Tips for Noise Reduction in a Home Studio
Having a home studio is the goal of many freelance voice actors. After working and creating your own space, you might feel everything is in order until you sit down to record. And suddenly there are background noises you have never noticed before.
Dealing with these noises can be a headache, but soundproofing a room is actually quite straightforward. This article is here to show you just how easy it can be to turn a room into your own soundproof studio.
What Soundproofing Vs. Acoustic Treatment
Soundproofing sounds great to people working in recording, like voice actors. But some people get soundproofing confused with acoustic treatment.
Soundproofing will help reduce the noise in your studio by blocking external and internal noises. Soundproofing also prevents noises made inside the studio from leaving the room.
Acoustic treatment is used to help make the sound quality in your studio better. It does this by controlling and redirecting the reverberations and echoes. It can help reduce the amount of background noise your mic will pick up. Acoustic treatment can also help create a passive noise cancellation in your studio.
Tips on How to Implement Soundproofing Strategies from the Beginning
When figuring out where to build and easily create a soundproof studio, there are a lot of factors to consider. Do you have noisy neighbors? Do you live on a busy street? How much space do you need to create your ideal home studio?
Ideally, a single room dedicated to your studio is the best. But that isn’t always possible, but it is possible to turn any room in your home into a soundproof studio. Here are some tips on finding the best space:
- Away from neighbors: Try recording when your neighbors aren’t around, it can be easy for your mic to pick up the background noise of your neighbors when recording. On the opposite end, you want to make sure that you’re respectful of your neighbors with the loud noise coming from your studio. Picking the room furthest from your neighbors is best, and in an apartment, try not to pick a room with a shared wall.
- Away from busy streets: Along the same line of being away from neighbors. Picking a room away from a busy street is ideal for reducing the number of outside noises coming inside.
- Insulation: You will have an easy time soundproofing your studio if the room is well insulated. This will help block any external noise from coming inside.
- Electricity: Having separate electrical wiring for the gear in your studio will reduce the noise created when appliances share wiring.
If you are still looking into finding a space and building your studio, check out this article on budgeting for home recording studio equipment.
Identifying Different Types of Noises
Noise is a big challenge for a voice actors in their studio. It can be hard to figure out what that annoying noise is and from where it is coming. The first thing to check is if the noise is continuous, intermittent, impulsive, or low-frequency. Each of those can mean a different thing.
Environmental noise is external noise. Such as neighbors, housemates, traffic, pets in the house, and strong wind/weather.
Electrical noise can be one of the most frustrating problems to deal with. This noise can be caused by bad or unbalanced cables. Or variations in circuit designs, and inconsistent voltages between devices. These noises typically sound like continuous buzz and hum.
Mechanical noises can be continuous or intermittent. These noises come from appliances like an air conditioning or heating unit, cooling fans in a computer, or other gear.
Best Ways to Soundproof Your Studio from Internal and External Noise
There are many ways to soundproof your studio, but here are the best ways to soundproof a room:
- Adding mass to your walls, floors, and ceiling: As mentioned earlier in this article, insulation keeps sound from coming in and out. It is a big help when soundproofing your studio. Adding extra bulk helps absorb sound. You can use soundproof paint, mass-loaded vinyl, carpet/rugs, and materials like foam sheets. Hang sound dampening curtains in front of windows and doors.
- Separation: It is best to have separate areas for recording and your gear. For example, you can set up your recording equipment in a soundproof room. Soundproofing your closet to store your gear, eliminates noise in the recording room.
- Isolation boxes: Similar to separating the recording room from the gear. You can create isolation boxes or cabinets. Creating small, soundproof boxes to keep your gear while recording reduces the amount of electrical noise heard. You can buy many premade boxes. You can buy mic background noise reduction boxes from the internet. But they are not always budget-friendly, so building your own might be the best option.
- Damping: Damping removes the vibrational energy before it can build up and emit sound waves. Add insulation between two rigid objects like drywall, plywood, or shelving. This insulation reduces the amount of vibrational energy before it emits sound waves.
- Decoupling: Decoupling blocks the sound transmission between two objects in direct contact by creating separation between them. Using a material like dense, pliable rubber between the two objects helps create separation and reduce sound.
- Filling Gaps: Fill gaps in structures, like holes or cracks in a wall, window, or door. This filling will prevent sound waves from easily passing through. Add a door sweep underneath the door to block the gap. And use soundproofing rubber around the perimeter of the doors and windows.
For more in-depth ways to soundproof your studio check out this article: How to Soundproof a Room in Your Home Recording Studio.
Soundproofing can be a big task for many, but it does not need to happen all at once. While having a soundproof studio is ideal, it is not the only way to reduce noise in an audio recording. After the recording, mic background noise reduction can also happen in editing.
Have you reduced the sound in your studio? Ready to start recording on Voices? Create your account today!