Adventures In Audio

Why a soundproof recording studio needs ventilation

by David Mellor

If you soundproof a studio, you automatically airproof it. You need to breathe, don't you?

Ventilation and air conditioning, sometimes known as HVAC (the 'H' stands for 'heating') is a vitally important topic to study in conjunction with soundproofing. When a studio is sound proof, it is also air proof, unless steps are taken.

Ventilation and air conditioning are not synonymous. Ventilation means access to fresh air from outside the building, air conditioning means cooling and maintaining the humidity of the air that is already inside. An air conditioning system may provide ventilation, but many do not at all.

There are a number of problems caused by such systems:

Audio Masterclass Video Courses

Learn FAST With Audio Masterclass Video Courses

With more than 900 courses on all topics audio, including almost every DAW on the market, these courses are your fast track to audio mastery.
Get a library pass for all 900+ courses for just $25.

These are the solutions:

Turbulence is reduced by having ducts with a large cross-sectional area. This allows the air velocity to be lower and any remaining turbulence will be lower in frequency.

Any airborne noise can be reduced by the incorporation of plenum chambers. A plenum is a large space through which the air must travel, lined with absorbent material. The air temporarily slows down and allows time for any sound it carries to be absorbed. The ducts are also lined, bearing in mind that the absorbent material must not give off particles (like mineral wool does), unless the air is being extracted. Baffles are generally not used as they increase turbulence.

The Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course


Ready to take your recording to the next level? Full online course leading to your Audio Masterclass certificate on successful completion.

Noise that would otherwise travel through the metal of the duct is reduced by suspending the ducts flexibly, and by having flexible connector sections every so often to absorb vibration.

Noise from the fan that would otherwise enter the structure of the building can be reduced by mounting the fan on a heavy plinth, itself resting on resilient pads. Obviously, a fan that is intrinsically quiet should be used.

Studio ventilation and air conditioning systems should be installed by contractors who have experience in doing this in a studio environment. Otherwise it is likely that the result will not be satisfactory.

Image: PictorialEvidence CC BY-SA 3.0

Thursday January 1, 2004

Like, follow, and comment on this article at Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram or the social network of your choice.

David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

More from Adventures In Audio...

An interesting microphone setup for violinist Nigel Kennedy

Are you compressing too much? Here's how to tell...

If setting the gain correctly is so important, why don't mic preamplifiers have meters?

The Internet goes analogue!

How to choose an audio interface

Audio left-right test. Does it matter?

Electric guitar - compress before the amp, or after?

What is comb filtering? What does it sound like?

NEW: Audio crossfades come to Final Cut Pro X 10.4.9!

What is the difference between EQ and filters? *With Audio*

What difference will a preamp make to your recording?

Watch our video on linear phase filters and frequency response with the FabFilter Pro Q 2

Read our post on linear phase filters and frequency response with the Fabfilter Pro Q 2

Harmonic distortion with the Soundtoys Decapitator

What's the best height for studio monitors? Answer - Not too low!

What is the Red Book standard? Do I need to use it? Why?

Will floating point change the way we record?

Mixing: What is the 'Pedalboard Exception'?

The difference between mic level and line level

The problem with parallel compression that you didn't know you had. What it sounds like and how to fix it.

Compressing a snare drum to even out the level

What does parallel compression on vocals sound like?

How to automate tracks that have parallel compression

Why mono is better than stereo for recording vocals and dialogue