Drum Room Advice


Junior Member
Hello all,

I started doing preliminary research on "soundproofing" months ago when I was looking for a house. Well I finally have purchased a house and now I can get more into the specifics. My current only concern is to eliminate as much sound from coming out of the room through the house as possible. I would love it if no one upstairs had to hear me, or at least can only hear me faintly. Neighbors are not a concern. I have a basement with a finished section and an unfinished section, the room room will be in the unfinished section which is about 3 feet underground with cement floors, walls, and no ceiling panels as of now. The ceiling is 7ft 6in to the rafters, and 6ft 8in to the HVAC Duct (you'll see in the pics).

The room is rather large so we cut it in half, as you will see in the included diagram. If you want to work off the diagram to add stuff (Microsoft Visio), give me your email and I can send it to you. **SEE Drum Room.jpg**

You enter the unfinished basement in the right room that has 2 cement stairs leading down, as well as a ~3ft cement shelf across the width of the room. The room has a window on the right wall and has already been drywalled and painted. This room was originally what I thought would make the best drum room, I am not sure why our contractor felt otherwise. The contractor is a good friend of ours so I am not worried if we need to tear down the drywall and make this the drum room.

The plot gets thicker because the contractor's brother does industrial insolation (super dense white foam) and had him use what seems to be a thin coat on the open framing of the current drum room. I am not convinced that this will take care of my needs because it might be very dense and hard, but there's no mass to it. *SEE BOTTOM FOR PICS*

I understand the concept of building a room within a room as well as that sound is dampened by density, mass, depth, and vibration absorption, but things get hazy for me when it comes to what products are most effective for my specific room. I would love suggestions for wall and ceiling treatment, and come to understand that foam underneath carpet will probably be the best for the floors (correct me if I am wrong).

Main concerns:
-water heater room (should I frame and insolate around the room basically making a set of doors to get to the set of doors, or just get better solid doors and weatherproof them?)
-HVAC Duct (the duct runs the length of the room, what the hell should I do about that?!)
-Should I work with the room that got sprayed, or the windowed room and just tear down that dry wall?

Budget: $2000 (hopefully less, but able to do more if absolutely necessary)

**See other image**
Notice that powdery coating? That's the insolation. Also you can see the HVAC Duct. The drums are there because I wanted to see if the insolation did anything by itself: it didnt.



Platinum Member
1) If you haven't already, go get this book:

Build it Like the Pros by Rod Gervais.

It goes into way more detail than we could ever do online.

2) Yes, you want to isolate the water heater. Sound travels through water very well, and sound can use the pipes to travel all through the house.

3) I think spay foam insulation works much better than standard insulation, because it leaves no gaps. I only wish I had this in my studio. As for mass, insulation isn't supposed to have mass; the idea is it is full of air pockets, and air actually transfers sound the least effectively when compared to a solid.

4) The air duct needs to have an isolation box around it. Much like the pipes, it's a nice gateway to the rest of the house for sound to travel through.


Junior Member
Thanks, i appreciate the response. I found soundproofingcompany.com has some VERY nice articles so I have been reading those and putting the pieces together in my head little by little.
I am talking to the contractor tonight and I know he has an idea as to what he wants to do (built a drum room for someone else in a townhouse, so I want to hear his plans). I will post tomorrow once I hear his side and show him the info that I have as to what the proposed plan is.


Senior Member
So, the insulation did nothing because insulation by itself does nothing. Only in concert with other materials/devices does it become a contributing factor to sound reduction.

Spray insulation < regular insulation because you want gaps... air gaps to be specific. Regular insulation < specialized insulation such as Roxul. Specialized insulation < cotton batting because cotton batting has more mass (and it's cheaper). But as I mentioned, none of these materials are worth a damn on their own, and even in concert with other materials they will only comprise about 3-5% of the room's overall effectiveness. They do more to lower your cooling/heating costs than anything else.

