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Question Is it worth sound proofing?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Building DIY' started by adam-burnley, Jun 28, 2017.


    1. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      I'm at the initial stages of creating a dedicated cinema room with a room that was converted from an internal garage about 7 years ago. Unfortunately no soundproofing was installed at the time, and after carrying out a sound test you could tell. I played the first 10 minutes or so of Mad Max Fury Road at -20dB on the Anthem (so -10db really) with a 5.2 setup, so without the in-ceiling Atmos speakers. As would be expected, the room immediately above is the worst, but I could hear dialogue quite clearly in the kid's bedrooms across the landing, along with the rest of the very loud soundtrack of course.

      Barely noticeable outside though, which is good considering there is a triple width double glazed window.

      I would like to be able to have the volume fairly high when the kids are in bed, so after hoping I wouldn't need to soundproof, I'm wondering whether I now should. My concern is whether it will make much of a difference, as I will not be able to do it properly. The room is already narrow because of the need to conceal utility pipes and the consumer unit etc, so is just over 2.5m at the widest part, but only 2.35mm at the narrowest part, which unfortunately is where the projector screen will be. At that width I'll just squeeze in a 92" screen, so can't go any narrower.

      I've had a look through the info on http://www.soundproofingcompany.com and I could possibly go with the clip and double PB with Green Glue solution, but it would be very tight on the side walls. Worst case I would only be able to install rockwool between the brick and PB, but leaving the joists touching both PB and brick.

      I could do the same between the ceiling and floor above.

      Has anybody gone through the same exercise and managed to significantly reduce volume levels outside of the room?

      Does the clip method make much of a difference compared to attaching PB directly to the joists?

      How thick should the rockwool be, 100mm or 75mm? Should there be a gap between the rockwool and the PB?

      What about sockets and switches and other objects that break into the PB? Presumably they impact on soundproofing performance?

      Two of the walls are external, whilst the other two are internal. Is it necessary to treat all walls, or just the internal ones (as well as the ceiling)?

      My understanding as well is that none of the above options would have much impact on LFE, so the house will still rumble anyway?

      I'll also look at replacing the internal hollow door with a soundproof one, but only if I attempt to soundproof the walls and ceiling.
       
    2. generalgizmo

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      Hi Adam
      If you can insulate/ soundproof now then I would do it before you get too far ahead on the build and it's too late to go back.. costing more time and money and if it's an internal garage shouldn't have problems with condensation etc. But make sure you have some air able to circulate..
      My build was basically an outside wooden workshop were I had to overcome that problem I had polystyrene sheets in the alcoves then plasterboard and carpet tiles which helps with keeping warmer and sound to some degree got the idea from my local vue all black then carpet... when I extended to put on a lobby for my arcade machine I insulated the floor and only wish I did the same in the actual film area and having an additional door helped..
      If I had an internal garage I would go ahead and do best I could by putting in soundproofing.. are you planning on plastering and painting over the board or having a carpet type material on ceiling and walls.?
       
    3. generalgizmo

      generalgizmo
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      Ps.with the carpet or similar material it's the same thing as deciding whether or not to have bare wood floor or carpet.. floors easier to clean but the carpet absorbs or cushions the noise.
       
    4. mb3195

      mb3195
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      Hi Adam,

      How high is your ceiling in the garage? If you have enough space, that would be the first place I would look at putting soundproofing in.

      Build a false ceiling below your existing one, then sound proof the gap between the two (rockwool would be a good start, with acoustic plasterboard). This would help with the noise above you.

      I have not experienced the clip method, but can see how it would definitely be of benefit against the normal method, expensive though.

      Sound is really difficult to stop unless you have a really big budget.
       
    5. Ash2341

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      Good news on converting the garage, it should be a good use of space!

      How far are you willing to go with it? The site you linked is a very good place to start, and I would wholeheartedly recommend Rod Gervais's book 'Home Recording Studios Build it like the Pro's' for reference.

      Have you started work on it, and are you going to rip out the plasterboard already in place and go back to bare walls. I would start by thinking hard at how much you want to suppress the noise as it will cost a fair bit just in materials.

      To save space using the clips/channels is the best bet as will using the smaller thickness of Rockwool as it will be a compromise. The main thing to think about is the double leaf effect (mentioned in good detail at the soundproofing company) which could be something you may come up against.

