Majority of people find it difficult to identify studio soundproofing materials that are effective. This is because they believe the size of an object determines its soundproofing ability, which is a myth. It is common to find people turning their basic household items into studio soundproofing materials, but despite the efforts, there is little improvement. Thickness and size of material does not determine its soundproofing ability, but rather its density and porousness. It is also common to find people using soundproofing materials that has adverse effects and undesired outcomes. Some of the highly mistaken materials for studio soundproofing include wood, which instead of trapping sound increases the sound travel by vibrations.
In order to understand proper materials for studio soundproofing, an individual must understand several terms that describes proofing, which include absorption and diffusion. In sound diffusion, materials disperse sound waves and break up echoes. In the absorption, porous absorbers soak up sound waves. Later, transformation of waves into heat takes place after absorption. The type of music, shape and size of a room determines the studio soundproofing materials to use in the room. Budget is the other factor to include in your soundproofing material selection.
Materials to avoid:
Egg Crates – despite being soft and porous, they have no effect in studio soundproofing. However, they work as sound waves diffuser at higher frequencies, but with a limited bandwidth and hence improper to use. Although they have slight effects on sound, their disadvantages are higher than benefits because they are highly flammable and costly to cover the whole room.
Carpet – fastening carpet to the wall will affect the sound in a room, but will do little to stop low frequencies and hence ineffective for studio soundproofing. You would need atleast 4 inch thick carpet to make a perceptible difference. Also, over time, it will start to smell.
Rubber – people use diverse rubber equipments for soundproofing such as floor mats and neoprene. It is important to note they have no effect in stooping sound from penetrating or leaving the room and thus useless.
Plywood Panels – these are the most mistaken studio soundproofing materials. They are highly preferred because of mass they offer. However, wood is a good transmitter of sound. Moreover, thin plywood pulsates and hence amplifies the problem instead of reducing.
Materials to Use:
In the recent years, companies are manufacturing generic soundproofing materials, which makes home studio soundproofing easy for most homeowners.
Acoustic Foam: If you are on a tight budget, this is a good solution. There is a huge range of Acoustic Foam sold under different brand names. Acoustical foam absorbs decent amount of sound waves, minimize decay and flutter. This will help contain sound waves that comes from instruments and vocals. Acoustic foam is preferred as a soundproofing material because of its ease of use and relatively friendly price.
Glass Wool: A little more expensive then Acoustic Foam, glass wool is the world’s most popular insulation material. It is better at absorbing a broad range of frequencies. The more the density of the glass wool, the better its sound absorbing capacity. Glass wool is highly recommended for studio-soundproofing, and even though it is expensive, it will help in giving that ‘pro’ feel to your recordings.