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I have 3 DIY created rooms in my large live/work studio/artist loft. They are made with 2x4 and 2x6, framing with drywall walls and plywood ceiling.

The apt has 14' 7" ceilings so we just have enough room for the 6' tall upper level. I'm currently framing in these upper walls. The hope is that I can turn this upper space into a great little music studio with drum kit, amps, keyboards, etc.

How can I best insulate this space so that it's quiter than it is now for my roommates (I have the drums up there already :-) ) and its especially quite for my neighbors. The apt walls are mostly drywall Side to side between concrete pillars and the floors and ceilings are both concrete.

Also, per the buildings charter (supposedly, at least) I have complete lee way to construct within the space.

Plan is now to buy some large foam and put the amps on blankets per this question

My neighbor keeps complaining about my music. How to soundproof my apartment?

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3 Answers

Have a look at my answer on this question regarding acoustic foam. You will be able to cut down sound propagation significantly using it, by coating the walls and ceilings of your rooms with the foam.

If you have the capability, you could make a significant difference by mounting the rooms on rubber bushings.

This may be overkill for your purposes, but it is used for recording studios etc. as it dramatically reduces vibration through the walls and floors being transmitted.

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A friend of mine was trying to do this and the advice he got from a sound engineer was to build a second wall inside the room with a gap between the new wall and the existing wall. The sound waves are absorbed by the interior walls and because of the air gap much less sound is transfered to the exterior walls.

I think the use of metal studs on the interior wall was also suggested because the metal provides less surface for the sound to travel from the interior to the exterior.

The ceiling could be isolated similarly but the floor is a bigger problem and since the floor can act as a big sounding board and is presumably attached solidly to the walls it will be difficult to deal will. The principle is the same but the practical aspects are much trickier.

Basically you need to absorb the energy in the sound waves. Transitions from one transmission medium (e.g. air) to another (e.g. wallboard) are the best way to absorb the energy.

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You need to build an isolated 'room within room'because you are dealing with 3 main issues. 1. Acoustic sound waves travelling through air 2. Transmission of sound waves through solid structures 3. The performance acoustics in the room you finally construct

So, a)make sure your new framework is isolated from the original structure by neoprene strips or if on a tight budget any rubber that comes your way (try scrap yard cars for matting etc) it's not to any code standard but it will work... Pay attention to the floor, it needs a neoprene 'lip' round it's sides before it touches any wall. If you can allow for 'dead' air space round the outer side of the frame so much the better. b) fill the framed walls with RW3 rock wool (or something like it but more Eco friendly!) c) use a minimum of 2 layers of plasterboard (of 2 diff thicknesses) screw the first lot of plasterboard to frame. SEAL all edges, then glue 2nd layer of board to the first in a staggered fashion eg don't have 2 sets of edges lined up together. If either set is sitting directly on your floor, isolate them with neoprene or similar. Seal all the edges like your life depends on it. d) you need a similar approach to the ceiling except now gravity works against you! e) make the door as dense/heavy as you can and find a some simple DIY rubber draught proofed to run round the frame edge.

Consider that if you leave an air gap the sound will leak, it's incredible what will spill through just a keyhole! So after you've isolated and made it airtight your going to need to breathe.... And if yr drumming it's going to get hot fast! Look into fans and baffles or silencers for the ducting. Pay attention to how/where the pipes enter and exit. Same goes for power cables.

When you've done all that listen to how the space performs and treat accordingly. You can help yourself here if you used good room dimensions to start with. As a basic rule of thumb try and avoid an absolute cube shape eg 10'x10'x10' and try and build a little 'off' eg no wall or floor to ceiling is absolutely parallel. Even a few inches diff will help prevent a build up of standing waves inside the room...

Pay attention to details and you will be rewarded. It will not be absolutely soundproof because of the space your starting with but if done right it will be EFFECTIVE, you get to keep your friends,neighbors and your soul.Most of all good luck and have good courage when the strength starts to fail. Laters.

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