Need help with soundproofing my new HT - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 02-24-2013, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone smile.gif

I'm planning my new home theater right now and like everyone here I'm having thoughts about soundproofing it, so I can bump the volume up without bothering anyone in the house and my neighbor who lives about 20 yd away.
Other than him I don't have anyone surrounding me, the HT room is at the far end of the house, no basement, but two rooms and a terrace above it.

Since the HT area will be added to the already existing house it has somewhat of a special connection to it.
The exterior wall of the house is a 10" thick hollow masonry wall. Then there is a 1 ft air gap and after that another 10" thick stone wall.
That's where the HT will connect to.

The HT itself has a 10 ft room next to it. So it is: "house -> 32" double wall with air gap -> room -> HT".

The exterior walls of the HT area are 10" thick and the interior walls are 5" thick hollow masonry walls.


Now I've read a lot in this forum and it seems most people build a decoupled stud wall with double drywall an it.
In my case I don't know if it is the right approach, since I already have the stone walls. And building it that way in addition would take a lot of space out of my room.

So my question is what is the best way to go and how much sound reduction would I get?
I thought about building just the wooden frame, fill it with insulation and add one or two layer of drywall.
The other idea was to build it staggered or going all the way of a double stud wall.

The whole decoupling thing makes sense if I would have just the drywall, but having the masonry wall I don't know if it is worth it.


I'm aiming for a good amount of reduction. It doesn't have to be totally quiet, but not as loud so everyone outside the room will hear what movie is playing.
Listening volume will be around reference level.

My primary concern is the overall volume outside the room. Low and subsonic frequencies aren't important right now.
I doubt they travel the distance through the entire building. And since I don't have anything and anyone else around my HT I'm not concerned about the LF/ULF. Or should I be?
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post #2 of 24 Old 02-24-2013, 09:16 PM
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i havent gone through all your posting but regarding you Accoustic issues

am using a onkyo receiver 5.1 120w/ch and a 150 w wharfedale subwoofer in my home theatre and i did nothing for accousting and it performs well and no disturbance for the neighbors if i close the door.
mine is 8/17 ft hall with three doors ..

you can reduce the echo by adding carpets or your sofas and all....

i dont know whats your system consist of

that was purely my views and am not a expert..
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post #3 of 24 Old 02-24-2013, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't have an acoustic problem. The room isn't even built yet biggrin.gif

My current HT doesn't have any acoustic treatment an/or soundproofing whatsoever. Just two 8" single drywalls and a wood pavement filles with glass wool and covered with wood panels.
I can hear that something is going on in the room under and the rooms next to it very clearly. Even outside I can hear it. So watching movies at night is impossible and at daytime it is still too loud.
And the volume is just around -20db on my AVR. So way under ref-level. The LF/ULF travels through the entire house and on the floor below stuff vibrates.

That's why I want to soundproof my new HT.
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post #4 of 24 Old 02-27-2013, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
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No thoughts? Some opinions would be nice smile.gif
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post #5 of 24 Old 02-27-2013, 05:12 AM
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read the library of articles at soundproofingcompany.com take two aspirin and come back tommorrow.

You need to think about sound like you are building an air tight vessel for a highly radioactive substance. All walls, ceiling and floor must be addressed. Every hole you cut in the vessel must have a containment strategy.

Shopping check list

Isolation Clips
7/8 hat channel
5/8 fire-code drywall type X (two layers)
Green Glue
Acoustical Caulk
Backer boxes
Putty Pads
Solid core door(s)
Perimeter door seals
Sound attenuating duct work

You do all that and it WILL BE WORTH IT
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post #6 of 24 Old 02-27-2013, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

5/8 fire-code drywall type X (two layers)

You do all that and it WILL BE WORTH IT

Why fire-rated type X? It seems to be the same weight.
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post #7 of 24 Old 02-27-2013, 10:10 AM
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In my local HD the new "regular" is the lightweight drywall and then they stock the heavier Firecode, Mass is mass just get the heavy stuff.

