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making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

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making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby adamotyril » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:36 pm

Hi ,
I'd like to present here a plan to create a very small sound proof mixing studio.

I'd be grateful if anyone could review the plan, and tell me if they can see anything that is problematic or 'non viable' about it.

Here are a few important facts

1. First, here is a pic of my basic 'daytime' set up.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/184459850 ... ed-public/

2. This is located in a nice light and airy room , with plenty of additional space behind the chair for friends and fellow musicians. This room is great, it's sound treated but not sound proofed. I never get any complaints in the daytime, so this daytime music space will stay where it is.

I INTEND TO KEEP *THIS* ROOM GOING, JUST AS IT IS, AND NOT CHANGE ANYTHING>>>BUT THE PLAN IS TO MAKE *ANOTHER* SMALLER SOUND PROOF ROOM IN ANOTHER PART OF THE HOUSE FOR NIGHT TIME USE ONLY.
But containing a second, similar basic desk/speakes/chair setup to the one that i show in the photo above (that's why i thought it would be handy to share that pic of my basic existing music equipment)

3. Because i'm in a normal terraced house with other flats and dwelling close by, it's kind of antisocial to keep going after, say 10pm.
I'd like to be able to use the time from 10pm to, say 2am sometimes, in the proposed 'night bunker'.

re: soundproofing requirements, please note, i'm NOT a rock band...no drum kit, no loud guitar amps

BUT I'd really like the option to keep on mixing, and playing an instrument such as acoustic guitar (probably the most 'anti social' activity could be practicing harmonica, that would be my maximum noisy activity), moving to 'the bunker', when i have to, late at night.

4. So here is a basic plan for a separate sound proof 'night bunker'

Being subject to a lot of space limitation - I'm considering making just the MINIMUM SIZE SOUND PROOF "BUNKER", that would contain desk/ speaker/ chair...room for one person plus a guitar, all built within the second, smaller room that i have available.

So essentially I'm considering what the minimum sized rectangle that i could viably fit it into. Small...but hopefully, functional. Needs must.

5. I'm considering using the product offered by Studiobricks to set up within the second, smaller room that i have available. (they specialise in vocal booths and small sound proofed areas. (check out their web pages)

They offer a 'triple wall' system, where each wall is 11cm depth

The system appears to offer various sound treatment surfaces on the inside (foamy, or more live), which, from the pics in their publicity material, doesn't look like it requires a lot of additional thickness or space (let's imagine 30mm max)

6. Consequently, after measuring the basic size of the desk/chair/speakers equipment I linked a pic of above, I find that -

the distance between the edges of the speakers (left to right, outer edge) is 2.1 m ( or 210cm)
and
the distance from the back of my speakers to the back of my chair (forward to back) is 1.7meters (or 170cm)

This leads me to be able to sketch a MINIMUM INTERIOR DIMENSION plan that looks like THIS

https://www.flickr.com/photos/184459850 ... ed-public/

Please note that this represents absolute minimum INTERIOR rectangular dimensions to contain desk/speakers/chair.

If we add to this 22cm on each axis (presenting 2 x the 11cm required for a triple wall), plus a few cm additional to account for the foam interior treatment surfaces that appear to be part of the Studio Bricks system,

That leaves me with a absolute minimum EXTERNAL DIMENSION of about 2m x 2.5
Which i can 'get away with' to build inside in the additional smaller room available to me.

Obviously there may be some slight additional space outside of this that would be needed maybe for a fan/ventilation set up, but i've left some space for that.

End of basic info.

Obviously i realise the space is insanely small..BUT ..remember, that i'd spend most of my time in my already existing nice, bigger airy room.
I don't want to mess with my daytime room, because it's light, big, airy... best leave it as it is for daytime, and practicing with friends...it would be a real shame to cut it down and limit it with the 'shrink' effect that would come from full sound proofing. Air, sunlight, tweeting birds, might as well have that going on when it's ok to have that.

The 'bunker' plan i have is really is just for 'night retreat' for a few hours maximum each night, if i'm really involved in a mix or some playing, and don't want to stop at 10pm

So ... i'd be very grateful if anyone could provide informed comment on whether this 'minimal dimension night bunker' idea could work.

