Building A Drum Friendly Home StudioFeb 21, 2023
Building a home recording studio for a drummer requires careful planning and attention to detail to ensure that the room is both soundproof and acoustically suitable for recording. Whether you're converting an existing room or garage, or building a free floating room within a room, the process for achieving a soundproof and acoustically treated space is largely the same. In this article, we'll go through the steps for soundproofing a drum recording room, achieving a pleasant recording-friendly sound, and diffusing sound waves to avoid annoying flutter echoes.
Step 1: Soundproofing the room
Soundproofing a drum recording room is essential to prevent sound from escaping and disturbing others. The key to effective soundproofing is to create a barrier between the inside of the room and the outside world. This can be achieved by framing the room with studs, using insulation to absorb sound waves, and adding layers of sound-absorbing materials.
Here's a step-by-step guide to soundproofing a drum recording room:
Frame the room: Start by framing the room with studs. Use 2x4 or 2x6 studs to create a framework for the walls and ceiling. The studs should be placed at 16-inch intervals to provide a solid structure for the room.
Insulate the walls: Once the framework is in place, fill the spaces between the studs with rockwool or fiberglass insulation. This will absorb sound waves and prevent them from traveling through the walls.
Add soundboard: Cover the insulation with soundboard or drywall. Soundboard is a specialized type of drywall that has sound-absorbing properties. It can be more effective than regular drywall at reducing sound transmission. Use double layers of soundboard to maximize the soundproofing.
Seal the room: Make sure that all gaps and cracks in the walls and ceiling are sealed. Use acoustical caulk to seal any gaps between the studs and the soundboard. Install weatherstripping on the door to ensure a tight seal.
Soundproof the floor: The floor is often overlooked in the soundproofing process, but it's important to make sure that sound doesn't escape through the floor. Install a layer of soundproofing material, such as Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV), underneath the flooring.
Here are some photos of Jack building his first home studio in 2007.
1. Removal of any windows (glass leaks sound).
2. Bricking up the holes left by windows, also caulking any small gaps in the brick work.
3. Framing out the room with studs.
4. Framing out the ceiling and getting a qualified residential electrician to wire up the electrics (don't do this yourself!)
5. Buy plenty of rockwool and nest inside the framework. Like fibreglass, this stuff is nasty on your skin, so use gloves and wear long sleeves.
6. Continue to fill all framing with rockwool, including the ceiling.
7. You can use metal strips to hold up the rockwool in the ceiling.
8. Next comes the acoustic board, we used a product called "sound check" which is designed to eliminate sound more so than standard drywall.
9. Lastly comes the aesthetic, which can be anything you want. We used standard ply with a satin finish.
10. And don't forget your downlights! Make 'em nice and bright.
Budgets - these are rough estimates only! Be sure to do your research before committing to a project like this.
- 2x4 framing materials: $200
- Rockwool insulation: $150
- Soundboard/drywall: $100
- Acoustical caulk: $20
- Weatherstripping: $10
- MLV: $100 Total cost: $580
- 2x6 framing materials: $300
- Higher-quality rockwool insulation: $250
- Double-layered soundboard/drywall: $200
- High-quality acoustical caulk: $50
- Heavy-duty weatherstripping: $30
- Higher-quality MLV: $200 Total cost: $1,030
- Custom-built soundproofing panels: $3,000
- Professional soundproofing installation: $2,000
- Premium-grade MLV: $500 Total cost: $5,500
Step 2: Achieving a pleasant recording-friendly sound
Once the room is soundproofed, the next step is to achieve a pleasant recording-friendly sound. The goal is to create a space that's not too lively, but not too dead either. You want a space that's acoustically balanced and provides a clear, natural sound. This can be achieved through the use of sound-absorbing materials and strategic placement of furniture.
Here are some tips for achieving a pleasant recording-friendly sound:
- Use sound-absorbing materials: Use sound-absorbing materials on the walls and ceiling to reduce the amount of sound reflection. This will prevent the sound from bouncing around the room and creating an echoey, unnatural sound. Materials like acoustic foam, acoustic panels, and sound curtains can be used to absorb sound waves.
