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Author Topic: Soundproofing a Ceiling  (Read 7946 times)
W8VZM
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Posts: 67




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« on: June 20, 2010, 01:48:58 PM »

 My new shack is on the first floor directly below our bedroom. The rig audio is not a problem to the YF (so she says) but my voice on the air is. Any ideas on how to reduce the transmission of my voice through the ceiling to the room upstairs? The ceiling is drywall and the bedroom floor is carpeted. And yes I am working on my CW skills!

Ron W8VZM
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AA4PB
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2010, 05:08:43 PM »

Well, I finished the downstairs where the shack is myself. I put in insulation and then drywall and then glued acoustic ceiling tiles to the drywall.
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AG6WT
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2010, 08:48:19 AM »

Acoustic ceiling tiles on the ceiling and perhaps even the walls of the shack. Padded carpet or a thick rug in the shack. Acoustic baffles (the foam that looks like egg crates) if that's not enough.

And of course there's CW and digital modes.
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AA4HA
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2010, 03:28:26 PM »

Just be careful with the acoustic foam (eggcrate looking stuff). If you can find it, buy the stuff that is covered in a fire retardant.

There was a nightclub (The Station, West Warwick RI) that went up in a conflagration when sparks got into a non fire retardant acoustic foam (20 Feb 2003).

We used to use the eggcrate (non fire retardant) foam as soundproofing in an motor test stand. It went 'poof' one day when the motor shorted out under load. Fortunately the test stand was small enough, and on wheels, that the tech was able to roll the thing out of the building and into the parking lot.

Tisha Hayes
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
N7ZM
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2010, 10:26:59 AM »

Ron,
       In my last qth I put up some cork board over drywall, then another layer of drywall and the corkwood board really sound proofed it...It's cheap and it worked for me.
Ron N7ZM
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AG6WT
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2010, 10:34:34 AM »

Your YL might also try ear plugs.  There are a variety of ear plugs that are smaller and softer specifically marketed to women. Wal-mart is one place that stocks them. I occasionally snore and when I do, my XYL pops them in and she's back to sleep.
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W3LK
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2010, 12:25:06 PM »

Use a boom headset and speak more softly. Smiley

Seriously, unless you put insulation between the ceiling and the 2nd floor joists, any other soundproofing will be minimally effective. As for tile, most of it is decorative these day with little sound-deadening capability unless you go to the commercial stuff used in studios and that is really big bucks. A much cheaper alternative are peel-and-stick carpet tiles.

The first suggestion I posted is actually the easiest and most cost effective.
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A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.
W8VZM
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2010, 07:29:37 PM »

The boom headset is definitely in the plans! I like to dabble in contests So I think that is the only way to go. I had thought about acoustic tile but hadn't thought of carpet tiles. I remember seeing an episode of "Man Caves" on TLC where they did a recording studio. Think they used the carpet tiles there but not on the ceiling. I might have access to the 2nd floor joists with a little work, maybe some blown cellulose? The room is only 10x12 so it might not be too costly for commercial grade tiles. Probably easier in the long run than the insulation. Maybe I'll do both and use the tiles to cover the access holes in the ceiling.

As for ear plugs, I think i would have a tuff sell there. Maybe a set of Bose noise cancelling cans for her?  Grin
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W3LK
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2010, 05:41:27 PM »

The boom headset is definitely in the plans! I like to dabble in contests So I think that is the only way to go. I had thought about acoustic tile but hadn't thought of carpet tiles. I remember seeing an episode of "Man Caves" on TLC where they did a recording studio. Think they used the carpet tiles there but not on the ceiling. I might have access to the 2nd floor joists with a little work, maybe some blown cellulose? The room is only 10x12 so it might not be too costly for commercial grade tiles. Probably easier in the long run than the insulation. Maybe I'll do both and use the tiles to cover the access holes in the ceiling.

As for ear plugs, I think i would have a tuff sell there. Maybe a set of Bose noise cancelling cans for her?  Grin

Don't bet on that. The last time (about eight years ago) I priced commercial studio tiles they were in the $5 sq ft range, so you could be spending $600+ just for the tiles. Personally, (and please don't get upset with this) if your wife can hear you through the floor, you are talking too loud.  Grin
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A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.
W8VZM
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Posts: 67




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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2010, 06:44:47 PM »

Lon,
I don't get upset easily. You are not the first person to tell me that. Just the first one that hasn't heard me talk! Ha Ha  Grin

$5 a square is way out there. maybe I will just go to CW or digital while she sleeps! Wink

Ron W8VZM
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W3LK
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« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2010, 08:35:18 AM »

Lon,
I don't get upset easily. You are not the first person to tell me that. Just the first one that hasn't heard me talk! Ha Ha  Grin

$5 a square is way out there. maybe I will just go to CW or digital while she sleeps! Wink

Ron W8VZM

I have the same problem; talking softly takes considerably effort on my part. Smiley

I found that I cannot be heard anywhere else in the house if my shack door is shut and I am using my Heil ProSet. With the mike an inch from my lips it's difficlut to hear me in the next room, with my door open.
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A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.
KD6KWZ
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2010, 01:43:00 AM »

Some rolls of fiberglass insulation will help if you can get to the area between floors.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2010, 06:29:37 PM »

Egg cartons really do work, they're free (if you eat eggs) and can be stapled to the ceiling.

I've seen multimillion-dollar recording studios using them; it's not a joke.
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W3LK
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« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2010, 06:09:35 PM »

Egg cartons really do work, they're free (if you eat eggs) and can be stapled to the ceiling.

I've seen multimillion-dollar recording studios using them; it's not a joke.

Does this include the newer(?) foam plastic ones? I knew the older paper mache cartons did.
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A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.
W6RMK
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Posts: 646




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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2010, 10:27:16 AM »

the key on sound proofing is mass and mechanical isolation.

Things like fiberglass and egg cartons only work on high frequencies, where they act as a resistive loss, but if your ceiling is nailed to the joist and the floor above is too, then the sound is coupled through the wooden joists, with the ceiling acting as a receiver of the vibrations.  Don't forget that they do this stuff in studios to change the reflective properties as much as for absorption.

You need to figure out if the noise is propagating through the structure, or through the air (e.g. through air vents or air gaps).

In recording studios (and other places needing quiet) what they do is have two walls/panels, with a very compliant (soft) connection (so the vibration can't propagate).  Then, you have the panel be massive, so that the sound waves can't move it very much.  One traditional approach is hanging thin sheets of lead (lead is heavy AND soft, so it doesn't move much, and what it does move, doesn't propagate).  Other approaches are plastic sheet loaded with something heavy (ground up iron ore is cheap and dense.. sand works, but not as well)  Think automobile undercoating and vibration reducing.. felt like panels with asphalt, often with sand or something heavy added.

Sound isolation wall materials are actually rated in mass/unit area (e.g. "10 lb/sf") because that is the primary thing of importance.

For parallel walls, an old trick is to fill the gap between the walls with sand.  But... as time goes on, the sand packs and becomes more rigid.  Today, multiple dense sheets hanging in the gap are used.

If you can put in a drop ceiling, that helps a lot, even if only a few inches below the true ceiling.  The key is that the ceiling support has to be isolated from the true ceiling as much as possible (e.g. no nailing it to the side walls.. there should be a gap, filled with a compliant rubber gasket.  They have specially designed hangar wire fixtures for this application that have a sort of rubberized support, to prevent the vibration from being transmitted through the wires.  then, instead of the usual lightweight panels, they use ones that have been mass loaded (with something dense but not-rigid)

There's a lot on the web about building recording studios.. some googling will give you good ideas.
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