Potential problems that arise (it seems to me) could be acoustic - is it possible to have a workable, reasonably treated space that works acoustically for any kind of playing and mixing that is nonetheless so very small?

or do please offer any other comments about this idea or any problems that i haven't thought of.

I guess i'm basically asking what people would consider the minimum possible size for a mixing/monitoring night time booth (with potential for a bit of playing) that i would just use at late hours.

Thanks indeed if you can comment constructively

with regards
A
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:51 pm

Why not just work on headphones late at night? I know that would restrict you to electronic instruments but it sounds like you are going to spend a considerable amount of money on something that would likely, as a mixing space, come a poor second to your existing room.

Some observations:-

Your monitors should be at two points of an equilateral triangle with the mix position (and your head) at the third.

Speakers in the corners are usually a bad thing.

the bass issues that always exist in small rooms will extend up into much higher frequencies than in a larger room making for a very boxy sound, and the 30mm treatment will do nothing to help mitigate.
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby blinddrew » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:35 pm

I have to agree with Sam, a room that small is going to have terrible sound issues for one, and for a second, trying to achieve actual sound-proofing is really difficult. You need mass and air-tightness. If you achieve that you're going to have a very small space that runs out of air very quickly and won't have any internal space for meaningful treatment.
Headphones really is the way to go for low volume work.
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby CS70 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:41 pm

Your main issue is gonna be soundproofing. Of course it depends on your mixing levels, if you mix at say 75 db the amount of energy hitting resonant parts of the room (or simply escaping thru natural fissures) can easily be still significant enough to disturb people trying to fall asleep.

As for size, it all depends on how small is "small".
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:48 am

I'm going to add to the chorus, I'm afraid. The kind of room-within-a-room you're talking about would obviously provide some additional reduction in transmitted sound, but it's going to be enormously compromised by its ridiculously small size -- not only in terms of sound quality, but also the excess heat and poor air will be serious problems if you plan on sitting in it for more than a few mi uses at a time... So some kind of cool forced air input would be essential, adding further to the cost and potential external noise.

Why spend all that money on something for part-time use that will perform very poorly and probably introduce more unwanted noise problems?

In your situation, I agree with the others that high-quality headphones are the only sensible way to go. And, although that approach still involves compromises, they aren't as severe as your isolation booth idea, and are a lot less expensive!
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:20 pm

Just to add that while I can't think of a way to solve the harmonica practice issue, there are plenty of solid bodied or 'silent' acoustic guitars which potentially can sound very good in a mix and are more than adequate for near silent practicing. Godin are probably the best known mid/high end solid acoustics and are excellent instruments.
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:09 pm

Thanks indeed if you can comment constructively

Am I the only one who found this a rather snarky way to end one's first forum post?
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:17 pm

I don't think I've ever known you to be anything but considerate Dr Huge ;) but words in print are very easy to misinterpret (I've fallen foul of that enough times myself, probably contributing to the break up of one of the better bands I've been in a few years ago). Benefit of the doubt is the mantra I try (not always successfully) to apply to new (and old) posters. I've just resisted the temptation to be snarky back to a possible spammer not two minutes ago.

I don't know the intent of the OP so have answered assuming him/her to be genuine.
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:25 am

Long question... short answer:

Decent, open-back headphones are the solution.
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:05 am

I don't know the intent of the OP so have answered assuming him/her to be genuine.

You're quite right. Type in haste, repent at leisure. Too late to edit so apologies to the OP if I misconstrued his tone.
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby adamotyril » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:02 pm

Thanks for all your answers.

The acoustical problems and lack of air sound like killers

Headphones, alas just aren't a sufficient answer....

I need to play instruments.
I need to play them late.

I'm thinking perhaps this.....

Keep all mixing equipment, desk chair set up as it is and where it is.

Set up just a sound proof booth solely for playing.

Some kind of capacity to monitor on headphones for an overdub would be nice,
or any kind of control via an ipad type control surface (conceivably)

(such set ups exist for live sound, operate a virtual mixer on an ipad while mixing your band)

Put in lots and lots of thought about getting cool air in there. Fans can themselves be in a soundproof box, with the usual sound reduction system involving an air duct zig zagging through a box padded out with rock wool.
??
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:33 pm

adamotyril wrote:Headphones, alas just aren't a sufficient answer....

I need to play instruments.
I need to play them late.

