Playing without being heard - Keeping playing volume down

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Postby Amber » Fri Jan 12, 2007 8:41 pm

Hi Jorge,

tomorrow I will go and look for a mat. I must admit, I am a torture because I am doing a lot of exercises to improve sound. I like it because beside of rhythm I like the plain sound of my drums. A serie of fat rolling open tones delights and relaxes me like meditation. My neighbours not, of course. But I try my best not to disturb too much which is easy in winter time because its dark here 5 p.m. and I can see if there is light burning downstairs. Then I volume down or use a towel. But this I do not really like, congas without sound are like vegeterian beefsteak!

Thank you and best regards,

:p Amber
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Postby LDP » Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:59 pm

troels wrote:...
The way to go is to mount another ceiling (let's call that ceiling B) under the existing one (let's call that ceiling A) made of two layers of drywall panel + insulation material. Ceiling B must be put up on a frame mounted between the walls in the room and thereby not
...

Hi Troels -

First off, thanks very much for your informative post. I recently moved, and for the first time in 10 years I actually need to be considerate of my neighbors ;)

That said, I started last weekend hanging a second ceiling as you described (which actually turned out a lot easier than I thought -- I salvaged an old king-size box-spring, which was almost the perfect size, and very easy to brace). I figured I'd just use fiberglass insulation between the two drywall layers, but in your experience, what's the best material for this?

Thanks,
LDP
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Postby troels » Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:51 am

Hi LDP

Nice move with the box spring! :laugh:

Please remember that it is important that the frame of ceiling B is mounted on the walls, not in ceiling A.
Steel wires or heavy rubber or nylon bands hanging from A, supporting B is okay though.

You fill the (minimum 10 cm) space between ceiling A and ceiling B with the insulation material. Fiberglass insulation will do just fine.

You finish of the ceiling B frame underneath with the two layers of drywall on top of each other, making sure that the joints of the plates in the first layer is covered with a whole plate in the second layer. Remember to seal the gab between ceiling B and the wall carefully.

Good luck with your project! Let us hear how it turns out! :)

Troels

PS: Done properly this extra ceiling of yours will prevent a lot of sound from traveling to your upstairs neighbors. But depending on the material and the construction of the walls in the room, sound will still be able to travel up through these. In other words soundproofing your ceiling won't do it alone, but it will certainly help!




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Postby jorge » Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:04 pm

LDP,
You need to be really careful constructing a second ceiling. What you plan does not sound like there is enough mechanical support for the weight of the boxspring, dry wall, insulation, etc. The ceiling could collapse due to aging of the structures, joists too weak to support hundreds or thousands of extra pounds of dead weight, faulty materials or construction, or just inadequate design. Imagine the destruction that would occur in your space. Worse, imagine how someone could be badly injured or even killed by all that sheetrock falling on them. You will need a building permit to do this in any case, and your design will have to be approved by the local authorities. This is for public safety, and is not just totalitarianism. The ceiling in my apartment in NYC collapsed once, about 20 years ago, after the apartment upstairs had a flood that soaked through the ceiling, and a 6 foot by 4 foot area of plaster and concrete ceiling came crashing down at 3 am. Fortunately, no one was in the living room at that time and no one got hurt. We did have to remove hundreds of pounds of debris, replace a damaged sofa, and hire a contractor to repair the hole. It was a big deal and we were lucky.

Safety is the main issue, but effectiveness of the soundproofing is also a problem. First, a boxspring has minimal acoustic insulation properties. You need real sound insulating material like rockwool or fiberglass block insulation, to completely fill the space between floor above and ceiling. Even the pink fluffy home thermal insulation is not dense enough and will not insulate effectively. As Troels said, the rigid walls will continue to conduct sound up to the floor of the space above you, and will greatly decrease the effectiveness of your double ceiling. Even worse, by adding a layer below the existing ceiling you will create a 3 layer structure (floor above, ceiling below that, double ceiling below that). What you need is Mass-Insulation-Mass, ie, 2 mass layers, not Mass-Insulation-Mass-Air-Mass. The so-called triple leaf design, for reasons understood by acoustics engineers, actually can provide WORSE soundproofing than the existing 2 leaf structure! Also, the smallest hole in either of the mass layers will "leak" sound more than you would believe, and all holes (eg, holes where light fixtures are currently mounted, where steam pipe risers penetrate the ceiling/floor, cracks by the molding), need to be completely sealed by caulking.

