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Sms “room in a room” vs soundproofing materials only?
Old 30th April 2019
  #1
Sms “room in a room” vs soundproofing materials only?

I’ve worked in studios full time my whole life but never built a professional home studio. Pops and I are building our own studio in my new basement over the next 6 months. We’ve got about 10-$15k to play with for materials and very DIY approach as to not hire anyone (we are both traditional handymen). Upon doing a huge amount of research in a short amount of time, it looks like the method of floated SMS rooms using isolation clips (green glue type stuff, hat channels) is the way to go but building a room in a room is about 4 times the cost of just using roxul, Low mass vinyl and similar products.

My question is, just how much more (dB wise) quiet is sms? Is it really worth all th extra effort?... and lower ceiling space? I only have 8 feet to begin with so.... it’s a big deal. More than the money really. Or can I build a significantly quiet control and live room with just applying soundproofing materials into the existing walls? Thanks
Old 30th April 2019
  #2
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Up to 30 dB at mid and high frequencies. See IR 761. Ignore STCs and focus on the TL values and figures.

Get Master Handbook of Acoustics and Home Recording Studio: Build It Like the Pros. After reading them get and read Rose's Guide to Acoustic Practice.

Absorb and master my tagline.

Enjoy!
Old 30th April 2019
  #3
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+1

Excellent advice from the Master himself!

All I can add to that is that if you should start by first identifying how much isolation you need, in decibels (use a hand-held meter for that), then look at the construction techniques and materials in the document Andre mentioned ("IR-761"), find one that gives you that level of isolation and fits your budget, then build it. As you'll see from that document, just like Andre stated, the difference between a room that done without proper decoupling, and one down WITH proper decoupling, is about 30 dB (at least). In real terms, that means that the good room blocks about one thousand times more energy than the bad one, and subjectively is eight times better at isolating.

Also, I very much doubt that a normal "room in a room" will cost you four times as much as putting up clips, hat channel, MLV and drywall! The MLV alone is more than US$ 2.00 per square foot... 5/8" drywall is about one third of that. Putting up the second frame is not that much more expensive than Clips and hat channel. It certainly won't cost you four times as much. I'm not sure where you got that number from, but it isn't correct.

- Stuart -
Old 1st May 2019
  #4
Awesome advice thanks guys! As far as dB needed, Itll be as loud as full band at full blast at times so I’ll need all the iso I can get. The live room is 11x17 and the control room 11x15 with 7.5’ ceilings. What do you think (roughly of course) my cost might be to go either way?

Also, Are the books you mentioned palatable for a room designer noob like myself or do they require prior knowledge? Thanks!
Old 1st May 2019
  #5
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There is not enough information. You could spend 10k just on electrical, HVAC and wiring.

The books are for beginners. That is why they are recommended. Rose is best appreciated with prior knowledge. That is why it is riecommrnnded to be read after the books. Nice thing is that it is free.
Old 1st May 2019
  #6
Awesome. Last question, with all the plethora of soundproofing material websites out there, is there one that you guys find the best deal cost wise? From my preliminary research Acoustimac in Florida seems to have great prices for loaded mass vinyl and all that. Is there a go to you can recommend for our budget minded project? I need to stretch 10k for an entire basement and I’m sweating. Thanks
Old 1st May 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jml designs View Post
Awesome. Last question, with all the plethora of soundproofing material websites out there, is there one that you guys find the best deal cost wise? From my preliminary research Acoustimac in Florida seems to have great prices for loaded mass vinyl and all that. Is there a go to you can recommend for our budget minded project? I need to stretch 10k for an entire basement and I’m sweating. Thanks
Sad news no. Most sound isolation can be achieved with regular materials.

