Afroboy267
UG's Metastatic Resonance
Join date: Oct 2006
130 IQ
#1
I'm thinking of putting together a place where I can practice vocals (maybe to experiment with recording too).

So far the plan is to get some MDF and create a 4ft x 3ft x 7.5ft box in my home studio, then line it with 0.5 inch plasterboard and some acoustic foam tiles.

The goal is to let the least amount of sound out so I can practice and maybe record vocals any time during the day without disturbing my parents or neighbours.

So what do you guys think?
DisarmGoliath
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#2
I think if you want decent soundproofing you'll have to do more than that - even vocalists get pretty damn loud at the peak of their range/different voices.

If you really wanna do this, and have the space, at the very least make a larger enclosure (complete with floor and ceiling) in the room, and then put some rubber support wedge things (forgotten the correct term for them) in the corners and maybe halfway between each corner if required, plus something the same height under the centre (maybe a slab of concrete) to support any weight in the centre, and then create another room-shape in there.

This requires planning, good/accurate measurements and decent DIY skills though and is not the kind of thing you can just put up in a few mins and take down again after use, or move easily once built. So think carefully, and decide if you really need a soundproof booth in your room. A better thing would be to use a space that doesn't need to be as well soundproofed and just do minor stuff to it, though I appreciate that isn't always possible.
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Afroboy267
UG's Metastatic Resonance
Join date: Oct 2006
130 IQ
#3
Quote by DisarmGoliath
I think if you want decent soundproofing you'll have to do more than that - even vocalists get pretty damn loud at the peak of their range/different voices.

If you really wanna do this, and have the space, at the very least make a larger enclosure (complete with floor and ceiling) in the room, and then put some rubber support wedge things (forgotten the correct term for them) in the corners and maybe halfway between each corner if required, plus something the same height under the centre (maybe a slab of concrete) to support any weight in the centre, and then create another room-shape in there.

This requires planning, good/accurate measurements and decent DIY skills though and is not the kind of thing you can just put up in a few mins and take down again after use, or move easily once built. So think carefully, and decide if you really need a soundproof booth in your room. A better thing would be to use a space that doesn't need to be as well soundproofed and just do minor stuff to it, though I appreciate that isn't always possible.

Damn, sounds like a big job! Unfortunately I don't have the space in my room to do that. I only have enough room for a 3ft x 4ft x 7.5ft box. It doesn't have to be 100% soundproofed, but I want to get as close to that as possible with the space that I have. It wouldn't need to be movable, it'll be in 1 place the whole time.
DisarmGoliath
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#4
I mean, you could probably build something and treat it to suffer less from internal reflections or to avoid being a big bass trap or boxy room, but I don't think you could easily make a small booth that allows you to do professional sounding vocals late at night if your parents sleep next door, for example.
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Afroboy267
UG's Metastatic Resonance
Join date: Oct 2006
130 IQ
#5
Quote by DisarmGoliath
I mean, you could probably build something and treat it to suffer less from internal reflections or to avoid being a big bass trap or boxy room, but I don't think you could easily make a small booth that allows you to do professional sounding vocals late at night if your parents sleep next door, for example.

Yeah. I'm not really looking for a professional recording booth, just something to practice and demo in whilst keeping the noise to a minimum. I'll be using it in the evenings but not late at night so that's not a problem.

So what do you think of the MDF/Plasterboard/Acoustic Foam combination?
DisarmGoliath
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#6
If you do, try and put something between the MDF and plasterboard to create a gap between them. Whether it's some rubber insulation mat type thing or some other sort of insulation. Would reduce some of the volume, but without being thick and dense you won't kill a lot of the low mids and low end much.
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Afroboy267
UG's Metastatic Resonance
Join date: Oct 2006
130 IQ
#7
Quote by DisarmGoliath
If you do, try and put something between the MDF and plasterboard to create a gap between them. Whether it's some rubber insulation mat type thing or some other sort of insulation. Would reduce some of the volume, but without being thick and dense you won't kill a lot of the low mids and low end much.