      It all depends on what you have now, what you are willing to rip out to start again, and how much you want to spend!

      Unfortunately if you want to save money by only doing the ceiling, you will more than likely come up against flanking issues and might waste a lot of money that way. By flanking I mean the sound will transfer up the walls into the ceiling joists regardless of what you do to the ceiling, if you don't address the issue from the outset. I think my thread has some links/pics early on if you need more info....which reminds me I need to check in on it!

      Some pics and more info on construction would be handy, but in all honesty only you can make the decision on 'if it's worth it'.

      Hope that helps?

      Cheers

      Ash
       
    6. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      @generalgizmo I can do it now, but it's still a big job pulling all the existing PB off, which includes the skirting, door frame / architrave and coving of course. It would also create a lot of dust, which is always a problem when the house is still lived in. I'd prefer to not have to do it, but would do it if the returns are worth it. And that's my concern, it might not be.

      I'm thinking of putting up some black Devore material on the walls either side of the screen, perhaps even on the ceiling. It does make a huge difference and kills light reflection extremely well. Not sure if I'd do the whole room though.

      I'll likely put some acoustic panels up on the walls, possibly a ceiling cloud too. But this is another issue as the first reflection point should really have 100mm thick panels, but as the room is so narrow at that point (not to mention a door on the right hand side), this is likely to impractical. Appreciate this has nothing to do with soundproofing though.
       
      Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
    7. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      The ceiling is 2.4m high, so fairly standard for a newish build I guess. There is about a 20cm gap between the ceiling and the floor above, which is currently filled with regular loft insulation. I could either try and replace with rockwool either from below or above (floorboards are chipboard so bit of a pain to cut), or build a false ceiling as you suggest. How much gap would you suggest?

      I'm not looking to prevent all sound leakage though as the kids quite happily sleep through the other two 5.1 setups, one of which is more or less directly underneath one of their bedrooms. Tend not to go much above -20dB though, and the speakers and sub are nothing like what I've got for the new room! My ideal outcome would be to reduce the external volume to a similar level that it is now, but be able to crank it up to reference if I wanted to.
       
    8. mb3195

      mb3195
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      Anything is better than nothing. I am no expert in sound proofing, but adding additional mass to your room that can help absorb sound, meaning that less sound will escape the room. As you have mentioned, acoustic panels will help (100mm is not essential, yes, its recommended, but in reality it will give only a small % increase in performance over 50mm ones, certainly not double).

      Unfortunately, the majority of us have to make compromises. In my build, which is a dedicated building, I could do pretty much what I wanted, but still had to compromise on certain elements. For me cost started to become an issue, plus internal space. Is my room fully sound proofed? Certainly not, but hopefully good enough for what I need.

      Your biggest issue is the space you have to play with, you have very little physical mass that you can utilise without making the room unusable.

      Compromises that wont result in reduction in space include things you have already mentioned (ceiling, insulation, acoustic panels), plus thicker carpets, heavy curtains, etc.
       
    9. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      Hi Ash,

      Thanks for the input. The garage was converted about 7 years ago to a kids playroom, but I've managed to move that upstairs to make room for the cinema!

      In an ideal world I'd be willing to go the whole hog and build the room in a room etc., but the lack of width prevents that unfortunately.

      I would only need to rip out the existing PB to soundproof. I should be able to run cables etc. in channels and then either patch up or skim over.

      As I mentioned in my reply to mb3195, I'm not looking for total noise suppression, just enough so that it sounds like a regular 5.1 system in a normal room.

      I agree that it wouldn't make sense just to 'soundproof' one area, it's either all or nothing.

      I'll upload a picture of the front of the room as it is now, but in terms of construction the two external walls (front and left side) are standard double skin cavity walls (brick on the outside and breeze block on the inside with insulation in the cavity), which are then studded and plaster boarded, and the gap is about 15cm. The two internal walls (rear and right side) are single skin breeze block and then studded and plaster boarded. The right wall has a gap of about 5cm, whilst the rear wall is about 4cm. As mentioned in a previous post, the ceiling to first floor is plaster board, joists and chipboard, with a gap of around 20cm.

