Keeping noise levels down in a bar or club is no easy feat — especially if you have a rowdy group of karaoke singers.  When the bar is packed, it’s hard to control the noise levels. But, it's something to be mindful of to avoid noise complaints and trouble with the neighbours.

Not only can a poorly sound proofed bar be a nuisance to the neighborhood, the hard surfaces in your bar or club can reflect the sound waves, creating background noise which in turn makes your customers shout at each other to communicate. But how can you effectively soundproof your bar or club, and what is the easiest way to do it?

We'll go over how to get rid of bar noise without having to sacrifice the design or interior of your venue, tips from our Singa venues on how they solved some common noise complaint issues, and how to soundproof a karaoke room specifically.

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How to sound proof a bar or club

How to avoid noise complaints

How to sound proof a karaoke room

Ways to sound proof your bar

Soundproofing your bar means removing echos and reverberation from both inside the bar, as well as reducing the noise that escapes. The most important thing to do is identify where you have the biggest noise issues. Once you have identified the main source of the noise, you can settle on the appropriate soundproofing material. Some good bar soundproofing solutions include:

Sound panels

These sound-absorbing panels reduce background noise by absorbing all the echoes. The acoustic panels then scatter the noise, making your bar quieter. They can be cut according to your desired size and can be fixed to the walls or the ceiling of your bar. You can also arrange them in a variety of patterns to create a unique aesthetic.

Foam acoustic panels used in a karaoke room.
Karaoke room using foam acoustic panels in O'Learys - Tolv.

Acoustic art panels

These are soundproof panels disguised as pieces of art. The boards absorb sound to cut on reverberation drastically and absorb ambient sounds in your club while adding a personalized feel to your interior decor.

Example of acoustic art panels on the wall of Sing Sing - Gothenburg.
Sing Sing - Gothenburg has stylish acoustic panels that mach the style of the room. 

Hanging baffles

These are lightweight noise-absorbing boards that can be mounted on the walls or draped from the ceiling. They usually have a cotton or fiberglass core, and they do a great job of absorbing the sound reflections.

Hanging sound baffles on the ceiling of a bar.

Echo absorbers

This is the cheapest option of all listed above. The most common echo absorbers tend to be made from super lightweight materials and are often made from recycled cotton fiber, making it an eco-friendly solution to soundproof bar. Considering their weight, you can bind them on any surface in your bar to soundproof it.

View of Källarn Bar in Gothenburg showing their bar set-up and ceiling that uses a special cotton to absorb sound and have the appearance of clouds.
While not a traditional echo absorbing panel, Källarn Bar - Gothenburg uses cotton to create a cool cloud effect, which doubles to absorb sound. 

Acoustic doors and windows

The entrance of The Melody club showing their acoustic windows and doors.
The Melody Club - Gothenburg uses sound reducing glass doors and windows. 

When designing their bars, most people don’t consider getting soundproof windows to ensure noise doesn't come in or get out of the premises. While no window can be truly soundproof, acoustic windows work by slowing the movement of sound waves reducing the overall noise passing through. These work especially well in reducing street noise both from and into the venue.

Doors can often be the source of most noise issues. Most inside doors have large gaps around the frame and aren't built from soundproofing materials.  Installing acoustic doors is essential to avoid noise leaking from the bar. These soundproof your bar, keeping outside noise out and making sure your neighbours aren't bothered by your music or customers.

The Melody Club found that their source of noise leakage was actually their kitchen service door. Since the door was thin sound from their stage karaoke area was entering their kitchen, which didn't have the additional ceiling and wall soundproofing of their other rooms.  

Dealing with the neighbors

When you establish a restaurant or karaoke bar, you will most likely have some neighbors. These are important people who also contribute to the success of your business, and soundproofing bar are one of the things you can do to ensure harmony. If you have noise emanating from your karaoke bar, sooner or later, you will have noise complaints filed against you. So, how do you handle the noise complaints and live in harmony with your neighbors?

Be a good neighbor

If you get a noise complaint, reach out to the person/people who filed it and talk to them. Know the times they are mostly affected and understand what they need. Then work on it. If the problem is noise leaking from the karaoke bar, you need to soundproof your bar.

Even better you can reach out to the neighbors yourself. Tell them in advance if you might have some particulary loud nights or give them your number so they can contact you before the police.

Sing Sing actually bought out the apartments in the same building, which they offer to their staff. This makes it an amazing commute, but also builds the staff schedule around the noise.

