Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 30 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
632 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm preparing my home for sale in the Spring and I'm transitioning from a 3000 sq ft home to maybe a 1000 sq ft condo or a slightly larger townhouse. My preference would be to move into a small cottage on a nice piece of land so that I could play my horns and not have to consider anyone but small homes and land are a premium where I live.

My current home is in the suburbs, and I have 'waving' neighbors, meaning my neighbors and I wave at each other but we're not close enough to speak, so my saxophone playing, my occasional rants of frustration in my driveway and my blasting music while I work never affected them. I understand that my life is about to change, but I'm not giving up saxophone. Having to be quiet or consider my neighbors when playing my horns is a deal breaker, so I'm looking for a solution.

I own mutes for both my tenors and altos, but they are constricting and I can't play/practice freely, so I'm considering either purchasing or building a Whisper room. I'm curious as to what those of you who live in attached housing do to keep from making enemies of your neighbors.
 

· Registered
Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
Joined
·
3,358 Posts
I no longer live in an apartment, but I bought a WhisperRoom (4x6, single-wall) about 8 years ago back when I was living in a walk-up. As I've written here before (e.g., here and here), it was and remains the best music gear investment I've ever made. Despite having moved to a detached single-family home, I still use it every day.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,482 Posts
A few pals in the voiceover biz have let me experience their WhisperRooms (dunno what precise brand, but similar concept). The chambers can quickly get hot & stuffy inside. Ventilation adds not only the whoosh of air in motion, but some kind of mechanical noise as well IIRC. And none of it comes cheap.

The freedom to play out boldly, without inhibition, is priceless. I'm lucky; my family & closest neighbors like it when I practice. Or so they say.
 

· Registered
Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
Joined
·
3,358 Posts
A few pals in the voiceover biz have let me experience their WhisperRooms (dunno what precise brand, but similar concept). The chambers can quickly get hot & stuffy inside. Ventilation adds not only the whoosh of air in motion, but some kind of mechanical noise as well IIRC. And none of it comes cheap.
The WhisperRooms stay reasonably cool as long as you use a proper duct fan to vent them. And the sound of the ventilation system isn't very loud; I'd definitely turn it off when recording, but you quickly tune it out when practicing. It's quieter than having AC or even a fan in an open space. On the WhisperRooms, the air intake and exhaust ducts are buffered, so, unless there's something wrong with your fan, you shouldn't get any mechanical noise, just the whoosh of air.

The freedom to play out boldly, without inhibition, is priceless. I'm lucky; my family & closest neighbors like it when I practice. Or so they say.
Perhaps. I like the freedom of being able to practice at full volume at 3am if the mood hits me.

Moreover, I find that when I'm aware that people can hear me practicing, I tend to "practice" things that I already know, to try to sound good. For example, my wife is very supportive and loves to hear me play. But I realize that, while she may put up with my practicing overtones or going over a technical exercise for the 100th time, she probably won't enjoy it.

They are certainly expensive, but absolutely worth it, IMO. Again, I've had mine for 8 years and still consider it to be by far my best gear purchase.
 

· Distinguished Member
Joined
·
1,816 Posts
It my last apartment we had a garden and I built myself a shed and put a used Esmono sound cabin in it. One of the best things I've ever done for myself. Was kind of the first time since I was home in Wyoming that I really felt comfortable playing any time, as much as I wanted, whatever I wanted. I also set up a decent weighted 88 key midi keyboard and studio monitors with proper SVS subwoofer. Even stuff like playing with Aebersolds, which I hadn't done since i was a teenager, was suddenly a lot of fun. To play along with great sound, actually hearing what the bass was playing, was surprisingly fun.

I just moved into a big house which doesn't have a garden. It's a beautiful house but it was built in 1919. I was planning to put the sound booth in the bedroom on the third floor but after moving in realized the floor couldn't hold the over 1 ton weight so I'm now getting quotes to install steel beams to support it.

