condo owners, how do you appease the neighbors?

Hi everyone,
I just moved into a condo and the neighbor downstairs won't leave me alone. He keeps knocking on my door and asking me to turn down the music. I checked the volume level with my Radio Shack SPL meter, and found the average to be about 72db. Peaks at about 76db. Measured with pop music. For reference, my HVAC runs loud at about 65db. If I turn the music down a little, I can't hear it when the heat turns on. This is not as loud as I'm accustomed to listening, but it is far too loud for my neighbor, apparently. What have you other condo/apartment owners done?

He is likely hearing the lower frequencies. Do you use a subwoofer or have full range speakers that go low?? If so, consider monitors, ro headphones.

Of course a third and fourth option exist, as do others.... you could kill him and hope for a more understanding neighbor next, but wouldn't likely live there yourself anymore. You could move to a better soundproofed place as well...

My condo was pretty well made and had concrete walls, so my neighbors only complained when the sub was on for prolonged periods (music) they never seemed to be to bothered by it on movies.
Also see what noise laws are and cut it off at 10PM.Tell him you here loud TV's and if you had known there was paper thin walls you wouldn't have bought but you did.Ask him his schedule because if he's not around and you are you can play and be adccomodating.Other wise go to tell him ( and woners association) that YOUR rights are being trampled on.A woman in an apt. long ago called for sirt time must have looked me up in the book we never met) anmd asked if I could remove my shoes when I came in.She obviously had nobody abover here for year or might have had somebody who weighed 120 lbs not 220.I did it for a weeek and then thought "this is BS" (I was new guy she was oldest etnanat etcaccording to lanloard etc).Botttom line SHE got used to it.Girlfreind moved in more niose and no problem.She worked second shift to I could crank my muisc up then but even after when at home I really had to have TV loud for her to complain.At fisrt just listening level was enough top call.:atter it had to REALLY be to loud.Hope your neighbor will make accomodation other wise call cops ask about nmoise laws and if need ne your assosciation (maybe a lawyer if they seem to back this guy entirely-you have some rights after all)in which it meakes it seem like YOUR trying to be acccomdating where as this guy wants a monastary.But folks get used to ambient noise they thought they wouldn't is what I found.
P.S. Good headphones whjen you want to really go lod is a good idea but be careful of your hearing
I know your frustration! About 13 years ago I assembled a home theatre system in a 4 level condo/townehome. I lived on the third floor and the other couple on the 4th floor. They never told be to turn down my system but instead they chose to get even. Late at night they would stomp on the floors. Long story short they drove me out of my place. They were evil and I was no match for them. My advice is to make arrangements with your neighbours like I usually listen at this time and on these days.

Good Luck!*>)
As a long-time apt.dweller(seen a lot of different kinds) I think it is sometimes a control issue. I swear some folk think they are entitled to the quiet of the library, and thus their needs rule over anything else. A sound test,by you,within their unit could be useful. (If this can be arranged.) Then next: the time of day. Loud music/noise after 10pm and before 7am just makes you the bad guy,period. We have had the police come time to time. You want that not to happen. You mostly want to hear what they hear to get a prospective. Speakers on spikes and away from walls helps. As Rodney might say___ Can't we get along??
Thanks, guys. I really got spoiled in my former apartment. Everybody played the music loud, whenever we wanted. There was an understanding, of sorts. You don't complain and I won't complain. I think renters are far less uptight. (They tend to be younger, too, which also helps).
I'm hoping that some room treatments will help both of us. Better sound for me, less vibration carrying down to him.
I've been on the recieving end of a Bose subwoofer............ two 8 inch speakers pointed down into my living room from above........... a nightmare it was, she'd get drunk pass out cold and leave it on at 2 in the morning......... sounded like a real drum set was being played........ This person finally reset the bass level after numerous fights and things have been great......... I guess those Bose systems come with the bass level on full tilt.......... Now, I learned everyones work schedule and my neighbors usually are gone in the daytime, I'm home alot in the day so that gives me time to play loud, I got lucky........... I hate living this close to other people, stacked on top of eachother in poorly constructed buildings, there should be a building code inforced for noise polution........ People should be able to listen to stereos with no hassle.......... More so with condos, people put good money down and you still can hear what you neighbors are watching on the tv. One day I'm gonna live in the woods.
I was never able to solve my problem. I started playing when she was not home. Then her unemployed boyfriend moved in. It ended in her calling the police and reporting me to the landlord. She finally moved.I suggest you follow the 10 to 10 rule. Try to guess when they are not home. Remember it's your home too. Maybe invite him over for a listening session.
If you have a sub, switch to buttshaker or another couch shaker or put the sub on a Aurlex Sub isolator or Float the sub on Aurio Pro's and move it away from the back wall out into the room. This will help prevent the transmission down.

I finally gave up and bought a house.. and all my apartments I made sure I was on the bottom floor. it just sucks when you can't use your stereo like it should!

Good luck
Well, I just make it work. I think you have to do what makes you happy, and if they can't understand that give them time. Personally, I don't think I could listen, really listen to music that is only 75db...I agree about the sub/bass issues, as they are always an issue regardless of how much concrete is in your building. I found that going to a full range speaker allowed for increased volume without the "boom" of a subwoofer. Headphones are an option, but I would not use them unless I was listening late nights. In my current arangement I share my livingroom wall with my neighbor and have people living above me...I still listen at all next-door neighbor has only complained once when I turned on my sub for an action movie.

