Office Noise Reduction – Office, Cubicle, & Meeting Room Soundproofing

Office Noise Reduction

Office noise reduction is a common issue. The trend toward open floor plan office spaces with low cubicle walls is great for many reasons but when it comes to noise control it can be a nightmare. We’ll cover some of the best ways to deal with noise and soundproofing in the typical office environment.

Open Floor Plan Office

Open floor plan office sound proofing acoustics

A room to everyone’s liking, working and communicating effectively

Office Noise Reduction

Today’s office often includes large, flexible open plan rooms. An open plan office is good at facilitating interpersonal communication and information exchange. Used by many of today’s company’s there is also a big disadvantage to this type of office. Different office workers or groups tend to disturb each other. For example a telephone call from one office worker to for a client is heard by all in the room. Resulting in a distraction of the others that always costs some time to recover from, if recovered at all.

The ideal open office plan is creating a sound environment that makes for easy interpersonal information exchange while not disturbing the colleagues nearby. What may be important information for the two people communicating, may be annoying a third and forth in the room that were concentrating for their tasks at hand.

Acoustical properties of the open floor plan office

Most open plan offices consist of large windows and sound-reflective walls. By using a lot of glass and parallel walls not a lot of sound reduction is going on. Hard surfaces like glass and walls reflect sound, making for a long ‘echo’ in the room. Parallel walls make for extra amplification of specific unwanted tones in the audible sound spectrum. A ‘hard’ ground surface like cement or linoleum together with no extra acoustical ceiling treatment makes for the worst scenario possible.

How to soundproof an open plan office – Office soundproofing methods & ideas

Before our advice we would like to state that a lot of light in a open plan office room is highly desirable. The acoustical disadvantages that come with the use of glass can be undone by other aspects in the room. Natural light is has a very positive effect on people.

Always start with the ceiling. It’s essential that this area, which is (together with the floor) the largest in the room, gets acoustical treatment. A good ceiling product hangs ‘loose’ from the actual ceiling and absorbs and insulates the sound from within the room. This is especially good for preventing sound from travelling to the other side of the room. If this isn’t enough, install extra, so called ‘free hanging acoustic baffles’ and ‘acoustic desk panels’. These products are most efficient when placed directly above and between the origin of sound. The height of an acoustic desk panel is best picked with the function of the workstations between them in mind. An international phone support team needs higher ones than a research work group working on the same projects!

For optimum productivity sometimes extra measures need to be taken to let office workers concentrate on their own. This can be done by adding so called ‘hubs’ or ‘booths’ inside office area. These products create a room within a room, making concentrating on a task and / or having a meeting without disturbing others easy. Pricing of these products can be high, but they often can’t be beat when compared to installing flexible (glass) walls.

Tip: Printers and/or servers are often a source of unwanted sound. The best way to eliminate this is surrounding them by ‘half height’ flexible walls.

Tip: Office cabinets are often made of steel, some manufacturers sell ‘magnetic acoustic backpanels’ to easily install acoustic treatment on the back side.

Meeting Room

Multi purpose or meeting room acoustics

How to design a good conference room

For every company a meeting room is of great importance. Decisions are made here, clients are invited here, presentations are given here and conference calls and meetings are attended here. Sound clarity and sound isolation are of utmost importance in this key room. This should be a place where people can hear and talk to each other without any loss of information, both to the sender and receiver as to the rest of the attendants. Sound loss to the outside is unthinkable as this room is meant to be private.

Acoustical properties of the conference and multi-purpose rooms

Conference rooms come in all sorts of types, unfortunately in most company’s they don’t get the attention they deserve. They are often treated like a normal, but bigger, cubicle office. This means glass or thin walls and a standard ‘drop ceiling’ of some type. As with all rooms, parallel walls and / or square rooms are common. A conference call system is sometimes installed, with random speaker placement and a projector with slide down or fixed projection screen.

How to soundproof and isolate your conference room – Office soundproofing methods & ideas

The ceiling of a conference room is of utmost importance. You will want the best possible drop ceiling tiles possible. This is because of the fact that in most conference rooms there are zero to no extra furniture items installed except for a large desk and some chairs. Secondly the walls deserve a lot of attention. No noise is permitted to enter the room from outside with the door closed, and even more important no information is permitted to leave the room. Ensuring maximum privacy of the conversation inside the walls of reasonable specs are needed. Best is to use double ‘free standing’ walls. Which means 2 walls with a small air gap in between. No contact is permitted between these to walls. If one must use glass walls or they are not sufficient try to install hanging blinds or curtains of some kind of fabric like felt. Plastic blinds are not so effective. When done right one can shout inside the room with the door closed and not be heard in the surrounding rooms.

Also make sure at least ⅓ off the wall area is covered with acoustic panels of sound absorbing material. This amount is needed to minimize echo inside, giving superb speech clarity. When the room is used for conference calls this is even more important. The reason for this is that the microphones which are used here are easily distorted by to much echo. When this is the case the other party on the conference call will not be able to fully understand every nuance and tone in one’s speech. This can be of critical importance when doing international business or dealing with multiple languages.

Tip: The door used must be of hard, solid quality with a good air tight sealing. Heavy means better!

Cubicle & Small Office Floor plan

Cubicle & small office sound proofing and acoustics

Good sound isolation and better productivity

The more traditional way of organizing the work area is through cubicle and small offices. Essentially this means a separated work environment for each employee. Though not as cost efficient for most types of office workers, cubicles and small offices work well when the employee works on very complex or creative solutions. Having minimal distractions as possible is key here. Another very important point is noise isolation. We dont want any unwanted sounds from other rooms or worse, outside noise, getting the employee out of their concentration zone. The cubicle office, as opposed to the open plan office limits easy communication with co-workers.

Acoustical properties of the small office

These one or two people rooms often consist of thin sheetrock walls and/or glass. The walls of such an office are better if not square or parallel to each other acoustics wise, but unfortunately this is often the case. Ceilings are always very important acoustically, but for small offices they tend to be more so. Meaning there is some kind of drop ceiling or ceiling tiles installed. If not: make this your priority. Square and parallel walls make for extra amplification of specific unwanted tones in the audible spectrum so try to avoid them!

