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Is there a way to soundproof myself?

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Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby LlamaLove » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:41 pm

Hi everyone, I know this might be a odd question but bare with me:
I like to act and sing in the free time and I need to do some (very loud) home practice but I don't want to disturb my housemates and I can't soundproof the whole room, is there a way I could silence my voice as it gets out of my mouth? I don't really need to hear it, just to get a feel of it and do some warm up.

I've a really basic understanding of the problem, but I need to help of an expert. This is what I've come up for the moment:

1)Passive way:

I’m a male, so let's generously assume that the sounds I’m able to produce, including harmonics, range between 70 Hz and 8 kHz.
Quoting “The master handbook of acoustic” by Alton Everest and Ken Pohlmann: “A 4 in thickness of glass fiber material of 3 lb/ft^3 density has essentially perfect absorption over the 125 Hz to 4 kHz region”, so I was hoping to use that or something similar for mid-high frequencies. Anything higher than 4 kHz should just be harmonics, and still held pretty decently by the glass fiber and the walls around in my room, so I thought I could forget about them. For the lower frequencies I think it’s better to avoid bass traps because they are too big, and use instead perforated panels acting like Helmholtz resonators designed to have a resonance frequency of about 100 Hz.
So, I was thinking of perforated plywood or something similar for the first layer, then an air gap and at the end the glass fiber, which not only should absorb mid-high frequencies but also increase the bandwidth of the resonator, but I don’t know by how much, so I don't know if I should maybe use 2 Helmholtz resonators for 2 different resonance frequencies, and in what sequence. I don't have the necessary equations, or programs, to determine how much air-gap and glass fiber, how many holes, how big the holes, how should they be spaced and how big the surface I need. Also, should I use a porous absorber in front of the plywood too? I don't want high frequency to bounce away, or could this be solved in another way?
There is also a problem with the shape of the "device". For example I could just place it a few centimetres from my mouth, with a straight or concave surface facing me, or I could build something like a helmet, or again some sort of hot-water-bottle-thing like the ScreamBody (made of lattice and open cell polyurethane foam, according to its inventor Kelly Dobson from MIT it can absorb (and play back) a scream, so that people around don’t hear it http://web.media.mit.edu/~monster/screambody/).

2) Active way:
Noise cancellation headset are widely used, they make sound to create a disruptive interferance between the outside noise, detected with a microphone, and the sound produced via a speaker. Ideally the same principle could be useful in this case, but with my voice as the background noise and the speaker projecting the sound to the space around. Therefore, I could for example buy these headphones, speak into the microphone, connect their small speaker to a bigger one and place this with trial and error so that the soundwaves are 180° late. I could couple this system with a passive one.
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:42 pm

Interesting project but I can't help thinking it would be much simpler to find somewhere else to practice........

And welcome to the forum BTW :D
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby resistorman » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:48 pm

My friend used to practice his sax under a bridge... nice acoustics! As Sam says, an alternative space might work better. You might look into a sound-booth sort of thing that people use to record VO. A helmet would be very uninspiring, I think...
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:23 am

This kind of thing

Image
https://www.kubevocalbooth.com/products/bronze-range.html

They are expensive and this company don't give any specification details as to how much isolation it will provide.
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby garrettendi » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:31 am

Sam Spoons wrote:This kind of thing

Image
https://www.kubevocalbooth.com/products/bronze-range.html

They are expensive and this company don't give any specification details as to how much isolation it will provide.

That looks awful! It'd be a great way to trigger claustrophobia!
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby LlamaLove » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:18 am

Sam Spoons wrote:Interesting project but I can't help thinking it would be much simpler to find somewhere else to practice........

And welcome to the forum BTW :D
Thank you! I thought that too, but I don't think there's a place. I don't want to go to a studio or a rehersal room, they are expensive alone and not really practical, and I can't think of any place where I can just go and scream without being heard. If I'd live in the country there would be no problem, but in a big city is not that easy.

resistorman wrote:My friend used to practice his sax under a bridge... nice acoustics! As Sam says, an alternative space might work better. You might look into a sound-booth sort of thing that people use to record VO. A helmet would be very uninspiring, I think...
You mean, something like this?
https://interestingengineering.com/isol ... stractions
The problem is that it's made to keep the sound out, not in. Even a helmet if I could soundproof it and still be able to breathe would work for me

As for the insulation booth, that is way too expensive for me and probably too big, but I've found this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKXcC00biBo&t=491s
Now, its insulation isn't too good, but one could expand on the idea
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:46 am

You are trying to achieve a high level of sound isolation, that device is not going to do it I'm afraid. There is an article archived which deals with the basics of 'soundproofing'. Probably worth a read to give you an idea of what might be achievable in your space.