      The thread title is deliberately ambiguous as the correct title would have been too long! What I'm really hoping for is some feedback from somebody that has had the same room size challenge, and has gone down the clip and single or double PB route instead of the room in a room solution - but all comments and observations are welcome :smashin:
       
    10. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      The front of the room (where the screen will be) -

      20170612_232326.jpg
       
    11. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      Yes that is the problem, the room is already too narrow as I would have preferred a nice 3m wide cinema-scope screen. Instead I'm limited to a 92" screen (still going to be great) and have had to pay a premium for an Acoustic Transparent one as there will be no option but to place the LCR speakers behind it. The wife didn't want to block up the window so we have to go for a motorised screen rather than a much cheaper fixed one.

      I haven't mentioned it so far but I will be building a riser at the back of the room for the second row of seats. I can fill it with rockwool so that might help adsorb some sound. I'll be putting carpet down, not the thickest shag-pile but reasonably good stuff. Curtains will be an issue though as the front L&R speakers will have to go right up to the edge of the window recess. I'm hoping to get away with an exact fit black-out blind (with side rails etc.) and a faux-wood blind behind that for cosmetic purposes. If need be, I could drape a thick black velvet curtain or similar, but not sure how it would impact on the front speakers?
       
    12. wl1

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      I'm going against the others here. I think you should make best use of the space you have. You could spend loads of time money and effort and still the Sound would escape. If stripping back, you may then be able is Isolate the room from the House, and build in Absorption, Mass of plasterboard, and then the expensive green glue Damping. But all that takes space.

      It looks like this room won't be dedicated, with motorised screen etc, so I would go with what you have and maximise the screen size.

      Riser at the rear? I'm assuming the fixed screen can't go here?

      2 rows of 2? The second row of chairs will likely be compromised for audio. Did you consider just one row, with bean bags. I'm not sure of you and your family viewing habits, but I found the bean bags very comfortable, the bass was felt through them and awesome, and they could be moved out of the way far easier.

      Food for thought....we all know the ideal is to sound proof, but it may leave you delaying, costing more, and disappointed.
       
    13. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      Thanks for your input, and the quote in bold is my biggest concern. If there was a guarantee that stripping back and installing some form of sound proof construction would make a tangible difference, then I would have no hesitation, but if there will only be a small improvement then there doesn't seem much point.

      To answer your other points. The room will be dedicated in that it will only be used as a cinema room. The window has to remain though, primarily as its at the front of the house and the wife doesn't want to block it up, but I suspect I'd fall foul of building regs anyway by limiting the room to a single fire escape.

      The door in to the room is at the window end, so it meant two rows of seats difficult to accommodate if placed at that end (because the riser would have presented a big step up in to the room). It would have been much better that way round though as I could have fitted a fixed screen on the wider end of the room.

      Yes we had considered bean bags, but we preferred the idea of having five individual reclining seats with cup-holders instead. The second row will definitely be compromised for audio, however, that's where the kids will be so who cares :rotfl:
       
    14. unreel

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      I have a similarly narrow room 2.5 meters wide. When I did my room and had the walls dot and dabbed with acoustic plaster board as an attempt at sound proofing. My room is an end extension on the house a converted bedroom above the kitchen. The walls themselves don't carry the sound much at all but the pine 4 panel door was useless. I put 2 layers of soundproofing material on the door and a sheet of ply and that made a massive improvement to how much noise transmitted across my landing area.

      As I did no sound proofing on the floor, the kitchen below literally sound like a bomb is going off when the subs kick in ! Glasses in the cupboards rattle. Luckily I'm not in the kitchen when I'm watching films :laugh:

      My build is in my signature.
       
    15. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      Thanks, I'll have a look through your build thread.

      Quick question (apologies if it is covered in your thread), were you able to conduct a sound test prior to fitting acoustic PB? I guess not if it was a new extension?

      Fortunately my room is on the ground floor, so nothing below, just on two sides and above.

      I had a good read through the Sound Proofing Company website last night, and must admit to getting confused over small and large air gaps! It looks like it's actually a bad idea to pack the space completely with rockwool leaving no space, or just a very small air gap. Instead there needs to be a large air gap in addition to rockwool for it to have any positive effect.

      That website also recommends fibreglass over rockwool.. is that just an american thing or is fibreglass superior?
       
    16. unreel

      unreel
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      Hi, as it was already a bedroom when I moved in I just gutted the room and converted to a Cinema room, As such I didnt do any sound testing until the room was done.

