Gaming is fun, addictive, and, above all, comes with positive effects. According to a study published on Sagepub Journals, children who play video games have been shown to have higher scores in science, mathematics, and reading than children who never play these games.
While young adults and teenagers may benefit from playing video games, there’s one worrying concern, the noise problem that everyone obviously tends to ignore.
Whether using headphones or your stereo speakers, gaming for hours with loud background noise could result in noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). The noise even becomes a nuisance to those around you when your gaming console is connected to the subwoofer.
There are different ways to approach this situation, which I will be sharing with you in this guide.
Understanding Gaming Room Sounds
For your soundproofing project to succeed, it would be wise to understand the sound problems you’re experiencing and the different ways to solve them. When soundproofing a gaming room or any other room in your house, you should be aware of sound absorption and soundproofing.
Most people often confuse sound absorption with soundproofing only to be disappointed in the end.
Sound is just like water. While you can’t see it, it behaves similarly to water and molds itself, just like water would do. Water can be absorbed or contained, and so is sound.
Sound absorption is the process in which a structure, object, or material absorbs sound energy when the sound waves are encountered.
Hard surfaces in your gaming room, such as concrete walls and hard tiles, will reflect sound waves resulting in echoes and reverberations.
That’s where sound-absorbing materials save the day.
When strategically installed and positioned in your room, they will absorb sound which would have otherwise been reflected. This results in improved audio quality as echoes and reverbs are eliminated.
Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) measures how much sound material can absorb. It’s measured on a scale of 0 to 1. An NRC of 0 means that the material won’t absorb sound, while an NRC of 1 means that the material will absorb all sound that would have otherwise been reflected.
However, installing sound-absorbing materials in your room won’t prevent noise from bleeding into other rooms.
Your roommates, neighbors, or family members would still complain about being loud, even with tones of absorbing materials installed in your room.
Sound-absorbing materials are soft; a good example is an acoustic foam that does a fantastic job absorbing noise.
Unlike sound-absorbing materials, soundproofing materials won’t absorb sound waves. Materials used for soundproofing are known as sound blockers as they block noise from leaving or entering your gaming room.
My newly soundproofed gaming room! CRISP AUDIO INCOMING! pic.twitter.com/H9Qo15k2kT
— Muselk (@muselk) October 7, 2016
Something like soundproofing blankets (not moving blankets every other blogger out there recommends) will effectively block noise. See my guide on soundproofing blankets.
Soundproofing materials are heavy and sturdy, and these features make them highly effective in blocking sound.
The efficiency of sound blocking materials is measured in STC, which stands for Sound Transmission Class.
STC is given in decibels and is calculated by measuring transmission loss. Transmission loss is the difference in decibels on either side of the partition.
|STC Ratings||What Can be Heard?|
|60+||The Best Soundproofing|
|50||Very loud sounds such as stereo or musical instruments can be faintly heard|
|45||Loud speed imperceptible, only loud music system still a problem|
|40||Loud speech barely audible|
|35||You can hear loud speech but not understood|
|30||Loud speech heard and perceptible|
|25||Everyday speech heard and understood|
With soundproofing products installed correctly in your room, you won’t have to worry about annoying your neighbors when gaming in full volume mode or waking the baby sleeping next room.
“Soundproof” a Gaming Room with Sound Absorption Materials
If you find the echoes and reverberations are ruining your gaming experience, making you feel like you’re in a cave, you will need sound absorption materials to deal with the problem. Below are some of my most recommended products
Acoustic Foam Panels
Acoustic foam panel is an open-celled foam that’s used for acoustic treatment . It reduces airborne sound waves amplitude, and the energy is converted to heat. These panels are available in different colors, sizes, and thicknesses.
I’m sure you’ve seen these foam panels in gaming rooms for YouTubers, recording studios, or even nightclubs. They can be attached to the ceiling, walls, doors, and other areas in your room to control echoes and reverberations.
The main purpose is to reduce and not eliminate resonance in a room.
A few examples of acoustic foam panels that I would highly recommend include SoundKey Premium Acoustic Foam Panels, which have an excellent NRC rating of 0.8.
A brand known as Acoustic Design Works also sells a series of acoustic panels with superior absorption ratings of NRC 0.85 and 1.0.
Below is a table to give you an idea of how effective acoustic panels are in absorbing airborne noise.
|Surface Material||NRC Rating|
|SoundKey Acoustic Foam Panels||0.8|
|Acoustic Design Works 1″ acoustic panel||0.85|
|Acoustic Design Works 2″ acoustic panel||1.0|
|Standard Acoustic Foam||0.4|
You can clearly see from the above table that regular acoustic foam will only absorb 40% sound and reflect back 60%.
