Statistics indicate that the podcast listeners have increased by 37.5% in the past 3 years just within the USA. When I first got to know that some people make good amounts each year through podcasts, I got excited.
However, when I started reading more about podcasting, I realized that it’s not something everyone can do. Besides a lot of creativity and great communication skills, you also need high-end equipment to ensure the best quality recordings. I also found out that monetized podcasts are typically hosted by professional experts who research a lot on what they say. Their podcasts have the best possible themes, and their voices are always crystal clear.
Even after all of this, I was stubborn enough to try my luck with podcasting. However, my attempt went even worse than I had imagined. My recording sounded like I was talking to someone on a call when they were stuck in a traffic jam.
The dogs from my street and my dishwasher at the back joined in, drowning out my voice and concealing all its expression. This was when I realized that I couldn’t even record an average-quality podcast unless and until I soundproof my room.
Searching for ways to soundproof a room for podcasting, I came across several methods and tricks. After trying some of them out, I felt that the outside noises coming in significantly reduced.
I could’ve recorded a podcast about soundproofing methods, but I kept that for some other time. For now, writing an article about all those methods seemed like a better idea.
So, without further ado, let’s talk about soundproofing, shall we?
- Is Soundproofing Different From Acoustic Treatment?
- When Do We Need To Soundproof A Room Or Studio for Podcasting?
- Steps To Soundproof A Room For Podcasting
Is Soundproofing Different From Acoustic Treatment?
The simple answer would be yes!
Even though many people don’t know, soundproofing and acoustic treatment are different things. Many of you must have thought about soundproofing your rooms by covering the walls with those thick, foam-like acoustic sheets. Let me tell you one thing. You can never ensure that a room is soundproofed simply by doing this step. Covering your walls with these sheets is, rather, just one part of the whole soundproofing method.
To understand this further, you need to look at the difference between soundproofing and acoustic treatment. Soundproofing means you limit all outdoor sounds, preventing them from entering a room.
On the other hand, acoustic treatment refers to controlling the reverberation and echoing of sound produced inside a room. In simple words, soundproofing your podcasting studio means you’re silencing all outdoor noises. Whereas acoustic treatment means you’re canceling any sound inside a room that can disturb your podcast’s recording.
If you want to record seamless podcasts, you need to take care of both the soundproofing and acoustic treatment of your room. However, soundproofing is a relatively lengthy and complex process, and carrying it out carefully most of the time frees you of the need to do the other.
When Do We Need To Soundproof A Room Or Studio for Podcasting?
Many people feel like their room is too big for outdoor noises to reach the microphone. You probably record at a place that’s already very quiet, and you don’t hear more than one car starting outside a day. Factors such as these can make you feel like you don’t need soundproofing of any kind at all. But, you’d be wrong.
No matter where you are and what kind of recording equipment you have, you can’t ace podcasting unless you soundproof your place first.
Sound waves have a very complex nature. They may not reach your ears or get recognized by you at all, but they definitely make their way to recording hardware very quickly. Microphones are often very sensitive to background noises and record them with amplification.
Background sounds can’t be omitted completely even when you invest in high-quality cancellation plugins. Rather, such equipment distorts the sounds and affects the quality and clarity of your voice.
All of this means that you’re left with just one option to stop outdoor noise from entering the recording space at all – effective soundproofing.
Now that you’re clear about the importance of soundproofing, it’s about time I introduce you to the ways of doing so. Read on!
Steps To Soundproof A Room For Podcasting
Before we begin, I want to clarify a few things. Firstly, the steps given below do not need to be done chronologically. This means there is no particular order that you need to follow. You can either soundproof the walls first and door afterward or vice-versa.
Also, you can leave out some of these steps if you don’t have the needed equipment to perform them. It will affect the quality of soundproofing but doesn’t mean that the soundproofing won’t be effective.
Having said that, I advise you to carry out all these steps in the given order, without skipping any. This way, your room will be perfectly soundproofed, thus allowing you to record the best possible podcasts.
