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AVS › AVS Forum › Audio › DIY Speakers and Subs › Is there really any point in soundproofing ? Is it a scam ? Or is it sold as being something it's not ? I am confused. Help me gain clarity please !!!
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Is there really any point in soundproofing ? Is it a scam ? Or is it sold as being something...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok- First let me preface by saying I love this forum and I am very thankful for the information I've learned thus far in my quest to design my dedicated theater. I have the utmost respect for all the members here, including the professionals. I apologize in advance if I am too "NOOB" to understand the full picture just yet.

That said- I have many questions about the sound proofing aspect and I can't seem to fully understand it all.

It seems there is an inordinate amount of time, effort and budget dedicated to "sound proofing" but I can't for the life of me understand why. My fear is I am really an idiot and don't get it yet- so I am hoping if that's true someone will kindly aware me.

Here is what I think I know:

Soundproofing is methods employed to keep sound from entering your theater or leaving it. The goal can be to bring down the noise floor inside the theater, or to minimize the sound generated by your theater from bothering others. Yes?

Ok I am proceeding with the idea I understand the purpose of soundproofing, and I also understand it's different than acoustical treatments aimed at improving the quality of audio inside your theater by absorbing or minimizing unwanted frequencies or noise. My issue is I fully understand and value the purpose of acoustical treatments- but totally fail to grasp or value sound proofing.

My situation: (Try to give me advice from my shoes please)

I am designing a theater on a rather limited budget; It is new construction, second floor build above a new 2 car garage. The house is existing but also being remodeled in the project. (I own a cape style and we are removing the roof and doing a full second floor, and a 12 foot extension on the second floor off the back of the house all in addition to adding the garage and theater. I have the ability to go staggered studs if needed, or even clips and channels- or even both wink.gif but I can't really afford them. As much as I can not afford them, I fear the mistake of not doing it and regretting it down the road.

Background: I am fully invested into making the room and theater sound as good as possible and I am willing to go the extra mile or spend extra to achieve this. I do not want to be limited by my room later on when I can afford higher end gear. I plan to have this theater for 30 years. I'm never going to get a shot at redoing the room (dimensions) and tearing down to the studs is unlikely to happen for a decade or more for a refresh. While I care about the sound quality extremely - I do not care if sound escapes the theater. I don't really care much at all. I do , however, care if sound pollutes my theater and thus I am more interested in bringing down the noise floor for this reason. Perhaps I am more purist in these regards- and less considerate as a husband and father of my family tongue.gif but I just do not understand or see the issue with sound proofing. I don't worry about sound leaving the theater and bothering people.

The kids rooms are on the total opposite side of the house. The garage is being built on the far right side of the house, and the kids rooms are on the far outside left of the house. The sound would have to go through my master bedroom, closets, stairs and bathrooms to reach the kids. I just doubt it would be significant enough to wake them up or bother them. I doubt my theater will make as much noise going at reference levels to bother the kids inside their rooms given the location of my theater is as far away as possible from them as perhaps a normal living room TV would make just down the hall in a normal house situation. Am I underestimating things? Or not seeing something ?

My wife is amazing. I currently have a projector and drop down screen in my bedroom now. Yes, the bedroom I sleep in every night biggrin.gif I also have 7.2 system with dual 12" subs, Polk Audio speakers and a Denon AVR3312IC. I watched the new Die Hard movie with Bruce Willis last night on "-20" on the Denon (it's kinda loud and shakes the room at this volume ) and my wife was sleeping!!! Seriously- I am not kidding. eek.gif She just sleeps easy, falls asleep early and does not seem to care too much when I stay up a few more hours watching TV. And this is in the same room !!!!! I know she is weird, and I never had this with other girlfriends before her. My wife is awesome at being a good sport and a heavy sleeper. It's been this way for a few years so I doubt it's going to change much. For this reason sound proofing for her is less important- she's likely to be watching with me or so sleepy that it won't matter. She loves to watch with me, she just always falls asleep.

So I'm open to the idea my situation is more unique or perhaps I am luckier with my wife than others. If so, I'll just count my blessings and skip some of the extreme extra costs of sound proofing. If I am failing to understand something here that is critical I am hoping someone can aware me. I am willing to do things right- and if that means I need to soundproof then I will.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most important:

2 /10 - Sound proofing to keep sound inside the theater leaving the theater and bothering others
6 / 10 - Sound proofing to keep sound from entering the theater or raising my noise floor
11 / 10 - Sound quality and experience inside the theater
11 / 10 - Getting the most bang for my buck and maximizing value
8 / 10 - Staying within modest and limited budget of $10,000 (excluding electronics)

My hearing sucks. I went to the ear doctor and I have Tinnitus in both ears and my hearing is below average. My father is 65 and can't hear very well. I will be like him someday. Doctor told me it's only going to get worse. Given this- I don't need an extreme low noise floor- but having a low noise floor and proper acoustic treatments should aid my ability to hear the sound tracks in movies. It's noisy echo environments like a noisy restaurant with clanking forks and chatter that I struggle most with. In a nice sound treated place I can hear perfectly fine. My favorite bar has acoustic panels on the ceilings and I can always hear conversation there. Another bar down the street does not- and has hard wood surfaces and ceilings and I can't hear anything. I can notice the difference easily and thus I am sold on sound treating my room and doing acoustic panel fabric walls.

