How to Find a Soundproof Home

How to Find a Soundproof Home

 

If you have had sound problems in the earlier period and are seeking a latest home you know very well the significance of locating a home that by now had some properties of soundproofing built in. It is usually very hard to measure the levels of sound in a home through the first walk through and all of us know that nobody wants to shift into a boisterous environment.

 

Most of the people, as per scientific research, in fact ignore noise. As per reports, a very less percentage of population becomes aggravated at extended sessions with high levels of sound. Scientists are not certain of the reason for the very low percentage however what they are aware is that an individual who has not had tolerance to noise in the past is not unexpectedly going to find it endurable. They are actually more irritated than anybody at hearing new sounds.

 

It is important to ensure that you locate a house that is as soundproof as feasible. For doing so, you will require doing a small amount of investigative work.

 

The foremost thing you will want doing is looking at the house very closely. Ensure you observe the windows to find out how thick the glass is and to make sure that the condition of the window is good. It is vital to ensure the proper opening, closing and sealing of the windows, both around the edges and on their close. Windows are an enormous origin of noise, also in walls that are finished with soundproofing materials. For soundproofing, double hung windows are the foremost while awning windows and casement windows are second and third respectively.

 

Also you will want to have an inspector or contractor observe the manner the systems of utility in the house were built. If the house is older the heating, plumbing, electrical or air systems could be old and, therefore, considerably noisy. Your best stake is having every system switched on while you are at home in order that you can listen to them for yourself.

 

Few other things are there that you can question yourself regarding the houses you are considering also. These include:

 

  • Where the rooms that are intended to be quiet are located. Are the bedrooms at the rear of the home or on the street?
  • Is there a squeaking sound in the floors? Are they hardwood or covered in rug?
  • Is there proper insulation in the home?
  • Is the home in a silent community or on a boisterous street?
  • Are you close to any main transportation lines?

 

The more you are aware about a home before the more you will know about the extent of soundproofing work that requires to be done. Ensure you set a boundary for yourself in order that you know accurately how eager you are for getting that work done suppose you purchase the house. If the sound level in the house doesn’t make you happy you must simply move on. The appropriate home will come along in time.

How to Build a Recording Studio – Part-8: Studio Design, Materials and Tools

How to Build a Recording Studio – Part-8: Studio Design, Materials and Tools

Designing a recording studio is a professional job. Every room is totally isolated and separated from each other. The widely accepted method is to build a room within a room. The inner walls have no contact with the outer walls, creating an air gap between them that traps sound. All the walls can be several feet thick and rooms are divided by doors and more than one layer of thick glass.

The floors of every room is raised from the ground using spacers that also help to maintain an air gap to minimize vibrations and to stop undesired sound leakage. Floors have their unique characteristics that make sound waves reflect off their surfaces. While floors made from wood provide a warm tone, tile and concrete give a brighter tone. This is also true in case of walls.

A proper plan is necessary to draw cables from room to room so that every room is interconnected for microphone signal and headphone communication systems. PVC tubing or specially made cable channels are used to send microphone cables to the control room via a panel. Headphone lines connecting the control room are run through the walls to communicate with all rooms.

Materials and Tools

Drywall is used on walls. More drywall layers will increase the studio wall thickness. Drywall layers will be of different thicknesses. By alternating along the seams you will minimize transmission of sound between rooms. You will need drywall screws and an electric drill.

Ceiling clouds and wall panels covered with fabrics are used to control absorption. Fabrics of specific types have different frequency of absorption. Each texture and thickness has different co-efficient rating at different frequency bands.

Any fiberglass product used and AC duct board are covered with fabric and stuck with spray glue and these absorbing panels are called Bass Traps and Wall Boxes. Fiberglass Insulation or thermal fiber is sandwiched between sets of walls and ceiling to build up additional thickness giving a different texture, consisting of fiberglass, and this is excellent for trapping sound.

