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Sound proofing your shack

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by W1MKC, Nov 19, 2021.

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  1. W1MKC

    W1MKC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi guys,
    My XYL works from home. She has made me aware that my calling CQ etc... is interrupting her work in our home office. The shack is in a semi-improved (concrete) basement with insulation batts in the overhead joists. Her workspace is one floor up. Other than that, it's wide open space. I don't wanna spend an arm, leg, and what not to insulate. I've seen prices of acoustic panels, it's outrageous.
    Are there cheap (really cheap) ways to knock down the sound? Did anybody else do this?
    And help would be great.
    Thanks and 73.
    DE W1MKC
  2. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    You may not need professional acoustic panels. They're nice, but there's nothing magical about them.

    I had a friend who built a "sound stage" room in his apartment for his wife, who worked as a voice-over artist. He just layered things on the walls like towels, blankets, pillows, etc. All of these things have dampening effects. Carpeting helps, too., both inside the sound area and in adjoining rooms. You can use carpeting on more than floors, too. :)

    I don't know how much space you are trying to dampen, and that will probably determine what will fit in your budget. But common & cheap materials can be used to help such a situation.

    Depending on your house layout, you might also be able to negotiate a rearrangement of the workspaces to put more space between them? Or perhaps change how existing rooms are subdivided? Inverse-square law can be your friend if you have some flexibility on where work devices are placed.
    AK5B likes this.
  3. W3TKB

    W3TKB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you've ever looked inside a "sound proof" booth, the panels on the walls have an egg carton pattern or look. That is because the irregular shapes reflect sound back and around inside the booth, rather than letting the sound waves traverse in a straight, linear path.

    You can create the same effect, amazing, by using plain ol egg cartons tacked up on your walls. Sure, you'll need a crapload of them to cover a room, but you probably can get them free at most recycling centers if you're willing to do a bit of "dumpster diving". Or, stop into a few small mom & pop cafe's or diners, and see if they'll save their cartons over a few weeks.

    Simple and cheap.
  4. KJ7UBV

    KJ7UBV Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I’m still a pretty new ham so forgive me if this is an exceedingly stupid question. How loud do you have the volume on your radio that it’s bothering your wife on the floor above you? Maybe a headset would help keep it down a bit? Or am I completely overlooking something else here? :eek::eek::)
    WA9SVD and PU2OZT like this.
  5. N3PM

    N3PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not at all. I agree with 'phones and CW could help. Voice modes may require liberal use of egg cartons and/or judiciously placed moving blankets.
    Or the acoustics of the structure are helping out. Here, the layout is such that I can hear a 700 Hz tone better downstairs than in the loft shack.
    Mike N3PM
    KJ7UBV likes this.
  6. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you are in the basement and there are open studs you can use heavy insulation sold at most building supply places (pretty inexpensive) You can also staple some of that on the ceiling. Good insulation does deaden sound somewhat. If it is voice rather than CW that bothers her use a headset with boom mic. You don't have to speak very loudly into a boom mic to properly modulate the rig
    N0TZU, AK5B and KK5JY like this.
  7. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here ya go: upload_2021-11-19_13-43-44.png
    2E0CIT, W1MKC and AK5B like this.
  8. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    "W1MKC; I copy you 4x4 as your audio has a bit of an unusual "watery sounding" quality to it... are you operating maritime mobile?"
    PU2OZT and W1MKC like this.
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    My shack isn't soundproofed at all, but using CW and headphones nothing can be heard 3 feet away, let alone in the next room.

    However when I do operate "phone" (SSB), I use a boom mike with very low mike gain setting and close-talk the mike, and still always use headphones, so I'm speaking in a very low tone of voice, not much above a whisper, and my XYL cannot hear it one room away with the doors open.

    No reason to speak loudly, and for me, never any reason to use a speaker. I don't think I've used a speaker on any of my "home" rigs in 40 years.
    WA9FZB likes this.
  10. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Check out and join the Audiogon audiophile forums; lots of DIY sound absorbtion/dispersion ideas and discussions with many knowlegable folks that hang out there.

    You can also cut up a bunch of 2x4s or 2x2s into little blocks of different lengths and glue them onto plywood panels to put on the walls, make your own bass traps, use egg cartons, moving blankets, towels and insulation as others have noted. Lots of solutions await you that are neither expensive nor difficult.


    ----The Guy with the Golden Ears (not anymore, actually) :D

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