There’s no arguing against the fact that a can rival the appeal of a movie theater, especially now that home theater’s can have the same level of surround sound effects. But having great sound and hearing great sound aren’t the same thing — not when there’s all kinds of surface noise that interrupts the experience. Just turning up the volume on an isn’t the answer either, especially if you live in an apartment or have other people in the houseor apartment uninterested in hearing what you are listening to. So what’s the answer? Creating an envrioment where the external sounds are deadend and so what you are hearing is just what is playing.
Checking The Area for Problems
The key to controlling the external sound begins with a check through the area where your home theater will be. Are the speakers close to a window? If so, then they will be competing with noise from the outside — be that cars on a road or people walking by outside. Is the area where you have your home theater right up against the kitchen, with all its foot traffic, refrigerator and microwave noises? Are there vents for the whole house heating/AC on one of the walls where the sound blows out into the room next to where you or yours will be sitting? These are all things that you can keep from interfering by avoiding the area where they are most prevalent.
Working On Improving The Sound
The first thing to do is remove extraneous noise from your speakers and subwoofer — besides potentially bothering others (especially a subwoofer’s deep bass penetrating the floor to another apt.), vibration and surface noise results. There are pads designed to go underneath the speakers/subwoofer and which control the vibrations and reduce the “leaking” sound without affecting what the speakers are doing.
Next up are the entrances/exits to the room, which in most cases means a door. Weatherproofing foam tape material placed around the edges will help to keep the sound down, as well as keep light from leaking in. For the bottom of the door, it can be as simple as putting a towel down, or you can create a door “trap” This is basically a piece of material placed against the door that just “kisses” the floor and so negates sound (and light) coming from beneath the door.
For curtains, there is blackout materials to block light but also material that will better muffle the sound (blinds are noisy by definition and hanging up something in front of them is another way to go). And placing foam material around windows to control sound leakage will work as well for this as a door. As to vents, while it is possible to cover them up, a more concrete approach is to put baffling material inside — should you feel competant to do that. But for most, the simplest method is to just not have the AC or heat on when you’re using the home theater.
It’s also important to consider any vibrations/noise that might be coming from the TV if it’s wall mounted. Also the same as regards electrical boxes and AC wall outlets — if some cauklng around the edges knocks down on the air passage, it’s worth considering and doing.
Of course the main issue are the walls but in a non-invasive situation there is little that can be done here (hanging blankets or sound paneling material on walls can work but it could be hit and miss, besides looking somewhat “odd”).
The Professional Sound Solution
Another solution, one that involves invasive means, could prove the easiest and most satisfying. Instead of a DIY project, bringing in a professional custom installation team, for example, , takes all the burden off you and lets you dictate what you want, while knowledgable pros handle all the issues. The main advantage here is that the installers know what you don’t — in fact they know the answers to the questions about sound isolation and sound absorption that you don’t even know to ask! And when they’re done, your home theater will be isolated from all the annoyances that extraneous sound can bring, even as you will be freed from the aggravation and hardship of having to try and do it for yourself.