There is no ‘one size fits all’ method of designing a sound insulated space. To quote the great Steveland Morris (Stevie Wonder to you and me), ” . . . you gots to work with what you gots to work with.” This could be a specifically designed and constructed new build (the ideal solution) or an existing room within or outside your building. In my case it’s a double garage next to my house. There is a lot of advice online about this topic and be warned, most of it is utter nonsense. There are good sources of information which I’ll mention in due course but the first step I recommend is to read two books.
The first one is ‘Home Recording Studio: Build It Like The Pros’ by Rod Gervais, an experienced designer with an international reputation. This is a must read, not only because it details nearly all aspects of studio building but it also explains the physics of sound insulation without being too technical. If you want to build your own studio, you will have to learn to calculate the physical requirements of the space – how much mass to put in the structure, how much air for adequate ventilation and how much electrical power it will need and so on. This book will introduce you to all of this.
The second is ‘Master Handbook of Acoustics, Sixth Edition’ by F. Alton Everest, one of the pioneers of modern acoustics and updated by Ken C. Pohlmann, a professor emeritus and former director of Music Engineering at the University of Miami. This is a more technical book that is focused on acoustics but is still readable and is also essential. Now I’m not suggesting for a moment that this is all the reading necessary – far from it. It’s impossible to know too much about acoustics but these two books are a great place to start, especially if you are new to the subject.
© John Steel 2020