Understanding Flanking Noise


Your Home Studio - a basic tutorial on home recording studio setup, including building a home recording studio, digital recording techniques, computer recording information, recording software information, how to buy equipment for a home recording studio and operating an audio recording studio at home

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       An important consideration when planning a sound isolated room is Flanking Noise. This is noise reaching a

room by an indirect path.


Text Box: Note: To minimize the amount of vibration that becomes “structure-borne” it is important to treat the surface on the sound producing side.

                       Flanking Pathways


No partition can ever perform better than the level of Flanking Noise.  In the scenario above, no modification you can make to the wall will help improve sound isolation. This is because it isn’t the wall that is failing; it is because the adjacent surfaces are failing. 


The only way to improve on the situation is to increase the transmission loss of the flanking pathways.


What are common causes of Flanking Noise?


Adjacent floors, ceilings and floors as shown above. Framing can assist vibration to flank a surface, especially if the joists, rafters or trusses travel directly from one room to another.


Ductwork can be a problem at times. Consider:


             -Lining the duct with fiberglass duct liner on the inside.

             -Insert bends in the duct. Bends offer a less direct path for sound.

-Consider using lined duct as a replacement for part of an un-lined metal duct.  Flex duct should not be exposed to sound, but used inside of ceiling cavities, etc.

             -Use soffits to cover exposed ductwork


Seal Failure Caulk all possible exit points. Use a good grade latex caulk.


How should I use the caulk?  You should strive for multiple caulk layers on partitions where sound isolation is critical.  This helps ensure that a quality seal is attained by “doubling up” on seals – if one layer has compromised quality, it is backed up by the other layers.




























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Bad – sealant

under frame only.

easily enter and

exit the wall cavities

Good and a

good start for

remodeling jobs 

where you are

adding drywall to

an existing wall

Very Good

Beads under

drywall to keep

sound from

leaking into the

cavity, and

under frame for



a heavy bead

under the wall

plates plus a

bead under each

drywall layer