There’s nothing as annoying as dealing with neighbors with subwoofers. As much as we love them the noise we hear coming from the subwoofers to clomp us through the walls and the floor can be extremely distracting. In fact, some neighbors behave as though they’ve discovered the bass volume for the first time cranking it up to a full blast.
If you’re living in a rented place, you might consider relocating to a new quieter residence. But, imagine you’ve just bought a new apartment, condo unit or a duplex only to be welcomed with such chaos? Since relocating will be out of question, the only viable option will be to improvise a way to block the vibrations coming from your neighbors’ subwoofers.
What Causes Subwoofer Rattles and Vibrations?
Subwoofers are way different from the rest of the surround speakers. Their drivers and motors are way bigger and heavier allowing them to reproduce only the low frequencies. What happens, therefore, is that these subwoofers are likely to generate great room-shaking bass in the form of massive sonic energy.
This energy causes mechanical shock and vibration which is transferred to your floor, ceiling, and walls causing rattling and resonance.
Since these vibrations are likely to cause a lot of mess such as shaking your wallpapers until they fall off, this short guide will discuss some soundproofing tricks you can apply to reduce the amount of vibrations getting to your apartment.
How to deal with loud sounds from neighbor’s subwoofers
Soundproof the Floor
Now, if subwoofer vibrations are coming from the lower floor, then one way you can reduce them is by soundproofing the floor. Although there are many ways you can do this, one of the common methods is by carpeting the entire floor.
If you’re living in a rented apartment, you can improvise a more clever way of deadening subwoofer sounds by first placing rubber floor mats on the floor before adding a fluffier carpet or rugs on top. At least by doing this, you’ll deaden most of the vibrations coming from your neighbors’ apartment.
If you’re staying at a privately-owned residence that’s your own, then you can dampen subwoofer vibrations by removing the top layer of your floor to reach the subfloor. Here, you can add a flooring underlayment which can consist of fiber, rubber, or foam. Once you’re done, you can add the floor covering of your choice which can range from laminate, tile, hardwood, to vinyl.
By adding an underlayment, what you’ll be doing actually is creating a barrier that will cushion, absorb, insulate, and block any sound from getting transferred to your room via the floor.
Soundproof the Ceiling
Another trick you might wish to consider is soundproofing the ceiling especially if the vibrations are coming from your neighbors upstairs. If you’re staying at a private residence, this can be a great option especially if you have kids playing loud music in the upstairs.
There are various ways you can soundproof your ceiling. One, you may decide to add a drop ceiling to your existing ceiling. A drop ceiling can come in the form of acoustical clouds with desired surface patterns. Apart from the beauty, this type of additional ceiling will create some space in between that will help to isolate the sound.
Two, you can opt to add another layer of drywall on the existing drywall in case the drop ceiling fails to appeal to you. To do this, you need to buy a drywall then fit it on the existing drywall using screws. For better performance, you can add a layer of underlayments such as fiber, rubber, foam, or acoustical mats to absorb as much sound as possible.
Soundproof the Walls
One of the greatest culprits of transmitting subwoofer mechanical vibrations from one room to another is the wall. You see, most urban houses are designed with thin walls to reduce construction costs to save funds. On the other hand, sound, especially low frequencies generated by subwoofers travel through thin walls quite easily without being blocked.
So, if you’re feeling disturbed by the vibrations coming from the rooms adjacent to you, then soundproofing your walls is basically a smart option. But, how can you manage that?
Well, it’s quite simple. One way you can achieve that is by using acoustic foams and panels. These sound-absorbing materials are usually made of fiberglass and are designed to increase air resistance which in return helps reduce the amplitude of sound passing through the walls.
Since sound travels better in thin walls, acoustic foams and panels increase the thickness on your walls blocking as much sound as possible. In case you can’t afford to buy acoustic foams and drywalls, then a cheaper alternative is to stick large canvas paintings on the walls.
Soundproof the Door
Another major culprit that can cause subwoofer vibrations from your neighbors to get to your room is through the main door. You see, most apartment doors are thin and have tiny spaces that allow sound to pass through. Since it’s impossible to get a new door, finding clever ways to block these sounds is the only logical option.
So, to block as much sound as possible, you can try sealing any gaps on your door using vinyl or neoprene strips. The best thing about these materials is that they’re airtight hence the best for absorbing sound.
What if you’ve rented the apartment and you’re restricted from tampering with the door, walls, or ceiling? Well, the best option in such a case is to use soundproofing materials that can be removed and reused such as door sweeps. Door sweeps are usually placed at the bottom of the door to seal it completely when it’s shut.
Soundproof the Windows
Most of the options we’ve provided are meant to soundproof your room against vibrations getting in from neighboring houses. However, there are cases when the noise might not be coming from your next-door neighbor but rather from neighboring buildings such as pubs. In such situations, blocking your windows seems to be a logical option.
If you’re ready to spend some bucks, you can opt to install double panned windows to take advantage of the extra layer of glass that will be effective in blocking out sound. If you choose this option, however, you need to hire a professional to do the installation.
But, if you stay in a rented apartment, condo unit, or duplex, the second option that will likely work for you is by using soundproof curtains. These curtains are usually made of thick materials that absorb any sound that’s trying to pass through them.
Use Headphones or Earmuffs
The final tip that can be used alongside these hacks is using headphones and voice-cancellation earmuffs. Although they might not help with the vibrations, headphones and earmuffs can help to block most of the outside noises giving you a restful night sleep.
But, before you get to this, it’s always recommended that you discuss with your neighbors about this issue of loud volume. However, you need to approach your neighbors with respect and politeness to see whether you can arrange for some “silent periods” when you need to sleep or when studying.
As you can see, most of the steps we’ve discussed here will not demand you to do any modifications to your house. This is a great thing because most apartments are rented and modifying them might cause some friction between you and the landlord. Therefore, by following each of these steps to the latter, you’ll manage to block as much subwoofer noises as possible from your neighbors.