A question for drum room builders....

CCdrummer

Senior Member
I have a space that is 10' by 12'. I am considering turning this into a soundproof room(or as close as humanly possible) The room is actually 10' by 24' but I would like to keep some space open for other things so it would involve adding another wall to divide it into two rooms. The ceiling would be around 7'.

I am guessing that to truly soundproof it would most likely involve building a room within the room. Would this take up too much space in the 10' by 12' area?

Also, and I know this is kind of tough to answer, but any ballpark ideas on what the costs would be? I am not the world's handiest guy to put in mildly so other than a bit of mudding and painting there is not a whole lot I could see myself doing.

Thanks for any replies in advance, I know this is a pretty big question.
 

Big Foot

Silver Member
A room within a room is your best bet. Is it just for you and your kit or are you going to jam in there? (my space is 9' X17' with a sofa and chair, and its good for me and 2 guitars okay for 3 guitars) Is it in a garage with a concrete slab? Or above or below a living space?

Best way to figure out costs is to draw, to scale on graft paper, all the parts that make up the 4 walls and the ceiling and floor(if you need the floor and ceiling). You can now see visually how many studs, sheets of drywall ( double, maybe triple, up the drywall) , plywood floor (on studs), batt insulation, door (maybe 2) with a seal, screws, electrical stuff etc.
I guess that's a start. The more you look into it the more you'll realize you need to do. But it's not rocket science.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
It is incredibly expensive. You would need to build stud walls, double up on the drywall and preferably have secondary, floating drywall that is isolated from the stud walls. The trick is to get the sound waves to either be absorbed or reflected. To do this you need a wall, then air, then a wall, then air, so on and so forth. And that is just a very very basic idea. Don't forget you will need a ceiling too.

Do you want lighting and electrical outlets? More work and cost.

Lets not forget that someone must be paid to do all this work, too, since you said you aren't very handy. Sorry, I am not trying to burst your bubble here, but to truly soundproof a room you are looking at the cost of a good used car.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Expenses can great.

And so much depends on what degree of sound proofing you need, how the building you are in is built, how far away your closest neighbor is, and so much more.

I've done this twice. The first time I went off what I thought was right, and tried to save some money here and there, and ended up highly disappointed.

The 2nd time, I had a much bigger budget, and had much better results.

Before you do anything, I highly suggest you read these books:

Home Recording Studio: Build it Like the Pros by Rod Gervais
It's long, lots of technical jargon, and some of it will go over your head, but it's full of good info.

I also used:
KEEP THE PEACE! THE MUSICIAN'S GUIDE TO SOUNDPROOFING by Mark Parsons, which is more straightforward, and also written geared to drummers.

Some of the info in the two books contradicts each other, and neither book accommodates every circumstance you might encounter, but none the less, I read both books several times over when building my 2nd studio.
 

CCdrummer

Senior Member
Again thanks for the replies. I wish I would have checked all this stuff out BEFORE I had my basement finished the first time.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Oh, you are in a basement? That is a great starting point, as basements are concrete with a concrete floor, or sub-floor if it is a finished floor.

Lets start over. What are you trying to isolate sound from, the neighbors or your house? Will the rest of the basement be storage or a usable space that people will hang out in? Are there others in your house that don't like the volume when you play?
 

Razbo

Member
Since it is already finished, probably the most inexpensive way is to go top and sides with reslilient channel, sonopan panels, then two layers of drywall. Even without making everything absolutely air tight, that will greatly reduce the volume leak.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Since it is already finished, probably the most inexpensive way is to go top and sides with reslilient channel, sonopan panels, then two layers of drywall. Even without making everything absolutely air tight, that will greatly reduce the volume leak.
Sides should be already covered, as he is in Canada. The basement has to be below the frost line, and is essentially encased with earth. There should already be minimal sound escaping from the walls. This is why I asked what he is trying to soundproof from. If it is the neighbors, they already should not be hearing much of anything.
 

