Q: We are a successful group and are tired of hiring out sound studios for practice and recording. How difficult is it to set up a professional sound studio in my home?
It’s not too difficult a task if you plan it all out before you start. People trying to set up a an audio studio on a limited budget can get all focussed on the equipment rather than spending money on stuff in the room that does not contribute one jot to the sound you will produce. Spending on the room could, however, be a much better investment. Many people who set up studios in their home may end up with noise leakage – out and in, or problems with the set up of the room causing sound recording distortions. There are 3 major things to consider: soundproofing walls, doors and windows, and floors.
The term should not really be “soundproofing” because sound leakage is something impossible to get rid of altogether, the aim is “sound isolation”. The most effective way to stop sound is to put a solid wall between the sound and the hearer; and if you double the thickness of the wall, this will halve the sound transmitted. The difficulty is that sound isolation drops with frequency, so though you can shut down the high frequencies, you will still be able to hear the bass bumping away. Two walls with an air gap between are more effective than one wall of double thickness. . Professional studios that are built with partition walls will often have at least three layers of plasterboard on both sides. This give adequate isolation, but for a home studio a brick wall is better for low frequencies.
Windows and doors can be areas that leak the most sound. Double glazing is essential and the wider the gap and the heavier the weight of glass the better – though internal secondary windows inside the double glazing work even better. As for doors – they are a major problem – and will always leaks a lot of sound relative to the walls. They need to be completely airtight and ideally have two doors fitted separated by the width of the wall.
A concrete floor will have enough sound isolation, but try a thick carpet felt on a wood floor.