Home theater acoustic treatment is a simple and yet vital project that every soundproofing enthusiast should undertake.
Even with the quietest projector, there is, without properly acoustically treated home theater, you won’t enjoy your daytime or late night movies.
According to a study published on the National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI), some background noises that vary in frequencies (movies, music sounds) have significant effects on infants and children. (Source)
Even though background noise has been shown to impair learning, language processing, under some conditions noise may improve performance, especially steady-state maskers at low volumes (e.g. white noise and some instrumental music).
Another study also reveals that indoor noise can also affect a child’s reading and pre-reading skills. (Source)
The study further stresses that exposure to loud sounds in early childhood can affect a child’s development of basic language functions.
In this guide, we shall be discussing home theater acoustic treatment methods and how you can implement them.
A-List of DIY Home Theater Acoustic Treatment Methods
Loud noises from home theaters not only affects kids. It can affect anyone in the house. If you work at home, you may find it impossible to attain your work goals, especially when there are loud annoying background noises.
I have converted my basement to a small office– and I’m able to work without distraction any time of the day or night.
The biggest culprits in leaking noise in and out of your home theater are doors and windows.
Doors have gaps and cracks that can leak noise outside. Additionally, modern doors are made hollow, and that makes them poor sound insulators.
If your door is hollow, you may want to replace it with a solid core door.
Alternatively, if you’re on a budget, you can try these other simple fixes in the meantime before replacing the door.
First seal off the gaps
A simple 1% door gap can reduce a door soundproofing efficiency by 50%. Some of the materials you can use to seal gaps and cracks include:
Acoustic door seals such as Audimute Soundproofing Acoustic Door Seal Kit that limits sound traveling through cracks and gaps through the door.
You can also use green glue to seal cracks on the door.
Use a door sweep like M-D Building Products Aluminum Weatherstrip Door Bottom. This product will seal the gap between the door and the floor.
Your main aim is to ensure that no gap would otherwise let noise in your house.
You can hang some moving blankets such as Audimute Sound Absorption Sheet Sound to add more mass to the door.
2. Window Acoustic Treatment
Window inserts is a simple and yet effective way of soundproofing windows.
According to research, window inserts such as Indow Window Inserts can reduce up to 70% noise when installed on single-pane windows and up to 50% noise on double pane windows.
Window inserts are made of silicone tubing that creates a seal for your windows. Below is a guide on how to install window inserts on your existing windows.
3. The Ceiling Acoustic Treatment
In my previous article on how to soundproof a ceiling without construction, I discussed in detail some of the cheapest hacks you can implement, and that won’t take much of your time.
In case your home theater is located just below your momma’s bedroom, you know that hell can get loose when you play loud music or watch loud films.
Don’t let that stop you- instead, try soundproofing methods so that you can all the fun you want without disturbing your neighbors or those living next door rooms.
One of the best ways to soundproof a ceiling is to isolate the joists. But first, you’ll need to install new joists between the old joists and some two inches below such that when you install drywall on the new joists, sound waves won’t be transmitted to the room above.
Regarding lighting, a noise insulated ceiling with lights built in is no good owing to the lights and spaces they lighting fixtures leave.
Your best bet would be to install low profile fluorescents or suspend light fixtures.
4. Home theater floor acoustic treatment
The floor of your home theater is another vulnerable area you need to soundproof.
Some will say that soundproofing the floor should only be done for home theaters on higher floors.
That’s not the truth.
All the floors in your home are interconnected through the walls. Impact noise/structure-borne noise can be transferred from one room to the next through the interconnected walls.
There are different DIY hacks on how to soundproof a floor. (click the link) Follow the link to read the detailed guide on how you can fully soundproof your home theater floor cheaply.
Walls are prone to transmitting both structures borne sounds and airborne sounds. To quiet home theater noise, you will need to plug sound leaks, reduce vibrations and absorb sounds.
One of the most popular methods includes adding extra drywall.
Because sounds through the walls are transmitted through vibrations, deadening vibration is best done with dense, heavy materials.
You do not have to add a layer of drywall in every room- you can isolate the home theater. And you will have to repaint your new drywall.
You may be forced to extend switch boxes and electrical outlets, but those are simple and cheap DIY projects.
Other alternative methods of home theater acoustic treatment include hanging Mass loaded vinyl or acoustic foam panels.
Use acoustical caulk to plug holes and gaps around switch boxes, receptacle boxes, ceiling fixtures, and door casings.
You should also consider silencing the duct using sound deadening duct wraps such as BXI – Soundproofing Sheet – Pipe Noise Wrap.
6. HVAC Vents Soundproofing
Don’t forget to soundproof those noisy air vents in your home. Missing such spaces can render your whole home theater acoustic treatment useless.
Sound travels easily through air conditioning systems in your home. Here is what you can do to soundproof your home.
Use duct liners to soundproof your home- they have insulating materials that dampen sounds that travel through the ductwork.
Sound Baffles- it’s a box designed to make sound travel through a maze. Results to sound losing its energy.
You can also install flexible ducts or build soundproof soffits around the ductwork. Soffits are ideal for exposed parts of ductwork inside the room.
Final Thoughts on Home Theater Acoustic Treatment
From the tips above, it’s evident that home theater acoustic treatment doesn’t have to be hard.
Above are some of the practical tips on how you can soundproof your home theater.
You must approach each part of the room to ensure that it’s well insulated. This is because even the smallest gap or crack left unattended can render the whole process seem useless.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.