Sand can be used as a very good alternative choice for filling up walls preventing transmission of sound wave. Wooden structures support the boxes and panels. Bigger bass traps having large ports may be made from fiberglass or wood. Mathematically designed wooden slats form panels for absorbing and refracting or for soaking up and scattering of sound within a room. Wooden custom racks house the console, patch bay and outboard gear. Custom studios may also be designed for particular style and situation.

Doors, walls and Windows

Doors and walls account for the maximum leakage of sound in recording studios. A small air gap of ¼ inch at the lower threshold of a door can leak sound to the extent of 30%. All the gaps must be sealed for maximum possible sound proofing. All gaps present in corners and cutaways for frames of windows and doors must be sealed using a caulking or silicon material. Remember that sound will pass through any gap that air can.

 

How to Build a Recording Studio ­- Part 7: Acoustics

How to Build a Recording Studio ­- Part 7: Acoustics

Sound, like ripples formed on water when a stone is dropped on it is a wave. If the waves are larger, the tone is lower. Lower tones, called bass frequencies, move in long wide waves while higher tones called treble frequencies move in a constricted, shorter wave. Human ear can comprehend sound of frequencies ranging from 20 Hz to 20 KHz. For instance, a piano has the widest range among all instruments, ranging from 39 Hz (low note) and 3 KHz (high note).

Measurement of sound is done in decibels (dB). A normal concert produces approximately 95-100 dB of sound and a noisy rock concert could produce a sound of 130 dB. This is more than the threshold of pain; don’t forget to put on your earplugs which are specially made to protect your ears when you are exposed to very high sound levels. It is Interesting to know that whales can easily produce sound levels of even 180 dB. So avoid proximity to whales and wear some ear protection when you are exposed to such loud noises.

Absorption

In absorption a sound wave is soaked up by a certain material and is measured by its co-efficient rating. The higher the rating of the material, the more is sound that is removed from the affected areas in your room. The various parts of the room may need differing co-efficient rating. Studios are empty shells in the beginning. Hard walls and surfaces have to be treated to make a room that sounds great. For instance, studios commonly use theater curtains of 20 gauge. It is a dense velvet material, having excellent absorption capacity for high-end frequencies. The thinner materials can absorb higher frequencies. Thicker materials absorb lower frequencies. This is the reason for having thick bass traps of large sizes containing holes or ports or to block low-end frequencies.

The variety of designs and products used in the industry is endless. Wall panels are widely used for absorbing sound. These are fiberglass panels enveloped in a cloth fabric. Varying thicknesses and sizes are used in cases of problem frequencies. Here too, the thin materials absorb high end frequencies and thicker materials the low end.

Reflection

This is opposed to absorption. Assume that the sound wave is striking a mirror and reflecting back. This favors a brighter tone. If there is too much of absorption in a room causing it to sound extremely dead, place hard surfaces like wood panels in strategic spots to enhance the sound in the room.

There are studios having hanging panels that can be reversed or flipped from reflective to absorptive and vice versa to alter the sound in the room at will. Vocals will need more absorptive, dead sounding room. Drums need a more live room. Drums create the opposite effect when absorption is used in a room that is small and tight producing a heavy sound of Pop drum.

These are only guidelines, not rules. Make use of your ears for deciding the best sound.

 

 

How to Build a Recording Studio – Part 6: Separate Rooms: Control Room and Live Room

How to Build a Recording Studio – Part 6: Separate Rooms: Control Room and Live Room

Control Room

Almost all studios have many isolated rooms for recording, mixing, as well as production. The principal agenda when building multiple rooms for a studio is soundproofing. To realize this, the foremost objective is making the rooms airtight. If you can prevent air from leaking in or leaving a room, sound also has less chances of entering or exiting.

Usually all pro studios use double doors fitted with sound lock to prevent leakage of noise. They are also built with thick dual walls having air gaps in between them to help trap undesired sound. The studio floors are also floated meaning that they are raised above the ground level to further prevent more leakage and vibrations.

