Loud music can be a problem in itself when it comes to apartment living, but a subwoofer can create a potential additional problem for you thanks to the vibrations it can cause. Yes, subwoofers sound great and even your most annoyed neighbors can appreciate bass that the right time, the problem is that it just isn't ideal for apartment living most of the time.
Is it rude to get a subwoofer in your apartment? Likely yes. Is it possible to make a subwoofer work where you're happy and your neighbors are happy? Very likely, yes. But the problem is that it's way more likely to cause annoyance, altercations, and in very extreme cases, you get put out of your home.
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Before you start freaking out and looking for alternatives, let's remember that the simple art of communication can go a very long way. Talk to your neighbor and see how they will feel about the noise. You may have a neighbor that would actually appreciate you bumping loud music and loud bass. You might have neighbors that are rarely home and won't mind at all.
The worst thing they can tell you is no. Even asking beforehand can help you avoid altercations that can come from you assuming you can get away with a loud subwoofer. You may be able to come to a middle ground with them or do things like you were planning from the start.
If you want to risk it and seriously don't like the idea of talking to your neighbors, you could try to test the waters with lower levels during the midday. The main issue with this is that no one wants to really have their subwoofer at lower volumes. You'll likely be tempted to keep trying to push your limits until someone complains or you find a good volume you're satisfied with that isn't what you would call "disturbing".
You may be able to get away with a subwoofer better if you're on the lowest level of your apartment. Most of the noise complaints will come from the person below you, but do note that subwoofers can easily disturb those next to you as well depending on the quality of the walls and the placement of your setup.
Power level apartments at the corner of the building can work well for this problem. Try to place your sound system in the corner where no one is living next to you or below you if you can. This will not get rid of all the sound annoyances, but it can extremely lessen them.
If you live in a really well-built apartment with brick or concrete flooring/walls, you won't need to be worried about your subwoofer much at all. These types of apartments are either older, or pricey because of the soundproofing that is already built-in. Those who live in these types of condos or apartments can often blast their subwoofer like they're in the club!
Isolation pads that are placed below your subwoofer can help dampen the vibrations that can travel to other apartments. The success of this will heavily depend on your apartment structure and the quality of your isolation pads. They will not completely fix the problem for you, but isolation pads paired with lower volume at a good time of the day can be a perfect combo for not annoying anyone.
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Bass shakers send sonic vibrations through the material to which it is attached, enabling you to feel some really good bass from your music if you put it on something like your couch. This way you can feel that lovely vibration and rattling that subwoofers can bring you without annoying your neighbors.
I know you're not going to like this option if you're reading this, but the bass in your headphones hits hard, okay! Try to be a respectful neighbor by simply using headphones with amazing bass boost and sound isolation. You can even get creative and get silent disco headphones for you and you're friends if you're looking to throw a party. Just know that the stomps and thumps might cause a different noise complaint.
High-quality earplugs can lessen noise disturbances from speakers and subwoofers. You will likely be able to drown out the sound completely since the noise isn't coming directly from your apartment. If you can hear the subwoofer with them in or worse, feel the subwoofer, then you need to communicate with them or complain to management, seriously.
Soundproofing with foam panels and bass traps may bring you some peace in your home. Foam panels are more to help from sounds bouncing around in your room that originated in your rooms, but they can also have an effect on outside noises from subwoofers. You can soundproof your walls and your ceiling depending on where the sound is coming from.
Do note that foam panels and bass traps can help some, but not that much. Soundproofing can also be used by the noise offender as well to lessen the sound, but it will do even since the soundproofing is for keeping noises out. Window and door sealants work better for soundproofing, but your problem with subwoofers is more the vibrations than just sound. You can also try acoustic foam panels to help the vibrations from bouncing around your apartment.
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As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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