How to soundproof existing office walls – Office soundproofing methods & ideas

As described in the previous section, start with the ceiling. Make sure to use a good drop ceiling. Secondly if your office has glass walls, which are very bad acoustically,  often the opposing wall is sheetrock or possibly a brick or concrete. Try to cover these walls with ‘wall panels’ at ear height. Or even better, the whole wall. If for some reason glass walls oppose each other try  sound panels on both sides. For every two parallel walls threat at least one of them. This should limit ‘echo’ sounds from becoming too loud.

Also very important is sound isolation. If this is a problem in your office try to get an idea of which wall is the most problematic ‘sound conductor’. The only real solution for this is to put an extra free standing wall in front of this wall. There should be no contact between the two walls for optimal result.

Soundproof office cubicles

Most cubicles are very well designed to limit sound reflections. The height of the cubicle walls will determine how sound isolated they are. If addressing a room with existing cubicles or planning a new installation be sure to consider the following:

  • Pay attention to ceiling material if possible and use good ceiling tiles if your ceiling is a drop ceiling
  • Think about the addition of hanging baffles to reduce sound transmission across large rooms
  • Sound absorbing panels on walls to reduce reflected sound
  • Strategically placed partitions
  • Include small offices for calls or small huddle meetings
  • Permanently mounted white noise machines

Tip: If its hard or unwanted to fix panels or extra treatment to the walls try to use free hanging ‘acoustical baffles’ above the problem area. This attacks the problem at the source, thus doing maximum acoustical dampening.

Home Theater Soundproofing: The Ultimate Soundproofing How-To Guide

Home Theater Soundproofing

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Home Theater Soundproofing

Home Theater Soundproofing vs Acoustics

Home theater soundproofing will keep sounds in AND keep sounds out. Keeping sounds in is great for not waking up the kids or significant other for instance. Also great for not disturbing the neighbors. Keeping sounds out is good for allowing you to listen at a comfortable volume without having to worry about distracting noises from outside your theater. For instance, traffic sounds from outdoors or kids banging around upstairs.

Acoustics deal with the quality of the sound within the room. Acoustic treatments deal with sound reflections such as echoes and reverberations. A lot of time and effort is put into the audio engineering of movies and the unnatural reflections within your home theater color the sound in a very unpleasing way.

4 Main Aspects of Home Theater Soundproofing

Decoupling

Decoupling involves physically isolating elements from other elements so they can not physically transfer sound to another object. One of the typical ways this is done is by staggering studs in a wall so that drywall on one side of the wall is nailed into one set of studs while drywall on the other is nailed into the alternating studs. This significantly cuts down on sound transfer since the sound waves collected by one side of the wall can be physically transmitted directly through to the other side.

Mass

Light things are easy to move and heavy things are difficult to move. Adding mass to a wall or door will significantly reduce its ability to transfer sound. There is a lot of confusion around acoustical foam blocks and panels often seen in sound booths and similar places. Foam is very light and has very little mass so it doesn’t do much to soundproof an environment. I does affect reflections to prevent echoes and reverberations. This is why it is used in recording environments.

Dampening

Dampening is converting sound waves into heat. This is typically done with viscoelastic compounds. A very common way this is done in homes is with a product called Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound. It is applied between 2 layers of drywall. The compound will “jiggle” with the sound waves and dissipate the energy as a minute amount of heat instead of transmitting the sound waves through to the other sheet of drywall.

Absorption

Absorption isn’t very effective at soundproofing but is at helping with acoustics. This is where acoustics vs soundproofing comes in. Acoustical panels or foam are great examples of sound absorption. Sound waves are absorbed by the panels or foam and not reflected back into the environment.

How To Soundproof Walls & Ceilings in a Home Theater

Loud sound in general can be difficult to soundproof agains but the deep bass from subwoofers is incredibly difficult to stop from conducting through walls and ceilings. To adequately soundproof for the full range of sound in a home theater you will need to decouple the wall and ceiling surfaces as much as possible.

Step1: Remove Existing Drywall & Address Penetrations

To maximize our soundproofing we need to start from within the walls and ceiling and work our way out. If there is any insulation we’ll want to remove that as well. Make note of any penetrations such as light switches or power outlets on both sides of the wall. You will need to apply acoustical putty pads to the back sides of all of these electrical boxes. You’ll also need to address any other holes from plumbing or wiring with a good noiseproofing sealant like Green Glue Noiseproofing Sealant. This is not to be confused with Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound which is used as dampening between multiple layers of drywall.

Step 2: Install Soundproof Insulation

A high quality soundproof insulation is the first line of defense. Roxul Safe’n’Sound soundproofing insulation is the preferred choice in this situation. Safe’n’Sound is only meant for interior walls however. If you’re dealing with an exterior wall you’ll want to go with an exterior wall insulation from Roxul such as ComfortBat. Roxul is a mineral wool product and is very dense, very fire resistant, and very good and reducing noise penetration. It is literally made from rock. The ideal install is to use 2 layers with an air gap in-between.

Step 3: Mass Loaded Vinyl

Over top of the insulation you’ll install a layer of mass loaded vinyl. This is a very dense material that will cover the entire wall and ceiling between the insulation/studs and the isolation clips/hat channel/drywall. It adds a critical extra layer of mass to significantly deaden the wall or ceiling. It is rolled out across the wall and stapled to the studs. Seams are overlapped and taped.

Step 4: Sound Isolation Clips and Hat Channel

To ensure that sound doesn’t conduct through the drywall to the wall studs or rafters sound isolation clips are used to mount a hat channel. This decouples the drywall from the studs. The sound isolation clips are mounted to the studs and the hat channel is attached to the clips. The hat channel is decoupled from the studs via the clips.

Step 5: Adding the Drywall

Loud sound in general can be difficult to soundproof agains but the deep bass from subwoofers is incredibly difficult to stop from conducting through walls and ceilings. To adequately soundproof for the full range of sound in a home theater you will need to decouple the wall and ceiling surfaces as much as possible.

