from sound and dissipate it instead of absorbing it.

When the kinetic energy dissipates, it’s transformed into heat rather than sound.

If damping sounds like something that you need for your studio, the favored material for the project is damping compound.

Typically available in containers similar to caulking, damping compound allows you to make a barrier between your studio and the rest of your home.

Ideally, you’ll want to use the compound between two sheets of material, like MDF or another type of panel.

You’ll have effectively created a soundproof panel that will dissipate kinetic energy by sandwiching the two boards together.

However, depending on the size of your studio, expect to use plenty of compound, which can make it costly.

Even so, it’s important to remember that damping compound gives you plenty of versatility.

Considering you’ll be using it as a type of glue between two panels, you can customize the size of your soundproofing.

It also makes it much easier to soundproof flooring, walls, and even ceilings, making it worth the investment.

Absorption

The central premise of sound absorption is to ensure you’re adding mass to the walls of your recording studio.

You’ll need a lot of mass to help prevent vibrations from affecting your recordings, though.

Absorption is often easily done when building a studio from scratch, as you can put it into your walls.

Most often, new studios are crafted using incredibly dense materials, such as concrete.

Instead of sounds traveling freely through drywall, concrete absorbs it and prevents it from being transferred.

However, even if you’re working with an existing studio, you can still use absorption to your advantage.

The top recommendation for this method and existing studios is mass-loaded vinyl.

Available in thin sheets, you’d be surprised at the sheer density of this material, which is what makes it ideal for soundproofing.

When shopping for mass-loaded vinyl, the most important spec to consider is its STC (Sound Transmission Class).

The higher the STC of a material, the denser it will be and the less sound transmission it will have.

To get a general idea of the ideal STCs for soundproofing, consider this rule of thumb:

  • 20-30 STC = poor soundproofing
  • 30-40 STC = average soundproofing
  • 40-50 STC = good soundproofing

Decoupling

Decoupling is a type of soundproofing that’s often less popular than absorption and damping.

It’s less frequently used because it only relates to people who have structures in their room that directly touch each other.

When one form vibrates, it inevitably makes the second structure shake as well, generating noise.

Installing decoupling for soundproofing can be a time-consuming process but can be very beneficial in specific spaces.

You’ll typically need decouplers for this process, which are soft, malleable pieces of material placed in between two objects.

For example, if your desk touches your wall, you can put a decoupler between the two to create space.

Alternatively, you can use decoupling to your advantage if you’re building a studio from scratch.

Ensuring there are isolating layers between two structures can add to soundproofing without needing extra equipment.

Also, there’s the option of creating isolating studs with joist gasket tape to make your studio innately soundproof.

The majority of professionals use decouplers on their instruments, such as drum sets.

By installing them onto the surface, you prevent items from inside your studio from affecting your recorded audio.

Filling Gaps

As beautiful as it can be, trapping the sound in a room is pretty tricky, especially in rooms with plenty of space.

Wall cracks or gaps between a door and the floor can cause sound to leak out and in.

In these instances, you’re going to want to figure out ways to fill any air gaps in your studio.

There is an assortment of products that you can put to good use when it comes to gap-filling.

One of the top choices is acoustical caulk, which is easy to get. Much like a damping compound or glue, acoustical caulk is a liquid filling.

All you have to do is use the caulk to plug any holes in your room.

Its chemical composition is unique, as it remains flexible and soft over time.

Since walls are known to shift and move, the caulk moves with the walls to prevent holes from reopening.

Besides acoustical caulk, two other options for filling gaps are door bottoms and foam gaskets.

Door bottoms are essential for blocking the space between your floor and the door.

On the other hand, foam gaskets are a fabulous addition to help you seal windows, doors, electrical outlets, and other small areas.

Acoustic Treatments vs. Soundproofing: Which Is Better?

A commonly asked question when researching soundproofing is whether it makes more sense to do acoustic treatments instead.

Acoustic treatments are slightly similar, but they don’t perform nearly as well as standard soundproofing.

With soundproofing, you’re blocking the direct transmission of sound from entering and leaving a room.

Acoustic treatments, in comparison, are specifically designed to dampen sound within a space.

Instead of blocking the transmission, you’re stopping reverberations and echoing to achieve better sound quality.

Depending on the type of sound isolation you’re looking for, one could be better than the other.

For example, if you simply need better audio quality, you might prefer acoustic treatments more than the other.

However, if you want to create a silent space for recording, soundproofing is a better alternative.

Another considerable difference is that acoustic treatments are often easier to install.

For this, the most common option you can use is a set of acoustic panels.

These panels are designed to be installed on your walls and ceiling to reduce echoing.

Not only are they relatively affordable, but they’re also removable and user-friendly, making them a popular choice.

The Key to Better Quality Recordings

Recording studio soundproofing techniques can help you take your recordings to the next level.

Whether you’re recording vocals, instrument tracks, or voice acting, you’ll have a quiet and serene environment for work.

Undoubtedly, the quality of your recordings will soar as all interior and exterior noises will be isolated.

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