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New room on ceiling for practice / recording

 
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the finger genius
re-cappin' neve


Joined: 15 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:52 am    Post subject: New room on ceiling for practice / recording Reply with quote

Hi all, I'm hoping some of you can help me with some questions on construction of a new space. My wife and I own a condo (top two stories) of a ~100 year old wood frame row house. We are planning some renovations to the second (top) floor, and we are also thinking that if we are ever going to add a roof deck, now is the time. If we do this, we also need to add a room on the top of the structure for stairs to lead to, and if we do this, the best use of that room will be for my band to practice in / record.

I have the Rod Gervais book, and am in the process of reading it (I've read through most of it in the past, and am taking a refresher right now as we are planning construction.) We are working with an architect, but I don't think he has much experience with this kind of soundproofing, as some of his suggestions so far do not seem very practical (e.g. suggesting a large sliding / folding door from the roof room to the roof deck.)

I think I have a good handle on how to minimize noise through walls, ceiling, doors, and windows, but I am concerned about the floor. I don't think it would be wise to add any kind of cement floor to a wood structure this old, and the Rod Gervais book clearly rules out a floating wood floor. Ruling out a concrete slab or sand filled deck, what can I do (if anything)? We are renovating the rooms below, so one thing I am considering is using resilient channel and double drywall on the ceilings below, but I'm not sure how much that will help. Also, my biggest concern is actually my neighbors on each side (remember - rowhouses.)

If a concrete slab is not an option due to the added weight, does it still make sense to go through using resilient channel, green glue, putty pads, etc on the walls and ceilings, or is this just wasted $ and effort?
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:38 am    Post subject: Re: New room on ceiling for practice / recording Reply with quote

I'm no expert but I think it would be difficult and incredibly expensive to achieve even semi-effective isolation for the rest of your home and your neighbors, in terms of keeping the noise from your band space out of their lives.

My personal suggestion would be to look at reducing the sound in the first place, via isolation cabinets/direct boxes/amp modelers for your guitars/bass/keys, electronic drums, and headphones/in ears instead of a PA.

I believe that $5k or less worth of equipment, plus reasonable construction strategies (ie: not needing to build for a huge sound transmission reduction, but still probably above average) would be substantially more effective than $25k of extreme isolation construction attempts.
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the finger genius
re-cappin' neve


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:39 am    Post subject: Re: New room on ceiling for practice / recording Reply with quote

kslight wrote:

My personal suggestion would be to look at reducing the sound in the first place, via isolation cabinets/direct boxes/amp modelers for your guitars/bass/keys, electronic drums, and headphones/in ears instead of a PA.


Thanks, I appreciate you taking the time to respond, but this just isn't going to happen, beyond maybe asking the guitar and bass player to turn down a touch.
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JWL
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Joined: 02 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 1:03 pm    Post subject: Re: New room on ceiling for practice / recording Reply with quote

Yeah I agree. You are fighting one key problem: good iso requires a lot of mass, and an old wood structure can only support so much mass.

You should DEFINITELY get some outside help on this. First and most important is to get a structural engineer to look at your plans and make sure the weight you add can be supported. Second is to get someone who knows how to isolate sound make sure that all the trouble you are going through will actually help.

If it were me I would probably add as much mass to the floor in the studio as possible (ie, a couple layers of MDF underlayment or similar), and then go with resilient channel on the ceiling below. If you can go 2 layers of drywall with green glue on that channel, even better.

Lots of insulation everywhere too, which means you will need to have the HVAC thing figured out as well.

But regardless, definitely get someone to look at the plans. Last thing you need is a structural collapse.
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 1:14 pm    Post subject: Re: New room on ceiling for practice / recording Reply with quote

the finger genius wrote:
kslight wrote:

My personal suggestion would be to look at reducing the sound in the first place, via isolation cabinets/direct boxes/amp modelers for your guitars/bass/keys, electronic drums, and headphones/in ears instead of a PA.


Thanks, I appreciate you taking the time to respond, but this just isn't going to happen, beyond maybe asking the guitar and bass player to turn down a touch.


Considering the limitations you've mentioned of your existing structure, some thought definitely needs to go into your budget, floor plan, STC requirements, how much your family and neighbors love your music, and what is physically/acoustically possible.

I mean that in the least snarky way possible, genuinely trying to help.

I don't think this is a good DIY task, and maybe your architect is not the right guy for the job. If turning it down is not an option, then the best advice I can give is hire the people that would be able to competently perform the job, and advise you on what is realistic. It would be a shame for you to spend all the time and money only to have to resort to my "plan b" anyway.

Best
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Magnetic Services
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Joined: 17 Apr 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:21 am    Post subject: Re: New room on ceiling for practice / recording Reply with quote

Is that how the Beatles got those backwards effects? Recording on the ceiling?