Actually I just checked the Sheetrock brand website and things are getting really confusing, they now have a LIGHTWEIGHT Firecode type X. So now all you can look for is the heavy stuff.
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post #8 of 24 Old 02-27-2013, 10:52 AM
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I assume I have the same local HD as Big and I also notice that the lightweight stuff costs every bit as much as the heavy stuff did. Less material; higher cost. Like, a pound of coffee is now not 14 ounces but 12. A five pound bag of sugar is now 4 pounds.....not seeing any reductions in price.

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post #9 of 24 Old 02-27-2013, 09:26 PM
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one more thing you can do for reducing vibrations to your surroundings is by using SPIKES under your sub woofer and floor standers .it reduces the vibration ..thats how i controlled my vibration issue ..which is available on ebay..
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post #10 of 24 Old 02-27-2013, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

read the library of articles at soundproofingcompany.com take two aspirin and come back tommorrow.


I did read the site. Among many other articles and postings regarding how to soundproof a room.
All which write about the standard stud wall and how to improve it. In my case I have masonry walls and although the same principles of soundproofing apply, there has to be a difference in building it or I would just end up with two different walls next to another.

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Originally Posted by Jeemon Paul View Post

one more thing you can do for reducing vibrations to your surroundings is by using SPIKES under your sub woofer and floor standers .it reduces the vibration ..thats how i controlled my vibration issue ..which is available on ebay..

AFAIK spikes do quite the opposite. They couple the speakers to the ground, which in case of transmitting vibrations you don't want.
It seems to my that you didn't understand my initial posting and what I am after here. It's not the vibrations nor the acoustic treatment. I just wanna know how to achieve a good soundproofing level with masonry walls in conjunction with a drywall system on top of it and how the STC ratings would look like.
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post #11 of 24 Old 02-27-2013, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Detees View Post

...
It seems to my that you didn't understand my initial posting and what I am after here. It's not the vibrations nor the acoustic treatment. I just wanna know how to achieve a good soundproofing level with masonry walls in conjunction with a drywall system on top of it and how the STC ratings would look like.

Your best bet is to frame out the room within a room concept (you may want to post a top view image/diagram so we have the exact right configuration for your room - it seems to be unique so seeing it would be best). Sound getting out and sound getting in are two sides to the same coin, even though most people think at first about keeping the sound from escaping to other rooms, neighbor's home, etc... Just want to mention this as when you say that your primary concern is volume outside the room, everything you read and learn about keeping sounds from the outside getting into your room will apply.

The double drywall is recommended for the extra mass of the wall. The double wall is recommended for the decoupling of the wall. They are two different issues, which work together as part of your overall sound isolation. Regardless of your choice to install the drywall directly on the masonry wall, or on standard framing inside the masonry, the two layers are recommended for the additional mass. Back to the image, if you can post a top view to use, it would help understand your exact project greatly.
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post #12 of 24 Old 02-28-2013, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by warrenP View Post

you may want to post a top view image/diagram so we have the exact right configuration for your room - it seems to be unique so seeing it would be best.

Yeah, I thought my description of it would be some what confusing. It actually isn't that complicated. Here is a simplistic sketch smile.gif

Ehm.. and yeah... of course the will be doors. Their positions are not final either, so just ignore them tongue.gif
rm_dim.jpg
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Originally Posted by warrenP View Post

Sound getting out and sound getting in are two sides to the same coin, even though most people think at first about keeping the sound from escaping to other rooms, neighbor's home, etc... Just want to mention this as when you say that your primary concern is volume outside the room, everything you read and learn about keeping sounds from the outside getting into your room will apply.

I'm not concerned about sounds getting in. The room is quite isolated from the rest of the house and outside noise isn't that loud that it would bother me. We live in a relatively quiet area.
In my current HT, which isn't soundproofed at all, i can't hear any exterior noises. Even at low volume. So in that case I'm happy with whatever sound reduction comes with it.
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The double drywall is recommended for the extra mass of the wall. The double wall is recommended for the decoupling of the wall. They are two different issues, which work together as part of your overall sound isolation.

