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Hello all,

I have acquired a tenor sax (thanks for all the help on my last post!) now I just need to get started practicing. I searched soundproofing on here and found a lot of comments about adding "mass" but no real recommendations on what materials to use.

Now, I realize it is not possible to completely soundproof a room on a budget but here's my goal: being able to practice without waking my sleeping almost-3 year old or disturbing my husband trying to relax in the evenings.

The location should help on it's own - it's a small room that's in the corner of my basement (roughly 5x7'). My husband will be on the main floor (so one floor above me) and my daughter will be sleeping upstairs (so two floors above me.)

Here are my thoughts so far. Something like these Rockwool panels covering the ceiling:

Acoustic foam panels on the walls:

And then soundproof curtains over the window and door and either carpet tiles or area rugs on the cement floor.

Does this sound like it will be sufficient enough to dampen the sound enough that it's not completely annoying upstairs? Or maybe should I do the rockwool all over and then the foam acoustic panels on top of that?

My other question is do I cover literally all the wall/ceiling space in the stuff so that none of the wall is visible or do I space it out?

Thanks in advance!
I'm getting in late on this discussion, I know, but there is one thing that hasn't been discussed. In the U.S. there's something called Building Standards. Every city has an office with inspectors that can tell you what kind and method of construction/ modification is allowed. I advise anyone living in the U.S. to check with the office of City Ordinances or Building Standards (the two are usually combined and may be called something different). Check with them The considerations are centered around life safety.

If one intends to build a permanent addition or modification, it's best to call to find out what is allowed and what isn't allowed. Failing that, check with someone who actually works in residential construction. If you intend to build something that's temporary and can be disassembled easily, this isn't much of a problem.
 

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I'm getting in late on this discussion, I know, but there is one thing that hasn't been discussed. In the U.S. there's something called Building Standards. Every city has an office with inspectors that can tell you what kind and method of construction/ modification is allowed. I advise anyone living in the U.S. to check with the office of City Ordinances or Building Standards (the two are usually combined and may be called something different). Check with them The considerations are centered around life safety.

If one intends to build a permanent addition or modification, it's best to call to find out what is allowed and what isn't allowed. Failing that, check with someone who actually works in residential construction. If you intend to build something that's temporary and can be disassembled easily, this isn't much of a problem.
Something else to consider:
For temporary sound abatement, one might consider using what is called anti-fatigue foam matting. It's used in workshops where the workers must stand for long hours. In the U.S it costs about $8.00 for 17 square feet (at places like Harbor Freight). Four rubber foam pieces interlock like puzzle pieces and can be attached to the walls temporarily using various means. I blocked my office window with it to quiet the sound of a very old central air conditioner compressor unit that was below my office window. Before I replaced the unit, it sounded much like a 747 taking off. The mats killed the sound.

When I began playing the oboe again, I wanted to be sure that my neighbors couldn't hear me doing what sounded like killing ducks, so covered the office door with it. Very little sound escapes to the rest of the house and none of it escapes to the outside. It works well with taming the sound of the saxophone though it can still be heard outside but not so much that it might disturb the neighbors.
 

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To soundproof a room - in other words, to inhibit transmission of sound out of (or into) the room - you need to attack on several fronts. From here on I'll talk about sound leaving your room, but the same principles apply in the other direction.

1) Mass
2) Isolation
3) Sealing
4) Damping
5) Reverberation

The first four elements address the paths by which sound can enter or leave a room with walls.

1) Walls vibrate. The more mass in the walls, the less vibration is excited by the sound inside the room, thus the less vibration is excited in the walls exterior to the room. The gold standard here is concrete. Realistically, a double layer of drywall with all seams staggered and sealed is pretty helpful.

2) Isolation. The fewer elements of the interior room that are connected to the structure of the building outside the room, the better. If the ceiling of your basement room is directly connected to the floor structure of the room above, you've got an A-1 path for sound transmission. Again the gold standard is to build a room within a room. Barring that anything you can do to isolate vibrations originating in the room from the rest of the house, you want to do.

