In setting up a music studio, the type of equipment you use and the structure of the room matter. Paddings need to be in the right place to prevent sound leakage and echo. Since windows and doors are the weakest points in a music studio. Windows, in particular, has left many people wondering whether or not it’s ideal to have one in their studio.
Music studios have windows but not for ventilation. The window in music studios is for visual communication between the control room and the recording room to make work much easier. So, a limited amount of windows is acceptable.
Windows can cause sound to echo, so be careful if you allow one in your music studio. Be sure you have the proper acoustic and sound buffers set up to help reduce the echo effects, so you have a quality studio. In this article, I’d answer several questions about having windows in a music studio, like if there’s anything such as a soundproof window and how to soundproof a window.
Do Music Studios Have Windows?
Music studios have windows, but not for the same purpose as you’d normally have them at home. The windows in a music studio are not used to allow proper ventilation. But the window in a music studio is used to aid visual communication between the control room and the recording room. As such, you can communicate through the window with the vocalist.
It is not advisable to have any window in a music studio room to have better sound quality. This is because windows can be bad for acoustic (I’d explain why later in this article). Windows are often made of hard materials which easily reflect sound. This can cause so much echo in the room more than you’d normally have.
Moreover, windows in the music studio are one of the weakest points of sound leakage. If a music studio has windows connecting outside the room, noise from around the room can penetrate the studio through the windows. One way to fix this is to soundproof the window, which I’d explain how to later in this article.
Are Windows Bad for Acoustics?
Windows in a music studio are both a blessing and a curse at the same time. But generally, it is not ideal to have windows in a music studio. Windows produces some nasty impact on the room frequency response. And because they lack the density of walls they are supported by, noise tends to find the weakest link in any wall design.
However, provided the windows are well soundproof, they are not as bad as you may think. Glass windows and dry walls have almost the same absorption rate. As such, if you have a large window in your studio design and you are wondering if it would be bad for acoustics, well, maybe not. If the windows are on a portion of the wall between your head and the loudspeaker, you can add some absorption.
It would be best if you had absorption almost everywhere in a music studio. It doesn’t matter whether you have a plain sheet; you need absorption on it to avoid bad acoustics. So, windows are not as bad as people make them. Although they reflect the highest frequencies a tiny bit more than drywall or wood, it’s no big deal.
Is There Such a Thing as Soundproof Windows?
Soundproof windows are a thing, and they are an ideal solution to dealing with annoying outside noise. If your music studio is set up in a building with windows connecting outside and you don’t want to seal up the window with bricks, soundproof windows are the way to go. Soundproofing windows are unlike residential windows, which do not block all sound.
Soundproof windows are also known as noise reduction windows that can block up to 90% or 95% noise coming through the window. The soundproof windows are installed behind the existing window to add about 4 inches of the dead, sound-reducing air between the principal window and the new interior window.
Note, it is much harder to block sounds with low frequencies than sounds with higher frequencies. As such, when shopping for a sound-reducing window, consider the frequencies you want to soundproof against. Moreover, the acoustic industry makes shopping for a soundproof window easier by rating the sound stopping quality of a window based on a sound transmission class scale (STC). The higher the STC of a window, the more the window inhibits sound.
How Do You Soundproof Glass Windows?
Based on research and experience, here are the top five ways you can soundproof glass windows.
- Add an Extra Layer Over the Glass
I included many soundproof experts believing multiple plane windows offer a significantly higher degree of soundproofing quality than single-pane windows. Add an extra layer of a thick sheet over the glass. Thin sheets wouldn’t offer much sound protection as a thick sheet. But don’t go too thick, else the sheet will become too heavy.
- Secure the Air Gap
If you have a multiple-plane window and you are still noticing some noise, you can check to see if there is an air gap around the window. To properly do this, temporarily remove the trim from around the windows and fill any gaps, holes, or cracks with a quality acoustic sealant.
- Add Soundproof Curtains
Installing a soundproof curtain is fairly easy, particularly if you already have an existing curtain rod. Although using a soundproof curtain increases your music studio room’s aesthetics, they are not all that effective. The absorbency of a soundproof curtain is dependent on the thickness of the curtain, whether it has an inner liner and the density of the fabric.
- Double Glazing
One of the best soundproofing solutions you can opt-in for is double glazing. But the main concern is the cost involved. Double glazing windows involve fitting the window frames with two glass panels, leaving a space of 12mm – 16 mm in between. The space between the panes and frames is then sealed to make an airtight and dead air making it a very effective insulating area.
- Build a Window Plug
One of the simplest solutions to the soundproofing problem is building a window plug. Window plugs are easy to build and made from inexpensive materials. Making a window plug works by filling the space in front of the window with layers of acoustic foam, soundproofing matting, and wood. The foam in front absorbs the incoming sound waves. The mat and the wood board absorb any noise that makes it through the foam.
For more information, check out what the best color for music studio walls is.
Even after much work and expense, leakage though even well-designed windows is still greater than through walls. This is why it is not ideal to have windows in a music studio. So, if you can set up your music studio without a window you’d notice a dramatic improvement. Perhaps if you can get a room inside a room, you’d experience less bad acoustic and noise interference than when you have a room with a window.