And here lies my question.
As far as I understand, the decoupling part is primarily done for vibration reduction. Which I don't need. As I said, the room is on ground level at the far end of the house. The floor and ceiling will be cement and the left and bottom side are about 3ft under ground, 'cause the yard outside has an elevation. So my guess is that the earth will help with the vibrations. Anything that is left, even at high volumes, will very unlikely reach the rest of the house.

So I should get away without the decoupling part, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenP View Post

Regardless of your choice to install the drywall directly on the masonry wall, or on standard framing inside the masonry, the two layers are recommended for the additional mass. Back to the image, if you can post a top view to use, it would help understand your exact project greatly.

Not directly on the wall. I would still build the framing and fill it with insulation. The drywall will then be screwed on top of that. I'm thinking about putting either two layers of drywall or one layer of drywall and one layer of OSB. I'm not sure yet. It depends on the interior design and if I will paint the walls or do s.th. else.

So I will have the 10" masonry wall, then the 2x4 frame and the drywall/OSB. That should suffice I think, but I'm not sure. For how much -db should I aim? I guess -60 / -70db will be nice. That would mean around 50/60db outside. Which is still noticeable, but fades over distance and therefore should be enough for watching movies any time of the day.

I really don't want to overdo it and reduce my room size for nothing. I appreciate any suggestions that help me to achieve that.
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post #13 of 24 Old 02-28-2013, 01:03 AM - Thread Starter
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The walls will be built with these bricks. Here an image for better understanding in case someone wonders smile.gif

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post #14 of 24 Old 02-28-2013, 05:10 AM
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I'm not concerned about sounds getting in. The room is quite isolated from the rest of the house and outside noise isn't that loud that it would bother me. We live in a relatively quiet area.
The softest sound on a sound track is 22dB. The typical noise floor in a quiet home in a quiet area is 33dB to 35dB. That is in the range of 6 to 7 times louder than the bottom of the sound track. Ok, so for whispers, and other low dB cues and voices on the sound track, that's no big deal...turn up the volume. But, now you run into problems. Normal speech is now 6-7 times louder ... talking is now yelling on the sound track. Next comes the louder sounds ... traffic, bombs, gun fire, etc. They are now 6-7 times louder as well ... too loud for comfort (or realistic listening). With the top of the dynamic range in a sound track at 105dB, that now must be 6-8 times louder. The problem is the vast majority of consumer equipment (amps/speakers) cannot handle that increase on the top end ... blowing out tweeters, clipping the amps, or amplifier distortion as you reach those levels.

It's your room, your budget and your constraints, so you can take the path you're most comfortable with; but, getting the noise floor in the room down to something below 22dB is critical. Unfortunately, it is a tough concept to get across until you've been in a room designed to be that quiet. You don't know what you're missing since you haven't heard what you're missing. Understand those techniques which reduce sound penetration and flanking out of your room are the same which reduce sound penetration into your room (although different orders of magnitude).
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As far as I understand, the decoupling part is primarily done for vibration reduction.
That's correct ... sound is vibration. Anytime sound energy encounters a physical part of your home's structure, a portion of that sound enters the structure (as vibration) and will transfer that sound to all areas of the structure. The intensity and path the vibration follows is subject to considerable variation. Many homes are 1/2" drywall over 3.5" framing set 16" O.C. That's a perfect formula for sound in one area of the house to place something into harmonic motion in an unexpected second or third area of the house (not harmonic motion to the extent it damages the structure but to the extent it turns a wall or cabinet into a speaker).

The generally accepted criteria for sound reduction OUTSIDE a space is to not increase the ambient background noise in an adjacent space by more than 3dB. The top end of the dynamic range (except for LFE) is 105dB. If those noise floor outside your room is, say 35dB... well you can do the math.That is an incredibly challenging metric to achieve and you're not going to get there without damping, decoupling, and mass. It simply won't happen ... and it most certainly will not happen if you decide that a brick (or concrete wall) with interior framing, insulation, and two layers of drywall is going to get the job done. It won't.