A layer of drywall is screwed into the previously installed hat channel. Be sure not to screw past the hat channel and into the studs. This will defeat the purpose of the sound isolation clips and hat channel. Once a layer of drywall has been installed, seal all joints with noiseproofing sealant. Again note this is sealant and not compound. Next we will apply a second layer of drywall but to do so we will apply Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound to the drywall sheets. Once the Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound is applied the drywall is screwed into the previous layer of drywall.

Once Step 5 is complete the walls and ceiling can be taped, mudded, and sanded as normal. It’s possible to go even further than this but it starts to become fairly expensive and impractical. Going further involves building a wall in front of the existing walls with a gap of 2 inches in-between. You would apply everything that has been described above to both sets of walls. As for the ceiling, it’s difficult to drop the ceiling much without compromising the height so this can be especially difficult to do in a retrofit scenario. This extra process is essentially a massive decoupling. This will more than double your expenses and the steps above outline a very effective solution making this only practical for those in unique situations. You can apply this technique to only walls that present a significant problem as opposed to the entire room to save money, time, and effort.

How To Soundproof Floors in a Home Theater

If you’re home theater is on the second floor of your house and you need to soundproof it then you would apply the techniques described above to the ceiling of the room or rooms below your home theater. You will also want to adhere 2 layers of drywall with noiseproofing compound to the sub flooring.

Soundproofing Doors and Windows

Doors and windows present their own unique challenges. If you have the means, purchasing good quality soundproof windows and doors that employ specific methods to reduce sound penetration are the best route. If that isn’t realistic in your particular circumstance you’ll need to address the chinks in the armor of each as best as possible.

Window Soundproofing

The first issue to address are any air gaps. Be sure to seal any windows as tightly as possible. You may just need to replace existing seals or you may need to add seals. The design and quality of the window will determine what you’ll need to do. Purchasing some good quality soundproof curtains is highly recommended. You can close these when viewing and it will also help with acoustics on the highly reflective glass. Adding a window insert and/or storm window adds an extra layer and an air gap that will significantly improve soundproofing.

Door Soundproofing

The denser a door the better starting point you have. If your door is a hollow core door you should seriously consider replacing it. A hollow core door is almost like not having a door at all. Like with windows, you will also want to seal any air gaps. This may mean installing a threshold with a seal. You will also want to make sure there is a seal around the tops and sides of the door as well.

Home Theater Acoustics

Once your home theater has been thoroughly soundproofed you’ll want to address acoustics. This is all about the reflections of sound off the walls and hard surfaces in your home theater. If you’re noticing some bass boomy-ness in some locations or overly bright sound in others you definitely are suffering from acoustical issues. The smaller the room the more likely you are to have these problems. You can likely tame these issues to a large degree by lining the walls with soundproof curtains or placing some acoustic panels along the walls. If the issues are mostly with bass then adding an additional subwoofer can help smooth out the boomy and flat spots. If you’re still experiencing issues you’ll need some hardware to analyze your setup and determine the optimal locations for applying sound absorption and diffusion materials. You can hire a team of professionals to do this for you. This is probably the most efficient route to go if the problems are severe versus trial and error.

In Conclusion: Home Theater Soundproofing

Soundproofing a home theater is a fairly involved endeavor. You can do it yourself with some time and patience and save yourself a considerable amount. When you know what to do it’s not a terribly difficult job but it is a big one. Also, you may be in a situation where you don’t need to go all in on soundproofing and may just want to apply some of these techniques. Unfortunately the most effective solutions are going to result in the most expense. Decoupling is the most effective method of soundproofing.

How To Soundproof Walls – Cheap & Easy Soundproofing Tips & Ideas

wall

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wall

If you want learn how to soundproof walls cheap you have to plan on getting creative and compromising some. You also need to remember that “cheap” is a relative term. Obviously soundproofing walls without removing drywall is a goal for keeping costs down. If starting before construction, soundproofing a wall properly means starting with planning how to arrange the studs to minimize sound transfer, using quality soundproof insulation, and using other tricks such as noise proofing compound and isolation clips. All of that adds up to a hefty price tag. It’s expensive because every step in the process has to be done differently than traditional construction to get the desired result.

The Key To Soundproofing - Mass

It’s easy to move a light object and hard to move a heavy object. That’s true whether you’re an out of shape 40 something like myself or you’re a sound wave. If you were to place a penny on a speaker it’s going to bounce all around to the music. The penny has some mass but it’s pretty small and light. Now imagine placing a brick on the speaker. The brick isn’t going to move. What you essentially have to do to soundproof your wall is add mass or place a large mass in front of the wall.

Many people think of the egg crate foam you might see in a sound booth and think that putting a lot of that on your wall will do the trick. The truth is it won’t have any real effect on stopping sound coming through your wall. Foam and other acoustical treatments are used to stop echoes and reverberations. They’re used in recording booths and studios to get a better quality sound thats free from unwanted echoes.

Mass isn’t the only method employed to achieve good soundproofing but it is going to be the most realistic and straightforward.

How To Soundproof an Existing Wall Without Removing Drywall

So I painted a pretty dire situation in the previous paragraph. Relax. There are some good ways to still achieve your goal without breaking the bank. Creativity and compromise doesn’t always mean expensive. Let’s run down some good tips and ideas for how to soundproof a wall cheap. I’ll organize them from least effective to most effective. This is going to also roughly be least expensive to most expensive though that may vary a bit depending on your situation and circumstances.

Line the wall with heavy blankets or decorative rugs

Heavy blankets and rugs will have some mass to help knock back sound and they’ll also acoustically deaden the wall to reduce echoes and reverberations.

Hang soundproof curtains on the wall

Soundproof curtains are more purpose designed and should perform better than blankets or rugs. They can be installed in was to better cover the entire wall. Movie theaters use curtains on the walls. They do it usually with lighter material curtains and typically to reduce echoes so you have a better experience. By using heavy soundproof curtains you’ll be able to cut down echoes and add some mass to your wall.

