When I started my voiceover career, I recorded in a tiny closet with accordion doors. The room is upstairs on the front of the house and faces the street. The only entrance to our subdivision is about 150 yards away from my house.
Consequently, 99% of my 200+ neighbors must pass my house every time they enter or leave. To make matters worse, we live at the top of a hill. The neighbors step on the gas to get up that hill. I constantly had to stop my recordings every time a car passed.
Moving to a walk-in closet across the hall helped to alleviate some of the car traffic noises. However, it didn’t help with the air traffic, leaf blower, lawnmower, and other noises around here. The county airport is not far from our house, so planes with small propellers are constantly flying overhead.
In 2005, we decided to take drastic measures to reduce the noise. We started by replacing all of the windows on our house with triple-pane, casement windows. Instead of the common double-hung windows, which have 2 pieces that open by sliding them up or down, casement windows are one piece which opens outward. The movement forms a better seal to the house, and the 3 panes of glass with krypton gas between them significantly buffer outside noises.
We also built my stunning soundproof studio employing the following techniques:
- 2 layers of ceilings with R30 insulation between them
- 2 layers of 5/8″ drywall (instead of the usual single layer of 1/2″ drywall) in each of the ceiling layers and all 4 walls
- 2×6 studs instead of 2×4 to provide additional space for insulation
- sound barrier insulation under the siding and R30 insulation in the walls
- air pocket between the garage and the studio
- 2 entrances, each with an air pocket between 2 doors
- no windows
- built on a concrete slab
I bought a 6’x8′ WhisperRoom sound isolation booth. The WhisperRoom adds more density and air pockets in my quest for silence. Since the floor is on wheels, it can eliminate the low, rumbling noises that could be generated by passing trucks.
What a joy to record in this room! I can’t remember a time when I had to stop work due to a noise outside the studio.
I thought you might like to see and hear a short demonstration of the effectiveness of my studio. Using my iPhone4, I made a little video today after Drew started his motorcycle. I deliberately left the video in one continuous, unedited take, so I apologize in advance for any jerky movement. Turn your speakers up to really hear the difference!
PS. If you’re considering a room addition on your house, you’ll want to absorb my lessons learned before you hire a contractor. Download your free copy of Karen’s Crash Course in Avoiding Ca$h-Poor Contractors.