CCdrummer

Senior Member
The sound is not too bad right now as far as reaching the neighbors. The basement is not a great design for sound as there is no door that closes off the main floor to the basement. My man cave/drum room is right at the bottom of the steps, seperated only from the door to the backyard by the door to the drum room. The house is of a real open design, so it's not really possible to Change this.

I would like to improve the soundproofing so as to not worry about playing late at night for the neighbors(I was told you can hear it outside) and also to make it possible for my gf to watch tv upstairs without going insane from the noise. There is only the two of us in the house so I don't need to worry about isolating the sound from adjacent rooms

Thanks all for your time an consideration on this matter
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
The sound is not too bad right now as far as reaching the neighbors. The basement is not a great design for sound as there is no door that closes off the main floor to the basement. My man cave/drum room is right at the bottom of the steps, seperated only from the door to the backyard by the door to the drum room. The house is of a real open design, so it's not really possible to Change this.

I would like to improve the soundproofing so as to not worry about playing late at night for the neighbors(I was told you can hear it outside) and also to make it possible for my gf to watch tv upstairs without going insane from the noise. There is only the two of us in the house so I don't need to worry about isolating the sound from adjacent rooms

Thanks all for your time an consideration on this matter
In your case regarding the neighbors, a room inside the room may actually work for you, being that is in a basement. As far as your house, you may want to consider acoustic ceiling tiles and creating a divider wall between the inside room and the rest of the basement, as in you pass through the divider wall only to find another wall to pass through. It would still be expensive, but in your situation I bet you could do it for maybe $1000 to $1500. Still no small change, but better than if you were doing it in a garage or bedroom.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
For inexpensive foam wall treatment, look at foam mattress pads. I think they are maybe 10 bucks and will cover a decent portion of your walls or ceilings.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
For inexpensive foam wall treatment, look at foam mattress pads. I think they are maybe 10 bucks and will cover a decent portion of your walls or ceilings.
And will do nothing to stop the sound from leaving the room. They may deaden the echo inside the room some, but that is it.
 

Razbo

Member
Sides should be already covered, as he is in Canada. The basement has to be below the frost line, and is essentially encased with earth. There should already be minimal sound escaping from the walls. This is why I asked what he is trying to soundproof from. If it is the neighbors, they already should not be hearing much of anything.
True enough, I was thinking of completely isolating the drum room. I'm in Nova Scotia, and the one thing our basements mostly have in common is they extend above ground and have windows. The windows will be a problem, if they are a factor in this case. You could possibly make inserts to out in semi permanently, or replce with triple paned or something. Any gaps between the concrete and the soundproofing will be a sound escape. Any exposed wood, air gaps, etc, will let the sound out, sometimes even creating kind of a subwoofer effect with the wood structure.

The drummer in my previous band was a contractor who'd sound proofed a few studios. I learned most of this from him, so I don't claim to be expert, but I used his advice, and this is what has worked well for me.

Resilient channel would help create the room within a room, or even just isolate single walls. It's thin folded metal bands - "triple flanged", if you will :) which create a half inch space between the existing wall and the soundproofing wall.

The reason I'm so big on it is because, when doing my garage, I researched the least expensive method using professional materials. I did not even bother with drywall inside the sonopan, but did paint it for *some* reflection. (Really sucks up paint!) The result, without the drywall was still a 50% reduction in sound level as measured with an SPL meter. The drywall would be the key factor in getting maximum sound reduction.

According to my drummer, just putting up double sheets of drywall is an excelent sound blocker just by itself. I did not continue with the drywall, because the non-reflection of sound has made my garage awesome to play in. I didn't even need ear plugs until I decided to get behind the kit again.

As far as the doors go, that is the achilles heel in my set up right now where most of the sound escapes, and it is really obvious walking around the building. CCdrummer may need to frame up an inner door if necessary, or double them with inner and outer solid doors if that can be done.

[Edit] Also, I presume the ceiling is finished. If not, or if you could pull it down and use some acoustic batting up in the joists, that will help.
 