Place a large bookcase on the wall you want to soundproof

Obviously a bookcase is going to have a lot of mass and will make a big difference. However, unless you have a bookcase that will cover the entire wall there will be some areas that are relatively un-soundproofed. Building in a bookcase that covers the entire wall could be cost-prohibitive but if you can go down this path you may want to consider including some soundproof insulation in the design to really beef up the mass.

Add a layer of sheetrock to the wall

Adding a layer of sheetrock will cover the entire wall with additional mass. There are soundproof brands of sheetrock available. They can have the equivalent effect of several sheets of additional sheetrock. Adding a single layer of drywall to your existing wall can be fairly easy to do and inexpensive. Also it won’t alter the existing room in any significantly noticeable way.

Add a layer of sheetrock to the wall with a layer of noise proofing compound in-between the layers

Including a layer of noise proofing compound in-between the layers of sheetrock will add a little additional mass but takes advantage of the compounds ability to dissipate sound vibrations.

Blowing insulation into the wall cavity

Blowing in a dense-packed cellulose or some other dense insulation material will add a lot of mass and significantly cut down on sound penetration. You don’t need to remove the sheetrock. Companies that blow in insulation poke small holes in your walls to add the insulation. They can easily be patched later.

All of these ideas are great and can be combined to achieve a very good result. If you really want to go with the nuclear option you’ll need to build a wall in front of your existing wall.

How To Soundproof a Wall – The Nuclear Option

If the wall you’re addressing isn’t too large and you are serious about putting an end to the noise coming through it you can go with the nuclear option. By building a new wall in front of the existing wall with a 2 inch gap. The base of the new wall should be built on a sheet of mass-loaded vinyl or similar soundproofing product. The wall cavity should be filled with a quality soundproofing insulation with a lot of mass such as mineral wool. Mineral wool is made from rock and is very dense, is a good thermal insulator, and is extremely fire resistant. The walls should be clad in 2 layers of sheetrock with noise proofing compound between the layers on each wall. Isolation clips should be used to attach the 2 layers of sheetrock to the studs. I told you it was the nuclear option. 😉

Last Tips & Suggestions – How To Soundproof a Wall – Cheap & Easy Soundproofing Tips & Ideas

Before you get too carried away be sure you’re looking at the problem holistically. Sound doesn’t just transmit through walls. If there are windows on the wall then soundproofing the windows should be your main focus. If it’s a shared wall between a bedroom and a living space you should also keep in mind that sound can travel through the structure of the floor and ceiling to a degree. If a door is on the problem wall then soundproofing the door should also be a focus.

White noise machines are also seriously worth consideration. If you’re dealing with traffic noise or something similar a good quality white noise machine could make all the difference and only cost you $50 or so.

Last, plan on applying multiple techniques to get the desired end result. Nothing is going to be truly soundproof unless you can magnetically suspend yourself in a vacuum so that there is nothing to conduct the sound. Again, cheap is a relative term. Try inexpensive ideas first and build up from there. Good luck and I hope you achieve the peace and quiet you seek!

The BEST Baby White Noise Machine – White Noise for Babies to Sleep

White Noise for Babies

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White Noise for Babies

White Noise for Babies to Sleep

White noise is one of those things that often gets dismissed when it comes to combatting noise pollution. A good white noise machine is excellent at making many sounds almost disappear. When you first turn a white noise machine on it can seem a little loud and you wonder how you could not notice it but after a few minutes your brain tunes it out along with other similar sounds.

White noise works especially well for babies. Not only does a baby white noise machine help drown out distracting sounds but it is similar to womb sounds such as breathing, heartbeat and blood flow, as well as muffled voices. It’s also great not just for helping your little one drift off to sleep but also helps prevent random noises from inside and outside your home from waking baby up prematurely. As you know, this is not only good for your child but also for you!

Baby White Noise Machines

The best baby white noise machines are not necessarily all that different from regular white noise generators. They usually have additional features that make them a bit more convenient or helpful for babies. Below are some of the best white noise machines we can suggest. They’re not strictly limited to those designed for babies. The more adjustable and well respected white noise generators are not portable but great for next to a crib and are typically more adjustable. I’m a fan of wired devices for the one fact that they don’t have batteries that will eventually fail. I’m not a fan of cords but the reliability and lack of maintenance is hard to beat.

Baby Shusher Sleep Miracle Soother

The Baby Shusher is a very well respected product and many mothers have sung it’s praises. It’s meant primarily for when babies have been well-fed, burped and have a clean diaper, but are still in a crying spell.

The Baby Shusher isn’t really a white noise machine. It’s very similar but it actually works by mimicking the sound of our natural instinct to calm a baby by shushing it gently. This works amazingly well with newborns and is recommended to be used from the day your baby is born but can work with babies up to 9 months old.

Be sure to adjust the volume to be louder than your infants crying. This is important for the shushing effect to work. The Baby Shusher is designed to have a maximum 85 decibel volume so as to be safe for your child’s hearing. It has 2 built in timer options. One for 15 minutes and the other for 30 minutes.

Cloud B Sleep Sheep

Moms Love It Award Winner

The Cloud B Sleep Sheep is another very good 

product but a little more practical for slightly older babies than the Baby Shusher. There are many other products in their product line in addition to the sheep and worth checking out.

The Sleep Sheep has 8 sounds/melodies and has an auto shutoff timer that can be set to turn off after 23 minutes or 45 minutes.

The baby white noise machine within it can be removed so that the sheep can be washed when needed.

It has a handy velcro strap so it can be attached to a crib, stroller, or whatever happens to be convenient so it won’t easily get dropped or lost.

It’s also Phthalate Free, Latex Free, Lead Free, and BPA Free.

Marpac Dohm+

The Cloud B Sleep Sheep is another very good product but a little more practical for slightly older babies than the Baby Shusher. There are many other products in their product line in addition to the sheep and worth checking out. The Sleep Sheep has 8 sounds/melodies and has an auto shutoff timer that can be set to turn off after 23 minutes or 45 minutes. The baby white noise machine within it can be removed so that the sheep can be washed when needed. It has a handy velcro strap so it can be attached to a crib, stroller, or whatever happens to be convenient so it won’t easily get dropped or lost. It’s also Phthalate Free, Latex Free, Lead Free, and BPA Free.

