When in need of something soundproof, it’s tempting to consider using blankets– weighted or not– to block out unwanted noise. However, you may wonder whether weighted blankets work and whether they can be used in other contexts, such as with recording.
Generally speaking, weighted blankets only slightly diminish unwanted noise– they don’t block out any sound completely and thus are not suggested for recording purposes. However, weighted blankets can help reduce noise in combination with other sound-blocking materials.
The remainder of this article will discuss a few things: two ways to soundproof a room and what materials are generally used for soundproofing in most recording studios. I’ll also discuss how you can use items at home– like weighted blankets– to reduce any unwanted noise.
Table of Contents
- Two Ways To Soundproof a Room
- Home Materials for Soundproof Recording
Two Ways To Soundproof a Room
Absorption and dampening are the two main ways to soundproof a room. Using different materials, these methods absorb and deflect sound waves simultaneously, which provides a perfect environment for recording by preventing external sounds and maintaining internal ones.
Soundproofing a room is an excellent choice for podcasters and musicians who record their own work.
Dampening or “damping” is the first method, and it refers to the reduction of vibrational energy in the room through deflection and redirection of sound.
Basically, materials that dampen sound serve to distribute the sound waves appropriately throughout the room instead of allowing them to travel outside of it.
In a typical recording studio, the walls and floors are thicker to remove the vibrational effects of the studio itself (in addition to using specific materials). Inside the walls, there is thick insulation to help dampen the vibrations, as well.
Bass traps are large acoustic or foam panels that catch and dampen the lower frequency sound waves, usually placed in the room’s corners. I’ve written about the effectiveness of bass traps in a complete guide. Click on the link to learn if they actually work. Do Bass Traps Actually Make a Difference?
Other dampening materials include:
- Soundproof drywall
- Vinyl barriers (like the Second Skin Mass Loaded Vinyl Barrier on Amazon.com)
- Window and door curtains
- Sound-deadening paint (yes, this exists)!
As you can see, dampening materials are primarily used in the construction of a recording room. They can be found at your local hardware store for the most part. Regardless, curtains, tapestries, or other soft cloths, sheets, and towels also do the trick.
Dampening materials work best in a room that is decoupled. Decoupling refers to building two sides of a wall separate from each other so that the sides vibrate independently based on which side of the wall the sound waves are in.
This would ensure that the sounds you are recording in one room wouldn’t travel to the other side of the wall (thus, to any connecting rooms).
In order to properly decouple a room, there needs to be specific stud placement during its construction. Staggered studs prevent the two sides of the wall from connecting, thus disrupting the channel for sound waves to travel through.
Of course, decoupling a wall means you’re looking at completely renovating a room in your house (or building a new one). Still, the above materials achieve the same soundproofing goals as decoupling does.
On the flip side, absorbing is responsible for sucking in any external noises and preventing them from entering the room (think the loud whirring of a helicopter overhead or the neighbor’s dog barking incessantly).
The sound waves are transmitted into heat during the process of absorption, keeping your recordings free of unwanted sound.
There are many ways to soundproof a room through absorption, and many materials– found at home and elsewhere– are available to create the same effect in a home studio. Some excellent materials to purchase that are often used in recording studios include:
- Acoustic foam panels
- Acoustic partitions
- Acoustic cotton
These materials absorb sound waves particularly well and can be placed at varying levels and heights throughout a recording studio to catch waves at different times, lengths, and locations in the room.
From dampening and decoupling methods in construction to using absorbent materials around a studio, soundproofing equipment will ensure your recordings produce a pristine, clear sound without excessive noise.
Home Materials for Soundproof Recording
So, we know that a home recording studio is typically soundproofed through the use of paneled foam insulation, bass traps, absorption panels, and soundproof curtains, to name a few materials.
The room will also be built with thicker drywall and a floating floor, which serves to soundproof the floor to protect your recordings and anyone making noise beneath you.
However, suppose it’s not within your budget or plans to purchase and add extra soundproofing materials for a room. In that case, the ones listed below are those that you may be able to find around your house that can serve the same purpose:
- Multiple weighted blankets and comforters (one will not be enough)
- Carpets, area rugs, and thick layers of blankets on the walls and floor of the room
- Cushions or other soft furnishings around the room
- Mattresses or couches lined against the walls
It’s important to note that these household materials can help, but they must be appropriately layered to be completely effective. There can’t be any exposed space between the blankets or carpets and walls– you really want to build a room within a room.
The more exposed area you have, the more unwanted noise you hear in your recording.
Furniture like mattresses and couches also aren’t the most effective. Still, they do break up sound waves, so if you’re looking for household materials to use, any furniture lining the room will help.
If you’re a home studio owner, you need effective noise reduction techniques. I recommend my ultimate checklist for soundproofing a home studio as a starting point. You’ll learn which techniques work and which ones you should avoid. The Ultimate Guide to Soundproofing a Home Studio
A weighted blanket can provide some soundproofing effects, but it’s not perfect unless combined with other materials. Multiple weighted blankets, comforters, area rugs, and carpets can be used to create a better recording environment if layered thickly enough.
Still, the most effective thing to do is to try and replicate a room inside of a room.
Panels, partitions, and window and door coverings are the simplest way to achieve that. Certain paints, glues, and construction materials, like Green Glue Noiseproofing Sealant on Amazon.com, are also recommended to make the best environment for recording.
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