This is a more complicated project than you are counting on. I strongly suggest you get help designing it from people that have done similar projects many times. If you don't have money to hire an acoustics consultant to help you with the design, at least read a good book on the topic before you DIY.

The most practical, readable, nonmathematical book on DIY construction of home studios (both recording and rehearsal studios) that I have seen is a book by Rod Gervais. You can see this book, for example, at:

http://www.amazon.com/Home-Recording-Studio-Build-Like/dp/1598630342

Also, ask for help on the Studiotips and John Sayers' websites I referenced earlier in this thread.

Don't do this project without getting expert advice on how to design the soundproofing. At best, you will put a lot of work into it with a pretty good chance you will be disappointed by the final result, which will be difficult to modify. At worst, people could get badly hurt or killed if the ceiling collapses.




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Postby troels » Thu Feb 08, 2007 5:01 pm

In my answer to LDP I was of course assuming that everything was done correctly and safely, and that all safety aspects were taken into consideration. As far as the box spring goes I was assuming that he was going to use the solid wooden frame from that, and not the actual box spring in whole?

Of course putting up a construction like that without knowing a thing about statics can be very dangerous. I was, maybe wrongly, assuming that this was already covered - my mistake!

I have installed a construction like this in a sound studio once (the frame made out of aluminum profiles) and naturally the walls must be made of stone or something similar for them to carry the weight of the construction. Get a pro craftsman to look over your plans before you put anything up!

Sorry if I neglected the safety aspect in my previous posting - I can see that I might have done that...

Troels




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Re: Playing without being heard - Keeping playing volume down

Postby dabesa » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:20 pm

Hi guys,
starting from this great thread and experimenting a bit I put together this article:
Soundproofing: how to play conga drums in your apartment
http://www.percussionconga.com/percussion-conga/soundproofing-how-to-play-conga-drums-in-your-apartment

Any feedback is appreciated! :)

Ciao
Daniel
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Re: Playing without being heard - Keeping playing volume down

Postby jorge » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:14 pm

Hi Daniel,
Your website is nice, and will help disseminate useful information to more people who want to know about this topic. I have two suggestions. First, safety is important. You did not mention ensuring that all foam or other insulating or reflecting materials are fireproof, and that any construction be done only after considering structural safety issues to prevent collapse. The other thing I would suggest is that you provide links to this thread, and to other sources you have used in writing your article. This will let your readers get more details without you having to make your article any longer, may introduce them to new websites they didn't know before, and will let them judge better whether they trust the source of information or not. Also, while there are no formal intellectual property policies like copyrights here, it is considered good practice in blogs and websites to provide references and links to the original information and other websites upon which you based your article.
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Re: Playing without being heard - Keeping playing volume down

Postby dabesa » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:54 am

Hi Jorge,
totally agreed with you - sorry for not have referenced back to this thread before :?
I also put a link to myCongaPlace on every page.

Thanks!
Daniel
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Re: Playing without being heard - Keeping playing volume dow

Postby CampoSantaRosa » Sun Jun 03, 2018 2:17 pm

Recently returned to drumming after a multi year break and tried Jorge’s suggestion of using towels inside the conga to deaden the sound, this worked great. I put 2 beach towels inside my drum and it reduced the volume quite a bit but I could still feel the drum head as opposed to putting the towel on top. This also works for cajons. Thanks Jorge, this was a huge help for me.
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Re: Playing without being heard - Keeping playing volume dow

Postby jorge » Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:01 pm

My pleasure! You have resurrected an 8-10 year old thread!
Yes, towels or pillows inside let you feel the skins a little better. Towels on top also work well, although sometimes they move around as you play. Lately I have found that after playing with towels on top, my slaps still sound fine.
I am also seeing more and more the value of sitting with just a drum working on my sound, without playing along with recorded music. But this requires practicing with no muffling of the drum, and is best done with a little humility and communication with your neighbors to schedule your playing sessions around when they are not home.
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Re: Playing without being heard - Keeping playing volume dow

Postby CampoSantaRosa » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:18 pm

I’m hoping to resurrect a few more old threads over the next few weeks. As for scheduling with the neighbors it’s a great idea but my only neighbor that complains almost never leaves his house so you’re point about humility is very well taken.
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Re: Playing without being heard - Keeping playing volume dow

Postby Greensail » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:46 am

I've been interested in resurrection of various threads myself. I agree with the towels or pillows inside. Works way better than something on the head which wrecks the feel. I am fortunate that neighbors are not my issue but far and away the greatest thing is an understanding wife who actually tells me to go drum and just shut both doors.
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