How To Block Out Street Noise When Recording

Nothing’s worse than trying to record a great take, only to have it ruined by the sound of passing cars or people chatting outside your window. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to minimize street noise and get a clean recording.

To block out street noise when recording, use soundproofing materials, record during off-peak hours, or move your recording setup to a different location. To get the best sound quality, you will likely need to use a combination of all these methods.

In this article, I’ll be discussing the top 13 methods for soundproofing your home recording studio so you can get the best-quality recording every time. Let’s get started!

How To Block Out Street Noise When Recording

1. Use Acoustic Foam Panels

Using acoustic foam panels is an easy and effective way to reduce street noise in your recordings. These panels absorb sound waves and prevent them from bouncing around the room, which can cause echo and other unwanted sounds.

To choose the best acoustic foam panels for your space, consider the size of your room and the amount of noise you need to block out. For smaller rooms or light noise reduction, 2-inch (5.08 cm) thick panels will do the trick. However, for larger spaces that require more significant soundproofing, 4- or 6-inch (10.16-15.24 cm) thick panels are best.

To install acoustic foam panels, simply attach them to the wall with adhesive or Velcro strips. For a more permanent installation, you can use screws and washers.

2. Use a Soundproofing Curtain

Hanging a soundproofing curtain in front of your recording area can also help to reduce street noise. Soundproofing curtains are made of thick, dense materials that absorb sound waves and prevent them from bouncing around the room.

There are several soundproofing curtains out there to choose from. Some of the best features to look for in a soundproofing curtain or blanket include:

  • A dense, heavyweight fabric
  • A tight weave
  • A sound-absorbing filling such as fiberglass or cotton batting
  • A noise-reducing lining such as felt or flannel

If you live in a particularly noisy area, you may want to consider using two soundproofing curtains hung side by side for even more sound reduction.

To install your soundproof curtains, simply hang them over your windows using the provided hooks or rings. Some curtains also come with grommets that allow you to install them on a rod for easy opening and closing.

3. Soundproof Your Doors and Windows

The biggest culprits of excess noise in a room are doors and windows. If your recording area is near a door or window, take the time to soundproof it using one of these methods:

  • Install weatherstripping around doors and windows to create a seal that prevents noise from coming in.
  • Hang heavy curtains over doors and windows to absorb sound waves.
  • Install door sweeps on the bottoms of doors to prevent sound from entering the room.

4. Move Your Recording Setup to a Different Location

If you don’t have any success soundproofing your recording area, another option is to simply move your setup to a different location. If you have an unused closet or bathroom, these can be great places to record with minimal street noise.

If you don’t have an extra room in your home, another option is to use a sound booth. 

Sound booths are designed specifically for recording and are made to be highly soundproof. They can be a bit pricey, but if you’re serious about getting great recordings, they may be worth the investment.

5. Record During Off-Peak Hours

The best time to record is usually early in the morning or late at night when there is less traffic and noise outside. Of course, this isn’t always possible, depending on your schedule. However, if you have the flexibility, try to record during these quieter hours for the best results.

6. Use a Sound Machine

If you’re recording in a small space, using a sound machine can help to mask street noise and other external sounds. Sound machines emit white noise, which is a type of noise that helps to cover up other sounds.

White noise can be helpful in reducing distractions and helping you focus while working or studying. However, it can also be useful for masking unwanted sounds like street noise when recording.

To use a sound machine, simply place it near your recording area and turn it on. Many sound machines have different settings that allow you to adjust the volume and type of noise being emitted.

7. Use Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noise-canceling headphones make for another great way to reduce street noise when recording. These headphones use microphones to detect external sounds and then emit a sound wave that cancels out the noise.

This can be helpful if you need to hear your recording while you’re recording it. Simply put on the headphones and adjust the settings until the street noise is minimized.

8. Use a Microphone Designed To Mute External Sound

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, there are microphones available that are designed to filter out external sound. These microphones rely on a process called active noise cancellation to cancel out unwanted noise.

Active noise cancellation works by using microphones to detect sound waves and then emitting a sound wave of the opposite phase. This sound wave effectively cancels out the unwanted noise, leaving you with a clearer recording.

There are a few different microphones on the market that offer active noise cancellation. If you’re serious about producing great recordings, investing in one of these microphones can be worth the cost.

9. Block Noise From Your Yard

Another way to reduce street noise when recording is to block noise from your yard. If you live in a busy area, chances are there’s a lot of noise coming from your neighbors’ yards as well.

There are a few different ways you can do this:

  • Install a fence around your property to block out noise from neighboring yards.
  • Plant trees and shrubs around your property to block out noise.
  • Install sound-absorbing panels around your property to reduce noise.

