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Surround sound systems in condos/apartments

Old 12-01-05, 01:25 AM
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Surround sound systems in condos/apartments

Have you had any neighbours complain about loud sound coming from your suite? How much do your neighbours really hear?

I just got a surround sound system and my subwoofer worries me sometimes. I notice the subwoofer more than the surround speaker units. I want to crank it up during action films but I'm worried we'd hear a knock on our door with a complaint.

Thoughts?

Edit: I'm a newbie to the HT forum so I'm not sure if this has been discussed before!
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Old 12-01-05, 01:46 AM
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I myself love to play movies and music at loud volumes. I have heard complains, but then I moved my equipment to a relatively soundproofed room (not that soundproof, but it's quite all right to block most of the noise) and I don't hear talk about noises anymore.
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Old 12-01-05, 04:44 AM
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A sub's LFE will be heard and felt more than the volume of the other speakers in nearby rooms. I try to be considerate of the time of day of night that I crank it up but another useful method is to make friends with the neighbors and invite them over for a movie once in a while. If you're friendly with them they might not complain so much on the occasions you're listening alone. When all else fails just turn the sub down or off when you know they're home or it's late at night.
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Old 12-01-05, 07:07 AM
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With me, my neighbors are asses for the most part and have no consideration for anyone else so I pretty much dont care. Their constant furniture moving, loud children, and barking dogs are much worse than my HT so the concern and consideration I used to show has long since went away. I would just play it by ear and see how your neighbors react. Chip's idea of making friends and inviting them over from time to time seems like a good idea.
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Old 12-01-05, 07:36 AM
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When I moved in, I asked my neighbors if we could see how loud the HT sounded in their apts. I put on the lobby Matrix scene and went into their apts. I was surprised how loud it could be without them hearing anything (the sub a little, but for movies, it's not constant, so that wasn't a big deal). Found a level we were both happy with, no problems at all.
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Old 12-01-05, 11:08 AM
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My bro-in-law Brock (the HT installer) did pretty much the same thing as Josh with his neighbors in the 2 buildings he used to live in.

Anecdote:
He was trying to go to bed one night around 11, and his neighbor was blasting his TV. He went over there and asked the guy to turn it down. The guy told him to piss off. Wrong move. Brock cranked up his Martin Logan/Adcom/Pioneer Elite/Sunfire system and blasted some action movie. Blah, blah, blah, the guy didn't blast his system ever again.
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Old 12-02-05, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Vision of Love
Have you had any neighbours complain about loud sound coming from your suite? How much do your neighbours really hear?

I just got a surround sound system and my subwoofer worries me sometimes. I notice the subwoofer more than the surround speaker units. I want to crank it up during action films but I'm worried we'd hear a knock on our door with a complaint.

Thoughts?

Edit: I'm a newbie to the HT forum so I'm not sure if this has been discussed before!
I had this problem when I lived in an apartment. They are definitely going to hear it. Probably feel it too. My system would rattle the dishes in the dish washer (probably rattle the neighbors' dishes too). Being joined at the walls/floor/ceiling and LFE waves being so long... they may hear the bass better than you.

I was testing out my system in my apartment -- 5 speaker Martin Logan setup with 300 watt sub -- with SW Attack of the Clones and Matrix Reloaded to calibrate my speaker levels. I had only been playing with it for about 20 minutes when the maintenance guy knocked (I got reported). When I let him in, and played back the scenes I was watching, he was just amazed at the system. He just sat there and drooled. He kept asking questions about the speakers and just said that if he had one, he'd be doing it too. Overall, it wasn't really that loud, but you know how it is -- the loud parts of a movie are really loud like they're supposed to be. They just told me they couldn't do anything about it unless it was after 11:00 PM (it was only 5:00 PM when they complained). Still, I could never comfortably listen at the "proper" levels because I never liked the thought of bothering other people. Now I don't have to worry about it anymore since I don't live in an apartment.

