[Trombone-l] Soundproofing a room

Chris Tune crtune at adelphia.net
Wed Nov 23 16:57:27 CST 2005

Interesting thing to do, soundproofing a room.  Unfortunately for those like 
your friend, most of the written material discusses "floating a wall" and 
re-building walls, applying treatments to HVAC vents and ducting, and 
similar "studio" construction techniques.

For those of us who cannot manage to fundamentally rebuild our homes, lesser 
techniques are in order.  Once again, a very thorough understanding of the 
physics of sound (AKA "Acoustics") is needed.

Every material transmits sound, but each has its own coefficient of 
conduction for sound.  We have all heard how sound can be heard at immense 
distances in water. . .more so than the same sound would be detectable in 
airspace.  This is an example of the conduction in a "different" material 
vs. air.  The walls, themselves transmit sound into another housing space. 
The easiest acoustic techniques to adopt are those that reduce reflected 
sound within his room (e.g. wall baffles, hanging rugs, heavy drapes, things 
like that.  Also, there is a need to properly insulate the doors, both at 
the edges and in the body of the door.

In my den, my wife placed large panels of foam-stuffed upholstery on the den 
doors.  This helped reduce sound leakage quite a bit. The room is already 
covered with bookshelves and with drapes. . .also, quite a bit of equipment 
and files and racks are lining the other walls.

So, you really have to start tallying up how many intances of "insulation" 
you have around the sound-producing area, as well as how many "isolation" 
treatments you have.  Luckily, sound eliminating material is very similar to 
heat-retaining insulating material.  If you make a sound in a room that is 
separated from another by a wall with substantial "heat" insualation, it 
will reduce the sound transmission more than with a wall that has no 

You could hire a company to blow insulation into a wall.  For this they will 
need to poke holes in the top of each "box" of studs. This is not so cheap a 
job.  First, I'd see about getting thick wall hangings up. Hanging a rug is 
much better than hanging a picture.  The rug has much more insulating 
capacity than a painting.  This "insulating" capacity is from trapped air 
pockets (millions of little areas or "pockets") within the material.

Each time the sound travels through a trapped air pocket (such as within a 
wall) or through a material/air interface it reduces energy from sound.  So, 
you could, in addition to the heavy wall hangings, put up fairly high (maybe 
six feet) gobos between the sound source and the wall that adjoins the 
complaining neighbor.  A gobo is a freestanding frame with legs which has 
substantial puffy fabric and fiber insulation in its frame.  These are used 
by recording studios to isolate one sound from another one nearby. Studios 
also usually drape additional blankets (e.g. the kind you see in moving 
vans) over the gobos to reduce reflections and to "mate" one gobo to 
another, adjacent gobo.

I hope your friend has good luck.

Chris Tune

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Peter Soukup" <psoukup at mindspring.com>
To: "Trombone-L List" <trombone-l at server5.samford.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2005 8:36 AM
Subject: [Trombone-l] Soundproofing a room

>I know this is an old subject, but has anybody tried to soundproof a wall 
> a room lately?
> A fellow player has asked me about this, he lives in a condo and his
> neighbors are complaining....
> Here's a link to a soundproofing material.
> http://www.soundprooffoam.com/quiet-barrier.html
> Has anybody used this?
> Besides a practice mute, what else is there?
> Thanks.
> -- 
> Pete Soukup
> St. Andrews Brass
> Grand Avenue Big Band
> The Moonlighters
> The Houndz
> Naperville Area Trombone Ensemble
> Bristol Renaissance Faire (with Izzo)
> OCB (Original Cover Band)
> West Suburban Symphony (Alternate)
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> Trombone-l at maillists.samford.edu
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