Just because I’m already into my mid-30s does not mean I have matured enough to play and enjoy playing chess or checkers. As the saying goes, “once a gamer, always a gamer.”
Okay, fine. I made that up but my irrefutable point is that I still have a rocking good time whenever I fire up the console to try and save the world from bloodthirsty aliens or engage pimply 12-year olds in digital deathmatches.
To make the gaming experience more enjoyable and immersive, I often turn the volume all the way up to make me “feel” the gameplay a little bit more, whether it’s the explosions, the dialogue or even the music that’s accompanying the action. Unfortunately, though, the only thing I end up feeling is my wife’s wrath as she berates me for being too loud and rowdy that our neighbors have already called to complain about the ruckus.
Now I really could not care less about my neighbors but I do care a whole lot about what my wife thinks. So in order to come to a compromise with her, I suggested that I just set up a soundproof gaming room. Fortunately, she agreed granted that I dig into my own pockets to pay for this project.
Setting up a soundproof a gaming room is identical to soundproofing any other room. Last time I checked, none of us were playing inside spaceships yet so I reckon your game room features a door, a ceiling, a floor, regular walls and maybe also a window.
So each of these spaces will have to be soundproofed if you want to play to your heart’s content without having hellfire and brimstone rain down on you. Even if the game room isn’t yours but your children’s, it’s also prudent to soundproof this just so that others can enjoy relative peace and quiet while your kids enjoy their video games.
That said, here are the most ideal methods you can utilize to soundproof your gaming room. Before that, let’s first take a look at some easy tips to improve the acoustics of a room.
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How to Improve Gaming Acoustics
Every person that enjoys playing video games wants to have the best gaming experience possible. In order to have that, here are a few tricks you can use to improve the acoustics inside of your gaming room.
1) Make Use Soft and Fluffy Household Items
Let’s start with an easy-to-do trick: make use of any soft household items you already have inside your house. An empty room that features hard surfaces is not what you want for good acoustics, so try to fill it up as best as you can. Using soft materials will help the sound absorb rather than bouncing off your walls and getting louder in the process.
- Here are some things you could try to do:
- Use heavy or soundproof curtains over your windows (maybe even soundproof ones).
- Cover as much of the floor as you can with soft and thick rugs.
- Use any old blanket you can find to cover hard surfaces.
- You could put up some tapestries — maybe even some gaming-related ones if you want to stick to a theme.
2) Use Moving Blankets
If you have some extra money and are really enthusiastic about having the best gaming acoustic experience possible, you could also use soundproof or moving blankets. Moving blankets are dense and heavy blankets that people use to safeguard their furniture from damage when they are moving to a new place of residence. Since audiophiles began using them on their walls to block sound from leaving and bolster acoustics, and companies have also started producing soundproof blankets for this particular purpose.
There are many ways you can use them around your room, beginning with nailing or taping them to your walls. However, you can also use them over doors and windows where you’ll need the extra mass. After all, doors and windows are the main areas where sound escapes. In these situations, I strongly suggest using a blanket with grommets and setting it up like a curtain.
3. Use Acoustic Foam Products
When discussing acoustic foam products, there are basically two different kinds. There are acoustic foam tiles, which are square textured pieces of foam you paste onto your walls and ceilings. And then, there are fabric panels, which are fabric-wrapped foam panels with a wooden back.
The wood backing on the fabric panels would make them a lot easier to hang on your walls. Essentially, you could even get standing fabric panels, so you could move them to where you want them to be.
How to Have a Soundproof Gaming Room
If you’re someone — whether you’re nine or 99 — who loves playing video games, you must realize how crucial it is to keep the volume of your game at a high level. On the flip side, you must also realize that you are not a savage and that you need to be considerate of other people inside or in close proximity to your gaming room. This could be your wife, a roommate, a housemate, a cousin, a child, etc.
Unless you’re a rude douche, you’ll want to respect other people’s appreciation for peace and quiet without having to give up playing on your PC or console. You just have to figure out how to make less noise, and this is what the section below is for. Read on!
1) Soundproof the door
Unless you just teleport straight into your gaming room, it must have a door. And you must also know that your door is thinner than the walls aside from the small
gaps between the door and its frame. There are also a few gaps under the door that need to be taken cared of because a thin barrier and open spaces surrounding it are the weakest points in the room when it comes to sound transmission.
To take care of the gaps, you need to cover the doorframe with weatherstripping tape. You need one or two layers to do this. The main goal is to have a seal between the door and the frame when it’s closed so close the door and see if there’s more tape required until you get there.
