Wednesday, May 04, 2005

How To Soundproof Bass Music From A Noisy Neighbor

After trying to help someone in one of my Yahoo! Groups deal with this problem and Googling this subject and reviewing dozens of pages, here is my final analysis of how to deal with this very common problem... at least according to the hundreds of thousands of hits on Google.

It starts with the original request for help and some of the other replies with my research and conclusions at the end.

Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 03:14:50 -0000
From: hello314314
Subject: Soundproofing noisy neighbor's base music with fencing

Hello everyone -

We're hoping for some advice on how to soundproof approx. 100' along the north side of our home in order to block out the 'base' level of music from a noisy neighbor. The problem is not the volume, but the traveling sound waves of the base (bass).

We're interested in utilizing materials such as wood fencing or plants.

Our home is a single level 60 yr.+ rambler with the bedroom, living room and office parallel to this neighbors driveway. This north side of our house has an overhanging eve with vinyl siding, two large corner picture windows and three sash windows -- all facing the neighbors driveway, which is approx. 25' away.

We're considering installing a fence along this north side of our home, and beyond (the perimeter, if possible). Fencing can be installed approx. 6-8 feet high (need to double check w/ the county on the height restrictions). We're wondering if storage cabinetry built in to this same fencing along the most egregious area would be any help. The neighborhood is otherwise a generally quiet residential.

We're also wondering if there are any special types of glass for windows that are to be recommended for muffling these sound waves. Fully soundproofing glass does not seem preferable.

Thank you for any and all advice on how to dampen the 'base' (bass) noise.

Also, any advised fence building companies in the Northern Virginia area would also be greatly appreciated.

Note: FYI, Our requests to the neighbor to turn off the music has only managed the volume be turned down, but the base, even at a low volume, is still jolting. The neighbor has car music cranked up as he pulls into the driveway. The damage is then already done (waking us up, or baby) even for those few minutes. Also, music is played with friends that hang around outside. Our complaints to the police say that they have to hear the noise as it is going on. No other neighbors seem to complain -- but none other have their bedroom 20' away from car music.

Thanks for your help.

REPLY Message: 1
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 07:49:18 -0400
From: Eldred P
Subject: Re: Soundproofing noisy neighbor's base music with fencing

From my past reading about music studio design(soundproofing to keepexternal sound OUT), the only thing that will really stoplow-frequency waves is mass. Mass would be something like a concrete wall or heavy insulation. Unfortunately, that's not real practical ina residential setting. You might check with some builders in your area - maybe someone has experience in studio design who can offersuggestions. Good luck.


REPLY Message: 2
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 12:25:24 -0000
From: "twestbrook_77530"
Subject: Re: Soundproofing noisy neighbor's base music with fencing

One cost effective measure used locally is to build a fence employing Hardiplank as the field material with the posts on 4' centers. Some local communities use this as a sound barrier next to a freeway.

REPLY Message: 3
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 06:43:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tim R
Subject: Re: Soundproofing noisy neighbor's base music with fencing

Hello "Hello":

Simple answer: No, you cannot effectively stop this low frequency noise. The offending frequencies (100-500 Hz, or cycles per second) have such a long wavelength that your fence/walls would have to be several feet thick, made of a dense material such as concrete, and extend upwards for meters, to begin to attenuate them. Not practical or feasible. Your only remedy is likely legal, a civil action against the neighbor as a Private Nuisance. Sorry for your situation. If you can afford it, I'd think of moving...OTOH, if the cause is the high school kid of the neighbor, perhaps you can weather it out for the next couple years until he/she moves out.


REPLY Message: 4
Date: Mon, 02 May 2005 01:59:59 -0000
From: "bluestardaddy"
Subject: Re: Soundproofing noisy neighbor's base music with fencing

I don't know the size of your land, but if you can manage to raise at least a portion of the land, as in a thin burm, and plant trees and shrubs of varying heights , it tends to break up noise better than a heqdge row of single height. I used to manage a landscape crew and we installed raised burms frequently. If you can plant plants in front of each other to increase the thickness it helps, as in double rows, better than a single row of plants. Of course ytou must chose the right plant/trees for such a project. Consult your nursery or a landscape company first.

REPLY Message: 5
Date: Mon, 02 May 2005 15:09:33 -0000
From: "joeyfun2003"
Subject: Re: Soundproofing noisy neighbor's base music with fencing

There is an article on this very subject in April 2005 THIS OLD HOUSE magazine.


I did a search on: This Old House April 2005 Soundproofing

You might want to do the same search and look over the information.

This link was near the top. This page also contains many other links.

(These people also make a Memory Foam Mattress similar to Tempur-Pedic but at a fraction of the cost, according to one of the articles I looked at.)

Here is their solution to Soundproofing A Wall. They do have an "Econobarrier" that you might be able to put up on your proposed fence or on the inside or outside of your bedroom wall. Read down this link and look it over. It might be a solution but it seems like it would be better on the outside and/or inside of your wall rather than the entire fence as 135 sq ft is $283.00 but that seems like it would cover the wall of your bedroom facing the noisy neighbor with extra for a double dose to make a removable covering for your window. 90 sq ft is $189.00.

This site also has many other possibly helpful links.

I did a second Google search on: Soundproofing Bass Music from Noisy Neighbor

I got 534 hits on that search.

Here's a series of posts about your topic from 2002. It seems this problem has many people caught up in the "boom" of hip-hop and other bass heavy music.

This page has questions and answers for virtually every type of "noise" so maybe this page will help other people with "noise" problems.

And if you look over their suggestions, it does not look good for people with Bass Music problems because it's not just something you "hear" but you "feel" it as well.

Here is another site and they also make the soundproofing fences that are put up next to Interstates, etc. so maybe they have a residential fence product that is affordable and might work in your situation.

Here is another site called SoundProofingAmerica and it has a page for soundproofing a room appropriately titled Soundproofing Your Teenager's Bedroom so maybe this will work in reverse for you.

Here is an organization (possibly non-profit) that might help also.

They even have a page called "Boom Cars" with links concerning your exact problem and a downloadable PDF book that may offer you some more help.

IN CONCLUSION: The high density foam or other high density solutions seem to be the only thing that will stop Bass Music waves.

Hope this helps.

Lenny Vasbinder
Home/Office - 504-888-3391
Cell - 504-621-1870
eFax - 413-318-0742

1 comment:

  1. When all else fails and you are tired of peeing your money away because of inconsiderate and boorish neighbors, I might point out that 16 gauge shotgun shell only costs about 22 cents and can effectively end the problem.


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