Will the windows prevent a great space from becoming the new rehearsal room?

The band is looking for a new space, and a friend showed us the basement of a villa she owns with her parents. She would be happy having us their, the only neighbour in the building is cool with it. The size is easily three times of where we are now, the price is right.

The single caveat, possibly is sound. It's a quiet neighborhood and there're several windows, One big one (double-paned glass i think but quite old). Bricking them up is not an option.

So, can they be adequately sound-proofed, and if so how? Most google searches turn up solutions for keeping noise out of a living spaces (trains, planes, street sounds, etc) so I don't know if they would work in reverse. The walls themselves are a couple of feet thick, so they aren't an issue, but the doors potentially would be.

Here are some ideas for the window:

1. A heavy soundproofing curtain hanging over the windows.
2. A soundproofing plug
3. magnetically attached sound-absorbing plexiglass window
4. Additional something (but I don't know what) in or around the window wells outside the building.
5. A combination of the above

Any advice on the relative merits/ disadvantages of these?

What about the door? any ideas there?

This is a really fantastic space, and your help is greatly appreciated.
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Mark Robinson

Gold Supporting Member
I built a press fit padded plug for the window in my studio. The windows are double panes though so I don't use it, don't need it. I use plywood, cut for .75" clearance all around, laminated polyurethane foam to that, at exactly the sill inner dimensions. Then covered it with duvytene, a heavy black fabric. I put gate handles on it. All the assembly glue work was done with 3M super 90 spray adhesive.


Supporting Member
It depends how much you need to reduce levels by.

The two keys to sound isolation are mass and decoupling. Decoupling (the room within a room approach) is going to be difficult in your situation so mass is what you're looking for. You also need to be consistant, as any weak spots will let sound straight though and undermine what you've done elsewhere to isolate the room.

A curtain, however heavy, will largely reduce high frequencies. It might appear to help on drums and bass by muffling the top end of them but it won't be a big difference with the thumpy stuff that tends to annoy neighbours. Also curtains tend to leave gaps which let sound through. I've never looked at plexiglass but I'm a bit sceptical as to how much it's going to do. The only glass in my diy studio was the control room window and that was two panels of thick laminated glass with a 6" gap inbetween. I can still hear leakage through it if it's a loud drummer in the live room.

If you're looking at plugs, the dense fibreglass stuff that is sold by building suppliers to use as insulation inside drywall works well as a base material. Read up on acoustic ratings for the specific brand as some are designed for sound proofing purposes and some purely for heating. The rigid stuff works well and is easier to work with: make a ply or mdf box big enough to cover the window, fill it with the fibreglass with a fabric cover, and use neoprene on the surfaces that contact the wall to create a seal and prevent any sound escaping around the edges.

If you can plug the windows from both sides, that's not a bad idea either.

The Captain

I just invested in 8mm Plexi panels for this exact purpose. Had to leave for a work contract and did't get to fix them yet, but I was planning on doing a thread to describe the outcome. I'll update on how things went in 2 weeks time when I get back.
There is a fixed glass panel which I will have to make a plug for as well, as there was nowhere to fix the plexi on that section. I'm going to use high density particle board wiht a soft covering for that section.


What, I don't understand?

Seriously, though, we do, and will turn down. But we do want to be as careful as possible to be respectful of others. So anything more helpful?
The cover for the window and an honest discussion with the neighbors. I wouldn't worry about sound leaking in unless you're recording more than demo quality cuts.

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