LectroFan

The LectroFan is a digital speaker white noise machine that has specific programming to eliminate any repetitive effects. Most digital speaker-based white noise machines rely on audio clips that loop. This looping becomes prominent as you use the machine and become aware of its patterns over time.

By programmatically randomizing the noise that problem is eliminated. The benefit of being able to use a digital speaker-based product versus a fan-based product is the ability to produce a product that is much more compact in size and has a broader range of controllability.

White Noise YouTube Clips

There are plenty of audio clips on YouTube of white noise to help your baby sleep. This is a great solution in a pinch. If you have a phone or tablet that you can spare you can queue up one of these to help lull your little one off to dream land. You just need to be aware that YouTube may insert ads inline with these clips that could disrupt your baby’s relaxation. Below are a few are of the best white noise clips found on YouTube.

In Conclusion: Baby White Noise Machine

The Baby Shusher, Cloud B Sleep Sheep, and the Marpac Dohm, and LectroFan are all great products and all fit slightly different roles and have slightly different features. Any of these products will be very helpful in calming your little one and allowing them and you to relax.

The battery powered Baby Shusher and Cloud B Sleep Sheep are great. Just be sure to have some extra batteries on hand. The Marpac Dohm+ or LectroFan are awesome for permanently leaving next to a crib to help your baby drift off to sleep easier without being as easily disturbed by the clatter down the hall.

Baby white noise machines are not cure-alls but they can really be indispensable tools for helping you and your new family addition get some precious peace, quiet, and sleep.

How To Soundproof Your Studio – Fundamentals of Studio Soundproofing

How To Soundproof Your Studio

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For this article we’ll assume you have an existing basement or some other room you’re using and want to know how to soundproof your studio. You’re likely concerned with keeping sound in or out to keep the family happy or avoid stray sounds ruining your recording. Or you’re interested in cutting down reverberations and echoes to make recordings cleaner. We’ll cover both aspects and we’ll try to keep things tailored to cheaper solutions. If you’re in a particularly noisy area and you’re looking to do some professional-grade recordings you may want to look into soundproof booths. You’re not going to get an entire band in one but if it’s just you they’re perfect. If you go with a prebuilt sound booth you’ll end up spending less and get a much better result. Trying to soundproof an existing room is challenging in a noisy area since you’re stuck with the way the walls are built unless you plan to do a lot of construction work.

Foam DOESN'T Soundproof - It Stops Echoes and Reverberations

You may be inclined to purchase a load of cheap studio foam and place it all over your walls and ceiling. This is a great solution if you’re planing to do some recording and it may help a bit for reducing sound coming into your studio since it’ll cut down on it reflecting around. It won’t do much though for keeping sound in. Mass is what will stop sound and foam hardly has any mass at all.

Mass is what DOES Stop Sound

Have you ever noticed the difference a heavy solid door makes when compared to a cheap hollow door when it comes to sound? The hollow door does little to stop the sound. A solid door really deadens it. Mass makes a big difference. In addition to mass, air gaps also help stop sound. When thinking about methods for soundproofing it’s beneficial to have an air gap between mass layers. A product like MuteX Ez Stick Soundproof Material incorporates a mass layer with foam that acts like an air gap. By applying this material to a wall or ceiling it can make a massive difference in the wall or ceilings ability to pass sound.

Since mass is the solution to stopping sound you might consider constructing a walled off section within your studio room. You can use a good soundproofing insulation like Roxul’s Safe’n’Sound in-between the studs and you can build a ceiling and floor into it as well. Line the inside with cheap studio foam to cut down on reverb and echoing. For best results you’ll want to create a double wall with an air gap in-between. Rubber Cal Elephant Bark Floor Mat would be a good example of a product to lay on top of your floor to significantly reduce sound penetrations into your floor.

If you have windows to deal with you’ll want to cover those up as well. Glass is very reflective and if you’re trying to record it can be a challenge. If you have neighbors complaining about the noise windows will be the first thing to address. If you don’t want to simply cover up the windows for whatever reason there are many great suggestions in my article titled How To Soundproof Windows – Cheap Alternatives to Replacing Windows.

If you need to know how to soundproof a room for drums the best bet is to start with a drum booth. Drums are a real challenge. You can build a room within a room but if you’re only trying to deal with the drums themselves a drum booth will likely be more economical.

Soundproof Booths

There are plenty of different soundproof booth solutions available. Everything from a tiny box to place a mic in for vocal recordings to large booths with doors to hold you or a couple people. There are also soundproof booths for drum kits which are especially helpful since drum sounds are so difficult to tame.

What’s great about soundproof booths is that they are built to address isolating sound from every direction. This is practically impossible in an existing room. It’s expensive to attempt to seriously recreate even in new construction. Even at a couple thousand dollars they’re a bargain compared to the alternatives assuming they meet your needs.

Cheap Soundproofing Ideas

Probably the cheapest solution is to get as many blankets as you can and hang them on the walls or ceiling. If you’re trying to keep sound in and away from the family put them on the walls or ceiling that connect you to them only if you don’t care about neighbors and things outside. If you’re trying to cut down on echoes and keep sound you you may want to make a smaller section within your existing room that is just big enough for your needs. You can hang the blankets from the ceiling to create a partition or build a framework to hang them from.

Another idea is to get some curtain rods and soundproof curtains and place them around the area you will be using as your studio. You don’t have to do the entire space. Just strategically place the curtains to achieve the goal you’re shooting for. If you want to keep sound away from the family then you’ll need to place it on interior walls. If you want to keep in from going outside you’ll definitely want to place them in front of windows.

In Conclusion: How To Soundproof Your Studio

Dealing with annoying noise isn’t hopeless. You don’t have to go all in on tearing open a wall and spending thousands trying to eliminate sound penetration. Sealing windows and doors, some acoustic art panels, and soundproof curtains can be a relatively inexpensive investment and easily installed while providing a significant reduction in noise problems.