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post #15 of 24 Old 02-28-2013, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

The softest sound on a sound track is 22dB. The typical noise floor in a quiet home in a quiet area is 33dB to 35dB. That is in the range of 6 to 7 times louder than the bottom of the sound track. Ok, so for whispers, and other low dB cues and voices on the sound track, that's no big deal...turn up the volume. But, now you run into problems. Normal speech is now 6-7 times louder ... talking is now yelling on the sound track. Next comes the louder sounds ... traffic, bombs, gun fire, etc. They are now 6-7 times louder as well ... too loud for comfort (or realistic listening). With the top of the dynamic range in a sound track at 105dB, that now must be 6-8 times louder. The problem is the vast majority of consumer equipment (amps/speakers) cannot handle that increase on the top end ... blowing out tweeters, clipping the amps, or amplifier distortion as you reach those levels.

So how about the 'dynamic range controls' on many processors, a/v receivers? Those help or hurt?
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post #16 of 24 Old 02-28-2013, 01:46 PM
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All dynamic range control does is compress the dynamic range of 22db to 105dB to something less ... in other words, you ain't hearing what the sound engineer intended...and if you're doing that, why buy subwoofers (or good ones in any case). In fact, why not just get headphones and call it a day.

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post #17 of 24 Old 03-01-2013, 01:16 AM - Thread Starter
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@Dennis:

Thank you for your explanation. I get what you are saying, but to soundproof a room to it's maximum is not only impractical, but not necessary, too.
The experience that comes with it is certainly nice, I give you that. I don't want to achieve that much reduction from outside noises. As I said, it's a quiet neighborhood and my HT room won't have people running around in the room above it. In fact, there is no room, only a terrace, which won't be used heavily either. And even, in case of a very quiet move scene, if I will hear a sound or two occasionally, it won't kill me.

Turning up the volume to compensate for that won't be necessary. I think that listening at reference levels is just fine regarding outside noises coming in.

But as you said, ref level is 105db at the LP. So overall SPL would be a little higher. Let's say 110db as a baseline. What would you say is a pleasing reduction so it's not going to be too loud outside? -60db? -70db? I don't think anyone here has much more with their double drywall construction and they seem all very pleased. Correct me if I'm wrong.

The brick wall itself has a STC rating of 45ish db. So I need to add "only" 20-25db. How do I achieve that?

And again, it doesn't have to be as quiet as it can be.
The average volume is 85db, so a reduction of 60db would mean 25db outside the room. That's almost not noticeable. What the SPL hits 105db the meter outside would show 45db. Still relatively quiet. So calculating off of 110db a 60db reduction would mean 50db outside. That's lower as normal talking volume and I would be happy with that value. Of course if I can get a little more I would take it, considering the effort remains acceptable.

That's why I'm asking for ideas smile.gif
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post #18 of 24 Old 03-01-2013, 05:18 AM
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The brick wall itself has a STC rating of 45ish db. So I need to add "only" 20-25db. How do I achieve that?
STC is a nonsense metric for this application. STC only considers frequencies from 125Hz to 4kHz. Furthermore, you cannot add two STC values to get the combined performance of two materials or two barriers. More to the point, you cannot take 85dB and subtract STC45 and expect 25dB outside the room. It doesn't work that way. Rather like subtracting 4 walnuts from 5 apples to come up with 1 apple.

You don't want to disturb people in the house and neighbors; but, yet say you don't need a quiet room. It will take far more sound isolation to avoid high sound levels in the house than it will to lower the noise floor in the room. Taking that a step further, you say you can raise the volume to compensate for a room with a noise floor above 22dB ... yes you can, and just what impact do you think raising the volume in the room will have on the rest of the house?

