View Full Version : Solution for Noise Complaints?
09-13-2002, 08:23 PM
I recently moved into an apartment and found out today that both my neighbors, adjacent and below, have complained about the noise level of my apartment. As such, i'd appreciate any suggestions on reducing the noise transferred from my apartment to my neighbors, besides reducing the overall volume (which i'm already trying.) All my equipment is pretty basic. I've got a clearance 550W home theater system in the living room and all ancient hand-me-downs in the bedroom.
Regarding the apartment below me, i'm guessing stands for the speaker and sub-woofer should fix the problem. Although a sales person at the local audio/video specialty store told me that speaker stands would actually make the problem worse -- could this be true? Besides purchasing actual speaker stands, would anything else function well as make-shift stands? Currently i'm using cement blocks as speaker stands, but i read recently that sound conducts fairly well through cement -- is it also true? Both these statements seem totally opposite of logic to me.
Regarding the apartment adjacent to me, my bedroom shares a wall with their bedroom. I've moved the speakers away from the shared wall, but was wondering what would be the best placement and direction for the speakers. In the bedroom, i have two bookshelf speakers and two large speakers (no sub-woofer).
Using the rational that the larger speakers might be louder and create more vibration, i placed them in the corners opposite the shared wall (although facing towards the shared wall.) The bookshelf speakers were in the corner of the shared wall facing away from it, but since the complint i've moved them to the center of the walls perpendicular to the shared wall facing towards each other.
I'm also considering the purchase of cheaper, smaller speakers for the bedroom under the belief that smaller speakers will create less vibration while still filling the room with sound. Again, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, if my logic is totally wrong, i'd like to know too.
Thanks in advance, James
09-13-2002, 10:30 PM
I wish that were an option, but it won't be for some time.
From what i can tell, the walls in this apartment seem pretty good. I've got a friend who also lives in this complex and i've never heard any 'neighbor noise' from either of our apartments. That's why i'm so surprised that i got noise complaints and other apartments were bothered by my noise.
09-13-2002, 10:36 PM
ive heard of someone who lined thier wall with some sound deadening tiles. i havent seen it yet, but a friend of mine said that most of it looked pretty cool with the modern look of the place. not all of it was covered, there were some empty tiles where shelves were put up, but in the end the neighbors were satisfied and the people who lived there could watch thier movies as high as they wanted.
09-13-2002, 11:00 PM
In my search for recommendations for reducing stray noise, i did come across a review for something like that. (ProFoam (http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/das14.htm)) They doesn't seem too expensive, although i'm not sure their function is to reduce noise in adjacent rooms (or if anything else is better suited for the job).
Egg Crate Foam Mattress Pads come to mind. Line you walls with them. Not pretty, but cheap and effective.
09-14-2002, 12:37 AM
Thanks Dark and Tommy.
Actually, in the bedroom i don't even have a sub setup (it's all hand-me-downs: basic receiver, 2 large speakers, 2 bookshelf speakers.)
I actually thought of mattress pads when i read the review but... damn, are they ugly. Can't image bringing a bunny back to my pad which is lined with mattress pads. Too sitcom!
Any advice on speaker placement?
09-14-2002, 01:00 AM
if you use something like what Leon suggested, you can cover those areas by putting shelves in front of them or tapestry style covers on the wall. ive read about people putting ugly looking stuff for optimum sound in thier HT so to cover it, they took some nice looking black (or dark, but matching the theme of the room) fabric and hung them up all nice. added some nice ambiance to the room and covered up the ugly. in your case it wouldnt hurt since youre not trying to direct sound, but stop it from passing through the walls
09-14-2002, 12:24 PM
Personally, before I did anything I would approach my neighbors and ask exactly what noise they were complaining about. They might not have a problem with how loud it is but rather what it is. In otherwords, you are playing some rap music vs. the classical they like, so they report you. Most of my neighbors (when I lived in apartments) would have approached me about the noise level before making a complaint, plus it solved the problem a lot faster.