Now, if you think that's loud, let me crank up my Marshall DSL100 stack and play some guitar... now that's loud. You could play a stadium with that (no exaggeration).
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Old 12-02-05, 07:56 PM
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i own a townhome and it's a general rule of thumb I follow that if I am watching a movie after about 8:30pm i turn the sub waaay down.... same goes for music.

during the day they usually aren't home so i don't even think about it but i do check to see if they are home prior to turning anything "loud" on and prior to using the sub.
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Old 12-02-05, 09:05 PM
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I'm looking for a new apartment. As, I was recently kicked out due to surround sound.
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Old 12-02-05, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tacos
I'm looking for a new apartment. As, I was recently kicked out due to surround sound.
That's, interesting.
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Old 12-03-05, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by stevevt
That's, interesting.
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Old 12-03-05, 10:26 AM
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I'm in the apartment situation as well. When I'm watching movies during the day, I'll crank up the sub and volume to a reasonable level to get the nice experience, but not overbearing at all. After 10PM (11PM on weekends), I make sure to turn the sub volume all the way off, and also turn down the main volume as well.

I'm super-considerate when it comes to other people, and definately don't want to disturb anyone, as I wouldn't appreciate it either. Unfortunately, my upstairs neighbors don't feel the same way, and blast their music /w their uber-bass at 1 or 2 in the morning sometimes. I've complained to the office numerous times, but since we don't have a courtesy officer or anything, it's kind of a "He said, he said" situation.

This last time I complained, the apartment manager gave me the cell phone number of one of maintenance guys who lives on-site, and he said to call him any time it's after-hours and he'll come over, listen for himself, and then go talk to the neighbors. Since they've already received their "7 day notice", they'll more than likely be evicted.

I think that if we do get new neighbors again, I'll do what DVD Josh did, and ask if I can come in and see if my surround system is disturbing at all. I'd ask them to do the same in my apartment if they're going to be blasting music or watching their movies as well.
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Old 12-03-05, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Spiky
My bro-in-law Brock (the HT installer) did pretty much the same thing as Josh with his neighbors in the 2 buildings he used to live in.

Anecdote:
He was trying to go to bed one night around 11, and his neighbor was blasting his TV. He went over there and asked the guy to turn it down. The guy told him to piss off. Wrong move. Brock cranked up his Martin Logan/Adcom/Pioneer Elite/Sunfire system and blasted some action movie. Blah, blah, blah, the guy didn't blast his system ever again.
haha, nice!

There are things you can do to minimize the sound that makes it way to your neighbors' apartment (turning the volume down, putting a sub on an isolator like a Sub Dude or a Gramma, etc.), but I think the construction of the building makes the biggest difference. I lived in an apartment in Nashville and got a few complaints from my neighbor who shared a wall with me, and the speakers were on the opposite wall. I'm in a concrete building now and haven't received a single complaint. I also can't hear anything from other apartments.
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Old 12-03-05, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by awmurray
I had this problem when I lived in an apartment. They are definitely going to hear it. Probably feel it too. My system would rattle the dishes in the dish washer (probably rattle the neighbors' dishes too). Being joined at the walls/floor/ceiling and LFE waves being so long... they may hear the bass better than you.

I was testing out my system in my apartment -- 5 speaker Martin Logan setup with 300 watt sub -- with SW Attack of the Clones and Matrix Reloaded to calibrate my speaker levels. I had only been playing with it for about 20 minutes when the maintenance guy knocked (I got reported). When I let him in, and played back the scenes I was watching, he was just amazed at the system. He just sat there and drooled. He kept asking questions about the speakers and just said that if he had one, he'd be doing it too. Overall, it wasn't really that loud, but you know how it is -- the loud parts of a movie are really loud like they're supposed to be. They just told me they couldn't do anything about it unless it was after 11:00 PM (it was only 5:00 PM when they complained). Still, I could never comfortably listen at the "proper" levels because I never liked the thought of bothering other people. Now I don't have to worry about it anymore since I don't live in an apartment.

Now, if you think that's loud, let me crank up my Marshall DSL100 stack and play some guitar... now that's loud. You could play a stadium with that (no exaggeration).
This is one of the most disadvantages of apartment living. A powerful sound system like yours, (and mine) typically are not made to played at normal volume in confined apartment complexes, due to the high wattage output capabilities. High End, and State of the Art Audio equipment were specifically constructed, to be played in separate private homes, with more insulated soundproof walls to eliminate any disturbances to your neighbors.

