Can A Sub Damage Your Home?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Chip Brogden, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. Chip Brogden

    Chip Brogden Extra

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    I have heard that too big of a subwoofer playing too loud can actually damage your house by seperating the drywall in the joints and loosen the screws. what exactly is too loud and what is too big? This sounds true enough or is this a "urban legend" type thing?
     
  2. Richard Greene

    Richard Greene Stunt Coordinator

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    If you excite the wall's resonant frequency long enough and hard enough you may get some "nail pops".
    When I had my Tempest tube sub in a room corner a
    20Hz. sine wave at about 100dB caused some nail pops near the subwoofer. The wall was rattling very loudly at that frequency ... but a sine wave is not music ... and a few nail pops are not exactly serious damage.
     
  3. Mike Nep

    Mike Nep Stunt Coordinator

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    I have dual Tempests in a Infinite Baffle setup and I've played sine waves down to 13hz on an NCH tone generator and became very worried about the structural integrity of my house. The house is late 70's and the room is above the garage so it's basically "floating". The "rumble" it produced has taught me not to do this very often if ever again. The windows (single pane) seriously would've broken if I had gone any louder. Like the above posts state, I'd doubt you could break anything while watching a movie but prolonged play of a structure's or window's resonant frequency would cause some sort of damage. In conclusion, you really shouldn't play with fire no matter how cool it seems at the time.
     
  4. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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  5. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    I used to be fairly proud of our home. We built it five years ago the way we wanted. Now it's basically a heap of pulverized rubble. Darn subs anyway![​IMG] :wink:
     
  6. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    I keep a Shop-Vac in the HT and just vacuum up after a movie. Sheetrock, nails, broken glass...
     
  7. MikeMcGrew

    MikeMcGrew Stunt Coordinator

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    No freakin way!!! You can't be serious [​IMG] The most I have been able to do is get the occasional picture to fall of the wall, and beleive me, there is hell to pay when that happens! Maybe it's time for an upgrade eh? :p)
     
  8. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    James Edward I sent you a $25 check in the mail for making me laugh so hard. Darn! I forgot to put the check in the envelope though.

    Trivia question>> What movie character says>>> (Are you entertained? Are not you entertained?)
     
  9. Shane_M

    Shane_M Stunt Coordinator

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    I would say if they have long range missles they could do massive damage to your home. [​IMG]

    Seriously though, I've broken a few glasses by rocking them off my HT unit that hold my TV. I think a few nail pops may be associated, however, it could be weather related as well seeing it can go from -20degC to 10degC in 24hrs.
     
  10. Bob Brick

    Bob Brick Extra

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    I second the notion that most HT subs won't harm your house much at less than deafening levels. (I'm almost certain that the cracks in my home's concrete foundation were there before I bought two subs.)

    However, if you created some kind of homemade "monster" sub that could generate high levels of sound at 20hz and below, and fed it with a few thousand watts, you would then have a genuine weapon capable of harming people and structures at fairly long distances. Bigger machines of this sort have been tested by the military, and I think Tesla produced local earthquakes with one- perfect for a lease-breaking party, eh?

    Do a little web research on the effects of low frequency sound and you'll be amazed to find that there are specific frequencies that will induce naseau and far worse medical havoc on the human body. Please use this knowledge for good and not to exact revenge on the UPS guy who literally dropped off your latest HT component.
     
  11. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    Maximus Decimus Meridius...
    Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.
     
  12. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    You get a [​IMG] for doing your lesson so well. I think I must watch that movie or some of it anyway, every week/day.

    Sorry Chip for deviating from your original question.
     
  13. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    I know a local guy that says he's done some structural damage to his house with a pair of Contrabass subs! [​IMG]
     
  14. MikeMcGrew

    MikeMcGrew Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey James, did you have to go listen to that or did you know it by heart? Either way, Impressive, very impressive!
     
  15. NicholasTS

    NicholasTS Stunt Coordinator

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    It is definitely possible to break your house. I met one of the engineers who is on the subwoofer designing team at a very well known speaker company. He told me the last sub he had in his house was a dual 18" one active, one passive. He managed to not only damage his house but also damage a chandelier in a neighbor's house. he had vaulted ceilings, and when the sub pounded, it managed to make a crack in the drywall from the peak to the floor and popped out every nail in that half of the wall. That wasn't stopping him though. He's since moved to a new home and is designing a quad 18" that blows is last one away.
     
  16. Chip Brogden

    Chip Brogden Extra

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    The initial reason I asked was because a friend bought a JBL subwoofer recently and it did have a drywall warning on it. I can only imagine what your upper end subwoofers can do. My house is settling and I can already see "nail pops". I sure would hate to buy a $1300 subwoofer and $1500 worth of home repairs.
     
  17. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    Mike,
    Thank you. Had to go listen- I wanted to get it right.
     
  18. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Tom Nousaine chief sub tester for Sound&Vision magazine knows a hand full of very serious people who own monster subs. Some using multiple drivers. He has documented levels of over 120 db at 20Hz. He did mention that I of these guys got his garage door off its track with the sub, and another guy had rust clog some piping after the sub shook the house so loudly.

    Of course these were custom mades, again with multiple drivers. Tom built himself a nifty monster by building a a 8 foot square about 2 feet each side. The structure extended from the floor of the living room to the floor of the basement. He has about 8 drivers in the long box. It is driven by a Crown amp that can deliver about 2000 watts.

    The clever part is that he used an air conditioning size duct, on the living room floor to pipe the sound up to his listening room. No monster subs in the room!

    Artie
     
  19. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Arthur,

    Now that you mention it, I can't believe I forgot about our very own ThomasW and his 12 Shivas Dancing! He states he's never tested it's max output capabilities since he has a plate glass window that he does not want to have to replace.
     
  20. Greg-ST

    Greg-ST Stunt Coordinator

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    I have no doubt that a sub playing very loudly at the proper frequency can damage something within a home.

    I've tried a bass test song with my sub a few times. It's one that's supposed to see how low your sub can go without actually reaching the limits of the voice-coil or suspension. There are a couple frequency levels in there that really rattle something in my room (it may be the molding around my door entrance that's barely loose). I haven't cranked the volume with that particular test though because I'm afraid I'm going to wind up regretting it.

    It's not a very large room either (only 10'x12'). It's on the second floor of the house with resonant areas completely surrounding it (behind the back wall it's near is a crawl space, the other wall to the side is hollow and the floor is hollow).

    Brian, you beat me to it. I was going to post the same link, but I'm not allowed to post links until I've been here longer.
     

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