Great news! You just saved several thousand dollars! MLV has no advamtage in walls. Use the cheapest mass in your area.
Old 1st May 2019
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jml designs View Post
I need to stretch 10k for an entire basement and I’m sweating. Thanks
Then master my tagline. Show us or at least yourself drawings of what you want to build and make a spreadsheet for costs. At the moment I see 4 doors with seals, 2 panes of glass and approximately 150 sheets of drywall. Add lines (accounting type) for HVAC and electrical.

The builds that went 3 or 4 times overbudget had terrible planning.

Master my tagline. Are you noticing a pattern?
Old 1st May 2019
  #9
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Quote:
Itll be as loud as full band at full blast at times so I’ll need all the iso I can get.
I think you missed the point. There are equations and tables and charts and graphs and research papers and books that you can look at to determine what type of wall to build, what building materials to use, and how to use them in order to get a certain level of isolation. But you won't find any variable or chart or table where you can plug in the number "full band at full blast", then come up with a result that says "all the iso I can get"... Rather, those tables, charts, equations etc. all have one thing in common: decibels. You can indeed look at them with a number such as "53 decibels transmission loss", and arrive at a conclusion showing exactly how you would need to proceed with building a room to achieve that. But without a number, nobody can help you! You can't even help yourself, as you'd just be guessing if you tried. In other words, you need to do some objective testing with a simple hand-held sound level meter, set to "C" and "Slow", to see how loud you are, how quite you have to be, and thus ho much isolation you need, in decibels. Without that, you have nothing at all to go on.

In term's of Andre's tag line, this is probably "percent point number 2"... After you have that number, then all the rest sort of flows into place a lot more easily. Without it, you can't go anywhere, because you don't even know where you are going!


- Stuart -
Old 2nd May 2019
  #10
Sounds good guys thanks a ton. Just orders those two books and gonna hunker down for a couple weeks and bang them out. So far from thread I’m most blown away by the statement that most iso can be done with regular materials! My new mission is to discover how exactly because I know that will equate to a massive cash savings for this project. I’m glad to at least know it to be true, thanks!
Old 2nd May 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jml designs View Post
Sounds good guys thanks a ton. Just orders those two books and gonna hunger down for a couple weeks and bang them out. So far from thread I’m most blown away by the statement that most iso can be done with regular materials! My new mission is to discover how exactly because I know that will equate to a massive cash savings for this project. I’m glad to at least know it to be true, thanks!
You are welcome. Enjoy the books. As far as using regular materials start with IR-761 and IR-586. IR-761 has been recommended to you twice already.
Old 2nd May 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jml designs View Post
We’ve got about 10-$15k to play with for materials and very DIY approach as to not hire anyone (we are both traditional handymen).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jml designs View Post
As far as dB needed, Itll be as loud as full band at full blast at times so I’ll need all the iso I can get.
Just chiming in to say that at some point you have to find where these two meet. All the isolation you can get can run into 7 figures. All the isolation you can get for 10-15k is probably a lot more relevent.

To that end, isolation from what? Inside to out, or outside to in, or to the upstairs? What are your neighbors like? How far are property lines and what are your local noise ordinances? This is why you want to get an SPL meter and find out for sure.

A couple things that are worth keeping in mind is that it may make sense to rent a bigger studio space when you need one- isolating for a full band in a residential neighborhood can get expensive- and there is likely a point where it is hard to get ROI for a studio with a 7.5' ceiling.

And on that note- it's not a bad idea to at least check the home occupation laws in your area, most home-businesses are required to be licensed. Many cities/counties have limits on square footage for home-businesses and so on. Also parking and all that is important to keep in mind. In the US, these laws vary a lot from county to county so YMMV...
Old 2nd May 2019
  #13
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Might be off-topic but; any one knows a good software to predict insulation / transmission loss?

I've been playing with Soundflow lately.
Old 2nd May 2019
  #14
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Quote:
I’m most blown away by the statement that most iso can be done with regular materials!
It can indeed! Things like ordinary 2x4 stud framing, ordinary drywall, ordinary mineral wool or fiberglass insulation, ordinary bathroom and kitchen caulk, etc. There's nothing exotic or unusual about the materials: you can find them at most hardware stores around the world. The secret is in how you arrange those materials: the techniques you use, the order you put them up, and the dimensions. Most studios are built like this (especially home studios).