The second gap that needs to be tended to is the one under the door. If there is a gap, you can try covering it with a door sweep. To that end, I highly recommend using this silicone door sweep because it’s self-adhesive and setting it up is a breeze! You just cut it with a knife to match the width of your door. Then simply attach it to the lower part of the door and you’re all good to go.
After the gaps, you need to focus on the door and adding mass to it. Not taking care of this would mean that the noise will not only pass through but also resonate and generate more noise if there are any vibrations from bass and low frequency sounds going on.
The easiest and most inexpensive way is to hang a thick moving blanket on the door. You have to use a HEAVY moving blanket like this, which is the thickest and heaviest one for proper sound insulation. You can hang it by nailing/screwing/tacking it on the door. A moving blanket will not only add mass to the door and act as a sound barrier. It will also dampen the noise in the room and reduce echo since it will cover a large, otherwise hard surface that resonates sound.
An alternative to a moving blanket is a thick soundproofing acoustic panels. To set these panels up, you can use hanging strips like Command Strips, screw them to the door or use a general spray adhesive to glue them to the door.
Hanging strips are your cleanest option because it’s easier to remove the panels and move them around if you choose to do so. If you glue them to the door with an adhesive, it will leave a mark on the door and possibly ruin the panel if you try to remove it later on. So hanging strips is my top recommendation.
Another thing that you should consider using to cover the door with is Mass Loaded Vinyl. This product is often placed inside the wall, by screwing it on the studs. It’s also used to soundproof vehicles because it can endure high temperatures and is remarkably efficient at blocking vibrations. It also offers excellent insulation against airborne and impact noise, just like fiberglass.
However, you have to take note that it doesn’t look very nice. Basically, it’s like a black surface and it can get pretty gloomy. But you can paint it to any color you like with latex paint.
2. Insulate The Gaming Room Walls
If you are really keen on blocking out ALL the noise from coming in and out, you’ll need to add some thick and heavy material inside the walls. The most ideal way to do it is by putting in mineral wool batts or Mass Loaded Vinyl inside the wall.
However, there are some sound dampening methods that don’t need you to tear open the walls inside your residence or living space. As previously mentioned, Mass Loaded Vinyl can be installed straight onto the studs by screwing or nailing it to them.
Mineral wool batts are positioned between the studs so that they cover the empty space between them in order to block the noise that would typically pass through those hollow areas. When working with mineral wool, always wear gloves, long sleeves, glasses, and a mask because these batts can discharge small mineral wool particles that can be fairly irritating to the skin. This is why they’re placed inside the wall instead of on the surface.
Another alternative is to fix a layer of standard drywall or soundproof drywall. This is quite effective, but you’ll probably need to hire a professional to do it for you, which as you might have guessed already, can cost you a pretty penny.
Since installing MLV or mineral wool batts is easy and straightforward you can do it yourself and cut down on the labor costs. But it needs you to open up the wall to reach the studs. So it’s best to do this if you’re already in the process of reconstruction. If this is not your situation, don’t worry as I have some methods you might prefer instead like placing soundproofing material on the wall’s surface
Let me be very honest though, this is less effective than insulating the inside of the wall. If you’re trying to tackle vibrations from the bass, for example, it’s better to insulate the studs because they are at the center of the construction.
However, placing soundproofing material to the surface of the wall can be effective for blocking regular noise, and it’s far simpler to pull off. It can also be more reasonable in terms of cost, depending on the products you utilize. I’ll mention a few affordable options for you to try.
One is thick moving blankets. They can be used to stifle the noise from walls, doors, windows, and ceiling. I recommend using these thick blankets by nailing or screwing them on the wall. Also, the more layers you set up, the better insulation these blankets will give you, because of the additional thickness and mass.
Another alternative is to cover the walls and the ceiling with soundproofing foam panels. Foam panels will deaden the noise to a certain degree, but they won’t totally block it. However, doesn’t echo reduction also reduce the perceived noise? By lessening the echo in the gaming room, you will also lessen the scope of the noise and the subjective feeling of its volume.
The second benefit is the bolstered quality of sound. If you record videos or podcasts, you will definitely enjoy this benefit. The more area you’re able to cover with foam panels, the better echo reduction and noise muffling you’ll enjoy. I suggest setting up foam panels on the wall with inexpensive hanging strips.
These panels are not too hefty, so putting one or two hanging strips on the back will keep them on the wall. These black and blue foam panels are fairly affordable and you can cover 12 square feet for less than $20.