SoundKey absorbs up to 80% airborne noise (echoes and reverbs), reflecting 20%. If you require something that delivers almost 100% sound absorption, then I would highly recommend Acoustic Design Works 2” foam panels.
You can use this Acoustic Foam Quantity Calculator to determine the number of panels you require. For best results, you can attach it to all four surfaces of your room.
Sound Absorbing Curtains
As the name suggests, sound-absorbing curtains, also commonly known as soundproof curtains, absorb noise greatly.
As a gamer, you will get many benefits by simply hanging these curtains on your windows. They are made of thick, dense, and soft materials that guarantee to absorb airborne noise in your room, eliminating echoes and reverbs.
I tested three different noise-absorbing curtains, and the results I obtained were fantastic. Alone these curtains won’t eliminate 100% echoes and reverbs. You will need a combination of other sound absorption materials for an echo-free gaming room.
The first on my list is the Sound Absorbing Curtains sold Acoustic Curtains™, a 3-layer heavy-duty construction that absorbs noise and offers insulation and blackout benefits. These curtains have an NRC of 0.65 to 1.0, depending on your chosen material construction. If you want 100% sound absorption, I recommend picking the Crescent Velour design with an NRC of 0.85-1.0.
The second recommendation on my list is the Acoustic-Curtain Designer Acoustical Curtains with an NRC 0.55, which guarantees up to 55% sound absorption.
You can get NICETOWN Soundproof Thermal on Amazon. These are elegantly designed blackout curtains that guarantee up to 85-99% blackout as well as sound absorption for a remarkable gaming experience. They will also block out harmful UV rays from the sun and require very little maintenance as they are machine washable.
|Curtain Name||Key Features||(NRC)|
|Acoustic Curtains™||3 Layer Heavy Duty Construction
|Up to 1.0|
|Acousti-Curtain™ Designer Acoustical Curtains||Class A, Nonflammable
|NiceTown Soundproof Thermal Curtains||100% polyester
Made in China
|Not Provided by the Manufacturer|
Corner Bass Traps
Playing Call of Duty and other shooter games results in low frequency sounds generation as explosions reign over the battle arena.
Low frequency sounds like bass builds up fast along every hard surface in your room but easily intensify in corners where two surfaces (walls, wall/floor, or wall/ceilings) meet.
There are two types of bass traps- porous absorbers and resonant absorbers. Resonant absorbers are further categorized into two Helmholtz and Diaphragmatic absorbers.
Porous absorbers are cheaper but not highly effective in blocking low-frequency sounds.
Resonant absorbers are also known as narrowband absorbers or tuned absorbers, zero-in on low frequency sounds alone while ignoring the mid/upper range.
In this case, some of my recommended bass traps are the Corner Bass Absorbers sold by Foam Factory and ATS Acoustics Corner Bass Trap, available on Amazon.
Soundproof Gaming Room with Sound Blockers
If you’re worried that you’ll annoy people living next door or your neighbors living just adjacent to you with all the should and the loud gaming sounds, then soundproofing your gaming room is the only option you have.
Remember, what I shared above was all related to noise absorption. The materials discussed in this section will effectively block unwanted noise from bleeding in or out of a room.
Soundproofing will also block outside noise from interfering with your gaming experience, ensuring that the sounds you hear only come from your gaming console.
Soundproofing Gaming Room Windows
These are different ways to reduce noise from bleeding through the windows, with some methods guaranteeing up to 95% sound blocking.
The first and the most obvious method would be to seal the gap between the window frames. These gaps are notorious for leaking sound. As we’ve seen in my previous post on soundproofing sliding doors, even a small gap on your window can leak more noise, just like when the window is open.
Seal these gaps using weather stripping tape like the ClouBuyer Indoor Weather Stripping. This tape will create an airtight seal that will block airborne noise from leaving or entering your gaming room.
You can also get some soundproof windows sold by Soundproof Windows Incorporated. They achieve incredible soundproofing results as a second window is installed on the existing window, eliminating the need to remove or replace your current window.
The newly soundproof window will open and close just like your existing window and offer significantly improved STC ratings. As a result, you get up to 95% noise reduction levels .
Below is a photo showing how these windows improve the overall STC ratings of your window.