How To Soundproof Windows – Cheap Alternatives to Replacing Windows

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So, you want to know how to soundproof windows. You’ve finally had it with all the noise. Fear not good friend. You don’t absolutely need to replace your windows. There are some things you can do to significantly reduce noise penetration without breaking the bank. Let’s learn how to soundproof a window cheap!

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How Soundproof Windows Work

Commercially available soundproof windows employ a few tactics to reduce the ability of sound to travel through them. The most common is to have 3 panes of glass. Triple pane windows are more common in northern climates for energy efficiency but are excellent for soundproofing. Laminated glass is another method used to produce soundproof windows. The laminated glass is composed of glass and a clear plastic type material that are sandwiched together. This reduces the glasses ability to transmit sound. Other methods are using sound dampening materials such as wood as opposed to aluminum frames. Energy efficient windows also address thermal bridging. This is a tactic to break up the materials with non-conductive elements to prevent heat flow through the window frame. This is also effective for limiting sound transmission. Windows designed specifically for soundproofing will use materials that are not only effective for thermal bridging but specifically target sound wave bridging as well. This is usually done by suspending the glass portion of the window with rubber mounts to isolate the glass from the frame. Obviously while these tactics can be very effective they all come at quite a cost.

How To Soundproof a Window Cheap

Seal It! – Cheap Soundproofing Alternatives

The cheapest, easiest, and most effective solution way how to soundproof windows is to make sure that it’s sealed up tight. Windows are prone to have small gaps that let air and sound through. These gaps are the equivalent of zero soundproofing. A tiny gap can make a significant difference. Get some sealing tape and address any issues you see. If you happen to have a laser thermometer it can help you find problem areas more easily. Be sure not to cause new problems by applying too thick or too much sealing tape. This is definitely the best way how to soundproof a window cheap.

Cover It Up – Cheap Soundproofing Alternatives

If you aren’t too concerned with aesthetics you can simply cover the window up. There are many ways you could do this. Starting with simply getting some blankets, acoustic foam, or even cardboard to cover it. Another way to cover it up is by placing a large bookcase in front of the offending window. This isn’t the most ideal solution but it’s definitely cheap if you already have a bookcase. Depending on your situation some of these may be a good idea. You could install a soundproof blanket overtop of the window by attaching it to the top of the window frame. You could then roll it up and tie it off with some cord when you want the window viewable. You could also cut down some acoustic foam to wedge-fit in the window. If you were to add a handle you could easily remove it whenever you wanted.

Soundproof Curtains – Cheap Soundproofing Alternatives

Replacing your curtains with some quality soundproof curtains is a solid option. This is a little less cost effective than just covering your windows up. But not expensive as replacing your windows either. It will certainly look much nicer than some cardboard duct taped over your window. You will want to pull your curtains closed when you want to maximize the effect but just having them hanging on the sides of your windows can help cut down the noise some.

Storm Windows – Cheap Soundproofing Alternatives

Storm windows were pretty popular in the 70’s and 80’s but seem to have fallen out of favor in the last couple decades. They have a lot of really good benefits, especially their ability to help cut down on noise coming through your windows. Adding a layer of glass on the outside of your windows will make a big difference. It can get costly to install storm windows over all of your existing windows but you don’t have to do all of them. You can just do one or two or just those on one side of your house.

Soundproof Window Inserts – Cheap Soundproofing Alternatives

Similar to storm windows, inserts add an additional layer between you and the noise. Soundproof window inserts are applied to the inside of the window instead of the outside. This is a great solution for renters that can’t install storm windows or those that are looking to spend a bit less. If you’re a little hesitant or if the cost is a little more than you were hoping for you can just install one on the offending window and see how you feel about their performance and aesthetics. They can also be much more easily removed than storm windows and can be installed in a way that won’t damage the window frame so you don’t have to worry about your deposit.

Noise Absorbing Window Film – Cheap Soundproofing Alternatives

There are some window films available that can be applied to the glass to help cut down the ability of the glass to conduct sound. There isn’t much info available on sound window films and results seem to be mixed. It’s a reasonably logical idea given that laminated glass in soundproof windows is somewhat similar in construction. If you decide to go this route please share your results!

Sound Dampening Shades or Blinds – Cheap Soundproofing Alternatives

Honeycomb-style window shades are great for reducing sound. They’re usually constructed of a fabric-like material and are very good at absorbing sound. Hard-surfaced blinds such as aluminum slat blinds are particularly poor choices. Shop for those that seal well against the frame of the window for best results.

White Noise – Cheap Soundproofing Alternatives

When all else fails, fight fire with fire. White noise machines are surprisingly good at taking the edge off loud sounds. They’re even more effective at overpowering quieter and more constant noises. They great thing about white noise machines is that you will surprisingly not notice their presence. I’ve worked in many offices with white noise generators installed and in every case I didn’t know they were even there until well after I’d been working there for quite some time. I only realized them when I wondered what that odd looking device was all about. When you first turn one on you’re sure to be concerned at the roar they emit. Give it time and I assure you it’ll blend right in.

'LectroFan - White Noise Generator

In Conclusion: How To Soundproof Windows

The best way how to soundproof windows is to go with several of these ideas in combination to really make a big difference. Each one will help knock the sound down but it’s not likely that just one of these is going to be effective enough for you. If your problem is mild then it might work. Chances are you didn’t find this article because you had a mild problem though.

Cheap is a relative term and the likely way how to soundproof a window cheap will likely mean hundreds of dollars as opposed to thousands purchasing and installing soundproof windows. Pick and choose from these ideas and you’ll be able to make a noticeable difference that should help reduce your annoyance and give you the peace you’re looking for.