When listening to a sound system in a apartment, or a condo, you'll liable to receive many complaints because, I had experienced this same problem numerous of times when I was living in a apartment. You are restricted from management, to play your system at low or mid volume. It's very difficult because you are unable to enjoy your Home Theater as you would like when forced to listen at minimal volume.
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Old 12-03-05, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Shagrath
I'll do what DVD Josh did, and ask if I can come in and see if my surround system is disturbing at all. I'd ask them to do the same in my apartment if they're going to be blasting music or watching their movies as well.
I would be extremely leery, and skeptical when allowing total strangers, or even some people you personally know, and trust, into your home, and letting them view, and hear your Home Theater, and case other valuables that you may have. This could lead into a potential burglary situation, because typically, most burglaries are perpetrated from citizens that's been inside the home prior, and aware of all the possessions the resident have. This is the main why I stringently DO NOT allow everybody inside my house, just for this reason.

For the record, my brother (before he passed away) had been ripped off twice by his supposed friends, when he assumed their friendship was trustworthy. Take this info into consideration.
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Old 12-03-05, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SINGLE104
I would be extremely leery, and skeptical when allowing total strangers, or even some people you personally know, and trust, into your home, and letting them view, and hear your Home Theater, and case other valuables that you may have. This could lead into a potential burglary situation, because typically, most burglaries are perpetrated from citizens that's been inside the home prior, and aware of all the possessions the resident have. This is the main why I stringently DO NOT allow everybody inside my house, just for this reason.

For the record, my brother (before he passed away) had been ripped off twice by his supposed friends, when he assumed their friendship was trustworthy. Take this info into consideration.
I understand this fact, and have appropriate renter's insurance to cover a complete loss, if that happens. Plus, there's usually someone here all the time (either myself or my wife). The only reason I would want them to see what their stereo or TV sounded like in my apartment is because I'm downstairs, and sound probably bleeds through more easily from them to me, rather than the other way around.

Thanks for the concern though. I guess it really depends on what the feel I get for the new tenants is. If they look like total asshats, then I probably wouldn't confront them in the first place.
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Old 12-03-05, 11:35 PM
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There is a secret to playing your sub at night without bothering others. It's called a flat line. Easier when you start with a sub that measures a flat line natively, but possible with others, as well. Lots of people use a Behringer equalizer since they are inexpensive.
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Old 12-08-05, 04:19 AM
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I am glad this topic was brought up.

My downstairs neighbour has some powerfull stuff (rattling dishes and all that . Now, I am a reasonable person and I like a big blast now and then (after all, I am a Rammstein fan hehe).

I wouldn't care if they played 'earthquake style' during weekends, evenings. However, they usually start about midnight and do til 2 or 3 a.m. and that includes work week days. I have to get up at 6 a.m. so that really doesn't give me much time to sleep.

I was considering writing to my Condo Association. Our rules clearly states that "quiet time" is daily after 10 p.m til 7 a.m. I don't want to look unfriendly though and would like to deal with the situation myself first and try not to involve building management if not absolutely necessary.

What's the best way to approach this?
Should I go and knock on the door at midnight when they start? I don't ever see them around to talk to them really - I just can HEAR them a lot. Should I write them a note?

Any advice appreciated.

Edited to add: I tought about inviting them to my place while they are watching their movie and letting them hear the sound in my condo, but as someone pointed out, I am afraid of eventual burglary. No need to tempt anyone with my DVD collection

Last edited by DeepBlue; 12-08-05 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 12-08-05, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by SINGLE104
I would be extremely leery, and skeptical when allowing total strangers, or even some people you personally know, and trust, into your home, and letting them view, and hear your Home Theater, and case other valuables that you may have. This could lead into a potential burglary situation, because typically, most burglaries are perpetrated from citizens that's been inside the home prior, and aware of all the possessions the resident have. This is the main why I stringently DO NOT allow everybody inside my house, just for this reason.

