I occasionally get e-mails asking about cheap and easy ways to soundproof a listening room. Readers want to minimize the amount of bass and sound leaking into neighboring apartments or rooms in a house from their home theater.
Bona-fide soundproofing is neither cheap or easy. Anything short of building a "floating" (isolated) recording studio type listening room won't totally soundproof a room. You see, a floating room's ceiling, walls, and floor are acoustically and structurally isolated from its surroundings. Prices vary, but plan on investing at least $10,000 for a professionally installed floating room. After the floating room construction techniques, you can attain more limited success with double sheetrock on the walls. That is, install new double sheetrock walls with an air gap between them and the original walls. Double sheetrock can make a big difference, but it's still far from a cheap or easy solution.
A friend put a layer of lead sheeting under his apartment's finished wood floors to reduce bass transmission to the floor below. It worked, but I'm not so sure about the health concerns from living around that much lead.
But I do have a few tips to reduce sound leakage from one room to another, or between floors of a house or apartment that won't break the bank.
Before we go any further, let's define our goals: sound isolation isn't the same thing as improving room acoustics (I'll cover that in another blog).
Sound is transmitted from one room to another either through structure borne vibrations (wall, ceiling, or floor movement), or through the air. Thick carpets or wall pads won't do much in the way of soundproofing, but they may improve sound quality in the room.… Read more