RS Recommends: How to Soundproof Your Space for Work or Recording
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Whether you’re using your space for vocal recording, hosting a podcast, or filming YouTube or online content, a little soundproofing can make a big difference – to both you and your listeners. And it can be cheaper than you think too.
There are now easy ways to soundproof your room, with simple soundproofing products that you can buy online and install yourself in minutes. And a good soundproof setup isn’t just for musicians or content creators either — with more and more people working from home, a few soundproofing panels or noise-dampening drapes could go a long way towards making your home office a lot more efficient — and enjoyable.
How to Soundproof Your Room
Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking at the best soundproofing products for your home.
Setup: Even before you start loading up your shopping cart, there are techniques you can do right now to get ready, and that might even solve a problem you’ve been having. Ideally, you want your two main monitors equidistant: too close, and you’ll just be getting a singular, mono sound, and too wide leaves a gap in the mids.
Placement: Something as simple as the placement of your desk and speakers can cut way down on annoying echo and better utilize the natural shape of the room (which is the one thing you can’t adjust). This helps get your speakers away from the wall, avoiding bass buildup. A square room with low ceilings and parallel surfaces is the worst, since your sound will bounce around until it collides or dissipates, but even if you’ve got a tiny room to work with, there’s still hope.
Acoustic Panels: Low-end buildup in the corners of your room and behind the speakers is an issue, especially in small apartments. Putting up a few acoustic panels can be an instantly noticeable fix. These are generally affordable, and you can even make your own pretty easily with a few raw materials commonly found at any hardware store. Adding a “cloud,” or panel on the ceiling, is a big boost too, and is best for right over where your head will be.
Windows: A window is the most reflective surface when it comes to sound, which presents a problem in a room you’re trying to cut down on just that. An acoustic panel over the windows works, but that’s not always an option. Instead, curtains can do a decent job too — just make sure they’re the thick, heavy kind that theaters use, not just typical bedroom ones. Sound blankets are also great for this too.
Speaker Size: Just because you’ve got giant, powerful speakers doesn’t mean they’re a good fit for a small room. In fact it’s the opposite – in a room that’s too small, it won’t be able to produce the frequency properly and let it complete its lifecycle. Speaker stands also are an excellent addition here too, as it decouples and separates muddy vibrations from the floor or desk surface. Once you can hear bass as it really is, you’ll be more apt to identify issues like decay, attack, and clipping.
Headphones: It’s nearly impossible to make a 100% soundproofed home studio from scratch where every level and waveform is perfect, and that’s where a good set of headphones comes in. Playing your music or audio creation through your monitors will give you a good general idea of the mix, but headphones are like holding it under a microscope. Any lingering problems, and you’ll be more likely to hear them up close.
“For a small room, we usually start by looking at the first reflection points,” says Phil Butera with SoundAssured, a company that makes foam panels for sound studios. “If you’ll be using studio monitors to mix or playback, you’ll be trying to create a Reflection Free Zone at the main listening position or ‘sweet spot” in the room. In this case you would also want some bass traps to help absorb the low end frequencies”.
He continues, “If someone isn’t using monitors, then you focus on the main reflection points of the actual sound source. Most of the time these are people trying to do a gaming stream, podcast, singing/rapping, Youtube, etc. For these situations the focus of the treatment should be on the wall you are speaking towards and the ceiling above you. You would also want a rug beneath you unless you already have a carpeted floor.”
For more ways to build out your home studio and help soundproof a room, check out our recommendations below.
1. SoundAssured Soundproofing Acoustic Studio Foam
These quality two-inch foam panels are from SoundAssured, a family-run company that creates their products in the USA. They’re simple to set up in a home recording space, and come in an array of 13 different colors.
The thick material instantly reduces excess noise and echoes, absorbing frequencies in the mid to high range, and all sorts of panels are available (and affordable) for just about any room.
Installation is easy without needing a drill or tools, just some strong adhesive will do. The panels are also fire-retardant, and ship uncompressed, so they’re ready to go right out of the box.
2. BUBOS 12-Pack Hexagon Acoustic Panels
These fashionable panels are made from 100% polyester and look great on the walls of a home studio or office. They’re lightweight, and easily fit together for you to create the design you want, plus pairing it with similarly shaped LED lights gives it a cool glow that’s an ideal background for gamers and streamers.
3. RYB HOME Soundproof Curtains
These soundproof curtains cut down significantly on the sharp sounds of city life, like sirens and traffic, and are recommended even if you’re just trying to block out noise to get a good night’s sleep. The curtains are made of heavy polyester, with a removable middle layer, and along with sound, they can also be used as blackout curtains to block out light as well.
The thermal curtains keep the warm insulated during the winter and are great for keeping things cool in the summer too (blocking out the hot sunlight through the windowpanes). Choose from multiple sizes and colors to match your studio or room decor.
4. Sure-Max Moving and Packing Blankets
If you’re in need of a quick way to deaden echoes and reduce natural reverb in a room, throwing these moving blankets over the walls and windows is a fast option. These thick blankets help cut down any sound that’s bouncing around, and are ideal for when recording on the road, especially in hotels or while visiting friends and family.
Throw them over a window to keep outside noise at bay, or place them strategically around a room to dampen sound.
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