6 Best Materials For Soundproofing A Recording Studio (Reduce up to 90% of Sound)

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Proper acoustic treatment through soundproofing and sound absorption materials is critical for professional recording studios to achieve exceptional audio quality.

This enables them to produce pristine, broadcast-ready recordings by both containing exterior noise and shaping ideal interior acoustics.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the imperative benefits of studio soundproofing, survey specialized materials available, and review techniques for optimal noise control and audio capture.

Join us as we uncover how to craft a true sonic sanctuary tailored to creativity and professional sound engineering.

Why Soundproofing Matters In A Recording Studio

There are several key reasons why extensive sound isolation and insulation strategies are foundational for serious recording spaces.

First, soundproofing blocks disruptive external noises from compromising tracks.

Sounds like passing traffic, machinery, and loud neighbors easily bleed through walls, disrupting vocal recordings, diminishing immersive instrument tones, and muddying final mix quality.

Studio soundproofing contains these distractions, ensuring noise-free tracks.

Second, quality soundproofing achieves pristine studio recordings ready for professional use.

The noise control allows engineers complete flexibility when applying effects like reverb or compression without contamination from leaks.

Vocal performances shine with more intimacy and nuance, resonating as intended. Meticulous soundproofing empowers flawless raw audio for mixing mastery.

Next, sound insulation grants studios total control over the listening and tracking environment.

Instead of ambient noises randomly filtering through hollow drywall, engineers design a carefully bounded space optimized for sound.

This customization ability allows dialing in room dynamics like reverberation time, resonance modes, and frequency balance to achieve reference-grade monitoring and recording conditions.

Finally, exceptional soundproofing elevates the listener experience both technically and emotionally.

Audiences discern clear differences hearing their favorite artists record in amateur home spaces versus finely tuned studios.

Beyond technical metrics, the immersive experience transports listeners as intended. By containing sonic distractions, soundproofing enables profound artist-to-audience connection.

What Are The Best Soundproofing Materials for Professional Recording Studios

Constructing an acoustically isolated recording facility requires specialized soundproofing products and construction methods beyond basic building materials.

We will survey some of the most effective options.

1. Soundproofing Panels

Soundproofing foam comprise dense, noise-blocking layers made using insulation like mineral wool fiber.

Soundproofing panels made from Nitrile Butadiene Rubber is an alternative if you cannot remove your wall for any reason.

These panels are manually installed to cover interior wall and ceiling cavities.

Soundproofing panels provide supplemental mass which impedes noise vibrations, significantly enhancing acoustic insulation compared to drywall alone.

They also damp resonances when combined with decoupling techniques. Panels are an efficient way to reduce sound transmission through existing surfaces.

2. Resilient Channels

Resilient channels are formed steel furring strips with perpendicular lips along each side.

The channels screw directly over wall studs or ceiling joists with drywall then fastened onto the opposite resilient channel side.

This creates a small decoupled air cavity between drywall and the structural framing.

As sound travels through walls, the resilience of the channel absorbs rather than transfering vibrations onto the drywall.

This staggered stud configuration breaks noise paths substantially boosting sound isolation. Resilient channels are fundamental construction components for achieving professional-grade soundproofing.

3. Drywall Layers

Adding extra drywall layers improves sound isolation by increasing mass which impedes noise transfer.

Additional gypsum boards also allow implementing damping glue between sheets. Typical professional studio walls utilize a double or occasionally triple drywall configuration with Green Glue.

Each added sheet enhances acoustic separation from adjacent spaces, especially when installed atop channels.

Staggered mounting offsets drywall seams between layers for minimal vibration contact. Combined with sealant, multiple drywall sheets create noise containment shells.

4. Green Glue

Green Glue is a patented viscoelastic damping compound installed between layers of drywall to mechanically decouple them, severing vibration transfer paths significantly.

The adhesive’s unique molecular structure transforms noise energy into subtle heat rather than allowing transmission to the next wall layer.