How To Soundproof Your Apartment – Cheap & Practical Tips and Products

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Figuring out how to soundproof your apartment can be challenging. How to soundproof a room cheaply is even trickier. No one wants to loose that deposit! No one wants to spend a fortune either. But we want some peace and quiet. In this article we’ll cover some cheap and efficient ways to soundproof your apartment without doing anything that will cause you to loose your deposit and get some relieve from those noisy neighbors. We’ll cover how to soundproof an apartment ceiling, doors, windows, and how to soundproof thin apartment walls.

How To Soundproof an Apartment Ceiling

Probably the most annoying noise problem in your apartment is the neighbors upstairs stomping around. Honestly this is also going to be the most troublesome one to solve as well. Soundproof apartment ceilings typically need to be built to be soundproof. There are a few things you can try to help mitigate the noise.

  • Offer To Buy Rugs for Your Upstairs Neighbor

    I admit, this sounds like admitting defeat and bribing your neighbor. The truth is it’s the most effective way to cut down on the noise if the floors above are a solid surface like hardwoods.

  • Hang Acoustical Dampening Blankets From the Ceiling

    This will help knock the sound back some and is probably the most efficient way that doesn’t involve serious work. You can get creative with this approach to get a unique look that doesn’t look awkward. Using eye hooks and securing the blankets tautly with as small a gap as possible.

  • Add a Layer of Sheetrock to the Ceiling

    This is obviously slightly more risky approach to address the problem but it will be effective. Get a good quality soundproof drywall and some Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound and do the entire ceiling. If you’re planning on staying a while this may not be a bad way to go.

How To Soundproof Your Apartment From Outside Noise

How To Soundproof Apartment Doors

Sealing your front door as tightly as possible is a good first step. You may even need to try to adjust the hinges slightly to square the door to the frame on older apartment doors. Also a good soundproof door sweep is a must. Self-adhesive soundproof foam tape can create a tight seal around the edges of your door.

How To Soundproof Apartment Windows

Windows can be especially troublesome. Just like with doors, you’ll want to do your best to get them to seal as good as you possibly can. You can also purchase a window insert that will add an extra layer of glass or acrylic on the inside of the window. These are easily removed when you need to leave and get your deposit back. Last, some good soundproof curtains can really knock down sound coming through a difficult window.

How To Soundproof Exterior Walls Without Removing Drywall

Strategically placing furniture can help quite a bit. Especially placing large book cases or other wall covering furniture in front of a wall that is on the other side of the sound problem.

Another technique is to decorate the offending wall with soundproof curtains similar to a movie theater. In a theater it’s done to reduce echo and the curtains aren’t soundproof. In an apartment where we want to reduce sound from coming through walls adding mass can really cut down sound penetration.

The application of mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) can also dampen sound. Some MLV also comes sandwiched with foam which can add to the dampening effect.

How To Soundproof Thin Apartment Walls

Unfortunately many apartment buildings don’t have the greatest soundproofing between adjoining units. This seems to be especially true with newer construction.

If you want to know the trick for how to soundproof thin apartment walls most effectively, it’s all about mass. The same techniques we applied to exterior walls apply here as well. Decorating with acoustic drapes or strategically positioning large furniture like book cases can make a big difference.

If these techniques haven’t proved helpful and you’re planning on staying for a while you may want to consider adding a layer of soundproof sheetrock over top of the existing layer of sheetrock with some Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound. This can make a big difference and the slight thickness added to the wall shouldn’t raise any eyebrows.

Another trick for to how to block sound from neighbors is to use a white noise machine. I’ve worked in many offices where white noise machines are mounted to the ceiling and run all the time. Every time I worked in one of these offices I didn’t notice the white noise machines until after I’d been working there for a while.

In Conclusion: How To Soundproof Your Apartment

Soundproofing a property you don’t own means compromise. The great news that no one wants to hear is that if you can’t solve the problem to your satisfaction you can always move. Not so easy if you own your home.

There are many reasonably priced options to try. You can try them one at a time until you achieve the right balance.

One last trick that never hurts (except maybe pride depending on the situation) is bribery. Some cookies regularly can go a long way toward promoting good will and a little more desire to be attentive.

How To Soundproof Your House – Complete & Cheap Soundproofing Ideas

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Learning how to soundproof your house can seem like a massive undertaking but there are some cheap soundproofing products that can make the job reasonably affordable and easy while still producing great results. If you’re looking to really go all in on knocking out your noise problem we’ll also tell you what you need to do to make it possible.

4 Key Ways How To Soundproof Your House

  1. By Adding Mass

    Sounds are just vibrations. Light objects vibrate easily and heavy objects take more energy to vibrate. If you can add mass between you and the noise you want to eliminate then it will greatly reduce the offending noises. Heavy soundproof curtains or a good dense soundproofing insulation such as mineral wool are good sound blockers and a great way of adding mass.

  2. By Dampening

    Dampening is the process of dissipating the vibrations as heat or some other form of energy. Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound is an ideal method for dampening walls. To use Green Glue you apply it to a sheet of drywall. Then adhere another sheet of drywall to it. The Green Glue will flex with the sound waves and convert the vibration energy to a small amount of heat. This will effectively reduce the volume of sound coming through your walls.

  3. By Isolating

    Isolation usually involves creating a gap between an element on the side of the sound and another element on the side you occupy. For instance, building a double wall with an air gap between so vibrations can not be transmitted directly from one wall to the other.

  4. By Blocking Airways

    Air gaps in walls or under doors are primary routes for unwanted sound to travel. Spray foams, caulks, and weather stripping to fill cracks and seal gaps can make a big difference. Not to mention help with your homes heating an cooling efficiency.

How To Soundproof a Room From Outside Noise

How To Soundproof a Finished Room

Soundproofing walls without removing drywall is very possible and not necessarily very expensive but it comes with compromises.

Key Areas to Address When Soundproofing Walls Without Removing Drywall

How To Make a Wall Soundproof

The best way to make a wall soundproof is to use a high quality soundproofing insulation between the studs. Ideally two layers of insulation should be installed with an air gap in-between to reduce noise through walls. This should be followed up with at least 2 layers of sheetrock separated by a layer of Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound. If there are any windows they should be quality triple pane windows designed to reduce sound penetration. You may also want to use isolation clips for the sheetrock to help reduce vibration transmission.

