Soundproofing Hi-Rise Apt?

The situation is that I a have hi-end audio system which is very articulate and low distortion allowing me to play it very loud; which I do on occasin The problem is that I live on the 19th story in a corner apt of a hi-rise.This means that none of my walls are common with the next door apt;with no sound escaping from there.But where it is escaping is my front door, with the sound spilling into the hallway.This is causing complains sometimes from management about the "loud" sounds coming from my apt. What should I use on my front door to baffle it; so the sound won't escape. I'm sure some of you smart fellow audiogoners can come up with intelligent solutions to my problem
my 2c - is not what you use, but what you don't use - don't use SUB. Those low F is what escapes your apartment the most, and not only through the door, but through the walls, floor and the celling.
The best solution is headphones.
You need a dual sound block. Some sort of second door that is sealing the opening to the real door, when you want to crank it up. Just applying sound deadening to the real door is not nearly as good.
Some sort of panel, (handmade?) with a solid core and carpeting or cork covering the surface on both sides. It needs to be sealing the entrance, even if it has to just butt up against the real door opening, just so an air gap exists between the panel and the real door surface, but NO gaps around the outside edge of the panel to the real door.
That will solve 90% of the door leaking sound.

I will make some assumptions and guesses here in an effort to help you find a solution.

First, "management" usually will not complain to a tenant unless someone complains first to management -- management is most likely the voice of angry neighbors who want you to keep your music out of their apartments.

Do you live in a steel-frame building with drywall walls, or is it a concrete structure with concrete walls? My guess is that you live in the former and that it's not just the front door -- the entire structure is passing music, and hopelessly so. The only solution for apartment dwellers with potent stereos is to live in older, concrete buildings. The floors, ceilings and walls are all made of concrete, and it is much harder for music to get through (they use concrete to protect ICBM silos from nuclear blasts for a reason).

As for the front door, if the building will permit you to modify it, adding a good insulating strip at the top and bottom to prevent air (and thus, to some extent, sound) from passing underneath and above it will help. Again assuming building permission, you could install a heftier door. It may be aesthetically unacceptable, but you could also install a heavy curtain (something with a material like rubber lining it) that pulls over the door from inside the apartment, which should knock off a few more decibels. One of the above contributors is absolutely correct, however, that it is the bass frequencies that cannot be controlled -- the only solution to low bass escaping is to live in a concrete building.

Of course, the ultimate solution is a house out in the country.

Good luck.
I'd suggest that you first try to define the magnitude of the "noise" (i.e. for your neighbors) problem. Sometimes it's us getting too carried away with listening levels....
so go to the hallway closethe door and listen from outside to your system playing to see if it really is the bass the problem. If you have a spl see what's the ammount of sound outside and check what's your actual dB level at your listening position maybe just going a little down might save the day. You might get a better idea about how serious the problem is and how complicated or easy you might improve.
Is the system close to the main door? does your listening room have a door ? do you close it while listening?
_Your feedback ....
Hi Montalk,

The easiest and least expensive option is to make sure the seal around your present door is made correctly. There are rubberized sealing sections that you can find at any building supply center like Home Depot that are afixed to the inside of the door jamb and compress when the door is closed which makes a relatively tight seal. You may want to attend to the opening at the bottom of the door as well. If you already have a good seal on your door then you can persue more elaborate options such as full hood or cowl that can be fabricated out of rigid fiberglass and/or closed cell foam that can be placed over your existing door when you are listening.

Best Regards,

Barry Kohan
The first thing might be to find out who is the real complainant. If the sound is getting to them via the building structure, rather than through/around the door, you have few practical solutions. If it is via the door, sealing it helps but a double structure like an additional door, a drape or, at best, building a vestibule around it will be even more effective.

My experience was that sealing the door was an entirely adequate solution except for those times that I intentionally blasted the system. But that was only briefly and at a reasonable hour. OTOH, my listening room abuts no other apartments, except above and below, and my building is solid, reinforced concrete. That really helps (except when you want to do any inwall wiring!).
Have you thought of something like Aura Bass Shakers? Not exactly audiophile but for theater, they would work great instead of a sub. That way only your furniture shakes....