With the extra window added, you can further increase the efficiency by installing sound-blocking curtains.
|Material||Sound Transmission Class (STC)|
|Standard Single Pane Window||26-28|
|Soundproof Window + Single Pane,||48-54|
|Double Pane Window||26-32|
|Soundproof Window + Double Pane||48-54|
|Quilted Curtain S.T.O.P Curtains||29-33|
Sound blocking curtains are different from sound-absorbing curtains. They block up to 60% of the noise, that is approximately 15-20 decibels depending on the fabric and lining used. A perfect example is the Quilted Curtain S.T.O.P which the manufacturer claims to have an STC rating ranging between 29-33 depending on the thickness and weight.
Soundproof Gaming Room Doors
The door is another major culprit in leaking unwanted noise in and out of your room. You can use different sound-blocking materials to eliminate noise coming through the window.
If you have a hollow door, I would highly recommend you replace it with a solid core door. This is because solid core doors have more mass than hollow core doors, and more mass creates more barriers to sound.
An acoustical gasket is a rubber tape that uses a cellular membrane to significantly reduce vibrations through solid surfaces.
The installation is quite simple as most acoustical gaskets require peel and stick application.
Header and jamb gasketing will create a continuous and airtight seal around the perimeter of your door frame hence blocking sound waves from leaving or entering a room.
Soundproof door seals and sweeps will also reduce the air and sound transfer through the door.
Door seals don’t require professionals for installation- you can install by simply using simple household tools.
Soundproof door sweeps use silicone and aluminum installed on the space between the door bottom and the floor.
Not only do they reduce sound transmission, but they also help in temperature regulations in your room.
You shouldn’t confuse soundproof blankets with acoustic blankets. Soundproof blankets such as the QBS Soundproofing Blankets are made of a layer of noise blocking mass-loaded vinyl, which effectively helps block noise in the game room from leaking in or out.
What’s more fascinating is the fact that these blankets can be customized to fit anywhere in your room.
You can order them as a custom-fit curtain for your windows (grommets added) or a custom fit for your game room door.
I’m sure that you’ll find some bloggers recommending moving blankets as a soundproofing solution. You may be disappointed as a moving blanket won’t block or absorb noise. These types of blankets are only designed for moving goods.
Soundproof Gaming Room Walls and Floors
Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass Loaded Vinyl is a dense limp vinyl sheeting impregnated with metallic particles to increase mass. It’s designed to block sound waves and works best when sandwiched between layers of drywall material.
While it’s possible to just hang it on the walls, doors, or windows, you won’t get the maximum benefit from this sound blocker. The principal ingredients in the MLV barrier are vinyl which gives the product flexibility, and a naturally occurring element, in most cases, Barium Sulfate.
Barium sulfate is non-toxic and has a high relative density, contributing to the overall effectiveness of mass-loaded vinyl in blocking sound.
The efficiency of mass-loaded vinyl depends on thickness and mass, as shown below.
|Material||STC Rating||Best Uses|
|1lb. 1/8” thick inch MLV||26||Best used in ceilings, walls, floors, fences, automobiles, etc.|
|2lb. ¼” thick MLV||33||Best for floor, ceilings, walls, outdoor fences|
|½ lb. 1/16 inch thick||20||Best for curtains, pipes, and other light applications.|
Footfalls and stomping noise can be quite annoying, especially if you game upstairs and the living room is just the floor beneath you.
Luckily, there are simple techniques that will all you to block stomping noise and also absorb some echoes and reverberations.
You can place a layer of Mass Loaded Vinyl beneath your carpet. This will absorb any vibrations that would have otherwise been transferred to the room below you. Additionally, you can invest in a thick carpet such as Gorilla Grip Thick Fluffy Faux Fur Washable Rug. These thick carpets will absorb medium and frequency sounds nice, creating a comfortable gaming environment.
There are different methods to soundproof walls in your gaming room. Attaching sheets of mass-loaded vinyl is one way, but adding a layer of drywall is the most effective way.
Drywall is mainly composed of either calcium sulfate or gypsum. It’s cheap, fireproof, and helps block unwanted noise in your room.
Drywall installation over your existing wall is a bit technical and may require a professional to help you with the installation.
However, for maximum effectiveness, it’s highly recommended you first seal all the cracks and gaps on the wall using a damping compound such as green glue.
Sandwiching a layer of mass-loaded vinyl in between two drywall sheets will effectively maximize your walls’ sound-blocking abilities.
Some of the most common brands of sound barrier drywall include QuietRock and SoundBreak XP.
|Material||Sound Transmission Class (STC)|
|SoundBreak XP Wall® Board
|Up to 56 for a single layer|
Did you know that some insulation materials are great in blocking noise, providing thermal insulation, and offering a considerable amount of sound absorption?
ROCKWOOL Safe’n’Sound is the insulation used for interior partitions where superior fire and acoustical performance are needed.
