How to soundproof my apartment door?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Jay Sylvester, Apr 26, 2003.

  1. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    I was living quite happily with my apartment HT going at full volume until a new neighbor moved in across the hall. Unlike the young couple who lived there previously, the new neighbors are complaining about the noise.

    My building is superb when it comes to noise transmission. Shared walls and ceilings transfer almost no noise at all, even at high volumes. However, when they renovated the building they got cheap when it came to the doors. While the neighbor I share a wall with (who also happens to be the super) hears nothing when I watch a movie, the people across the hall are bothered because the noise travels from my doorway straight to theirs.

    I'd like to build something to put in front of or inside my doorway to minimize the amount of noise coming from my door. Here's a couple pics of my doorway:

    http://www.codebloat.com/junk/doorway.jpg
    http://www.codebloat.com/junk/doorway2.jpg

    As you can see from the pics, the doorway is recessed into the wall by a little over 7 inches. I'm thinking that I could build something to stick into the doorway, maybe something made of acoustic foam, plastic, whatever. Something that I could easily put into place when watching a movie and then remove when I'm done.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    How is your actual room treated? If your room is mostly untreated then reflections (reverberations) are probably causing your problems as much or more than the actual volume of your movies. Also, treating your room will allow you to turn down your volume and still get the full presentation that you desire.

    Think of an actual movie theater and all though the movie is loud in the actual theater room, it doesn't dominate the outside hallways. You may have to buy a nice size piece of foam or even a thick blanket like Markertek sells to make a couple of barriers between your door and your theater room to tone down the mid to high frequencies coming from your place. When you get to the link page, enter in the model number "SAB-1" and it'll take you to the blanket. In fact, if you put acoustic foam under the door and use the blanket directly behind your door and another blanket across the actual entrance to your theater room, your neighbors should get some relief from the mid to high freq sounds coming from your room although, treating your actual HT room will bring you greater satisfaction on the inside and your neighbors total satisfaction on the outside.

    ***If they are complaining about the bass then it's really not much that you can do except turn it down to acceptable levels for both parties or do some minor to major reconstruction to your place. Then again, you can always move your sub to another useable corner in your room located further away from the neighbors side and that may bring about some relief. I personally would treat my HT room and turn the overall volume down.

    Here is a good start to treating your room:

    Eighth Nerve

    Also, below is a good book that help bring about a better understanding of acoustic treatments and "Hi End" audio all together vfor me. It was recommended to me on this forum and so I am sharing the wealth. Anyone serious into HT and Audio should have these two books in their collection. I've been given the same advice and have a better understanding of my system and most importantly the room that it lives in.

    Robert Harley's Guide to High End Audio

    My HT link is not updated and doesn't reflect my present room and acoustic treatment. Also, my room is a dedicated HT room so WAF is not a factor as far as the decor goes.



    Good Luck
     
  3. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    I don't really have an "entrance" to my theater room. My theater is basically my living room, which is open to the front door. Here's the layout of my theater/apartment:

    http://www.codebloat.com/junk/speakerplacement.gif

    Unfortunately I'm limited in the types of treatment I can use since I'm renting. Anything that would cause permanent damage to the walls is out of the question. Adhesive or velcro strips that can be scraped/peeled off would probably be acceptable since they repaint when a tenant leaves. Since it's only me here, WAF isn't a factor. I'm more concerned about how it sounds than how it looks.

    I think one of the primary problems is that the door doesn't close tightly against the frame. Sound escapes quite readily, and I'm sure the door vibrates, creating its own noise. Maybe some type of rubber strip around the frame to seal it up and keep it from moving, combined with some of the sound damping blankets/curtains you mention might muffle the sound enough to keep the neighbors happy.

    Thanks for the links, I'll take a look at those sites.
     
  4. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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  5. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    It's only during very loud passages that the door might shake. When I first moved here, I cranked my Jurassic Park DTS LD, put on the T-rex chase scene, and walked around the building to see what it was like. I even went over to my super's apartment since his kid's bedroom is on the other side of the wall where my front speakers are located. In his apartment and in the apartment above mine, there was no noise coming through. There are big cement blocks between each unit, with thick wooden beams in the floors/ceilings. All the noise was coming out of my front door and leaking into the hallway. The people living across the hall at the time didn't mind, but the new people do. Unfortunately, when they complained they went to the super and not to me, so I don't know exactly what they said. Judging by what I heard in the hallway during my listening tests, I wouldn't say it's necessarily the lower frequencies that are causing the bulk of problem, just the overall volume level. I think if I can muffle the uppers and mids and keep the door from shaking, it should be sufficient.

    I originally had my sub in the corner on the far wall, but the bass was very boomy there. I think the walls reinforced it too much. It sounds much smoother in its current location away from the walls. It's pointed toward the opposite side of the room.

    Is there someplace I can learn about how bass frequencies travel? Whenever I ask about soundproofing, the first thing most people say is "well, if it's the bass, you can't really fix that." Why is that?
     
  6. Chad Anson

    Chad Anson Second Unit

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    You can also try installing new weatherstripping in the doorjam so that there is an airtight seal when the door is closed. Home Depot and Lowes both sell various sizes and thicknesses.
     
  7. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    It's funny that you mention that. There's weatherstripping on the frame now, but it's not thick enough so air gets through. As an experiment, I turned on some loud, bass-heavy music, went out into the hallway, and listened. I could hear the music pretty clearly in front of my door. However, if I pulled on the door to make the seal tighter, it cut the noise level significantly.

    I was at Home Depot earlier looking at their weatherstripping, but it mostly seemed like cheap foam. I'd like to find something thicker that won't let air pass so readily.
     
  8. David Preston

    David Preston Supporting Actor

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    If you play movies when they are alseep just offer them some ear plugs. Maybe a local hardware store will have better weather striping or another solution.
     
  9. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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  10. Chuck Bogie

    Chuck Bogie Second Unit

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    Suggestion...

    Next time you see 'em, apologize to 'em about the noise, and ask 'em to tell you if you've got it too high. When I had a new guy move in next door, I put on the dinofight from JPIII and set it on repeat, and went over and chatted with the guy and asked him if I had it too loud. Know your allowable parameters.

    I'd go with some weatherstripping (and buy enough for TWO doors - offer to do their door too).

    Also, next time a "big release" movie comes out that they might want to watch, invite 'em over. It's better to have friends as neighbors. That way, if someone backs a truck up to your apartment while you're gone, they're more likely to call the cops for you.
     
  11. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    A guy here at work suggested I try an auto parts store for the type of weatherstripping they use on car doors since it tends to be more solid than the foam stuff. I think I'll give that a shot.
     

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