Originally Posted by ack_bk
First of all, thank you for the kind words. I have to say, I am pretty impressed with R13 in the walls R19 in the ceiling, 5/8" drywall on the ceiling, and solid core doors. I listen pretty loud and the VTF-15 is no slouch. I have never woken up the kids, but keep in mind they are two floors above and, for the most part not directly above where most of the sound is coming from. My kids are also sund sleepers, but I have out in several movies late at night (Inception recently) that really had lots of bass, and the kids slept right through it. You can hear some sound on the floor directly above, but with no bedrooms on the main level, it has not been an issue.
This is also what I've always done myself and what I've done with my basement remodel currently underway: Fill the ceiling cavity with insulation, a single layer of drywall on the ceiling, and solid core doors.
Doing adequate sound isolation is not difficult, doing extreme isolation gets very hard as the weakest item letting through sound will all of a sudden show up. For example, it may be really easy to go from 30 to 35db of isolation but really hard to go from 35 to 40 or 45 to 50. The higher you want to go the more everything starts to come into play.
For example, no point in doing double drywall/green/glue/resilient channel if most of the sound is coming through the ducts. You'd use duct dampening and decouple them first and see. Then you may notice sound coming through the doors (the new weakest link) and you work on those. Then maybe the walls become the issue so you go with another layer of drywall and resilient channel or something. Then the ducts become the problem again... and so on.
The problem is that it's not easy to go in itterative steps like thos so people will often instead go to extremes and do *everything* to the maximum at great expense without considering how they actually use the room. That's important too. We never crank a movie and have people trying to sleep on the floor directly above or adjacent to the HT so some leakage out of the room is perfectly fine for us. YMMV. By the time it gets to the second floor it just sounds like a distant (quiet) rumble if you hear anything at all.
The problem is having a reference to work off of to know how much isolution you need and what works. At our old house the basement HT was open concept and completely drywalled (walls/ceiling) but there was no insulation at all, no resilient channel, nothing special. Just a single layer of 1/2" drywall on strapping on the ceiling. The staircase was even open to the basement! (Basement was done by the previous owner). The kids would sleep 2 floors up and with their doors mostly closed you could barely make out a rumble 2 floors below. Worked for us. So in my second HT that I'm building from scratch I'm "only" adding insulation in the ceiling and a basement door. I could go all out and do resilient channel, 2 layers drywall, green glue, etc, but why bother if what we had before was adequate for us? The little bit extra we're doing (door & insulation) is inexpensive and should result in even lower volumes on the second floor than we're used to. Money saved.
One thing to keep in mind too is as the kids get older THEY may be the ones having the late night parties/movies while YOU'RE trying to sleep. Hopefully I'm as sound a sleeper as they are.