Without knowing their exact complaint, I cant recommend what to do. I.e. - as DF said, is it the bass they dont like or just the higher frequencies? Are you interfering with your neighbors watching American Idol? You catch my drift....find out the problem, as they see it, before going hog wild with fixing what isnt broken.
Another thing to figure out is when are they complaining? Is it the middle of the day when no one in their right mind should be complaining or at 2 in the morning when you are watching Jenna Jameson's latest flick? If they are only complaining late at night, it might be easier just to slightly adjust your viewing schedule or volume at that time.
Once you figure out the nature of the problem, you can figure out solutions. Speaker stands will lift the speakers off the ground, which will isolate the source of the sound and prevent the transmission of the higher frequencies. Bass on the other hand would go right through and use the stand as a conduit. You could soundproof the wall...although that isnt usually cost effective and a hassle in an apartment, especially if you arent going to live there that long. Well figure it out, and then decide what your options are.
09-14-2002, 02:56 PM
That'll be my next order of business. Question: if the bass will just use a speaker stand as a conduit, then is there any way to reduce bass frequencies from escaping the listening area?
09-18-2002, 02:23 PM
Do you have carpet? Carpet will deaden sound in the room. And buy some furniture that too will adsorb the sounds. I have heard that insulating the back of the speakers can help too. I had this problem in the dorm and I stapled egg crate matrices pads to the back of the speakers a couple of layers and it seemed to help. And put carpet in the room too and that helped too.
Just a thought…
Try pointing your speakers towards the outer wall and/or a bed, sofa, or something that absorbs noise. DONT point them towards a bare wall to the neighboors. Turning you bass down will do wonders, as others have mentioned. The lower the tone, the further it carries. Put the speakers close to your "usual listening position." That will let you turn them down but still hear them at the same volume.
09-21-2002, 12:24 AM
Yeah, good idea. Put your speakers close to you. This will do wonders. Perhaps sit on them.
Or consider investing in headphones. I've seen a few suround sound headphones here and there. Also if you visit Dolby Digital's site you'll notice they are coming out with some cool surround sound headphones technology.
09-22-2002, 04:38 AM
This is also an issue that I am very concerned of since I live in an apartment that is designed extremely poorly accoustics-wise.
Have you heard about placing your speakers and sub on marble slabs(around 1" thick)?? I've seen it here in Korea where many people live apartments which are usually poorly insulated. The marble slabs are mostly for reducing vibration in the floor panels which result in tighter sound, but also helps in reducing the sound transmission through the floors as well. Also carpets/rugs and wall tapestries help. always use curtains(the thicker/heavier the better). Having lots of cushions/pillows/stuffed animals in the room also helps a little. I've also read about an interesting product in an article once called a "fence." It's a mat that you place under pianos in apartments to reduce the transfer of vibration. Since speakers are generally much lighter than pianos, they reduce up to 90% of the noise that is transfered. I'll try to look for it on the net.
09-22-2002, 01:41 PM
Do you know if the marble is a key point? I've got tons of 3" cement slabs that i'm using for make-shift furniture (e.g. stands, shelves) and can place the speakers on them.
Did you find anything out about the 'fence'? I did a quick Google search but didn't come up with anything of substance.
Again, my sincere thanks go out to everyone whose contributed to this post.
09-23-2002, 02:39 AM
yeah I'm pretty sure that it's the marble that is the key. If not there's no reason why people would choose expensive marble instead of other more affordable materials. Though I personally don't see why cement slabs wouldn't work, all the articles I've read mantioned only marble. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to at least try your cement slabs.
The point is to lay the slabs down on the floor, then use little rubber stubs to support the sub/speaker on the slab. You can even use rubber erasers in the four corners.
I'll keep looking for the "fence" thing. Let me know if you happen to find any good solutions, too! ;)
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