Since my planned theater has 3 out of 4 walls as outside walls- and the floor is above the garage and the attic above the theater is not going to be a common attic with the rest of my home (peaks go opposite directions ) I am wondering should I really spend the money on clips and channels ? Or do staggered studs ???

I was planning or hoping I could do staggered studs only on the one common wall between the theater and the house. Yes? Or pointless? I've had people tell me I really need to do it all or don't bother doing any when it comes to sound proofing. I've read the articles at the sound proofing company. (Excellent resource BTW biggrin.gif ) I think I understand "flanking" and why that is said so often. But I just don't fully believe it applies to my circumstance. If sound leaves through the floor and goes down it pollutes my garage. (Don't care) It would have to then enter into the existing kitchen and then up into the second floor bedrooms to become a worry for me. I'm doubting the sound will carry that far and that loud- wouldn't it lose power and get quieter as it travels through each room and surface materials ? Would it carry that far ??? The Attic is also not common or connected- the peak of the garage and theater run side to side and the peak on the house will run front to back- I am not planning peak ceiling in the theater but 10 foot walls on sides and going up to a flat 12 foot in the center of room for a star ceiling. Basically building a soffit into the design but going up in the center instead of going down on the edges. Would a non common attic space be a concern ? Lastly- If I did stagger stud the whole room it would keep sound from going out the walls into the yard.... right ? I live in a quiet neighborhood. I am the second to last house on a dead end street. There is never airplanes, or traffic outside. I hear crickets at night when I go outside but inside my house now I hear nothing. My house is quiet generally minus noise humans make inside it. My lawn does not care if I wake it up watching a movie biggrin.gif I am doubting there is much noise entering the theater given my circumstances- but I am far more open to preventing sound from entering than I am from preventing it escaping. In matters of importance- I think keeping the sound quality in the room is more important. And I doubt flanking would be an issue because the sound would need to go out the room (outside walls ) and somehow come back into the house ??? How's that going to happen ? It seems a non issue IMO. (but again I could be wrong )

So my dilemma,

Do I spend all the extra money on clips and channels, GG, staggered studs and double DW just because everyone's doing it or says I should even though in my heart I don't believe in it ? (Or better said: I believe in it, but it's not going to benefit my situation as much and I can't really afford it anyways )


Do I do some and not all ? Where is the sweet spot in value ? Can I get away with just doing staggered studs and skipping clips and channels and double DW ??? Or do I just do double DW ?? What is the best bang for the buck ? Can I just do the common wall ? Should I do staggered studs and GG+DD only on the common wall ? Where is the best blend of value and budget balancing ??

Time for questions:

What is more effective for my new construction theater if I had to choose only 1 - Staggered studs or Clips and Channels ? What is the difference in cost? Which is the better value ?

What is the difference in performance between Staggered studs with single layer versus normal studs with double DW+GG ?
What is the difference in performance of Staggered Studs versus clips and channel ? Does doing DD and GG matter much with either ?
What is the difference in performance between double wall (two sets of studs )with only 1 layer DW versus single stud wall and GG+ Double DW ?

I am trying to determine what is the best solution for my needs. I am obviously not sold on sound proofing and I am failing to see why it is important in my situation. Please do not base your comments on your situation or the fact you have kids next door to your theater or a wife bitching about it. Try to give me an honest answer and put yourself in my shoes. Should I bother spending all the cash (at the expense of other stuff) on sound proofing. Every penny I spend on sound proofing is money I can't spend on aesthetics or sound treatments, DIY speakers, fancy trim or nicer theater chairs. I'm not counting any electronic gear in my budget like amps or projectors. (I own some gear I will start with, and I'll be upgrading always. I've been buying this stuff for 20 years already, I remember my first pro-logic receiver and center channel speaker smile.gif )

I've got some awesome plans for wood working, stage, screen, wet bar area and such. There is so much I am excited about. Sound proofing would compete with these things on budget, time and resources. So if I do it- I need to believe in it. Is it really worth it ? What advice do you have for me?
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
Mods- You can delete this. I thought I was in the dedicated theater forum.