I feared you were going to say that! ;)

Set up just a sound proof booth solely for playing....Put in lots and lots of thought about getting cool air in there. Fans can themselves be in a soundproof box, with the usual sound reduction system involving an air duct zig zagging through a box padded out with rock wool.

The monitoring and remote control are trivial to sort out, but the sound-proof booth remains problematic because small boxes fundamentally sound boxy, and that's a really difficult and expensive thing to overcome.

Yes, you can sort out some kind of quiet forced air ventilation... although you'll have the added complication of not only keeping the noise out of the booth, but also out of the rest of the building.

My overriding concern is that you'll end up spending a shed-load of money but end up with a room which, although reasonably sound-proof, just won't be a nice sounding space to record acoustic instruments.

Is there a practical alternative approach? For example, would it make more sense to 'sound-proof' the rooms where others are sleeping, leaving you to carry on more or less as normal in your existing space?

H
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby James Perrett » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:01 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:My overriding concern is that you'll end up spending a shed-load of money but end up with a room which, although reasonably sound-proof, just won't be a nice sounding space to record acoustic instruments.

I get the impression that soundproofing is the most important aspect rather than somewhere that sounds good. Fortunately neither of the instruments mentioned have a great deal of bass so it won't be too difficult to get a reasonable amount of sound reduction.

The biggest issue as I see it is going to be the construction of the existing room - does it have a solid floor or does it have floorboards on joists? Are the walls made of blocks or plasterboard? With the right sort of construction you can use a standard soundproof booth but if the floors and walls are flimsy you are going to have problems and will probably need a custom built solution.
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby Wonks » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:25 pm

Do you know that you've actually got soundproofing issues between houses i.e. you can already hear loud conversations?

If not, is it worth just trying to ascertain with your neighbours if they can hear you playing and singing late at night? You may be worrying for nothing.
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby adamotyril » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:53 pm

One thought that occurs to me is this -

just aim for a soundproof space for playing that, although small

is as acoustically DEAD as possible (therefore escaping the 'small box' acoustic effects mentioned above).

I have seen acoustic rooms in videos (soundless/reverbless chambers probably at research facilities used by audiologists) that have all kinds of spikey sound absorbing stuff.

Even though that deadening treatment material must indeed take up room, (the spikey stuff, and deadening panels)
Just so long as you have a minimal space to sit and play, the idea seems like it could work

you could then use headphones in there with the signal going via digital reverb...to make something that is a little more conducive for playing than extreme deadness. (digitial space design tech is surely very advanced nowadays)

What is the smallest dimension of physical interior space in which you could create effective 'dead as a dodo' reverbless deadness (+ sound proofing built around it going into 'exterior' space?

(i'm also assuming here that a quite elaborate air input system that delivers air via 'snakey' ducts packed around with rock wool, to exclude fan sound from the isolation chamber.
These , of course, would have to be located in space exterior to the booth.

yes, i know this is getting both quite mad professor + a bit medieval...but let's go with the concept : ))
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby CS70 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:45 pm

Yeah if the idea is to jam at night with headphones and get ideas when the family sleeps - rather than recording or mixing - you could try and look at some vocal booth. Vicoustic sells one at Thomann. If you have bass frequencies it won't work tough (it's a vocal booth)

However, it's risky as, while you will get a sound level reduction down to the midrange, whether or not is enough to disturb people sleeping in adjacent room is a hard to say. For neighbor complaints rejection tough, should do.
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Re: making a sound proof 'night bunker' to keep on doing music late

Postby Music Wolf » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:51 pm

Wonks wrote:If not, is it worth just trying to ascertain with your neighbours if they can hear you playing and singing late at night? You may be worrying for nothing.

Well worth doing.

My first house was a turn of the century end of terrace house. I could hear my neighbours as clear as anything late at night. My 'studio' was one of the spare bedrooms. It didn't have a shared wall with the neighbours but even so I always made sure that we finished recording by 9pm. I always figured that one complaint was one too many.

I lived there for 11 years. A couple of years before I sold it I happened to meet my neighbour at the front door whilst I was carrying a guitar. He asked "do you play the guitar?" (as opposed to "do you walk around carrying a guitar that you can't play?"). It turned out that both he and his wife were so deaf that they couldn't hear my music.
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