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/practical-studio-design-part1
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby blinddrew » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:06 pm

When you're researching, make sure you're clear in your head about the difference between sound treatment and sound proofing. The first is about how to get the clearest, most accurate sound* within a space and can be done reasonably simply and on a moderate budget - particularly if you're handy with basic DIY.
Soundproofing - that is stopping sound travelling in or out of a space - on the other hand, is difficult and expensive. It requires sealed spaces and heavy masses. There is simply no way round this, it's the laws of physics and Scotty says they can't be fought. ;)
If someone or something is offering you cheap and easy soundproofing then they're probably trying to pull a fast one.

That may not be what you wish to hear, but it's the reality of the situation I'm afraid.

* There may be other reasons, but this is the most common. :)
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby garrettendi » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:54 am

Slightly off topic, but how much should a person budget for acoustic treatment in a 5m x 5m room, with a flat roof and patio doors?
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby LlamaLove » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:54 am

Sam Spoons wrote:You are trying to achieve a high level of sound isolation, that device is not going to do it I'm afraid. There is an article archived which deals with the basics of 'soundproofing'. Probably worth a read to give you an idea of what might be achievable in your space.

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/practical-studio-design-part1
You are right, what I proposed is probably not gonna work for the sound isolation I need, but there should be a way to do it.
If I were to make a box around my head or a box with a hole to scream into, with 50 cm thick walls of lead and 30 cm thick walls of glass fiber, wouldn't the sound stay in no metter how loud I scream? Okay, it wouldn't be too comfortable, but the idea is: how much can I reduce wall thickness/change materials from this point to still achieve the sound isolation I need?
Again, it should be a good level of isolation, but I still have some walls around me, even though thin ones, so it doesn't need to be perfect.

Also consider that the woman from MIT I've cited did it in a pretty simple way. Of course the sound she produced with her scream was probably a high frequency one, therefore easier to block, but this brings to the question: how can one modify the ScreamBody to absorb humanly possible low frequencies too?

blinddrew wrote:When you're researching, make sure you're clear in your head about the difference between sound treatment and sound proofing. The first is about how to get the clearest, most accurate sound* within a space and can be done reasonably simply and on a moderate budget - particularly if you're handy with basic DIY.
Soundproofing - that is stopping sound travelling in or out of a space - on the other hand, is difficult and expensive. It requires sealed spaces and heavy masses. There is simply no way round this, it's the laws of physics and Scotty says they can't be fought. ;)
If someone or something is offering you cheap and easy soundproofing then they're probably trying to pull a fast one.

That may not be what you wish to hear, but it's the reality of the situation I'm afraid.

* There may be other reasons, but this is the most common. :)
Soundproofing is definitely what I'm looking for, I know it is generally expensive but soundproofing a 3mx3m room is cheaper then a 30mx30m, so I hope I can afford to soundproof the area in front of my mouth, buying the materials I need directly from the producers :)
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:07 am

Based on my 4 x 4 room (which cost around £300) and the DIY option I'd sat £500 should do it. If you want to buy in all the panels then a little less than double, say £900.
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby garrettendi » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:12 am

When you say DIY, what does that entail, exactly? Do you mean the raw materials to build panels from scratch?
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby Matt Houghton » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:32 am

garrettendi wrote:Slightly off topic, but how much should a person budget for acoustic treatment in a 5m x 5m room, with a flat roof and patio doors?

Depends how much you want to do, whether you're doing it for a nice controlled live-room sound, or an accurate control room, how low down the spectrum you want it to be effective, and whether you need to do some soundproofing/isolation and heat insulation too (I did), in which case the costs spiral. Also whether you're doing DIY or looking for commercial products/employing an acoustician.

I'm presently converting (DIY) a flat-roofed double garage that's only very slightly bigger than that (5mx5m with a metre and a half or so extra length on half of one axis). The acoustic treatment is largely based on Rockwool — about a pallet of the stuff. The lowest prices of Rockwool and other building materials tend to fluctuate quite wildly (due both to supply and exchange rates... but £250-300 should get you a pallet of RW3 delivered to your door from these guys: http://www.insulation4less.co.uk/catalogsearch/result/?q=rw3 They were the best price I found except for one company who had lots of bad feedback; in the end the goods arrived, but a day early, direct from a wholesaler...)

