Subwoofers are intense loudspeakers that produce low frequency bass tones. Bass tones can easily penetrate walls within, especially if they are thin enough.
This can raise concern if you live in an apartment, and some apartments can have thin walls where you can easily hear your neighbors. So many people will assume that subwoofers are not allowed in apartments.
The truth is, you are legally allowed to own subwoofers in most apartments, but loud noises, music, and bass in most cases can be illegal, and raise noise pollution.
Subwoofers In Apartments
Subwoofers in apartments can be seen as an issue, this is because you have neighbors that may file noise complaints. You need to understand how subwoofers work to understand their effects on neighbors.
Subwoofers generate huge amounts of bass, and bass is known for its ability to easily pass through objects without losing energy. So your neighbors in most cases will hear your bass, and this can cause complaints.
And apartments can be really closely packed, so it’s entirely possible that your subwoofer can affect multiple apartments at the same time which will lead to a stack of complaints and potential disputes.
So your goal here would be to reduce subwoofer vibrations through walls. This will have multiple effects, it will increase your bass quality, and it will reduce the chances of your neighbors hearing it.
Can I Have My Subwoofer In My Apartment/Flat?
Subwoofers aren’t like normal speakers, normal speakers produce high-frequency noise which is easily dispersed as it travels through the air, but subwoofers maintain a high amount of energy whilst going through objects.
Subwoofers are known for causing mechanical shock which will travel throughout your apartment and walls causing rattling and resonance, it’s your job to minimize this.
Legally, you can own a subwoofer, but you need to take the necessary steps to reduce vibrations and noise pollution.
How To Reduce Bass Through Walls?
Tips For Reducing Wall Vibrations:
- Subwoofer Decoupling
- Isolation Pads
- Bass Traps
- Adjusting bass level
- Placing subwoofer closer to you
There are so many ways you can reduce vibrations through your walls that are caused by subwoofers. It’s actually recommended that you use as many of these tips as possible as it will result in fewer chances of annoying your neighbors.
Firstly, subwoofer vibrations are caused by a phenomenon known as microphonics, and this is when your subwoofer will pick up mechanical vibrations and interpret them as electrical signals.
You must know that you are not hopeless when it comes to reducing the number of bass vibrations going through walls. You can actively take these steps down below to reduce disturbances in your apartment.
Tip 1: Subwoofer Decoupling
The first tip I’d like to share is decoupling your subwoofer, and this involves lifting the subwoofer off the ground by a few inches. This reduces mechanical vibrations which is a huge contributing factor to bass vibrations going through walls.
Along with the fewer wall vibrations, decoupling the subwoofer will also improve the sound quality, and it will also reduce the amount of damage caused to your house.
My favorite way of decoupling the subwoofer involves using feet, and the material of the feet greatly varies with what type of floor you are using. My floor is wooden, so I will use rubber feet, but if your floor is carpet, then metal spikes can do the job.
Tip 2: Isolation Pads
Isolation pads are another great way of reducing wall vibrations, and it works in conjunction with decoupling your subwoofer. So you can use isolation pads along with metal or rubber feet.
Isolation pads work by going directly underneath the subwoofer, it is used to separate it from the floor. And what this will do is absorb vibrations generated by the subwoofer which will usually travel through the floor.
The best type of isolation pads are made from a spongy material with holes in between them, and what this will do is reduce any resonance which is a bad form of vibration.
Tip 3: Bass Traps
You can reduce subwoofer vibrations traveling through your walls and disturbing your neighbors by using bass traps, and this is one of the popular ways of doing this.
Bass traps work by sitting in the corner of your rooms or along the walls, and it works by absorbing the high energy low frequency sounds from bouncing and traveling through walls.
Reducing these harmful reflections can also improve the sound quality and listening experience as it can cause a muddy and distorted sound. So bass traps will noticeably improve the clarity.
There are two forms of bass traps, there are foam bass traps and acoustic panels. They both function differently, the foam bass traps are good at dissipating low frequency noises, and acoustic panels are good at absorbing and helping reduce reverberations.
Tip 4: Adjust Subwoofer’s Bass Level
The idea behind this is that the lower the bass level is, it should reduce the amount of energy is being sent to the walls which in turn should reduce the amount of vibrations created.
Some individuals may have their subwoofer too loud and this can be causing high intensity sound waves to travel through walls and potentially disturb your neighbors.
For one, you don’t need your subwoofer’s bass level to be so high in many cases, especially in an apartment. So lowering the bass level can improve your listening experience and reduce any potential complaints.
On your subwoofer, there should be a knob that you can use to easily control the bass level. You should be able to increase and decrease it, or if you have a passive subwoofer, you should be able to control it through the external amplifier.
Best Size Subwoofer For Apartments
As we all know, the larger the subwoofer is, the more bass it can produce, so this typically means you won’t need a very large subwoofer if you’re living in an apartment.
The larger the driver is, the more air it will move, and the higher the intensity is. Personally, larger subwoofers cause more vibrations in smaller rooms, this is because the soundwaves carry more energy, and reflect off the walls more.
Typically, an 8-inch or a 10-inch subwoofer is more than enough for small rooms and apartments, for larger rooms, you will usually see 12 and 15-inch subwoofers as they’re powerful enough to be immersive enough in home theaters.
Even though larger subwoofers reproduce bass to a higher standard, an 8 inch subwoofer can still do the job without causing a disturbance, so weighing up the pros and cons, I’d rather save money and frustration with an 8 inch sub.
Also Read: What Is The Best Subwoofer Size
How To Deal With Neighbor’s Subwoofer
The first step I’d take would be to talk to your neighbor and explain how their subwoofer is negatively affecting you. Chances are they have no idea that it’s causing a disturbance, just remember, politeness goes a long way.
If your neighbor doesn’t care about the noise pollution they are causing, then you can invest in soundproofing your house. I know this isn’t ideal because you have to go out of your own way to reduce a noisy neighbor, but it works to mitigate sound from them.
If you’re not willing to soundproof your house, then you can file a complaint. This will usually get a noisy neighbor to take into consideration, just inform the local authorities or landlord.
Yes, you can have a subwoofer inside your apartment, but you need to be careful, talk with your neighbors about it, and ensure that you minimize the amount of bass traveling through the walls.