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Subwoofer & Speakers in apartments. Give me your advice!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris PC, Jul 11, 2002.

  1. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I own a Marantz SR 6200 receiver and PSB Image 6T front speakers, 9C center, 2B surrounds and a Mirage BPS-400 subwoofer. Needless to say, in my 14' by 12.5' room, the volume I can reach is more than loud enough for my tastes. Here is my question, as my understanding of apartments and townhomes is limited. I recall some who say they can't listen loud in their apartment, and then again, I recall others who have played music very loud without problems. So I am looking for feedback from HT and Audio system owners who live in apartments. When I move, I may be moving into an apartment, an apartment condo or a townhome. What am I to expect in terms of how loud I can play my music, and loud I can have my subwoofer?

    What I want to hear from, is how many people out there are severely compromised by their apartment and have to listen much lower than they might otherwise listen in a house? Also, I'd like to hear from people who feel they are able to listen to their equipment at very high volumes in their apartments and they are not compromised at all. I am wondering what the possibilities are. How can I test an apartment for its ability to allow me to play music loud without disturbing neighbours?

    Any feedback is appreciated.
     
  2. Paul_Dunlop

    Paul_Dunlop Second Unit

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    Hi
    I live in a condo apartment and would say that I am only slightly compromised in sound levels. I cannot crank it as high as I could if I lived in a townhome with a basement HT, but I can listen at fairly good levels.

    Things to look for in a new place as follows

    1.Shared walls - is your HT going to be beside their bedroom wall? (this is my situation) I had to replace my sub to one with a front firing port, to eliminate the bass pounding into his wall.

    2.Is there an apartment above? - this shouldn't be too bad, but might make a difference - the rule with buying a condo is top floor, corner unit - this gives you the least amount of neighbours

    3.A basement in a townhouse is probably your best location for an HT - even a shared wall will be with your neighbours basement, which they may never use

    Also common courtesy always applies - never too loud, quieter after 10 or 11:00pm during the week, not early in the mornings on the weekend
    I don't mind/complain if my neighbours crank the music once in a while - this means you can do the same every once in a while also.

    EDIT - I thought i would clarify something due to the 'earmuffs' statement in a following post. I am not advocating blasting music until the magic hour of 10-11.

    I have lived in my condo for 8 years and only receieved 1 complaint - my neighbour pounded on the wall, one afternoon that i foolishly cranked the Pod Race to -19 on my Denon. This was for the enjoyment of my nephews - i immediately turned it down, and no further comments were made.

    I speak to all my neighbours on a regular basis - i have 4, since i am on the second floor (up, down and both sides) and never once have they mentioned any problems with my listening levels.

    It's possible that the construction of my condo, which is concrete and insulated walls, contributes to the fact that i can listen at moderate levels for movies and music. I normally use -30 for TV and -27 for movies. I do not have any hearing problems, nor do i want them. If I listened at loud levels, i would likely be disturbing myself and my wife long before the neighbours.

    I liken common (sound) courtesy to the same behaviour that a detached home owner has to follow when having backyard parties. If every day and weekend you had music blasting and people yelling in your backyard, you would receive complaints. If you have a party every once in a while during the summer, you may be louder than your neighbours would like, but i bet they wouldn't complain.

    In all, it's definitely more limiting than having a detached house, but not the end of the world. You can enjoy a good HT in a smaller room, without having to 'strain' to hear the dialogue.

    Take it easy
     
  3. James Bergeron

    James Bergeron Supporting Actor

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    Whap really hard on the walls when you are checking out the apartment! And attempt to ask the neighbour how noise levels are if you can.
     
  4. aldamon

    aldamon Second Unit

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  5. Lou Loomis

    Lou Loomis Stunt Coordinator

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  6. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    We are building a new house, and sold our old house quickly. So I have been in an apartment for 4 months now. (Only 2 more weeks to go). Even though I had just spent $1500 on Paradigm speakers in December, I put everything but my Mini monitors in storage. I try to keep my sound below 75db, which is like talking loudly. To me, that is just common courtsey. Boy do I miss my sub though. I am surprised at how well my Minis do in stereo, but I am so ready to have my entire system back.
    Try to check with your neighbors and see how loud you are. In my apartment the only thing you can hear are the showers. You will be surprised and what can and can't be heard.
     
  7. Heath_R

    Heath_R Stunt Coordinator

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    I live in a townhouse without a basement so my HT is in my living room. I am on the end and have my sub (SVS) against an external wall, not the shared wall. I talked to them about it when they moved in and told them to tell me if it was too loud, not one complaint yet. My townhouse is pretty solid, concrete walls on the shared wall. I can't hear anything from them except for the dog, and that is only if he is barking loudly in the kitchen which is next to my living room.
     
  8. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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  9. Michael Lomker

    Michael Lomker Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris, I've lived in a half-dozen apartments. In one of them my neighbors would be woken up (upstairs) when I opened the front door....as quietly as I could! The place was practically an echo-chamber. I lasted there 3 months before I moved out.

    Most modern buildings are pretty decent, though. I have a PSB Stratus setup and an SVS sub. I'd say that -30 is about all you'll get away with in an apartment. I think that is plenty loud, though. If I ever have a home I'll build myself a nice, sound-resistant HT room.
     
