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Can't go over? Go around!

Posted by Joe Baker on February 21st, 2001 03:31 PM
In reply to Soundproofing certain walls in an apt. by Shai Moschowits on February 20th, 2001 08:19 PM [Go to top of thread]

I happen to play trombone and tuba, and have done
some research into soundproofing, hoping to
promote harmony in my family.

The only effective soundproofing for sounds below
400 HZ or so is VERY expensive and involved. You
have to either completely enclose the quiet room
or completely enclose the sound source. Among
other requirements, these enclosures have to
actually isolate the interior walls, ceiling, and
floor so that there is hardly any physical
contact, and must be air tight. Since the floor
has to sit on something, complete isolation is
impossible. The only really successful compromise
is to place the soundproof room directly on the
ground. Even if the other requirements were
possible for you, this one probably blows you out
of the water.

The problem is that low frequencies have a long
wavelength, which allows the waves to travel
around obstacles and through spaces, even very
small ones. They also travel very
efficiently through solid materials, like wood and
concrete. You can dampen and diffuse the sound
by hanging blankets or carpet pad on the back wall
of the closet to take out the high frequencies
(which are always present, even in sounds that
seem to be low frequency) but I'd suggest you
give up on getting your place soundproofed.

I can think of a couple of other alternatives to
make your life more pleasant. I assume your
greatest problem is getting to sleep. You might
look into 'white noise' generators. These make
a quiet, broad frequency 'Shhh' sound that covers
other noises but which the brain will ignore as
'background noise', so it is unobtrusive.
Another, easier alternative would be to go to
sleep with soft music playing. A third possibility
might be to find an apartment farther from the

I wish I could be encouraging about your chances
of soundproofing, but it is VERY tough to eliminate
low frequencies. Good luck!

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