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Old 03.12.2011, 23:49
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I am too noisy - Any musicians there?

Just a question about how to dampen bass levels in a building.

We have regular live music in our pub and the neighbours living above have asked us if it would be possible to turn the bass down.

We are not loud at all, music is always at a comfortable level where our customers can talk without the need to shout.

problem is that in the old building we are situated the bass travels very easily and i am trying to find a solution to this without the need to ask the bands to turn their low tones down too much.

My initial idea was to place camping mats under the speaker stands to try to dampen the vibrations. Are there any musicians out there who know if that would have a decent effect, or anybody who has a more professional solution to the problem

Thanks in advance
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Old 04.12.2011, 00:13
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Re: I am too noisy - Any musicians there?

Bass is very hard to manage. I'll give an example.

A few years back I had a loft apartment in the 4th floor (top floor) of very solidly built ~50s era building. The lower floors were used as workshops, and I got a green light from the landlord to build a practice space in the basement.

Noise for the ground floor and up wasn't a problem, but in that sleepy village any leakage outside would have been, and we had some seriously big amps and liked volume . Bass was the big concern, and after some study I figured out that to really tame it you have to decouple the source from the structure, as bass frequencies travel easily along solids.

So- I bought a bunch of these 100mmx100mm special rubber blocks, and essentially built a room within a room, with the inner room connected to the outer room only by those blocks. Imagine a double box packing job: small box within a larger box separated by packing peanuts- that was what we had.

It worked pretty well; standing right outside the building you could hear that something was happening in there but a few meters away it was nothing. BUT- within the building, the damn bass still managed to travel. When friends would be using the space I could faintly make out the bass all the way on the top floor (ok, this was with 4 15" woofers for the bass driven by a lot of watts ).

So there's no easy foolproof cure, but the first thing to do is make the connection between any bass frequency sources and solid structure as mushy as possible. You might want to look into lead lined sheetrock (drywall, gypsum whatever it's called in your lingo); that stuff can be very effective if installed properly. No idea where to get it here, but it's used for both soundproofing and for x-ray rooms so it must be available here. Whatever you end up doing it's going to take some work (and cash- the little rubber isolation blocks I mentioned ran me close to 1000CHF alone)- good luck!
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Old 04.12.2011, 11:17
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Re: I am too noisy - Any musicians there?

That was a great post from Mud.

Whilst you might want to explore those options to lessen the bass, it doesnt hurt to remind them that they are well aware that they've move above a pub and you have the licence to play music till a certain time.

Sorry, but am I the only one seeing how ridiculous their request is, assuming that your pub was already there before they moved in? Anyone moving above a restaurant/pub should expect a reasonable amount of noise from its patrons and music.
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Old 04.12.2011, 11:21
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Re: I am too noisy - Any musicians there?

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That was a great post from Mud.

Whilst you might want to explore those options to lessen the bass, it doesnt hurt to remind them that they are well aware that they've move above a pub and you have the licence to play music till a certain time.

Sorry, but am I the only one seeing how ridiculous their request is, assuming that your pub was already there before they moved in? Anyone moving above a restaurant/pub should expect a reasonable amount of noise from its patrons and music.
Unfortunately, they have been there much longer than me and i can only legally make noise till 11pm as long as it doesnt disturb the neighbours.

I am not complaining about them, i have had issues in another bar before where the neighbours have just called the police without trying to sort it internally. when the police respond, they just tell the band to stop, even if they have just started
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Old 04.12.2011, 13:37
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Re: I am too noisy - Any musicians there?

As a starting point, and as Mud has pointed out, the first thing to try is making sure that the speakers are not in contact with anything that will easily transmit sound. That means that they shouldn't be sitting directly on the floor or be bolted to the walls.

You might consider investing in a specialised isolation layer, like the Auralex Gramma range. Available from Amazon.co.uk, where it also gets good reviews.
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Old 04.12.2011, 13:49
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Re: I am too noisy - Any musicians there?

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Sorry, but am I the only one seeing how ridiculous their request is, assuming that your pub was already there before they moved in? Anyone moving above a restaurant/pub should expect a reasonable amount of noise from its patrons and music.
I have to disagree with you. I used to live above a restaurant and specifically asked what noise levels were like before I moved in - no noise apart from the VERY occasional party. Then the lease went to someone else, some young chaps who thought they would make the place a hip and trendy place, with a sound system to match. The rest of the house is rented by students, students always have exams in summer and a the end of the year, which means not a lot of partying, getting up early because libraries are only open from early morning until late afternoon, etc.

Well, the guys downstairs started their lease with about two weeks of parties every night in the middle of exam time, it was so loud, the water in my glass shook. I went downstairs to complain and was told "tough luck, we are allowed to do this". I looked up the laws regarding noise and in canton of Zurich, you are only allowed to have loud music until 9pm (7pm if it's outside) and only if it doesn't bother the neighbours.

I kept telling them to give us a weeks warning before such an event so we could be elsewhere but they only ever managed to put a sign up on the same day or, at best, the day before- usually they didn't give any warning at all. I also offered to have them come up to our apartment two floors up so they could see how bad it was but they said we were just exaggerating.

One night my bed was actually shaking from the bass until 3am and I had enough and called the police. After that it was quiet, no further parties.
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Old 04.12.2011, 14:55
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Re: I am too noisy - Any musicians there?

We played quite often in noise restricted areas, certain bars and clubs had only licenses till certain times, etc.

Always let the band know that you are having noise issues with neighbors. The guys playing really do not have to go full blast, bass is audible in low volume, as well.

Could also be that the particular bass player wants to be heard, some musicians are cocky. If you sound check, or if you have a sound guy before a gig, always point out what complaints you are dealing with. As a person who played so many gigs, it is never full blast or nothing, almost every place we played, there were some kind of requests from the owner, bar staff, etc. Musicians are used to dealing with it. They can always get off by volume and go deaf for a few days after in the comfort of their own practice place.

ETA - plus, it's an eternal joke amongst musicians, the ones who don't know how to play make up for it with noise, heh (I do love some unpretentious low-fi primal noise, for sure..but that's a different thing).
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Old 04.12.2011, 19:06
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Re: I am too noisy - Any musicians there?

Years ago I spent a fortune soundproofing a recording studio and Bass was always an issue. If your ceiling is high enough you can build a false ceiling leaving as big an air-gap as you can and sticking carpet on the outside.

Another option is to build a bass-trap which goes from the floor to about 1 meter high all around the room if you, can but definately opposite the 'stage area'. This can even be heavy curtains if you don't have much space.

Turn the bass player down, roll the bass of the keyboards and you should be ok. That just leaves the drums to worry about next...
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Old 04.12.2011, 19:13
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Re: I am too noisy - Any musicians there?

Alas, not much to do.

I friend of mine recently had to start closing at 23h, despite years of closing at 1-2AM on weekends, and he lives in the same village (Sorengo).

Meanwhile, my wife and I are planning a major blowout party before selling the family villa in Gentilino (as a major FU to the neighbors) sometime next year!

Tom
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Old 04.12.2011, 19:18
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Re: I am too noisy - Any musicians there?

I also played with my amp facing me, not the crowds, to hear it better and use less volume. Or, I sat on my amp, also very nice , and right at the source. If you are far, you need to up the volume. Close enough to the drums to keep the rhythm section tight but not to be deafened by it, it's worth experimenting with the sound to keep it low, etc. Decent band will compromise to keep the venue happy.
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Old 05.12.2011, 18:41
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Re: I am too noisy - Any musicians there?

make your neighbours move away
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