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Basement sound proofing help!! Signal Splitters (HW)
Old 8th January 2011
Gear interested

Thread Starter
Basement sound proofing help!!

Hey guys,

so my dad and I have a little home studio in our basement but the sound of guitars and drums bleed upstairs and annoy the rest of the family. I am looking to some how sound proof it as much as possible. I know not to expect a complete silence upstairs but I can use anything at this point because it is very loud upstairs. I have heard that sheets of rubber is the cheapest way to begin to isolate your space. any suggestions?

also, there are vents leading upstairs which definitely add to the problem and I don't even know where to begin on trying to sound proof them. Please help! I have attached pictures to give you guys an idea of what I am working with. the basement ceiling is about 9 feet high and there have been talks of doing a drop ceiling but I would like to keep that height if possible. suggestions?

these vents are a big issue

current ceiling insulation, not very helpful

recording space

vents again

upstairs hardwood floor, putting rugs down isn't an option
Old 10th January 2011
Gear addict

I would forget the rubber and instead drywall that ceiling
Old 10th January 2011
Gear interested

Thread Starter
Originally Posted by Ted White View Post
I would forget the rubber and instead drywall that ceiling

that was the other option, doing a drop ceiling. if we were to do that should there be specific sound barrier materials to put in between the drywall that would help with the noise?
Old 11th January 2011

The ceiling is gonna be a good start.

Support the ceiling from the bottom of the basement for best results (IE - don't hang drywall from the existing floor).


Old 11th January 2011
Gear interested

Thread Starter
what about the vents? by going up stairs while music is being played i can hear alot of noise being transmitted through the vents. what can i do to stop the noise from bouncing around through the vents? should i look into putting some sort of soft material layered inside the actual vent to help stop the noise from traveling through it? has anyone had this problem before? its hard to google something like this...
Old 11th January 2011

Standard insulation of the ducts would help.

Looks like the HVAC is pretty noisy upstairs when it's on too...

Is there a vent in the basement too?


Old 11th January 2011
Gear interested

Thread Starter
yea there is 2 which deffinetly help the sound leak upstairs. suggestions?
Old 11th January 2011
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666666's Avatar
If you want to make a significant difference, consider building a self-standing room on your basement floor. In other words, build a new set of walls around your basement music space, then attach a new "ceiling" to those walls so the new ceiling does NOT touch the house framing at all (like tINY said). Add two layers of 5/8" sheetrock (with GreenGlue in-between) to the new walls / ceiling. Seal everything up good and add a heavy door with ultra tight seals.

Building a new self-standing room is a lot of work, but you're not going to make too much of a difference in sound isolation unless you do this. Just adding sheetrock to the existing ceiling will do very little for stopping the sound of drums and electric guitars. That alone is a decent amount of work and you will be very unhappy with the results.

And of course doing something like putting some rugs on the floor upstairs will do nothing at all.

I have a friend who has a basement and upstairs room almost EXACTLY like what you have. In fact when I first saw the photo of your upstairs room I thought this was a post made by my friend! Well, he built a complete self-standing room in his basement, with 2 layers of 5/8" sheetrock (as I described above)... and it works very well. You can STILL hear the instruments upstairs, but his family can now watch TV up there or whatever without being overly disturbed by it. His self-standing room was pretty much bare minimum in achieving a degree of isolation that was acceptable. Then again he has a 5-piece heavy band playing down there at full blast.

Loud sound is VERY hard to stop. If you want to make a noticeable difference in terms of reducing the noise leaking to the upstairs, it's going to be a lot of work. Yes, it sucks, but it's the unpleasant truth and nobody wants to hear it. If you want to play drums in the basement of a house and not disturb the other occupants, you have a pretty big project on your hands, it's not just a matter of tacking up some rugs or whatever.

Those ducts / vents... not sure how else you would deal with those anyway, other than building a self-standing room under them. I think a new self-standing room is the only way to go. It would probably be way easier in the long run to build a new sealed room UNDER those ducts/vents than attempt to "soundproof" them. You're so lucky that you have 9' of height, this enables you to do this. I know you don't want to lose the height, but I don't think you have a choice.

I also built a self standing room in my basement, it works well. Again, the key is that the walls and ceiling of the room DO NOT ever touch the framing of the house itself. If I blast drums in my room it can still be heard directly above to a small degree, that's the weakest area of course, but it's almost dead silent in any other part of the house... where as before I built my self-standing room, any type of drum playing the the basement would be ultra loud throughout the entire house. When I need to play drums loud, people in the house will simply leave the room that is directly over the drumkit and go to another nearby room where the drums are barely audible, especially with a TV on or whatever. So it works out. Well, they COULD remain in the room directly over the kit if they wanted, it's not too bad.