CCdrummer

Senior Member
$1000-1500 would be pretty sweet, I would be willing to spend three or four times that. I don't have any windows to worry about either. How much space would be necessary between each of the walls if I decide to go that route?
 

Razbo

Member
$1000-1500 would be pretty sweet, I would be willing to spend three or four times that. I don't have any windows to worry about either. How much space would be necessary between each of the walls if I decide to go that route?
Not sure which reply you are referring to, but the channel was $3.69 per 12 foot strip. They go horizontally and are spaced about a foot apart. Sonopan was about $20 for a 4 x 8 foot x 3/4" sheet. Drywall is about 10 bucks for a half inch sheet? Plus acoustic sealant for every join between sheets and any gaps anywhere. I went through quite a bit of that.

If you go all the way, then all together (1/2" + 3/4" + 1/2" + 1/2") * 2 = 4 1/2" off your total dimensions. So your 12 foot wall would and up around 11 feet and 7 1/2 inches.

Too band you weren't around here, I over stocked the resilient channel and probably have enough left to do you. :)
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Rod Gervais' book goes over isolating the ceiling/floor of a basement. You should read that. The big thing with drums is the bass drum. You can use steel framing for walls since it won't be load bearing and the sheet metal steel is more lossy than wood framing. Since you're constrained by height, iso clips to hang your ceiling along with some mass loading of the floor above and insulation should help upstairs. Ideally you would have the side wall framing supporting and independent ceiling but that will probably be too low. Just watch how you couple the hung ceiling to the side walls to avoid structure borne transmission. Read Rod's cautions about how much weight you dare to add to the existing 1st floor structure.

Invest is a good commercial door. The door is almost always the weak link in reducing sound leakage.
 

Big Foot

Silver Member
Your exterior basement walls must be insulated and pretty air tight - gotta be air tight to. So to me your biggest challenge will be the ceiling. Ripping it down to add batt insulation might not be as cost effective & sound controlling as just adding 2 layers of drywall on channels. Wood furring crossing the floor joists will give some structural support to existing floor structures. Add the channels to the new wood furring strips.
Resilient channels and another layer of drywall on the existing will go really far.
Also, your finished floor is probably framed above the basement slab on 2X's. Sound will escape down through the plywood floor and under the new and treated walls...yet another issue.
Again, I think resilient channels and another layer of drywall on the existing will go really far. And it won't break the bank.
As far as making a space in the house to play at all hours and keep the peace that's could get expensive.
 

CCdrummer

Senior Member
Not sure which reply you are referring to, but the channel was $3.69 per 12 foot strip. They go horizontally and are spaced about a foot apart. Sonopan was about $20 for a 4 x 8 foot x 3/4" sheet. Drywall is about 10 bucks for a half inch sheet? Plus acoustic sealant for every join between sheets and any gaps anywhere. I went through quite a bit of that.

If you go all the way, then all together (1/2" + 3/4" + 1/2" + 1/2") * 2 = 4 1/2" off your total dimensions. So your 12 foot wall would and up around 11 feet and 7 1/2 inches.

Too band you weren't around here, I over stocked the resilient channel and probably have enough left to do you. :)
Razbo, would you come over and do the work as well? ; )

I think my best bet here will be to check out those books that some of you suggested, and then seek out someone who has actually had something similar in their basement done and then find out who did it and hire them to do mine.

You have to be careful around here, I heard that a music professor at the university hired someone to do a soundproof room so he could teach drums from his house, and they botched it so badly he had to use e kits anyway.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
And will do nothing to stop the sound from leaving the room. They may deaden the echo inside the room some, but that is it.
I'm not going to argue with you about semantics but, put some foam earplugs in your ears and see what happens to the sound.

If you want to spend real money, remember that soft material contains the sound more than hard materials. Commercial sound "proofing" would be done with steel studs, rock wool style insulation and a 3/4" layer of some kind of fiberous board under the 5/8" drywall. Obviously you would also have to treat the windows and doors accordingly.
 
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