Home Theater Rooms: How to Control Ambient Sounds

Disturbances don’t belong to home theater rooms. The main reason for spending a bucket of money to build a theater room in the home and don’t settle for a media room is to have the utmost visual and sound experience.

Let’s talk about sound today. To be precise, let us discuss how you can control ambient sounds so that nothing will compromise these relaxing moments.

Can we really control ambient sounds & enjoy the home theater room?

soundright-wood-framed-panel-index_1When we are talking about ambient sounds, we are actually talking about all sounds coming outside of the home movie theater room. Which are these sounds?

•   These are street sounds. No wonder a good home theater design doesn’t involve windows in the room.

•   They are also the sounds of neighbors – especially if you live in an apartment and have transformed one of the rooms into a home movie theater.

•   Ambient sounds also come from within the home – the children playing in the next room, the washing machine, the vacuum cleaner, the family chatting, music – anything.

The question is whether or not we can control all these sounds. Not all sounds are noises. But all sounds are disturbing. When you enter the home theater room, all you want is some peace and quiet in order to enjoy just the sound of the movie. But sound waves travel. Noise or not, the sound is transmitted from one room to another breaking the barriers of walls and floors and ceilings. And although this may sound pessimistic as to our goal to effectively soundproof the theater room, there are solutions.

The STC soundproofing ratings you should know about

The measuring method of soundproofing is known as Sound Transmission Class (STC). Since you are likely wondering how the sound can break the barrier of a wall or floor and continue its journey, let us just say that the standard architectural structures (like walls) have an average 30-STC rating. And while this is okay for everyday living, it’s not good at all for home theater rooms, where absolute sound isolation is a must.

What should the goal of the home theater designer be? 50-STC. Or, even above. Commercial movie theaters have 60-STC soundproofing.

Solutions to control ambient sounds in the home theater room

If you were to start a home theater construction from scratch now, everything would be much easier. Soundproofing the room would be much easier, that is. That’s because there are various ways to soundproof home theater rooms – decoupling, mass, and damping being the main ones.

But how about if you already have a theater room in the house and want to better control the ambient sounds? Well, there are a few things you can do to improve things – that’s to isolate sounds.

Acoustical wall paneling•   Get acoustical wall paneling. These panels can be put on the ceiling too and come out in various shapes, sizes, and styles. They absorb the sounds that ping-pong in the room.

•   Since sounds are transmitted through the air ducts too, insulate them. This way, the vibrations decrease.

•   If you can and there’s sufficient space, you can add a second layer of drywall around the room. If this is possible, try to leave as much space void as possible between the panels to achieve what home theater contractors refer to as decoupling.

•   If you are planning to replace drywall or install a second layer of drywall, you can also insulate with foam the inner parts of the panel. It’s best to make it heavy – hence, create mass.

•   Since the whole point is to have materials, which absorb sounds, dress any hard material in the room – wood, for instance. Soft materials absorb sound waves.

•   Insulate all structural elements in the room – the walls, the ceiling, the floor.

•   If there’s a window in the room, make sure it closes airtight. If you can replace the glass, do it and prefer double or triple glazing with argon gas as a filler.

•   Buy a new soundproof door or insulate the existing one, making sure there are no gaps around it.