The first area of focus is the Control Room which houses the mixing console and outboard gear. Control of all the recording and mixing is done here. The acoustics of this room is so designed that we can hear the exact sound being recorded or mixed. The sound in the room should be such that it represents the sound as natural and accurate as possible.

The foremost condition for a room that is acoustically treated properly is that there are no parallel walls. Suppose you are inside the room having solid parallel walls, now clap your hands and you will hear the sound reflecting to and fro. This is flutter echo. This is undesirable for recording as well as for mixing. For the sound to be great, you have to trap the undesired bass in the room also. It is estimated that twenty five percent space in a room should be set aside for bass traps for proper mixing room.

Live Room

The next location commanding equal importance is the Live Room. The music is recorded here where the vocalists and musicians perform using the microphones. Since they are required to adapt to varying recording situations live rooms have to be more versatile. Wood floors are examples of great reflectors of sound, creating a brighter tone. If you need a warmer tone, you could just lay a rug on the floor. A number of live rooms are fitted with a considerable amount of glass to enable sighting between rooms for better communication besides being very reflective. Several studios also use curtains to regulate the quantity of reflections off hard walls or glass. Non-parallel walls are essential to remove flutter echoes.

A few studios also have a vocal booth inside the live room. This a smaller room meant for vocals. They are also usable for guitar amps and some instruments. No specific rules are laid down for its utility; its main objective is additional isolation when the recording process is on. Glass windows and doors are used so that the artists and people operating the control room can see each other.

Many high end studios may have more than one control room and production set. Lounges and good bathroom facilities are also critical in maintaining creativity. It can also have a kitchen and dining area if budgets permit. People work for several hours in the studio on projects. It is imperative to provide them all the domestic comforts so that everyone is happy.

You also need comfortable offices with private internet access for the client to handle his business without any interruptions. Every studio has a different design limited only by your imagination. There are only guidelines, no rules.

How to Build a Recording Studio – Part 4: Studio Equipment – Sync Generators, Monitors, Amplifiers, CD Recorders, and other gears

How to Build a Recording Studio – Part 4: Studio Equipment – Sync Generators, Monitors, Amplifiers, CD Recorders, and other gears

In this part we shall discuss the final batch of devices and tools used in a recording studio which include the Sync generator, CD Recorder, Tape machines, Monitors, Amplifiers, cabling, Headphones, Microphone stands, Instruments etc.

Sync Generator creates tones to facilitate machine to machine communication so that many recording devices can be coordinated (synchronized) and operate at one speed. Clocking acts with synchronization (sync) as and when digital and analog equipment are combined. Sync uses MTC (midi time code), SMPTE, Midi Clock and MMC (midi machine control) so that recording on many tape machines and DAWs are linked up.

CD Recorder is used for recording and playing back of compact discs. It enables the recording of stereo mixes and playback of these mixes on any other CD players. The standard for CD playback for consumer is 16 bit and the sampling rate is 44.1 kHz.

Tape Machines use both digital and analog tape for music recording and playback. Some traditionalists in sound recording like the sound produced by analog tape.

Cabling: You will need miles of different cabling for one studio. Commonly used cables are balanced XLR mic cables and unbalanced instrument cables of 1/4 inch.

Monitors / Amps Speakers installed in the recording studio are known as Monitors. Powerful flawless amps are required for running monitors. Several monitors are self-driven, meaning that they have amplifiers built into them. Monitors generally have low frequency woofers, high frequency tweeters, and cabinets housing the speakers and related components.

Headphones for communication: A battery of earphones facilitate communication between the studio and control room, also facilitates listening to pre-recorded tracks during the process of overdubbing. Another name for headphones in the industry is cans.

Instruments / Keyboards / Guitars: These are some of the tools of the trade. Even if you have the best studio gear available, if your instruments are bad then you are starting on the wrong foot.