Have fun with the reading! Those are good books.

- Stuart -
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
We’ve finally got into the room and got the keys. So begins the project! 2,000 sqft space. Man this is gonna be expensive. Just the mass loaded vinyl alone for 2,000 sqft is $5k

Wish there was a cheaper way to do this.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to save big money on a project like this? We already crunched some numbers and realized we don’t have enough to do this project anymore (if you recall, our budget was $10k to do the whole basement). We’re thinking of only soundproofing the live room now. Well... we feel forced to choose. Any ideas? I live in nyc, home of perpetual construction. Was thinking about dumpster diving all these construction sites at night and see if I can find materials...? Any other diy gorilla ideas we might employ? Thanks again

Btw thx for master handbook recommendation, awesome book
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jml designs View Post
We’ve finally got into the room and got the keys. So begins the project! 2,000 sqft space. Man this is gonna be expensive. Just the mass loaded vinyl alone for 2,000 sqft is $5k

Wish there was a cheaper way to do this.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to save big money on a project like this?

Btw thx for master handbook recommendation, awesome book
What do you want from the internet? You have disregarded every piece of advice given in this thread.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jml designs View Post
We’ve finally got into the room and got the keys. So begins the project! 2,000 sqft space. Man this is gonna be expensive. Just the mass loaded vinyl alone for 2,000 sqft is $5k

Wish there was a cheaper way to do this.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to save big money on a project like this? We already crunched some numbers and realized we don’t have enough to do this project anymore (if you recall, our budget was $10k to do the whole basement). We’re thinking of only soundproofing the live room now. Well... we feel forced to choose. Any ideas? I live in nyc, home of perpetual construction. Was thinking about dumpster diving all these construction sites at night and see if I can find materials...? Any other diy gorilla ideas we might employ? Thanks again

Btw thx for master handbook recommendation, awesome book
Return the MLV. Its a waste of money. Fully decoupled MSM with regular 5/8inch type x drywall is the cheapest and most effective way to acheive high ammounts of isolation. Andre already told you how to do it correctly and cost effictively. I dont understand why you would ignore his and then complain about the cost
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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Double wythe using standard studs and properly chosen, sometimes doubled drywall is the most bang for buck (or bang-reduction) I've seen. If you can't spare the space for that, how about staggered studs and an extra layer of drywall with RC1's? Don't forget ceiling iso, and (depending on the building) floor. And HVAC iso.

Also: no mention of acoustic control within the rooms. Like starting with non-parallel walls? And getting proper absorption in the rooms?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
What do you want from the internet? You have disregarded every piece of advice given in this thread.
I've disregarded every piece of advice on this thread?? Hmmm. I've researched every bit of advice I've got here on this thread & even bought the books you recommended bro. All I said is that I crunched numbers on what I need to build my 2 rooms in a 2000 sqft area and I don't have enough money to isolate both the control and live room and build hvac iso, run all the electric, door sealants, etc, so I'm wondering if I should just iso the control room or if there's indulgences I can skip that won't compromise the rooms isolation that others have skipped on that can save me money. Why do you think I'm ignoring you? Do you need more attention buddy? I guess it wouldn't be GS without bruising an ego with a totally legitimate question.

I also don't think MLV is snake oil, I think it is a useful & legitimate product that has it's place in a professional build. I like the idea of doubling drywall, I'll look into that too.