Point is, I'm not going back to renting a space on the other side of town or just practicing occasionally and being paranoid about volume. Whatever I need to do, I'm going to install a proper room for practicing at my home one way or another.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
I have a single wall 4x4, with wheels to lift it off the floor to prevent sound/vibration transfer to the floor below me. The Whisper Room is made well and I have used it for over 10 years.

It’s important to remember, at least for the single wall design, it provides sound isolation, but a saxophone can still be heard from outside. It is not sound proof.

Also you do get some fan noise, so if your using a sensitive mic, or hot pre amp, you can get some bleed into your recordings. If you use a mic with out good off axis rejection, you will notice the bleed even more.

It does get stuffy fast in a 4x4, and hot. It’s also extremely heavy and some floors can’t hold the wait.

It helps keep the neighbors happy, but for me, it’s hard to practice in such a small space for long periods, and I often open the door for air.

Maybe others have had better experience with a 4x6 as more room would help. But for saxophone, it’s in my opinion better to just float the floor and double the walls of your room for a more comfortable space and better acoustics for recording. If you own the property you might want to look into it, as the Wisper Rooms can cost over 10 grand anyway. You would have to consult with a professional for building codes, design and materials, but if you and a friend supply the sweat equity it’s maybe something to consider. If you own the building or Condo, it’s a better alternative in my opinion....
 

· Registered
Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
Joined
·
3,358 Posts
It does get stuffy fast in a 4x4, and hot.
Are you using it with the little CPU case fan that they used to come with? If so, switching to a real duct fan helps immensely! I use this one for my 4x6:


Maybe others have had better experience with a 4x6 as more room would help. But for saxophone, it’s in my opinion better to just float the floor and double the walls of your room for a more comfortable space and better acoustics for recording. If you own the property you might want to look into it, as the Wisper Rooms can cost over 10 grand anyway. You would have to consult with a professional for building codes, design and materials, but if you and a friend supply the sweat equity it’s maybe something to consider. If you own the building or Condo, it’s a better alternative in my opinion....
There's no question that building a home studio would be the better option for those who own their own homes, have the space, can afford to build one, and don't plan on moving anytime in the near future. For the rest of us, I think the WhisperRooms are pretty great.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,267 Posts
This may seem too low-end an approach for you, but ....

I once visited a trumpet player in, coincidentally, northern Virginia (Oakton). He was living in a townhouse with a small 3rd floor bedroom, about 8'X10', that he lined with honeycomb egg cartons, the paper fibre ones. I could barely hear him just outside the door of the room, blasting away with a full-volume recorded band. He said he paid $150 for the cartons and had spent around six hours attaching them to the door, walls, and ceiling with carpet tape. He made no change to ventilation that I know of, so it's possible sound could travel to other rooms through ductwork. Floor was a pretty ugly orange shag carpet.

When I mention this to players they give me an eye-roll. But just a few years ago I walked into a country place called the "Honeycomb Lounge" and, you guessed it, walls and ceiling were lined with yellow-painted egg cartons. Owners said the nearby residential neighbors had been making noise complaints until they did the honeycomb remodeling.
 

· Forum Contributor 2017
“I play sax but mostly it plays me”
Joined
·
9,754 Posts
I own a 4 bedroom house and I converted the smallest bedroom into a studio/office and soundproofed the walk in closet that is in same room. Most of the time I practice in the room itself and mostly use the soundproofed closet for recording. When I practice outside the closet I try to play as loud as possible with the windows open so it pisses the neighbors off. 😈
 

· Distinguished Member
Joined
·
1,816 Posts
This may seem too low-end an approach for you, but ....

I once visited a trumpet player in, coincidentally, northern Virginia (Oakton). He was living in a townhouse with a small 3rd floor bedroom, about 8'X10', that he lined with honeycomb egg cartons, the paper fibre ones. I could barely hear him just outside the door of the room, blasting away with a full-volume recorded band. He said he paid $150 for the cartons and had spent around six hours attaching them to the door, walls, and ceiling with carpet tape. He made no change to ventilation that I know of, so it's possible sound could travel to other rooms through ductwork. Floor was a pretty ugly orange shag carpet.

