Rehearse without disturbing: tear down FALSE MYTHS about soundproofing

Discover reforms that do work and professional solutions to get along with your neighbors, even when you practice the passages that do not work out.

Today we are going to talk face to face about soundproofing. To help us unravel its mysteries, I present to you the architect Estíbaliz Yuguero .
She has no favorite color or favorite food, so we have in common our LOVE for dogs.
Before starting, I recommend that you review an introduction on the basics of soundproofing in a previous post . Also, soundproofing is not the same as conditioning.

When you set up a room, you make the sound dry, nice. Soundproofing means that you do not disturb and are not disturbed, that mechanical sound waves are absorbed.

The urban legend of the egg cups in the rehearsal rooms: do they do something?

They cushion something because they are porous and have more surface as they are wavy in shape. They can remove some noise but do not soundproof, not even by putting several layers. A multi-layer wall covering needs to be done. Each one is different: fluffy, hard, or air-layered.

The objective is that the waves do not go direct, they must get absorved

On porous and non-porous materials… which is good for soundproofing and which is not?

What influences is that the more surface the material has, the more waves it absorbs . So porous materials, as they are not straight, have more surface area.

If you had to paint them you would use more paint because they have more surface area. Sound is better absorbed with these types of materials.

For example, on the ground and on the ceilings, normal plasterboard with holes is used. These make the surface of the plates increase.

When you set up a room, you make the sound dry, nice. Soundproofing means that you do not disturb and are not disturbed, that mechanical sound waves are absorbed.

Floor, ceiling … if I want to soundproof a room, do I start with the floor, or is it okay with the walls?

To soundproof a room you have to make it whole. Because if not, the sound escape where it has not been soundproofed. We only talk about soundproofing when the whole room has been done, the windows, the door and the ceiling have been changed.

Imagine that instead of sound it is water.

You fill your room with water. So that it does not come off, you install waterproofing soil, which is called in-ground pools. Would it be worth it? No, because the water seeps through the walls, the ceiling, through the window … even through the door. Well, you have to close it entirely.

I have asked Google how hard it is to soundproof a room. He tells me to spend 30 euros per square meter, up to € 170.

It’s worth a buck because the whole room has to be made new. Music can be muffled, placing curtains, egg cups with a shelf, or a carpet. But this way it is not soundproof.
If there is a carpet and curtains, the sound is absorbed. If you place a bookcase, your neighbor will continue to hear you. A little less maybe, but he will hear you. Books cushion because they are paper and paper is porous.

It is very easy to understand. When you walk into an empty room, the sound bounces everywhere and returns everything to you.

What do you think of the removable cabins?

That is a solution because it is exempt. The key is that the new box does not touch the old box (which would be your room).

Instead of soundproofing a room, which takes money and work, you make yourself a small box where you can fit and rehearse music.

It is a good solution if you have a small house. It is like an old telephone booth.

What is the best material if we are going to hire someone?

There is no one best material, it is a combination of a lot of materials. If you are going to hire someone, make sure that person is an acoustics expert.

They already know everything they do some measurements for you. They see even the holes of the plugs, very professional details.

  • It is not the same that you already have a plasterboard wall than a brick one, which is a dividing wall (wall between two different buildings) or a partition (between two rooms in your house). There is no universal solution.
  • It also depends on the area, what materials there are. What they always install is a layer at a distance with insulating rubber studs, and on that several layers of different density to break the wave. The material depends on the professional and the level of soundproofing.

If you want total soundproofing, it is not so much the layers but the finishes . The plugs are tucked into the partition and make holes through which the sound comes out. They remove them, cover them, and bring them out to the new material.

If the building is new, soundproofing it is easier, but if it is old and made of brick, it is not. Brick is smooth and superconductive because it is hollow on the inside and it echoes. The concrete is porous, but the steel of the reinforcement conducts the noise up through the iron of the bars.

The key is to create a box from which nothing comes out. It’s like making a clean room but with sound: with a thicker glass acoustic window, door and a special shutter.

Therefore, if you don’t have a lot of money, it is best to make yourself a booth, especially if you play a small instrument.

Windows are changed every 30 years, so they do not need maintenance. The good thing about these things is that if you invest it is forever. It is done in businesses because it is required by law, unlike in homes.

It is very easy to understand. When you walk into an empty room, you notice a lot of echo because the sound hits everywhere.

Do you mean that it is mandatory to soundproof offices?

Noise measurements are required in certain activities, that explains, for example, the double doors of pubs. Even so, noise is transmitted through the structure of the building so in houses you have to comply with regulations.

The CTE, the building regulations has been in force for about 15 years, requires minimum soundproofing in each house.

So the bathrooms, for example, must have a certain degree of soundproofing, because as in everything, there are degrees. Another places where many sounds pass are the common facilities of the building.

What do I mean? These are the water and heating or ventilation pipes that we all share. It is a box that goes from the garage to the top: a chimney for the sound from top to bottom. If you stay locked up you scream around and someone hears you, it is also used for emergencies.

If you have a bed near this type of facility… you can hear everything, especially at night. If you play a violin at 9 in the morning with the street, the windows open, the TV, the radio… no one will hear you. But you do it at 3 in the morning and he result is the contrary. Not because you make more noise than before, but because it isn’t covered.

It is important that your instrument is not vibrating against a wall. Better in the middle of the room.

The sound vibrates like a lightning next to the wall but if it is in the middle of the room, it first becomes airy, there it loses some volume. Like when you hit a lamppost, which amplifies the blow.

Thank you very much, I’m going to look at the bathroom in a different way.

The houses should be designed so that we do not bother each other. A friend lived in Switzerland in a quiet housing estate. Starting at 8 at night you couldn’t put the washing machine on, there couldn’t be pets, or children … Of course, if it’s a building where all the kitchens are in the same place, not too bad. But in the room next to the kitchen you get noise from the neighbor upstairs and from all sides.

In Spain there is no such culture of noise and I do not say it because of people who turn on the washing machines at night (if electricity is expensive you put it on when you can). It has not been thought that it is more important for people to rest, than to run washing machines during the flat rate at midnight.

To sum up, it is not necessary to soundproof the entire music rehearsal room. A self-made booth is enough. This cabin, which is made of DM wood, is filled with very dense chips. Music booths are practically self-supporting, so they do not need structure. You can install a plug and a light in it, and you can be there for a lifetime.