You can also try these thick acoustic panels that I suggest for soundproofing the door. Bear in mind that these can be a bit expensive if you plan on covering a larger area.
But what about Mass Loaded Vinyl? Can MLV be fitted directly on the wall? Yes, it can, and it can do a fine job at blocking noise. But again, as mentioned above, if you can take looking at an unsightly wall all day, then and only then, should this option be considered. However, if you can get a large fabric to cover it with or if you can hide it behind some large furniture by the wall, you can get away with this cost-effective but ugly solution. And it has a higher NRC rating than all of these other materials.
3. Hang Noise-Blocking Drapes On The Window
Windows can be another weak point when talking about noise that needs to be addressed immediately. You can try installing an additional windowpane, making a window plug, and concealing the window with soundproof drapes.
Thick drapes like this do a fine job of reducing echo and lessening the noise that passes through the window. They also give you decent thermal insulation. You should get long and large drapes that can cover a greater area. The ones you get should cover the window and a small area around the window as well.
To hang these drapes, you’ll need a curtain rod set up above the window. I also recommend using weatherstripping tape on the window frame to seal off any gaps between the frame and the window. These gaps allow sound and cold and hot air to pass through as well.
4. Insulate Floor with Floor Underlay and Dense Carpeting
If you are on the fence about soundproofing the floor in your gaming room, you should take into account whether anyone is living downstairs and is being disturbed by all the noise or they are the ones making the noise and disturbing your gaming experience. Whatever the case may be, perhaps you should add some mass to your floor.
The easiest way to go about doing this is by setting up a floor underlay. This is oftentimes done by placing an additional layer of plywood or MDF wood panel surface on the floor. At times, green glue is used between the subfloor and the floor’s surface to reduce any further impact noise.
However, if you’re not dealing with too much noise, this may be too much work. If the noise is not severe, covering the floor with a thick carpet or rugs can also do the trick. A preferred method of mine is to cover the floor with closed-cell foam mats. These are often found in weightlifting areas in the gym. They protect the floor, lessen noise, and make the floor warm and comfortable to walk on at all times.
5. Install a Soundproof box for Your Computer Housing
If you are a PC gamer, you can lessen the noise coming from your computer by placing it inside a soundproof box. Building this box is not too difficult. You’ll just need a few plywood panels, nails and/or screws to piece them together, mass loaded vinyl and perhaps some acoustic foam would also do just fine albeit optional.
After building a box that fits your computer, cover the inside of the walls with mass loaded vinyl. Then glue acoustic foam to the vinyl or you can leave it as it is. Then place the computer case (housing) inside. Of course, you have to leave a side of the box open or make a few holes in the plywood so that your computer doesn’t overheat. But there will still be significantly less noise coming out.
6. Lessen the Noise From Your Console’s Fan
Any gamer will tell you that consoles can also get pretty loud. This often happens because of the high graphics demands of particular games that lead to overheating. The overheating is then fought by increased fan speed.
7. Use a Noise-Blocking Gaming Headset
The simplest and most hassle-free way to resolve the noise problem is to use a comfortable and effective gaming headset. There are a lot of gaming headsets available, but some are better than others.
I recommend the Adasto Gaming Wireless Headset, which many consider being the best of all time. Perfect crisp surround sound, precise microphone, and wireless. This headset is used by a lot of pro gamers all over the globe, especially in cooperative games like Call of Duty. If you’re willing to invest a bit more money for awesome sound quality, this is the way to go.
If you can afford to invest a bit more into this, then you should check out these Astro A50 headphones. They are praised as one of the best gaming headphones ever, with their perfect sound quality and a battery life of 15 hours.
If you use a PS4 or an Xbox, then the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Headset is the best possible choice for you. It only costs under $100 and is being praised by the gaming community for being the best headsets you could get at this price point.
The Bottom Line
In the end, the most effective soundproofing is preventative. This means you can either turn the volume down or use a noise-canceling gaming headset and silent keyboard.
But even with those methods, when playing cooperative games, you will need to communicate with your teammates. And as most gamers would attest to, things can get pretty rowdy when giving out instructions or when celebrating a kill, a win or even a loss. I for one certainly don’t want my wife to hear me cursing out a kid on the other side of the planet for digitally offing me.
So, you’ll absolutely want to try some of the soundproofing techniques I’ve discussed above. Hopefully, these tips will help you enjoy your gaming experience without bothering neighbors or in my case, my wife.