Street view of Sing Sing karaoke bar.

Continue to improve your soundproofing

This will undoubtedly get rid of any sound leakage. That way, the chances of you clashing with your immediate neighbours over noise complaints are minimal.

If one or a couple of your neighbors file a noise complaint and the authorities are involved, work with them to reach a sensible solution soon. Do what is required, and if need be, shut down operations until the sound problem is solved.

The Melody Club choose a proactive approach and collaborated with their neighbors early on to identify their concerns and work to cut down on noise.

Two men in costumes sining with stage lighting in The Melody Club.

Don't take it personally when someone approaches you with a complaint about your bar’s noise level. By taking the first step of talking to you, it means that they want to solve the problem privately. Think about what they have said and if there is some truth in their claims, reduce the noise levels. Keep them updated on what you are doing to make sure they don't experience any more disturbances.

Keep people moving

Even if your perfectly soundproofed your bar having people on the street can be an issue. Do your best to avoid long cues and prepare well in advance if you expect more people then usual on a certain night. If you have karaoke rooms it can be easier to avoid since it runs on a pre-booking system.

It can also be good to communicate with local taxi companies your closing times, so that they can have drivers in the area who can quickly pick-up people leaving your venue late at night.

Soundproofing a karaoke room

Nowadays, venues of all kinds are choosing to add in karaoke rooms in their spare spaces, like restaurants, bowling alleys, and cafes. While most have dealt with their fair share of noise, some extra precaution needs to be taken to soundproof a passionate performance of Bohemian Rhapsody, especially if your karaoke rooms share a space with other guests and you don't have sound insulated walls already. The last thing you’d want is for the patrons to experience noise when the karaoke session is happening.

Group of three people singing in karaoke room.

It’s vital that you fully soundproof your karaoke rooms. No one wants to listen to music coming from the booth next to theirs, and the beauty is that you can efficiently soundproof your rooms without breaking the bank.

The most popular solution for soundproofing karaoke rooms is acoustic panels. This is because the boards are cheap and easy to install. The panels are adaptable and sturdy, and because they come in different styles and colors, you can easily incorporate them into your karaoke room design. To install acoustic panels in your karaoke room, you have to:

1. Select the appropriate acoustic foam

Acoustic panels vary by thickness. The thicker the panel, the more sound it will absorb. For best results, go for relatively thick panels to provide the most acoustic comfort for your karaoke bar’s customers. Most panels come in five centimeters or ten-centimeter thickness, so pick the one that fits your acoustic needs and budget.

2. Determine what size of panels you want

Acoustic boards usually come in a packs of ten, twenty, fifty, and one hundred panels. As such, you should consider the size of your karaoke room before settling on the panels you want. The bigger the size, the better, although they might be a bit heavier than the smaller sizes.

3. Choose the panel pattern

The acoustic foams are available in several 3D designs, including pyramid, eggshell, and grid. Put in some thought when selecting the pattern as it will slightly affect the sound acoustics while impacting the visual aesthetic.

4. Choose where to fix the acoustic foam.

In many cases, you will have to place the panels on all walls of the karaoke room. That way, you will be sure that the sound produced doesn't leak to the adjacent rooms.

To attach the acoustic foams effectively, apply glue on the panels and then stick them on the wall. Alternatively, you can use detachable command strips to fasten the foam on the surface of your karaoke room.

Remember, you don’t have to cover the whole room in acoustic panels. Just placing a few panels on each wall can greatly reduce the sound emanating from the karaoke room. You can also work with an architect to help you calculate how many panels you will need to stay within the allowable noise limits.

Reduce the noise not the fun

When people go out to clubs, bars, restaurants, or karaoke bars, they want to have the best time of their lives. Bad sound acoustics can deter the fun the patrons were looking forward to having when they come to your karaoke bar.

To achieve maximum enjoyment, it’s crucial that you soundproof your bar and karaoke rooms. That will help you get rid of all the reflected noise from within the premises, ensuring that the customers are able to communicate without shouting. Soundproofing bar will guarantee no noise leaks, removing any chance of getting a noise complaints. The neighbors can make or break your business, and living in harmony with them spells success.

Now, if you are looking to bring some sound to your bar, be sure to check out Singa! We offer an unmatched karaoke experience that doesn't involve bulky machines, and with a massive song library and custom playlists to choose from, you can give your customers an unforgettable experience.