post #3 of 10
soundproofing is not a scam. most folks live with other
folks in some capacity and most folks don't like hearing
other folks 'noise'. :-)

if you care mostly about keeping the sounds that you
do not want to hear out, some likely culprits may
include hvac, dishwasher, clothes washer, hairdryers,
and other random "house noises" that you might not
be considering.

also, amplifier fans are something else to think ahead

then again, without soundproofing, what are you going
to do when you neighbor fires up his lawn mower while
you are trying to watch a movie?
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
I basically only watch a movie at night. I work days and the neighbors only mow on Saturdays like I do biggrin.gif

I think my situation is unique. The dishwasher and washer and dryer are in other parts of the house. This is a bonus room above a garage and not near much.

I am guessing the biggest source of noise will be inside the room (HTPC, Server and Refrigerator )

I am planning on soundproofing the AV closet but because of air flow I can't make it perfect. My 20 bay Norco server is actually quiet since I modded the fans with silent-X fans and 120mm fan blade. But again, the server and fridge inside the room are more a factor then external noises.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
BTW thanks for the reply biggrin.gif

I posted in the theater builder forum. I misplaced this one.. and so far this has a reply and the other in the proper place does not tongue.gif

I know it's not a scam and I believe in it. I am just not sold enough. Looking for someone to aware me if I am missing something.
post #6 of 10
I am with you Mfusick. I know soundproofing has it's place, but when I did my theater, it was very low on the priority list. If I could cheaply and easily reduce noise pollution from the theater to the rest of the house, I would...otherwise, I spend all my budget on other things. I've had my theater installed for almost 4 years now, and two of those have been with dual THTs which I crank prodigiously and I cannot say there has been any regret that I didn't spend more time on soundproofing. I may be in a situation like you...I only watch movies on the weekend nights...almost always with my family, so nobody else to bother and since my theater is in a basement, there is not much bleed if any outside the house to bother the neighbors. The handful times I have watched a movie with friends or gamed on the PJ, and the rest of the house dwellers were doing their things, I just turned it down a little and the wife turned the TV up (it helps to have a decent sound system for the living room TV too. Worst case scenario, you have to soundproof later...then you get to rebuild the theater again! Building it is really half the fun in my opinion...then again, if there is not a room in my house with a project going on, I'm not doing my job tongue.gif

post #7 of 10
I have a similar setup with a theater in a bonus room above the garage.. The only noise problem I've ever had is the big ass window facing the street. I can hear some cars at times, and it doesn't help that this is new construction and they're building houses across the street. Other than that the only thing I did was seal the double doors at the theater entrance as best I could. It helped with cooling and any residual noise.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
post #9 of 10
Soundproofing was #1 on my priority list.

Flanking noise is the single largest killer of soundproofing efforts; it can easily invalidate $10,000 worth of work.

Most sound is transmitted through doors, HVAC ducts, windows and light/electrical fixtures.
This is why my theater doesn't have any windows, nor HVAC ducts, nor light/electrical fixtures holes, and beefy doors.

Unfortunately those are also the hardest and most expensive areas to address.

Sounds like you need minimal soundproofing. You should concentrate on those areas first (if possible), otherwise just go with the thickest walls you feel comfortable with spending and call it a day.

Clips are expensive and very hard to do correctly, it's easy to mess them up.
Don't bother with channels unless you apply clips, and GG is a nice to have.
All three of those things are for studios or extreme cases.

How severe depends on who is listening to the "noise" and at what SPL/depth of the source noise is. The louder and deeper the sound, the harder it is to stop. Things such as: big trucks, dogs, trains, yard equipment, aircraft, factories/construction work, and subwoofers are the main violators.

I have ~45db of bass-proofing (DC to 200hz) and ~110db+ of treble-proofing (>200hz).
Resulting from a wall that is designed as follows:
Dual 1/2" OSB, 4" Stud with R20 insulation, 1" air gap, 4" Stud with SS, VB, 1/2" hat channel, 3/8" soundboard, DDGG 5/8".
Note: I didn't use clips because it's a dedicated building.
Exterior volume is 4800cubes, Interior is 3000cubes.
Material cost was ~$5500 for that; about $1 a cube.

That's as good as one can expect from an above-ground/non-masonry structure.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've seen your bass !!!! It hz !

Yeah I can see how you need soundproofing. Lol.

Thanks for the feedback.
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AVS › AVS Forum › Audio › DIY Speakers and Subs › Is there really any point in soundproofing ? Is it a scam ? Or is it sold as being something it's not ? I am confused. Help me gain clarity please !!!