Not everyone can afford a house, and in many places if you want to live close to where a lot of audio work is, you’ll probably have to live in an apartment anyway. Unfortunately, apartments aren’t designed to be the most sound acoustic space ever, and usually they are far from it. While mixing on headphones is OK from time to time, sometimes you just have to use speakers to really understand what is going on in your mix. If you want to actually record real instruments in your apartment, your neighbors are going to get tired of you real quick.
Alexander Gelfand wrote up a great article for Wired.com about what he did to his New York apartment so his wife could keep practicing drums without them being through out of the place.
They certainly took this job overboard and spent way more than most people probably would on this job, but they do have some great tips on what they have done:
- Go Green
Green Glue is a new product made by the Green Glue Company. It is an adhesive used for mounting drywall, and it works really well at converting acoustic energy into heat.
- False Ceiling, Real Results
Creating a drop ceiling allows you to control your acoustic space better, and having the buffer of empty airspace does a great job as a sound-trapping chamber.
- This Carpet Sure Is Heavy
Even if you don’t have downstairs neighbors, a nice thick carpet and solid flooring can help isolate acoustic vibrations from outside your place. Most studios have a floating floor to accomplish this, but if you can’t replace your floor altogether you can use a couple different materials, such as mass-loaded vinyl to decouple what’s on your floor from the floor itself.
- Block Those Exits
Doors are often the weakest links in a soundproofed room. Ensuring you have quality, thick doors, and no gaps in the weather stripping is a great start to solidifying your doorways.
- Fill any gaps with flexible caulk
- Mount anything that shakes on isolation pads
- Make baffles for your walls and ceilings. Bonus if you can make adjustable ones so you can change the tonality of your room.