How can I soundproof a room in my apartment?
October 17, 2008 9:37 PM   Subscribe

How can I soundproof a room in my apartment?

I've been thinking about setting up a theater type room in my apartment, but being able to really crank the volume is kinda essential to that plan.

I'm on the top floor, but the room is up against the next door neighbor, and of course downstairs, so I'm looking for a non-destructive way to isolate the floor and one wall.
posted by frijole to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd use a thick rug with cut-to-fit thick undercushion on the floor, and hardcore acoustic foam on the wall (the egg-crate-shaped type -- looks like death star decorating).

If you can't modify the wall that much, you could hang long, tall particleboard panels a row of six or eight hooks right against the ceiling, and mount the foam on that.
posted by rokusan at 10:06 PM on October 17, 2008

To truly soundproof a room, you need to build an airtight room within a room. If you just use foam and/or particleboard, you won't make much of a dent in the bass, unfortunately. Would that it were so easy...
posted by nosila at 10:17 PM on October 17, 2008

Ain't gonna happen in an apartment. The way you isolate these things is by cutting them and putting something in between to deaden the sound waves traveling through the wood. Subwoofers and (regular people's, like us) apartments just do not mix.

The acoustic foam and panels that professionals use on their walls is not to soundproof, it's to tune the sound of the room itself and does nothing to prevent transmission through the walls and floor. The rug idea is a good one, though. About as good as you'll be able to do with what you have. It'd be easiest just to tear down all the drywall and put R-500000000 insulation in.
posted by rhizome at 10:33 PM on October 17, 2008

Forget the soundproofing and invest in really great headphones.
posted by jon1270 at 2:13 AM on October 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

You drywall the room with Quiet Rock 545THX drywall. It costs a lot of money, but it works. You have to ensure you also have a soundproof door, and to little things like putting soundproof putty around the electrical outlets. Doing it right means getting it professionally installed by people like Soundivide (in Canada) or Quiet Solution (in the U.S.), though I suppose if you're good with this sort of thing you could try it yourself.

I'm not sure that this fits your non-destructive criteria, but if it doesn't, I think the answer is that you can't really soundproof the room. Also, doing only one wall is going to make some difference, but not enough, because the sound will travel through the other walls when you've got it up really loud. Bass in particular travels really well, so you need a product like 545THX.
posted by Dasein at 10:21 AM on October 18, 2008

Sealing the room will effectively make it into a large bass enclosure which will amplify the transmission of bass.
ATS makes good accoustical panels for the wall and ceiling which will filter out the highs and mids from bouncing around the room.

A decibel level of say, 80-85dbl is a lot louder that most folk imagine. Once you have quality sound, and you have insulated your room from the outdoor noise; a lot of the boom boom boom nonsense is not as important as before. Radio Shack makes an affordable decibel meter that allows you to check your own levels, this can be important in avoiding late night code visits. A room level of 85dbl pretty much drops to inaudible just outside a front door. But the bass, the bass just travels through the walls, your neighbors walls, and on and on. Best to know your neighbors beforehand in lieu of meeting them at your door with 2AM pitchforks.
posted by buzzman at 10:58 AM on October 18, 2008

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