Before you begin, make sure to have all of these things under your hand:
- Sharp Scissors
- Sticking tape + Gasket tape
- Measuring tapes
- Soundproofing paint
- Fiberglass panels
- Foam tiles
- Acoustic sealants
- Soundproofing door seal
- Soundproofing doormat
- Soundproofing blanket
- Door sweep
- Soundproofing curtains
- Pick A Room For Soundproofing
- Soundproof Walls and Ceilings
- Soundproofing the Floor
- Soundproofing the Doors
- Soundproofing the Windows
- Soundproofing the Outlets, Vents, and Ducts
Step 1: Pick A Room For Soundproofing
First things first, you need to choose a place that’s easy to soundproof so that you don’t have to work too hard. Other than the ease, making the right room selection ensures the best results of all your soundproofing efforts.
Here are the few things you can do to check if the room you chose is a valid option:
- Check the levels of external and internal sounds: As the name indicates, external sounds would be those coming from other rooms in your room. They could be from neighbors, the traffic outside your place, the animals in your area, workers on your street, and even the sound of rain pouring and wind is blowing. The internal sounds include noises like the venting device fans, refrigerators, AC, heaters, and even the sound your chair makes when you move a little. Make sure you select a room where the levels of all these sounds are at the lowest possible level.
- See if the room too big: Generally, recording in a very big room with a high ceiling is better than doing so in a smaller room. This is because most of the sound waves cancel out while traveling towards the microphone from a distance. This cancellation effect also happens when waves are reflecting from the walls and ceilings. Therefore, make sure that the room you pick is the most spacious one out of all the available options.
- Floors and walls: A suitable recording room should have hard walls and floors made of concrete, bricks, or wood. Try to avoid studios with PVC or other plastic walls.
- Windows: The rule here is the lesser, the better. Try to choose a room that has no window at all if possible. If not, go for a room where the windows can be easily covered with thick curtains.
You must choose a new room if the already selected one does not fulfill at least two of these standards.
Step 2: Soundproof Walls and Ceilings
Now that you’ve picked a room, it’s time you begin the soundproofing process. Going for walls and ceilings in the first step is useful since you can soundproof both these things in the same way and using the same equipment. Soundproofing just these two things can enhance the overall quality of your podcasts to a large extent.
You may think that this step will be very hard. Don’t worry, though. The soundproofing process for walls and ceilings is a bit lengthy, but it rarely tires you. There’s nothing in this step that you can’t do easily.
There are three different ways through which you can soundproof walls and ceilings. I am giving you the steps for all these three processes below. So let’s get into it:
1- Using Soundproofing Paint
Feels surprising, doesn’t it?
I was also shocked when I first came across this option. This is because we never see soundproofing paint around us in stores. However, the good news is that once you get your hands on this, it works magic.
Using soundproofing paint is a basic and easy method to soundproof your walls. All you have to do is buy this paint and apply it all over the walls and ceiling of your room. This paint is a good option for rooms that are already very quiet but might not work that well for noisy outdoors.
Make sure you clean the walls and fill all the holes before painting them with a noise-proof emulsion. Also, try to buy this paint from a reputed store after reading valid-user reviews.
2- Covering With Foam Tiles
If you don’t want to compromise on your recording room’s looks with paint, you might like foam tiles for soundproofing. Foam tiles, as their name indicates, are made of thick foam. You can get these in different colors from any hardware store.
These tiles are interlocking, and you can make a huge panel out of them. Once you’re done making a panel that’s exactly the size of a wall, you can attach it to the walls and ceilings with an adhesive or however you like. Make sure that it stays firmly attached and give it time to dry before touching the walls or hanging anything over them.
These foams can cost you a little, but they’re very effective and easy to install.
3- Using Fiberglass Panels
Fiberglass panels are versatile, and you can use them on doors and windows alongside ceilings and walls. They are a little heavy and costly, and their installation can be a little tricky. However, these panels do a great job of soundproofing surfaces and are widely used for podcast and recording studios.