Also consider what you're doing with the ceiling. Is it already a domestic room with a plastered ceiling, or a garage roof with joists showing? If the latter, do you want the ceiling plasterboarded and plastered, and vaguely soundproofed and heat insulated? If so, you'll want a ceiling-mounted absorbers of some sort at the mirror position above the mix position. But another option is not to plaster and have rockwool inbetween the joists (still allowing for airflow above!) and finish the ceiling with some sort of material.

But then you have to decide what you're covering any absorbers in (and how/whether you're framing them. Eg is it a commercial facility; does the material need to comply with fire regs? How aesthetically pleasing do you want it to look). So, for example, upholsterers' bottoming cloth is really inexpensive on the roll, as is burlap. Specialist acoustic fabric such as Camira Cara costs rather more. You can add more money for more effective bass trapping by building limp mass traps with mineral-loaded vinyl. Do you want nicely finished/jointed wooden frames on display, or can you hide the frames inside the material and use cheaper stuff like MDF for the frames? Etc etc.

So... the overall cost can vary wildly. You need a plan for what you want to do. The minimum for a mix room would be to start with absorbers at the mirror points (left, right, behind speakers, and ceiling.). Do that, evaluate, measure, and then consider what you need to do in terms of bass trapping. (yes, you can never have too much bass trapping... but you can waste a lot of money and space on it if you go for belt-and-braces right from the off...)

Btw, I'm no acoustician. Maybe Max will be along in a moment to tell you how much of what I've said is bowlarks, or that you have to do a whole lot more!
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby garrettendi » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:40 am

Thanks Matt!

I'm actually going to be moving house in about a year or so, so I'll be waiting for that before I do any treatment of my studio. So naturally in this scenario I have too many unanswered questions to form a real plan. We were thinking of using a garage for a studio, with all in one room. Other alternatives are a "wendy house" type thing in the garden.

Of course, we might find our perfect "forever home" that has no room for a studio at all. It's just unknown!

I'll bear in mind all you said, and form a plan once we've moved.
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:11 pm

I'm sure you've looked at (and contributed to I suspect) my "old studio rebuild" thread so that will give you an idea of what I achieved for my £300. It looks great (for a certain definition of great), sounds pretty good (for a small room) and suits my needs very well indeed. Most importantly we ain't moving in the foreseeable (I expect to leave this house feet first eventually) so it was that room or nothing.
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby garrettendi » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:39 am

Thanks Sam I'll take a look
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby LlamaLove » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:27 pm

So, no one has really an idea on how could I absorb the sound of my voice? Again, it doesn't have to be perfect...
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby job » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:32 pm

I'm no singer but from what i understand proper singing technique is from the gut, so couldn't you practice said technique as a whisper so you get good at the technique but without the volume? Or would that not give any benefit?
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby zenguitar » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:42 pm

The problem with sound proofing is that sound travels very well through air. And that means that it will go around anything you devise to sing into, so your absorber idea can't work.

You could in theory make a helmet or box over your head that is sound proof but to make it work you need to make it airtight. And that means you would very quickly run out of oxygen. You might get through a short verse before taking it off again, but that's about it. Some small vocal booths have airtight doors and they have to open the door after every take to replenish the oxygen.

So the advice to negotiate a rehearsal time with your flatmates/neighbours or to find somewhere else to rehearse really is the best advice.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Is there a way to soundproof myself?

Postby LlamaLove » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:51 pm

job wrote:I'm no singer but from what i understand proper singing technique is from the gut, so couldn't you practice said technique as a whisper so you get good at the technique but without the volume? Or would that not give any benefit?
That's what I've been doing for a while, but it's not the best practice. Also, I need to do this mainly as a warm-up, and I like to warm up loud too, so volume is the main goal :D

zenguitar wrote:The problem with sound proofing is that sound travels very well through air. And that means that it will go around anything you devise to sing into, so your absorber idea can't work.

You could in theory make a helmet or box over your head that is sound proof but to make it work you need to make it airtight. And that means you would very quickly run out of oxygen. You might get through a short verse before taking it off again, but that's about it. Some small vocal booths have airtight doors and they have to open the door after every take to replenish the oxygen.

So the advice to negotiate a rehearsal time with your flatmates/neighbours or to find somewhere else to rehearse really is the best advice.

Andy :beamup:
Isn't it possible to do that just around the mouth, and leave the nose out to breath? Is there a problem with the fact that mouth and nose are connected?

Also, I'm pretty much desperate at this point so the airtight helmet could actually work for me, even with the costant need to open it and close it for air, but I don't know what materials should I use, if I should use a helmholtz resonator etc. Any idea?
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