Would this be ideal for that? It would be pretty expensive to add, would it really make that much of a difference?

This is probably something I'll gradually add layers to.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00BSBMFBM/ref=s9_simh_gw_p267_d0_i2?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1CBTHB7RZ8W67VCDZZ45&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=455344027&pf_rd_i=468294
Last edited by Afroboy267 at Jun 1, 2014,
DisarmGoliath
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#8
Yep, that's the stuff and I'd say pretty effective - they give that particular one an averaged noise reduction rating of 24dBSPL for a single layer (2mm). Don't gain tons by doubling up layers though. It's up to you really though. If you just want a booth that will lower leakage a little but is mainly just treated for reflections, no need to bother; if you want somewhere soundproofed enough to sing and not disturb other rooms... depends how much noise your neighbours/parents will tolerate
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Afroboy267
UG's Metastatic Resonance
Join date: Oct 2006
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#9
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Yep, that's the stuff and I'd say pretty effective - they give that particular one an averaged noise reduction rating of 24dBSPL for a single layer (2mm). Don't gain tons by doubling up layers though. It's up to you really though. If you just want a booth that will lower leakage a little but is mainly just treated for reflections, no need to bother; if you want somewhere soundproofed enough to sing and not disturb other rooms... depends how much noise your neighbours/parents will tolerate

Awesome. 24dB is quite a bit. If I can justify spending £1,700 on a Kemper Power Rack I can spend the extra on this to get better results.

So MDF - Soundproofing Mat - Plasterboard - Acoustic Foam Tiles for most amount of volume reduction for the space?
DisarmGoliath
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#10
Yes, that's the best plan really. It does say it works most effectively sandwiched between two layers of 'acoustic' plasterboard (which, I presume, is just a more dense plasterboard with higher mass per square cm) but sandwiching it between your outer layer of MDF and the plasterboard will still have a similar effect. Adding the acoustic foam on the inside will do more to treat high frequency inner reflections than soundproofing, but it will reduce spill of high freq. content I suppose, though that probably wouldn't get through the other layers anyway.

If you want anybody else's opinion, feel free to ask in the Chat thread (axemanchris is particularly good at relating soundproofing to other analogous situations ) to see if anyone else has any suggestions, but I'm quietly confident you'll get good results with the above and be happy with them.
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MatrixClaw
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#11
Quote by Afroboy267
Awesome. 24dB is quite a bit. If I can justify spending £1,700 on a Kemper Power Rack I can spend the extra on this to get better results.

I'll sell you my unpowered toaster version for a mere £1050 + shipping. Give you lots of money left over for your booth!
Quote by Dave_Mc
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Afroboy267
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#12
Quote by MatrixClaw
I'll sell you my unpowered toaster version for a mere £1050 + shipping. Give you lots of money left over for your booth!

**** YES
Afroboy267
UG's Metastatic Resonance
Join date: Oct 2006
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#13
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Yes, that's the best plan really. It does say it works most effectively sandwiched between two layers of 'acoustic' plasterboard (which, I presume, is just a more dense plasterboard with higher mass per square cm) but sandwiching it between your outer layer of MDF and the plasterboard will still have a similar effect. Adding the acoustic foam on the inside will do more to treat high frequency inner reflections than soundproofing, but it will reduce spill of high freq. content I suppose, though that probably wouldn't get through the other layers anyway.

If you want anybody else's opinion, feel free to ask in the Chat thread (axemanchris is particularly good at relating soundproofing to other analogous situations ) to see if anyone else has any suggestions, but I'm quietly confident you'll get good results with the above and be happy with them.

Awesome. Cheers
MatrixClaw
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#14
Quote by Afroboy267
Would this be ideal for that? It would be pretty expensive to add, would it really make that much of a difference?

This is probably something I'll gradually add layers to.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00BSBMFBM/ref=s9_simh_gw_p267_d0_i2?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1CBTHB7RZ8W67VCDZZ45&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=455344027&pf_rd_i=468294

This will work, but it's very expensive - really, the goal of adding something between the two surfaces is to add weight, which mitigates low-end spread, effectively decreasing buildup inside the booth, and decreasing the volume of sound traveling outside of it.

