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DIY soundproof panel in London studio

The Myth of DIY Soundproof Panels

The search term DIY soundproof panel is misdirected in many ways. First, there is no such thing as a soundproof panel let alone a DIY soundproof panel. There is no such thing as a soundproof panel of any kind or type. Noise transmission is the process of a source of noise that transmits its noise into your room. There is no DIY soundproof panel that you can hang on the wall that will mitigate the transmission of source noise to you. Noise is like water.

It will find the weakest link in the structure and go through that link, and around it. There is no DIY soundproof panel that you can use to deal with vibration transmission which is the science of noise. Mitigating noise transmission is a permanent construction fix that requires noise numbers and then the proper barrier design to deal with the taken noise numbers.

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Understanding Noise Transmission: Beyond DIY Solutions

To understand noise is to understand frequency and amplitude. The frequency is where the noise exists within our human hearing system. It can be low frequency noise along with middle and high frequencies. The amplitude is how strong each noise frequency is. The structure that you build to mitigate the noise that is placed between you and the noise source is called a barrier.

The barrier materials and construction methodologies are based directly upon the frequency and amplitudes of the measured noise. barriers that must deal with noise that is below 125 hz. are dramatically different from barriers that must mitigate noise above 125 hz. This is why all noise issues must be measured over a seven day time period to make sure we have a complete noise map in order to design our barrier properly.

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The Science Behind Effective Noise Barriers

At Acoustic Fields, we have noise measurement processes that you can do using your phone. We send you apps that measure frequency and amplitude. You download the apps to your phone and take noise measurements twice a day for one week. You take a measurement during the quietest part of each day along with the noisiest part of each day. Some days will have louder noise issues at lower frequencies than other days.

We must find the lowest noise frequency day along with the greatest amplitude or strength. You record these numbers on our on line data sheet and then return the data to us. We will examine the data and design a barrier that specifically deals with your measured noises. We will send you a drawing on what to build and the materials to use in the construction of your barriers.

Low-Frequency Barrier Technology
Low-Frequency Barrier Technology

Tailored Noise Measurement and Barrier Design

If your noise transmission issue frequency is below 125 hz., your barrier will be a much different design, more expensive, and take up much more space than a noise issue that lives above 125 hz. Lower frequency noise such as the noise from early morning garbage trucks setting off the motion alarms on parked cars. Voice noise transmission lies above 125 hz. and the barrier design for mitigating voice transmission takes less material, costs less, and usually takes up less space.

This is why it is critical to take frequency and amplitude measurements over a complete week time frame. With a pressure map picture over a complete week, we can design for a worst case day for low frequency and high amplitude. With this design paradigm, the other less powerful days will be covered.

barrier wall design

Why Complete Structural Solutions are Necessary for Noise Control

There is no such thing as a DIY soundproof panel or any other type of panel to mitigate noise. Noise is vibrational acoustics and you must build a permanent construction fix that involves the complete structure. You can not do just one wall. Since sound is like water, it will find the weakest link in the structure and go through it. Flanking noise goes around and through the weakest part of any structure.

When dealing with noise, think of your room as a boat that you will build to place in the ocean. It must be strong to withstand the pressure of ocean waves and it must not leak at all. This is why no DIY soundproof panel will ever be the answer when you are dealing with the noise transmission of vibrational acoustics.

Dennis Foley

I am an acoustic engineer with over 30 years’ experience in the business. My technology has been used in Electric Lady Land Studios, Sony Music of New York, Cello Music and Films founded by Mark Levinson, and Saltmines Studios in Mesa, Arizona, along with hundreds of others.

One Comment

  • contacthifi says:

    These topics interest me very much, I am an audiophile and following your advice for a stereo listening room.
    A big thank you for your cooperation and especially for the construction plans.
    Cordial greetings
    Mrcello from Italy

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