Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could crank up your amp at your leisure? To be able to play with the volume and feedback. To get those tubes working, and producing the lovely, glorious tones we all crave. Wouldn’t it be sweet if you could do this without irritating your neighbors, significant other, or anyone else not hip to your epic shredding?
Well, boys and girls, such a feat is possible.
After a TON of research, ( read: interneting ) question asking, and reviewing the progress photos of an amazingly isolated studio; I embarked on a building myself the best “soundproof” practice space that I could afford. I must say, the results where pretty darn good.
Now to clarify, I made an enormous amount of mistakes with my build. I have extremely limited construction knowledge/skills. Of course, that didn’t stop me from attempting to shortcut tried and true techniques in the name of saving money on materials. In the end, it did save me some cashola. But it cost me so much time, that it wasn’t worth it.
What I’m going to do here is lay out what I SHOULD have done. I’m not giving specific plans, or explaining construction techniques. Quite frankly, I have no business teaching anyone those things. My friends and family will agree!
Consider this a super basic guide to sound isolation. You can take these concepts much further. The more you do, the more costly/difficult it is, but the better the isolation will be. If you follow this general example, you will have a very well isolated practice space, at a relatively reasonable cost.
In this series, we are going to build a small, imaginary building. We are not optimizing room ratios, (a whole other subject entirely), or concerned with looks. The purpose of said building will be so that Johnny Gearhead can rock out at his leisure, and avoid the threats of divorce or bodily injury from Mrs. Gearhead.
The basic idea is this:
Step 1: Pour a slab. ( I did not do this, and it was a huge mistake. If your building codes allow it, POUR A CONCRETE SLAB.)
Step 2: Build a complete exterior “shell”.
Step 3: Use acoustic caulk (available at most drywall supply houses) to seal any and all seams. If air gets through, sound gets through, and all your efforts are wasted. Leave nothing to chance here. If there is a seam of any kind, it gets caulked. Attempt to make this “hold water”.
Step 3: Build another building inside the existing structure WITHOUT ANY PART OF THE INTERIOR FRAMING TOUCHING THE EXTERIOR STRUCTURE. This type of construction is known as “room within a room” and is by far the best for sound isolation.
Step 4: Crack open a brewski, turn on the Tone Mob Podcast, and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Oh yeah, and play guitar really loud.
Of course there are a ton of details I glossed over there. We need to talk about air gaps, triple leaf systems, caulk, drywall, insulation, and mass, mass, mass! Stay tuned for Phase 1: Planning.