Are you interested in learning about the science of soundproofing and how it works? You’ve come to the right place! Our brief explainer will describe the methods of soundproofing rooms and more!
The Basics of Sound
Before we can get into the science of soundproofing, we must understand the basics of sound and how it works. Most of us have a general understanding of sound, but we may not know that it’s classified scientifically into two types—airborne and vibration noise.
Airborne noise is the most common sound—it’s the noise we hear when speaking to each other or listening to music on the radio. Vibration noise is the sound that comes from an impact—like footsteps on the pavement or glass shattering.
There are three techniques for soundproofing: noise reduction, decoupling, and noise absorption. Most soundproof rooms, like our music studios in Houston, Texas, utilize a combination of all three techniques for maximum noise elimination.
The simplest way to soundproof an area like a music studio is noise reduction. Noise reduction is adding more layers and barriers of material between the paths of the sound.
Think about how a double-pane glass window better reduces noise than a single-pane window. While effective, this technique requires much more effort, materials, and diligence in sealing all points of entry for the sound—including venting ducts, windows, and any other access points for noise.
Another effective soundproofing technique is known as wall decoupling. In a typical wall, the two sides touch the same stud in the middle, and sound can travel from one side to the other via vibrations passing through the middle stud.
Decoupling a wall creates a room within a room by building two separate stud walls with a small space between them, preventing sound from traveling from one side of the wall through to the other. In a way, it’s like decoupling a room from the outside world and giving it an added buffer for noise reduction.
The final technique in soundproofing is known as noise absorption or dampening. This soundproofing technique is like noise reduction, but instead of using heavy, thick materials to stop the sound, noise absorption utilizes rubbery, soft materials that soak up the sound waves.
If you’ve ever been inside a soundproof room or studio with foam on the walls, you’ve seen this method applied. Some typical sound-absorbing materials used in soundproofing include:
- Sound foam
- Acoustic wall blankets
- Mineral wool
- Heavy carpets
Odds are, you’ve come across all three soundproofing methods before as they’re used in various entertainment, business, and government applications.