materials treat the room by reducing reverberation, echo and standing waves etc. Absorbing materials such as acoustic foam and mineral wool do not stop sound from leaking out of the room. Acoustic tiles, for example, will cut down the ‘liveness’ of the room making it more suitable for performing music, recording music and even listening to music in.
Soundproofing is the isolating of the room from its outside world. It also reduces sound leakage between rooms. So, for example, if you have two recording rooms together you will need sound proofing to reduce Studio A being affected by Studio B.
Acoustic foam and mineral wool will improve room isolation but only very slightly. To be able to sound proof properly involves a lot of work and a lot of cost. To gain perfect sound isolation you ideally need to build a room inside a room. This can be very expensive but there are some cheap and easy solutions that can improve sound isolation and reduce sound leakage. Firstly it is a good idea to totally seal doors and windows, as this is where most sound transmission occurs. Of course if this is done the installation of a ventilation unit is necessary. Another solution is to turn down the levels!!
The purpose of acoustic foam is to reduce reverberation time and to generally improve the acoustic of the room. By installing products such as acoustic tiles and Bass Traps recordings are defined and tight instead of having way too much colour and an out of control room.
Acoustic treatment is also needed in a room where mixing is going to take place. If the room has too much echo and too long a reverberation time then mixes will be out of time and poorly judged.
However, too much acoustic treatment can be installed. This can result in unnatural recordings. The results will show a lack of colour and can create a very difficult room to work in. This is why we never treat a room with total acoustic foam. We work on percentages. We start with the minimum and keep adding little by little until we