How To Soundproof a Door

Soundproofing door gaps is your first line of defense against noise penetration. A quality soundproof door sweep and good seals along the entire door edge are a must. Also, the more mass a door has the better it will be at cutting down sound transmission. A high quality solid wood door will make a huge difference.

How To Soundproof a Window

Ideally you’ll be starting with a quality triple-pane window specifically designed to limit noise transmission. Ensure that it closes properly and seals are in good condition. If not, replace with a quality window seal. Window inserts can be used to add an extra layer of glass or acrylic between you and the outside. Soundproof curtains can then be used to finish things off and kill those last bits of noise slipping through.

How To Reduce Noise Between Rooms

How to block sound between rooms is a common question. A loud TV on one side of a wall and a bedroom on the other is a recipe for aggravation. This is especially true in new construction in cookie cutter homes in the suburbs where builders are trying to save a penny every way they can to maximize their profits. Fear not my good friend. You can still get a good nights sleep while your family members are partying in the room next door.

Easiest Ways of Soundproofing Existing Walls Without Removing Drywall

The best way to make a really big difference is to consider decorating the primary wall that is the problem with soundproof curtains. This may sound like a drastic measure but it can really work well as a feature wall. Also, it doesn’t need to be done in both rooms although you can to really maximize the effect.

Another way to cut down on noise penetration through a wall is to place a large book shelf or other similar type of furniture on the offending wall. This may not always be practical but it could be a great solution depending on your particular situation. When soundproofing a wall between rooms anything we do to place additional mass between us and the source of the noise will help.

Another consideration when we’re trying to figure out how to soundproof a bedroom would be to add a layer of sheetrock with Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound. This is a truly effective solution and while it’ll require a little elbow grease it isn’t nearly as invasive as removing the existing sheetrock and insulating the walls with a quality soundproof insulation.

Acoustic panels installed on the walls of the offending room can also absorb some of the sound. Don’t just consider panels on the wall that the sound is transmitted through. Having panels on all of the walls as well as the ceiling can make a big difference in the reflected sound hitting the problem wall and traveling through. It may sound terrible to place acoustic panels all over the walls and ceiling but strategically placing some attractive panels can be beneficial and not they eyesore you expect. There are some great art print acoustic panels you can consider in a situation like this.

In Conclusion: How To Soundproof Your House

Dealing with annoying noise isn’t hopeless. You don’t have to go all in on tearing open a wall and spending thousands trying to eliminate sound penetration. Sealing windows and doors, some acoustic art panels, and soundproof curtains can be easily installed. These are great ways for how to soundproof your house while being a relatively inexpensive investment. If you do decide to go all in you’re now prepared with what it’ll take to make it happen.

Best Soundproof Insulation Material – Roxul Insulation

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Roxul Rockboard Acoustic Mineral Wool is the Best Insulation for Soundproofing Walls & Ceilings

The best soundproof insulation is generally the one of the common soundproofing materials that is the most dense. Mineral wool is a product made of rock and is very dense. People typically think of pink fiberglass insulation with they thing about insulation for walls or ceilings. Fiberglass insulation does work very well however mineral wool is typically cheaper per pound. A similar density of fiberglass is more expensive. R ratings are similar for the same thickness and do not vary much with changes in density. However, when you compare insulation values available for 2×4 depth framing you’ll find R11 & R13 in fiberglass options but you can get R15 in mineral wool. For 2×6 framing the difference is even greater. R19 is the fiberglass option while R23 is available in mineral wool. What’s also great about mineral wool insulation for soundproofing is the benefits in fire resistance and it’s ability to shed water in the event of a broken pipe or other water issue.

In a scientific test of various types of insulation titled Summary Report For Consortium On Fire Resistance And Sound Insulation Of Floors: Sound Transmission Class And Impact Insulation Class Results, one of the primary findings was:

“Performance is most influenced by the sum of the masses per unit area of the floor and ceiling layers”

Mineral wool insulation is generally substantially more dense than fiberglass insulation making it an ideal sound blocking material. The glass fibers in fiberglass insulation are much longer and allow it to hold together better. This allows for a less dense product that still performs well in it’s insulation properties. Mineral wool fibers are much shorter and require it to be packed more densely to maintain its entanglement to the other fibers. The result is more mass per unit area compared to fiberglass.

Best Soundproof Insulation

Roxul is the best soundproof insulation brand on the market currently. Their Roxul Safe’n’Sound product offers the best value for the money. It’s affordable, has the best frequency rating, and is designed for indoor residential use. While Safe’n’Sound is great, their other products are also excellent in their ability to reduce noise penetration. Safe’n’Sound is meant for interior walls, ceilings, and floors but not exterior walls, attics, or crawlspaces. It’s ideal for soundproofing existing interior walls that don’t already have insulation.

Roxul Soundproof Insulation Install Tips

  • Note that the Roxul ComfortBatt® is an awesome thermal batt insulation intended to be used in exterior walls, attics as well as crawlspaces.
  • The wonderful Roxul Safe’n’Sound® is an acoustical soundproofing insulation intended to be used in interior walls, ceilings and floors to create a more quiet home.
  • The best soundproof insulation utilizes air gaps. Air gaps help absorb sound. Be sure to leave an air gap in your walls.
  • For best performance use 2 layers of insulation with an air gap in-between.
  • Be sure to use a sound-absorbing drywall.
  • For best results use 2 layers of drywall with Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound in-between.

Roxul Insulation Material Calculator

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How to Soundproof a Home Theater with Roxul

In addition to properly installing the Roxul insulation you should consider the following:

In Conclusion

If you’re going to be going to the trouble to remove existing sheetrock or are in the middle of new construction and want to get the job done right the first time, mineral wool is the best route to go. Roxul Rockboard acoustic mineral wool leads the pack amongst mineral wool manufacturers however most mineral wool products are also impressive.

Don’t forget to consider a quality sound-absorbing drywall product and Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound. The combination of this and mineral wool should prove quite impressive at reducing sound transmission.