Good luck
First, you should try to get yourself invited into their living space to hear for yourself what they are complaining about. Regardless of the outcome this will be very informative. Perhaps it is just the placement of your speakers that could be altered.

Also, you might try a little extra padding between the speakers and the floor. Moving your speakers away from the wall or out of a corner can help. Are your speakers atttached to the wall?

You can also agree that you will use certain settings at agreed-to hours.

Here's a crazy one. I have experience in one housing situation where the ambient background noise is so low that you can hear anything, including a 'power piss'. It might be possible that your music is too loud because the building is so quiet. Buildings near high traffic areas hardly ever get noise issues between residents.

Anyway, try to be 'the nice guy' and you will enjoy your home more. If they turn out to be unreasonable you will have a history of co-operation on your part to rely on should they begin to involve third parties.
If they want complete peace and quiet, they need to buy a house -- in a condo, neighbor noise is inevitable. Everyone in a shared building has to give a little. You have a right to play your music and they have a right to reasonable peace and quiet. So try to work something out, and if that doesn't work, hope the police find that you are not playing your music too loudly. If you can't find a solution and music is super-important to you, buy a house.
Unfortunatley, there is little recourse on your part. Your are considered the "neighbor from hell" to the downstairs tenant. He has options such as initiating a condo board hearing or a noise abate lawsuit. Both can make your life miserable. Apart from the financial resources needed for a lawsuit, some states require realtors to disclose to potential tenants that you are a "nuisance" which can leave your condo board with a problem in renting and you with a black mark to future landlords.

Also, you have no "rights" to play music, or do what you wish with respect to neighbors, during reasonable time periods. A right is defined as something you can exercise without imposing an obligation or hardship on another. Even if you consult an attorney as to the local nuisance laws, the condo may have other rules which contradict and supersede - all perfectly legal.

Sorry to be pessimistic, but the only practical option that you have, from my perspective, is to come to some form of man-to-man agreement. If that fails, then - what I would do - is to continue playing at reasonable volumes during the day. If a comlaint is lodged to the condo board, I would politely ask to know exactly, with specifics, how I am violating the lease agreement and what I would need to do to comply - apart from not playing music. Is it the rattling from the bass? That can be addressed - as I understand that's obnoxious. Is it the fact that the music is heard? If it's not louder than conversation, what do I do? Stop speaking as well:-)? Make yourself the reasonable one.

You cannot be stopped from living your life; there are practical limits, of course. Just make them spell it out for you.
I have the same problem with my neighbor downstairs. Before she moved in I went down and listened to my stereo to see/hear what was and thought I had it nailed down. Back then, I had Legacy Classics and a 200 watt Rotel amp. Needless to say, it still bothered her when I knew she couldn't really hear it as she said since I knew how loud to play it. Later, I moved on to Decware 1.5s that have no real bass to speak of and she still complained, so I've switched to Decwate MG-944s (haven't gotten them yet) and these should play convincingly enough at low volunes so as to not be a problem. The thing is, since I've been waiting for the speakers, I've had time to hear her (she's a part time actress and talks loudly) and her parties, what with that insipid music that just bangs along like a metronome and it really isn't all that bad. I only wish she could be living below two other neighbors that wouldn't be anyway near accomodating as I've been (I even gave her my number in case it bugged her) to see how lucky she has it. Anyway, I'm going to take the advice given here and arrange to hear what she complains about when my new speakers arrive. Heck, even my managers told me that I went way out of my way to please her and that next time, refer her to them and they'll explain the compromises of apartment living to her.
Man, I guess I am lucky to live in small town USA where houses are cheap and affordable. I can tell what you are going thru would be very frustrating.

I do have one thought. Does your appt. have wall to wall carpeting or laminate flooring? It might not look great, but putting down a layer of that soundproof sheetrock type material on the floor and getting a large area rug might work. This is just a guess.

Or you could always get a crazy look in your eyes, dress real crazy, and go down for a visit and explain that you just got out of a long stay in a mental institution for aggrivated manslaughter when you were 16 and that you don't mind them living there as long as they don't cause any problems. Then scream real loud, sh*t your pants and go running thru the parking lot. I am sure they wouldn't complain about a little music after that. This too is just a guess.
Never mind the neighbors, I live in a house and I am constantly hassling my wife and kids about the dishwasher and my kids about their computer. It is a challenge to get good quiet time to really listen.
Thanks again, everybody. I've read the responses and I have some questions to put out there:

1) Do speakers on spikes really help?
2) What db level would most of you honestly consider to be the threshold of nuisance behavior in a multi-dwelling? I figured 90db measured in-room at 10 feet would be a good guess, but 75db seems to be the limit for me.
3) Will room treatments help? I know they'll make the sound better for me, but will they keep the sound in my living space a bit more?

I don't use a subwoofer.

I like the idea of wwwrecords, but I honestly don't think I could sh*t my pants on queue. Taking a magazine with, and waiting for it, would ruin the whole effect, I think.

Faced with this potential problem, I went the good audio karma/mild coercion route and got my neighbor into high end audio. Then we got his girlfriend into it. They understand when my system is rockin' and I understand when theirs is!