Now, as for the rest of the room and your questions, you need to primarily be concerned with mass and isolation. Building a 5-sided room (walls and ceiling but no floor) within your main room is best. Since you are in a basement with a concrete slab floor (it looks like), don't worry about trying to make the floor better. Instead, isolate from the weak points: doors, all those pipes and ducts, water heater, ceiling.

Solid doors are a good upgrade and mandatory, really. Two doors with a gap in between them are better than just upgrading the crap out of doors that exists. For instance, two solid cores with a foot or two air gap between them (and properly sealed) costs roughly $300-400 in materials. Those two doors will massively outperform a $6,000.00 high performance metal door. Offsetting doors laterally (or by angle, or both!) works even better. See pic below. The first door is the open one we are looking through, which leads to a small control room. The inner door on the right is the main door to my drum doom. Together these two doors net a 60-90db reduction across the frequency range, which is enough that you can hear someone whisper over my drum kit while standing right out side the outer door. Insane performance for $400.00, no?

I would leave all of the existing walls and materials in place. Upgrading existing materials is expensive and has a low benefit to cost ratio. Leave it in tact but plug any air gaps. Limit any upgrades to air tightness issues.

Focus most of your expense on building a new room within that existing room with as big of an air gap as you can manage. This will help the room and your doors perform better. Here's my recommended order of expenses:

  • Focus your expenses on the new inner room towards cheap and heavy materials first: Two layers of drywall > than drywall with MLV or insulation.
  • Focus on heaviness of materials as well: 5/8 drywall slabs > 1/2 drywall slabs from a cost to performance ratio.
  • Don't over focus on one thing. So, while the above mentioned focus on weight and mass is a good idea, there is a diminishing returns on investment rule at play. It takes 4x more materials to increase effectiveness in one area. Roughly speakingt: 2x drywall slabs are 1.5 times better than 1 drywall slab, but 4 slabs are only 1.25 times better than 2x drywall slabs. So, once you've maxed out on mass and you still have cash left over, shift your expenses toward isolation instead.
  • So, for 2k, I would expect that you might get away with $300.00 - $400.00 on two solid core doors, double drywall inside and lumber. Drywall is cheap, but I would consider two layers of 5/8 inside and 1 outside. Improve inner walls before outer walls.
  • Also, improve framing design before outer walls. Rather than double up outside, I would put more cash into the framing by going with an offset or double stud design, which is a cheap way to improve isolation. Well, it's cheaper than the other methods available.
  • If there is any money left after that, I would invest in Green Glue to improve the inner drywall sandwich performance.
  • If there is any money left after that, I would put it into hat channels and clips, improving the inner wall and framing isolation even further. Honestly, I doubt you will make it anywhere near channels and clips on a 2k budget.

What I wouldn't do is continue to try making the outer walls better or spend lots of money on insulation. Nor would I spend cash in wrapping the existing ducts. Instead, try to keep the sound from reaching those things in the first place by making the best inner room that you can. You can always add stuff to the ducts later on so don't waste you main budget on them now. Conversely, upgrading you inner room later on will be nearly impossible without starting over, so focusing on its design integrity is a better move.

Here's a link to the design phase of my room, that has similar issues. I have a load baring beam that was transmitting bass frequencies into the room above my garage that needed to be isolated. There is also a rough sheet with costs breakdowns so you can see what I mean about material expenditures. Notice the $500.00 cost on fiber. I did that because I had a huge budget and was shooting for the moon. But if I had to cut, it would have been the first thing I would have dropped. Especially considering that I could have doubled up on drywall for less than the cost of the batting (which I would have if I had the build out space to do it).

Good luck!


Junior Member
I was hoping you would put in your $.02 brundlefly! Thanks!

Initial thoughts:

Walls: Double stud framing, 1 5/8in drywall outside, 2 5/8in inside with green glue, insulation
Ceiling: framing (going to look more into this) then probably 2 layers of 5/8 with green glue again.

I have to look into materials pricing but the labor is free (as was that industrial insolation), so that's good.