For the record, my brother (before he passed away) had been ripped off twice by his supposed friends, when he assumed their friendship was trustworthy. Take this info into consideration.
I just told them I like to play my stereo loud. They have no idea I have a 81" Plasma with handmade Mayan speakers.
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Old 12-08-05, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Vision of Love
I just got a surround sound system and my subwoofer worries me sometimes. I notice the subwoofer more than the surround speaker units. I want to crank it up during action films but I'm worried we'd hear a knock on our door with a complaint.
Just a suggestion: Try adding bass shakers to your chair. They give you the satisfaction of "feeling" the deep bass without needing to crank the subwoofer and disturb the neighbors. Aura Bass Shakers can be found pretty cheaply online.

Last edited by Josh Z; 12-11-05 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 12-10-05, 05:53 PM
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I had the same type of issues at the last few apartments I statyed at. One particular palce was in a 'low class' neighborhood. The upstairs neighbors had chldren who ran around their apartment as if it was a jungle gym and I'm not kidding. I'd be sitting watching the TV and I would hear tem run from one end of the apartment to the other and then jump from a dresser to their floor. As you can imagine, the ceiling felt like it was going to fall in on me. Now, don't get me wrong, the kids are alright. It's the parents that needed to learn how to be a parent that I had an issue with.

To make a long story short I got mad one night and fired up my roommates Marshal Half Stack. Then I decided to rip into Van Halen's Eruption as well as a few other rocking songs that I'm sure she enjoyed. As you can imagine, the sound that comes of of a Marshal amp of this size is defeaning. Unfortunately she retaliated by slashing my roommate's tire. Of course we had no proof of this but obviously she did it. Thankfully they moved and I learned from that day forward to never, ever, move into a 1st floor apartment.

And in fact, the next place I moved into was a concrete building which I never had an issue with sound problems from anyone nor did i get any complaints in reference my HT system.

But now I have a home. Just moved in last month and I can positively say "Loud music, movies, etc ROCK!!!" I've been thoroughly enjoying listen to my music at the level of sound that I WANT rather than what is determined by others. In fact, I went over to my neighbor's house after I had watched a few movies with my new sub. They are the only neighbor's that would have a problem with the sound as I have no one close to me on the right side of my house. The neighbor's said they have heard nothing which means I can crank it even more, although I probably will not.

All I can say is LFE is the SH!T!!!! The GF gets a kick out of it when the couch shakes. I was able to watch The Matrix Lobby scene as it was intended.....was fricken' loud. The GF had never seen the movie, it was a good way to see/hear it for the first time.

I have to admit though, HT systems in apts, condos, etc, are no fun for anyone, especially if your one of those people that are actually considerate to the sanity of others and worry about whether others will be disturbed by the noise.
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Old 12-11-05, 08:38 AM
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I had my downstaris neighbor complain once. Granted, it was 3 am but I'm a Night person and I had the system turned as low as I could. Actually, his bitch Girlfriend sent him upstairs because she couldn't sleep due to my subwofer apparently. I was watching The Chappelle Show and Erika Badu was on so I guess the bass was carrying into their room. Now, there was never a problem until this bitch started staying over.

But recently I've had to listen to her loud screams(think the bathroom scene in "Amalie"...yes, that kinda screamin') as she getting fucked so I've started inching up the volume on my system.
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Old 12-11-05, 12:12 PM
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Go visit when you start hearing the screams.

Get a flat line on your sub and it will sound better to you and bleed less into other apartments.
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Old 12-18-05, 03:24 AM
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I've only had troubles once, but that was because I was cranking some metal at 4 am while drunk. The couple next to me had a very young girl that I woke up. They were polite about it, and just asked me to turn it down. It was late, so I turned it off instead and went to bed. When I got up that afternoon, I checked the volume, and it was well beyond what I already consider loud.

Other than that, I play it as loud as I like, and no one has complained. I do try to keep other's feelings in mind, but it doesn't seem to be a necessity. In fact, other than the drunk times, it's loud enough. I have quality sound and good bass, but I'm also in a smaller area. I suppose once I get a basement to have a home theater in, I'll have to turn it up much louder.
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Old 12-18-05, 08:53 PM
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Depends.

I'm in a duplex house, and my neighbor has never said a word to me about it, and I pass them all the time outside.

In my apartments I lived in, godawful. You could hear EVERYTHING thru the walls. Regular TV volume went thru the walls.

Just be careful and make fast friends.
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