As someone who’s spent a large chunk of his childhood and teenage years playing video games, I still remember my parents and siblings busting into my room to tell me to keep it down. Obviously, I couldn’t lower the volume without also lowering my enjoyment of the game. Annoying my family members was pretty much inevitable when you think about it. Well, today I bring you an alternative with my tried and true ways to soundproof a gaming room — or even build a soundproof gaming booth.
Even as an adult, I still like to unwind with a good video game. But, these tips are going to be really helpful to parents whose kids won’t get off the computer, too. In fact, building a soundproof gaming booth can be a really cool joint project parents can do with their kids.
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Improving Gaming Room Acoustics
If you want to get the best gaming experience, you’ll want to make sure that you’re hearing everything right. So, there are a few tricks you can use to improve the acoustics inside of your gaming room.
Soft, Fluffy Household Items
You’ll want to start with the easy tricks and use any soft household items you already have lying around. An empty room full of hard surfaces is the enemy of good acoustics, so try to fill it up as much as you can. Using soft materials will help the sound absorb instead of ricocheting off your walls and getting louder in the process. Here are some of the things you could do:
- Use heavy curtains over your windows (maybe even soundproof ones).
- Cover as much of the floor as you can with soft and thick rugs.
- Use any old blanket you can find to cover hard surfaces.
- You could put up some tapestries — maybe even some gaming-related ones if you want to stick to a theme.
If you wanted to invest in the acoustics of your gaming room a bit more, you could also use soundproof or moving blankets. Moving blankets are thick and heavy blankets people use to protect their furniture when they move. Since audiophiles started using them on their walls to block sound from leaving and improve acoustics, companies also started making soundproof blankets specifically for this purpose.
There are many ways you might use them around your room, starting with nailing or taping them to your walls. However, you can also use them over doors and windows where you’ll need the extra mass. After all, doors and windows are the primary areas through which sound escapes. In these cases, I recommend using a blanket with grommets and putting it up like a curtain.
I went into more detail on the ways you could use a soundproof blanket in a previous article, so I won’t repeat myself. Also, you could technically nail a blanket to the ceiling. However, acoustic foam tiles may be the easier solution up there.
When it comes to acoustic products, there are essentially two different types. There are acoustic foam tiles, which are square textured pieces of foam you glue onto your walls and ceilings. And there are fabric panels, which are fabric-wrapped panels with a wooden frame. I made some foam and fabric panel recommendations in my list of the best sound absorbing materials.
The wood backing on the fabric panels would make them easier to hang on your walls. Actually, you could even get standing fabric panels, so you could move them where you want them. You can even make fabric panels yourself.
Finally, if you need any more advice on how to improve acoustics, you should check out my article on echo reduction.
How to Soundproof a Gaming Room
There are several ways you can approach the actual soundproofing of your gaming room:
Find The Right Volume
So, yeah. My parents may have been right — and I’m only ready to admit this now because I’m older and wiser. If the noise is really bothering your family that much, it may be time to turn it down. If you are checking this article out because your kid or sibling has this problem, you’re probably thrilled at receiving this validation.
It’s true, there comes a point when every one of us must turn the volume dial down. If you won’t do it for the sake of your housemates and neighbors, do it for the sake of your own hearing. Find a volume level that doesn’t bother the people around you and still gives you a proper gaming experience.
Move Your Gaming Station
If your computer or gaming console is set up against a shared wall, you could move it to the other side of the room. Basically, if your speakers are close to the shared wall, even if you’ve lowered the volume, the bass could be shaking the walls and creating impact noise.
If you find that the move wasn’t enough, you could also move big pieces of furniture back where your gaming station was.
Stack Other Furniture Against the Shared Wall
Pushing your bookshelves, preferably ones brimming with books, and with a closed back, would prevent sounds from passing through your walls. You could also use closets or other big wall pieces of furniture to add mass to the wall.
However, remember that hard surfaces are never a good idea for sound quality within a room. So, if you ever decide to stack furniture against a wall like this, you may want to toss a blanket, soundproof or otherwise, over it. Better yet, you could install curtain rails on the ceiling and hang curtains all around the furniture. That would give you another layer of mass, sound absorption, as well as make your room feel cozier.
Professional Soundproofing Techniques
If all else fails, you can always turn to professional soundproofing techniques. I’ve previously explained some cheap and easy soundproofing methods you could use on your walls.
However, if you really wanted to give it your all, you could go all in with:
- Soundproof insulation
- Mass-Loaded Vinyl
- Resilient channels
- Soundproof drywall and Green Glue
- Acoustic caulk
You’ll be able to see exactly how you can apply each of these materials in this article. But, of course, you won’t be done there. After all, your room doesn’t only consist of walls. You’ll need to pay special attention to your door, as well as the floor, especially if you live above someone.
As I have mentioned, you can simply hang a soundproof blanket or soundproof curtains over a door. You could also use a door sweep or draft stopper. Use rubber or foam gaskets or weatherstripping tape to prevent sound from passing between the door and the door frame.
