What is soundproofing?
Soundproofing is defined as any method of reducing the ability of sound to travel between point A and point B, and is accomplished by the reduction of noise and the absorption of noise. A requirement in many professional recording studios, soundproofing is also becoming popular in residential structures, especially multi-family structures like apartments and condominiums wherein tenants share walls.
The basics of soundproofing
In order to understand the concept of soundproofing, you must first understand the concept of blocking sound. Specifically, there are only three ways in which sound can be blocked or noise can be reduced. These three ways are as follows:
Space – This one is simple. The further away from a source of sound you are, the less likely it is that you will here the sound. For example, imagine you are walking down a city street, and your friend who on the opposite side of the street calls your name. Due to the space between you, it is highly unlikely that you will hear your friend call your name. Likewise, a neighbor who lives five houses down from you is less likely to disturb you with a late night party than a neighbor who lives two houses down.
Space impedes sound travel.
Mass – This one is also simple. The more mass between the origin and destination of a sound wave, the less audible the sound wave will be once it reaches its destination point. For example, imagine you are inside your bedroom with the door open, playing your stereo very loud. If your roommate complains of the noise, you can easily close your bedroom door to reduce the volume outside of your bedroom.
You can also put a towel or blanket in the opening between your bedroom door and floor to muffle the sound heard outside your bedroom even more.
Dampening – This one is a bit more complex. Essentially, dampening is a way to absorb sound by forcing sound waves to travel through various layers of material with different densities, thereby obstructing the sound wave’s path of travel, and ultimately absorbing the sound wave before it has a chance to become airborne. Dampening works by limiting a sound wave’s ability to vibrate through different structures. This eventually results in the absorption of the sound wave.