The only way to solve this problem is the staple of problem-fixes. The Party.

You will need at LEAST 4 Kegs of beer, a stocked liquer cabinet, 50 close buddys(one of them must be referred to as "Animal"), a few pounds of coke, a donkey, and a bunch of girls pretending to be strippers so they can infiltrate your party and find out if there guys are fooling around.
Then, make sure you pull plenty of pranks on the complaining resident and management, get them lumped together somehow and be sure to involve the donkey.

After much madness, and drunken confusion, your problems will surely somehow get resolved in the mist of the mayhem.

This is bound to work, just check out all of the national lampoons movies and the Belushi animal house movies. Bachelor Party with tom hanks is also good study material.

Good luck!

Hi Montalk,

If you find that physical vibration from your speakers and/or subwoofer is being transmitted through the floor, you will probably find that an anti-vibration platform that decouples would go a long way toward taking care of the problem.



Disclaimer: I am a manufacturer of vibration control products.
I can relate to your problem as I also live in a highrise. I would go with Kr4's suggestion, find out who's really complaining. In my case it was my upstairs neighbor. I sort of luck out (I have a corner unit also), the gentleman downstairs has hearing problems, my next door neighbor is always away on vacation, so that left only my upstairs neighbor. I actually went up and talked to him (after mgt. complained), and apologized. We worked out a schedule; I found out he and his wife always go to their home in NH. for the week-end, so that leaves me three days out of a week to blast my system all I want.
Find out who's really complaining, in a corner unit that only leaves three. If you have only one complainant, you might be able to work out something. My neighbor also told me his assigned parking spot, so whenever I want to play loud, I just peep out the window to see if he's home. I would've never known this unless I talked to him, and almost kissed this hobby good-bye. Good-luck and hope you can work out something with your neighbors.
I thank everyone for all their suggestions but there needs to be a little clarification on all this. I don't have a subwoofer and really don't beleive it's the low frequencies that are radiating from my apartment that are the problem. The fact that this is a corner apartment means that it does not border on any other apartment. The only place it does have a common wall with a neighbor is in the bedroon; far away from where the audio system is. I do have sheetrock walls but also have concrete floors and ceilings and various concrete internal support posts. My audio system in my living room near the front door is the only place it can be and is therefore permanent. I use speakers exclusively and do not like headphones. What I'm just trying to do, is suppress the intensity of the sound leaving the front door by either sealing the sides,top and bottom space around it with some kind of seal or by placing something on a temporary basis inside the apartment next or over the front door whenever I have an extended listening session. Again, thanks for all your kind assistance and thoughtfull suggestions
Barry M.
You can use a thin layer of self-adhesive foam insulation, normally used for window weather stripping. It is very effective. The one downside is that if your unit was designed for forced air circulation i.e. the fresh air is forced from corridor vents into the unit; you may be cutting of that circulation. You may be able to alleviate some of this by leaving some spaces in the foam seal around the top of the door. Good luck.
the posts suggesting you step outside and listen to the impact of your music should be followed as a first step. the problem is not so much a matter of what you are doing as it is a matter of how it affects the building.

Okay, that you live in a corner unit is good. Still, your apartment is attached to the building and noise will transmit. this is especially true if the ambient noise level withing the building is already low. [People living in buildings near freeways don't complain about neighbor's noise as the building is already 'loud'---as opposed to buildings that just don't have that much background noise]

Do you know for an absolute fact that the complaint is about your front door? Or, is this just the way you perceived problem and , such being the case, the only possibility?

When you are playing your music, invite yourself into (all!) of your neighbor's apartments. If you are an audiophile you have a good ear for listening so you will know what is going on.

Is it only when people walk-by the door of your apartment?

Finally, as a nod to your neighbors, think about all of us fellow audiophiles and the great lenghts we go to for the perfect sound. Now, think of your neighbors and how they feel about their own space.

If for some reason the complaint is not about your front door everyone, including you, are if for lots of frustration. After all, would you just love it if, after re-building your entrance, the problem could have been fixed by moving your speakers another six inches from the wall.