Right this minute, I’m watching a recent episode of Trading Spaces. If you haven’t watched the show, teams of 2 people trade houses for 2 days and re-decorate one room of the house. This episode features some feuding neighbors who can’t abide each other. Even more interesting to voice talent is that Neighbor A has a small child and craves absolute peace and quiet, while the Neighbor B has active, noisy teenage sons who have a heavy-metal garage band.
Neighbor A is redoing the garage studio for Neighbor B, and their priority was soundproofing. I became somewhat of an expert on soundproofing techniques when we decided to build the room for my stunning studio. Soundproofing is achieved by creating mass separated by air space. I therefore thought perhaps the designer would build a room within a room.
The designer decided instead to cover the ceiling and walls with carpet padding. Carpet padding is in the category of sound absorption. It changes the characteristics of sound within the room but does not necessarily prevent the sound from leaving the room. Given the amount of carpet padding they are installing in almost every inch throughout the room, it certainly will help reduce the noise. However, If I were the teenager with the band, I would be concerned that I am not hearing true sound.
So far, I have seen nothing about treating the door and windows, as those are major sources where sound escapes. I know they have a limited budget of $1000 on this show, but I think the designer doesn’t have a good grasp of soundproofing techniques. She chose to build a stage, which might look cool, but won’t stop the noise problem the way an interior room would have.
Soundproofing is also what Neighbor A would need to do their own home in order to prevent the unwanted sounds from entering their house. I live in such a noisy area that we replaced all the windows with triple-pane windows and built a room according to specifications found in Building a Recording Studio by Jeff Cooper. My room has 2 layers of 5/8th-inch sheet rock, which is thicker than normal 1/2-inch sheet rock. I also have 2 layers of ceilings separated by heavy insulation, 2 sets of doors at each entrance and no windows.
As for the TV show, I guess it’s more important that the warring neighbors gain some harmony and empathy than to be totally accurate in the description of the materials. I have to say that the finished studio really looks awesome!
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