Home Theatre soundproof in an apartment??

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by CraigK, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. CraigK

    CraigK Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 24, 2002
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    Hey all.

    I am moving to a masonary apartment soon. I have a suite on the 3rd floor. The suite is in the outermost corner of the building. My room that I want my theatre to be in is in the farthest corner of the apartment. Basically, two of its walls has no suites on the other side. The other wall separates the kitchen from the theatre room. The fourth remaining wall separates the theatre room from my bedroom.

    So, in essence, the walls of my theatre are no where near any walls that separates other suites from me. The only wall that separates my suite from my neighbour is my bedroom wall...and that is one room down from my theatre room,

    So, my humble question is...HOW SOUNDPROOF AM I? Should I still be able to have the theatre cranked at a respectable level and not bother neighbours? (obviously, there are people below me, but its my immediate neighbours that concerns me)

    Thanks in advance
  2. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    May 8, 2001
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    simply put -- it all depends on what you mean by "respectable level". [​IMG]

    i think you should set it up, then start playing it. it may be a nice gesture to let your neighbor know you have a system and to simply let you know if it gets too loud. heck - even better, invite them over for movie night.
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    Your furniture, wall-hangings, etc., all help with sound-proofing for the higher-frequencies.

    But the big problem with apartments is the subwoofer. You get a LOT of reflected sound from the walls/floor/ceiling. Any walls that are shared will vibrate and conduct the sound into other apartments.

    In many cases it is just un-acceptable to your neighbors.

    Here are some things you can try:

    - Install the system and play some bass-heavy chapters in a A/B loop and visit your neighbors to hear how it sounds. This will give you a chance to meet them and give them your phone number so they can call if it gets too disturbing or too late. Being responsive to them goes a LONG way towards keeping the piece.

    - Ask your neighbors over for a "Movie Party" every few weeks which will help reduce the complaints.

    - If the sound is disturbing to the neighbors, ask them what would be good hours of use and honor these. You can still enjoy your system past these times, but at a reduced subwoofer level.

    - Look for a reciever with a "Midnight Theater" mode. This is a special setting where the reciever will change the sound levels so it stays within a narrower band. This will reduce the volume-swings and make it more neighbor-friendly.

    Good Luck.
  4. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Aug 19, 2002
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    It depends very heavily on how the building was constructed, some are built very well to be quiet, and others are not and it's as if there is no wall. I'd do as bob suggests, and play your system at various volumes, and see what it sounds like for your neighbors. Often noise problems arise where sometimes you just don't realize HOW loud it actually is, and acoustics does weird things, so it can sound just as loud as in your room, downstairs or next door sometimes, especially with bass.

    I would be very hesitant to phrase this as such. Absorption, which is what thick fabrics, wall treatments, fiberglass/foams, etc do, is distinctly different from sound isolation or sound proofing. Also, be VERY wary of the term "sound insulation" this is a really sleazy term often confuses people, and people think that insulating walls will solve all their problems. not so.

    Sound isolation is difficult to do, and almost impossible to do in apartments, as it requires, heavy sealed wall/floor/ceiling structures, and usually that's just not feasible. Fabric absorption can do wonders for the acoustics within the space if applied properly in correct amounts, but will do almost nothing for sound isolation, since most of the sound that will go right through walls is lower frequencies, which take many many many feet of thick fiberglass or other absorbing materials to absorb.

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