Do I need to Soundproof my studio? (Explained)

Soundproofing is a critical part of making high-quality recordings for the following reasons:

To minimize outside noises: Soundproofing prevents outside sounds from ruining a recording, so you don’t have to worry about noises from airplanes, car horns, people, loud weather, animals, etc.

To minimize inside noises: It’s not just outside sounds that are a problem when recording audio; noises inside your recording studio can also ruin a recording session.

Soundproofing helps dampen sounds made by air conditioning and heat systems, computer fans, keyboard clicks, recording equipment.

These problems can be minimized or eliminated with some creativity and common household items like mattresses and drapes (which may lead to complaints).

Is soundproofing really necessary?

The simple answer: yes.

Sound travels and will travel through some materials more easily than others, and it is true that the walls of your house or apartment contain insulation that prevents noise from getting into your neighbor’s place (unless you live in an older building with paper-thin walls).

However, if you’re playing music inside a recording studio, the sound is not going to stay put; you’ll need to add additional layers of protection such as drywall or acoustic panels to get up to standard practice.

If you aren’t planning on recording vocals or instruments anytime soon, there’s no reason why you can’t simply use household materials like egg crates, mattresses, and furniture to keep out some of the noise.

However, these methods are unreliable and not up to professional standards.

If you’re wondering if your current arrangement is enough, it probably isn’t.

For example, even if your neighbors don’t complain about the noise coming from your place, what happens when they go on holiday or you get a new roommate?

You may find yourself in need of soundproofing more than you think!

What are the benefits of soundproofing?

If you’ve ever experienced sound leakage before, you probably already know how frustrating it can be to hear other musicians’ instruments bleeding into each other’s tracks while recording.

The good news is that with some additional materials combined with household items like mattresses and furniture (and perhaps even some help from your friends), you can dramatically reduce or even eliminate the sound leakage that will prevent you from producing high-quality recordings.

How can I soundproof my studio?

While there are many ways to go about soundproofing a room (again, we recommend using purpose-made acoustic panels and drywall designed for professional studios) if budget is an issue then here are some things that may work:

Drapes: Curtains and other cloth items like cotton sheets can be used instead of acoustic panels because they contain fabric with tiny fibers that absorb vibrations (which saves time and money).

While curtains won’t work as well as professional materials, they can still shield your recording environment somewhat.

Furniture: Move heavy furniture away from the walls, and make sure it is sitting on thick carpet. This will help to keep out some of the noise from outside your house or the recording studio.

Mattresses: Two mattresses stacked against each other and duct-taped together can work as a cheap solution for soundproofing a wall (leave an inch between the mattresses and the wall so you can stuff dampeners in there).

Alternatively, if you don’t have enough room to stack two mattresses, you could lay one horizontally across several stacked books to achieve a similar effect.

What can you use to soundproof a room?

Acoustic foam: If you have a tight budget, acoustic foam is your best option. It will help to keep the sound in your room from bouncing off the walls and back into your microphone.

Dampeners: Dampeners are similar to thick curtains; adding them to the wall of your studio helps to reduce vibrations (which can ruin recordings). Foam dampeners absorb sound rather than reflecting it like regular drywall.

Acoustic paneling: Don’t be scared away by price; most professional studios use acoustic paneling because it helps to keep out outside noise while producing good results for recording sessions.

While professional materials cost hundreds or thousands of dollars (depending on size), there are also smaller-sized panels that may work for home studios.

How much will it cost me to soundproof my studio?

If you want to do it right, then expect to spend around $3,000 (especially if your space isn’t exactly the same size as most home studios).

On the other hand, if you’re willing to get creative with household materials like mattresses and drapes, then it’s possible that you can get results for less than $200.

Can a room be 100% soundproof?

No, there is no such thing as a 100% soundproof room.

Soundproofing exists to minimize the noise coming from the outside and inside of your recording space.

In truth, even if you can completely eliminate sound leakage, this won’t prevent people from hearing sounds coming from your studio during recording sessions (which may lead to complaints).

I’m ready to soundproof my studio. What do I need?

Besides a good supply of acoustic foam and home-made furniture/drapes, here are some things that you’ll need:

For professional studios: Acoustic dampening spray, acoustic panels, sound-absorbing drapes.

For home studios: Mattresses and drapes.

What about those “soundproof” headphones?

These don’t actually exist; the only headphones that can isolate outside noise are those that fit around your ears and seal off your ear canals (like earplugs).

Regular, open-ear headphones will never be able to dampen outside sounds.

Conclusion

Studio soundproofing is a critical part of making high-quality recordings for the following reasons:

To minimize outside noises: Soundproofing prevents outside sounds from ruining a recording, so you don’t have to worry about noises from airplanes, car horns, people, loud weather, animals, etc.

To minimize inside noises: It’s not just outside sounds that are a problem when recording audio; noises inside your recording studio can also ruin a recording session.

Soundproofing helps dampen sounds made by air conditioning and heat systems, computer fans, keyboard clicks, recording equipment, etc.