  10. Keir H

    Keir H Second Unit

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    My neighbors have come over only once when the Perfect Storm was on during the storm scenes. Constant bass throughout and I did not realize how loud it was. -30 seems to be the norm I see thus far and that's where I am usually as well with my Def Techs BP 30's and SVS 22-31 CS. Every now and then I'll go to -23 or so when watching most dialog driven movies (chick flicks [​IMG]). What's funny is I was watching Summer Catch the other day on HD HBO (awesome btw) during the scene where the the wild looking pitcher threw a heater in slow motion with sound levels rising throughout the windup and pitch and my SVS was really rumbling and shook my pant leg (first time!). Vol was at -15 and it caught me off guard but y'all know about that "grin" that we get when we are impressed. I never tease myself for very long playing anywhere near ref: levels in my apartment. Just to show off a scene or two is all I can do. It sucks cause I would like to see what my system can do and cannot. Those of y'all who are playing at -10 - ref. are thrilled I'm sure & lucky too!
     
  11. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Wow. Thanks for all the feedback.
    I can't relate to the dB comparisons. What exactly is reference again? All I know is that I don't usually listen to music over 85 dB using my Radio Shack SPL meter. In terms of my Marantz SR 6200, I usually watch movies between -5 and -20 dB depending on my mood and whether the rest of my family is sleeping. (I find that NIGHT MODE does not do much to make the movie watchable. I don't notice a reduction in dynamic range, but I guess I'd have to do some comparison)
     
  12. GregC

    GregC Stunt Coordinator

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    I lived in an apartment for many years with a home theater, including an SVS sub. The issue is NOT the apartment rules, but consideration of others who share your space. Find a BOTTOM floor CORNER apartment with concrete sub-flooring. Put the sub in the unshared corner and tune it WITHOUT the 5db boost. You will know very soon how much sound is transmitted between apartments by how easily you can hear your neighbors, then USE common sense. 85db listening in an apartment is not going to fly, so if you can't get used to 75db or less for movies and music, find a single family home and let the police deal with real crime instead of wasting their time coming to your apartment and asking you to turn it down and keep it down.
     
  13. Sebastian

    Sebastian Second Unit

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  14. itai

    itai Stunt Coordinator

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    i got along quite well in my apartment for a few months, but i got carried away with Black hawk down, playing at -10 to -5, with friends over (that's the worst), and the next day i got a letter from a neighbor, telling me last night was the straw that broke his back, and that he was suffering quietly for a long time, and that stuff in his apartment shook, etc.
    so now i'm more aware (afraid!), and i wont make that mistake again.
    though i sneak in a few almost ref levels from now and then.
    but all in all, apartment living sucks. its cruel. after spending so much money, you cant let you Ferrari go. (sob)
    itai
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Geoff S

    Geoff S Stunt Coordinator

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    In my building the hours from 8:30 to 5pm are hours that contractors can work, and they can make all noise they need to in unit remodels. so during that time I can blast my system all I need to. Also I'm in a middle room away from the front door and hallway. Also my neighbor below me is never there, and the one above me is half deaf. It works out great.

    That's my situation!
     
  16. itai

    itai Stunt Coordinator

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    that's actually a good idea, living among deaf people!
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    It's this topic specifically that will alter the choice of my next living arrangement.

    I will ONLY buy a single family home that has a decent amount of spacing from neighbors. After living in various apartments for the last 8 years, I refuse to compromise my HT experience any longer.

    I have had everything from very cool and understanding neighbors to people who put the fear of god in me. Either way, if you are "doing the right thing" and being cool about the impact your system has on others, you simply keep the volume levels lower.

    I work at night and cannot tell you how many times I would love to come home and watch a movie on my system that I have rented, but I just don't...because watching a movie at 10:30pm when I return home at 95db will get me evicted. I wait until the weekends or watch it during the day when people are at work.

    There is simply no way around this. I don't think most of us understand the impact our systems have on others...that or we simply don't care in the case of the small minority of us.
     
  18. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    What if your neighbors don't speak a lick of ENGLISH? I guess this rules out any communication huh? I have this problem and plan on moving in a few months. When I moved into this apartment a few years ago, I had no clue what HT was, but have now obviously outgrown this apartment. This is a forty year old building, and I can hear my neighbor snoring and opening/closing drawers. The insulation in this building is indeed very poor. I have began picking up some good equipment, but only because I can afford it now, seeing that when I move to my new establishment, I likely won't have the extra funds to do so. My advice is to try and rent a small home/guest home where you can more readily enjoy your system. Believe me, it's no fun to come home after work and throw on a DVD-A and have your neighbor tapping on the wall five minutes later....and I don't play my system anywhere near reference levels.

    Reg
     
  19. Brian Burgoyne

    Brian Burgoyne Second Unit

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    I moved out of my apt a couple of months after getting my system. Got a noise complaint from the manager right off the bat. Found a small rent house for just a little more. Now I bought a small house, but it wasn't easy finding plan with a decent room layout. Getting a house is probably easier for us in a growing suburban area than for people in the city or an expensive area like silicon valley. Sorry.
     
  20. itai

    itai Stunt Coordinator

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    Evan, i do, i actually have a neighbor, 3 floors down, with some serious ht.
    when he plays it, he doesnt give a @$#%! i can feel his sub!
    the only thought that comes into my mind is the honest to god prayer, that he will turn it down soon!!! it's VERY anoying, i can tell you that.
    i did an experiment, i left Gladiator, scene 2 at -10 volume, and went out the door, closed it, and started to
    walk away. it was loud and clear, let me tell you that!
    apartment living #%#%ks!
     

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