Soundproofing a room for DJing can be incredibly important to some to ensure that their neighbours aren’t annoyed. But it can turn out to be ridiculously expensive, and isn’t really something that I’d recommend everyone should do.
If you can do it though- here’s how you soundproof a room for DJing
- Fill up all cracks in doors, along windows and walls
- Install a solid core door
- Add another layer of drywall(⅝”) with some insulating material and Green Glue in between
- Decouple the wall layers
- Reinforce the windows with another layer of soundproof glass
#1 Check for cracks
Sound has a way of leaking through crevices. Thing is, even if you perfectly soundproofed your ENTIRE room but managed to leave a little crack uncovered somewhere- you won’t see any improvement at all.
That’s partly why soundproofing professionals charge so much, because they have to be extremely precise.
This step won’t cost you more than a few $$. First, take a close look around:
- The door frame
- The window sill
- The edges of your walls
Do this and check if there are any crevices or cracks around the above areas. If yes- you’ll need to fill them up.
I like this acoustic caulk on Amazon for this purpose. It fills up the gaps quickly and is easy to apply as well.
For your doors and windows, you could also use some weatherstripping tape, instead of caulk.
Lastly, remember to check for a gap under the door(there usually is one) and get a door sweep to block sound from travelling from there.
#2 Get a solid core door
Most of the doors in homes these days are hollow core. That’s how building manufacturers cut costs and it’s pretty much standard across the United States.
If you don’t know what that means- hollow core doors literally are hollow from the inside and have very little mass.
And mass is what helps block out sounds.
A solid core door could easily cost you double a normal door’s expense- probably no lower than $600 is my estimate.
#3 Add drywall
Reinforcing your walls is going to be the biggest step out of all of these. And the most expensive as well.
Before you start, you’ll need to buy:
- ⅝” drywall sheets for the extra layer
- A case of green glue
- Putty pads
- Insulating material of your choice(optional)
I recommend the ⅝” layer as it’s the thickest drywall layer out there and, like I said earlier, mass is crucial for soundproofing.
The other ways to soundproof are through adding a damping compound like green glue or decoupling. I’ll briefly explain what those terms mean.
A damping compound acts like a retardant for sound. As sound waves travel through the medium, it converts the vibratory energy of sound into heat and hence, dissipates the energy. The heat generated is at a microscopic level and has no practical implications.
When you talk about damping compounds- green glue is the #1 player and is extremely well trusted in the soundproofing community. The only other, newer product that I know of, is QuietGlue, which, for all intents and purposes, works the same as GreenGlue- only it’s cheaper as it doesn’t have the same brand value.
If you’re still curious about how Green Glue works and whether it is worth the money- read this post.
Decoupling refers to mechanically removing any direct physical contact between two materials. In this instance, I am talking about decoupling the two layers of drywall. This has the effect of reducing sound transfer drastically.
This is because sound travels through vibrations, and if the first wall layer vibrates, it makes the second layer vibrate as well, which is how sound usually gets transmitted. However, if you decouple the wall layers such that they’re not in direct physical contact anymore- the transmission of sound vibrations goes down drastically as well.
Decoupling can occur through using resilient channels, resilient clips etc. I wrote this article a while ago, if you want to know more about the topic.
So there you have it- the 3 things needed to soundproof a room:
If you are going to tear down your existing drywall, I also recommend getting putty pads to wrap around your electrical outlets while you’re at it. This is because gaps tend to form around electrical outlets that conduct sound transfer, and it’s always a good precaution to cover them with acoustic putty pads.
Lastly, you may also consider adding some more mass to your walls by adding some other soundproofing materials- such as Mass Loaded Vinyl(MLV), blown cellulose, etc. By the way, I wrote a post on 24 materials to soundproof a room with, if you’re looking for some more ideas on this.
Now, I say this step is optional because it depends on your budget and how much sound insulation you’re looking for, whether you should do this or not.
These are things that you’ll need to talk to a soundproofing expert about- because only they, through their experience can possibly guide you on the best solution for your needs. You won’t get the answer on the internet.
What I can help you with though, is prepare you with the things you should ask.
That’s about all you need to know about soundproofing walls, really.
#4 Get soundproof glass
Before you spend a bomb on installing soundproof glass windows(about a $1000 expense), I impore you to try out step #1 first. Maybe the weatherstripping tape or caulk actually provides a satisfactory level of sound blockage, and it turns out you didn’t need to spend more.
Who knows right? So, I definitely recommend you hold off on doing this for a week or two after you’ve tried step #1.
You could also try buying soundproofing curtains. They’re basically tightly woven, heavy-set curtains that can provide that marginal boost to soundproofing your room. I like these ones by Nicetown on Amazon.
Finally- if all else fails, you’ll need to get someone come by and install the soundproof glass reinforcements. You’ll probably be okay with a single layer window, but be sure to consult a professional.
Is there a noisy vent in your room?
If yes, you might want to read this post that I wrote that talks all about how to reduce noise coming from a noisy vent or air duct.
How much can you expect to spend on a soundproofing project?
National US average? I’ll say nothing less than $1500
Having said that, it really depends on where you’re staying and the extent of your project. I found this really great resource on estimated soundproofing costs by region in the US that you might want to look at.
Installing your speakers closer to your laptop desk will allow you to practise your mixes at lower volumes.
Also, getting higher quality speakers can help you out here as they provide better sound quality at lower volume levels.
If your controller has a split cue option- you could totally mix only using your headphones, as you can now listen to both tracks. While this is not something every DJ prefers to do, it will definitely be cheaper to invest the time and money into getting a controller with this setting and a pair of good DJ headphones, rather than going about soundproofing your room entirely.
Lastly- do remember the difference between soundproofing your room and improving it’s acoustics. The former is what I’ve talked about in this post while the latter is something that is often touted as a soundproofing solution but only used cheap foam, rugs, etc to act as sound absorbents that reduce echo.
Can acoustic foam block noise?
No, acoustic foam is only good for reducing echoes inside a room, not soundproofing. In other words, it improves the room acoustics
Can I soundproof my room with egg crates?
No, that’s an urban myth. Moreover, egg crates stuck on a wall are a fire hazard and not recommended.
What is STC?
Sound transmission coefficient is a value that is used to calculate the soundproofing effectiveness of a particular medium.