Re: The perfect practice room

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Posted by Rick Denney on June 26, 2002 at 11:47:10:

In Reply to: The perfect practice room posted by Patrick on June 26, 2002 at 10:42:41:

For me, the larger the room and the higher the ceiling, the better.

Make sure you understand the difference between soundproofing and sound reflection control. Soundproofing seeks to prevent the sound from escaping the practice room. Reflection control affects how the sound bounces around inside the practice room.

My preference is for a practice room that is live but free of echo. That means hard surfaces placed at angles so that sound cannot bounce around between them. If you look at the backs and sides of good concert halls, you'll see the wall broken down into large panels placed at angles to reflect the sound in as many different directions as possible. Some materials, like the egg-crate or foam-rubber stuff, is designed to eliminate reflection entirely. This makes a good recording studio where you will add reverberation digitally, or for recording voice (such as a studio for talk radio), but it's no fun to play in. I always want to hear my sound coming back to me from the room after I stop blowing. A room with a sloped ceiling is a good place to start. Strategically placed decorative screens and even large pot plants can kill unwanted echos without absorbing desireable reverberation.

Soundproofing is another matter. The common method for soundproofing is to build isolation walls. You can build a wall inside another wall, but it's easier to stagger the studs in a wall so that the sheet rock on one side is not attached to the same studs at the sheet rock on the other side of the wall. You then fill the wall with material that damps vibration, such as somewhat-compressed fiberglass batting. You have to do this to the floors and ceiling, too. Windows for soundproof enclosures usually have two sheets of glass, one mounted at an angle to the other so that they don't vibrate sympathetically. It is expensive in a home, but many contractors have developed the methods for McMansions that have "theater rooms."

As for me, my neighbor's complaint banished me to the basement, and figured strongly in our recent move out to the country. Now, the only person driven crazy by my playing is my wife, plus anybody wandering around in our belt of 4000 pine trees.

Rick "who enjoys the cathedral ceiling in his new 'practice room'" Denney

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