Ah, the age-old concern of music-loving neighbors everywhere: Can I use a subwoofer inside my apartment without getting a noise complaint?
It’s great that you ask this question before you start bumping the bass. This is because you have a chance of being proactive. This is the right place for you if you live in an apartment or condominium, townhouse, duplex or other shared living space.
This is a great example of being considerate. We’ll show you the best Studio Subwoofers at all price points so that you get maximum enjoyment and productivity from your hard-earned cash.
How to avoid a Subwoofer Noise Complaint from Your Apartment Neighbor
Hi, LedgerNote. Since college, I have lived in apartments. I am now in my 30s and have not yet bought a subwoofer. I’m very conscientious about being a good neighbor.
As you can see, I have been waiting over 10 years for this and don’t want it to end any longer. I don’t want it to be loud. I just want the bass to sound better. It is possible to have a sub and not live in an apartment on the ground floor?
A passionate bass fan.
Hi, Ron. First, you need to identify the problem. The problem is not volume; it’s vibrations. Volume can contribute to vibrations. The wavelengths of bass frequencies can travel through insulation and drywall while a higher frequency sound will reflect back most of the time.
Also, this means that you should not use a down-firing Subwoofer. This literally points sound waves at the floor.
The goal is to lower vibrations. Let’s look at how we can do that. From the most simple and obvious steps, to the more difficult ones for the more dedicated.
You’ll also see some nonsense advice, such as using 4D ” buttkickers“, under your couch to make it sound bassier, using headphones that don’t produce low frequencies and using tactile transducers. All of this doesn’t address the real question. It only dodges answering it. Here’s the deal:
Moving your subwoofer closer is the easiest way to lower its volume. You’ll feel less vibrations through your ceiling, walls, and floors if you lower the volume.
You get a louder experience, but at a lower volume. This allows you to still hear the sub-bass and not have neighbors banging on your doors. This, combined with the sound isolation tips below, will get you most of the way towards bass freedom.
You’ll get a cleaner version of the waveform right to your ear, before it has had the chance to be corrupted from bouncing around in the room. This is great for mixing music and not just watching a movie.
Now that we know the vibrations are the problem, what do you need to do? Bass isolation. An isolation pad is the best way to achieve this. There are many options for isolation pads. You can make your own, or you can buy one from a distributor. However, these Auralex Gramma pads are the fastest and most affordable. The Auralex Gramma Isolation pad comes in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. (Check out their SubDude too!)
These pads separate the subwoofer from your floor using a rubbery or spongey material with air gaps. These pads reduce vibrations before they reach the floor or travel to neighbor’s homes. You must avoid angry neighbors because the floor acts as a huge resonator for bass.
You also get a better low-end and stereo field reproduction. If you want to get the best out of your subwoofer, I recommend that you use an isolation pads along with the decoupling method.
DECOUPLE YOUR SUBWOOFER FROM A GROUND
Although there are many options for subwoofer decouplers, the ultimate goal is the same: to remove the subwoofer’s connection from the floor. You want to increase the subwoofer’s distance and reduce vibrations. You’ll make a lot more progress if you place your isolation pad on top of it or vice versa.
They can be in the form of small speaker stands, small metal decoupling pegs or rubber feet. This is to absorb vibrations and minimize their path to the ground. It’s like floating your subwoofer through the air.
I cannot find a photo of decoupling pins that I can show you. They look like four triangles or cones upside down that reach a point where the floor touches them. This may not be the right terminology. These speakers achieve the same effect with rubber material speaker stands as shown below. IsoAcoustics Stand – Reduce traveling vibrations
This particular option reduces contact with ground and subwoofer and places vibration-absorbing rubber in between. This combination is great, especially when combined with the isolation pad.
ACOUSTIC TREATMENT BASS TAP TRAPS
The topic of bass traps is a big one that we won’t get into. They do not deal with vibrations but sound waves that can hit walls and cause more vibrations.
They reduce reflections that bounce off the walls and can make your bass sound awful. Normal sized rooms can have serious bass problems that people try to solve with volume. Acoustic treatment is the solution but you need to use a lot of bass traps in order to solve the problem. However, even a few can be helpful. Sun Room Audio’s Mastering Studio – Great usage of bass traps in corners and walls
These are similar to isolation pads, except that you place them on the walls and corners of your room to absorb any stray bass waves. They absorb the sound waves and allow the rigid fiberglass or insulation fibers to vibrate the energy to produce heat.
These are the key contributors to subwoofer’s sound quality, but they will not cause any noise complaints. These will help, but they won’t be miracle cures.
These four methods can be used together (or you can leave the bass traps out if necessary) to create a more powerful bass experience while you listen to your favorite music or watch movies without worrying about being the annoying neighbor.
If you live in a condominium or duplex, and are able to do some building work, how soundproof a room might be for you. Respect others and use your brain to find a way to make everyone happy.