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Old 04.09.2019, 08:12
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Professional soundproofer in Zürich

Can anyone recommend someone for professional soundproofing in Zürich? Or suggest appropriate search terms to use in German in order to find someone? Or any other ideas how to find someone?

Please do not start commenting with armchair suggestions about how to soundproof, why it's a bad idea, etc, unless you actually are experienced in the area or are willing to collect information about my particular application. Or you can if you want, but realize I already have done a lot of research in this area, and only things specific to Switzerland or my exact application are likely to be helpful.

I am interested in someone knowledgeable about soundproofing so I can get an assessment of a property. In the US there is something called STC rating. So I would like to talk to them about the volume and frequency ranges of sound that I plan to generate, and then measure/assess current sound transmission of the property as-is for that type of sound, and then discuss possible sound-proofing modifications, based on multiple variables such as a) cost b) effectiveness as a function of different sound sources c) invasiveness to the building d) any unplanned effects on interior acoustics e) portability of the solution from one apartment to another.
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Old 04.09.2019, 09:10
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

Cannot help, but I am just curious ... what is the aim of the soundproofing? You are a musician?
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Old 04.09.2019, 10:19
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

I cannot recommend anyone but twenty years ago, we had a soundproofer come into our newly-built two-family house and measure certain sounds from the upstairs apartment. They were beyond norm as we had feared. Ultimately, we had to do some renovating to reduce the sound, which included sound-proofing the bathtub and the stairwell.

The noise was due to sloppy work and poor planning.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 04.09.2019, 10:34
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

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Cannot help, but I am just curious ... what is the aim of the soundproofing? You are a musician?
Hey no problem- was just trying to avoid dozens of "have you tried putting a rug down?" and "have you tried talking to your neighbors?" (I have) comments. All understandable, I'm just in a position where I would want to do something relatively professional and thorough.

Yes the aim is for music (although of course soundproofing is nice in general). I trained for about 4 years as an opera singer and regardless of how much I use it in the real world, it is basically like going to the gym for me now-- if I don't have a place where I can regularly sing athletically like that (loud and for a long session), I start to feel quite bad because of being disconnected from that part of my body.

In theory I could also move out to the country and then I could also have louder instruments and not worry about anything, but I want to explore the possibilities in my current place first. The walls as-is are not too bad so there is potential for it to work alright.

Like your avatar btw.
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Old 04.09.2019, 10:37
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

Probably a bit of a round-the-houses approach but perhaps contact the local TV and radio studios and ask to speak to their building maintenance. They might be able to point you in the right direction for soundproofing companies.
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Old 04.09.2019, 11:01
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

What is your budget?


cheers
SC
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Old 04.09.2019, 11:19
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

You could consider purchasing/building a sound cabin instead of having to do an entire room.
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Old 04.09.2019, 11:21
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

Sing in your car!



Tom
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Old 04.09.2019, 11:23
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

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What is your budget?


cheers
SC
To live by myself in the country ~ 2K/mo + commute, versus living in this shared flat w/ soundproofed room ~ 1'200/mo no commute. Estimate I will be here >= 2 yrs. Doing the math comes out to 15-20K in order to break even. But also there is the matter of my budget for an assessment/consultation-- that I'd have to negotiate but I would not mind spending a lot in order to get some really exact and professional information about the existing sound transmission.

Maybe depends on if any of the components could be made somewhat temporary and taken with me or resold if I had to move?

Again it's a bit application specific. The walls (and floor/ceiling) seem decent enough that my loudest vocalization is already maybe not any louder than the traffic noise from the street during the day, or the random people shouting outside. So the key thing may be simply buying and installing a very heavy and airtight door for the room. (the room already has a single door frame, two exterior/unshared walls, one interior/shared wall within the flat, one interior/shared wall with the neighboring flat, and interior/shared floor and ceiling with adjacent flats). With a heavy and airtight door, then perhaps anything else would be "extra credit". E.g. heavy rugs, heavy bookshelves or panels on the walls. Some sort of panels on the ceiling? The one complication is that I like the room to remain relatively echoey/resonant-- it's not ideal for a recording studio but for singing, a resonant room (or at least having the option to dial up the resonance) is quite nice since the live feedback it provides can be useful as a practice tool.
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Old 04.09.2019, 11:35
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

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Sing in your car!



