Soundproofing and Recording: Part I

Posted on December 15, 2010 by


Last Friday, Voice123 held a Meetup at David Zema’s recording studio in New York City. We all discussed soundproofing and recording from home. David Zema wrote a blog on the topic. Today’s blog will be about ‘soundproofing’, and you will see the extreme limits one must go to when working in the ‘city that never sleeps’ as a voice talent:

“I have been recording audio since I was 12 years old and shooting video since I was 18. I have sound proofed over twenty spaces in the last 20 years. One thing I have learned about soundproofing is that I am always working to improve it.

When I finally got my last studio to the point that I thought was perfected, I had to move because a noisy performance space had set up operation on the floor below. Their speakers were located right beneath my sound booth. It was going to take layers of lead and concrete to muffle that noise! In 2008, I moved to my current location at 1123 Broadway. The room I rented had previously been a recording studio, and the building has solid walls built in 1896. But it took layers of plexi-glass (acrylic) and homasote to muffle the sounds reverberating up from 25th Street.

Then along with hanging many baffles made of Berber carpeting and soundproofing foam from Marketek, I found a used soundproof isolation booth on ebay. I added more soundproofing materials to the isolation booth and now everything is quiet enough to record. Additionally, I use pipe insulation on an iron based mic stand for a second corner area used for recording. This area uses a cork board, Marketek foam, Berber carpeting and a vinyl mat on top of the carpet to deaden sound before it reaches the mic. Remember that separation of your computer equipment from your microphone will reduce unwanted noise and vibration. Using the quietest equipment you can get is the ultimate goal. Consider a solid state digital recorder that is noise free as an option for small spaces. The microphone enclosure is another option if you can’t soundproof an entire room. Materials that have mass or density are used to stop sound.

Homasote and even special sound resistant sheet rock called QuietRock, fiberboard, soundboard, fiberglass insulation and another materials when used properly have enough density to stop some frequencies. However, these materials will most likely need professional installation by a soundproofing contractor to be done properly, or require a patient ‘do-it-your-self’ craftsman with tools and a lot of time. Concrete, sand, lead and mass-loaded vinyl are used in professional sound studios, but are very expensive and not an option for most apartment renters.”

Coming up on Friday…Part II: Recording! David Zema is a voice over coach with Voice123. If you are ever interested in sharing a blog, please do so with the Voice123 community, or please email it to! We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

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About the Author

Steven Lowell Steven is the Community Development Guru of Voice123
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