How to Soundproof a Room on a Budget
LESLIE: Now we’re going to go to Maryland where John wants to soundproof his basement.
John, are you in a rock band?
JOHN: No, actually I’m a classical musician. (Leslie chuckles)
JOHN: Yeah. I play the clarinet and I have one room in my basement that’s about 12×12 and I’m just wondering, with a budget of about $500, $600, what you would recommend that I could do to make the most out of my money.
TOM: Hmm. Well, to soundproof a room, you really need to control vibration. And in an area, for example, like in a radio studio where we work, there are partition walls that basically separate the room, the broadcast area, from the rest of the building so that there’s not as much vibration. Seeing that it’s probably hard for you to do that, the other thing that you could look to do is to break up that sound wave to avoid some of the echo effect that the flat walls have.
LESLIE: Nice, soft surfaces.
TOM: Yeah, nice, soft, cushy surfaces. Now Leslie could probably get you some great decorating advice that would do the same thing, but I’m kind of an egg crate foam man myself, so … (chuckles)
JOHN: OK. (chuckles)
TOM: So you can buy, from broadcast supply places and recording supply studios, the foam panels that come in different colors and adhere up with glue and can basically break up that sound wave so that it’s really just pure and you’re not hearing echoes back.
JOHN: (overlapping voices) OK.
TOM: But Leslie, what are some decorating ideas that he could have to give him some maybe more interesting-looking spaces than my egg crates?
LESLIE: Well, the more stuff you have in the room, the better for sound absorption so you’re not going to have so much of the sound waves traveling. Maybe if you want to think about putting a lot of drapery on your walls to give it sort of an elegant and classical feel. You can get some nice, heavy, velvet-looking fabric that’ll be really lush and absorb a lot of that sound. Even the more stuff you put on the walls – picture frames, posters; whatever you can put up there to help absorb that sound will really help you.
Also, if you have leather furniture, that’s like an echo chamber for sound waves. That really helps. Yeah, leather furniture, while it’s attractive and a lot of people think it’s great for a media room, it really sort of helps those sound waves bounce around more and almost muddles that sound. So if you’ve got leather furniture, put a throw blanket on it; something to sort of help absorb those waves rather than refracting it back.
JOHN: OK. Great. Well, thanks so much for your help. I really enjoy your show.
TOM: You’re very welcome, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.