When I mention this to players they give me an eye-roll. But just a few years ago I walked into a country place called the "Honeycomb Lounge" and, you guessed it, walls and ceiling were lined with yellow-painted egg cartons. Owners said the nearby residential neighbors had been making noise complaints until they did the honeycomb remodeling.
Sorry, but I have to go on record here as saying egg cartons are not enough to soundproof, or even come close to, soundproofing a room. Not trying to be rude, but this is a public forum and people from all over could read this and decide to act based on what they have read here...

I'm not saying you didn't experience what you did at this friend's place playing trumpet, but physics is what it is and if that trumpet player was playing full volume and you barely heard it outside, it wasn't the egg cartons that did it.

To block sound you need mass. A lot of mass. There's no real way around that. That's why the whisper room and similar sound booths weigh a ton, literally. And they still don't completely soundproof a room. Outside one of these booths the saxophone can still be heard clearly, it's just much quieter. It's incredibly hard to stop all sound transmission.

Just a few articles on a quick google search. I realize these are mostly from companies selling sound proofing. To be honest I had troubles finding any more scientific articles about the subject probably because I think to anyone who knows a bit about the subject, it's pretty ludicrous and not worth spending serious time on. Again, I mean no offense, but soundproofing with egg cartons is completely impossible.

Egg box soundproofing: does it really work? - Technical Foam Services

Soundproofing With Egg Cartons: Does It Really Work? - Soundproof Expert

(15) Home Soundproofing Test - Which materials block sound? - YouTube
 

· Forum Contributor 2017
“I play sax but mostly it plays me”
Joined
·
9,754 Posts
The only way to build out a closet is to add insulation over the existing sheetrock and and then cover that with another layer of sheetrock and then use proper studio foam over that. I can play as loud as I want at 2 in the morning and even my sleeping son and wife sleep right through it in the room next to the bedroom. You have to build out the door, walls, ceiling and floor. It cost me around $300 to build it out myself. I'm a trained trim carpenter and upholsterer so this was fun and easy to do.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately, so I'm appreciating this discussion. I live in a large single home, isolated from neighbors, but my family is definitely ready for a change. Has anyone tried a drum booth by Drum Perfect? They seem to be quit a bit less expensive than Whisper Rooms, and the shape looks like it would leave quite a bit of room for stands, recording equipment, etc.
 

· Distinguished Member
Joined
·
1,816 Posts
I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately, so I'm appreciating this discussion. I live in a large single home, isolated from neighbors, but my family is definitely ready for a change. Has anyone tried a drum booth by Drum Perfect? They seem to be quit a bit less expensive than Whisper Rooms, and the shape looks like it would leave quite a bit of room for stands, recording equipment, etc.
For some reason I can't access this website from here but the main thing to check would be a chart of how much it actually reduces sounds at various frequencies.

This page is in Dutch but gives you an idea:
22120003-Esmono-meetrapport_50-mm.pdf

So the Esmono unit I have reduces sounds around 65 hz approximately 21 dbs, 1000 hz 41 dbs etc.

I think the general saxophone range averaged around 35 dbs reduction and as I recall Whisper Room and most competitors were around the same.

EDIT
I found this photo. If this is what you're looking at, it's probably lucky if it provides even 1/3 of the sound isolation the Whisper Room does. I think this is just for isolating a bit for the sake of recording and stopping mic bleed, not actual sound isolation in the sense we are talking about.
Membranophone Musical instrument Drum Cabinetry Shelf
 

· Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Are you using it with the little CPU case fan that they used to come with? If so, switching to a real duct fan helps immensely! I use this one for my 4x6:




There's no question that building a home studio would be the better option for those who own their own homes, have the space, can afford to build one, and don't plan on moving anytime in the near future. For the rest of us, I think the WhisperRooms are pretty great.
Thank you for the link, I think upgrading to a real duct fan would help. And this is a good price for such an upgrade.