10. In-Home Insulation

In-home insulation can also help reduce street noise when recording. By insulating your walls, you can help block out any unwanted sound from outside.

There are a few different types of insulation available, so be sure to choose one that’s best suited for your needs. For example, if you live in a hot climate, you’ll want to choose insulation that won’t make your home too hot.

How To Choose the Right Kind of Insulation for Your Home Recording Studio

Here are a few different types of insulation to consider for your home:

  • Fiberglass insulation: This type of insulation is made from glass fibers and is commonly used in homes. It’s effective at blocking out sound and is relatively inexpensive.
  • Rigid foam insulation: This type of insulation is made from rigid foam panels and is often used in commercial buildings. It’s very effective at blocking out sound and is more expensive than fiberglass insulation.
  • Cellulose insulation: This type of insulation is made from recycled paper products and is often used in eco-friendly homes. It’s effective at blocking out sound and is relatively inexpensive.

No matter which type of insulation you choose, be sure to install it properly in order to get the best results. If you’re unsure how to install it, hire a professional to do the job for you.

How To Install Insulation for Your Home Recording Studio

To install insulation in your home recording studio, you’ll need to follow a few basic steps.

  1. Measure the area you want to insulate and determine how much insulation you’ll need.
  2. Choose the type of insulation you want to use and purchase it from a local home improvement store.
  3. If you’re installing fiberglass insulation, cut it to size using a utility knife.
  4. For rigid foam insulation, cut the panels to size using a saw.
  5. Install the insulation in your home recording studio following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Once the insulation is installed, add acoustic panels to further reduce sound from outside.

By following these steps, you can help block out street excessive noise when recording in your home studio. Insulation is an important part of soundproofing your recording space, so be sure to do it properly.

11. Hire a Sound Engineer

If you’re still having trouble reducing street noise when recording, another option is to hire a sound engineer. Sound engineers are professionals who specialize in recording and can help you achieve the best possible outcome.

If you’re serious about getting great recordings, hiring a sound engineer is worth the investment. They can help you troubleshoot any issues you’re dealing with and will ensure that your recordings are of the highest quality.

How a Sound Engineer Can Help You Record Better

If you’re struggling to reduce street noise when recording, a sound engineer can help. Here are a few ways they can assist you:

  • They can help you choose the right microphone for your needs.
  • They can help you set up your recording space to reduce street noise.
  • They can help you choose the right type of insulation for your home.
  • They can help you troubleshoot any issues you’re having with your recordings.
  • They can ensure that your recordings are of the highest quality.

These are only a few of the reasons why if you’re serious about getting great recordings, hiring a sound engineer is a wise investment. 

12. Install Soundproof Windows

Ideally, you’re not recording in a room with a window, but sometimes, you just don’t have a choice. If you live in a noisy area, another option to reduce street noise when recording is to install soundproof windows. Soundproof windows are designed to block out noise from outside, making it easier for you to record in peace.

Soundproof windows are a bit more expensive than their traditional counterparts, but they’re worth the investment if you want to reduce street noise.

The Types of Soundproof Windows

There are two main types of soundproof windows:

  • Single-pane windows: These are the most common type of soundproof window and are usually made of glass. They’re not as effective at blocking out noise as double-pane windows, but they’re more affordable.
  • Double-pane windows: These windows have two layers of glass, making them more effective at blocking out noise. They’re more expensive than single-pane windows, but will pay off in the long run.

How To Install Soundproof Windows

If you want to install soundproof windows in your home recording studio, follow these steps:

  1. Measure the window openings in your recording space and purchase soundproof windows that will fit.
  2. If you’re installing single-pane windows, remove the existing windows and install the new ones using shims to make sure they’re level.
  3. If you’re installing double-pane windows, remove the existing windows and install the new ones using shims to make sure they’re level. Then, add weatherstripping around the edges of the window to create a seal.
  4. Hang curtains over the windows to further reduce noise from outside.

By following these steps, you can install soundproof windows in your home recording studio and reduce street noise in no time. However, if you don’t feel confident in your skills, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of a professional.

13. Use Sound-Absorbing Materials

In addition to installing soundproof windows, another way to reduce street noise when recording is to use sound-absorbing materials. Sound-absorbing materials, as their name suggests, help absorb sound, making it easier for you to record in peace.

Recording in a room with a lot of pillows, furniture, and carpets can help to reduce street noise. 

Conclusion

If you’re having trouble recording clear, high-quality audio and want to reduce street noise, there are a few things you can do. 

You can install soundproof windows, use sound-absorbing materials, or hire a sound engineer to help you troubleshoot any issues you’re having. Alternatively, you can invest in a microphone designed to mute external sounds or noise-canceling headphones.

By following these tips, you’re guaranteed to reduce street noise and get excellent-quality recordings.

References

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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