New fantastic room but system pissing off neighbor


I recently moved from a typical tight apartment (though with high ceilings), to a large loft space (35x28X14) and the increase in fidelity I am getting is pretty significant. I think it has to do with obviously having to drive the system much harder, actually opening up the volume pots close to or at 12 o'clock, and mostly giving the speakers much more physical room to breath. I seem to be hearing more detail, better individual instruments and into the music much further. This is aside from the expected added stage depth and width I am now getting.

So that's the good news. However, one neighbor (on the far side of the system over 40 feet away) once casually mentioned to me that sound in this building travels. I was surprised since the building is quite old, of stone, and brick, built like a bunker, was later divided into apartments using cinderblock and sheetrock walls, as opposed to just sheetrock like our old place).

So I looked at what might cause sound leakage, and realized the bathrooms share a common vent. I now make sure to close all bathroom doors before listening, and only listen loud for fairly short times in the afternoon, early evenings, etc. No one downstairs, or in the unit right next to the wall where the system is has complained. Not that it matters that much, but since I play only LP's there is lots of down time in between sides, while LP's are cleaned, periphery ring and clamp is installed, etc, so it's not continuous music by any means.

Now these neighbors that were formerly friendly enough when we saw them in the hallways, seem to not want to talk to us at all, and now seem to go out of their way to be unfriendly. The only thing that has changed is that I got my system up and running.

Should I give up on the idea of playing back music at realistic volumes? (we're only talking about 85 db on average or so, I don't listen that loud)

Should I just forget about it and have the attitude that I'm doing my best to keep doors closed, etc, and that noise is part of urban living, etc.

The funny thing is I've never heard sound from any other apartments, except for faintly, when right next to those bathroom vents.

Listening to music is obviously important and therapeutic for me.

Anyone else dealt with similar problems?
emailists
Maybe it's just the bass they hear?
Use spikes to get that subwoofer off the floor.
My view is that Saturday from noon to six P. M. is
fair game and loud music (within reason, of course)
is allowed.

Also, ask your neighbors if you could listen from their
dwelling so you understand where they are coming from.

Finally, assure them that you are not a burglar and ask them to tell you when they are stepping out so you
can crank it up...
Dweller had a good idea to ask if you could listen from their apt/loft which would put you in their position. It might be a good idea to turn the tables by inviting them to your place. They can become friends/allies instead of just neighbors. You can turn them on to your music, maybe convert them to audiophiles!!
Don't take action alone, talk to your neighbors about how they view the situation. Have them over for a listen. If you go to their lofts, use a SPL meter to do comparisons. Once everything is out in the open propose to hire a contractor for professional advice and solutions. The cost should be shared, but offer to pay for the majority.
12 o'clock you must be crazy in a multi unit dwelling, if I done that I'm sure there would be complaints. Find out when people work and play as loud as you want when they are at work or just simpley go buy a house
loose the sub
Tell em to move.
It almost definitely is a bass issue. The walls are not much of an impediment to low frequencies. I have my system in a small basement room with four block walls, yet when I am in the other part of the basement I clearly hear the bass while the rest of the frequency spectrum is very attenuated. It's certainly not music, just very low frequencies. Even if the neighbors are music lovers this isn't very pleasant. May require you to reconfigure your system, but that could just move the bass nodes somewhere else (the other neighbors?). Not sure if bass traps would help but if you can confirm the bass is the problem then professional acoustic help is in order!
It's important to have an open conversation with the neighbors to identify a time of day and a listening volume that will be acceptable to your neighbors and to you. Hopefully, neighbor politics and civility won't stand in the way of people really saying what they mean.

I don't think a decibel meter is of much value in this case because everyone has a different tolerance for sound. The meter could read very low, but even a very low level thump, thump, thump of a bass line could be enough to bother the neighbors. In fact, if that's primarily what they hear, it can be more annoying than loud music.

Good luck.
So I looked at what might cause sound leakage, and realized the bathrooms share a common vent.
Emailists
How about the kitchen? Is there a shared vent?
How close are your outside windows to that of the neighbors on each side yours.

Then there is the front door. Have your wife stand in the corridor outside your apartment with the door closed. Sound will travel through a door.

And as Jaybo said in his post, loose the sub.

Soundproof the adjoining walls with your neighbors. Use 545THX Quietrock Drywall. Even better if you can use it on all walls in the audio room. The cinderblock walls between units actually act as transducers. Decouple the speakers and the sub from the floor with spikes or raised platforms that eliminate as much contact with the floor as possible. These improvements will also improve the audio reproduction in your room. It's a win-win situation for you and your neighbors.
http://www.quietsolution.com/html/quietrock.html?gclid=CNjjtbKYr5kCFRFWagodaDABJw
In reading your post several times, there was only a fairly vague mention of sound, one time, by one neighbor and it didn't contain an actual complaint or a request to do anything different.

Now you are divining the level of friendliness in hallway meetings and drawing specific conclusions that it must be all about you.

Rather than read tea leaves, why don't you just ask your neighbors? Maybe you're right and you can find out what needs to be done. Or, maybe you're wrong and it has nothing to do with your music. Could be their dog died, or you're not using enough deodorant.

If you just "assume" you'll likely fix things that don't need fixing.

Asking not only clarifies the real issue, whatever it is, it also shows you're interested in being a good neighbor. Most people respond quite well to that approach.
I lived in appartments three times, once in Paris and twice in different cities in Italy.

I used Bose.

My main equipment was left in cartons.

Enough said.
Once you get them going its never enough it seems to accomadate neighbors.Try to enjoy guilt free listening is hard in multi dwelling cicumstances...do your best #&#$ the rest,gooodluck.

