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Trouble with the neighbors and noise

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21 replies to this topic

#1 of 22 OFFLINE   Tim_Stonesifer


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Posted January 16 2004 - 03:19 AM

Here's my problem: I'm in college and I live in an apartment that I thought had pretty thick walls (but apparently not thick enough). We've got a great 5.1 system with a pair of old Genesis speakers for the L/R channels and a JBL S-Center. The sub's only a 50-100? watt Sony, but it's more than enough for a small apartment, as I found out last night. So the girls in the room next door must like to keep things absolutely silent over there, because they're constantly complaining that our movies and music is too loud. She even came over when my roommate was just playing his accoustic guitar - not amped! I think last night pushed them over the edge since we were watching Black Hawk Down and it was turned up pretty loud. She's threatening to tell the RA now. Obviously the sub was a major factor in that last night, and was sure to easily carry over to her room. However, do any of you have ideas for what to do besides turning down the volume? Could I put accoustic foam (or something like it) against the wall? Keep in mind, I am in college, so there's not much cash available for anything. If I did install foam, would just placing it behind the speakers be enough to dampen the sound? I'll take any ideas...

#2 of 22 OFFLINE   Mike Darksyde

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Posted January 16 2004 - 04:09 AM

I am curious abotu this problem as well with something like an SVS IB2+ and a house in a sub division. Will the bass bother those people next door?

#3 of 22 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted January 16 2004 - 04:09 AM

Tim, you could try some sound-deadening measures, but, really, what you describe is a reality common to apartment dwellers in dense urban areas as well as to students in dorms. I live in a Los Angeles apartment where the walls are kind of medium to thin. How do I deal with it? I keep the volume levels low out of respect for my neighbors. It's just a fact of life. One thing you should note if you simply take the time: Position yourself in the audio "sweetspot." It's amazing how full and rich and immersive the audio is in a 5.1-channel or better surround-sound field. You don't really have to crank it up that loud to enjoy a film (which is, ultimately, about story and dialogue and character development). The neighbors shouldn't suffer so that you and your buddies can enjoy Black Hawk Down at reference-level volumes.

#4 of 22 OFFLINE   Ernest Yee

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Posted January 16 2004 - 05:00 AM

Can't you just adjust the amount of room resonation by placing the sub on top of a piece of concrete? Usually if you take a few pieces and place them underneath your speakers, it should help a bit. But really, your real solution would be to purchase a B4+ or Ultra when that comes out and place it adjacent to the neighbors wall and let loose reference levels!

#5 of 22 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted January 16 2004 - 06:00 AM

There must be noise regulations if you have an RA. Is there a rule as to which times it must be kept quiet? If you are not watching films past the "quiet" hour, you are not listening at reference type levels and these neighbors are truly unreasonable enough to complain about an accoustic guitar - get an SPL meter and keep it handy. Measure the level when they complain and chart it against common noises (find these levels on the web). This will go a long way towards your case with the RA.

Another alternative is to invite the neighbors over and show them the SPL level you are watching at. Ask them if they think it is unreasonable.

Of course all this assumes you are following the noise guidelines/rules for your areaPosted Image . You are doing that, aren't you?

#6 of 22 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles



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Posted January 16 2004 - 09:14 AM

Go next door and see. Dorms are horrible with the noise transmission in my experience. However, sometimes you don't realize that they may be getting tons of bass reinforcement, and noise otherwise. MOving things around in your room might help greatly. Other than that, don't blast things at night, and have them watch flicks and such so that they experience the benefit of the system, not just the noise leakages.

#7 of 22 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted January 16 2004 - 09:23 AM

Welcome to the downfall of renting. Your only real "fix" to allow you refrence listening iis to construct a sound-controlled room in a single family house.
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#8 of 22 OFFLINE   Brad E

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Posted January 16 2004 - 12:14 PM

I'd be inviting those girls over. I mean that's what college is really about isn't it?Posted Image

#9 of 22 OFFLINE   JohnnyG



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Posted January 17 2004 - 06:55 AM

The joke has already been taken, but...
Or...invite the neighbors over and...pass the popcorn!