Place diffusers in strategic locations: Diffusers are designed to scatter sound waves and break up any standing waves in the room. This can help to create a more natural, balanced sound. Place diffusers on the walls and ceiling in strategic locations, such as where the sound from the drum kit is most concentrated.
Use bass traps: Bass frequencies can be particularly challenging to control in a recording room. Bass traps are designed to absorb low-frequency sound waves and prevent them from bouncing around the room. Place bass traps in the corners of the room to help control the bass frequencies.
Position furniture strategically: Furniture can be used to help diffuse sound waves and prevent standing waves from forming. Place bookshelves, couches, and other large objects around the room to help break up the sound and prevent flutter echoes.
Use rugs and carpeting: Hard surfaces like wood or tile floors can contribute to a room's liveliness. Adding rugs or carpeting can help to absorb some of the sound and create a more balanced, natural sound.
- Acoustic foam panels: $200
- Sound curtains: $100
- DIY bass traps: $50
- Furniture from existing collection: $0
- Rugs or carpeting from existing collection: $0 Total cost: $350
- Higher-quality acoustic panels: $500
- Professional diffusers: $300
- Commercial bass traps: $150
- Strategically-placed furniture: $500
- New carpeting: $500 Total cost: $1,950
- Custom-built acoustic panels: $3,000
- Professional diffusers: $2,000
- Commercial bass traps: $1,000
- High-end furniture and decor: $5,000
- Professional carpet installation: $2,000 Total cost: $13,000
Step 3: Diffusing sound waves to avoid annoying flutter echoes
Flutter echoes are a common problem in recording rooms. They occur when sound waves bounce back and forth between parallel surfaces, creating a rapid repetition of the same sound. This can create an annoying ringing or buzzing sound that can interfere with the recording.
To avoid flutter echoes, it's important to break up the parallel surfaces in the room. This can be achieved by placing large objects around the room, such as tables, bookshelves, couches, or even a drum riser. The idea is to create irregular surfaces that will scatter the sound waves and prevent them from bouncing back and forth in a straight line.
Another effective way to diffuse sound waves is to use diffusers on the walls and ceiling. Diffusers are designed to scatter sound waves in a random pattern, preventing them from bouncing back and forth in a straight line. This can help to create a more natural, balanced sound.
- Large bookshelves: $150
- Existing furniture: $0 Total cost: $150
- Strategically-placed acoustic panels: $500
- Large furniture items: $1,000 Total cost: $1,500
- Custom-built diffusers: $5,000
- Professional consultation for room design: $2,000
- High-end furniture and decor: $5,000 Total cost: $12,000
Building a home recording studio for a drummer requires careful planning and attention to detail. Soundproofing the room should be a top priority, as it's essential to prevent sound from escaping the room and disturbing others in the house or neighbors. This can be achieved by framing the room with studs, using rockwool insulation, and adding soundboard on top. Once the soundproofing is complete, the next step is to create a recording-friendly sound that is not too lively, but not too dead either.
To achieve a pleasant recording-friendly sound, it's important to balance the absorption and diffusion of sound waves in the room. This can be achieved by using a combination of acoustic panels, diffusers, and bass traps, along with strategic placement of furniture and other objects in the room. A balance between absorption and diffusion will create a natural, balanced sound that is ideal for recording.
The cost of building a home recording studio for a drummer can vary widely depending on the size of the room, the level of soundproofing required, and the quality of the materials used. A small budget of $350 can be used to purchase basic acoustic treatment materials such as acoustic foam panels and sound curtains, while a larger budget of $13,000 can be used to create a high-end recording studio with custom-built acoustic panels, diffusers, and high-end furniture and decor.
In summary, building a home recording studio for a drummer requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a balance between soundproofing, acoustic treatment, and diffusion of sound waves. With the right materials and techniques, it's possible to create a professional-grade recording studio that will provide a natural, balanced sound and prevent sound from escaping the room.