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Soundproof The Jam Room - make the neighbors happy!!!

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  • Soundproof The Jam Room - make the neighbors happy!!!

    We rehearse in an empty house but the neighbors are starting to complain. What is the best way to drastically lower the sound from ringing through the neighborhood?



  • #2
    Turn down?
    Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/FMIC/JAM Industries Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

    Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie


    • #3
      You can only do so much to reign in your volume unless you want to spend some big bucks for real soundproofing. I knew a couple who had a disabled son who would sometimes go in screaming fits and the like. When they had their house built they put it a soundproof room they could put him in when he was like that so he didn't disturb anyone else. It was expensive though.

      What room of the house to your practice in? Make sure all doors and windows are closed. You could even hang some blankets or some foam to cut down on reflections, but that won't do much to stop the low frequencies wooompf the neighbors hear.

      The best advice has been given by agedhorse. Turn your amps down. Tell your drummer to use more control... even get him some of those cool rods to practice with.


      • #4
        See if the drummer can play with these

        Pro Mark 'Hot Rods' multi rods (as recommended in above post)

        ... or good old brushes. Quieting the drumkit is the first step.
        Latest CD: Boney James "Sweet Thing"
        Heroin for my ears.....
        He says more with less notes... perfect.


        • #5
          Well...thanx for the info BUT, we won't turn down (much) and my drummer won't use those things - I can tell you that right now!

          So I think we will build an inner wall around the whole room and put in acoustical tile ceiling - that might do it OR find a cow pasture to play in.

          LoGruvz out...


          • #6
            When you price out what it'll cost, and show the rest of the band, they may change their minds and agree that a counterclockwise twist is smart.

            Sound control is tricky and expensive. Period.

            Forget about "acoustical" tiles. They cut down reflection, not transmission.

            An inner wall is on the right track, but only if it's complete...windows, doors, ceiling, floors all have to be treated in some way to cut down transmission. It may be cheaper to add sound control board and window covers to what's there now, and it'll save space.

            First eliminate any air leaks to outside. Caulk or cover anything that's a direct path to outside.

            Glass transmits sound really well. Covers of plywood faced with sound control board (get this in the insulation aisle at Home Depot) will do a lot. Hinge or hang them so they can be removed.

            Existing walls and ceiling can be covered with sound control board and then two layers of 5/8" (not 1/2") sheetrock. This will make the single biggest improvement in most cases. Be sure to overlap all seams, and obviously, only tape and spackle the top layer. Don't forget to use extra-long screws for the top layer. This combination of materials will stop a lot of low frequency 'thump'...you need wall mass for the lows.
            "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" - Yogi Berra, 1925-2015


            • #7
              there is specialty stuff like mass loaded vinyl or lead sheeting (www.soundproofing.org i think) its expensive so use it on plywood for windows and doors (measure the windows, cut a piece of plywood and then attach mlv with a slight overlap, should help a lot) and do the sheetrock thing for the walls... Its still not gonna be soundproof by any means, and reflections will get a lot worse, but find out what the law is in your town (it'll be a specific SPL at distance i think) and try to meet it, if its still too loud for the neighbors you dont have to care.


              • #8
                Originally posted by AlienLogik
                but find out what the law is in your town (it'll be a specific SPL at distance i think) and try to meet it, if its still too loud for the neighbors you dont have to care.

                Unfortunately that's not applicable everywhere. In our city, and I've looked it up personally, the law is that if the sound travels over the property line, the cops can be called. There's no set number -- if it's audible, it's complainable. As a result, I've had ****************ty neighbors who have called the cops because my (at the time) 6-year-old brother was watching cartoons on TV "too loud" -- a 25" console TV with a single speaker.

                Our band doesn't like to turn down either, LoGruvz. We had an amazing place to practice -- a 1400 square foot garage in a business area, which meant that no one would be there after 60. We practiced from 6:30 to 90, and for the first few days there were no problems. However, eventually the cops did start coming. I disputed the fact that it could be heard near any houses to one of the cops that I knew who showed up one time, and he told me to ride down the street with him while the rest of the band played (after about a 15 minute silence period). We went down and I called them and told them to start jamming, with someone just goofing around on the bass. I heard the sound over a half mile down the road!