Since the goal is really just to add weight - I'd suggest you look into a roofing membrane that is called "torch-down" here in the states (not sure what it's called in the UK). Basically, it's a rubber/asphalt paper that come in different weight ranges (90 lb is ideal, or more, if your walls can support it) you can staple to the backside of your "walls" to add weight, which lowers the frequency of sound that will travel out of the booth.

FWIW, most "professional" booths are actually very large rooms, with 6-12 inches of acoustic insulation on all sides, in order to give a completely dead sound. The acoustic foam you usually see on the walls in these rooms are to reduce standing waves, by creating hundreds upon thousands of reflection points around the room. They're not really there as a benefit to any kind of soundproofing or frequency treatment, other than reducing buildup in a rectangular room.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





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Afroboy267
UG's Metastatic Resonance
Join date: Oct 2006
130 IQ
#15
Quote by MatrixClaw
This will work, but it's very expensive - really, the goal of adding something between the two surfaces is to add weight, which mitigates low-end spread, effectively decreasing buildup inside the booth, and decreasing the volume of sound traveling outside of it.

Since the goal is really just to add weight - I'd suggest you look into a roofing membrane that is called "torch-down" here in the states (not sure what it's called in the UK). Basically, it's a rubber/asphalt paper that come in different weight ranges (90 lb is ideal, or more, if your walls can support it) you can staple to the backside of your "walls" to add weight, which lowers the frequency of sound that will travel out of the booth.

FWIW, most "professional" booths are actually very large rooms, with 6-12 inches of acoustic insulation on all sides, in order to give a completely dead sound. The acoustic foam you usually see on the walls in these rooms are to reduce standing waves, by creating hundreds upon thousands of reflection points around the room. They're not really there as a benefit to any kind of soundproofing or frequency treatment, other than reducing buildup in a rectangular room.

The total cost comes to about £250 which is fine for me as I work full time and live at home. It's mainly space which is the issue. The structure is gonna be pretty heavy as it is so I think the matt is the best way personally.

Yeah, I realized the foam won't serve much purpose after I posted it haha. I'll give the combination I've got down a try and report back.

Cheers
MatrixClaw
UG God
Join date: Nov 2006
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#16
Quote by Afroboy267
The total cost comes to about £250 which is fine for me as I work full time and live at home. It's mainly space which is the issue. The structure is gonna be pretty heavy as it is so I think the matt is the best way personally.

Yeah, I realized the foam won't serve much purpose after I posted it haha. I'll give the combination I've got down a try and report back.

Cheers

YES to access anything just buy a domain name for $2! I mean i r getting pissy cause I suck.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
MatrixClaw
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#19
Quote by DisarmGoliath
He's using some random text generator to post. Ignore him

Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
MatrixClaw
UG God
Join date: Nov 2006
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#21
Quote by Afroboy267



Update: The MDF frame is now built. Measures 3ft x 4ft x 7ft. Next is the acoustic mat then plasterboard

Looks cool... but where's the door?
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
Afroboy267
UG's Metastatic Resonance
Join date: Oct 2006
130 IQ
#22
Quote by MatrixClaw
Looks cool... but where's the door?

We're waiting on the hinges and catches to arrive, then we're gonna fit that spare bit of wood on as a door

I was gonna make an entire side into a door but my Dad said it'll be too heavy. Luckily he's a carpenter haha, I don't have a clue about wood work.
Last edited by Afroboy267 at Jun 10, 2014,
Afroboy267
UG's Metastatic Resonance
Join date: Oct 2006
130 IQ
#23
The acoustic mat arrived today. Turns out I'm not actually allowed to use it though as the whole thing would come through the ceiling :/.

Change of plan then. Does anyone have any recommendations as to what to use? It has to be light as the MDF weighs a ton. I'm thinking Foam and Plasterboard. Or would it be better to scrap the MDF, build it out of something lighter and use the acoustic mat?

