How to set up a gaming room for the best sound!
Are you looking for ideas on how to treat your gaming room for a better sound? Here I will go over the basics of small room acoustics, and provide some ideas for setting up your gaming room.
When considering acoustic treatment for your gaming room you need to factor in a few things. Below is a recap of what is covered in this post.
- How does sound work in a room?
- What materials do you need for acoustic treatment?
- Where and how to install your acoustic treatment?
- Will you be streaming?
- Do you need to soundproof?
How does sound work in a room?
When a sound wave is created in a room it travels through the air until it reaches a boundary. The nature of the boundary will determine how the sound wave reacts when it collides with the boundary.
REFLECTION - Sound bounces off a surface. This occurs on flat and hard surfaces like drywall, hardwood floors, concrete and brick. The sound wave is deflected because it cannot penetrate or pass through the material. This creates echoes.
ABSORPTION - Sound is absorbed by soft and porous materials like acoustic foam, an area rug, curtains etc. When a sound wave comes in contact with an absorptive material the sound energy is converted to a small amount of heat energy causing the sound to decay much faster.
DIFFUSION - When a sound wave hits an uneven surface like a bookcase or acoustic diffuser, the wave breaks up and is scattered. The scattered sound waves have much less energy per wave and will decay faster than a reflected sound wave.
The sound waves that are not reflected back into the room are either diffused by the diffuser, absorbed by the absorber, or pass through the boundary and onto the other side.
We will first focus on sound within the room. Then, talk about the sound waves that make it trough your wall or ceiling, and how to properly soundproof your gaming room.
What materials do you need for acoustic treatment?
Eliminating echoes and lowering reverberation time in your room is imperative for increasing sound clarity. This will help you communicate better with your teammates, and it will help you hear important aspects of gameplay more clearly
Adding sound absorption to the walls and ceiling is the most important when preventing echoes and lowering reverb. You can also use thick cloth curtains over windows or thick rugs on the floor to add extra absorption in the room.
Diffusers eliminate echoes in your room, but they use a different technology from absorption. Diffusers will scatter the sound wave rather than absorb them. This will keep more sound energy in the room but will eliminate the echoes. Diffusers are often used in smaller rooms to make them sound larger, Or they are used in larger rooms to supplement with acoustic absorption.
You will need to consider the sound sources in your room to figure out the right absorption product. If the only sound source is your voice then you can get away with using sound panels only. If you have a sound system with subwoofers then you will need acoustic panels and add bass traps to get low frequency absorption.
Below you will find our lab tested ratings for acoustic foam panels and bass traps.
How to interpret these ratings:
What Is NRC? ( Noise Reduction Coefficient )
The Noise Reduction Coefficient, commonly known as the NRC for a material is simply a measure of how much sound, or acoustic energy, a material can absorb. The below formula will help us interpret what a materials NRC tells us.
NRC = decibles absorbed / decibles reflected
The NRC will be in decimal format. For example, let's say a material has an NRC of 0.30. What we are saying is that the material absorbed 30% of the acoustic energy and reflected 70%.
The NRC is the "Overall" number in the above ratings. The other numbers represent the rating within the single frequency band.
A good acoustic foam combo is panels and bass traps. This will give you full frequency absorption in your room. Below we have links to some bundles with panels and bass traps!
If room is 200 square feet or less = Small Recording Studio Bundle
If room is 200 to 400 square feet = Large Recording Studio Bundle
Larger rooms = please contact us for a free consultation :)
Where and how to install your acoustic treatment?
Acoustic foam panels are best installed at the reflection points in a room. Bass traps are installed in the upper corners of a room.
To learn how to install acoustic foam please visit our install page here.
Below is an example of what the reflection points look like in a gaming room with two speakers.
FRONT WALL - sound from your voice and speakers.
BACK WALL - first reflections from speakers.
SIDE WALLS - speaker reflections. Use mirror trick to find the spots.
CEILING - reflections from your speakers and your voice.
Here is an example gaming room acoustic treatment setup:
Installing the acoustic treatment at the reflection points will eliminate the noticeable echoes in the room, but let's talk about the overall reverberation time for a bit.
Reverberation Time is the time it takes for a sound to decay by 60 dB and is sometimes abbreviated T60 or RT60. A T60 of less than 0.5 seconds is ideal for good speech clarity.
T60 = 0.16V/A
T60 represents the Reverberation Time
V represents the total Volume of the room
A represents the total Absorption of the room
The way we calculate reverberation time here is by using the total absorption of a room. This does not require any testing, microphones or speakers. You can find this by simply measuring the size of each surface in the room and finding the absorption coefficient of each material.
Skip the math! Click Below!
FREE Reverberation Time Calculator
Reverberation time before and after acoustic treatment examples!
Sound Treatment For Video Game Streaming
When you are streaming on twitch or other platforms is important to provide professional quality audio. If your audio has echoes and is hard to understand people will not enjoy your stream and you will not gain as many followers.
Some important reflection points when streaming are the wall you are speaking towards and the ceiling above you.
Here is an example of a streaming room setup.FRONT WALL - treated with 2 inch wedge acoustic foam
BACK WALL - used as green screen
SIDE WALLS - treated with 2 inch wedges
CEILING - treated with 2 inch acoustic foam.
CORNERS - bass traps added for increased low frequency absorption.
Do You Need Soundproofing?
If you need to prevent outside noises from coming into your gaming room or vice versa then you will need to consider soundproofing.
Soundproofing is different from sound treatment within a room. With soundproofing the goal is to prevent sound from within the room from going outside, or to prevent outside noises from coming into your room and interfering with your gaming.
Soundproofing requires adding more mass to the walls, ceilings, or floors of your room. It also involves sealing leaks in your room. For example, common sound leaks occur around doors and windows. These gaps can be sealed with weatherproofing products like weather sealing strips and door draft stoppers.
One of the easiest ways to add mass and soundproofing to your room is to use Green Glue and an extra layer of drywall to your wall or ceiling. Green Glue is a noise-proofing caulk. This will give you about a 15-20 decibel reduction in sound.
Another soundproof system is called the mute system. These are prefabricated panels that are installed onto an existing wall or ceiling. After these panels are installed a new layer of drywall is then installed. There are three thicknesses that offer varying decibel reductions.
23 mm thick - 65 decibel reductions
33 mm thick - 67 decibel reductions
63 mm thick - 71 decibel reductions
If you are interested in the mute system please contact us for a quote.
I hope this info was helpful. If you have any questions at all please contact us! We are glad to help!