A powerful speaker can make all the difference in your home theatre, office, or studio, but poor sound acoustics can quickly ruin the experience. Fortunately, while the science of soundproofing can be highly complex, there are some measures you can take to improve things.
To muffle your speaker, you should soundproof its environment with sound blocking materials. You can also place it in a soundproof box or put household items around it as a sound barrier. These techniques will reduce noise or prevent it from traveling where it doesn’t belong.
This article will summarize these ways of muffling your speakers, as well as quickly discuss how the issue of excessive speaker sound occurs in the first place. If you want solutions to your speaker problems, keep on reading.
How to Sound Muffle a Speaker
The good news is that there is nothing inherently wrong with your speakers, causing them to be overly loud; instead, the excessive noise problem mostly has to do with how sound travels.
The issue with overly loud speakers occurs when there are little to no appropriate measures in place to obstruct or contain the sound and discourage it from moving into spaces where it doesn’t belong. For example, if you install speakers into your ceiling or walls with no acoustic control whatsoever, the vibrations will travel through the walls and create noise that will disturb people in other rooms.
You need to use methods or materials that will prevent or minimize a sound’s ability to travel effectively.
1. Treat Your Environment for Acoustics
Of all the items on this list, this is the most expensive and complicated, but it is the best option if you want to control sound in the long run and keep things looking neat and professional at the same time.
Before going any further, it is important for you to understand the difference between soundproofing and sound-absorbing. Sound-absorbing will absorb echo inside a room, whereas soundproofing will block or reduce sound transmission. The distinction is critical to understand so that you can apply the correct methods.
For example, there is a common misconception that you can muffle speakers and sound systems by plastering acoustic foam across your walls. However, given that foam is porous, this is not the case. Acoustic foam will simply absorb echo within a room.
If you cover your entire room with acoustic foam, it will improve the room’s sound quality, but you will still be able to hear your speakers blasting on the other side of the walls.
Soundproofing is much more complicated. To achieve this, sound blocking materials must be installed within a room’s walls or ceiling as part of the construction material.
Examples of such materials include soundproofing drywall, sound isolation clips, and vinyl sound barriers. This is the most effective way to prevent your speaker’s sound from invading surrounding spaces, but it is not a quick go-to method. It is expensive, and you may require a professional’s help.
If you aren’t looking to renovate your space with the latest soundproofing technologies, don’t worry. There are many easier ways to achieve sound reduction, ranging from budget-friendly to expensive, and from rudimentary to sophisticated.
2. Place Sound Barriers Around Your Speakers
Place Your Speaker on Soft Surfaces
To muffle your speaker, start by placing it onto a soft surface. For example, instead of planting your speaker directly onto a hardwood floor, put it on top of a soft carpet. Hard floors are a powerful source of structure-borne noise, so a carpet will neutralize some of the sound waves created by the speaker’s vibrations through the floor.
You can also plaster duct tape, painter’s tape, or gaffer tape across your speaker’s face to create a slight barrier against the sound. This is very easy to do, and tape is cheap and widely available.
The main problem with this method is that if you leave pieces of tape on your speaker for too long and then try to peel it off, you may be left with some unpleasant residue from the glue.
If that will not bother you, you should use gaffer tape as it will leave the least amount of residue. Some brands do not leave any at all. For example, try AmazonBasics No Residue, Non-Reflective Gaffers Tape (Amazon link).
Use Pillows or Stuffed Animals
Putting pillows and soft toys in front of your speakers can work too. Ideally, they should be big enough that you can cover the entire front of your speaker. You can also use thick rags or old towels.
Hang Up Thick Curtains
Thick curtains can also act as a sound barrier. Make sure to use sturdy materials such as velvet, polyester, or satin. Curtains made from these materials are actually designed for sound reduction. For example, take a look at these NICETOWN Full Shade Window Curtains on Amazon.
Check out my recommended soundproof curtains.
A word of caution: placing household items directly over or in front of your speakers can certainly obstruct sound to a certain extent, but there are some important disadvantages to keep in mind.
For one thing, they can create a fire hazard. Make sure that you do not leave these items unattended for a long time. You will need to perform regular inspections (at least every few days), which can be a major inconvenience.
Another irritating fact is that these methods are not very visually pleasing; they are fairly crude and can ruin your environment’s aesthetics.
Lastly, these are extremely temporary solutions and will not stand against the test of time. If you are looking to muffle your speakers over the long term, you will need to invest more time, money, and effort into doing so.
3. Purchase or Build a Soundproof Backer Box
A soundproof backer box protects your speakers and prevents sound from traveling where you don’t want it to, all while making sure that the sound quality does not suffer. This is especially important if you are planning to place speakers in your ceilings or walls.
The simplest way of obtaining a soundproof backer box is to purchase one. For example, check out this Dynamat DynaBox In-Ceiling Acoustic Barrier (see to on Amazon). It improves sounds quality and minimizes noise through floors. It also comes with a moisture barrier, which is important for protecting your speakers against any water in the air that could damage time.
Apart from the obvious expense, one downside of purchasing one is that a ready-made box lacks customization options, which means that it might not meet your needs.
If you want to make sure that your box is perfectly tailored for your circumstances, you can create your own with some two-by-fours, acoustical panels, and other soundproofing materials. See the video below.
This article has given you some ideas about how to muffle speakers. The most effective method is to soundproof the environment where your speaker is kept. However, it is important not to confuse soundproofing with sound-absorbing.
While soundproofing your room is the best technique, it is also the most expensive and complex. For this reason, you can take more budget-friendly approaches. These include using sound-reducing decor, placing your speaker into a soundproof backer box, and placing a variety of household items onto or in front of your speaker.
Cheaper methods might not do much on their own, and they will not resolve the issue permanently, but they can be quite effective in the short run if used in concert with each other.
If you employ a combination of these methods, you will enjoy your speakers while keeping their sound out of unwelcome spaces.