Green Glue offers superior acoustic isolation over drywall alone and is vastly more effective than standard caulking.

It remains flexible over time while also resisting mold growth. Green Glue paired with double drywall and resilient channels can achieve professional studio-grade 60+ STC noise reduction.

5. Damping Compounds

In addition to Green Glue, various damping compounds like QuietGlue also assist structural soundproofing.

These viscoelastic membranes apply directly onto wall, ceiling, and floor substrates before drywall installation.

The damping concentrate improves acoustic separation by converting noise vibrations into unobtrusive heat energy rather than allowing transmission.

This reduces ambient noise levels within the space.

Damping compounds enhance standard assemblies to optimal studio-quality acoustics and particularly smooth lower-frequency response.

6. Acoustic Caulk

Finally, flexible acoustical caulking and specialty gaskets provide vital gap sealing around soundproofed partitions.

Air leaks at electrical outlets, windows, venting, and doors enable noise flanking undermining other materials.

High-performance caulking remains durable long-term while blocking sound bleed.

Careful perimeter caulking ensures noise does not compromise the acoustic insulation performance achieved through panels, multiple drywall sheets, damping glue, and soundproof doors and windows.

Every gap must seal for true isolation.

How to Properly Soundproof a Recording Studio

Now that we have covered the primary soundproofing materials for professional studios, this section explores best practices for installation tailored to each room surface.

Carefully containing sound leakage is mandatory for broadcast environments.

1. Soundproof The Walls

As the most common noise infiltration culprits, walls require robust treatment. Begin by exposing wall studs down to bare structural framing.

Then pack all open cavities with soundproofing insulation like dense Rockwool safely encapsulated in vapor barrier.

Next, securely install resilient channels horizontally across all studs. The channels must mount directly to the studs, not to existing drywall.

Once channels anchor firmly, install double or triple drywall sheets onto the open sides of the channels.

Use Green Glue damping compound between each layer. Finally, meticulously caulk all edges with long-lasting acoustical sealant rated to block airborne sound transmission.

Covering interior gaps also helps contain noise leaks.

These collective measures create a floating wall inside an existing frame achieving 50+ STC Noise Reduction.

2. Soundproof The Ceiling

Studio ceilings also warrant upgrading beyond basic drywall, particularly for spaces built on upper floors.

Creating an isolated ceiling starts by adding a second independent ceiling below existing infrastructure.

This entails fastening resilient channels below the structural ceiling, packing channels with dense insulation like Rockwool Safensound then installing one or more drywall layers onto the open channel sides.

Be sure to decouple the ceiling drywall sheets from wall connections using acoustical caulking.

The new detached ceiling will now float on its own channel and anchor systems without contacting original building surfaces.

Finally, seal all ceiling light and fixture penetrations using soundproof backing boxes and gaskets behind trim pieces. Adding this secondary soundproof ceiling minimizes external noise intrusion from above central tracking rooms.

3. Soundproof The Floors

Containing footfall noise depends on both dense underlayment and floating floor systems.

Begin by laying thick mass loaded vinyl sheets atop the original floor – this adds mass to impede noise transmission down into rooms below.

Then install a quality acoustic underlayment product rated for maximum Impact Insulation Class sound blocking.

Common types include cork, recycled rubber pads, and specially engineered underlay. Ensure full floor coverage, sealing seams with acoustic tape.

Finally, construct the new floating studio floor using dense laminate planks with attached foam backing atop the underlay.

Do not nail or glue boards to the existing floor – freely floating planks prevent contact transferring noise.

Combine MLV sheeting, acoustic underlay padding, and floating floor assemblies to successfully isolate studios built over busy spaces below.

4. Soundproof The Windows

Preventing unwanted exterior sound transmission through windows relies first on upgraded solid panes, then careful sealing treatments.

Replacing standard single pane windows with laminated or thick double/triple glazing inherently blocks more noise by increasing glass density.

If full window replacement proves unfeasible, consider retrofit window plugs comprising an extra glass pane on a perimeter seal and frame – these achieve similar noise reduction more affordably.