Kind of a bummer :/
Afroboy267
UG's Metastatic Resonance
Join date: Oct 2006
130 IQ
#24
I can't return it without paying half of what I paid to get it returned.

Idea: Use Foam + Plasterboard this time but keep the acoustic mat for when I move out?
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
230 IQ
#25
So, from the picture and the descriptions, I see a few things:

1. Your 4x3x7.5 seems to be an exterior dimension. Keep in mind that anything you add to the interior will take away from that space. Even six inches of stuff all the way around reduces the size of your booth to 3x2x6.5. Getting kinda tiny in there. It's really hard to predict what this will sound like.

2. Sound travels through the air. Anything you do towards soundproofing will be mitigated by how effective your door is and how well it seals.

3. Assuming you get a door set up that seals *really* well, and you have six inches all around of sound-deadening material, that leaves you with 39 cubic feet of air in the empty booth. Take an average person and put him/her in there, and you're down to about 36 cubic feet of air. Whoever is singing in there is going to be adding a fair bit of carbon dioxide to that space as they sing. I'm not sure how long anyone would be comfortable in there.

4. You seem to be on the main floor of a house. Most bedrooms on a main floor can hold up a waterbed. Your booth shouldn't be too big a deal. Might be best to consult with someone who knows more about engineering, though, just to be sure.

5. In soundproofing, mass always wins. Whenever you reduce mass, you reduce soundproofing. As a general rule, the equation looks like this:

mass + insulation (an air space counts as insulation) + mass = soundproofing, where the efficacy of soundproofing is directly proportional to the amount of mass and the quality of the insulation.

A caveat, though, is that the insulating layer needs to entirely "decouple" the two masses from each other. Let me describe what that looks like.

You know the tin cans and string "telephone" experiment, where sound travels from one can to the other along the string? This proves that sound travels through a solid by way of vibrations.

So, let's say you have one massive wall, with super-duper-insulator in the middle, and finished on the other side with another massive wall. Imagine the two massive walls as the tin cans, and the super-duper-insulator as the string. Do you see how sound travels through it, depending on what it is? This is why air is actually not a bad insulator.

Now imagine playing a drum set in your room. You've filled in the window with brick, double-dry-walled the whole shebang, etc. Your neighbours will still hear it. Why? Sound will travel along your floor joists, which will go underneath your double-dry-walled walls (just like sound travels along the string from one can to the other) and escape through to the outside of the house. The inner surface of your drywall will be touching drywall screws that will be screwed into studs, and those studs will be attached to drywall on the other side. There's your string again.

Decoupling is the process of cutting the string to stop sound from travelling from one heavy mass to the other.

I'm guessing that this sound-proofing mat stuff is intended to act as a decoupler. It's manufactured in a way that reduces vibrations and will not pass them from, say, your plaster board on the inside of your booth to the outside layer of MDF. This explains, too, why two layers is better than one. However, as soon as that plasterboard makes contact anywhere with the MDF - including the floor or ceiling, I'm guessing your efforts (and money) are wasted. You've reconnected the string.

This kind of thing really requires careful consideration, planning, and implementation.

So, what to do....

Find out how much mass that corner of your room should realistically be able to support. You might be surprised. Pleasantly.

Sit your booth up on top of a few hockey pucks or something to decouple the booth from your floor. (hockey pucks do not transfer vibration well)

Maybe try putting two layers of that sound-proofing mat inside and see what you get from there. You might get lucky and find that the mat will absorb a lot of the sound vibration inside the booth and not transfer much to the outer MDF shell. That will give you more room and more air inside the booth so you won't feel like the bass player from Spinal Tap trapped inside the cocoon.

You're not going to block out all the noise without getting into a fairly expensive and decidedly involved reconstruction of that corner of your room. Mitigation, at this point, seems to be your best-case scenario. At that point, how much is enough? You might find that that will be acceptable.