Toa De Ching translates to, "the way called the way is not the way. Those who claim there is only one way are the fools of the earth." Just thought I'd randomly mention that before we all start waving our d**** around. I do appreciate all the advice on this thread and continue to look into each opinion as a possible solution for my sms build. I'm not going to abandon the project because I only have $10k to build but I would like to do it right and include mlv and proper solid doors and sealants in addition to proper hvac iso and tie lines etc so I've got t get creative.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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Nobody's saying MLV doesnt have mass or work. Everyone is saying that cost vs performance, a fully decoupled MSM system with cheap standard drywall is the most cost effective way to go. Diamonds and platinum also have mass, but their cost is prohibitive.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
Fair enough, that’ll be the first thing I skip then. At $4800 for 2,000sqft that is a massive savings I can put back into the room. thanks

The two rooms on the bottom (control and live) are the only space that needs to be soundproofed, I sketched that up this week and am thinking I may not need to isolate the control room but if I can do both for under 10k that would be awesome
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Sms “room in a room” vs soundproofing materials only?-78c477f1-a176-4454-9f28-1bd5bc00de6a.jpg   Sms “room in a room” vs soundproofing materials only?-160aa928-cc78-4e29-85ee-7405387631f1.jpg  
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jml designs View Post
I've disregarded every piece of advice on this thread??
Ignoring semamtics, in the very first response in this thread it was written to plan.

You have not done that.

Attempted insults do not help you. People can read the thread.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jml designs View Post
if I can do both for under 10k that would be awesome
It really can't be stressed enough that first you need to figure out how much isolation you need, and rather you need it from the neighbors, the traffic noise or from the rest of the house (where you need the isolation from).

The thing to understand is that while it's impossible to put an exact value to it, the cost for isolation will ALWAYS increase exponentially. Meaning that the difference between increasing one rooms isolation to another from 20dB to 30dB should be quite doable for 10k. But to go from 70dB of isolation to 80dB of isolation might be as much as 100k. Like anything it's diminishing returns. And with an eye on budget, it's really important to build everything to the same target level of isolation so you don't waste money on HVAC when the walls or doors or decoupling system can't match the HVAC (isolation is a bad word for this btw because it's more complicated then that).

This WILL NOT be a scenario where you can just add another 10dB of isolation a year later. The whole thing needs to be designed and built as a complete system, if you needed to add 10dB of isolation you probably have start by demolishing nearly everything you built.

The good news is a lot of home studios don't have *that* much isolation and you have to figure out your neighborhood noise ordinances and work around the fam and what not. If you are hoping to avoid that sort of thing it will likely be much more cost effective to find or build a freestanding building. By far a freestanding building is the best place to start- but this really depends on your needs, so you the first thing you have to do is identify those needs.

Last edited by RyanC; 4 weeks ago at 05:32 AM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
That’s a good point.

I need to isolate both the noise from above floors as well as a full band from the control room. According to this masters handbook (which was fun to read cause it was basically a refresher from my studies at CRAS conservatory of sciences in AZ!), the materials are certainly inexpensive and at every Home Depot. I realize now this can be done for 10k if I’m strict with spending. It’s the greenglue (as a name brand visoelastic adhesive), de-coupling hat channels and expensive Roxul and expensive thermofibers that I will skip on and diy the sms myself. I need to isolate a live band and according to my SPL meter in a similar sized room that’s about 90-120db. I’ve built some freestanding acoustical flats, absorption panels and Louvered panels to spec from the manual and have only spent about $500 so far. Bunch of modular, portable stuff while we frame the rooms. We’ve also puttied the electrical conduits and replaced doors with solid wood and seal kits. Your diminishing return adage is dead on, I want to balance the cost woth ROI for all of what I’m doing which printed my initial cost saving inquiry. I met with the builder of pretty much every studio in Manhattan here in nyc and he told me some amazing tricks on how to save cash which is exactly what I need to hear, my biggest hurdle now is pulling permits to raise the ceiling as planned, and keeping ceiling height from shrinking by implementing proper iso principles and practices, especially when seven transmission loss increases about five DB for every doubling of surface mass. All that equates to a shorter height and I’m already tight at 7.5”
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