But you see, I can’t practice 4 hours a day in a 4X4 space! I need a keyboard for ear training and working on hearing chords and changes. I need speakers. I need to slow down tracks to transcribe, I need some type of play-along to hear changes and maintain good intonation... music paper , books, lead sheets, recordings of the masters to dissect, on and on.

And yes, the freedom to sound really bad, keeping up with long tones, over tones, altissimo, failing over hard changes...

You see friends, I am a believer that the better the practice space, the better practice I experience!

So I use my whisper room as much as I can, and I’m thankful for it. But I dream of having a good practice space like my days of old...
😢
 

· Registered
Joined
·
829 Posts
The photo posted by @John_Dikeman is just one example of the many products out there pretending to address this issue and/or sidestepping the question of how well they work but they will not do the job.

It's true that mass is a major way to reduce sound transmission (although its effectiveness depends on the frequencies involved), and it is the easiest way because it requires less specialized knowledge, but isolation/damping will improve the effectiveness of mass and is part of the design of at least some of the better isolation booths.
 
  • Like
Reactions: John_Dikeman

· Distinguished Member
Joined
·
1,816 Posts
The photo posted by @John_Dikeman is just one example of the many products out there pretending to address this issue and/or sidestepping the question of how well they work but they will not do the job.
I see what you're saying for sure, but some of it is also just being aware certain things are made for certain purposes. These I'm guessing are meant to be used for studio or live use where you don't want mic bleed, and they're probably ok for that (I can't get on DrumPerfect's website so I can't actually see how they market them).
Also, certain products are for acoustic treatment. In fact, egg cartons can be somewhat useful for this. But some people don't realize the difference between acoustic treatment and sound isolation or what material is effective for what.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,267 Posts
Sorry, but I have to go on record here as saying egg cartons are not enough to soundproof, or even come close to, soundproofing a room. Not trying to be rude, but this is a public forum and people from all over could read this and decide to act based on what they have read here...

I'm not saying you didn't experience what you did at this friend's place playing trumpet, but physics is what it is and if that trumpet player was playing full volume and you barely heard it outside, it wasn't the egg cartons that did it.

To block sound you need mass. A lot of mass. There's no real way around that. That's why the whisper room and similar sound booths weigh a ton, literally. And they still don't completely soundproof a room. Outside one of these booths the saxophone can still be heard clearly, it's just much quieter. It's incredibly hard to stop all sound transmission.

Just a few articles on a quick google search. I realize these are mostly from companies selling sound proofing. To be honest I had troubles finding any more scientific articles about the subject probably because I think to anyone who knows a bit about the subject, it's pretty ludicrous and not worth spending serious time on. Again, I mean no offense, but soundproofing with egg cartons is completely impossible.

Egg box soundproofing: does it really work? - Technical Foam Services

Soundproofing With Egg Cartons: Does It Really Work? - Soundproof Expert

(15) Home Soundproofing Test - Which materials block sound? - YouTube

And no offense to you, either. But the first article you posted, says egg cartons "probably won't work," then later "may not work" in COMPLETELY SOUNDPROOFING a room. (The author had evidently never been anywhere it was used.) Then it gives as a top recommendation: egg box foam.

I agree. I could hear the music outside the room. The egg cartons worked to drastically reduce the volume; and in two instances that I know firsthand. And, in any event, complete soundproofing is not necessarily the object of the post

As for mass being needed, lots of it, that's not true. Spun fiberglass and foam are used effectively to reduce sound transmission; there are numerous examples, one being the suggested egg box foam.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
829 Posts
As for mass being needed, lots of it, that's not true. Spun fiberglass and foam are used effectively to reduce sound transmission; there are numerous examples, one being the suggested egg box foam.
Leaving mass out of your design is inefficient, as mass works really well for some aspects of the job, and replacing it with some other effect will be more expensive. Spun fiberglass and foam by themselves have a small effect on reducing sound transmission. Used by themselves they are capable of being useful for acoustic treatment, but that's a different application. They can be useful for perfecting an isolation design by adding damping in hollow spaces.