Tom
Friend of mine's wife (now ex-wife) got in an accident and later admitted to him that she was singing when it happened. I am actually guilty of risking the same to be perfectly honest, but never had an accident or close-call. I don't really risk it anymore. There was actually a time I was desperate enough I would go park my car at a local park and use that to practice. Then I finally got a detached cottage and put a grand piano in it, which was great, only to have the owner decide to demolish the cottage and I had to move back into an apartment (by myself), but took the piano with me and kept singing-- neighbors be damned. Then moved to Zurich and did not bring the grand piano overseas, so now am pianoless and living in a flat with flatmates. Maybe the solution is a giant bus or RV with a grand piano in it, and a paid driver so I can focus on the music. Then whenever I want to practice just hop in and tell him to drive around aimlessly until I am done.
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Old 04.09.2019, 11:42
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

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You could consider purchasing/building a sound cabin instead of having to do an entire room.
Ah right; I always forget about this option. Might be smart as I assume it can be disassembled and moved to another apartment, dimensions permitting. Or used as an isolation booth or control room in a studio. And perhaps more easily resold if I had to move back to the US.

If I can make the room work though, it is certainly nice to be able to move around freely in a more aesthetically pleasing space.
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Old 04.09.2019, 11:54
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

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To live by myself in the country ~ 2K/mo + commute, versus living in this shared flat w/ soundproofed room ~ 1'200/mo no commute. Estimate I will be here >= 2 yrs. Doing the math comes out to 15-20K in order to break even. But also there is the matter of my budget for an assessment/consultation-- that I'd have to negotiate but I would not mind spending a lot in order to get some really exact and professional information about the existing sound transmission.

Maybe depends on if any of the components could be made somewhat temporary and taken with me or resold if I had to move?

Again it's a bit application specific. The walls (and floor/ceiling) seem decent enough that my loudest vocalization is already maybe not any louder than the traffic noise from the street during the day, or the random people shouting outside. So the key thing may be simply buying and installing a very heavy and airtight door for the room. (the room already has a single door frame, two exterior/unshared walls, one interior/shared wall within the flat, one interior/shared wall with the neighboring flat, and interior/shared floor and ceiling with adjacent flats). With a heavy and airtight door, then perhaps anything else would be "extra credit". E.g. heavy rugs, heavy bookshelves or panels on the walls. Some sort of panels on the ceiling? The one complication is that I like the room to remain relatively echoey/resonant-- it's not ideal for a recording studio but for singing, a resonant room (or at least having the option to dial up the resonance) is quite nice since the live feedback it provides can be useful as a practice tool.



I think you are trying to kill a fly with an atomic bomb.


It makes no sense to fully treat a room just to sing in, in a rented apartment that you will only stay in 2 years.



To give you an idea of costs to fully acousticly treat a room:


150m2 space with 3 x fully Isolated rooms (room within a room concept)
0.75m thick walls/floor/ceiling (concrete-wood-air-wood-concrete),

All rooms treated with combination of wall/corner/ceiling absorbtion and refection panels.

= CHF 650k +/-






My proffesional advise to you would be to find a local recording studio where you can pay a couple of hundred CHF's a month for access to their live room. Also there are many band rehersal rooms in Zurich which can be rented cheap on a monthly/weekly basis.


cheers
SC
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Old 04.09.2019, 11:59
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

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Like your avatar btw.
Thank you. Have you tried putting a rug down?
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Old 04.09.2019, 12:04
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

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I think you are trying to kill a fly with an atomic bomb.


It makes no sense to fully treat a room just to sing in, in a rented apartment that you will only stay in 2 years.



To give you an idea of costs to fully acousticly treat a room:


150m2 space with 3 x fully Isolated rooms (room within a room concept)
0.75m thick walls/floor/ceiling (concrete-wood-air-wood-concrete),

All rooms treated with combination of wall/corner/ceiling absorbtion and refection panels.

= CHF 650k +/-






My proffesional advise to you would be to find a local recording studio where you can pay a couple of hundred CHF's a month for access to their live room. Also there are many band rehersal rooms in Zurich which can be rented cheap on a monthly/weekly basis.


cheers
SC
I don't want room-within-a-room! I'm not looking to record so it doesn't matter if outside sound gets in! For the same reason, I don't care about internal sound-TREATMENT. I don't plan to generate frequencies lower than a human baritone voice unamplified! I just want to practice, and if I wanted to do that off-site I could do that in the shitty practice rooms at ETH. I simply want to see if I can do a few things to reduce impact on my flatmates and neighbors when singing at home.
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Old 04.09.2019, 12:38
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

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I don't want room-within-a-room! I'm not looking to record so it doesn't matter if outside sound gets in! For the same reason, I don't care about internal sound-TREATMENT. I don't plan to generate frequencies lower than a human baritone voice unamplified! I just want to practice, and if I wanted to do that off-site I could do that in the shitty practice rooms at ETH. I simply want to see if I can do a few things to reduce impact on my flatmates and neighbors when singing at home.



