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Soundproofing a new studio, post-construction.

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Desiree Damon
Soundproofing a new studio, post-construction.
on Dec 17, 2012 at 8:32:27 pm

I do corporate video production for a financial services company. My company just moved to a new building, and a new studio room was constructed.

During construction, they were supposed to build two walls, with insulation between them, or at least double sheetrock. But it turns out, despite being told otherwise, this wasn't ever done. So now, I have a lot of bleed from the giant copy center (with its tile floor) located on the other side of my wall.

Does anybody have any advice for soundproofing a room, post-construction? I'd like to get this room in a condition where I can shoot in it.


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Ty Ford
Re: Soundproofing a new studio, post-construction.
on Dec 17, 2012 at 10:43:17 pm

Hello Desiree and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

You're sort of jammed up here. If they didn't do the walls, they also probably didn't do anything right with the overheads and you may well have sound coming over the top of the walls as well, not to mention what's traversing a (probably) concrete floor.

Without knowing exactly how bad the problem is and what's causing it, it's a little difficult to prescribe a solution. Where in the world are you?

Regards

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Desiree Damon
Re: Soundproofing a new studio, post-construction.
on Dec 17, 2012 at 11:10:20 pm

Thank you kindly. I'm out in Dallas, Texas, by the way.

One good thing, is that they took the walls all the way up to the building's ceiling. There are no drop ceilings, everything was blown out and replaced with a grid for my lights. So nothing should be coming in from over the walls.

The areas around the studio, of course, have the ceiling tiles commonly found in office buildings. There are white noise machines up there, which we've found to bleed through as well, but we've located the offending units and are in the process of moving them. That problem should be solved soon.

Another good thing, the air conditioning vent was done right, as far as I can tell. They don't make noise.

So the sound, as far as I can tell, is just normal office noise - copy machines, footsteps, loud people.

I know I'm likely getting some bleed through the door, even though it's quite a heavy one. And I know none of the walls, inside or out, have any real acoustic treatment on them. I've been asked to provide recommendations on all of this, and I'm not sure what to do. I don't know what products will really dampen that kind of noise.

I'd appreciate any kind of advice you can give. Because I refuse to accept a hopeless situation. I have a job to do! And this room is part of it!


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Ty Ford
Re: Soundproofing a new studio, post-construction.
on Dec 18, 2012 at 2:34:11 am

Desiree,

"So the sound, as far as I can tell, is just normal office noise - copy machines, footsteps, loud people."

OK, here you go.

The idea is to present a barrier of Density-Isolation-Density (D-S-D) to reduce the transfer of vibration.

First, the easy solution. Floor traffic: Carpeting or floor mats on the other side of the wall.

Second, loud people and copy machines. Foam on walls won't do it. You will get some loss if you foam the office side of the wall, but not enough to do you any good.

You can heavy up the original wall by putting Acoustilead on their side of the wall. Then cover that with a layer of of foam normally used under wall to wall carpet. Then cover that with 5/8" sheet rock in such a way that the bottom of the sheet rock sits on a lip of lip of excess carpet foam at the bottom of the wall. That way, the sheetrock will be isolated from the floor.

If you need more, construct another sheet rock wall of density and keep it isolated from the original wall. It should be built on the office side to prevent the sound from hitting the original wall. The sill plates should be isolated from the cement floor by rubber mats or Sorbothane pucks. If you drill through the sill plates and into the cement floor to bolt it in, you'll be conducting sound from your new wall to the floor and under the old wall to your own space. So try rubber gaskets between the bolt heads, the sill plates and the bare floor.

Any questions?

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Richard Crowley
Re: Soundproofing a new studio, post-construction.
on Dec 18, 2012 at 3:38:00 am

In addition to everything Mr. Ford said, remember also the inverse-square law. If you can get your microphones very close to the source (i.e. headset type microphones) you can survive in a somewhat more noisy ambient because you will have increased the SIGNAL side of the signal-to-noise ratio.


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Peter Groom
Re: Soundproofing a new studio, post-construction.
on Dec 18, 2012 at 6:27:01 pm

HI
I really sympathise, as the same thing happened to me. A builder who said theyd followed my detailed instructions, and clearly hadnt.
What I did to rectify it was
1) I had 2x2 timbers attached to the walls that existed, in vertical lengths floor to ceiling about 2 ft apart
2) I bought polythene sheet (called viscreen here in the uk) and staped this to the vertiocal batons making a plastic sealed viod within the batons and the existing wall ( to within about 1 ft of the top(leaving enoigh to continue to the top but leaving a gap)
2) I attached horizontally small batons (about 30mm x 10mm thick ) about each 2 ft up the wall to the vertical joists (to give the plastic strength.
3) I filled the voids with kiln dried sand from a builders merchant.
4) as the sand got higher I attached drilled pegboard (holed sheeting) and worked to the ceiling filling and boarding
5) The i attached sponge or foam sheets (about 1 inch thick to the
making a soft absorbent outer skin to the peg board, covering the timbers , covering the viscreen, encasing the sand, infront of the wall.

I found this did 2 great jobs.
1) made the interior acoustic of the room soft (although I did lay a hard wood floor to give it some life.
2) Did a fab job of stopping external sounds getting in through the wall. Anyone who as tried to run on dry sand on a beach will testify that there is very little grip or purchase on sand, and sound finds it also incredibly difficult to transfer through as each molecule or grain absorbs the sound energy and doesnt transfer it on to the next grain well at all.

Then the doors become your weak link (and there the home made approach had to be replaced with proper studio doors lined with lead and with suction seals etc etc.

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Ty Ford
Re: Soundproofing a new studio, post-construction.
on Dec 18, 2012 at 7:53:02 pm

Good one, Peter!

We used to use sand filled rectangles as turntable bases in radio stations over here for the same reason.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Desiree Damon
Re: Soundproofing a new studio, post-construction.
on Dec 18, 2012 at 7:56:06 pm

These are some excellent suggestions. Thank you very much!

I will show all of them to our facilities manager, and see what we can implement.


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Bill Davis
Re: Soundproofing a new studio, post-construction.
on Dec 19, 2012 at 2:02:41 am

Deseree,

As you're learning, acoustic space planning and treatment isn't trivial.

Just as regards adding sand to the wall spaces - if you're in a standard commercial space, you'll probably want to get your companies facilities people involved here. Sand is HEAVY and you certainly don't want to exceed load limits by distributing fifty bags of sound into the walls. Also you DO NOT want the old incompetent construction folk simply pouring it into walls and learning later that it's "raining sand" in the suite one floor below!

Clearly the construction folks had NO clue about building an space suitable for audio recording. So it's going to take a significant bit of effort to make this right.

And it also hints that since they didn't get this simple stuff right (following the plans!) they probably didn't have any more clue about power circuit issues, air handling, or any of the hundred other things that a purpose built audio recording space can benefit from.

It IS possible to post treat for these things. But it might be time to get the higher ups involved, since if the plans specified audio specific construction techniques and the builders didn't comply, they're likely liable for paying to fix this unless someone signed off on a plan revision.

As someone who converted a haybarn on my property into a video studio complete with VO booth and soundproof edit bay I've got to note that this is kinda NOT a simple "do it yourself" circumstance here, IMO.

Good luck.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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