Home studio carpentry and acoustics

Four Aspects of Sound Isolation

Four Aspects of Sound Isolation

When it comes to sound isolation for your recording studio environment, you only need to keep four things in mind.
Mass: The first line of defense in soundproofing
Decoupling: Break the connections that sound vibrations use to get from one side of a wall to the other.
Distance: Gain better overall sound reduction and increased low frequency isolation.
Absorption: Control mid to high frequency and also damp the individual wall panels.

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Acoustics for recording or theater playback

Small room acoustics for recording or theater playback

A typical small recording room is going to be made in a room available in the home. There are magnified acoustical issues with small rooms that are not issues at all with medium to large rooms, rooms of 1500 cubic feet or larger.

Let us use a room of the dimensions, 12 feet in length, 10 feet in width and 8 feet in height.

The first thing we want to do is to understand how sound is going to be in this room, how it is going to interact with the space as sound becomes the small room acoustics.

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Vapor Barrier placement.


Where does the vapor barrier go on an exterior framed wall assembly?

When you frame wall assemblies in a basement, and this assumes the basement is more underground than not, you install a vapor barrier on the interior side of the framed wall assembly.

Not that it (the vapor barrier) would go anywhere else in a cold region but it could be a case that you would not need one, but that would be determined by the actual wall assemblies that exist, the materials they are made of, and how cold exactly is the climate you live in and for how many days a year it remains cold at what temperature.

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Sheetrock transmission Loss

Sheetrock transmission loss in wall assemblies

Sheetrock transmission loss data IR 761
“Results of sound transmission measurements to show ability to reproduce the same results after a complete specimen rebuild. The upper curves are data for the nominal STC 57 wall while the lower curves are for the nominal STC 46 wall.”

Noise Isolation Provided by Gypsum Board Partitions
With the exception of partitions built with single wood studs without resilient furrings, there is an approximate 5 point STC rating increase each time the gypsum boards are doubled on either side of the partition. At low frequencies, the transmission loss is increased by about 5 dB for every doubling of the gypsum boards on one side of the partition.

USG The Gypsum Construction Handbook
“Outlines methods for matching systems to specific performance criteria. Covers fire and sound criteria, wood and steel partitions and sound control systems. Specialty systems include area separation walls, cavity shaft walls, fireproofing, curtain wall/fire containment systems, thermal insulation, air water and vapor control.”

Basement moisture control

Basement moisture control starts when designing.

One of the main reasons a basement gets or stays wet is due to the walls being below ground level and subject to the moisture that the Earth contains, that’s one reason. Another is the fact that the Earth is cooler and if the temperature/dew point is elevated above the exterior wall then you have a classic example of “warm to the cold side” path when temperature seeks equilibrium. Still a third reason is the typical porous cinder blocks used in the construction that can retain water.

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Floor Stc Values

STC- Sound Transmission Class: floor stc values

QTrbm – resilient base mat
“QTrbm is a dimpled, resilient base mat that can be applied under gypsum or full weight concrete to produce some of the thinnest sound rated systems in the industry.”

Kinetics Noise Control: Model RIM for Wood Floating
“Kinetics Noise Control’s premier rollout system easily creates an airspace of 1 to 4 inches and incorporates a high-performance resilient decoupler.”

Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings for concrete and masonry walls
“Q: What are the Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings for concrete and masonry walls? “

BSI-003: Concrete Floor Problems
“Moisture is involved in most building problems. The most serious tend to be structural damage due to wood decay, unhealthy fungal growth, corrosion, freeze-thaw, and damage to moisture sensitive interior finishes. Avoiding these problems requires an understanding of moisture, the nature of materials, and how it interacts with materials”

Room Acoustics Software

Software to measure the acoustics and make better mixing decisions:

Developing an acoustically enhanced recording studio has come a long way in the past 20 years. With the introduction of room acoustics software the user now has identifiable aspects for the rooms acoustics that were never available before, short of hiring an acoustics engineer to aid in the development of the room in question.

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French Cleat

French Cleat Applications for hanging treatments

French Cleat: Hanging heavy pictures panels and objects securely.

The French cleat is a common and useful builders method for hanging items on to walls. It is more secure and level then a nail in the wall or even picture hanging devices.

As a means to hang wall panels of absorbent materials this french cleat is your ticket to a stable and level hanging panel.

A French Cleat hanging or support solution can be developed in four simple steps.

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Acoustic broad band panel

Acoustic broad band panel: How to make yours right

How to make a broad band acoustic panel is a much covered area of the recording environment build process.

One of the best places to get accurate information on how to make broad band acoustic panels is JohnLSayers.com

You may have special requirements that a general type broad band absorption panel may not cover, to that I offer this linked page of many types and designs of wall mounted broad band acoustic panels to better meet your needs.

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