                After that, the cops were there every day. We were going to try to soundproof it, but that **************** gets WAY too expensive. We too had the attitude that "man, we don't want to turn down, crank that **************** to eleven and rock it" and our drummer had the attitude of "i'm not playing quieter, i can't play quieter, it ruins the sound and the way i play it doesnt work out man, and i cant use rods or anything, because it won't feel right man, and wont sound right man." But you'll find out quickly... and the rest of your band will find out as well... having the cops there by the time you're two or three songs into your practice is NOT FUN after a certain amount of time. It becomes depressing, knowing you're hauling all your **************** around (especially the drummer) and you only get fifteen minutes of fun.

                After about a month of this, he agreed that okay, maybe he can try using the rods, maybe that'd be cool. The rest of the band all has agreed as well to turn it down. As a result, the cops don't come. Anywhere. Sure, it doesn't sound as great, and it's not as fun. But it's a practice. You aren't there to impress anyone with "that tone". I'm not there to shake the bowels of the neighbors with my 2000W bass rig. We're there to write songs, to get everything tight. Now, we save that energy for the stage, where we can crank it as loud as we want when we want (though you should know where and where not to do that, too!).

                Just a little rant, that's all. Take it as you wish.
                How about a mother****************ing crocodile pit instead of those titty ****************s !

                Last edited by Jazz Ad on 06-20-2004 at 098 PM


                • #9
                  Gotta agree with the rest of the guys...the counterclockwise twist on the ol' volume knob is the most cost effective trick. If everyone turns down, you may even find that your drummer will quiet hiimself down without having to switch sticks.

                  As a drummer, I can vouch for the fact that it sounds and feels very different playing with brushes or rods. But as others have pointed out, it's just practice, not the real deal. You're there to work and get tight, not put on a full show. Drummers tend to 'self mix' to the ambient noise level. If everyone is at 11, I'll hit much harder to bring the drum volume UP to where it mixes with the amps. If, however, everyone is at 2 and I play at 11, I won't be able to hear the other instruments and I (and most drummers) will naturally play quieter in order to hear the rest of the band.

                  Other than that, I've got two more suggestions....
                  1.) Consider where in the house you're practicing. If you're in a corner room upstairs, you've got 2 walls (probably with windows) exposed to the outside world. If, on the other hand, you're in an interior room (if there is one) the sound will have to travel through the rest of the house before it gets to the outside walls. This can help a ton. If you can get underground, then ALL of the walls will be deadened, and you'll really only have to worry about the sound traveling UP through the house. If you treat the ceiling, you can trap a ton of sound.

                  2.) Consider your practice schedule. Nobody likes to be disturbed before 10am...ever. Nobody likes to be bothered during dinner. Finally, nobody likes to be annoyed while they're watching prime time TV and/or they've put the kids to bed. Meanwhile, people could care less if you're running a jackhammer at 2:30 in the afternoon every day. If you schedule your rehearsals during the day, or at least quit before 8pm, you'll reduce your complaints significantly. If it's not "rock and roll" unless you're playing late at night, then you've got to rearrange your priorities.
                  OS is kind of like imaginary numbers-- something theoretically useful, but who doesn't acually exist.

                  Only in OS's case, instead of generating recursive fractals, it's simply that the mass of **************** which fills him is greater than the mass of a similar, hypothetical mass of **************** at 0 degrees Kelvin.

                  I call this phenominon "dark ****************," and while it is useful to explain OS, dark **************** violates a number of laws we know about matter.