Amplifiers: Often called an amp. Amps increase the volume or amplitude of electrical signals received from sound waves. These are required for powering speakers. Bass and Guitar amps may be used for several other applications such as running a snare drum or vocal through them.

Microphone Stands: A wide range of styles and sizes are needed for an ideal recording studio. The mic stand holds the microphone in position properly for getting the best possible sound quality.

Studio Furniture: There are quite a few types of furniture and racks designed to hold the outboard gear and consoles. The interior decoration helps to liven up the atmosphere of the working environment of the recording studio.

 

 

How to Build a Recording Studio – Part 1: Studio Considerations

How to Build a Recording Studio – Part 1: Studio Considerations

Studio Considerations

There is magic in the recording studio that often mystifies even the most experienced professionals. It is not surprising that most non-technical people get overawed seeing all the knobs, buttons and switches on the different equipment and big format consoles. Several people, particularly engineers, artists, producers and composers, will start forming their personal studio for writing as well as pre-production, while some of them even deciding to go to the full extent and create a fully equipped recording complex capable of recording even major albums. In this article will discuss some points to be taken into account when creating a studio, whether it is a small home studio or one for professional recording purposes.

Is size critical? Some may think so but it is not always so. The room dimensions are no doubt important. A too big room may turn out to be over-reverberant or be filled with unwanted echoes. A too small room may sound constricted and odd. It is to be ensured that the size of the room and room sound is appropriate to the kind of music being recorded. It is not advisable to try recording BIG rock drums in a small restricted room. You can realize the effects of big room sounds by the addition of exterior reverb effects to simulate big rooms later on when necessary.

But it is advisable to locate a room that best suits the type of sound you plan to achieve at the very start of the process of recording itself. If the room is smaller the sound will be tighter; this need not be a bad situation. Such rooms are ideal for vocals, percussion and guitars if you are planning a clean tight sound. There is more air in larger rooms for sound to traverse; therefore the sound will be a bigger and more open. The time available for the sound wave to travel is more; therefore it will take longer for the reflection of sound to bounce from the walls producing a bigger more open sound. The decision about the size and sound must be taken early on before the start of the recording. One advantage of having a larger room is the possibility to scale down the room using modular baffles or ‘go-between’ (gobos) partitions, to stop sound by positioning them separating the musicians, microphones and instruments. Placing the gobos surrounding the microphone at close proximity will make a large room having high ambiance sound as if it is smaller. This will also eliminate the reflections bouncing off the walls located further away.

An expert engineer can make any room sound great with some adjustment. A room with poor sounding can be managed to sound nice, though that needs a lot of time and work. The real test is to play some instruments or vocal recordings and place them in different parts of the room until you reach the optimum quality of sound.

In the next part we discuss about getting the equipment needed starting with the Console.

 

 

Choosing An Acoustic Consultancy – What Should Matter?

Choosing An Acoustic Consultancy – What Should Matter?

Whether you are considering putting up business premises, entertainment premises, or residential premises, you could be required to follow regulations for sound insulation that are appropriate in your locality. Also you might want to form private spaces that are without noises for your renters and this implies setting up measures to keep interference of noise minimal. No matter what your requirements, an acoustic consultancy can be useful in ensuring that there is proper insulation of your building and it passes any required test with your construction regulatory body.

Acoustic consultants provide a wide array of services to different groups. Few of the services that can be enjoyed from your consultant consist of assessments for noise impact for purposes of planning, noise and vibration assessment, sound insulation testing and surveys for noise in workarea. All of them are very vital services that can really assist you make the correct decisions with your development. However then for enjoying the optimum services you should locate a consultancy that you can believe to deliver further than your expectations. Some factors can break or make your acoustic consultant and hence they should matter.

Coverage – A reliable and good consultancy must widely cover the services they offer. While working with a service provider as such, you can be certain to enjoy the expert services irrespective of the location of your property. A neighboring consultancy with countrywide coverage will prove beneficial any day.

