If you have a home recording studio or planning to build one, soundproofing and sound treatment are bound to be on the list of topics you will encounter. However, these two concepts are often confused by a lot of people and can lead to the wrong approach in dealing with unwanted sound feedback.
Let’s look at their differences and how they can be applied to make home recording more balanced when it comes on to producing music.
Soundproofing a Room
When you soundproof a room what you’re essentially doing is blocking sounds from entering or escaping a space. The experts call it sound isolation, which uses barrier technology to interrupt the flow of sound waves between the source and potential recipient. Sound, like many other forms of energy, travels in waves that can pass through air and solid objects. Typical glass and concrete surfaces may deflect some levels of sound but in a studio setting, where there might be cacophony from different instruments and sound equipment, they will not prove to be much help in isolating sound in their basic forms.
Effective sound barriers that can soundproof a room include the building of special walls that are coupled with insulating material. They also have to be built at a certain thickness in correspondence to the noise level that will be generated from vocals, amplifiers, drums, and other instruments, so that neighbors won’t be disturbed and sounds from them won’t get in. It’s almost impossible to make a room totally soundproof but the aim is to get to negligible levels.
Whereas soundproofing has to do with using suitable sound barriers to isolate sound and impede its transfer, sound or acoustic treatment has more to do with the different steps to take and products that can be used to manage sound energy generated within a space. In a studio setting, the different sounds produced can all interfere with each other, resulting in recordings that are distorted. That’s one reason why poor-quality recordings are often filled with pop sounds and other background noises.
Sound editing still needs to be done but sound treatment can reduce the amount of editing required. There are various products on the market that are used for sound treatment, including special foam sheets and panels that are placed strategically in a room to absorb sound waves and echoes.
Whether you want to apply soundproofing or sound treatment technology (or both) to your recording space, it is not as simple as just placing a few pieces of foam here or there. There will be sounds flowing in different directions and some will be higher pitched than others, so a professional approach is required for the best results.