#10 of 22 OFFLINE   Kevinkall


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Posted January 17 2004 - 08:16 AM

That's a little crazy!

I also live in an apartment(2nd floor) and I work 2nd shift. So it's really hard for me. Usually I will leave my sub off if I plan on watching a movie late at night and will also apply the midnight mode setting on my receiver. I find that most movies sound OK like this(late at night anyways). If I'm watching a movie during the day I try to keep my system at a moderate volume(with the sub on) out of respect for my neighbors. Every once in awhile I'll crank it up for a little while. Posted Image

As stated earlier if you have your system setup correctly you don't have to CRANK IT for movies to sound good.

#11 of 22 OFFLINE   Greg Kolinski

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Posted January 18 2004 - 12:46 AM

How about keeping the sub level low and getting some of those "bass shaker" things???Other than that ,there is not much you can do.I bet that if ANY bass is heard in their apt, the owners/RA will side with them. Greg
The more I learn about this stuff ,the dumber I get

#12 of 22 OFFLINE   Tim_Stonesifer


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Posted January 18 2004 - 01:50 AM

Guys, thanks for all the good ideas. I looked into the rules about noise, and I think that'll help a lot. Apparently speakers aren't supposed to be larger than 12" x 20". Oops.Posted Image The rule is that if the RA can hear the sound 2 doors away from yours in the hallway, then the music is too loud. If it still bothers the people next door, we're supposed to be curteous of them. Right... So I think I'm just going to go out in the hallway and figure out the loudest levels I can have. I'll try to work in most of your ideas from there. Thanks a lot guys. If you have any more ideas though, feel free to keep them coming.

#13 of 22 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted January 18 2004 - 06:11 AM

On the other hand, Tim, it could very well be that your neighbors are being less than reasonable. It happens. Once, when I lived in an apartment in the same neighborhood, I had neighbors who were intolerant of any noise, no matter how controlled. They even complained about the noise from my message machine. But I had to put up with the sounds of their lovemaking (why, I wondered, did she sing a lullabye to him after they were done one Sunday afternoon? And since they were far from attractive people, I didn't like the images that filled my mind). I moved, and the landlord ended up evicting them.

#14 of 22 OFFLINE   Dustin Harrison

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Posted January 19 2004 - 06:00 AM

Some receivers come with "midnight mode". It equalizes the sounds produced in the movies. I'm looking for a new AV receiver now and that's one of the modes it will have to have. You may want to look into that.

#15 of 22 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles



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Posted January 19 2004 - 10:23 AM

Yes dustin, almost all receiver carry this, though it is sometimes labeled under different names, such as "night mode," etc. This is the dynamic range compression feature in DD, and AFAIK standard. It would be a good idea to check though, that the receiver you are purchasing includes this. This does not function on DTS, however, as it is a feature of DD, i beleive.

#16 of 22 OFFLINE   John S

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Posted January 19 2004 - 10:32 AM

Accoustic Guitar un-amped = to loud???? I think you are fighting a way losing battle with this pair....

#17 of 22 OFFLINE   Dave Poehlman

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Posted January 19 2004 - 12:19 PM

Hahaha.. that's a dumb rule.. I have a set that's probably 16 X 11 that can really kick out some decent bass. I'd say start looking for off-campus housing.

#18 of 22 OFFLINE   Brian W.

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Posted January 19 2004 - 12:28 PM

Well...what time was he playing, though? If it was 3:00 a.m., it could still bother a person.

#19 of 22 OFFLINE   Ernest Yee

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Posted January 19 2004 - 07:41 PM

Well - maybe it would just be good to counteract and pound on the walls when they're doing "their thing." Then when it finally becomes annoying to them, maybe you can work out an agreement of sorts? Like automatic movie time while they're making out in their room.

#20 of 22 OFFLINE   AllanN


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Posted January 20 2004 - 03:40 AM

Seriously though, my apartment was built using concrete construction and all the dividing walls between apartments as well as the floor and ceilings are all concrete. I have not had a single complaint listening at REF-15db, playing DVD's like Black Hawk Down, Lord of the Rings, Saving Private Ryan, etc. I also never heard any of my neighbors or the three kids that lived upstairs.
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