Fast turnaround – Developers do not have the comfort of time at all times and hence worthy of quick turnaround time with any essential noise surveys. The optimum acoustic consultancy must therefore be able to finish the surveys in the least time possible following enquiry to fulfill the necessities of the client. Actually you do not want to prolong the process of sound approval, particularly if your schedule doesn’t enable for such delays.

Services – Besides running sound tests on your development or property, what remaining services can be enjoyed from the consultant? A provider who can guide you through sound insulation and acoustics process and offer you required guidance for your development is optimum. Even it is better when you locate a consultant for supplying you with acoustical equipment you could need for your property like vibration meters, sound limiters, and analyzers of sound level among others. Ascertain what you are likely to enjoy prior to hiring your consultancy.

Dedication – An expert acoustic consultant must be in a position to surpass all what you expect with providing their services each time. They must be sincere with the charges for service, honest with the assessment of project and provide useful advice to make your property better. Consultants with very much experience are invariably better placed to fulfill all your necessities and to supply the services within the time most convenient for you.

When selecting an acoustic consultant, it is vital that you begin by assessing what your particular requirements are. This will assist you choose a professional who can efficiently and easily provide the expected results.

Making Your Home Theater Sound Better – Part 1: The role of the room

Making Your Home Theater Sound Better – Part 1: The role of the room

This article is divided into two parts. In the first part we discuss the importance of the home theater room parameters like room dynamics that plays no less role than the acoustical equipment that are installed in the room. In Part 2, we will be discussing how to absorb unwanted sound and tackle reverberation and echo as well as some tips for guidance.

When manufacturers of cheaper stereo products began assembling cassette players, amplifiers, record turntables and radio tuners all in a single plastic box, the frank audiophiles would flaunt the supremacy of component systems. In a component system, each different part could be chosen based on its quality and ability to merge with the other components to produce a great sound system. But what was overlooked to bring to the knowledge of the users happens to be the fact that the room itself is one among the top most single components of a good sound system.

The layout, size, and the several items inside the room also will affect the quality of sound of your home theater system. The paint used for the walls, the windows, the furniture and all the other items in the room will influence the room acoustics. Most potential users do not take tis into consideration when they pay in thousands for the equipment box seats, huge screens, and other accessories of an ideal theater. If you are looking for the finest fidelity as well as sound experience, you have to be knowledgeable about how acoustic panels are able to enhance the experience of your home theater.

Room dynamics

Today’s modern home, having hard surfaces and high ceiling, presents a bad acoustic environment.  Then there are the sound reflections to content with, as also the effects of dampening (sound deadening) caused by various materials. Also present are entities known as standing waves, which are actually distortions of sound  that are present like unseen swirling statues in the theater space due to the specifications of the room size, arrangement and internal reflective surfaces. It can really cause an acoustical nightmare.

Now, there are other treatments like soundproofing that are connected with this topic but are not dealt with in detail in this article. Soundproofing is done to make sure that the sound produced in the room is not leaked out, and also that sound coming from outside is not able to enter in. But, few of the fundamental steps of soundproofing are inevitable parts of the design of your basic home theater. This may be of help to you right from the beginning in facing the challenge of constructing a room-within-a-room, that is, the sound-controlled, isolated space of your home theater.

 

 

Get Relief of Disquieting Noise with Soundproofing

Get Relief of Disquieting Noise with Soundproofing

There exist several reasons for carrying out soundproofing. The most important reason among them for soundproofing being creation of a peaceful environment. You may be troubled by the traffic noise outdoors or the noisy neighbors in the flat above or adjacent door in a multi-residential building or office building. You may also wish to carry out the soundproofing of a juvenile’s bedroom for keeping away the clamor of the stereo, or the baby’s room for keeping noises out. Whatever may be your reason for desiring a quieter and lesser noise; there exists a definite soundproofing method for doing the particular job right.