Just what is "reference" level? It certainly is not listening level ... it is only a metric used to set speaker levels to -20dBFS using pink noise.

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post #19 of 24 Old 03-02-2013, 02:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

STC is a nonsense metric for this application. STC only considers frequencies from 125Hz to 4kHz. Furthermore, you cannot add two STC values to get the combined performance of two materials or two barriers. More to the point, you cannot take 85dB and subtract STC45 and expect 25dB outside the room. It doesn't work that way.

I know that and you are totally right smile.gif
Did some testing yesterday, set the volume to 60db at the listening position and went walking around in the house with my SPL meter. I know that's not an accurate measuring method, I was just curious to see how much db I have in the different rooms.
The funny thing was, although the SPL meter showed 35db in the room next to it and 25db in the room below, I could still hear the music very clearly. I admit, the sound isolation with a drop of ~ 30db isn't really good. But I really think that -70db should be more than enough to reduce it to a non-disturbing level.

I found this picture of a wall construction like cinemas would have:



As you can see, it is a double wall concept with tripple drywall an each side and 2x 3" insulation with 1x 5" insulation between the walls. The rating is around -80db.
Giving that I already have the brick wall, I could save the first three layers of drywall and maybe get away with only one frame.

Something like this:




That should be a good start, don't you think?
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post #20 of 24 Old 03-02-2013, 04:32 AM
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start yes, Be sure to secure the top plate of the wall with isolation clips (IB3)

Now start thinking about the ceiling, floor, door, hvac ductwork and all the holes you might cut in the wall for outlets, lights, switches etc,
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post #21 of 24 Old 03-02-2013, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
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I thought about that, too. The ceiling would be similar to the walls. Except it's 8" cement + floating screed. The steel joist will have a batten attached to it, from which I will build the double ceiling off.
Same concept. Studs across the roof, filled with rock wool and with double drywall on it. I just hope it's not too heavy. Have to check with someone first.
Alternatively I could make the wall studs something like 4 by 4 's and set beams, so the double ceiling won't even touch the cement ceiling. Look at it as big wooden cage in the brick/cement room.

How much reduction can I expect from walls like the one I sketched above? More or less...

As for the decoupling part, I don't know if I have to use the clips or not and how much of an improvement it would make. For the ceiling and/or walls. Although what you are saying makes sens. The top of the wall should be decoupled from the ceiling or the sound will transmit over it. Thanks for pointing that out.

The thing I don't understand completely is how to seal the door or rather the connection where the door frame will be. Wouldn't that "shortcut" the decoupled walls?
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post #22 of 24 Old 03-02-2013, 07:05 AM
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You can build the ceiling completely decoupled from the rest of the house structure by resting it on top of your normal 2x4 wall, with double top plate. That'as what I've done. See my build in my signioture for some pictures and a link to a span calculator to make sure you use the right joist size.

If you haven't, look at soundproofingcompany.com and read about room-within-a-room.
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post #23 of 24 Old 03-03-2013, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Feed,

how you did it is exactly how I had it in mind. Your room looks good btw wink.gif
I noticed you didn't leave all that space between the wall and the frame, maybe one inch?! Is that enough and would two or three inches have more impact or is the difference not as noticeable as one would think, ending in wasted space?
And did you have the chance to test your room out? Is it bomb proof? biggrin.gif
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post #24 of 24 Old 03-04-2013, 05:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Detees View Post

I noticed you didn't leave all that space between the wall and the frame, maybe one inch?! Is that enough and would two or three inches have more impact or is the difference not as noticeable as one would think, ending in wasted space?
I left a very small gap - only about 1/2 inch. I should have left more, but not really for any real soundproofing benefit. Working that close to the foundation wall risks coupling the framing to the wall inadvertently when the studs are warped or not plumb. The size of that air gap is not going to make any appreciable difference in isolation. I did it the way I did because of my limited width, now I just hope I don't have too many isolation deficiencies as a result.

I haven't been able to test out the soundproofing yet, but I'm getting closer.

Fred
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