@John_Dikeman I should better have said "reminds me of", as a more neutral way to bring up the jungle of products.
 
  • Like
Reactions: John_Dikeman

· Registered
Joined
·
1,482 Posts
Egg cartons do not significantly reduce volume overall. They might attenuate sound by an insignificant amount in a tiny sliver of the sound spectrum, but if you're gonna cover your walls with something you'd be well advised to use large, thick, heavy, dense, purpose-built, multi-layer sound attenuation baffles made of several different non-vibrating materials such as mineral wool. Even so, you'd need massive surface coverage. Placement, too, would be critical. (For instance, did you know that sound baffles are more effective when there's a small air gap between them & the wall?)

It's also useful to be clear on whether sound treatment is intended to a.) keep inside sound from going out; b) keep outside sound from coming in; c.) shape interior sound by reducing echoes & attenuating specific frequencies. Each scenario requires different materials & different placement.

If neighbor comfort is a consideration, be aware that sound can travel out of a room not only thru the walls but also via the floor, ceiling, windows, doorways, & electrical outlet boxes.

I claim no expertise about any of this. Among various prior occupations, I was a voiceover actor (videogames, commercials, films, museum exhibits) recording auditions from home & final audio in recording studios. I learned just enough to know that to seriously try to soundproof a room, I'd need a pro acoustician & tons of money. Good luck to you!
 

· Distinguished Member
Joined
·
1,816 Posts
And no offense to you, either. But the first article you posted, says egg cartons "probably won't work," then later "may not work" in COMPLETELY SOUNDPROOFING a room. (The author had evidently never been anywhere it was used.) Then it gives as a top recommendation: egg box foam.

I agree. I could hear the music outside the room. The egg cartons worked to drastically reduce the volume; and in two instances that I know firsthand. And, in any event, complete soundproofing is not necessarily the object of the post

As for mass being needed, lots of it, that's not true. Spun fiberglass and foam are used effectively to reduce sound transmission; there are numerous examples, one being the suggested egg box foam.
Yep all good points. Those articles don't speak to the level of sound isolation we're looking for when talking about saxophone playing. For instance, egg box foam, which that website is selling... (I did mention those weren't good websites, that's just what i found on a quick google search) That's probably helpful if you want to isolate a room to not hear your neighbour speaking next door or something like that but will do very little to help serious noise like a saxophone. Again, in all cases like this you shouldn't trust any product that can't show some actual proof of exactly how much sound reduction they provide at various frequency levels. Furthermore, it is an acoustic "egg box foam". I think it's only real similarity with actual egg crates is the name and shape and is probably using this soundproofing myth as a marketing gimmick.

Now they may offer solutions for music studios, but I'd bet you anything that would be a far more complicated system than just their acoustic foam. For instance, the Esmono unit I have uses Rockwool inside its steel walls which serves a purpose quite similar to that of this acoustic foam. And it's effective for sound isolation as well as acoustic treatment when used in combination with the extreme mass and density of the metal walls it's contained within. I believe using a variety of materials is very helpful in stopping sound transmission as each material helps scatter the sound waves in different ways. So something like egg box foam followed by thick layers of drywall separated by green glue could give a real impact. That's also why the room within a room is useful, to have the air barrier as well. But simply putting up egg box foam on a standard wall probably will do very little. And egg crates, which are not meant to stop sound waves at all, next to nothing.

Anecdotle evidence, is just hearsay, sorry. Also, did you hear him in the room without the egg crates as well as with to have a subjective view of how much it reduced the volume? It could be he had a rather well insulated room to begin with. That's still not very scientific.

I'm sure if you ask some people who help build studios they could talk for hours about ineffective home studios they've encountered which would drown your two examples. Just sayin.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top