Soundproofing was a problem I never thought I’d have. As an artist, I tend to wear a lot of hats. I spend most of my working hours “gigging”, working on a variety of projects. Sometimes I model, sometimes I act, and sometimes I can sell my artwork. Lately, I’ve discovered a new way to make money that pays well and allows me to spend more time doing the work I love.
When most people hear the term “voice actor” they think of the voices of famous people playing characters in animated movies with large budgets. They aren’t wrong, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Some people have spent their entire career as voice actors, doing everything from nationally syndicated radio shows to popular commercials for global brands. While some people only notice the voices singing jingles or theme songs, there is a wide variety of opportunities for voice actors. If you can do voices, accents, or speak multiple languages it’s possible to make great money using your voice without ever needing to sing a note. While some jobs require you to show up at a recording studio and work with a producer or sound engineer, many of them can be done from home.
As a freelancer, creating a space where I can work and produce high-quality audio recordings is essential to my livelihood. Unfortunately, I live in a city, and although my street is fairly quiet, the sound of cars and buses passing by is almost inescapable. I needed to invest in quality audio equipment but I also needed to create a soundproof room that I could use for creating clean recordings. Since I’m not a millionaire, building a recording booth in my bedroom wasn’t an option. But soundproofing a large closet was.
My Top 5 Favorite Products
- Deluxe Moving Blankets; made of polyester and easy to keep clean with a very reasonable price point.
2. Cargo Blankets; cotton stuffed and eco-friendly with multiple layers, making them heavy and great insulators.
4. Audimute Absorbtion Sheets; made of recycled materials, they not only muffle high sounds by more than 65%, they aso reflect sound back into the room for a great acoustic experience.
I searched online for cheap, DIY soundproofing materials and came across some pretty fantastic solutions. But the one that made the most sense to me was the soundproof blanket method. Essentially, these large, heavy blankets are made from thick soundproofing material. Some are filled with fiberglass or made form particularly thick material. that they are portable and stackable.
They act as insulators, keeping noise from escaping out as well as muffling outside noise. They block both high and low-frequency noise, which is great if you have a neighbor with a crying baby or a teen with a habit of playing music late at night. The best part for me is
I can set up a “sound booth” anywhere I go; in a hotel room, in the bathroom at my mother’s house, or in the closet of my apartment. This versatility allows me to keep working even as I pursue my passion projects. Over time, I have learned quite a bit about soundproof blankets and how to employ them for the best results. Whether you have noisy neighbors who keep waking the baby or need to practice your violin without driving everybody crazy, soundproof blankets are an affordable solution.
You may have seen removable foam tiles sold online as soundproofing. Although these are a good solution for a permanent space, such as a music room, they aren’t ideal if you have limited space and can’t afford to dedicate a single space for your endeavors. There are also sheets designed specifically for soundproofing. They not only muffle sound but cancel out any echo effect. However, they can be expensive and are a real investment. These blankets are made with musicians and vocalists in mind and so they not only block outside noise but reflect sound into the room, in a way amplifying your sound without creating feedback or dampening the sound.
But moving/cargo blankets can also be used to accomplish your goal. In most cases, they are cheaper than noise-canceling curtains or blankets. They are often padded with cotton, wool, or polyester filling. The tough construction helps to ensure that sound waves are deadened and they work well at canceling most kinds of ambient noise and muffling much of the most abrasive sounds you might be battling. They are heavy and can be hard to hand and wash. However, if you are trying to achieve excellent sound quality without breaking the bank, they are a great choice.
For the most difficult soundproofing jobs feel free to double up, coupling noise-canceling curtains with cargo blankets.
Windows and doors.
When it comes to keeping out sound, windows and doors are weak spots. If you’ve ever been in an office with a head wood door you would’ve noticed how much quieter it became once that door was closed. Chances are that your doors aren’t made of solid wood. Most doors are hollow inside or made from metal. To get the best effect it’s important to cover the doors with blankets. Be careful about measurements here as the blankets will add bulk to your door. To be able to close the door properly, it will be necessary to use precise measurements, fold the blankets, or suspend them from hooks that clip to the door. It is not advisable to cut the blankets.
In my case, I have a very lightweight door louvered door. This doesn’t allow me to attach the blankets directly to the door, so I hang the blankets like curtains, making sure that they overlap the blankets on the walls.
Windows are also huge culprits when it comes to seeping sounds. If you plan to soundproof an entire room permanently, I suggest you invest in double-paned windows rather then covering them. Letting the sunshine into the room will help to improve the overall feel and mood of the setting. However, if you don’t mind a lack of natural light or if this isn’t a permanent solution, then be sure to cover your windows for the best results.
On your walls.
We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of using blankets to soundproof a room, but not much about how to accomplish it. The best solution depends heavily upon what you are trying to accomplish and the construction of your home. Insulating my hallway closet didn’t require the same amount of effort as insulating a bedroom might have. Because the walls of the closet were thin I had to be careful about how I affixed the blankets to the wall. I chose to use hooks suspended from a supporting beam in the closet. To accomplish this task I chose blankets that had metal grommets. Grommets at holes cut into the fabric at regular intervals. They can be used to run ropes, wires, straps, or hooks through the blanket without damaging the blanket.
Ceilings and floors.
Noisy neighbors can be a real problem. A party upstairs or neighbors who often stomp can disturb the peace of your home. In some cases, entire families have suffered physical and emotional harm due to the sound of neighbors coming and going late at night. The disruption to sleep and the sudden banging in the dead of night is not only rude, but it can disrupt sleep. Over an extended period, it can create serious psychological strain. One way to solve the problem is to soundproof your ceiling so that your upstairs neighbor’s comings and goings aren’t a burden for you any longer.
Similarly, if you know that you create a lot of noise then it would help you to have friendlier relations with your neighbors if you insulated your floor. A friend who lives on the third floor of an apartment building and gives music lessons from home has taken the time to protect her downstairs neighbors from hours of disruption by installing soundproof insulation on her floors.
Hanging blankets on the ceiling can be very tricky. The blankets are heavy and large. You will want to get help from a friend. In this case, you are going to want to use nails or heavy-duty staples to secure the blankets on the ceiling. You can use carpet staples to install the blankets on the floor as well. Be sure to make sure to secure your blankets to avoid accidents and injuries.
A note about heat.
One unexpected benefit of using this method to soundproof a room is the added insulation. The blankets not only block sound, but they also trap heat and block cold. This is especially useful in the winter when plummeting temperatures can raise heating costs. In the summer an insulated room can stay much cooler than the rest of the house by trapping the cool air inside. You want to keep this in mind if you are using equipment that either generates heat or is sensitive to heat and cold.
When searching online you may have come across fiberglass panels. These are a great investment if you are setting up a home studio. Like the soundproof curtains and blankets we talked about earlier, these panels were designed with professionals in mind. They are two inches thick, have metal grommets and are double quilted. If you are ready to make a serious investment in your home recording studio, I would recommend this product.