Hustle and Flow Sound Dampening Tactics

Sound absorbing ceiling panels

There is a scene in the movie Hustle and Flow, a quasi-drawn from real life picture, where the individual, the protagonist, papers his walls with cardboard cup holders. It’s an old house in a poor neighborhood in Memphis, where he doesn’t want to disturb his neighbors (or give away his sick beat).

He’s attempting to rap to a hip-hop hook and the movie, which stars Anthony Anderson and Terrence Howard among others, focuses on an individuals–a pimp in this case–trying to make it big with one hook. It’s an attempt that includes all the focus on the music within the movie and that big moment when he alters the walls of the room to provide noise canceling.

For all budding musicians, whether they be guitarists or singers or drummers or the like, practicing in a home is possibly what gives the best benefit before a gig or a tour. With two out of five musicians self-employed and possibly lacking a place to play before a gig, the use of noise canceling equipment in a home to buffer the sound is crucial.

Why is it crucial?

Number one, canceling the noise in a home when playing music keeps the neighbors and other members of the house from hearing the noise. Although it is music and it can be great music, a certain amount of fiddling comes with that before the actual song. Also, the neighbors and people within the home are not likely going to want to hear the same song over and over.

The ability to play music in the home while practicing and enjoying the solitude before a gig–a time when experimentation and the joy of playing is important–is a great facet of every day musician life. It is important, however, to take the preferences of neighbors and other people in the home before playing.

In 2014, 173,300 people worked as musicians. Employment of musicians and singers is expected to only grow 3% from 2014 to 2024, making the growth slower compared to other occupations. Working as a musician can be difficult, with late night gigs and constant shows (or not constant shows), and the prospect of having other employment.

Every musician who is budding and starting off has a choice to make in terms of their ability to land jobs and gigs: As people say in Memphis, hustle harder. Getting gigs requires good performances that will attract major players in the music industry to look you up, while networking also plays a huge role.

Networking, when it comes to any job but especially with music, plays a crucial role in getting gigs. It is possible to go around to all the different venues and drop them a track or a CD to look at, but finding gigs and being hired require a person that has hiring preferences, which often comes from networking in the right places.

And then there is practice. There are four tactics that are necessary for sound proofing: adding mass, damping, decoupling, and filling air gaps. Adding mass is similar to the cardboard that was placed in the room in Hustle and Flow. The cardboard adds mass to the wall.

Acoustic wedge panels are an option for soundproofing walls. It’s recommended that you purchase 12×12 panels with a 2″ depth curve. These are good for absorption of high to low frequencies. These soundproof wall panels often come with a peel-off adhesive already in place. They also are considered sounds insulating panels.

Decoupling often makes it more difficult to block low frequencies. If you’re looking for sounds insulating walls, it is often important to add a damping material to the decoupling, which allows them together to block the low frequencies and the high frequencies with a form of balance.

Surfaces partially hinder sound waves going through one room to other. When considering how many sound wall panels to put on for sounds insulating walls, look at the 1% rule. If 1% of the wall is uncovered, 50% of the sound will make it through to the other room. This is important if you’re looking at sounds insulating walls.

Sounds insulating walls can be accomplished in a number of ways. The people in Hustle and Flow used cardboard cup holders, like from McDonald’s to cover every square inch of their recording room.

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