A New Tactic


Active member
Besides my myriad of normal problems, I might be giving the wrong impression of how loud I'm going to be playing my home studio (when I eventually, if ever, decide to record again).

I'm not as much worried about bothering my wife. Because I've always recorded at night after she goes to bed. There's no way the sound will travel to our bedroom two floors above and down a hallway.

I'm really worried about sound traveling into the TH next door. If it did it would be in the foyer, where they probably wouldn't hear it anyway. But, I wouldn't want anything coming into my place. So, I sure don't want to be sending it into someone else's place. I've been in our basement quite a bit, and I hear nothing. The walls are concrete and thick. The only time our neighbor heard me in the basement, I was dragging a dresser that was filled with stuff (at least 200 lbs) across the floor. It was loud and annoying, and I could tell it was vibrating. So, it must have vibrated into their space.

Here's some things to clarify what and how I do things in my crappy little studio (computer and pro tools)

1. I don't use an amp. I plug my guitar into a Line 6, and then into the MBox. So, there's no guitar amp.
2. I have a Roland electronic kit. I don't think it's possible for me to pound hard enough for the hits to be heard through the wall. NO LIVE DRUMS.
3. Keyboard and Bass guitar are also direct into the Mbox.
4. The only live thing I can't modulate the volume is vocals.

Can a vocalist travel through cement walls?

I own one of those readers police use to hear if you're breaking noise ordinances.

Is there a level I should look for that would travel through cement walls?

The serious tech might be able to look at my set up and tell me if I'm worrying too much. Important, I don't use hip hop bass. Bass is a rhythm instrument, I don't crank it at all. I like it in the back of the mix, where it belongs. I do think that's the key. It's the bass that would travel, not the treble. That's why people could crank up their stereo without annoying the neighbors.

I have the MBOX 2. The volume output I usually keep at the halfway mark. Sometimes lower.

My power amp is a Samson Servo 170 - the specs say it's 85 watts per channel into 4 ohms
  • Servo-controlled stereo power amp in two rack spaces
  • 85 watts per channel into 4 ohms
  • Wide, linear 20 Hz to 50 kHz frequency response for superior audio performance
  • Relay-controlled power-on circuitry prevents speaker "thumps"
  • Front-panel Clip and Idle LEDs for both channels
  • Balanced 1/4" TRS inputs
  • Unbalanced RCA inputs
  • Circuitry protection against overheating and over-current
  • 1/4" and push-spring terminal outputs
  • Independent left/right input level controls with 41 detents
  • Bipolar amplifier design
  • Convection-cooled design for quiet performance
The Samson I keep at the halfway to 3/4 loudness mark.
I imagine in such a tight space, I won't have it on as loud as I used to.

The speakers are EVENT 20/20
  • 7.1" Woofer, 1" Tweeter
  • A total of 250W from Class AB power amps
  • Frequncy range of 35Hz-20kHz (+/-0.2dB)
  • Balanced XLR input
One last thing: One wall is the neighbor, the opposite wall is my garage. Would it be better to face the speakers at the garage?

Ok, stop for a moment.
If you are DIing everything but vocals, the only SOUND that is going to be an issue is when you are playing back music. You've got a power amp (what's it powering??) and powered speakers. What WILL be transmitted through hard surfaces - including wood framing and walls, and even concrete walls - are the low notes. If you keep the volumes at realistic levels, that should not be an issue. A comfortable monitoring level is around -85dB.
So what you want to do in setting up this room is sound treatment, not soundproofing.
99% this is exactly what I do with zero sound proofing ...Vocals vary depending on who is singing what they are singing and how loud they are singing... with the solid core doors closed the wife in the house normally cannot hear me sing...Thank God...with the doors open ...sometimes...Yep she can kinda hear me...definitely heard me when I was working on singing smoke on the water which the Band has asked me to perform...my poor vocal chords...thats a ripper...

I'm again thinking you do the stacked drywall thing and you're going to be golden...IF it still bleeds through you can always add some layers...Don't know if you watched the video I posted earlier but caulking / sealing every joint , seam and electrical outlet / switch box is a proper way to help eliminate the bleed...
I'm going to set it up and give it a shot. Though I have to be honest. I barely touch my guitar anymore. I don't think it misses me.
You are thinking about sound as well, sound. You've touched on it already - it's not the sound in the air that causes noise next door, it's sound in the structure and the ground. A few years back locally we had some major building work and the newspapers and social media were full of people complaining about the banging sound. It didn't show up on sound meters the environmental health people brought in and because it could not be measured with their equipment, nothing was done because they could not measure it or evidence it. A local college, through their linked university brought in specialist geological equipment and there it was, sub-sonic noise. People were 'hearing it' - but it seems likely they were hearing, feeling or sensing it and they were not wrong. I think it was tracked down to pumps in the end, which were sorted. Dragging that heavy item put energy into the floor, through the walls and out next door. Your aim, if you are serious will be to isolate the space - so it's a room within a room, mounted on those submarine type neoprene blocks that support your interior, isolating it from the real floor and walls. What little energy gets from the amp, into the floor, via the cab sitting on the structure, rather than the air 'wobbling' the walls, into the other wall, into next door is the key. You want to be stopping it getting into the building rather than trying to soak up what is already in the building getting into next doors building - which share the same floor. In a studio in my old college we had one of those laminate floors, and the noise of the students rolling office chairs across it was very clear next door, but the music wasn't! For cheapness, the supplier put it direct onto the concrete floor, shared with next door. relaying it on proper insulation cured it. No guitars or even brass instruments could be heard next door, but that strange roaring noise was amazing!