Yet ANOTHER “soundproofing” question

Mrrooter

Member
I know, I know, this topics been done to death, I’m sorry! But I have a few questions on the topic that I’ve been unable to find anywhere.

Let me start off by saying I KNOW that without building a room within a room you will never get real sound proofing, and probably not even then. I live in a detached suburban house with next door neighbors probably 20-30 feet away. I wish I could just not care what my neighbors think but I’m very shy about my playing and don’t like the idea of having an audience. It doesn’t help that there’s a small park in the culdesac directly across from my house. I currently have rtom Blackholes and L80 quiet cymbals, but I would like to take them off now and again to enjoy the sound of my kit. My questions are

1. Is there anything that can be done to MINIMIZE the amount of sound my neighbors can hear. Heavy moving blankets, sound blankets etc particularly over the large window in the room. I’m aware that this is a means of treating a room and this will do very little if anything for low frequency leaking, but my main concern is lessening the amount of high frequencies, particularly from the snare and cymbals. I don’t mind neighbors hearing some bass thumping. I just would like for them to not have to hear my whole kit slamming away.

2. I’ve taken a video outside my house while playing and also had my girlfriend whack away at them while I stood outside and they were definitely very audible, mostly the snare and cymbals. However I’m curious of how much neighbors would be able to hear while inside their houses.

So once again, I’m not looking for a way to fully isolate my drums, just maybe lower the outside dB just a bit. Even just slightly muffle the sound outside.
 
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timmdrum

Silver Member
I'd start by asking them if they do ever hear you play when inside, or even outside enjoying nice spring/fall weather like grilling out, etc, and if so, if they care. They might say "I hear you but it doesn't bother me", or "I don't mind as long as it isn't after X o'clock", etc. Even if they respond positively like this, assure them you'll still do whatever you can within your means to minimize it. On the other hand, if they definitely don't dig it, you're likely never gonna please them, so I'd ask them to let you know what days/times they're gone (work/school schedule, etc), and just play when they're not there. Beyond that, check the local noise ordinance. If you're under the required dB's in their yard and within the legal time of day, you might not have to do anything. If the police are called, they'll come out with a dB meter, and if you're not above it or outside the allowed time, there's no issue. However, it's cool to make the effort anyway. You're being a good neighbor.(y)

To your actual question: yeah, just hang blankets, maybe foam rubber in the window (cut to fit in the frame), etc, but the low end likely isn't "leaking out", but more vibrating the actual wall(s). I once rehearsed in a finished shed in a bandmate's yard, and once when someone else was playing, I was outside and lightly placed my hand on the outer wall, and I could literally feel the bass vibrations.
 

Mighty_Joker

Silver Member
Speaking as somebody who has built a freestanding soundproofed studio specifically for drumming (Link), I can tell you that mass and isolation are your best friends. With no disrespect to the above poster, heavy blankets are unlikely to make any noticeable difference.

Essentially, you’ve hit the nail on the head with a room within a room. This is effective because it isolates the inner room’s sound paths from the outer, bleeding the energy out of the sound wave. A mass-air-mass system has been laboratory proven to be the single most effective way to reduce sound transmission. The energy of the sound wave dissipates and gets trapped in the air gap between the two mass layers.

Essentially, adding mass will help, but without the air gap, you won’t achieve anything like the effects you want. Sound travels well through solids.

Assuming this isn’t realistically possible, many other ‘solutions’ will ultimately prove a waste of time and money, and you’d be better served investing in quieter drumming methods like an eKit or mesh heads for your acoustic.

You could try additional layers of plasterboard on the transmission points, especially with isolator clips to lift it off the wall. Two layers of plasterboard Joined with green glue over a layer of rock wool would add significant mass and a good first line of defence. Combined with the isolator clips to lift it off the existing wall would be a great start.

Otherwise, unfortunately, there’s a reason people like me go to great lengths and expense to build dedicated studios. Soundproofing existing buildings is almost impossible without extensive restructuring.
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
With no disrespect to the above poster, heavy blankets are unlikely to make any noticeable difference.
No disrespect taken. :) And, everything you said in your reply is correct, and with a boatload of money, absolutely the way to go. But to the specific question in the OP:

Let me start off by saying I KNOW that without building a room within a room you will never get real sound proofing, and probably not even then.

1. Is there anything that can be done to MINIMIZE the amount of sound my neighbors can hear. Heavy moving blankets, sound blankets etc particularly over the large window in the room. I’m aware that this is a means of treating a room and this will do very little if anything for low frequency leaking, but my main concern is lessening the amount of high frequencies, particularly from the snare and cymbals. I don’t mind neighbors hearing some bass thumping. I just would like for them to not have to hear my whole kit slamming away.
I’m not looking for a way to fully isolate my drums, just maybe lower the outside dB just a bit. Even just slightly muffle the sound outside.
My suggestion, re; blankets, etc. (to which I should've added, acoustic dampeners/treatments like studios have, maybe) was only in response to the slight- not complete- reduction in volume, particularly in high frequencies, he's seeking. Anything to get the room as dry-sounding as possible should help.
 

Mighty_Joker

Silver Member
No disrespect taken. :) And, everything you said in your reply is correct, and with a boatload of money, absolutely the way to go. But to the specific question in the OP:


My suggestion, re; blankets, etc. (to which I should've added, acoustic dampeners/treatments like studios have, maybe) was only in response to the slight- not complete- reduction in volume, particularly in high frequencies, he's seeking. Anything to get the room as dry-sounding as possible should help.
Fair enough - I suppose every little helps. I was more imagining OP going out and buying big heavy blankets and going to great lengths to hang the over all the walls and windows, only to find not much has changed. I do take your point though. Your suggestion of the rubber slabs in the windows is probably a good bet, too!
 

mkelley

Member
lookup "producers blankets". They look like shipping blankets but are 10lb blankets used for sound reduction. Add a gap between the blanket and wall to give more air and there by more reduction.
 

wraub

Well-known member
After realizing that nothing short of Sound Offs or similar would really make a difference for my loud kit (also in my living room in a house with neighboring houses closer than yours) and, also realizing that I hate the way those mute pad things make my kit sound, I went the other way and put together a really small kit for home practice/play. It works well enough that I was playing until 10:15 last night with no complaints.

Maybe go that way instead..? Just a thought.

Alternatively, maybe a non-permanent barrier, set in front of your kit like a drum shield, but with more mass... Like, 2x4 or 2x6 frame, filled with rock wool and faced with rubber sound insulating mats...? <------- this is probably not a good recipe, but, mass plus damping would be key imo.

...I'll shut up now. :)
 
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dboomer

Senior Member
There’s not much energy in highs so you don't need to worry about blocking them much. To maintain equal loudness it takes 4x the energy per octave. So if you think about 1kHz (a high whistle) it takes 4x the power to do 500Hz, 16x to do 250Hz, 64x to do 125Hz and 265x to do 62.5Hz (about where your bass drum lives). When you hear a train a mile away you are not hearing highs, just the low rumble
 
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