Thanks for the groan




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For the same reason, I don't care about internal sound-TREATMENT.

But you said:


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''The one complication is that I like the room to remain relatively echoey/resonant-''





Just go to https://www.gikacoustics.com/ and buy a mix of absorbtion and reflective panels for your flat surfaces including ceiling (as you want a liver sounding room lean more towards the reflective panels) and then use bookselves and other furnature for connecting walls.





Before you start buying/building, ask your neighbours to listen while you sing and first work out where the sound is leaking the worst.




cheers
SC
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Old 04.09.2019, 13:04
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

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Thanks for the groan







But you said:


[I]






Just go to https://www.gikacoustics.com/ and buy a mix of absorbtion and reflective panels for your flat surfaces including ceiling (as you want a liver sounding room lean more towards the reflective panels) and then use bookselves and other furnature for connecting walls.





Before you start buying/building, ask your neighbours to listen while you sing and first work out where the sound is leaking the worst.




cheers
SC
Are the groans of any consequence or are they just imaginary internet points?

Thanks for the advice. I think for within my flat the first step is airproofing the door. Next step up would be a heavier door. Then the next step would be to start thinking about the walls/floor/ceiling.

What I'm hopelessly ignorant of is just how to achieve the most attenuation in the vocal band (maybe most energy is between 65 Hz (low C for a bass) and ~3000Hz (singer's formant). I guess maybe I can actually look at datasheets for the various types of panels?

I had been thinking of panels as primarily for sound "treatment". But I guess a reflective panel should also attenuate significantly what reaches the wall? By way of some level of isolation depending how they are mounted. And then also by adding mass and I guess also their internal structure may be designed to dissipate / convert certain frequencies into heat. Some kind of foam/matrix/lattice-like structure.

Above 65Hz and with the relative weakness of unamplified voice I guess I wouldn't have to worry too much about adding mass. I just don't want to buy panels that do practically nothing to attenuate and only serve to shape the interior sound / eliminate comb-filtering, blah blah blah. Actually comb-filtering would be annoying if sever even for practicing, but... main thing is to not get on the nerves of the flatmates and neighbors.
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Old 04.09.2019, 13:09
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

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Ah right; I always forget about this option. Might be smart as I assume it can be disassembled and moved to another apartment, dimensions permitting. Or used as an isolation booth or control room in a studio. And perhaps more easily resold if I had to move back to the US.

If I can make the room work though, it is certainly nice to be able to move around freely in a more aesthetically pleasing space.
Yep, but do mind some are hell to take apart and rebuild properly again, others are portable and pretty easy to dismantle. And if it is only for vocals you don't need the biggest version.
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Old 04.09.2019, 13:21
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

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Please do not start commenting with armchair suggestions about how to soundproof, why it's a bad idea, etc, unless you actually are experienced in the area or are willing to collect information about my particular application. Or you can if you want, but realize I already have done a lot of research in this area, and only things specific to Switzerland or my exact application are likely to be helpful.
This clearly isn't your first EF rodeo....
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Old 04.09.2019, 13:37
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

So your requirements are similar to what e.g. a piano teacher, who teaches at home would need, which is not uncommon.

I would google for "schalldämmung wohnung zürich" or similar to maybe get a first string to pull on.
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Old 04.09.2019, 14:08
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Re: Professional soundproofer in Zürich

Have you already received complaints or you're trying to head them off at the pass?

As you said, your goals sort of compete with each other. You want a room that allows your voice to carry and resonate so it sounds right to you. At the same time you want a room that doesn't allow it so that the noise doesn't disturb others.

We have a violin player in the building and previously a piano player lived here. Never an opera singer, but honestly as long as they practice during waking hours and not during meal times, it's not really bothersome.

If you think the door is the main issue, an inexpensive solution to try first is to buy an eggshell mattress pad and cover the door with it, making sure to cover all the edges/seams.
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