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Shed Voice Recording Studio

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Shed Voice Recording Studio

Postby CarlAD » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:53 pm

Hey guys, I've asked around other places and haven't got helpful answers, so thought I'd try here.

I'm looking at turning an 8 by 10 foot shed into a gaming room and voice recording room. I'm not looking for a top quality VO recording space but rather just a good space to record commentary in.

I don't need it to be completely sound proof just reduce a decent amount of sound leaking. At the moment you can hear pretty much everything said in there outside the shed, so I just want to reduce that. I currently have carpet and plasterboard on the insides of the walls. But obviously there will be better solutions.

Will foam tiles help at all? I would like to keep the sound proofing between the wall and plasterboard but if it has to be on the exposed side of the plasterboard as well that's fine.
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Re: Shed Voice Recording Studio

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:45 pm

Welcome to the forum :thumbup:

The first thing to do is make sure any openings are sealed, around doors and windows and where the roof meets the walls, if air can escape then sound will escape too. Foam tiles are no use for sound proofing but can be of limited use taming reflections in the room (where they would need to be inside the room) so your recordings sound more professional. Sound proofing needs mass once you go beyond sealing the air gaps and there are lots of threads in the forum WRT DIY studio builds.

Carpet inside the walls? is a bad idea as it only affects the higher frequencies and leaves a small room sounding very 'boxy'. A good starting point is to have around 30% of the walls covered with acoustic treatment (could be foam tiles if thick enough but there are better solutions but the panels need to be at least 50mm thick and ,ideally, spaced 50mm off the walls and ceiling) have a search for those DIY studio build threads.

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Re: Shed Voice Recording Studio

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:48 pm

Welcome! :thumbup:

You probably need to address two separate issues. You've suggested a solution for one as the answer for the other!

The two separate issues which need different approaches are:
1) Acoustic Treatment which will stop your voice sounding like a bee in a bathroom on the recordings;
2) Soundproofing to stop sound escaping unduly from the shed and. more importantly in this context, external sound getting in.

Foam is a solution for Acoustic Treatment - although not one that most of us would recommend. You'd probably be better with fibreglass/foam panels or with RW3 Rockwool panels fastened to a good portion of the wall surface. They perform better with an air gap behind them.

Soundproofing needs mass to be effective. It's a specialised subject that i know little about. You'll find lots of commentary in this thread: I know that's for a music application, but the principles are the same.

If you're in a relatively quiet location then I'd concentrate on Acoustic Treatment. If not, then you'll need to do some serious work on Soundproofing. It's neither easy not cheap!
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Re: Shed Voice Recording Studio

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:08 pm

CarlAD wrote:I currently have carpet and plasterboard on the insides of the walls. But obviously there will be better solutions.

Carpet on the walls is more harmful than helpful. It will soak up lots of the extreme high-end, but nothing else, and that will just make the space sound boxy and dull. It won't provide any useful noise insulation so won't stop sound getting in or out.

As others have already said, for sound leakage (in either direction) the first aspect to tackle is the air-tightness. Any gaps around windows and doors, plus those at the panel junctions and roof, primarily. Secondary glazing fitted inside the windows can often be very helpful, as can magnetic or compression seals around the doors.

But the room will only ever be as good as its weakest link, and there's no point having airtight seals around the door and window if the walls are thin and feeble... So again, as others have already said, the solution there is to add mass to the walls, floor and ceiling, and the usual method is multi-layered plasterboards, possibly with mineral wool between the inner and outer shells. But the problem you may have with this approach is the structural capacity of the shed itself. Does it have a base and floor capable of carrying the extra load? Can the existing outer wall panels cope with the weight of multi-layered plasterboard? Same for the roof structure?

And then finally, when you have achieved the level of sound isolation you require, you can tackle the interior acoustics. Acoustic foam is one option, but is expensive and not actually as efficient (or affordable) as panels made of mineral wool.

There are lots of threads here and all across the interweb describing DIY sound proofing and acoustic treatments, as well as the long-running Studio SOS series (at least a couple of which have involved sheds...).
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Re: Shed Voice Recording Studio

Postby James Perrett » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:20 pm

Your description of your shed sounds just like my first studio. I'd found a good source of reject carpets and thought I was onto a winner! Unfortunately it didn't work and I only got away with it because the nearest houses were 100m away and very tolerant of the strange noises coming out of my shed.

I'm afraid that you won't be able to do much additional soundproofing unless your shed has a concrete base. Most wooden floors simply aren't strong enough to cope with the weight of materials needed for soundproofing. If you have a concrete base then you'll need to build a complete structure inside the existing shed with 2 layers of plasterboard on the inside face. There are quite a few articles about this in various places - I tend to look at some of the BBC papers by GD Plumb as he has spent a fair amount of time analysing different wall structures. Gyproc also have some papers on their website describing soundproof walls and I went for a variation on one of their suggestions in my current studio (a layer of 19mm plasterboard plank next to wood studs with 12mm acoustic plasterboard on top separated by a layer of Green Glue).

If you can't effectively carry out any further soundproofiing your best bet is to keep close to the mic and go easy on any compression so that the sound of your voice is much louder than any unwanted sounds.
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