You might want to go to a pair of Monitor speakers. The only thing you will miss will be the 80hz room resonance. Monitors don't couple with the floor/walls like typical floor standers. So my bet is you have floor standers. By the way I have a pair of Wilson benesch Trinity's on sale here. Every bit as good as the Magico Mini's and every bit as technology advance too.
Sorry I had to put that plug in there. I will probably have trouble sleeping tonight.
When you have this hobby :

First thing to consider when looking for a place is making sure you can't hear the neighbor's toilets flush, phones ring, rugrats or bedroom activity noise(s)

Places are built like shit with paper thin walls and they charge a fortune to rent them, you're wasting time and money to mask them.

Otherwise, get headphones and tell your neighbors to jump in the lake,
I've been down this road before.
Some posters have advised you to remove your subwoofer which makes the most sense. However, I don't see where you mentioned that you were using a subwoofer. Are you using a subwoofer?
All these suggestions seem relevant and worth the pursuit.You may be dealing with people that resent you for disrupting the previous quiet they enjoyed before you moved in.No amount of compromise on your part will satisfy them.They are part of the "i was here first" legion mentality.First be civil and try to work with them,if that does not work,play away within the legal restrictions of excessive noise at certain hours laws where you live.If they pursue this by calling you on it they will find it very difficult to entertain any legal enforcement.Sound travels,first you have to hear what they are complaining about and try to work with them.Life is too short not to enjoy your music and system.A little ass kissing never hurts but will only get you so far if you are dealing with "difficult" people.Good luck!
Jazzcourier is right, and like I said above, it's a NO-WIN situation.
I agree with Mlsstl.
If they don't want to be friendly about it, crank it up to your hearts desire. Nothing to loose.
Maybe it isn't the music... do you shower and brush your teeth? JK
My gosh, it's "lose" the sub not "loose."
On the "crank it up to your hearts desire" Well, folks have seen fistfights, sudden 3 day eviction, gunshot wounds, knife wounds...etc.
You would have to be crazy to not give a damn!
I love my music and hate noise from others. I try hard to never bother my apt neighbors! I love to silence in my current apt building, and am sure it matters to others.
Agree it is usually the low freq. that are the problem. Agree you MUST ask them about the problem, and make certain you explain you do NOT want to bother them. A well placed rug in your loft might do some good too.
Just knock on your neighbors' doors, introduce yourself and then see what they're hearing and if the music is bleeding through then try to be considerate.
I've been on both sides of this one. It is absolutely not your right to listen to music as loud as you like. Check the laws, there are loudness ordinances where I live. I called the police regularly on one particular neighbor who used to crank his subwoofers whenever he felt like, $100 tickets finally convinced him otherwise. I now have my peace and quiet (my right) along with an enemy, this exchange has been ok with me.

As an audiophile, I too have the need to crank my system, I'm just much more considerate, have foregone a subwoofer and crank only when other neighbors not home.

Listening to your system is not a right when it infringes on other's rights to the peaceful use of their own property. Considerate use of one's audio system is mandatory, its a moral imperative to consider the impact on others. Those who fail to acknowledge this are subject to the consequence of laws designed to enforce morality.

Having said this, it is still worthwhile to seek out compromise with the neighbors, many above suggestions are very good. Sounds like you listen at a moderate level, very likely a bass issue. If that is the case, there is very little that can be done, bass waves travel through most building materials quite readily. Stand mounted monitors, foregoing bass may be your only answer.
Thanks to everyone for offering suggestions. My Cerious Too/Bass do have separate woofers, that are decoupled using cones. The monitors also sit on sistrum stands that are cones on each end of the stand.

As I mentioned I don't hear anything from any other units in the building.
They are a retired couple, so perhaps their idea of quiet is different than mine.

I'm off on vacation for 10 days or so, so they can enjoy their quiet.

My dream of course is to one day (maybe soon) buy a place that has enough space to build a dedicated double walled sound room with floating floor.

Since this is a rental, I can't do much to modify it. I did put up 6 2'X4' panels I put up to absorb bass.
Tread softly my friend.....was that not a "retired couple" in 'Rosemary's Baby" ??
Spikes or cones cause coupling to the floor. You want to isolate. If you already have carpet, and already have spikes on the speakers, put a slab of maple or slate inbetween. This will not affect the sound and will keep the speakers from mechanically driving the floor. However, it will not stop the acoustic wave energy from affecting the floor, ceiling and walls. That would need to be dealt with by increasing the mass of the walls.
Living in an apartment or relatively close space and playing music at "realistic levels" just plain doesn't mix. I have a great stereo and would never even consider the possibility. -Lars-
Well said Lars, NO-WIN, end of story.

Move into an apartment with deaf neighbors.
You will not believe how good it is once you move to a single family house.

After living in a condo building in the city for nine years, I moved to the suburbs.

Now, with the windows closed, I play the stereo and piano as loud as I want, and it just doesn't matter.
For future referance, you might consider a proactive aproach...

Whenever I've noticed someone moving in, I introduce myself, welcome them to the building and spend a few minutes being friendly. Before parting, I mention that I enjoy listening to music and tell them that I'll gladly turn it down should it ever bother them.

I've lived ten years in the same condo, not one complaint.

I may just be lucky, but I think letting people know off the bat that you're considerate and approachable goes a long way.

BTW.....I use a sub.
Sound travel within apartment buildings is a complex yet measurable science.
No-one on this Forum will be able to advise you correctly however a qualified Acoustic Engineer should be able to suggest solutions after an in-situ inspection and test session.
Do not be tempted to cut corners and 'do it on the cheap' by having someone in the building industry or some friendly contractor advise you.
There are ways of solving your specific problems at different budget levels, but the problems need to first be defined.
There are specialist Acoustic Engineers with experience in these matters available to help you.