This material, when used alongside other soundproofing material such as gypsum boards, increases the sound transmission class of the partition up to a range of 50-52 and, at the same time, offers incredible fire resistance results.
This means very loud instruments such as drums or stereo will faintly be heard by those next doors. Below is another table showing these incredible results.
|Wall Partition Description||Fire Resistance||Sound Transmission Class (STC)|
|1 layer of 3” Safe’n’Sound® Steel Stud
5/8″ gypsum boards (type x)
3 5/8” steel studs spaced 24” OC
|1 layer of 3” Safe’n’Sound® Wood Stud
5/8″ gypsum boards (type x)
2×4” wood studs spaced 16” OC
Resilient Channels spaced 16” OC
|1 layer of 6” Safe’n’Sound® Wood Stud
2×10″ Wood Joists spaced 16″ OC
5/8” gypsum boards (type x)
Resilient Channels spaced 24” OC
A Whisper Room Soundproof Booth?
A brand known as Whisper Room Incorporated has designed what’s popularly known as a Whisper Room.
The whisper room is ideal for voice-over, recording, audiology, office, broadcasting, music room practice, and audio testing.
Even though the Whisper Room enclosures aren’t 100%, they do a great job reducing noise from leaking in or outside the room.
You can play loud music inside or even sing loudly, and the noise you produce will be almost unnoticeable to anyone outside the booth.
The best part is that whisper rooms are portable, allowing for flexibility. Meaning you can assemble and disassemble the booth for easier transportation.
There are two types of Whisper Room soundproof both. The first one comes with a standard single-wall while the other is fitted with enhanced double walls. The one you choose will highly depend on your gaming environment, location, and use.
Below is a table showing the expected decibel reduction for a range of varying sound frequencies when using the Whisper Room Soundproof Booth.
|Freuquency||125 Hz||250 Hz||500 Hz||1000Hz||2000Hz||4000Hz|
|Standard Wall (STD)||49 dB to 55 dB||48 dB to 54 dB||47 dB to 53 dB||46 dB to 52 dB||47 dB to 53 dB||43 dB to 49 dB
|Enhanced Wall (ENH)||49 dB to 55 dB||
|39 dB to 45 dB||35 dB to 41 dB||36 dB to 42 dB||36 dB to 42 dB|
Expected Decibel Reduction
Gaming Room Soundproofing Less Effective Methods
I’m certain that you’ve probably come across some of the techniques I shall be explaining below. While some folks may recommend these methods, I’ve personally found them quite not as effective as the other methods/materials I’ve mentioned above.
Soundproofing Paint: This paint doesn’t block sounds but creates a “soft surface” that helps absorb noise. I wouldn’t recommend it in this case because it’s too time-consuming, costly (3 layers needed), and less effective than something like acoustic foam panels.
Rearranging Furniture: rearranging Furniture and placing it in a shared wall is an effective way to reduce vibrations from transferring through the wall partition. But who does have a bookshelf in their gaming room? Would relocating your bookshelf or portable cloth closet be a feasible option? Hell, no!
AfterHours Quiet Stream? If you stream late at night, you could be waking people in other rooms, which can be quite annoying. Sometimes, you can simply isolate sound by adopting a technique known as AfterHours Quiet Steam.
This is a late-night stream where you don’t use a webcam or microphone. You only show your viewers raw gameplay. This is an effective strategy for those who stream several hours during the day and at night. Most people enjoy watching relaxing gameplay before going to sleep. The idea of a commentator screaming every now and then in the late hours can be annoying.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do Streamers Soundproof Their Rooms?
Most streamers soundproof their room with acoustic foam panels. Well, as earlier said, foam panels don’t block sound from leaving or entering your room. Fortunately, acoustic foam panels are one of the best sound absorbers you can get on the market today.
How Do Professionals Soundproof a Room?
Professionals use professional soundproofing materials such as drywall, soundproof curtains, soundproof blankets, and materials that both block noise and absorb it. Some of these professionals use industrial grade.
Soundproofing a gaming room is a simple task that any avid gamer would achieve in simple steps.
It’s so unfortunate that you’ll find all sorts of misleading information out there. For instance, you’ll see some folks recommending acoustic foam panels as a soundproofing option.
Without a clear understanding of how sound blocking and sound absorption works, you’re bound to fail.
Make it known right from the start what you really want.
Do you only need to get rid of echoes and reverbs? If that’s the case, you only need sound-absorbing materials.
Want to block noise from leaking in or out of the gaming room? Then you’re better of with sound blocker products.
Regardless of the route you take, I recommend you always check the STC or the NRC values for respective materials. Remember, the higher the value, the better the material blocking or absorbing noise is.
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.