In addition, if the door frame isn’t completely flush to the wall, you might use acoustic sealant to plug the gaps. However, if the door itself is too thin, you may have to get a totally new one.
As for the floor, if a thick carpet just doesn’t cut it, I’ve talked about how you can use rubber mats and MLV under it in the linked article. You might also add a memory foam carpet underlay or buy a memory foam carpet. They’re actually soft enough to sleep on as well. Finally, if you’re just working with an unsound floor, you could also open it up and lay down some proper soundproofing.
Building a Soundproof Gaming Booth
I know I’ve suggested that building a gaming booth can be a fun family activity, but the moment of truth is here.
First of all, building a proper soundproof gaming booth like the ones you see in gaming competitions can be hellishly expensive. A brief online search can confirm that these booths are actually airtight rooms with their own air supplies. So, that’s obviously out of the question for most people.
Secondly, it can also be a kind of a hassle, especially if you’re not already a bit of a handyman — this project is certainly not for quitters.
Still, I believe that there are some ways you could make a soundproof gaming booth quickly and easily. Here’s my own take on building it.
Soundproof Gaming Booth with a Twist
If you’ve been reading my articles, you’ll know that sometimes building a room that’s completely separate from the building structure can be the only way to prevent sound from escaping. I’ve already mentioned this concept in my bass reduction article, among others.
Building a soundproof gaming booth is essentially the same thing since we want to keep the booth separate from the walls. Now, if you want to do this in expert mode, you could build a box with a door and its own air supply. You just soundproof the inside of it with foam and other materials, and maybe even cover the outside with soundproof blankets.
Honestly, the expert mode would be tiring even for me. Instead, I recommend using a small walk-in closet. If you already have a tiny room at your disposal you can easily convert it into a gaming booth.
I’ve seen many musicians use a similar setup to record at home. So, let’s see how it can be done.
You’d obviously start by emptying the closet of its contents and dealing with those. Then, you’d do some basic prep work, clean up and strip the hooks and shelves that might be in there. Next, create a drop ceiling and lift the floor, and use all of the wall soundproofing tips I mentioned to beef up the walls. Continue by plugging every possible gap around the door with weatherstripping or acoustic sealant, and finish up by mounting acoustic foam.
You could also use an air purifier or a fan, especially if you don’t have an air vent in your closet. If you do, there are also some soundproofing methods for air vents. Or, if you could just go with the easy mode and get a professional to do all of this for you.
If this is all a bit too much for you, you can simply fence off your gaming station with a soundproof partition. It won’t be completely effective, so you’ll have to use it in combination with some of the other tips I’ve mentioned. But, there are some effective and attractive options out there like (click the link to see the price on Amazon):
- Seismic Audio Multi Panel DJ Facade or Booth
- JMAZ Event Facade Booth Lightweight Aluminum Frame
- ReFocus Acoustic Room Dividers
And you could make these partitions a booth by suspending soundproof blankets over them.
Alternatives to Gaming Room Soundproofing
If you’re still getting noise complaints after all of this work (which is unlikely) or you’re perhaps looking for cheaper solutions (which is more likely) — I’ve got a few bonus tips for you.
Build a Soundproof Box Around the Computer
This is how you make your soundproof gaming booth come to you. Instead of hauling the computer off to the closet, you could encase your gaming station with OBS board or drywall (or even soundproof drywall). Then, you should glue acoustic foam to the inside of the box. You’ll still be able to see your screen, even though the box will prevent the sound from going through the wall behind the computer.
Lift Your Speakers
If your speakers are standing on the floor or your table, the sound may be vibrating through the wood. To prevent this, you could put the speakers on something like the Xcel Foam Rubber Padding I mentioned in my article on anti-vibration pads for washers. Alternatively, you could slip some type of spongy material, or acoustic foam, under the speakers.
Get a Gaming Headset
Whether you’re done listening to your housemates complain about the noise levels, or you simply need to communicate with your teammates, you may want to get a gaming headset. There are wireless options to choose from, like this SteelSeries Arctis 7 headset. Although, since many gamers don’t trust the no-lag claims on those wireless products, this BENGOO X-40 headset is also an excellent choice.
Use a Silent Keyboard and Mouse
The wired or wireless debate is also raging in the keyboard and mouse world. Fortunately, I’ve got recommendations for both in my article on quiet keyboards. In it, I had decided that the best silent keyboards for gaming were:
Both of these are not only silent, but they also have RGB backlighting, wrist rests, and anti-ghosting keys.
Ultimately, the most effective soundproofing is preventive. Therefore, you can either keep the volume down or use a noise-canceling gaming headset and silent keyboard.
But, even with those methods, you might still need to speak to your teammates in-game. And, like most of us, you may be pretty vocal when you celebrate a win or mourn a loss. You certainly wouldn’t want your parents or roommates to catch you cursing out a kid on the other side of the planet for murdering you in cold blood.
So, you’ll definitely want to try some of the other soundproofing methods I’ve mentioned, especially around the doors. Hopefully, these tips will help you improve your gaming experience without bothering your housemates.