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I started playing sax. I need to find me place to practice before being killed by my neighbors. I am thinking to soundproof my small room. It does not need to be 100% soundproof, but it's enough if it does not disturb people next door a lot. I can not invest a lot.

  • Are there any inexpensive materials / methods you can suggest?
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You need things which will absorb as much sound as possible - things like sofas, carpets and curtains will all cut down the amount of noise which escapes the room; similarly, having things over the walls - like drapes or curtains, or covering them with egg boxes - will dampen down the sound outside the room.

The heavier the material you use in the room the better - my music teacher built a sand-filled partition around his practice room to soundproof it!

You might want to look at things like doors and windows which have gaps around them - these are another source of sound escaping. Putting a draught excluder or similar at the foot of the door would help a little.

Finally, you could look into practice mutes - I have one for my trumpet which reduces the noise significantly (although it does change the tone) - presumably they exist for saxes as well.

  • While there is such a thing as a "practice mute" for saxophone, it is in essence a case in which to put the saxophone to muffle the sound while playing. I've never seen one in person, but I cannot imagine the device working satisfactorily. Because woodwinds produce sound through their tone holes, brass-style bell-insertion mutes do not work for woodwind instruments. – Andrew Feb 4 '13 at 23:46
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As an alternative to soundproofing a room, I can recommend the E-sax "Whisper mute," which I have for my alto. It muffles the external sound down to something you can get away in a typical house (it's as quiet as the TV, typically) and doesn't affect the action of the sax so much that the practise isn't useful. It includes a line in and a headphone out socket so you can listen to the sound more clearly and include a CD/other audio in your practise.

It is heavy though (which is great when you finally come to play without it) and a little restrictive on your hands (less great). It does also affect the production of the altissimo notes.

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One of the main things to consider when soundproofing an area is to use materials that are very difficult to make them vibrate. Sand is good, so is rubber or lead. Lead, (the heavy metal), can be found or ordered from building supply outlets. Sand needs to be put in panels, and rubber in sheet form is expensive. A highly reflective interior wall will also reflect the sound inward instead of transmitting it through a wall, increasing the level of what you hear and diminishing levels on the outside of your room. Glass mirrors and ceramic tile on the inside walls can help. It also helps to "float" a floor over some carpet padding and then pad and carpet the floating floor. Any windows will need to be heavy glass, double pane and set at an angle between the panes. Also it is very important to caulk around door frames and window frames as well as electrical outlet boxes, to prevent your sound from escaping through those air pockets. The door into the room should be heavy (solid core) and sealed with quality seal, refrigerator door seal works well. Also be careful to block any connecting AC or heating ducts that connect to the rest of the house or apartment. That said, I'm hoping you are handy with construction tools or know someone who is. Best of luck.

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