If you’re going to invest in acoustic foam thinking it will soundproof your music studio, you’re wrong. Foam panels work well for acoustic treatment, not soundproofing. Some people try to achieve soundproofing via carpets, mattresses, and even egg trays. All these materials just kill the reverberance and do not help in soundproofing. In order to achieve the best soundproofing results for recording in a music studio, you need insulation materials with a lot of mass. Also, don’t forget to focus on the gaps causing sound leakage. Now let’s take a look at the best soundproofing material for recording studio.
Best Soundproofing Material for Recording Studio
1. Mineral Wool / Rockwool / Stonewool
Rockwool is one of the best materials for soundproofing a recording studio. Bear in mind that it is not a replacement for brick walls. But you can achieve an amazing level of soundproofing by combining Rockwool with other insulation materials like gypsum boards and Mass-Loaded Vinyl sheets. So Rockwool “alone” cannot do much!
Compared to Fiberglass, Rockwool is much cheaper, safer, and effective. The STC and NRC rating of Rockwool is usually very high (around 45) and varies from model to model and manufacturer to manufacturer. Usually, these panels measure 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide. In terms of thickness, they’re 1 or 2 inches thick.
For best results, music studios opt this soundproofing material with a density of either 48 kg/m3 or 96 kg/m3 and thickness of 2″. This is because a thicker panel with a high density offers a higher STC rating.
Apart from soundproofing, Rockwool is also the best option for acoustic treatment. It is very good at taming down the low frequencies. In order to control the low-mid and mid frequencies, be sure to choose Rockwool with a “lower” density. If the density of Rockwool is higher, it will start reflecting sound along with absorption. For treating higher frequencies, acoustic foam panels work the best.
Fiberglass is an extremely popular choice for professional music studios. The Owens Corning 703 and 705 fiberglass panels are considered the best soundproofing material for recording studios. Just like Rockwool, Fiberglass cannot do much of its own. You would need additional insulation materials gypsum boards and Mass-Loaded Vinyl sheets in order to get the best soundproofing result.
Fiberglass isn’t as cheap as Rockwool or Mineral Wool and its melting point is also lower. If left uncovered, you may have to deal with splinters. Overall, Rockwool is a better choice over Fiberglass and more and more studios are now opting for Rockwool over Fiberglass.
3. Mass Loaded Vinyl Sheet
A Mass Loaded Vinyl Sheet offers way higher density (usually around 2,000 Kg/m3) than Rockwool and Fiberglass. Because it’s flexible, you can easily install it on curved surfaces as well. For complete soundproofing, consider adding this Mass Loaded Vinyl Sheet along with Rockwool and Gypsum Board. All these insulation materials together will easily provide an STC rating of 100. One downside of a Vinyl Sheet is its price. Someone looking for the best soundproofing material under a low budget for a recording studio might not be able to afford these sheets.
A few Tips to get the most out of the best soundproofing material for recording studio
Bear in mind that even the best soundproofing material in a recording studio will fail if there are any gaps causing sound leakage. The common sources of sound leakage in a music studio are Doors, Windows, and Ventilation units. Also, don’t forget to properly insulate the electrical outlets.
To get the most out of these soundproofing materials, be sure to leave some airspace between layers. You can install 2 layers of Gypsum board and install a layer of Rockwool and Mass Loaded Vinyl Sheets in between. In those layers, you can add resilient channels to add airspace. As a result, you’ll be able to achieve the highest possible STC rating for your music studio.