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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Soundproofing your Studio on a Budget

Building a soundproof studio doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. There are many new and innovative products that can be used to obtain professional results. It is always best when building a studio to squeeze every STC (sound transmission class) point you can from the materials you are using. Some of the things that will help you towards that goal are staggered studs. Staggered studs is where the studs are offset so that there is less wallboard to structure contact. In other words, the drywall or soundboard would only come in contact with every other stud on a wall assembly. Staggered studs are a relatively cheap way to begin soundproofing your studio.
The next thing we want to look at is insulation for the wall (stud) cavities and the joist cavities for a ceiling. I always recommend a sound batt insulation called Roxul to be placed in wall cavities and up against the top of the ceiling cavities. Roxul is a rock wool insulation that absorbs sound and helps to damp the structure in either a wall or ceiling assembly. In a ceiling cavity you can fill the rest of the cavity with regular fiberglass insulation. That way the fiberglass insulation would be isolated in the cavity. Keep in mind that regular fiberglass insulation is a not a very good soundproofer.
Once we have the insulation installed in both the wall and ceiling cavities we come to a crossroads. For the best soundproofing you would want to float the walls and the ceiling using sound clips and metal furring channels. Sound clips are sound isolating devices that are used to suspend a ceiling or wall. Metal furring channels are a channel that fits into the sound clips and then become the interface between the drywall and the joist or the studs. The sound clips system is a suspension system that acts to isolate the new ceiling from the joist or stud structure.
If you can’t do a floated wall or ceiling, don’t despair there are other barrier and damping materials that can be used to soundproof the walls and ceiling of you studio.Mass loaded vinyl is a product that is widely used as a soundproofing agent throughout the United States and Canada.
Mass loaded vinyl, or MLV as we like to call it, is a high grade vinyl material that is impregnated with barium salts and silica to give it the same properties as lead sheeting, but without the hazards associated with lead. MLV can be stapled directly to the open studs of a wall assembly or to the joist structure of a ceiling assembly. The MLV would be stapled or nailed to the structure using an industrial stapler or a nail gun that shoots the roofing nails with the plastic heads. A plastic cap stapler is actually the best stapler for this application. Once the MLV has been stapled up to the stud or joist structure, you would liberally caulk all seams as well as the perimeter with an acoustical caulk. Generally any reputable soundproofing company that sells MLV will also have acoustical caulk available. After you have installed the MLV and have sealed it properly, you next step is to drywall over top of it with a layer of 5/8” drywall. It is also advisable to caulk the seams of the drywall to make sure you have a good sealed wall or ceiling assembly. A well-soundproofed wall using the MLV can be up around a 45 to 50 STC, which is pretty good considering what an untreated wall assembly would be. You also have the option of using the sound clips and furring channels in conjunction with the MLV to give you even greater soundproofing.
There are other soundproofing agents such as Green Glue and Closed cell foams that can help in your effort to soundproof your studio, but we will discuss them later in other articles. We will also discuss studio doors and windows in subsequent articles. The Experts at can help you obtain these great soundproofing products and they can also help you with the acoustical treatments you will need once your studio is completely soundproofed. I hope this article has been informative and gives you the knowledge that you can indeed build and soundproof you home or commercial studio effectively and economically. This is Dr. Bob…Out!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fiberglass insulation is more effective in the low frequencies. Lab tests prove this.

MLV is nothing more than something heavy... like drywall. Very expensive relative to performance. Look at the lab data on this stuff.

Green Glue is very effective with standard drywall.

Clips are good, but decoupling with framing is cheaper and better. Staggered studs, double studs are bothe cheaper and better.

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