                  -scarecrowbob, 1/6/07


                  • #10
                    When we remodeled our house, I decided to add a practice room/home studio. The exterior wall where I wanted to put the studio at was 20' from my aged neighbor's house! So I had to work quite hard on sound proofing. To sum things up, the sound has to travel through a double layer of sheetrock, put up in overlaping fashion (and caulked), a 2x4 stud wall with insulation, a small space, a layer of concrete board (also caulked), another 2x4 stud wall with insulation, and a brick veneer wall. Also, there are no windows in the room, and the entry door is a double door (two real wood doors -- I had to pull teeth to get the contractor to get two real solid wood doors!). Now I can go stand outside that wall and the rest of the band can be playing. I can hear some low frequency sounds, like the bass and the drums, but it is low volume, like someone playing a radio far away, and less than the volume of spoken voice. All that because our community has a noise ordinance basically the same as Zeromus-X's community: if it can be heard, it can be complained about. Just as an aside, I also acoustically treated the room. This did nothing for soundproofing, but helps us control our volume during practice. The room is somewhat "dead" so it's easy to hear the vox and synths in the monitors as well as yourself and everyone else (we practice in a 'circle' formation) without having to turn up loud.
                    Proud new owner of a circa '73-'75 SVT
                    No more anal carcinoma pictures (apologies to all offended)
                    Am I the only one not to have responded to the "thread killer" thread?
                    Ka is a wheel
                    Rockin' Horse


                    • #11
                      picker13, what did you do to acoustically treat the interior?
                      "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" - Yogi Berra, 1925-2015


                      • #12
                        I had some help from a local "expert" along with some of my own intuition....1) carpet (I think this is more important than most people realize), 2) bass traps in corners, 3) About 2/5's of walls treated with acoustic foam, from about 2' down from the ceiling down about 4', and 4) about 1/3 the ceiling, basically 2' in from the walls for 2'. The walls are done in "pyramid" type foam, and the ceiling in standard "wedge" type foam. I also built some platforms similar to the "platfoam" product to set amps and monitors on.
                        Proud new owner of a circa '73-'75 SVT
                        No more anal carcinoma pictures (apologies to all offended)
                        Am I the only one not to have responded to the "thread killer" thread?
                        Ka is a wheel
                        Rockin' Horse


                        • #13
                          The more 'gaps' you have, the better. What I mean by that is, if you hang a layer of old, discarded blankets an inch away from the wall, then another layer an inch away from the first layer, then another, each gap will cut the dB level of outgoing sound significantly. It is very hard for sound to move through air pockets, and each layer of blanket fabric diffuses the sound a bit more. Of course containing anything under 100 hz becomes more difficult, but if you had 4 layers of gapped blankets, throw in a couple of old couches if you have the room, and carpeted the floor (the shaggier and dense, the beter), bass traps in the corners (you can make your own very affordable bass traps with high density insulation panels and some aluminum window tracking, just google it), that would drink up to 90% of the noise that was escaping the untreated room.

                          Evenly spaced air-gaps are your friends when you have neighbours with the cops on speed dial.


                          • Voltan
                            Voltan commented
                            Editing a comment
                            how are a dozen air spaces going to stop those low frequencies? im curious...

                        • #14
                          As a drummer and someone who's interested preserve their hearing, I really dislike playing or mixing loud (the latter I don't always have control over but I try ). I get it that to play drums aggressively, you have to hit them but I've gone to great lengths to make my drums as quiet as possible without sucking the life out of them (they still resonate nicely). I also use lighter sticks. I can smack them pretty hard and still not kill everyone in the room. It's all about drum choice initially and tuning (there are some great sounding quieter cymbals around as well (I'm a serious cymbalaholic ).

                          As for Guitars and Bass, it's about tone, not volume. Ya I know that overdriving the output stage of a 100W tube amp makes for some awesome harmonics BUT it also makes the neighbors mad . I've worked with some amazing players (Nationally known people) that tweaked their pedals and amps to get that saturated sound (or at least 98% of it) at much lower volumes. Save your ears, appease the neighbors and don't worry about the last 2%. You'll also allow your sound person to get a much better mix if you play that way live.

                          Energy is not volume. It's the energy you put into your playing that counts.

                          At least that's my .02 worth
                          J.R. Previously jrble

                          See my Dog Of The Hair studio at: http://www.dogoth.com/studio/

                          Quote from someone: Flat response? Get out the jack and change the tire.
                          If you think "power is knowledge", you have it backwards.


                          • #15
                            you have to build an isolation room inside the house... otherwise youre spinning your wheels... the simplest cure, already glossed over, was to turn down, and if your current drummer cant reel it in, you might want to look for a real one...
                            Originally posted by isaac42;n32240445

                            Voltan is correct.