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April 8, 2015

Designing the perfect room to enjoy your music when living in a flat


Whether the sheer orchestral beauty of Beethoven or the grungy kaleidoscope of psychedelic rock draws you in, cranking up the stereo and giving in to complete aural surrender is nothing short of bliss. If music doesn’t immortalise our memories, captivate our minds and souls, then what does? Music gives us that happy place we can escape to, whether it’s on the go or relaxing after a long day at work.

Sound and space

If you covet your sound system, you will most likely arrange your space to accommodate your musical passion. If you’re a musician or DJ, you’ll no doubt have your own room or corner studio set up. How can you construct the perfect musical space?

Many of us are fairly limited in our possibilities, partly because we tend to live in small accommodation. A massive stereo system will not have optimal sound in a small space because it requires specific physical measurements and characteristics to work acoustically. That isn’t to say you can’t soak up the modal goodness of the jazz greats, however. Wooden floors, panelled walls and limited objects and clutter allow better sound, but it’s also important to consider what happens on the exterior of the room as well.

If you’re living in a quiet neighbourhood – or even a noisy one – keeping your sound system contained is a courtesy you owe all your neighbours who may not share your affection for Adam Ant at 3 in the morning. Soundproofing is not only about being kind but also about getting to enjoy your greatest hits albums with peace of mind. Here’s what you need to do:

·       Make sure floors are well insulated. Carpets and thick underlay do an excellent job of absorbing sound. You can also purchase special acoustic sealant to use around floors and walls.

·       Walls can be soundproofed by cavity wall insulation, or for smaller budgets, blown mineral fibre insulation. You can also find soundproof panels to install directly on the walls.

·       Acoustic mineral wool, acoustic plasterboard and soundproofing mats can also be used to reduce “flanking noise” (the indirect path of sound waves which escape into nooks and crannies).

Windows are another big issue with soundproofing, and should also be sealed properly. Ideally, homes should be fitted with double-glazed windows, which also offer the added bonus of keeping the heat in during winter and saving on energy. When properly installed, sealed, and shut, with the help of solid shutters, sound will remain contained.

Comfort

Just as importantly, optimising your music experience also means setting up a layout that is comfortable and welcoming – a cosy seating area, storage for your CDs, vinyls, tapes, and other media as well as the entertainment system you’re using. There are all kinds of dynamic ways to rearrange a room – with a little incentive; you can bring into fruition your own little space you can escape to every day. Your ears and your neighbours will thank you.


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