If you are not willing to commit to doing some serious construction and building a self-standing room etc, then you may be better off doing nothing at all and just accepting that you can only play when the other family members are not home. Trying to do this in a "cheap" manner with short-cuts etc will result in a degree of isolation that might be barely noticeable to the other members of the house, and thus it would be a total waste of time and money. In my opinion, this is one of those "do it right or don't do it at all" type of things.

Another option too is to just visit a local rehearsal studio when you want to rehearse, then you can go bananas at almost any time of night without disturbing anyone and without having to do major construction in your basement.

And, while I personally HATE electronic drum pads (like V-Drums etc), this is also a solution... get some used V-Drums and simply have the guitar player lower the amp volume and just play at LOWER volume in your basement, this will actually make a significant difference without having to do any construction.

With the above in mind, you can also dampen your drum kit to lower it's inherent "volume". Tape pads / towels to the cymbals, cover all drums with some type of dampener pads, and make sure to heavily dampen the kick drums too. Then use light sticks and do not hit too hard. Believe it or not this still emits a decent amount of sound, but it's sure better than beating on the kit WITHOUT dampening.
Old 11th January 2011
I did my walls and ceiling in my home theater room with a drywall product called Quietrock. It's a drywall with a layer of lead in it. It's something like the equivalent of 10 layers of regular drywall. It's amazing how well it works

QuietRock Soundproof and Noise Reduction Drywall Products
Old 11th January 2011
Gear addict

That would be steel in there, not lead, I'm thinking.

Heavier wall would come from double 5/8" standard drywall. Then damp.
Old 12th January 2011
Originally Posted by GregFern View Post
yea there is 2 which deffinetly help the sound leak upstairs. suggestions?

Duct silecers or in-line silencer / Muffler could help.


Old 12th January 2011
i don't think it's steel, it's drywall so you still need to cut pieces to make it fit your space. We ended up using a circular saw to cut it, because you couldn't cut it like standard drywall. The stuff weighed a ton but definitely does the job. It's really heavy stuff, if you decide to hang it yourself, make sure you rent a drywall lift
Old 14th January 2011
Lives for gear
jhbrandt's Avatar

Quiet Rock 525, 5/8", weighs 102 lbs per sheet. The Quiet Rock includes a damping material.

Standard 5/8", type 'X' gypsum board weighs 74 lbs per sheet.

So, if two walls are built for comparison with two panel layers on each side - single stud construction.

Element Description:
1. single layer of 5/8" type X gypsum board or Quiet Rock 525
2. single layer of 5/8" type X gypsum board or Quiet Rock 525
3. 3 1/2" steel studs at 406 mm on centre
4. 3 1/2" of glass fibre insulation in cavity
5. single layer of 5/8" type X gypsum board or Quiet Rock 525
6. single layer of 5/8" type X gypsum board or Quiet Rock 525

Type X gypsum board = STC56
Quiet Rock instead of type X = STC59+

So, compare the price to see if 3db improvement is worth the cost difference. If you add Green Glue as damping, you can theoretically obtain and added 6-10db STL making the standard type 'X' wall STC64+ or so.

This is something to think about.

Bottom line; you are usually better off using standard building materials unless a specialty product is 'on sale'. You can not change the laws of physics. There's just no easy way around it.

Adding mass to the ceiling would help with sound transmission above. I would recommend decoupling as in isolation clips for any drywall that you will put up. Next, your walls will be flanking paths to the rest of the structure, but you can leave them to last as most of the transmission will be through the ceiling/floor above - as well as through the duct work.

Ducts: These should be boxed in with frame and drywall. - mass is your friend. Baffle boxes should be fitted where the ducts dump into the basement room to decouple the ducts from the studio space.

I think that if you do the above as others have also suggested, you will be able to cut the sound transmission by at least 2 -3 times what it is now.

Old 14th January 2011
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avare's Avatar

Originally Posted by jhbrandt View Post
Bottom line; you are usually better off using standard building materials unless a specialty product is 'on sale'. You can not change the laws of physics. There's just no easy way around it
In addition, Quietrock etc. requires special cutting methods. Drywall and Green Glue more economical.

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