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Tiny Home Acoustics

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
I'm converting a sprinter van into a tiny home/stealth rv and I'd like to optimize the acoustics during this build.
Something like this but with a much bigger bed 😄

One decision I've made is that I am going to have rubber flooring.
It insulates, its anti-fatigue and comfortable to stand on, its waterproof, dogs dont slip on it. everything i want.

But what about all the cabinets ?
A lot of people do wood cabinet doors and that doesnt seem ideal in such a small space.

With a lip at the bottom of a cabinet nothing falls out while driving, etc so a doors only purpose is to stop the interior from looking cluttered.
A bunch of closed doors and the small space looks neat and tidy - but what material should I use for the doors?

I could hang cloth as a barrier instead of having a door but I'm afraid that might not look nearly as nice.
I could possibly carpet the walls the way some interior vans do.

What comes to mind when you think of good acoustics in such a small space, while maintaining a nice look.
I'll probably use this to film #vanlife videos on youtube and attempt to start a channel.

One woman started a vanlife channel a few months ago and already has 2 million followers. insane!!!!
thats more followers than cnn news...
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
You can Kilmat the whole van. You pull up any carpet, stick it to the bare metal floor and sides. It's not only for road noise, it also deadens when not driving.

Another fabric you can use is rockwool. It is fireproof as well as sound deading, and also insulation. You can stick it in the pockets of air in the van sides/doors etc. under the door cards, back panels, etc. @Lowe's.
 
With a lip at the bottom of a cabinet nothing falls out while driving
As a sometimes semi-permanent resident in such a vehicle, I can guarantee that you'll need more than a lip to stop things from falling out! I have had my stuff jump out of a 10cm deep basket at times. :grrr:

What comes to mind when you think of good acoustics in such a small space, while maintaining a nice look.
Wireless, noise cancelling headphones! :lol: In my experience, there's no easy way to engineer "good" acoustics in such a vehicle (and definitely not for when you're driving). Even for being parked up, just figuring out where to put a pair of speakers is an immense challenge, as it's almost impossible to direct them towards the "right" place as you'll inevitably end up sitting/lying & listening in different areas depending on then when and where of every day.

My vehicle (factory built, so I had to take what they gave me) has wooden doors, but they're only a small part of the overall reflective surface - there are also acrylic windows on the sides and the roof, the glass windscreen (angled downwards) and cab windows, the textured wallpaper covering plywood over polystyrene walls and ceiling, the (hard) table, kitchen worktop, oven & hob ... counteracted by the soft cushions of seats and mattresses, fabric curtains (on the windows and also across the bed spaces), and my own addition of a foam-backed synthetic carpet with additional coarse-fibre door-mats. All-in-all, a sound engineers nightmare!

But in practice, it's not that bad. For a time, I was using it as Skype studio (okay, not a great point of reference ...) and I have a (single) recording using a mobile phone of some hitch-hikers singing for their supper that came out pretty clean.

If the mods/software allow it, there's a thread on another forum (absolutely nothing to do with movie-making!) describing the "real time" conversion of a commercial van into an RV of a similar size here which includes a brief discussion on sound (and thermal) insulation at post #46.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
You'd be best looking at marine supply stores for things like sink cabinets, overhead cabinets, etc. Kitchen tables that turn into beds. Look to boats for inspiration.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
A couple reasons why. RV stuff is larger and cheaper (quality). Boats can have small cabins (sailboats etc.) so you can get some unique stuff that fits vans. They are also built with quality. Stainless hardware so the salt doesn't rust it, etc.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
A couple reasons why. RV stuff is larger and cheaper (quality). Boats can have small cabins (sailboats etc.) so you can get some unique stuff that fits vans. They are also built with quality. Stainless hardware so the salt doesn't rust it, etc.

waiting for cyber monday, but i will say that the skylight i've been looking at is for boats.
seems a lot nicer than the RV ones so my experience agrees with everything youre saying here
 
I live in a 95 Intl Skoolie and the rounded ceiling coupled with a layer of spray foam makes for an excellent acoustic feel. I'm thinking real hard about getting a shortbus to turn into a mobile studio.
 
I've built a mobile studio inside a volkwagen transporter. It's been great and I've recorded concerts and sessions all over the UK and france with it.
I put thin rockwool in the void behind the wooden interior panels and then cut out loads of holes in the wood so they became like swiss cheese. Then I covered the wood with hessian. It deadens the space inside really nicely.
Its been a brilliant van for me.

There's info at my website:

 
As you look for cabinets, tables, etc., keep their weight in mind. A television station that I worked for built a live truck in a van similar to the one that you want to use. They built all of the cabinets and closets out of heavy plywood to the point where the engine and transmission couldn't take the load.
The vehicle was in the mechanic shop every couple of weeks with either transmission or engine problems. Ultimately they ripped all of the cabinets out and replaced them with lightweight aluminum cabinets...the mechanical problems went away.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Sprinters are designed for contractors who carry heavy pipe etc. Weight should not be an issue.
 
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