The 5 Principles of Soundproofing

When it comes to soundproofing, treating your project like a piece of art instead of a scientifically exact project could turn out to be a huge mistake. While you often have to be creative in order to determine exactly where your problem is coming from, there are only a few guaranteed solutions to your soundproofing problems and they’re all easy to follow.

Before you can find the solution to any soundproofing problem you need to gain a strong understanding of the 5 principles of soundproofing. These include:

  • Mass,
  • Absorption,
  • Conduction,
  • Resonance, and
  • Mechanical decoupling or isolation


In soundproofing, always remember that the heavier a surface is the harder it will be for sound energy to pass from one side to the other. Therefore, soundproofing a room with an extra layer of drywall may or may not work for a simple reason – drywall doesn’t weigh a lot. If, however, you couple that second layer of drywall with a heavier soundproofing material, like mass loaded vinyl, you’ll add both thickness and weight, giving you a much more effective outcome.


The ability to absorb sound is crucial to the success of any good sound proofing project. Placing some sort of absorbent material between the layers of drywall that make up your walls will go a long way in reducing the instance of sound, even if you don’t use an advanced soundproofing material. The frequency of the noise will usually dictate the type of material you should use  but using a product like Green Glue will almost guarantee the highest rate of success.


Conduction is the word used to describe the way sound is able to travel along a surface. If you put a sound system speaker on the floor, for example, the sound coming out of the speaker will not only enter the room but will vibrate along the floor and into adjoining rooms. In order to stop sounds from conducting you need to ensure they object creating the sound is not on a conductable surface. For example, you might want to raise your speakers up from the floor with stands.


Resonance refers to the ability of sound energy to vibrate through a surface. All of the techniques we talk about regularly are aimed at stopping resonance from occuring.

Mechanical Decoupling

Another great way of keeping sound from moving through or around surfaces is by using mechanical decoupling or isolation techniques. We do this by creating barriers that prevent sound from moving directly from point A to point B. The sound hits what are known as resilient channels, forcing them to move and lose energy. In order to complete this type of project we would add whisper clips to a surface, double stud the walls, or even stagger the locations of the studs.

Each of these priciples should be at the forefront of your mind as you begin your soundproofing projects. They all work together to either make or break a successful project.

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