Soundproofing a room in Singapore, 4 tips.

In any big and densely populated city like Singapore where people live in such close quarters, it can be very easy for music lovers and budding musicians to draw the ire of their neighbours by being too loud. To be a good neighbour, you should look into ways to minimize the sounds of your apartment travelling out of your space. These simple soundproofing tips and hacks can save you from an awkward conversation with an angry neighbour.

1. Try to move your instruments to a different room.

If your living room is adjacent to the neighbouring flat, it is only natural that playing instruments or listening to loud music there will mean that the sound will travel across the wall into the neighbour's apartment. To avoid this, try to move to a room that is furthest from your neighbour, preferably one that faces the outside of the building. This will reduce the likelihood of the sound making its way to adjacent apartments.

2. Make sure there are no leaky seams.

Sound travels through objects and the air, so if you try to make your room as air tight as possible, you will also reduce the amount of sound that makes it out of the room. There are many commercially available soundproofing materials that can be used to seal up the seams around your room like cracks around the door frame and window as well as little outlets like your electrical plug points. When you play, you can also put a towel under the door to make the room even more air tight. Additionally, flaps like those installed under doors to stop air conditioned rooms from leaking air can also be useful for stopping sound.

3.  Combine sound absorption and sound blocking materials.

Sound absorption material is usually breathable and lighter and has the effect of reducing echoes and reverberations.  Sound blocking material is more bulky and dense which means that it stops sound from leaving the room altogether. Higher and Mid frequency sounds are easily absorbed but low frequency sounds are not, which will require sound blocking materials like thick wood installed on the walls. You will notice that when you hear loud music from far away, it is usually only the bass (low frequency) that makes its way to you, the same principles apply here. A combination of the two is important to create the best acoustics so that the music sounds good in the room and to make sure that very little escapes the room.

4. Install double windows and other space for air insulation.

Many professional studios use a "room within a room" layout which allows for air outside to form a barrier for the sound. Using double windows will do the same and make sure less sound makes it out of the window. Building false walls with wood will also help create a air barrier.

With these tips, you should be able to practice your instruments and play loud music without bothering the neighbours.

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