Townhouse + Sub = No-No!?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Chad Viro, Jan 4, 2004.

  1. Chad Viro

    Chad Viro Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello Everyone!
    Well, I am well on my way in constructing my first HomeTheater! So far, I have the following items:
    -Denon 2200 DVD Player
    -Denon 3803 Receiver
    -Toshiba 57H82 TV
    -Axiom M60ti,QS8, and VP150 speakers (have not purchased yet, but will relatively soon)

    The only thing I need is a sub! If I were to get a sub, I would definitely get a SVS sub; however, I am wondering if a sub might be a NO-NO! in a townhouse. The townhouse I am moving into is going to be finished on January 30th(brand-new...not sure if there is some 'new technology' in firewall and sound prevention). The Firewalls between the townhouses is a double firewall.

    Considering the wealth of information I have gotten from these forums in the past month, can I get some input as to what I should do? Should I be concerned? Anyone with experience? Any input would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Bob Brick

    Bob Brick Extra

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    There is new technology in building materials that will reduce sound, but I doubt that builders choose to use them unless specifically orderded by the buyer. I think you'd be very lucky if you had neighbors that didn't object to a subwoofer.

    Even deaf people can feel the vibrations, and most people would find it very annoying (when not enjoying their own home theater, that is). I don't think the double firewall would do much because the sound can probably find another way in. I think the outlook is pretty bleak.

    Maybe you should consider butt-kickers instead?
     
  3. Chad Viro

    Chad Viro Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the input, Bob. Got any links to butt-kickers? Never heard of them!

    If anyone else cares to add their thoughts, please do. I would also like to add that the floors are cement on the floor (the bottom floor) I want to add the sub.

    Keep in mind, I never planned to get a subwoofer because of the possibility to annoy the neighbors. So I am all ears to what people think......your not going to burst my bubble!
     
  4. Bob Brick

    Bob Brick Extra

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    I think Parts Express has butt-kickers. They vibrate your couch instead of the whole room.

    (I think the female of the species gets more enjoyment from them um, err, somehow- nudge, nudge, wink, wink!).
     
  5. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Chad,

    I currently have all of my gear setup in my townhome. Fortunately, I live in an end-unit, so it is not as bad as having neighbors on 2 sides.

    Usually, when I watch movies, I do have the sound turned up there a ways so that I can enjoy the action. I'm currently running a 15" DVC powered by a 200 watt plate amp. However, shortly, I will be going to a pair of Shivas with 250 watt plate amps. I don't expect that the bass would play any louder - but, hopefully, just better because of the better enclosures that I'll build.

    Just keep in mind that sound quality will usually always win out over sound quantity (well, for most people.) With that being the case, get the sub you desire. Play your movies at slightly lower than normal levels so you can enjoy the "quality" of the sounds around you. Finally, if you are extremely worried about disrupting neighbors, there's always the "midnight mode" that quite a few receivers feature. This option will limit some of the dynamics of the sound, but allow you to keep the volume up there so you can hear the dialogue.

    Best of luck!! Enjoy!!
     
  6. Sean M

    Sean M Stunt Coordinator

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    I currently live in a townhouse with neighbors on either side. I have an SVS sub and I play it at fairly loud levels when watching movies. I get no complaints from either neighbor. Part of it is that I'm lucky that my theater is in the basement and I don't think that either neighbor spends much time in their basement, but the other part of it is the clean bass output of the SVS. I used to get complaints about the sub volume with my old sub, which had considerably more distortion and was more annoying to those on either side. Once I got the SVS, the distortion went away and so did the complaints.
     
  7. Chad Viro

    Chad Viro Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello Wayne and Sean:
    Thanks for the input, guys! We all are from this area, so I can only imagine that the big-name builders use similar material in their construction(and considering the cost of living around here, they better!! heh jk).

    My theater is going to be in the basement as well. I am almost certain I am going to buy the SVS PB1-ISD sub. Thanks again, and any additional input is welcome.
     
  8. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Chad,

    Actually, I was pretty fortunate when my townhome was built. The builder, NV Homes, used a lot of "commercial" standards when building it as opposed to residential standards. For example, the drywall on the bedroom levels is (2) layers of 5/8" drywall. The construction supervisor told me that it was easier for them to get the places approved if they built them to commercial standards - which in some cases are more rigid than the residential codes.

    While the wall that I "share" with my neighbor is essentially a "sandwich" wall made up of insulation and 3 layers of fireproof drywall, the builder did also add a 2" x 4" wall over the "sandwich" wall in our family room. Before the drywall was installed, they insulated that wall, too. Considering my place has the extra 2" x 4" insulated wall and my neighbor does, too, it essentially means that we have about 13" of layered wall between our two places. Granted, this does not block 100% of the low frequency waves - but, I'm sure that it does filter out quite a few more of them than if we didn't have the extra wall layers.

    In your case, you might consider adding an extra 2" x 4" insulated wall on both of the family room walls that you share with your neighbors. This might allow you to enjoy your subwoofer a bit more - without worrying about being disruptive towards your neighbors. Considering studs run about $2.25 each, drywall runs about $5.50 for a sheet of 4' x 8' and R-13 insulation runs about $8.00 for 45 sq. ft., this would be quite an economical improvement. Also, if you were going to the trouble of insulating these additional "barrier" walls, one could look into some other insulation that might provide more sound absorbtion. If you didn't have the tools or the time to do such work, I'm sure it would run about $2K to have both of your walls "padded" in this manner.
     
  9. Donald_S

    Donald_S Stunt Coordinator

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    The trick is to get your neighbors on board. I also live in a townhouse and have a neighbor who has his bedroom against the wall where my Home Theater is. I did two things. First, I put the sub on a wall at 90 degrees from the fronts with a stuffed chair blocking the path to the front wall (his bedroom wall). But the most important thing I did was to tell my neighbor about it and ask him to help me test volumes so I wouldn't disturb him. He was really touched that I didn't just blast away without asking, forestalling the dreaded pounding on the door. I was able to set volumes that gave enough rumble, but let him sleep.

    If you're considering Bass Shakers (you won't find many Google hits on 'Butt Kickers'), lots of people have them, including Parts Express for under $100.

    Good luck,

    Donald
     
  10. JasonPM

    JasonPM Auditioning

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    I live in a townhouse so I can say that you will indeed hear and feel sound through the walls. I can hear my neighbors running up and down the stairs. I can even hear our neighbor snoring at night on the other side of the wall.

    Yes, each unit has it's own walls and a 1" space between buildings and you can still hear a lot.

    But nobody complains, we try to keep the volume down late at night.

    If I had to do it over again I would have never purchased a townhouse. I hate it. Really hate it. Well I actually hate having an HOA more than anything.
     
  11. Matt Odegard

    Matt Odegard Stunt Coordinator

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    I live in an apartment and I have a sub. I have never had a noise complaint yet.

    1. A properly setup sub won't be as 'loud' to the neighbors.

    2. Movies scenes are generally random bass and its not always hard hitting and repetitive like some music can be.

    The neighbors right next to me have a cheap $150 cd type stereo have gotten noise complaints. But thats because there boomy peices of crap. I turn my ht up alot louder than their rap music to and never a complaint.

    As long as its not boomy you should be fine.
     
  12. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    First, TALK TO THEM!!!

    If it is too loud, they will know. If it isn't - they won't complain.

    Wait until all of you are moved in, play a movie loud, and go down and see if they can hear it. If they can, you tone it down, if not, thank heaven that you don't like in a cheap POS Sbox. If the latter is the case, invite them over for a movie night, so if they do hear your system, they will feel bad complaining about it [​IMG]
     

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