3) Sealing. The easiest path for sound to leave a room is through holes. Seal up all holes. The gaps around doors, the gaps around electrical outlets, etc. A big one is HVAC ducting. It's possible to reduce noise transmission down HVAC ducting by extreme measures, but in real life it's better to have a completely separate HVAC function in the room you're trying to isolate. If you've got windows, don't forget that sound can leave your room by a window and enter a neighboring room by a window.

4) Damping. Primarily this applies to walls and ceilings. Basically you're trying to turn vibration energy into heat by internal friction in the damping material. Ordinary fiberglass thermal insulation can provide a little benefit, but only a little. What fiberglass thermal insulation is intended to do is to break up convection currents within a wall. Noise transmission doesn't have anything to do with convection currents. The gold standard is concrete blocks filled with sand.

5) Reverberation. Most people who think they're making a room "soundproof" concentrate wholly on reverberation, then they're surprised when it's not soundproof. Controlling reverberation inside a room makes it a lot more pleasant for people inside the room, but it has only a fairly small effect on transmission out of the room. However, it does help a little, as it reduces the overall sound pressure level in the room; plus, anti-reverberation measures generally have some degree of damping effect on the walls they're mounted to.

The two treatments you've shown are solely for reverberation control. Their thinnness (1")) also means that to the extent they even work, they'll only be effective for high frequency sounds (short wavelengths). Unfortunately what's most annoying in trying to control noise is low frequency noise. For any REAL sound control material applied to walls, you can look up the response curve as a function of frequency. Again, though, if you've got AC ducts connected to the rest of the house, thin drywall on all the walls of your room attached directly to the studs, big gaps all round your practice room door, and the light fixture in the ceiling hangs from a box that's set into the ceiling air space, you can plaster all the stuff on the walls you want and it's unlikely to solve your issues.

(For reference, I have been involved in the design and construction of four different hemi-anechoic and fully-anechoic noise test chambers, two of which I designed myself, so I do have some actual background and experience in this matter.)
Very comprehensive sound advice! I've just finished upgrading my home studio and small 7'x7' practice room
in conjunction with help from a very experienced and knowledgable acoustic engineer/designer.
This involved damping, reverberation control and sealing around doors but not any further isolation.
The outer walls are double brick and inner walls single brick, with twin glass doors, not double glazed. (Maybe later)

Definitely not sound proofed but a greatly improved, musically pleasing result, due to panels on all walls,
bass traps and innovative ceiling dispersion treatment. Playing and recording is a much more enjoyable experience.

Practice room alone cost about $2K AUD/ $1,500 USD but really worth it. I now get a much clearer idea of what my saxes/flutes/clarinets actually sound like and the external volume is significantly reduced.
When it's time to move house/downsize we can remove the acoustic treatment and re-instal.

I realise your main aim is to contain your practice sound, so the ceiling, window and door are probably your first targets, but playing in an acoustically even room will really assist you to progress, so go for the best quality
solution you can afford and consider proper acoustic treatment, not just deadening your sound in the room.
Pete Thomas' picture gives a good idea of what I mean. I'll try to put up a of pics of my little practice room soon.
 

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Pete Thomas' picture gives a good idea of what I mean.
Bear in mind that picture is actiually my control room. The live room does not have the HF baffles, only because it doesn't seem to need it.

Interesting story about the live room is that I had a remote acoustic consultant who designed the baffles and positioning partly from room plans and description and my own frequency test results, but here's the clever thing. I initailly rang him to discuss the room. He said "are you in the room right now" "yes I said" and he responded "sounds like a suspended floor with about 3 foot cavity"

It's actually a 2' 9" cavity but I was well impressed.

I didn't make bass traps as it wasn't required based on the frequency testing (ie play a sine wave frequency sweeping from 40 Hz up to 10kHz and record it with mic in various different parts of the room.

You then play back the recordings on a DAW and check with a frequency analyser plugin. Ideally it is totally flat, but any significant peaks show you where you need any damping of specific frequencies in the room.

Double glazing can causea peak at 110Hz, radiators can obviously have a resonance at certain frequencies.
 
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