Geoff Emerick is a genius....
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losthighway
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:28 am    Post subject: Re: New room on ceiling for practice / recording Reply with quote

The thing that I gathered from Rod's book is not that a floating floor can never work, but that there are so many ways to get it wrong (weird resonance, incidentally voiding the isolation that was intended), that it doesn't make sense to recommend it in a DIY book. I wonder if you got with one of the fancy studio designers (expensive? ) if they could come up with a way to better isolate your floor assembly.

Sounds tough. The only thing in our business that can help other than mass-air-mass is conscientious scheduling.
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the finger genius
re-cappin' neve


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 4:09 pm    Post subject: Re: New room on ceiling for practice / recording Reply with quote

losthighway wrote:

Sounds tough. The only thing in our business that can help other than mass-air-mass is conscientious scheduling.


This is a good point. I know I'm not going to get "soundproof". I need to get it good enough so that I can play drums for a few hours a day, and full band practice for a few hours on Sunday morning - afternoon without upsetting neighbors. My wife knows she will hear it in the house, if it's truly bad she'll take the kids out (probably to the guitarist's house with his wife / kids most days.) I want to do what I can to be a good neighbor, this is not expected to be an late night / all night kind of room.
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roscoenyc
george martin


Joined: 03 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:51 am    Post subject: Re: New room on ceiling for practice / recording Reply with quote

I'd buy another copy of the Rod book for your architect.
Most don't understand the fine points of soundproofing and
he's got real solid research in there that is tried and true.

The fact that he dismisses the floor thing is hard for folks that have rental properties or live in big cities where you are in shared spaces.

You aren't gonna be able to have your band in there lighting up with an SVT and some Mesa Dual Rectifiers.
Getting the right size gear for your practice can get you a lot closer to your goal.

You can add a little mass to your floor by doing a little sandwich construction and floating on pucks or neoprene type material. I've done this for club stages that I've designed by going pucks- plywood/sheetrock/sheetrock/plywood or using wonder board instead of sheetrock.

It's not 'soundproofing' but at my studio I have a little drum platform that sits on the concrete floor consisting of pucks/plywood/sheetrock/plywood and it does help.
Also you can put the amps on those iso pad type things.
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Gregg Juke
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:58 pm    Post subject: Re: New room on ceiling for practice / recording Reply with quote

Just an honest question-- Have you checked your condo agreement, or run anything past the board on this one? Condos can be tough. It would really suck if you spent money, finally figured-out how to do what you wanted to, but couldn't due to regulations. Likewise your local municipality building codes, but a condo? I'm thinking the neighbors will not like this at all, and it will be very hard to "sneak it in."

GJ
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the finger genius
re-cappin' neve


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:22 am    Post subject: Re: New room on ceiling for practice / recording Reply with quote

Gregg Juke wrote:
Just an honest question-- Have you checked your condo agreement, or run anything past the board on this one? Condos can be tough. It would really suck if you spent money, finally figured-out how to do what you wanted to, but couldn't due to regulations. Likewise your local municipality building codes, but a condo? I'm thinking the neighbors will not like this at all, and it will be very hard to "sneak it in."

GJ


Yes, it's technically a condo, but there are only two units, just me and one other owner. With that said, I have already talked to him about this and he gave me the ok, he's done a lot of work on his own unit and he's generally been very ease to live with. I think he also recognizes that technically /legally I can play loud music in my apartment at reasonable hours whether I soundproof it or not, the soundproofing is an extra expense I'm undertaking trying to be a good neighbor.
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norton
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Joined: 07 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:29 am    Post subject: Re: New room on ceiling for practice / recording Reply with quote

Well, sound isolation-ally speaking...... a floor/ceiling assembly is going to need the same kind of treatment as a well. However, in the real world it's extremely difficult to achieve anywhere near the same kind of acoustic isolation as in a wall assembly.

This is doubly true when the noise source is above.


Physical transmission of sound through the structure is the main added problem and it's a very tricky one to solve.

If you are going to do this you will want to tear out the ceilings in the rooms below up your loud room and start from scratch both in loud room and the room and below it.

You'll want to physically decouple the lower floor' schilling from,the structure by using iso clips, you'll want double Sheetrock with green glue, and if possible blown in fiberglass insulation. (It's better at filling voids than fiberglass bats). Don't use blown in foam, or blown in cellulose. They will NOT help you.

Ok now that the lore floor's ceiling is taken care of, you can start to tackle the loud room above.

If you can decouple the floor from the structure that would be ideal....however it may not be practical (structurally or ceiling height).

Do you have any structural concerns? What's your ceiling height like in that space now ?
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