As a die-hard movie fan, no movie experience is complete without incredible visuals and surround sound. This is why people go to theaters after all.
Noise can be the biggest obstacle to this experience. A volume too high, and you will have the neighbors knocking at your door. A notch lower, and everything becomes barely audible; well, apart from the neighbor’s stereo. The solution lies in proper soundproofing.
Importance of Soundproofing
To get the most out of your home theater, you need to find a way to keep inside noise in and outside noises out. And the best way to accomplish this is to make soundproofing an important part of the room’s construction.
However, fully constructed walls and ceilings can also be fitted with materials to prevent further noise. To properly soundproof your theater, you will need to soundproof every element of the room. Here are a few tips on how you can do this.
This is the component where most soundproofing is applied. There are a number of ways to soundproof theater walls. You can opt to use (MLV) Mass Loaded Vinyl sound barriers, audio insulation, or acoustic panels. MLV and acoustic panels work the same way by forming a sound barrier, preventing any sound from escaping. Audio insulation is installed in walls to prevent sound from penetrating.
Soundproofing an existing ceiling will usually involve some decoupling. The procedure is simple but requires great attention to detail, and only involves decoupling and the installation of acoustic plasterboard.
The plasterboard reduces airborne sounds. However, it cannot do that effectively on its own. It works best when combined with Soundbreaker bars, a Barrier shield and DMF acoustic insulation.
Windows pose the greatest challenge in soundproofing. While they are not something that you would normally find in a home theater, they are becoming increasingly common. Since sound cannot travel in a vacuum, the best way to soundproof windows is double (or triple) glazing.
There are two ways that you can soundproof doors. The first is to install double doors. A double door is just one door after another, with a void in between.
You can also choose to soundproof the existing door. You will need to fit special acoustic insulation strips to the edges of the door. This will guarantee a complete seal, stopping any sound from escaping.
Having your light built into the ceiling (if it is soundproofed) will affect soundproofing. This is because sound can escape through the holes. There are other alternatives that you can use, like low profile fluorescents and suspending light fixtures for instance.
In an already complete house, the floor may be hard to decouple. Instead, you can go for an easier option like using floor covers such as carpets. They will diffuse the sound, but not at the same level that an acoustic underlay would.
These material and design considerations should be kept in mind if you’re trying to fully soundproof your theater room. It is the only way you can ensure a perfectly calm environment outside your home theater, and optimal sound quality within.