The fiberglass used in these panels keeps the sound waves from reflecting off of the surface and thus prevent echo. This feature makes these panels useful for when you want to give your room acoustic treatment, and high-quality fiberglass panels can absorb sounds too.
The only con of using these panels is that they don’t look appealing and can ruin the look of your recording studio.
Step 3: Soundproofing the Floor
Soundproofing a floor is easy, but you don’t always have to do so. A room that is on the ground floor with no basement under it doesn’t require floor soundproofing.
You only need to do this step when you have another room under your recording space, and you don’t want the sound coming from that room to interrupt your podcast.
To soundproof the floor, you can use the same fiberglass that you used for the walls and the ceiling. However, a better idea would be to first find the holes or cracks in the floor. Fill them either with an acoustic sealant or cover them with soundproofing paint.
After that, you can spread the fiberglass panel covering the floor with a thick carpet or rug. The carpet would make the floor look better and would act as an additional noise proofing layer. If the noises coming from the room underneath are still too loud, you can invest in a specialized soundproofing mat too. Put it between the panel and the carpet for better soundproofing.
Step 4: Soundproofing the Doors
You may not realize it, but doors can let in a lot of noise even when they’re shut and tightly locked. To prevent sound from coming in through doors, first, try to replace your glass door with one made of solid wood. After this, work towards soundproofing it to ensure better results.
You can use a soundproofing door seal to cover the door’s frame, or you can go with a huge soundproofing blanket. Both these things are easily available in big hardware stores and aren’t very expensive either.
You should also check for any cracks and gaps between your door and its hinges, as well as between the door and the floor. First, clean any cracks and take out all mud and dirt that is stuck inside them. Then, cut the same insulting foam tiles you used for walls and ceilings in pieces and tightly fill the cracks with them. For the distance between the floor and the door, you can invest in a door sweep and tightly fix it there.
Step 5: Soundproofing the Windows
You have to soundproof windows very carefully because they can make a lot of noise in the room. Ignoring this step once ruined all the hard work my friend did to soundproof his room. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to soundproof a window. Most of these come with railings and grills, making it nearly impossible to cover the glass.
If you can afford it, try to replace your standard windows with double-paned ones. Such windows can dampen most of the sounds and are, therefore, very easy to deal with. Also, go for a thicker glass to ensure lower noise coming inside.
Take the same soundproofing seal that we talked about in the previous two steps. Cut it exactly the size of your window and fix it tightly all over it. However, there may be some cracks in the windows, especially at points near the walls. Look for those cracks and spaces and fill them with sealants.
You can also add soundproofing curtains to your windows after taking the above measures. This way, you can soundproof the windows even better, allowing them to absorb even the loud horns honking on the street and the dogs barking right outside your room.
If you don’t care about the look of your room, you can even use soundproofing blankets to dampen the sound. However, both the curtains and blankets are more like temporary sound-canceling solutions. You’d eventually need the permanent solutions discussed above for perfect podcasting.
Step 6: Soundproofing the Outlets, Vents, and Ducts
By this time, you’re likely to be so tired and exhausted that I bet you want this soundproofing chaos to end. However, the most important, and certainly the most overlooked, step is still left. You need to make sure that there is no duct, vent, or even a small hole in your room left uncovered.
Realistically speaking, that’s kind of impossible, and that’s why you need to know how to soundproof these areas. Generally, covering your walls and floors, sealing your doors and windows, and taking other soundproofing measures covers most of the holes and vents too.
However, just to be sure, look around and closely examine everything to find the vents and ducts in your room. Tightly fill the A/C vent with the soundproofing foam you used in the previous steps. You can even ask your A/C Installation Company to reinstall the system with a vent that you can later soundproof easily.
For other holes and wire outlets, use a gasket tape and seal them tightly to ensure no sound coming in from even those tiny holes too.