In case you have taken the decision to take up the soundproof job yourself, first you have to determine where the source of the noise is. This will help you to plan how to approach the issue of soundproofing. Sound can originate from a very large number of sources both internal as well as external and therefore you have to start by switching off every one of the appliances and other electrical items at home and listening to track the source of the sound. You are aware that noise can pass through even the tiniest of gaps or cracks in your room and so you will start checking the windows, walls, doors, ceilings and the corresponding sealants. Also it is advisable to carry out this test on several occasions and different days as well as different times during the day.

Soundproofing can give more Privacy:

The uniqueness of soundproofing of an area like a wall is judged by sound transmission class (STC). Normal private conversation can be heard and comprehended on the other side of a wall of STC-25 rating. When you improve the soundproofing to STC-60, not a difficult one to achieve, a loud shouting will be audible but not comprehended. For a good outdoor wall only adding thermal insulation like cellulose or fiberglass, will save energy, but that alone will only marginally help in soundproofing it. If you make the wall totally airtight it might have a larger impact in stopping external noise from neighbors and traffic.

Inner walls in most of the homes are not thoroughly insulated.  A single drywall layer nailed to 2×4 studs will have a STC of about 34. This would mean that loud talking can be heard and understood on the other side of the wall. In older homes, there can be openings and gaps in walls making things much worse. A minimum of STC 48 is specified for a normal bedroom wall when the adjoining bedroom is normally not noisy. In the case of a bedroom wall adjoining a noisy living room or a kitchen, the minimum recommended is STC-52, STC-58 being considered optimal. The level of noise tolerance also varies according to individuals.

Spray Foam Insulation In A Nutshell

Spray Foam Insulation In A Nutshell

 

Spray foam insulation functions for any house, be it a recently built one or an ancient one. It assists keep pollutants and allergens outside the house even as also decreasing the stress on the cooling and heating system of the structure. Although the insulation is ideal for providing general effect throughout the house, specific areas are present that could require it the maximum, for example the basement, the walls, and the attic. In these areas it can be applied letting you to experience until 50% better conservation of energy and also better control of moisture in your house.

 

Usually the spray foam insulation is generally divided into three groups. The first kind is retrofit by which it is not used for anything else other than insulating and renovating the house. The second kind is addition which is utilized for extending the present system as suggested by its name. Then a custom type is present that is utilized for insulating a recently constructed home. Spraying of the foam is done on the insulation for filling the gaps and supply an airtight barrier that lets your home to remain as it should.

 

There are many benefits that spray foam insulation has in comparison other methods of insulation like fiberglass and cellulose insulation. Fiberglass insulation is somewhat out-of-date and hence a lot of people favor using spray foam insulation which has been proven and tested to work efficiently and has been about since the previous decade or two. Also people consider the difficulty level for installation, and installing spray foam is a lot easier in comparison to other methods of insulation like fiberglass.

 

One more benefit of utilizing spray foam insulation is that it isn’t susceptible to attack by pests, termites, and remaining rodents as it applies to other methods like cellulose insulation. Also it provides good soundproofing capabilities, it is energy efficient and cool and hence your monthly bills for utility will be considerably lessened when you are utilizing it. Usually it is applied in form of liquid, and subsequently it expands by as much as hundred times its existing liquid size in only a few seconds. It complies with and fills each tiny gap while it expands for creating a sealed thermal envelope. In turn this creates a defensive wall against wind and also a protection against leakage.

 

This insulation is further divided into two types, called the open and closed cells. The basis of this subdivision is the location of various places in the house and also the climatic conditions. Each system has its benefits based on some factors. Open cells are reasonably advantageous when considering providing better rejection of sound while the closed cells are inferior when considering sound rejection. The cost of open cells is moderate in comparison to the closed cells. By nature the open cells have more flexibility while the closed cells are more inflexible and hence it is quite hard to move them around. The closed cells will though be the superior option in an area that is flood prone because they do not allow water in.