Failing that, you'll need to add another layer of mass (say, MDF) to the inside. The problem, of course, is you can't just put screws through it, through the mat, and then into the other layer of MDF. That would be like adding another string between the cans. Sound will travel from the MDF through the screw and to the outer layer of MDF.

You can see how you might just have to make due here, right?

A few resources to check out are as follows:
http://www.amazon.ca/Home-Recording-Studio-Build-Like/dp/143545717X

This is a GREAT book. I have a copy, and most of what I know is from it. It is written in very user-friendly language and has lots of great pictures, examples, etc. The principles and ideas can be applied to a vocal booth in your bedroom up to a full-scale pro room in your converted main floor of your house.

Also check out the John L Sayers forum.
http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/index.php?sid=ce1c4ba8f429fe5711debb296bb397d2

John L Sayers designs pro studios. You can see some of his work at his website. Wow. The forum is populated by a few people who are real-life professional acoustic engineers, etc. John Sayers himself posts on there. So does Rod Gervais. Who is Rod Gervais? He's the guy who wrote the book I linked to just above.

Another great forum:
http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/forums/24/1

Ethan Winer is a go-to guy in the industry for advice on acoustics. If you've ever heard of RealTraps, that's his company. They are easily among the world's leading manufacturers of pre-fab acoustic panels, etc. He's a good guy and willing to help out.

Chris
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Afroboy267
UG's Metastatic Resonance
Join date: Oct 2006
130 IQ
#26
That's awesome. Thanks for the info Chris . Turns out I can use the acoustic mat. I'll try your hockey puck advice (not sure what they'd be called here in the UK) and see how that works out. That book looks awesome. I want to read further into this so I'll check it out on Amazon UK.

Cheers
DisarmGoliath
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Join date: Dec 2008
120 IQ
#28
You can make a small hole to pass a cable through with plenty of length and then seal around it, to be ultra cheap, or for a more professional result you'd fit a small male XLR jack (or even a stage box, for multiple mics) on the outside, with some space for the wiring to go through, and then attach the relevant wires to their counterparts on a female XLR jack (or stagebox) attached to the inside of the booth.
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Afroboy267
UG's Metastatic Resonance
Join date: Oct 2006
130 IQ
#29
Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can make a small hole to pass a cable through with plenty of length and then seal around it, to be ultra cheap, or for a more professional result you'd fit a small male XLR jack (or even a stage box, for multiple mics) on the outside, with some space for the wiring to go through, and then attach the relevant wires to their counterparts on a female XLR jack (or stagebox) attached to the inside of the booth.

Awesome. What would you advise I use to seal the hole?
DisarmGoliath
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#30
You can buy specialist stuff from studiospares.com, but tbh any builder's merchant/DIY store will sell stuff up for the job. Just look for any airtight spray-on sealant (is it called epoxy sealant? Someone with DIY know-how please correct me), the kind that come with the pump/spray gun handle to pipe out a stream of it.
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DisarmGoliath
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120 IQ
#32
Nice job! Looks very neat. Have you tested it out actually standing in there with the door shut, yet? Because my only real concern is still how long someone can stay in there before they run out of air and get too hot As long as you open the door between takes, it shouldn't be so bad though.

Relevant question: is there a way of opening the door again from the inside? I presume so, but it does look kinda claustrophobia-inducing and I'd probably worry about being trapped inside the thing!
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Afroboy267
UG's Metastatic Resonance
Join date: Oct 2006
130 IQ
#33
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Nice job! Looks very neat. Have you tested it out actually standing in there with the door shut, yet? Because my only real concern is still how long someone can stay in there before they run out of air and get too hot As long as you open the door between takes, it shouldn't be so bad though.

Relevant question: is there a way of opening the door again from the inside? I presume so, but it does look kinda claustrophobia-inducing and I'd probably worry about being trapped inside the thing!

Thanks . It's alright in there actually. Like you said, as long as you come out between takes then it's all good. I need to get some sort of ventilation system for it, although I have literally no idea where to start!

I'll be adding handles to the inside so I can practice and record by myself. Hopefully the claustrophobia will add another characteristic in the vocals