      Initially I had no sound proof on the door, and it really meant no one could sleep upstairs when a film is on. Now its just a background noise that not really instrusive and allows me to watch films at silly volume whilst my other half is asleep.

      I didn't do much research to sound proofing at the time of the build and really didn't want to make the room any narrower, so just accoustic plaster board was fitted for warmth and sound insulation reasons, also because the ceiling was raised I had to get it plastered.
       
    17. Ronski

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      Sound proofing is certainly worth doing, but it does need to be done correctly or you will be wasting time, money and space. Mine took 100mm off each wall, so 200mm room width less.

      Have a look at my build thread, I can have my system at reference and it's barely audible upstairs, or in the rest of the house.
       
    18. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      What do you call "silly volume"?

      Did you fit a single or double layer of acoustic PB?

      Also, did you put any acoustic insulation above the celing?

      I've had a look through your thread - nice room and I imagine you are still getting a lot of enjoyment from it!
       
    19. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      Thanks Ronski, I'll take a look through your thread. Yeah 200mm would be too much to lose on the width.

      The gap behind the existing PB might be something to work with though. As I mentioned earlier there is already a gap of 50mm on the internal wall, and 200mm on the external side. The external wall has the large utility pipes attached, plus the consumer unit and stopcock, which were boxed in during the original conversion. These can be seen on the photo in post #10. The trick would be to work around these obstacles somehow to maximise the available width, not sure how though. Moving them would be expensive so probably isn't really a viable option.
       
    20. unreel

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      Recent Silly volume was about -4 on the Marantz whilst Watching John Wick " Club Scene" I was rewatching in preparation for John Wick 2. I normally watch films beween -6 to -12 depending on the film.

      Its just a single layer of plasterboard, I probably should have gone double but I was on a budget
      and touch wood in the past 4 years haven't had any complaints from the neighbours !

      The roof just has the fibre glass insulation between the roof timbers and in the small loft area.
       
    21. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      Thanks.

      There are a couple of gunshots in JW2 that made me jump at reference volume, so make sure you crank it up!
       
    22. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      I'm planning on getting these to help a little with soundproofing the in-ceiling speakers -

      Firetopper Pro - Acoustic Speaker Fire Hood

      Saw them on another build thread on here, but wondered what people thought as the cost soon mounts up when you need four!

      The spec sheet says it reduces sound leakage by about 3dB, so not a massive amount in itself, but I'm also interested in the fire barrier aspect.
       
    23. wl1

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      Are you doing this build under Building Regulations notification? The inspectors are pretty handy, and will more than gladly help with questions on fire compliance.

      I think you have already had a "change of use" and so are probably not notifying again, so may not be able to ask. The original garage probably was 30min or 1 hr rated for Fire with double plaster board etc, but since that room is now part of your normal living space, it is unlikely to be needed (for Fire compliance - but in the current climate, I'll let you checkwith experts :) ).

      Buying for a theoretical 3db advantage?. The enthusiasts here will say every little helps, and certainly breaking your plasterboard will be leaky. But you may want to check the effectiveness of the 3db claims across all frequencies......my guess will be you would not notice the difference for the amount of noise you will be throwing at it.
       
    24. DodgeTheViper

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      What made you think it was at reference level ?
       
      Last edited: Jun 30, 2017
    25. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      The original conversion was done under building regs, and was inspected several times during the project. It was signed off and I have the certificate :) There is only a single layer of plasterboard on all walls and ceiling.

      Yeah 3dB is not great in the grand scheme of things, but cutting 4 x 220mm holes in the ceiling is a concern. I could make backer boxes I guess.
       
    26. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      I thought it was, but no it was at 65dB so my mistake :blush:
       
    27. DodgeTheViper

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      How do you know it was at 65db ?

      And how that equates to reference level ?
       
    28. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      I checked with Al.

      It doesn't, I quoted in error.
       
    29. Ronski

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      I'm just in the process of fitting ceiling speakers in our dinning room & lounge and have built back boxes and lined with plasterboard, which would probably give better performance than the fire hoods, both acoustically and soundproofing wise. I say acoustically because the speakers specify that a back box of a given size will improve their performance, so I've tried to match that size as best as possible.
       
    30. adam-burnley

      adam-burnley
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      Would you be able to detail how you made them on your build thread Ronski?

      I'm working my way through your thread, and your attention to detail is truly impressive.
       

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