Around improved windows, methodically caulk any remaining air gaps at corners or the window unit edge with long-lasting acoustical sealant.

Lastly, ensure thick curtains stay drawn over windows during recording sessions for supplemental transmission blocking if walls lack additional drywall layers.

Addressing each weakness empowers overall sound containment.

5. Soundproof The Doors

Doors often overlooked as noise leakage points require dedicated attention.

Begin by replacing any hollow interior doors with dense solid core wood types at least 13⁄4 inches thick, sealing perimeter edges with fitted acoustic gaskets.

External entry doors should comprise thick tempered glass over a substantive steel frame – using automatic door bottoms and magnetic compression seals around the full border.

Lastly, apply sweep seals with acoustic brushes across interior side door bottoms preventing flanking as talent and crew enter tracking rooms.

Monitoring all door edges prevents airborne and physical sound intrusion through overlooked seams and cracks compromising isolation booths.

What Are Sound Absorption Materials

In tandem with preventing exterior sound infiltration requires controlling interior acoustic dynamics so musicians hear an accurate blend of their vocals, instruments, and other ensemble members throughout recording sessions.

This relies on sound absorption using materials tuned to capture rather than reflect sonic energy. Let’s explore some common options.

1. Acoustic Panels

Acoustic panels typically embed molded fiberglass or bamboo-fiber layers encased in fabric behind perforated front facings.

As soundwaves strike the panel, tiny cavities and insulation materials within dissipate over 95% of energy as subtle heat rather than harsh reflections.

This absorption is essential for regulating reverb, echo, and flutter within the tracking space.

Acoustic panels mount in a grid-like configuration onto side walls and ceilings using adhesive or compression brackets.

Placement utilizes careful calculations determining optimal quantity and location permutations for a given room volume.

Correct acoustic panel coverage fine tunes the interior listening environment.

2. Bass Traps

While acoustic panels effectively absorb mid to high frequencies, low-end bass requires dedicated corner-mounted bass traps to avoid muddiness.

Bass traps utilize dense insulation for maximum low-frequency sound absorption down to at least 80 Hz, though sub-40 Hz designs now exist.

The thickness, angle, and mineral wool density combination targets extended wavelengths traversing room corners.

Installed floor-to-ceiling, bass traps prevent uncontrolled low-end buildup so musicians accurately hear kick drums, bass guitars, cellos, and synth tones shaping tracks.

No studio can function without corner bass traps reigning in boomy resonance accumulation.

3. Sound Diffusers

Diffusers complement absorption by scattering sound waves in complex sequences instead of a distinct reflection pattern.

Diffusers contain intricate sawtooth-like facings which subdivide and redirect incident sound energy to surrounding surfaces.

This achieves well-diffused “randomized” soundcritical for even room coverage.

Common professional diffuser panel types include quadratic residue diffusers (QRD) and primitive root variants covering full mid-high frequency spectrums.

Mixing diffusers with absorption acoustic panels yields balanced soundstage distribution for accurate reference monitoring, global stereo imaging, and source localization.

Conclusion

In closing, we have thoroughly surveyed the imperative benefits of studio soundproofing and sound absorption for achieving professional-caliber recording conditions.

Containing exterior noise while expertly tuning interior acoustics proves foundational for frequency precision, mix translation, pinpoint sound localization and profound listener connection.

We distilled specialized materials central to isolation and audio quality like sound panels, resilient channels, multiple drywall configurations, high-performance adhesives, sealants and precise placement strategies elevating tracking spaces.

Engineers cannot command flawless records in sonically lackluster rooms.

Carefully consulting acoustic design principles when soundproofing studios grants artists profound influence and emotional resonance for fans worldwide as originally intended.

This embodies master recording success.

Dominic

Dominic is the chief editor of the Burton Acoustix blog which writes about acoustics and soundproofing to help readers with their queries and questions they might have with regard to improving any sound or noise issues that they faced in their life.